Big news for landowners living in the Delaware River Basin area, especially for those in Wayne County, PA who want to see drilling in the Marcellus go forward: A federal judge has thrown out the lawsuit by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman that sought to force the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to conduct a “fuller assessment” of the potential impacts of shale gas drilling on New York City’s water supply before allowing any shale gas drilling in the basin.
Such an assessment would have meant years of additional studies and delays, especially harmful to landowners in Pennsylvania who happen to live in the DRBC’s jurisdiction and have seen no drilling for the past five years while their neighbors all around them have. This is a victory not only for landowners, but the DRBC itself, fighting the lawsuit.
Listen up New York State: Bradford County, which borders Tioga and Chemung counties in New York, has generated $160 million in natural gas royalty payments to landowners—so far. There’s much more to come.
Here’s the low-down on drilling in Bradford County:
Although the ongoing moratorium on shale gas drilling in New York State feels like it exited being a Greek tragedy and entered being a Klingon opera a long time ago, MDN feels duty-bound to deliver any small shred of news we come across that impacts the prospects of New York drilling. After all, we live in New York!
Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a few comments for reporters about the “when” question:
There’s been a change in position at the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), a large watershed located in Ohio. MDN reported earlier this year that the MWCD was making moves to sell water from some of it’s vast supply to Utica Shale drillers who have a number of active drilling rigs in the area. Almost as soon as the news was announced, however, the board of the MWCD issued a press release saying they would not sell any more water (other than a deal already done) until a comprehensive study was completed by the U.S. Geological Survey “later this year” on how such water sales might impact the watershed (see this MDN story for background).
The MWCD has reversed its decision (again). The USGS survey is not yet done, but the MWCD is now going to sell water to drillers—but only for a limited time. Here’s the details:
You have to say one thing about the increasingly shrill Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—they don’t let an issue they can demagogue for money go to waste. For the NRDC, there’s money to be made in opposing fracking. Warning to the drilling industry: The NRDC is well-funded and is gunning for you. Their latest offensive? They’ve created something called the Community Fracking Defense Project whereby they’ll launch lawyers out into any township across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina to assist that town in opposing fracking. (Sorry West Virginia, you aren’t important enough for the NRDC to spend time and money on.)
The fight over fracking is about to go very local, and get very nasty, with the NRDC pumping millions into the effort to make mischief.
A new 12-month study by a Penn State researcher says that 50-70% of shale gas pads in Pennsylvania are constructed on slopes prone to erosion and sedimentation problems. The researcher, Dr. Patrick Drohan, is quick to point out such problems don’t necessarily exist for those pads—he’s just pointing out they could exist given the right conditions, and he believes the pads need to monitored closely.
Here’s the Penn State press release talking about the newly released study (unfortunately we could not get a copy of the study itself):
Looking for a great job in the booming energy sector in Ohio? The Ohio Board of Regents wants to help. They’ve just released a new website, OhioEnergyPathways.org, to help Ohioans find jobs in green energy, shale energy, and other parts of the expanding energy sector in the state.
MDN noticed at least one bug with the new site, if you’re clicking to view open positions. But don’t let that stop you. The site offers links to training programs, it offers businesses the opportunity to list open positions and search resumes, and it allows job seekers to search for jobs and post resumes (with links to the OhioMeansJobs.com website filtering for energy-related jobs).
With an overwhelming abundance of natural gas in the U.S. due to the miracle of hydraulic fracturing in shale, the question on many people’s minds is, “Why don’t we convert more of our vehicles to run on natural gas?” It is happening—slowly. CNG (or compressed natural gas) cars and trucks are cropping up here and there—but it’s still far from common. The primary reason it’s not more widespread? You need filling stations, and CNG filling stations are a lot different than gasoline filling stations.
An article in the current issue of Northeast Driller runs down some of the differences between CNG and gasoline. Among the points made: