MDN Interviews Phelim McAleer, Creator of FrackNation Documentary

Phelim McAleer at FrackNation Screening in Binghamton, NY MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of interviewing Phelim McAleer, creator, director and star of the documentary FrackNation, yesterday (watch the interview below). Phelim attended a screening of his new film in Binghamton, NY on Sunday, Feb. 10. He was joined by over 400 area residents, a surprising number given Binghamton is not all that large a city and the screening was held the day after a major snow storm had dumped more than 7 inches of snow in the area.

MDN will provide a full review of the documentary in a separate article. This article is about meeting Phelim in person…

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77K NY Landowners Prepare Lawsuit Against DEC

MDN editor Jim Willis caught up with the attorney for the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) at the Sunday, Feb. 10 screening of FrackNation in Binghamton, NY (video of the interview is embedded below). The JLCNY represents 77,000 New York landowners with over 1 million acres of land who are interested in leasing their land for natural gas drilling. New York State has not allowed those landowners to move forward with shale drilling for more than 4 1/2 years. Landowners, according to Kurkoski, are ready to take action if Gov. Cuomo delays it yet again this week.

MDN received a notice last Friday that the JLCNY is laying the groundwork for a lawsuit against the state for “de facto taking.” Kurkoski explains exactly what that means…

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Man Who Fell Through Ice Saved by 3 Chesapeake Energy Workers

Three Chesapeake Energy shale drilling workers and a local businessman put their own lives in jeopardy to save a man who had fallen through the ice in Atwood Lake in Carroll County, OH last week. We sometimes hear about an infrequent case of a drilling worker who engages in a criminal activity like dumping wastewater or getting into a fight at a local bar—it’s front page news. But when was the last time you heard about a drilling worker who saved someone’s life? Good news stories from the gas field do happen—you just never hear about them.

A huge congratulations to Chesapeake Energy workers Jason Rickman, Tyler Trammel and Jim Ray, and to Zielger Tire employee John Streb. They’re all heroes. Here’s their story:

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“Small” Ethane Cracker Plant Coming to Wheeling, WV

A new polyethelene (PE) manufacturing plant complete with a “small” ethane cracker is coming to West Virginia, somewhere “south of Wheeling.” Appalachian Resins Inc. is the company that will build the new plant with a capacity to produce 500 million pounds of PE per year. They aim to take advantage of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas and its byproduct ethane which is so abundant throughout the region.

Construction on the new plant will begin later this year. Here are the details that we have so far:

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CONSOL Increases Bonus Offer to Pgh Airport by 2.4 Times to $50M

MDN has been following the deal to lease 9,263 acres of Pittsburgh International Airport land for shale gas drilling. As you may recall, there were two bids submitted in December, one by CONSOL with an 18% royalty and signing bonus of $20.8 million, and one from EQT, also with an 18% royalty but a hefty $44 million signing bonus—more than twice that of CONSOL. Logic would dictate that EQT’s bid would be accepted. But it wasn’t. The Airport Authority chose to accept CONSOL’s bid, leading us to theorize that the “fix” was in (see Inside Job? Pittsburgh Airport Leases Land to CONSOL).

A few weeks later word came out that the Airport Authority was negotiating with CONSOL to get them to raise their signing bonus, which seemed strange to us. We’ve never heard of a government agency accepting a bid and then turning around and renegotiating it (see Pittsburgh Airport Wants More $ from CONSOL…After Accepting Bid). It appears that “further negotiation” was successful. The Airport Authority now reports they’ve approved a renegotiated deal with CONSOL with a $50 million signing bonus—nearly 2 1/2 times the original amount offered when the sealed bids were opened in December. Anyone else smell rotten fish?

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NY Health Experts Completed Fracking Review >1 Month Ago

This is the week New York landowners will know of Gov. Cuomo’s decision, one way or the other, about whether or not he will allow fracking to proceed in New York. In a big way, this week will determine Cuomo’s future on the national political stage. He (laughingly) thinks he has a shot a running for president in 2016. Let’s not burst his bubble at the moment.

Part of the potential setup to further delay fracking (which is really a decision by the gov to kill it) is to say “we’re waiting for the results of a health review” and blame the delay on three consultants who were hired to conduct a review of the DEC’s work in regard to fracking’s potential impacts on “public health,” whatever that is. It has just come to light those three outside experts turned in their homework more than a month ago, but DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and NYS Health Commissioner Nirav Shah have cagily concealed that little fact in statements given at recent public hearings:

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PA Anti-Drillers Claim DEP Discriminates Against Poor, Minorities

Anti-drillers in Pennsylvania, including the anti-drilling organization PennFuture, claim that the state Dept. of Environment Protection (DEP) is discriminating against the poor and minorities that live in certain communities because it doesn’t give them “enhanced notification” about Marcellus Shale drilling permits issued in those communities. It’s just the latest in a string of desperate attempts by anti-drillers to slow or shut down the miracle of hydraulic fracturing in PA.

This latest fabricated “crisis” has to do with the nonsensical, gobbledygook concept of “environmental justice communities”…

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PA Libs Renew Call for Severance Tax, O&G Industry Pushes Back

Liberals everywhere believe that high taxes and massive spending will cure all of society’s ills. Well, they actually don’t believe that, but they do get intoxicated on the power that comes from spending other people’s money—and it tends to keep them in power when they spend enough of it on people who didn’t earn it and won’t work for it.

Such is the situation in Pennsylvania. The new “impact fee” on oil and gas drilling in the state—which is really a tax—is not even five months old, and already the libs (i.e. Democrats) are calling for a new severance tax on oil and gas drilling. The Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Association is pushing back:

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1984 PA Oil & Gas Act Rewrite Delayed but Still Coming

In February 2012, Pennsylvania state lawmakers adopted new shale drilling regulations called Act 13. MDN reported several months later, in August 2012, that Act 13 “didn’t do the whole job” and written into the Act 13 law itself was a requirement that the state’s 1984 oil and gas law undergo a complete regulatory rewrite (see Rewrite of 1984 PA Oil and Gas Act Underway). At that time (in August), the five-member Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board issued 23 pages of proposed changes to the 1984 law and said they planned to have the rewrite done and dusted by December 2012.

It’s February 2013 and the 23-page draft has now grown to be 73 pages, and the original December deadline for completing the rewrite has now turned into “next winter.” However, progress is being made on what one board member calls a “big deal”…

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