The ignorant mob have won. A group of 83 anti-drilling, enviro-left faculty and staff at the University at Buffalo (UB), with the help of left-leaning mainstream media, have brought enough pressure to bear that UB’s president announced yesterday he is immediately shutting down the seven-month old UB Shale Resources and Society Institute. It’s a sad day for academic freedom and free speech. The inmates now run the asylum at UB.
UB President Satish Tripathi has proven that after a year and a half at the helm, he is not equal to the task of running a large university. Here is his “I’ve caved” announcement from yesterday, sprinkled with MDN’s snarky comments and observations:
Brad Gill, Executive Director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York (IOGA of NY) sent a scalding letter yesterday to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo (see a full copy below) expressing deep disappointment that it now appears new drilling rules will not be released by Nov. 29. He points out, as of yesterday, it’s been 4 years, 3 months and 27 days since the moratorium went into effect. In essence, “Enough is enough.” He told Andy, “our trust in our state government [is] now exhausted.” Gill concludes by urging the governor to release the new rules—now—so the industry can attempt to recover from the staggering losses already endured because of the moratorium.
MDN’s view: Don’t count on it Brad—Andy is just another garden-variety, prevaricating politician who is decision-challenged. If the new rules are not released by Nov. 29, the rulemaking process begins all over again and more public hearings (i.e., freak shows) will need to be held—delaying the new rules by months, perhaps years. Which of course has been the game plan by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens all along.
MDN headlined a story yesterday about last week’s decision by a federal judge that went in favor of landowners and against Chesapeake Energy and Inflection Energy. The case found that Chesapeake and Inflection could not use the legal clause in their signed leases called “force majeure” to extend previously signed leases beyond the original 10-year term (see this MDN story for background).
One of the lead attorneys who brought the case on behalf of New York landowners is Scott Kurkoski, from the Vestal, NY law firm Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, LLP. Scott sent along a statement (below) along with a copy of the judge’s decision (also below).
A USA Today article from yesterday takes a new swipe at the theme “Alaska and other states tax oil and gas and create a rainy day fund, so West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states should do it too.” Should they? Pro-drillers will have differing opinions. What is interesting to MDN about the story, aside from the list of states that currently tax oil and gas (and what they do with it), is what West Virginia is considering, and the “let’s face reality, fracking is here to stay” comments attributed to a liberal group in the state.
The bits from the article relevant to the Marcellus and Utica Shale:
Some 40 anti-fracking “activists” learned how to break the law at a recent “action camp” held in Athens County, Ohio. In addition to sessions on how to spin a good tale for the media, attendees learned about “civil disobedience” and “direct action, blockading injection wells” and the like. That is, they learned how to illegally shut down legitimate, legal business activity.
And attendees didn’t waste any time either. Less than 24 hours later they protested at a nearby injection well. According to their own leaders, protesting injection wells is just the beginning. Their real aim? To illegally shut down fracking.
Even though the State of Maryland does not have enough money—and no prospects of finding it—to fund a $2 million mandated study of hydraulic fracturing (see this MDN story), and even though fracking won’t be allowed in Maryland until 2014 at the earliest, it doesn’t stop Maryland lawmakers from proposing onerous laws on the drilling industry “just in case” one day there is fracking in the state.
The latest shining example of how Maryland is the single most dysfunctional state when it comes to shale gas drilling: A proposed new law would take effect July 1, 2013 (even though fracking won’t be allowed until 2014) that will slap a requirement on drillers to have $5 million of “pollution insurance” per loss. The proposed law also requires drillers to post a $50,000 bond for each well they drill:
GreenHunter Energy, a company specializing in the treatment of drilling wastewater, released their third quarter update yesterday. They report revenues were up ($4.9 million in 3Q12 compared to $230,000 for 3Q11), although net loss for stockholders was also up ($15.2 million in 3Q12 vs. $1 million in 3Q11). GreenHunter’s wastewater treatment volume is up 129% over the previous quarter—a lot of that coming from the Marcellus and Utica Shale region.
GreenHunter’s 3Q12 financial and operational update:
The Pittsburgh University Center for Social and Urban Research along with PittsburghTODAY recently conducted a wide-ranging survey of Pittsburgh (and its suburbs) residents. Among the questions asked was a series of questions about the environment, including Marcellus Shale drilling. Overall, 45% of area residents support Marcellus drilling while 25% oppose it.