Appalachian Basin

Gassing Up, Locally

Once again, promising developments are on the horizon because of natural gas development here in the Northeast.  Chesapeake Energy, Dandy Markets and Waste Management, among others, are leading the way.  Waste Management,Inc., for example, has announced a plan to convert its fleet of trucks over to natural gas. Click here for the full article.

Waste Management Inc. needs to build 20 natural gas refueling stations across the country in order to facilitate the plan. Currently the United States has less than 1,100 natural gas refueling stations but these are not set up to handle Waste Management’s  needs, nor are they located in the proper locations, yet.

Waste Management Inc.  has elected to erect its first station in West Seneca, NY (just outside our region) to which the Town Board “unanimously voted to approve a special permit for the Waste Management site at 100 Ransier Drive to allow for the construction of the new fueling station, as well as equipment storage and repair areas.” Positive support for this type of undertaking by local government represents a huge step forward in realizing the full benefits of the Marcellus Shale, which is the closest energy source to the largest urban area in the United States.

Companies active within our region are also leaders with respect to natural gas vehicles.  Chesapeake Energy and Dandy Markets are working together on a fascinating initiative detailed in this story:

Chesapeake Energy is undertaking a pioneering and innovative community project to convert its vehicles in northeasternPennsylvania to compressed natural gas (CNG), thus creating sufficient demand for a local convenience-store chain to install a CNG fueling station, and allow a local transit authority to leverage state funding to convert its mass-transit buses to CNG…

As part of this project, which received $750,000 through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program, the Endless Mountains Transit Authority (EMTA) will convert to CNG fuel five 18-passenger public-transit buses. Additionally, Chesapeake Energy will convert 50 vehicles from its local light-duty fleet to run on CNG, which is part of the company’s ‘Fueling the Future Initiative’ to convert all of its 4,100 corporate vehicles. By virtue of this complete transformation, Chesapeake Energy is leading the way to help transition the national transportation system away from expensive and carbon-heavy gasoline and diesel to carbon-light, affordable, domestically produced natural gas.

In conjunction with these fleet conversions, Dandy Mini Mart will construct and operate one of the first public natural-gas-fueling stations in northeastern Pennsylvania. The CNG-refueling station, which will be added to one of Dandy’s existing facilities in Bradford County, will give residents access to an alternative, affordable, clean-burning, Pennsylvania-produced vehicle fuel. Additionally, the facility will serve as the CNG-refueling station for Chesapeake Energy’s converted fleet and EMTA’s converted buses. Transit buses like those operated by EMTA, along with refuse trucks, heavy-duty vehicles, school buses and commercial fleet vehicles, are ideal for natural gas, providing significant fuel savings to the operator and air quality benefits to the region.

As the story indicates, Route 6 is also being developed as a CNG corridor and, of course, it runs smack through the middle of our region, so we’ll have more and more CNG refueling opportunities on all sides.  Needless to say, this, as developed further, will provide still more benefits from the Marcellus Shale for our residents, including everyone who drives a vehicle or gets a product or service by truck. Politicians at the federal level are also starting to embrace the idea. Even Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, (rightly) regarded as an opponent of the Marcellus, is now saying that natural gas vehicles will produce more jobs for Pennsylvanians. Click here for the article.

Government and business aren’t the only ones making the switch to natural vehicles.  A Pennsylvania couple, Murry and Cindy Gerber, decided to drive across country in a Hummer powered by natural gas and this is their story.

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