Cuomo Says No Immediate Decision on Fracking in NY

sad faceIs fracking in New York now effectively dead for the foreseeable future? MDN is pro-drilling, you know that. And we live and work in New York, you know that too. And we have many landowner friends in New York. We love New York!

But after comments made in a radio interview yesterday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, MDN has to confess we’re concerned about the future of fracking in the state. Here’s how it went:

Continue reading

PA Impact Fee Raises More Revenue than Expected

The new Pennsylvania Act 13 drilling law is paying off. Yesterday the PA State Public Utility Commission (PUC), the agency charged will billing and receiving the “impact fee” provided for under the new law, reported how much money was billed, and how much was received. We have the detailed list by drilling company (embedded below).

The original estimate in the spring of this year when the law was passed, is that the first year would raise a total of $180 million in new revenue. The good news? More than $200 million was raised from the impact fee. The PUC billed drillers $205,890,000. So far they’ve paid $197,600,000. The difference is either cases where the driller disputes the PUC’s information about the status of a well, and a few cases of “the check is in the mail.”

Continue reading

Carizzo’s Missing Impact Fee Payment – Scofflaw?

Yesterday the Pennsylvania State Public Utility Commission (PUC), the agency in charge of assessing and collecting the new Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, released the figures showing which drillers were assessed the fee, the number of both vertical and horizontal wells they drilled, and most importantly, how much they were assessed and how much they’ve paid (see this MDN story).

One particular company stands out among the list: Carizzo Oil & Gas. They stand out because the PUC says they’ve paid exactly $0 of the $3,060,000 they owe in impact fees. The The Harrisburg Patriot-News calls them a scofflaw and chronicles the back and forth they’ve had with both Carrizo and the PUC over the missing payment:

Continue reading

Southwestern Selects the Marcellus to Fuel Future Growth

More great analysis from Richard Zeits. Writing on the Seeking Alpha website, Zeits looks in-depth at Southwestern Energy and their plans for the Marcellus Shale. Southwestern’s CEO, Steven Mueller, spoke at length at an industry conference last week about his company’s plans for the rest of this year and next. Zeits took great notes and he re-creates much of that presentation.

Southwestern has a huge position in the Fayetteville Shale basin, so it may surprise some that the Marcellus, where Southwestern had zero production just a year and a half ago, is the horse they’ve selected to ride for future growth. Zeits’ analysis of Mueller’s presentation starts this way:

Continue reading

PA DEP Secretaries Spar over Presidential Energy Plans

Monday’s Consumer Energy Alliance summit on Pennsylvania energy saw an interesting closing session, with the previous Pennsylvania Sec. of Environmental Protection (DEP) John Hanger and the current DEP Sec. Michael Krancer squaring off over energy policy in this year’s presidential campaign. Krancer took a day off from his official role at the DEP to become Romney’s surrogate for the debate. Hanger, disappointingly, represented Obama. (On a personal note we like John Hanger and his message very much—we selected him to present MDN’s very first webinar. But we’re disappointed he’s out on the stump defending an indefensible and failed energy policy by this president.)

Krancer minced no words about the differences between Romney and Obama’s energy policies:

Continue reading

South Fayette, PA Accuses PUC of Persecuting Them over Act 13

South Fayette in Allegheny County, PA is one of the seven towns that sued the state of PA over the new Act 13 drilling law that stripped away local municipalities’ ability to zone for oil and gas development. The Act 13 law substitutes a new “one size fits all” statewide version of zoning. The Act 13 lawsuit will be heard by the PA State Supreme Court in mid-October.

A South Fayette resident requested the state Public Utility Commission (PUC), charged with reviewing and determining whether or not local municipalities are in compliance with Act 13 with regard to their zoning laws, asked the PUC to investigate, which they are doing (see this MDN story). A resident of Robinson Township also asked the PUC to investigate that town’s ordinances, making Robinson the second case of PUC review (see this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story). Attorneys for South Fayette have responded to the review by accusing the PUC of “professional persecution,” “malicious intent,” and taking an “aggressive stance” against the town.

Continue reading

Hotel Tax Loophole in WV Benefits Drillers, Ending Soon?

A tax loophole in West Virginia on hotels and motels, designed to benefit politicians, has had an unintended consequence: It’s now benefiting the Marcellus Shale drilling industry.

In 1975 the West Virginia legislature passed a law allowing local municipalities the option of charging up to a 3% tax on hotel and motel rooms. In 2005, they raised it to 6%. However, the politicians included an exemption: No tax on hotel and motel stays of over 30 days.

Continue reading