This one is sure to disappoint landowners. In an Obamaesque move, conservative Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich is set to propose a new tax on Utica and Marcellus shale gas drilling in order to reduce Ohio state income taxes.
Finally some good news for New York landowners who want shale gas drilling to go forward in the state. Lately, it’s seemed as if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was backing off his support for shale gas drilling. He elected to not even mention it in this year’s State of the State address, even though there was a section about it in his prepared remarks (see this MDN story). Then he made a comment about the status of the review process and making on determination on whether drilling will even be allowed (see this MDN story). And then a comment to a Syracuse newspaper editorial board about a decision coming “in a few months” on fracking (see this MDN story), the implied meaning was whether or not it would be allowed at all.
Add it all up and it certainly appeared that Gov. Cuomo was stepping back from his earlier support of drilling. But Andrew Cuomo is the consummate politician and perhaps that was all smokescreen. Last Friday, in a radio interview, he all but said fracking will go forward in the state, it’s just a matter of how and when it will happen, not if.
From time to time, the Associated Press will write a story about the gas drilling issue. Because a huge number of newspapers in the U.S. subscribe to the AP service, they run the story and overnight a single story, or various versions of the story, is run in hundreds of newspapers nationwide creating an echo chamber making it seem as if it’s new news. It’s happened again with another non-story about Dimock, PA. By now most MDN readers will know what Dimock is about—an attempt to create a link between hydraulic fracturing and chemical contamination of a water aquifer. If you need a background on the controversy, click here for MDN’s stories on Dimock.
The latest non-story story from the AP is an announcement that the EPA, that has been conducting water testing in the Dimock area, will release its first test results this week. That’s the sum total of the news in the story. But the AP story includes lots of background and fluff. One of the interesting backgrounder interviews is with a geologist from northeastern PA near Dimock:
Although Dimock, in Susquehanna County, PA seems to be known for water problems from unrelenting negative press, it should be known for another reason—it’s home to the state’s number one producing Marcellus Shale gas well, the King 2. In fact, Dimock and neighboring Springville Township host eight of the state’s 10 most productive shale gas wells, according to recent reports from the PA DEP.
Last week Rolling Stone magazine ran a hit piece on the natural gas industry in general, and Chesapeake Energy and its CEO Aubrey McClendon in particular. The article, titled “The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom” tries to recycle the theme already postulated by Ian Urbina in the New York Times some months ago that energy companies are vastly overstating just how much gas there is, and that they are in essence perpetrating a fraud on investors by covering it up. Rolling Stone, the NYT and other anti-drilling “media” outlets (I’d call them propaganda outlets) all use the same language and same arguments, trying to drive into readers’ psyche that shale gas drilling is a “Ponzi scheme” hoping to connect Bernie Madoff with gas drilling in your mind. Nice try Rolling Stone.
On Saturday, Chesapeake issued the following response, exposing the fallacies and lies found in the Rolling Stone article:
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: