Big Oil’s Alaska Tax Battle, Colorado’s Fracking Tussle, and More

US-Energy-Gas-Environment Workers change pipes at Consol Energy Horizontal Gas Drilling Rig exploring the Marcellus Shale outside the town of Waynesburg, PA on April 13, 2012. It is estimated that more than 500 trillion cubic feet of shale gas is contained in this stretch of rock that runs through parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. Shale gas is natural gas stored deep underground in fine-grained sedimentary rocks. It can be extracted using a process known as hydraulic fracturing "“ or 'fracking' "“ which involves drilling long horizontal wells in shale rocks more than a kilometre below the surface. Massive quantities of water, sand and chemicals are pumped into the wells at high pressure. This opens up fissures in the shale, which are held open by the sand, enabling the trapped gas to escape to the surface for collection. 
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Ben Geman
Jan. 3, 2014, 1:49 a.m.

En­ergy le­gis­la­tion re­mains in a deep freeze in Con­gress, so let’s check in on sev­er­al state-level battles:

  • Alaska Pub­lic Me­dia re­ports that oil gi­ants Ex­xon and Chev­ron are provid­ing ma­jor sup­port to a cam­paign to pre­serve a con­tro­ver­sial new oil tax law. The com­pan­ies want to de­feat a ref­er­en­dum to re­peal GOP Gov. Sean Par­nell’s sys­tem that caps oil pro­du­cers’ taxes and ef­fect­ively cuts taxes when oil prices are high, the pub­lic ra­dio sta­tion re­ports. The law’s sup­port­ers say it will spur pro­duc­tion, while crit­ics call it a giveaway to oil com­pan­ies, they re­port.
  • In the lower 48 states, The Huff­ing­ton Post re­ports on a battle over hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing in Col­or­ado. A pro­posed amend­ment to Col­or­ado’s con­sti­tu­tion would give cit­ies and towns power to ban or lim­it frack­ing, and would be the first of its kind na­tion­wide if it’s ap­proved, the story states.
  • Re­u­ters checks in on the leg­al tussle over frack­ing in Pennsylvania, where state of­fi­cials have asked the state’s Su­preme Court to re­con­sider a re­cent de­cision that struck down parts of an oil and gas law. Gas pro­duc­tion is boom­ing in the Key­stone State, but the de­cision gave loc­al gov­ern­ments the power to re­strict frack­ing with­in their city lim­its, deal­ing a blow to en­ergy com­pan­ies, Re­u­ters re­ports.

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