Trump signs executive order to expand offshore drilling

President Trump signed an executive order to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas in an effort to reduce the cost of energy, create new jobs, and make America more energy independent. The oil and gas industry applauded the move, but environmental groups cautioned that an inevitable oil spill would hurt tourism along the Atlantic coast where more than 100 cities and towns have passed resolutions banning offshore drilling.  Other groups raised concerns about the potential danger to sea life, which would impact the production of seafood, reported NPR.

DOE authorizes Golden Pass to Export LNG from Golden Pass Terminal

Golden Pass Products LLC  was authorized by the U.S. Department of Energy to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S. The agreement allows Golden Pass Products to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.21 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Golden Pass Terminal near Sabine Pass in Jefferson County, Texas, to any non-FTA country not prohibited by U.S. law or policy.

Maryland bans fracking in state

In April, Maryland became the second state in the nation to ban hydraulic fracking, behind New York, which established a similar ban in 2015. Gov. Larry Hogan made good on his promise in March when he announced he would support a fracking ban, saying the potential risks “simply outweigh any benefits.”

As reported in The Hill, Maryland doesn’t currently host any fracking sites, but the drilling industry has been hungry to tap into the state’s Sarcellus Shale formation. Anti-fracking advocates called the ban a victory for both the environment as well as public health.

Judge tosses PA drilling lawsuit verdict, orders new trial

A federal judge tossed a $4.24 million jury verdict and ordered a new trial in a lawsuit waged against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.,  a natural gas producer in Pennsylvania, accused of contaminating the well water of two families. As reported in U.S. News & World Report, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson cited “spare,” “contradictory,” and “frequently rebutted” testimony by other scientific experts presented by the plaintiffs and said there was no evidence presented that would justify such a high-dollar award. Judge Carlson also urged both parties to discuss settlement options with the aid of another judge.

The homeowners, who had leased the land from Cabot, allege that in 2008, water from their faucets became cloudy and foamy and developed a foul odor and taste, which caused them to suffer vomiting, dizziness and skin rashes.