Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan’s folly, a symbolic ban on hydraulic fracturing within the city, has now come back to bite him in the rear end. His folly will cost Binghamton City taxpayers a lot of money as the city has now been sued over their illegal ban, passed at the eleventh hour last December before Ryan was about to lose a majority of support from the Binghamton City Council in January (voters tossing out some of the all-Democrat council members in the last election).
The Binghamton law firm Hinman, Howard & Kattell filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in state Supreme Court on behalf of five plaintiffs to overturn the Binghamton ban.
An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reports on the Sierra Club’s new campaign to kill the natural gas industry—the same way the group contributed to the demise of the coal industry in the U.S. and the same way they killed off the nuclear power industry for the past 30 years.
Brian O’Neill, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and author of the book The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-first Century, writes in a PPG column today that although his heart is with the enviro-left movement, his head tells him that shale gas is the best option for now.
O’Neill puts himself squarely in the middle of the gas drilling debate with clowns to his left and jokers to his right. He’s a true believer in man-caused global warming but believes that natural gas is the “other” (and preferred) fossil fuel, like pork is the other white meat.
For more than year, MDN has periodically reported on Norse Energy as they have struggled to hold on, waiting for New York State to finally start issuing horizontal hydraulic fracturing drilling permits (see MDN’s coverage here). Norse’s strategy has been to roll the dice that New York will allow shale gas drilling. Drilling is always risky, but betting the company on New York politicians is truly a Las Vegas kind of gamble.
In order to keep going, Norse has sold off various assets over the past year. According to their first quarter 2012 update (see below), they at least have enough money in the bank to keep their U.S. operations going through the third quarter of this year. And they still have a controlling interest in 135,000 acres in New York, much of it in the Marcellus and Utica Shale play areas, should New York finally get off the dime. But in a sign that they may be giving up on the Empire State, Norse is shutting down it’s New York office and heading back to Houston.
Last week the American Gas Association (AGA) released a new economic report detailing that on average, customers saved $175 on their natural gas bills due to the abundant supplies of natural gas in the U.S., mostly from shale gas. Commercial customers saved an average $1,100 per year (see a copy of the full report embedded below).
The report also shows that for 2011, new jobs generated by the shale industry in this country was 150,000—or 9 percent of all new jobs created. Additionally, another 194,000 jobs were held by people who provide goods and services to the shale industry. Astonishing for a single industry to have such a profound impact. As MDN has recently reported, UGI and other utilities are cutting gas rates for customers—drastically. And all because of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas.
The renaissance in short line railroads because of shale gas drilling continues. Information from a panel presentation at the recent Pennsylvania Rail Freight Seminar brings us this news:
Bill desRosiers has been a good friend and supporter of MDN for more than a year now, and MDN editor Jim Willis has had the pleasure of working with Bill during his tenure with the great people at Energy in Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative.
Bill has now changed chairs and he’s working for an equally great group of people at Cabot Oil & Gas as their external affairs coordinator. Cabot is lucky to snag him.
We wish Bill every success in his new position. You can read about what Bill is up to here: Meet the Cabot Crew: Bill desRosiers.
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: