Muzzled NY State Geologist Taury Smith Now Private Consultant

muzzled Two years ago in March 2011, MDN told you about New York State’s official geologist, Dr. Langhorne “Taury” Smith, who had the temerity to tell the Albany Times Union that fracking is perfectly safe. He also called shale a "huge gift," and said the issue of fracking is being used by enviro-left groups as a fundraiser (see Norse Energy Optimistic that Drilling in New York State Will Soon Begin After Meeting with DEC Sec. Martens). Careful! Mustn’t…tell…the…truth…so…blunt…ly.

Smith’s overlords at the state museum (where he was on the payroll) promptly flew into action and told Smith he could no longer talk to the press and reveal such blatant truths without prior authorization in triplicate from the press office of the (Re)Education Department. Smith went silent and has stayed that way for two years—under threat of investigation and retaliation. Don’t you just love those big-hearted, fun-loving, anything-goes liberals? (Warning: Never turn your back on them.)

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Eco-Left Continues to Eat Their Own – The Smearing of Ed Rendell

We find ourselves in an unusual situation—sticking up for former PA Gov. Ed "Fast Eddie" Rendell. Must be Rendell’s in-your-face "you outta be fracking by now" op-ed aimed at Gov. Andy "Ditherer" Cuomo last week hit a real nerve on the wacko eco-left (see Former PA Gov. Rendell to Gov. Cuomo: Get Fracking). How do we know? The pro-socialist Pro Publica "news" service (among others) continues to pick away at Rendell trying to smear him with charges that he has close ties to the drilling industry. According to the lefties, Rendell is getting his palms greased by the drilling industry and (of course!) that’s why he’s stumping for them. So just ignore anything Eddie says—at least when it comes to nasty fossil fuels.

Ever hear of the parable in the Bible about the guy with a tree sticking out of his eye trying to tell the guy with a toothpick in his eye how to do things? There are so many conflicts of interest and so much dirty money between eco-left groups and sycophantic reporters (like those writing for Pro Publica) the eco-left doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing others for so-called conflicts of interest. Go peddle your rank hypocrisy somewhere else Pro Publica. Here’s the latest trumped-up bilge:

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Pass the Foie Gras! France Starts Fracking, Calls it Stimulation

MDN has covered the on-again, off-again attitude in France about fracking. As we previously reported, it seemed the French had left the door open to fracking as long as it doesn’t use water as the main ingredient, and as long as you don’t actually call it "fracking" (see France’s Fracking Ban Remains…Peut-être). Bloomberg reports France is moving forward with a program to retrieve geothermal heat by "stimulating" rock—forcing water with chemicals under pressure deep underground. Sound familiar?

The only thing that’s different between what France is doing and what happens in the U.S. is the object of the fuel they’re retrieving. It’s geothermal in France, natural gas or oil in the U.S. The process to retrieve it is virtually the same. But the French refuse to call it what it is: hydraulic (water-based) fracturing—i.e. fracking. Oh well, c’est la vie…

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Chesapeake’s Total Image Makeover – Magical Media Transformation

A recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about Chesapeake Energy is striking—even jarring—to MDN. Nominally it’s an article about the high tech lab and practices used at Chesapeake headquarters in Oklahoma City to evaluate core samples to determine the best (and most cost-effective) places to drill for oil and gas. Yes, the Center and the technology used is quite impressive. The jarring part is how the article opens (read below). It seems Chessy is now out of the penalty box since the departure of its "bad boy" founder Aubrey McClendon (see McClendon Exits Chesapeake, Well-Bonused “Friends” Replace Him).

With corporate raider Carl Icahn and his ilk firmly in control, it’s time to put some spit-n-polish back on old Chessy and bump up the stock price that had been battered to serious lows from coordinated negative media attacks. Now it’s stock rehab time in the mainstream press…

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Frack Fight: Group Pushes Back on Proposed Youngstown Frack Ban

MDN previously told you how Democrat city council members in Youngstown, OH have tried to steer the city into committing the equivalent of economic suicide by voting to ban fracking—a signal to drillers to stay away from doing business in the city (see Youngstown, OH to Commit Utica Suicide with Vote to Ban Drilling).

However, a diverse group of leaders from the ranks of both Republicans and Democrats, labor unions and industry have joined together to push back against the ballot measure which will be voted on May 7. The Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment "came out firing" last Friday. Perhaps it’s not time just yet to write Youngstown’s fracking epitaph…

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“Enviro” Groups Push 5 Bills in NY Legislature, One Bans Fracking

A coalition of so-called "environmental" groups in New York—the Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of New York, the New York League of Conservation Voters and the New York Public Interest Research Group among them—are attempting to push five bills through the New York legislature at the last minute/end-of-session that if passed, would rig the system and stack the deck in their favor. Among the bills is the ubiquitous "ban all fracking" bill that all NY lefties dream about…

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Roustabout: Long Hours, Hard Manual Work, But Good Pay + Benefits

Roustabouts are the "do it all" manual laborers that work in drilling operations—typically on and around a drilling rig. They pick up the garbage, repair things, carry things…anything that needs doing of a manual natural. It’s hard, long, dirty work—typically 12-hour (or more) shifts for two weeks straight. However, if you’re young, in good health and in good shape, getting work as a roustabout can pay well—very well. Just ask Brian Rose who works as a roustabout on a rig in Lisbon, OH:

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WV “Forced Pooling with a Twist” Dies in Senate for 2013

Less than two weeks ago, MDN reported that "forced pooling" in very limited circumstances may soon be approved in West Virginia, in cases where the mineral rights owner for land adjacent to already-leased land either can’t be determined or can’t be found (see WV Legislation Would Create Forced Pooling – with a Twist). MDN thought the proposal was a common sense approach to solve an existing problem. However, the WV Senate apparently did not agree.

Senate Bill 616 never even made it to committee for consideration. It’s now a dead issue for this session of the legislature, which is nearing the end of its 60-day term for this year:

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Antero Res 2nd Marcellus Driller to Use 100% NatGas Rig Engines

The parade of rig conversions in the Marcellus Shale to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) continues. MDN previously told you about first EQT, then CONSOL switching to duel-fuel LNG/diesel engines. After EQT and CONSOL, Seneca Resources started to convert drilling rigs to run on 100% LNG (see Seneca Boasts First 100% LNG-Powered Drill Rig in Marcellus). You may now add Antero Resources to the club.

Antero recently converted the first of three rigs in West Virginia to run on 100% natural gas engines manufactured (as they were for Seneca) by General Electric. The engines will run on LNG, propane or even dry "field gas" that comes from the well itself. Kewl. From the Antero/GE press release:

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Rhino Flips 20% of Utica Investment to Undisclosed 3rd Party

Rhino Resource Partners is a master limited partnership (MLP) that produces coal in various basins throughout the U.S. They also invest in oil and gas acreage in both the Utica and Cana Woodford shale plays. MDN previously told you about a joint venture investment made by Rhino with both Gulfport and Wexford Capital in the Utica just last year—investing in 125,000 Utica Shale acres (see Rhino Resource Ups Investment in Utica Shale JV). Rhino has decided to “flip” part of their Utica investment and has sold a 20% portion of their ownership interest to an undisclosed third party.

The very brief and light-on-details Rhino press release from yesterday:

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