Monday, March 04, 2013

Latest signs of coal getting gassed are in E. Ohio

The growing role of natural gas in American energy, and the declining role of coal, is perhaps exemplified by what is happening in the coal counties of eastern Ohio.

"Stoked by technological advances, the gas boom is transforming the United States and creating winners and losers on a national level and in far-flung small towns," Neela Banerjee writes for the Los Angeles Times. "For more than 200 years, coal has been king in Ohio, occupying a privileged position in state politics and as the fuel of choice for local power plants. Now its supremacy is being challenged. . . . Entire villages in eastern Ohio are leasing their land for gas drilling, and huge energy companies that relied on coal to generate electricity are turning to natural gas." (Times charts)

 "As gas elbows its way into coal country, disputes have started to emerge," Banerjee reports. "Here in some parts of Belmont County, drillers have to bore through shallower coal seams first to get to the gas thousands of feet below ground. Coal companies can derail the drilling if they assert that it impinges on a mine, even one that hasn't been established yet. The Smith-Goshen Landowners Group has leased 35,000 acres for gas drilling, and nearly all of it sits above seams belonging to Murray Energy, the country's largest privately owned coal company.  (Read more)

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