On Wednesday, a group of 22 State of New York town supervisors, mostly from the Southern Tier area of New York, sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo strongly encouraging him to release the Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s new drilling rules (called the SGEIS) now. A copy of the letter is embedded below. One of the signatories is Town of Binghamton Supervisor Tim Whitesell, current president of the New York State Association of Towns.
The supervisors’ message to Cuomo: enough with the delay. Further delays only encourage “disruptive acts” by anti-drillers and serve no purpose. Near the end of the letter, in bold, is this paragraph:
The Youngstown Ohio Utica and Natural Gas Conference and Expo (or the “YOUNG Expo” as it’s called), held yesterday and today at the Covelli Center in Youngstown, OH, has become a major regional event in the Utica Shale. With more than 1,500 people attending yesterday and more than 100 vendors, YOUNG is not only a great place for businesses to connect and job seekers to find work, it’s also a news generator.
The Youngstown Business Journal picked up on the following revelation during a presentation from Nisource that will interest landowners in Mahoning County:
Yet another case of unhinged anti-drilling protesters, this one in New York City. For some time, protesters have rallied against a new 20-mile, $1.2 billion natural gas pipeline being built from New Jersey to New York City by Spectra Energy (see this MDN story). It’s the first new natural gas pipeline built to NYC in decades. According to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, without new sources of natural gas, New York City residents won’t just pay higher rates for heating and electricity, they’ll run out of it (see this MDN story).
Anti-drilling protesters don’t let reality and common sense get in the way of a good protest, however, so they’ve taken to so-called acts of “civil” disobedience—attempting to block workers in NYC as they try to construct the new pipeline. Yesterday, their antics got two of them arrested.
Anti-drilling protesters in New York are increasingly becoming unhinged. Midstream company Inergy is working on a gas storage project near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region in New York. The $40 million project will create a storage and transfer station for natural gas and liquid petroleum in underground salt caverns near Seneca Lake. Are anti-drillers concerned that the facility will leak gas into the lake? Nope. They just hate fossil fuels period—and they think this facility will encourage more drilling and fracking in New York and Pennsylvania—so they oppose it.
Yesterday a couple of old hippies protesters handcuffed themselves to a fence at the facility. Here’s what happened:
A battle is heating up over proposed deep injection wells for Marcellus and Utica Shale wastewater in Pennsylvania, specifically in Warren County (northwestern PA). A small conventional natural gas driller, Lyon Energy, owns about 80 natural gas wells in Warren County, some of which are now past their useful life. These are not Marcellus or Utica wells but wells drilled (and fracked) vertically, conventionally. Lyon, through the corporate name of Bear Properties, applied for a permit with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to turn two of its wells into deep injection wells for wastewater.
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey met with a group of landowners in Wayne County, PA yesterday to hear their concerns and complaints that property owners in Wayne have so far not participated in the rest of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling boom. Why not? Because Wayne County sits in the Delaware River Basin and comes under the regulatory oversight of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). Although the DRBC has drawn up guidelines for drilling, so far it has not had the political spine to implement them, creating an ongoing moratorium.
When/if it grows a spine, the DRBC says it will permit up to 300 wells throughout the region—a number of those (the majority?) will be in Wayne County.
In a deeply divided electorate during a hotly-contested election year, is there anything Republicans and Democrats can agree on? Anything that both business and labor can both support? In Pennsylvania, it seems there is. And that issue is the Marcellus and Utica Shale.
Writing in today’s Harrisburg Patriot-News, a labor union leader praises PA Gov. Tom Corbett (a Republican) for his recent state budget and the tax breaks an incentives provided to ensure that Shell builds an ethane cracker plant in the state. Here’s what he says about bipartisan support for Gov. Corbett’s plan:
The West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy has just published a new report in an ongoing series called “The State of Working West Virginia.” This new report is titled “In Depth: The Gas Boom and Coal Bust” (a full copy is embedded below). The 34-page report, as the title indicates, takes a look at the tax and employment impacts of West Virginia’s coal industry which is sinking fast, and the upcoming Marcellus Shale industry which is rising fast.
The authors of the study advocate a new severance tax on shale gas (and coal) as one way to help the state. They also think the minimum wage should be increased from $7.25 per hour to $9.80. While most of the study centers on jobs and the economy of West Virginia, the section most MDN readers will want to read is Section Five, pages 21-27. That’s the section dealing directly with coal and natural gas in the state, including this interesting graph showing an estimate for natural gas production in WV through 2035: