Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has asked lawmakers to drop the word “acting” from the job titles of two state employees: the acting secretaries of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
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Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes, who many speculated was on the short list to succeed former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, has said that he expects to leave the department at the end of June. After serving more than four years in the Obama administration, he plans to serve as senior fellow at the Hewlett Foundation and teach at Stanford Law School in the fall. “I am grateful for his wisdom and guidance to me throughout this transition, and I wish him the best as he heads out to California for this next chapter,” said newly appointed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
Natural gas demand for U.S. electricity generation this winter is likely to look a lot like it did this past winter, 2.5-2.6 Tcf, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht said at the LDC Gas Forum in Chicago. In addition, a lot of coal-fired generation will still be around, but how much capacity gets used will depend on natural gas prices. “We’re again expecting the power burn to run between 2.5 Tcf and 2.6 Tcf of gas for the period of December this year through March 2013…There is about 500 Bcf going to generation that could switch back to coal should natural gas prices start to rise above our expectations.” Gruenspecht said earlier this year the power burn was running more than 24 Bcf/d of gas to generate electricity. “We’re now expecting over the course of this year for the Henry Hub natural gas price to average about $2.65 and the average to move up to $3.34 next year. There is a lot of uncertainty about natural gas prices, in September we are looking at a future contract price ranges from $2.30/MMBtu to almost $4.70/MMBtu.”
He insists he’s not supposed to be a cheerleader for the oil and gas industry he regulates, but when Scott Perry, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Oil and Gas Management, talks about the opportunities the Marcellus Shale has brought to his state, it’s easy to forget that distinction.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) appointed Zak Covar executive director for the agency effective May 1. Covar has served as deputy executive director since August 2009. He succeeds Mark Vickery, who is retiring from state government after 25 years of service. From 2005 to 2007, Covar worked as the environmental and natural resource adviser to Gov. Rick Perry and was responsible for advising the governor and senior staff on all major budget and policy issues pertaining to the TCEQ, the Railroad Commission of Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Margaret N. Schneider has been tapped to be deputy director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), BSEE Director James A. Watson said. Schneider was senior advisor to the BSEE director and also assisted with policy reviews and managed special projects. Prior to working with BSEE, she spent 30 years in the Environmental Protection Agency. In her new post, Schneider will assist Watson with the enforcement of safety and environmental regulations governing the Outer Continental Shelf.
West Virginia has more taxes and fees on natural gas production than most of the 18 other gas-producing states included in an analysis prepared for a West Virginia Legislature subcommittee by the Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research. However, it isn’t clear if taxes are hampering development of the state’s Marcellus Shale, the analysts said.
The New York Assembly has overwhelmingly approved legislation to limit hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the state’s portion of the Marcellus Shale, but whether the latest attempt to limit drilling will be approved in the state Senate remained a question on Tuesday.