Fracking Opponents Craig & Julie Sautner Sell, Leave Dimock

please leave townDimock Proud, a group of homeowners in and around Dimock, PA who have banded together to defend their town’s reputation against mainstream media news attacks painting the area as a contaminated wasteland, report that two residents who have been among the most vocal critics against drilling and against Cabot Oil & Gas, Craig and Julie Sautner, have settled their lawsuit with Cabot and have left town.

This is an email MDN received from Dimock Proud on Saturday:

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More Details Leak on Secret DEC Meeting with Enviro Groups

Anti-drilling book author and former Gannett reporter Tom Wilbur, who blogs about Marcellus Shale drilling here, still has his sources in Albany. And those sources tell him that Gov. Cuomo remains undecided about releasing new drilling rules for New York (called the SGEIS). They also told him more details about the recent secret meeting held by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and virulently anti-drilling groups, a meeting where more delays were discussed, favorably, as it turns out:

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Why has Potter County, PA Not Seen More Marcellus Drilling?

The Potter County, PA Natural Gas Resource Center has just released the new issue of their bi-monthly newsletter for September/October covering natural gas drilling in and around Potter County. The new issue (embedded below) deals with the question: Where is the long-promised shale drilling boom in Potter County, and why is it taking so long to arrive?

This issue of the newsletter includes a guest column by John Hanger, former Sec. of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (and MDN’s first webinar guest, see here). The issue also sports this map from the DEP, which helps explain where Marcellus and non-Marcellus drilling is happening in PA:

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Hitchhiking Poet Chronicles Life in the Marcellus Shale

We don’t know why we find this story fascinating, but we do. The Berks County (Philly suburbs) Poet Laureate, Craig Czury, has been hanging out in Susquehanna and Wyoming counties lately—hitchhiking. Czury sticks his thumb out, repeatedly, and hitchhikes between Montrose, PA (in Susquehanna County), and Tunkhannock (in Wyoming County), going back and forth along State Route 29. Why? To listen to people’s stories about Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

Czury is working on a series of poems to document his conversations with the people he rides with. He finds that people who pick up a hitchhiker will often open up and talk freely.

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AP Says PA DEP Sec. Krancer Wrong about Methane in Leroy Twp

The Associated Press, true to form, continues to take pot shots at hydraulic fracturing whenever it can. In reporting on methane leakage from drilling in Leroy Township, Pennsylvania (see this MDN story for background), the AP breathlessly reports “the problem still isn’t fixed even though PA DEP Sec. Michael Krancer says it’s fixed, so there!” Not in those exact words, but that’s the sum total of their latest drive-by article on fracking in PA.

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Short Line Railroads to the Midstream Rescue?

One of the recurring stories MDN loves to cover is that of the renaissance of short line railroads, making a comeback because of shale gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Drillers need equipment and sand—lots of sand—hauled on a regular basis, and short line railroads play a key part in that equation.

But hauling equipment and sand may not be the complete picture. Short lines and national rail lines are now eyeing a role in hauling natural gas and oil in the absence of pipelines.

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Heckmann Corp Buys Appalachian Water Services

Last week Heckmann Corporation, an environmental services company, announced they were merging with Power Fuels, another enviro services company and moving corporate HQ from Pittsburgh to Scottsdale, AZ (see this MDN story). Heckmann is on a tare—today they’ve announced they bought Appalachian Water Services in Fayette County, PA. Heckmann says the purchase is an important part of their strategy for shale wastewater treatment in the southern Marcellus Shale area.

From the Heckmann press release:

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PA to Release Impact Fee Collection Numbers Today

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) will release numbers today detailing which drillers have paid what amount in “impact fees” (PA’s version of a severance tax) for 2011. The newly enacted Act 13 drilling law in PA, passed in the spring of this year, calls for an impact fee on each new well drilled, beginning with wells drilled in 2011.

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Anti-Drillers Push New Moratorium in Maryland Legislature

Maryland, the only state that’s even more dysfunctional when it comes to drilling in the Marcellus Shale than New York, continues its dysfunction. A committed opponent of drilling in the state, Maryland Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Democrat, from the D.C. suburbs), plans to introduce legislation preventing drilling until studies are conducted first. You may recall Maryland concocted a plan to tax existing leases in an attempt to raise $2 million to study fracking, but that measure died in this year’s 90-day session (see this MDN story).

It seems the Maryland is so broke they can’t even raise $2 million for fracking studies mandated by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (Democrat). Del. Mizeur is afraid drillers will run down the clock on the existing moratorium (which expires in 2014) and then begin drilling, so she’s going to push hard for a new moratorium during the next session in 2013.

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