Town of Onondaga, NY Votes to Permanently Ban Fracking

so happy todayIn a purely political move, the Town of Onondaga, NY (Syracuse suburb) voted last night to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing—even though a) the Syracuse watershed area, which Onondaga is part of, is expressly off limits for drilling in the DEC’s draft drilling rules, and b) such a permanent ban may not be legal (two similar cases are on appeal in NY courts).

The town had previously passed a temporary ban. Last night’s vote makes it “permanent”—although Onondaga’s ban will be ruled null and void if the two aforementioned cases are decided in favor of landowners (look for a decision in Spring 2013).

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EQT Unveils 2013 Plans for Marcellus & Utica Shale

EQT Corporation, with major drilling and pipeline projects in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale, released their 2013 crystal ball today (i.e., their 2013 “operational forecast”). According to the plan, EQT will spend $820 million to drill 153 Marcellus Shale wells in 2013, and $40 million to drill 8 liquids-rich Utica Shale wells. They’re also spending $320 million on various midstream (pipeline) projects too.

The full EQT forecast for 2013:

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NY Politicians Mad at DEC for Filing Fracking Rule Extension

Binghamton’s failed mayor, Matt Ryan, and other anti-drilling politicians went to Albany yesterday (presumably using taxpayer money to fund the trip) to carp and complain about the Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s filing for a 90-day rule extension which keeps the process of new fracking regulations alive—at least for another few months. Mayor Matt and Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (from where else? Ithaca) want the DEC to knock it off:

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Chesapeake Fined $600K by EPA for Building Road in Swamp

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on a tear. Last week the EPA announced a settlement and fine of $177,500 with PDC Mountaineer for draining a one-acre swamp in West Virginia (see this MDN story). Yesterday the EPA settled another Clean Water Act (CWA) case in the WV Marcellus—this one with Chesapeake Energy.

Chesapeake is getting fined a whopping $600,000 and put on two years probation for building a road through a Wetzel County, WV swamp. Seems like the EPA has a fixation on swamps (which are euphemistically called “wetlands”). Here’s the details for the Chesapeake settlement from the U.S Attorney’s office:

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Northeast Oil Refineries, Powered by…

PBF Energy, headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, purchased three northeast oil refineries over the past two years—two of them belonged to Valero (Paulsboro, NJ and Delaware City, DE), and the other was Sunoco’s Toledo, OH refinery. PBF paid a combined $1 billion for all three (and hundreds of millions to update them).

Last year the three refineries were profitable, brining in revenue of $16 billion—and this year they’ve already brought in $15 billion. PBF recently leased 2,500 rail cars to bring in Bakken Shale crude oil to help expand the operation. But the really interesting thing (to MDN) is how the three plants are powered:

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