U.S. Department of Labor program ShaleNET helpsconnect workers with the shale industry - "ShaleNET is a job-placement program funded through the U.S. Department of Labor that has helped men and women find work among the hundreds of coveted positions involved in the natural gas industry. The program, which has many training hubs and educational partners across Pennsylvania and other states, began in 2010 but recently received a new injection of federal funding. [Its website is shalenet.org.] So far, nearly 2,000 ShaleNET students have been placed in shale-related jobs nationally. More than 150 occupations are associated with drilling one well." (Erich Schwartzel/Post-Gazette)
Billionaire Wilks brothers move on Montana, buying land and political support - "Two billionaire brothers who made a fortune in the fracking industry and have begun buying up eastern Montana land were the top donors to successful 2012 legislative candidates, according to a new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics...The Wilks brothers have gained attention in Montana for their land-buying spree that has made them among the largest owners of land in the state, collecting more than 200,000 acres of ranch and other land in the central and eastern parts of the state, according to a December profile in the Billings Gazette...Opponents of the process are worried that the Wilks brothers’ political largesse is aimed at preventing further regulation of the industry." (Associated Press)
Germany's environmental minister says fracking far off for Europe's biggest economy - "Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio Monday that Germany's government is working to ensure the practice is subject to limits and he wouldn't advise anyone to seek drilling licenses soon. Altmaier said he "can't see fracking being used anywhere in Germany in the foreseeable future."
Hundreds of gas drilling permits awarded to companies allows drilling near many poor and minority communities - "None of those permits for gas wells, wastewater impoundments or compressor stations has triggered intervention by DEP's Office of Environmental Advocate to inform residents of those communities about potential health and environmental impacts from proposed industrial developments.....A Post-Gazette review compared state permit data to the new DEP Environmental Justice Census Tracts map released last month. It found 228 Marcellus Shale permits were granted by the department from 2007 through 2011 in the environmental justice-designated communities. And 160 of those permits were granted in areas that were identified as environmental justice communities when the Office of Environmental Advocate opened over a decade ago."