Forbes magazine landed the interview everyone has been trying to get: George Phydias Mitchell. He’s known as the father or inventor of the technology we now call shale fracking. Unfortunately, the 93 year-old Mitchell said he’s in favor of federal regulation of fracking and called smaller, independent drillers “wild” indicating they need to be reigned in.
A few pickings from the interview, and then MDN’s comments to follow:
For or against? That’s the question being played out at town board meetings across New York State. And the full question is, “For or against hydraulic fracturing?” As the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) gets closer to releasing new drilling regulations for horizontal drilling and fracking, towns are lining up to either ban it (illegal in MDN’s opinion, although the court is still weighing that issue), or to “support it,” which usually means a vote to let the DEC actually issue the new regs before passing judgment.
Somehow, if you vote to wait for the DEC, anti-drillers consider that support. Whatever. One of the latest townships to consider the issue is in western New York—the Town of Portage in Livingston County. The board seems to sense the local political winds are blowing in favor of a ban, but they aren’t acting quick enough for the local anti-drilling zealots who attend every board meeting and complain. What’s interesting about the latest board meeting is not that the board decided to wait, but the admission their attorney let slip in his comments:
The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article earlier this week highlighting the tension now being felt at many colleges—especially public universities—over whether or not to allow shale gas drilling on or under their land.
The article opens by citing Ohio University’s struggle with the issue. The state has mandated that public universities inventory their assets—the land they own—to see whether or not it’s suitable for Utica Shale drilling. Some schools, like Ohio U., are resisting, claiming their “community” is pro-sustainability and anti-fracking.
The article quotes extensively from Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, a well-known Cornell professor who has made a full-time occupation out of bashing fracking and shale gas drilling.
In a letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union, the retired director of Natural Resources Planning for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Charles Morrison, comes down squarely on the side of anti-drillers. His letter says the rumored plan by Gov. Cuomo to allow test drilling in five Southern Tier counties is a “checkerboard plan” that’s “like something out of a Cracker Jack box.” Sounds to MDN like perhaps retirement is driving Mr. Morrison a little bit crackers himself.
Not long ago, Alec Baldwin went to visit his mom in Syracuse (as he often does, like a good boy), and while he was there, he lent his star power to promoting Josh Fox and his anti-fracking propaganda film Gasland at a local screening (see this MDN story).
Alec likes telling everyone else what they can do with their own private property. But what’s this? He doesn’t want to be told what to do with his private property? Hmmm.
It seems Alec wants to build a great big windmill at his home in the Hamptons on Long Island. Problem is, he needs a development permit to build the $100,000 windmill that may save him $2,000 in electric bills (this is how the mind of the liberal works folks). But he’s hit a snag with getting permission to build it. Anyone see the rank hypocrisy here? What’s good for thee is not what’s good for me, when it comes to anger-challenged Alec.
One of the oft-heard refrains is that when drilling shows up in a region, housing gets tight—really tight. Rents for apartments soar, and hotels are booked solid. That’s certainly the case in Bradford County, PA where there has been a tremendous amount of drilling, and economic growth, over the past few years.
The beauty of capitalism is that although there may be short-term pain from time to time, there’s long-term gain. The free market will appropriately respond to meet demand (opposite of what the Occupy Wall Street types say). And that’s just what’s happening in Dushore, PA, a small community in Bradford County. This is a story of a small bed and breakfast more than doubling in size to meet the demand for rooms—because of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
Rabid anti-drilling group Food & Water Watch (F&WW), based in Washington, D.C., needs money. How do we know? Because they’re circulating a petition to the rich, liberal residents of Johnston and Cranston, Rhode Island, telling them they need to support a statewide ban on fracking. Wait, Rhode Island? Yeah, Rhode Island—where there is no shale to frack! So why circulate a petition there? You’ve got it—it’s a sleazy tactic to get names and addresses for F&WW fundraising campaigns.
Range Resources has begun drilling a Utica Shale well in Crawford County, PA (northwest corner of the state), which is the very first shale well—Utica or Marcellus—to be drilled in Crawford County. But it’s not the only well they plan to drill.
An update on what’s known about Range’s plans for Crawford:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week launched a major new initiative—a public relations campaign—to support shale gas drilling, particularly in the Utica and Marcellus Shale. The Chamber rolled out their “Shale Works for US” campaign on Tuesday in Ohio, and yesterday (Thursday) in Pennsylvania. According to the press release (see below), the campaign’s purpose is to “build support for the vast economic and energy security benefits of natural gas and oil produced from shale.” The chief driver of the new PR effort is the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy—the energy policy “arm” of the Chamber.
The Chamber is touting the massive number of jobs being created by the shale energy industry—rightfully so. The real shame? That such an effort is even needed. It should be obvious shale jobs are good jobs and the shale drilling industry a good industry. It’s sad but true that organizations like the Chamber have to spend massive amounts of money to counter the constant drumbeat of mainstream media against clean and safe natural gas. Go figure.