February corporation tax revenue of $58.2 million was $6.8 million below estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $1.5 billion, which is $81.1 million, or 5.7 percent, above estimate.

A study that appears to be good news for the oil and gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania shows that instances of migration of natural gas into aquifers and drinking wells often occur naturally, not through drilling and fracking.

The author of the study, Fred Baldassare, owner of Echelon Applied Geoscience, said he tested more than 200 sites before drilling and he discovered the signature of Marcellus Shale gas in aquifers and other rock formations at those sites.

“The drilling had nothing to do with the gas being there,” Baldassare said. “It’s been there for years, centuries maybe.”

Baldassare conducted the study for Chesapeake Energy.

The state director of the Sierra Club, Joanne Kilgour, agreed that some natural gas migration does occur naturally, but she said the Department of Environmental Protection also has 151 documented cases of migration through “unconventional drilling.”

“It’s important to stress that we don’t write off migration to nature in all cases,” she said.

Kilgour added that more public disclosure is needed regarding instances of migration and well testing results.

A DEP spokesperson, Morgan Wagner, wrote in an email that the 151 cases Baldassare referred to “is actually the maximum number of impacted water supplies associated with confirmed conventional and unconventional drilling gas migration cases from 2008-2013.”

“The maximum number of water supplies associated with confirmed unconventional drilling migration cases is 98,” Wagner said. “To put these numbers in context, there are about 1 million private water supplies in Pennsylvania and about 14,000 public water sources.”

— John L. Kennedy, for the Law Weekly