The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) is a “coalition of coalitions” representing more than 77,000 landowners throughout New York State. Consider it the official, collective voice of landowners interested in allowing shale gas drilling on their land. For many months MDN has marveled at how restrained the JLCNY has been with regard to the foot-dragging on the part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens when it comes to the release of new drilling rules. MDN would “shoot from the lip” and say “Sue ‘em!” The JLCNY would calmly say, “Let the process work. In the end, we’ll have the best drilling laws in the world, and no one will be able to say we didn’t take our time and do it right.” And of course they’re correct.
Has the JLCNY finally had enough of the foot-dragging and delay tactics? Have they finally reached their patience limit and are the gloves are about to come off? Here’s a JLCNY press release received by MDN yesterday:
Yesterday MDN shared with your our detailed look at the production numbers—the amount of natural gas and gas liquids—produced in the entire state of Pennsylvania for the first half of 2012 (see this MDN story). Today the Philadelphia Inquirer, quoting Powell Shale Digest and other sources, takes a closer look at well by well statistics for the same period.
Here’s a few interesting tidbits brought to light by their analysis, and the surprise answer for who had the top two producing wells in the state for the first half of the year:
Most townships in Broome County, NY have passed resolutions with language saying something to the effect of “Let’s let the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation do it’s job, we won’t pre-judge the outcome. We won’t enact a ban or moratorium ahead of the DEC.” And rightly or wrongly, both sides of the fracking debate take that to mean a show of support for drilling. The only municipality in Broome County to enact a moratorium (so far) is the City of Binghamton, which was done in an eleventh hour political stunt by Binghamton’s failed Mayor Matthew Ryan (see this MDN story). His folly is now costing city taxpayers big bucks to defend.
The first town in Broome County to consider a moratorium or outright ban on fracking is the Town of Chenango. Last night the town board held a public hearing to elicit comments from residents. MDN was there for a portion of it.
Everyone has noticed it: There’s been a change in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s position on hydraulic fracturing. It had seemed, for over year, that he was charting a path down the middle. He would allow fracking, eventually. Earlier this year he floated the idea of allowing fracking in a limited fashion in a few locations as a test—to closely watch what happens and to alleviate concerns for those who oppose it. He wanted to prove to everyone that it can be done safely. It was a true “wisdom of Solomon” kind of proposal. What could make more sense?
But politics never makes sense, and politics, not science and facts as the governor has long said, has reared its ugly head. And everyone has noticed it. The question is, what or who changed Andy’s mind? Perhaps we’ll never truly know, but a recent article in the New York Times may give us some insight. In a word, what may have turned Andy against fracking was a family confidant.
In order to lure Shell to build its multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA, the state passed a law granting Shell tax exempt status for the next 25 years. Problem is, the place where they will build the plant currently pays school and town taxes ($344,000 per year) that would disappear under the state plan. So Shell has offered to pay 110% of those taxes over the next 25 years—to avoid a PR problem and to support the local community where it will be doing business for at least the next generation.
Accidents involving the shale drilling industry are so rare, when one happens, it’s news. And so we bring you news of a brine truck (shale drilling wastewater) that was in an accident and flipped over in Ridgway, PA (Elk County). Even though it was a serious accident, no wastewater leaked and no one was seriously injured.
Preston County Commissioners (WV) politely said “no thanks” to supporting a statewide moratorium on new Marcellus Shale gas permits being pushed by the Sierra Club. Chairman of the WV Sierra Club, Jim Sconyers, addressed commissioners at a meeting Monday night to make a request that they support the effort.
In May, MDN told you about a new $400 million shale gas collection and processing plant being built in Columbiana County, Ohio by a joint venture between Chesapeake Energy, M3 Midstream and EV Energy Partners (see this MDN story). The plant will be built on a 117-acre site over a 5-year span with the first part due to go online in 2013.