Stop the presses. Jan Jarrett, long-time President and CEO of PennFuture, has resigned her position. PennFuture is Pennsylvania’s largest environmental lobbying organization, and also a largely anti-drilling organization. Her departure is sudden and unexpected after leading the organization for the past 13 years.
Why the sudden departure? Jeanne Clarke, spokesperson for PennFuture says that Jarrett plans to take a “breather” and focus on her grandchildren. However, her departure may be related to trouble that cropped up last December over how a state grant was spent by the organization:
MDN editor Jim Willis interviewed NY State Senator Tom Libous last Friday, March 2nd. Sen. Libous is a member of Gov. Cuomo’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel and an influential member of the NY Senate, holding the post of Deputy Majority Leader. We spoke about his recent remarks in the New York Times and whether or not his support for drilling has changed. We also spoke about the Advisory Panel’s work and where things go from here. It’s a short and informative interview, especially for New York’s landowners who are wondering whether, and when, drilling might begin in New York.
Chesapeake Energy and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) are joining forces to invest in buying royalty interests in shale drilling areas in the United States. KKR is a global investment firm with $59 billion in assets under management. Under the deal, Chesapeake will find the deals and contribute 10 percent of the money, and KKR will kick in the other 90 percent of the money. The initial commitment is to invest $250 million.
Exactly one month ago MDN reported that Keystone Sanitary Landfill, a privately owned and operated municipal solid waste landfill located in Dunmore, PA (a Scranton suburb), had applied to increase the daily volume of shale cuttings (leftover rock waste from drilling) from 600 to 1,000 tons per day. They also requested from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a change so they could receive the cuttings in an “unprocessed or unsolidified form” (see this MDN story).
Last month’s passage of new Marcellus drilling regulations in Pennsylvania has some local municipalities grumbling that the state’s “Act 13” regulating oil and gas drilling and superseding local zoning ordinances takes away their ability to, yes, control drilling in their local municipalities. Which of course is what the law is designed to do!
Several municipalities, Cecil Township the latest, are making moves to band together and sue the state over the new law in an effort to overturn the Act 13 provision.
Although historically low natural gas prices are great for consumers, it’s not so great for some in the shale gas drilling industry. Because drillers are changing their focus away from drilling in the “dry gas” areas of the Marcellus Shale play and instead focusing on the “wet gas”—or liquids-rich—portion of the play, it causes a slow down for some businesses and leads to layoffs in certain industries, like title searching. Title searches of property deeds are a necessary part of acquiring leases for drilling.
A title search company in western PA has just laid off nearly half of their staff: