It’s fascinating to MDN how a single so-called researcher at a single anti-drilling organization (funded by Teresa Heinz Kerry) can write a 124-page “report” that’s critical of the shale drilling industry and the hard-working people who regulate it, and the mainstream media (MSM) swoons and heralds such shameful propaganda as an important new “study” presenting the gospel truth. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening (once again) with a just-released report from Earthworks titled, “Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement” (copy embedded below).
This so-called study was written by a single Earthworks staffer, reviewed by a couple of other staffers, and “peer reviewed” (our words) by several others outside of Earthworks, all anti-drilling organizations. In other words: It’s propaganda beginning to end. The theme of the study can be summed up in a single sentence (saving you a lot of dreary reading): State regulators don’t visit well sites often enough and fines for violations aren’t punitive enough.
In their press release announcing the study, Earthworks quotes the discredited former mayor of DISH, Texas, Calvin Tillman—that’s how deep they have to dig to support this drivel. Here’s the press release:
A pipeline fabrication and installation company located in Marietta, Ohio can’t find enough new welders and because of it turned away more than $20 million of business just last month, so the company—the Pioneer Group of companies, including Pioneer Pipe—has started their own program to train new welders to meet the demand. Why the sudden uptick in demand, and where is all that new business coming from they’ve had to turn away? The shale drilling industry, of course.
Once students going through the training, are certified and become union members, they’ll immediately start making $30 per hour. Not bad wages for 16 weeks of training. Pioneer is looking to hire 100 new welders.
Anti-drilling Pittsburgh Councilman Patrick Dowd, one of nine people on City Council that voted to enact a drilling ban in Pittsburgh in 2010, is introducing new legislation that he hopes will make drilling so difficult in the city, drillers won’t bother. But wait, didn’t you just say there’s a ban? Yep. Which means Councilman Dowd is seriously concerned that the ban will be ruled illegal once a case now before PA Supreme Court is ruled on later this year (the “Act 13” case, see this MDN story).
In preparation for a ruling against the Pittsburgh ban, Dowd and City Council want to have Plan B ready to go—restrict any possible drilling to as few locations as possible (not that drillers would want to drill inside city limits anyway). Hence the new legislation from Dowd.
Anti-drillers in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio decry fracking and it’s “hazards” saying it could never be done near populated areas. They don’t want it done in any location, to be sure! But especially not near a heavily populated area. Can’t be done safely, they say. Is drilling in general and fracking in particular really hazardous when done near or (gasp) in a city?
For some reason MDN just loves a railroad-related story. The shale drilling industry has single-handedly resurrected short line railroads in this country. This is a story about a new railroad terminal opening today—in Chemung County, NY.
A former oil trader who became a private equity investor, Ray Bartoszek, along with private-equity firm Carriage House Partners, invested $20 million in buying and building the Horseheads (NY) Sand and Transloading Terminal (HOST), a 200-acre site in New York’s Southern Tier area that will handle fracking sand for area drillers. Bartoszek’s plan is to ship in Montana fracking sand for drillers in Pennsylvania and (he had hoped) New York. The New York part isn’t working out so well, but Bartoszek says with the grand opening of HOST, he’ll still turn a profit by shipping sand to PA—just a smaller profit.
Canadian firm EmberClear Corp. recently announced they will build a new 300 megawatt (MW) electrical generating plant west of Allentown, PA. The new plant will cost $400 million to build and use an abundant, clean-burning supply of shale gas from Pennsylvania to power it. EmberClear has selected SK E&C to build the plant, employing 500 local people for two years to build the plant, and “dozens” to operate it once built. EmberClear expects the surrounding area will see a $1 billion economic impact from the project.
Pennsylvania President Pro Tempore of the State Senate, Joseph Scarnati (a Republican), is drafting a bill to create a nine-member shale drilling health panel to study possible health and safety impacts from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. A new health panel was one of the proposals made last year by Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.
Keith Schaefer, editor of the Oil & Gas Investments Bulletin, gave a wide-ranging interview to The Energy Report yesterday. He talks about the price of natural gas and oil in the U.S., fracking technology and more. It’s an excellent interview and worth your time to read.
Here’s one small excerpt on how, when and why fracking leads to lower crude oil prices in the U.S.: