OH State Police Put Extreme Enviro Groups Under Surveillance

eyes on you Saying that “so far” Ohio has not seen any violence from extremist anti-drilling environmentalist groups—but that they do expect violence—the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s (OSHP) Central Intelligence Unit is now monitoring groups like Earth First! and Appalachian Resist. The OSHP says: “…some of these groups are considered domestic terrorists or vandals.”

At a monthly meeting of first responders in Harrison County, OH who gather to discuss and plan for health and safety emergencies related to shale drilling, Sgt. Greg McCutcheon of the OSHP said the following:

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Better Late than Never: BP Gets First Permit for OH Utica

From MDN’s bedtime stories…Once upon a time (in April 2012), a huge international oil and gas company (BP) leased 84,000 acres all at once with landowners in Trumbull County, OH (see BP’s Big Utica Shale Deal, Leases 84K Acres in Ohio). They later tossed out some of the deals (see BP Cancels Deal for 7% of ALOV Leases in Trumbull County, OH). The end.

Whoops! Not much of story—but that’s been the entire story for a year now. After leasing all of that land in Trumbull County, BP has done no Utica Shale drilling. Zip, zero, nada. Earlier this year BP said, in essence, they’re taking their sweet time, but they do intend to drill a few initial wells this year, perhaps starting in April (see BP in OH Utica Shale: The Prospectivity of Producibility). Looks like the wait may be over…

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WV Legislation Would Create Forced Pooling – with a Twist

A bill just introduced into the West Virginia legislature would allow for “forced pooling” in very specific cases. Forced pooling laws, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, require or “force” landowners who have not signed a lease to allow drilling because their neighbors have all signed a lease and drilling under the holdout’s property is required in order to access the other leased properties. However, the WV bill adds a big twist: It will allow forced pooling only in cases where the owner of the mineral rights can’t be determined, or the owner can be determined but can’t be found.

Supporters of the bill, introduced by Sen. Brooks McCabe (D-Kanawha), are careful to point out the new bill (unlike previous failed forced pooling bills) does not force known, unwilling landowners to be placed into a “unit” for drilling…

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USGS Study: Marcellus Drilling Fragmenting Forests in PA

The U.S. Geological Survey earlier this week released a new report raising concerns about Marcellus Shale drilling in the Allegheny Plateau (pretty much the entire Marcellus region). The 38-page report (full copy embedded below) looks at two counties in particular: Susquehanna County in northeastern PA, and Allegheny County in southwestern PA.

Using a series of maps and data, the authors raise concerns that Marcellus drilling, along with drilling for gas in coalbed methane (a similar process), is leading to “forest fragmentation”—a situation where forested areas get “carved up” with roadways and drill pads that lead to limiting the geographic habitat area for some species of animals:

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NatGas vs Coal for Electricity, What’s an Anti-Driller Do?

An electrical generating power plant located in the most anti-drilling part of Upstate New York—Ithaca and Tompkins County—has filed with the state Public Service Commission to convert the plant from burning coal to burning clean natural gas. This puts anti-drillers like Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (Democrat from Ithaca) in a quandary. If she supports it, it points out her rank hypocrisy on the drilling issue. If she opposes it and the plant shuts down, she screws a whole bunch of people out of jobs. Not to mention that burning natural gas is a LOT cleaner than burning coal—so opposing it would put her on the side of more air pollution.

Yeah, it’s a real quandary for Ms. Lifton…

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NY Anti-Drillers Send Letter to Cuomo: Stop the Health Review Now

In yet another public relations stunt, Walter Hang from the Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting group, along with several of his anti-drilling, eco-nut buddies (like failed Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan), sent Gov. Andrew “Ditherer” Cuomo a rambling 4-page letter on Tuesday requesting that he instruct NY State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to abandon his current review of fracking rules with an eye on health impacts. Why? Because the current review is “fatally flawed” and “an exercise in futility.”

Instead of the current review, Hang & Co. “request” the Dept. of Health perform a full, years-long public health impact study…

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Support from 2 Prominent Pennsylvanians for Fracking in NY

MDN wasn’t the only one to note the very loud, in-your-face editorial by former PA Gov. Ed Rendell printed in yesterday’s New York Daily News (see Former PA Gov. Rendell to Gov. Cuomo: Get Fracking). Karen Moreau, executive director of the NY State Petroleum Council, released the following statement yesterday noting Rendell’s support for fracking in New York, along with the support from a hospital administrator of a hospital that sits in the middle of the most-drilled county in PA (Bradford):

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Help Wanted: PA Fire Truck Co. Retools to Build Marcellus Tankers

More positive impacts from the Marcellus drilling industry in Pennsylvania. A major employer in Carbon County, PA, Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation (in Nesquehoning), a company that previously manufactured mostly fire trucks, is hiring 40 new workers to help with a new business line: water hauling tankers used by the Marcellus Shale industry. Kovatch’s increase in employment is rippling throughout the entire local economy…

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