Driller Sues NY Town to Challenge Local Drilling Ban

judge's gavelAnschutz Exploration this week will file a lawsuit against the Town of Dryden (NY) to strike down the town’s recently passed ban on gas drilling. Dryden is a small township with two villages—Dryden and Freeville—located in Tompkins County, near Ithaca. Its land area is 94.2 square miles with some 13,500 people living there.

In New York, the state reserves the right to regulate the oil and gas industry and, according to state law, local municipalities are restricted to regulating road use with respect to oil and gas drilling. Dryden’s measure banning drilling (passed in August) is, according to the drilling industry, illegal. This lawsuit will challenge it.

Dryden officials argue that the state does not and cannot tell a municipality how it can regulate other industries, and the gas industry should be no different. It is a classical constitutional issue and both sides are watching this one closely.

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Susquehanna River Contaminated, but Not by Fracking Chemicals

The mighty Susquehanna River is 464 miles long, running from upstate New York through Pennsylvania and into Maryland before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. Much of the Susquehanna runs through prime Marcellus drilling country along the way.

Last week, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dropped massive amounts of rain along the Susquehanna and its tributaries, causing some of the worst flooding ever for communities along the path of the river. Some activists who oppose Marcellus Shale gas drilling speculated that fracking chemicals have now found their way, via the floodwaters, into the Susquehanna River. But their concern is misplaced. Fracking chemicals have not fouled the river, but there’s plenty of other things as a result of TS Lee that have:

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South Butler School Signs Lease with Exxon Mobil Phillips

The South Butler County School District (Butler County, PA) school board, after a year and a half of meetings and research, has voted to lease school district land for Marcellus Shale gas drilling. The lease is with Phillips Resources, recently bought by and now part of Exxon Mobil, and includes some interesting provisions, including an extra fee per well drilled, and an allowance for pooling, but not forced pooling.

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Dallas Twp, PA Approves Natural Gas Pipeline Near School

On Wednesday, Dallas Township (Luzerne County), PA supervisors voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Chief Gathering to run a natural gas pipeline within a third of a mile of the Dallas district schools and through a local housing development. Some of the residents who attended the meeting strongly objected to the vote, accusing the supervisors of approving an agreement not available for review by residents and accusing Chief and other drilling industry companies of “monster arrogance.”

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