Last night the Village of Owego (Tioga County, NY) became the second municipality in the Marcellus gas-rich Southern Tier area of New York state to vote for a temporary ban on fracking. The village board voted to ban fracking for one year to give the village a “time out to look at the documentation,” referring to the village’s master plan for not only drilling but flooding.
Towns, villages and cities across the state expect new drilling rules will soon be released by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation. In anticipation of that, many are voting to either ban fracking, or voting to support the DEC’s forthcoming rules. Owego is only the second municipality in the rumored five county area likely to receive permits for fracking when the time comes. Those counties (in what is referred to as the Southern Tier) are Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Tioga and Steuben.
The City of Binghamton—with a Democrat Mayor and an all-Democrat city council—rammed through a fracking ban last December, while they still had a stacked deck (before new incoming Republican council members were seated in January).
A court filing by state officials yesterday—including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Attorney General and the Dept. of Environmental Protection—asks the PA Supreme Court to expedite an appeal of the Act 13 zoning case. Last week the appellate court in PA ruled against the state’s new Act 13 law zoning provisions (see this MDN story). According to Gov. Tom Corbett, without the zoning portions of Act 13, the new law will be gutted.
Encore Energy, a drilling company formed just last year and headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is acting as a leasing agent and shopping 175,000 Utica Shale acres in Ohio to larger drillers, trying to catch their interest in drilling for wet gas and oil.
Encore issued the following press release yesterday:
The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest law journal in the U.S., publishes an article in the current issue titled “Shale Development and Fracking Litigation Trends.” It takes a look at court cases filed on the basis of supposed harm from hydraulic fracturing. The authors say of the 40 plus cases filed in state and federal court related to fracking, most remain unresolved at this time. Of the ones that are resolved, the cases against fracking cited by the authors were dismissed for lack of proof that fracking caused harm.
The following guest viewpoint was written by Bryant La Tourette, a Chenango County landowner, businessman and member of one of the largest landowner coalitions in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. Bryant has attended 19 town board meetings throughout the shale region, most recently the Town of Lebanon, NY just last week (see this MDN story warning of the impending meeting).
Bryant provides an eyewitness account of what happened at the meeting, including an anti-drilling bias by the town supervisor running the meeting.
A column in the New York Daily News by Bill Hammond points out the rank hypocrisy of “Chefs for the Marcellus”—a group of anti-fracking foodies who threw a big fundraiser and cooked up a storm for patrons willing to shell out $125. How did they cook all that delicious food? You guessed it—on stoves that use natural gas, much of it gas provided by hydraulic fracturing—the very thing they’re trying to ban.
Second quarter earnings and operations reports keep rolling in. Magnum Hunter, a driller with operations across the U.S. including in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, released their second quarter operations update this morning. Magnum reports they drilled four new Marcellus wells in the first half of 2012. The completed one of the wells for testing purposes, and the other three are waiting for completion until the end of this year when the MarkWest Mobley processing plant will become operational.
Here are the relevant sections from their update dealing with the Marcellus and Utica Shale:
NiSource Inc., parent company of Columbia Natural Gas and increasingly an important midstream player (pipelines & compressor stations) in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, issued its 2012 second quarter earnings report today. MDN has extracted the sections of interest for the Marcellus and Utica Shale below.