A Glimmer of Hope in NY: Health Review Deadline Now Dec 3

glimmer of hopeFinally, a bit of good news for New Yorkers who want to see fracking come to the Empire State. As MDN has pointed out many times, the situation in New York State (will they or won’t they allow fracking?) is like a protracted death scene in an opera. Die already!

We have a new twist in the drama, as reported by Gannett yesterday. MDN recently told you that one of the three outside experts hired to review the Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s draft drilling regulations from the perspective of impacts on public health—Lynn Goldman of George Washington University—said she was given a mid-February deadline (see this MDN story). She’s since revised her comments and now says her real deadline is December 3rd, although she’ll be on retainer (paid) through mid-February, presumably to provide more consulting or any follow-up work from the report she’ll help write and file by December 3.

Here’s how it was reported yesterday:

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Some Brinker Field (OH) Leases Revised, Others in Lawsuit

Hilcorp Energy was hired by Columbia Gas’ parent company NiSouce to drill Utica Shale wells in the Brinker Storage Field, a 35,000 acre area in Columbiana County, Ohio that Columbia has used to store natural gas going back more than 50 years. The original leases with landowners in the Brinker, leases passed down to new landowners over the decades, mean that landowners get zippo from any drilling—no lease payments and no royalties (see this MDN story for background).

Since the MDN story that first appeared in September, about 100 landowners have signed on to a lawsuit against Columbia and Hilcorp over the lease issue. But also since September, Columbia and Hilcorp have cut new leases with landowners not party to the lawsuit. We get the details of the lease terms from a story that talks about Hilcorp setting up a new office in Columbiana to work on land deals:

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CONSOL/CNX Expands Presence in Ohio Utica Shale

CONSOL Energy’s CNX Gas subsidiary is expanding its presence at the Columbiana County Port Authority’s industrial park in Leetonia, Ohio. It’s an indicator of CNX/CONSOL’s commitment to the Ohio Utica Shale.

Although headline stories usually talk about the 1.3 million acres owned by Chesapeake in the Utica Shale, you don’t often hear about the large and growing stake owned by CNX:

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Global Warming Expert Promotes Shale Gas to Cut Carbon

Oxford economist and a big-time proponent that man causes global warming, Dieter Helm, has a brand new book out called The Carbon Crunch. He believes, as many people do, that earth faces an urgent need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere (we’ll save our global warming skepticism for another day). Here’s the surprise: In Helm’s new book, he argues, strongly, that global warmists should support shale gas as the best, most practical option to help cut carbon emissions in the short-term. He also says expensive and poorly performing wind turbines and solar panels have done more harm than good.

From a review of his new book by New Scientist magazine:

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Energy Expert: Obama Would be “Insane” to Stop Fracking

A Washington Times article talks about how the fracking industry waits with baited breath for the EPA’s draft report on fracking, due in December, as an indicator of how aggressively (or not) the Obama administration will target fossil fuels in the second term. The article contains some interesting quotes, one from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and another from an energy scholar at the Manhattan Institute. Here’s select portions from the article:

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Binghamton Resident to Gov. Cuomo: Thanks for Nothing [Free]

Binghamton-area landowner Bill Owen has written numerous times to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to encourage the governor to allow fracking in New York State. His reward? To end up on Cuomo’s feckless email list. Earlier this week Bill recently received a “Happy Thanksgiving” email from Cuomo, so Bill thought he would respond. His excellent letter back to Cuomo (who will likely never read it, but hey, you never know!) is reprinted below:

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