In this week's news update, a group of New York landowners hopes to continue fracking with a new technique despite the current ban, and the US House of Representatives approves a measure to reverse the export ban.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Oct. 9 to lift a 40-year-old U.S. ban on crude oil exports. The measure was approved 261-159 and will now head to the Senate.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said lifting the ban would lower prices at the pump, create jobs and boost the economy. Twenty-six Democrats joined Republicans in backing the measure.

The White House has called the bill unnecessary and argued that a decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce secretary. Opponents — mostly Democrats — say the bill would mainly benefit big oil companies at the expense of American consumers.

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The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s top lobbying group, says the House vote “starts us down the path to a new era of energy security, saving consumers billions and creating jobs across the country.”

New York Group Hopes to Get Around Fracking Ban
A collection of landowners in New York are hoping state officials will give them the OK to drill without using conventional fracking techniques in hopes of reaching some of the natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) imposed statewide prohibitions on fracking at the end of 2014 and hasn’t backed off those.

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The Snyder Farm Group, based in Barton, is looking at replacing the water used in the fracking process with a propane gel that, along with sand, loosens the rock to get to the gas. The group says by doing this it could get past the administration’s ban on fracking because water won’t be used.

Rig Count Drops for Sixth Straight Week
For the sixth straight week the U.S. rig count has dropped, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Oct. 9.

The Houston-based company says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas declined by 14 to 795 last week. Baker Hughes says 605 rigs were seeking oil and 189 for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,930 rigs were active.

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Oklahoma lost six rigs, while Texas declined by four. Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania each dropped by one. Colorado gained one rig.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

Over 33,000 Gallons of Brine Spilled in North Dakota
More than 33,000 gallons of brine spilled in western North Dakota on Oct. 11, according to state Department of Health officials.

The spill was at a site operated by Hillstone Environmental Partners in McKenzie County, but officials say the surface waters have not been impacted by the spill.

Department of Health and North Dakota Oil and Gas Division officials are at the site and are still investigating to see if groundwater is affected.

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