NY Begins 30-Day Public Comment Period Wednesday

starter pistolThe starter pistol is ready to be fired. On Wednesday, the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation will begin a 30-day public comment period as part of a 90-day extension on proposed new rules to allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for horizontal drilling in the state.

Both sides of the drilling debate are pulling out the big guns to try and influence the outcome:

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CNY Landowners Establish Legal Fund to Sue Towns with Bans

Landowners in the central New York area are tired of having their property rights trampled by a few of their discontented (and misguided) neighbors. When two of three town board members vote to institute a ban or moratorium, it strips away the rights of all landowners in the town and devalues their property, making it all but impossible for them to sign leases for potential future natural gas drilling.

The CNY Landowner’s Coalition (Central New York) has established a fund to help with attorneys fees to defend their property rights against what they consider to be an illegal seizure of their property rights by some towns. First up is to defend their rights against a misguided moratorium in Oxford (Chenango County, NY). Note to Oxford town board members and residents: prepare to spend big bucks to defend a permanent moratorium if you pass one. It’s not a threat—it’s a promise.

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Marcellus Permits Nearly Double in Warren County, PA

Over the past decade, 11 permits for horizontal Marcellus Shale drilling have been issued in Warren County, PA: Range Resources got 6 of those permits, PA General Energy got 4 of them, and Hunt Marcellus Operating received 1 permit.

The number of permits has now almost doubled in Warren. SWEPI LP recently received 10 permits to drill—all of them for the Hook Run Farm in Mead Township.

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World Marvels at U.S. Fracking Water Management

The rest of the world is looking to the United States to learn how to leverage the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. A newly released report from global management consulting firm Accenture, titled “Water and shale gas development: leveraging the US experience in new shale developments” (full copy embedded below), looks at the water issue when it comes to fracking—and how the U.S. has effectively managed water use and disposal. According to the report, we in the U.S. are masters at moving water from point A to point B, conserving it, and disposing of it—and our hard work and innovation can benefit other countries now considering fracking their own shale deposits.

Here’s a description of the report from Accenture:

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Obama EPA Criticized by West Virginia Democrats

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came under heavy criticism from West Virginia Democrats at the “Partnerships for Energy Development” meeting in Charleston, WV yesterday. The lead Democrat doing the criticizing was none other than WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who expressed his strong support for coal and natural gas:

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2 Employees Charged with Embezzling $6M from Falcon Drilling

More than $6 million was embezzled from Falcon Drilling Co. over the past eight years by two of its employees. Falcon is a Marcellus Shale drilling contractor with 13 rigs headquartered in Indiana, PA.

On Monday, federal prosecutors charged a former controller at the company with conspiracy to embezzle. Previously, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) had been charged.

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Anti-Drilling Group Attempts Head Fake with Maryland Senator

Maryland anti-drilling group CitizenShale is pressuring Maryland’s western senator, George Edwards, to support a moratorium on fracking in Maryland. CitizenShale is using head fakery by saying their request is that Edwards “not oppose” a new moratorium that will be introduced in January by anti-drillers from the Washington, D.C. suburbs (on the opposite side of the state).

The request from CitizenShale came at a pre-legislative meeting held at Garrett College (in Garrett County, one of two counties that have Marcellus Shale under them) where “residents” and those passing themselves off as residents gathered to talk about the upcoming Maryland legislative session that meets for just 90 days each year.

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