Protesters Illegally Shut Down Drilling Rig in Central PA

breaking the lawProtesters have illegally shut down an EQT drilling rig in Moshannon State Forest in central Pennsylvania. The rig was in the process of being commissioned (just getting started) and protesters blocked the road trucks were using to access the rig.

In addition to blocking the road, two protesters sat 75 feet up on a tree platform connected to a cable stretched across the road. If a truck cut through or snagged the cable, it would cause the demented protesters to fall out of the tree platform. That’s how sick these people are.

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Ohio EPA Says Patriot Still Can’t Dispose of Water in Warren

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached out to MDN to let us know that there is an ongoing issue with Patriot Water in the City of Warren, Ohio. In short, Patriot is still not allowed to send the fracking wastewater they treat to the Warren municipal sewage treatment plant for disposal.

Last week MDN highlighted that Patriot had apparently won their case against the EPA with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (see this MDN story). However, the Ohio EPA says “not so fast.” They have a different interpretation of what the ERAC ruling says, and they maintain the permit they’ve issued to the City of Warren has not (and will not) change, meaning Patriot will still not be allowed to dispose of treated wastewater via Warren.

Here’s the statement from Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally on the ERAC ruling:

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Marcellus Drilling Means High Housing Prices in Towanda PA

When an area sees a lot a drilling, one of the unintended consequences is a serious jump in the price of housing—both rental and for purchase. Towanda (Bradford County), PA seems to be ground zero for an extraordinary jump in housing prices over the past few years. How about $2,000 to rent a two-bedroom apartment in this relatively rural part of PA? Yeah, nosebleed-high prices.

An article in yesterday’s Towanda newspaper, The Daily Review, highlights the plight of a family flooded out of their Towanda home last year. Because of the high prices for real estate due to the Marcellus drilling boom, they still have not been able to leave their FEMA trailer.

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Belmont, OH Attorney Sues Hess to Dissolve Lease

An attorney in Belmont County, Ohio—Rebecca Bench—is suing to end a lease deal she and her husband signed in 2008, originally with Mason Dixon Energy for $100 per acre. Mason Dixon later sold the lease to Hess Corp.

The $100 per acre Bench and her husband were paid is a fraction of recent transactions, some as high as $5,900 per acre. Bench says Mason Dixon was never registered to do business in Ohio, meaning the original contract was fraudulent.

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NiSource, Hilcorp Energy Joint Venture in Utica Shale

NiSource Inc. announced today they are entering a joint venture with Hilcorp Energy and combining their Utica Shale acreage together with Hilcorp doing the drilling. They’re also establishing a midstream joint venture called Pennant Midstream to construct an initial 50 miles of wet gas gathering pipelines in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. And the new midstream company will build a natural gas processing complex in Ohio.

No word on exactly how much acreage the combined two have together in the Utica Shale, but the jv plus the new pipelines and processing plant is a major development for both eastern OH and western PA.

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Paladino Says NY Sen. Libous (Ab)using Fracking to Fundraise

Carl Paladino, a conservative who ran as the Republican candidate against Democrat Andrew Cuomo in the 2010 gubernatorial election in New York, isn’t a fan of New York State Senator Tom Libous. Libous is a Binghamton resident and the number two senator in the Republican-controlled (yes you read that right, Republican-controlled) New York State Senate.

If fracking begins in New York, much of it will be in the counties Libous represents. He’s been on record mostly supporting fracking in New York State, but there have been the odd statements here and there when he seems to back away from a full-throated endorsement. Paladino says Libous is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) who is manipulating the fracking issue to get more campaign money. Ouch. Tell us what you really think Carl!

He does just that. From an open letter issued by Paladino to the “222 Committeemen in Senate District 52” (which is Libous’ district):

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