Are AP reporters math-challenged, or do they intentionally lie about the events they cover? Yesterday a rally was held in Albany, NY to support shale gas drilling in the state. According to a reporter from Middletown who covered the event, there were “about 1,000” people in the crowd. But the AP (and almost all stories found in the media today about the event use the AP’s coverage) said there were “several hundred” in attendance. If you look closely, you’ll see the AP story was posted at 3:02 am yesterday, before the event took place!
Enough of the rant against mainstream media bias which we all know exists. Yesterday a group of 1,000 or more gathered at the Corning Preserve on the Hudson River in Albany for a rally. The group then marched to the Capitol with signs, chanting as they went. Here’s reporting from someone who was actually there:
Reuters has just posted an analysis of the major new pipeline capacity coming online in the Marcellus Shale region later this year and in 2013. The tone and tenor of the piece is “oh oh, natgas prices are screwed” because of all this extra capacity coming online. Here’s part of the article, which points out an additional 3 billion cubic feet per day of capacity will be online in the Marcellus in the next three months:
A tale of caution for landowners in Ohio and in other areas where landowners have recently signed leases to allow drilling for shale gas. One landowner in Ohio reports being called by a Texas company looking to buy his royalty rights. The landowner already signed a lease and got his signing bonus. The company in question wants to now purchase the man’s future royalty payments—at a discount of course.
This is similar to companies buying other structured settlements—like someone who successfully sues for damages from an accident, but the payments are made over the course of several years. Or someone who wins a state lottery that has a payout over 25 years. Companies will offer to pay you less than what you would make over the course of time, but you get a lump sum payment now, up front.
The checks divvying up $204 million raised by Pennsylvania in a new tax, called an “impact fee” on shale gas drilling, will be mailed out within 10 days. Why is the so-called impact fee a tax and not really a fee? Because 40% of the “fee” goes to communities where there is no drilling! Taking from one to give to another who didn’t earn it is a tax, and a 40% tax was the political price to be paid in order to get new drilling legislation passed. Politicians in places like Philadelphia had both hands out and would not vote in favor of the Act 13 law unless those palms were greased. It’s sleazy, but it’s politics in PA.
A full and detailed list of counties and townships and their share of the impact “fee” revenue is embedded below. Philly made out better than most drilling communities:
Yesterday MDN reported that Carrizo Oil & Gas had sold off it’s interest in lease acreage in Ohio’s northern Utica Shale region for $43 million (see this MDN story). Carrizo did not identify the buyer, but the enterprising Youngstown Business Journal did.
The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) made a policy change in September that’s just now coming to light—and creating a bit of controversy. In the case of suspected methane contamination of water wells near drilling sites, it was standard policy to let the local field office make a determination as to whether or not water test results show possible methane contamination, and whether or not a letter should go out to landowners in the affected area.
The new policy is that someone in Harrisburg at DEP HQ will make the judgment call on sending letters to landowners.