This is the glorious day and age of the Internet when you can start a group and call it something like, oh, The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air (PACWA), and claim it’s a large group when in fact it’s one person (or a few people), launch a website with a catchy slogan, and pretend to be a grassroots “movement.” Such is the case with PACWA and their so-called “The List of the Harmed”—those who claim to have been harmed by hydraulic fracturing, supposedly in Pennsylvania (although many anti-drilling New Yorkers, where there is no fracking, also appear on the list).
Intrepid MDN reader and occasional contributor Victor Furman called up Jenny Lissac, the keeper of The List, back when it was under 200 people, and gave her an outrageous song and dance about how he had been harmed (here in NY). She bought it hook, line and sinker and was about to publish it on her list when he fessed up that none of what he had told her was true—attempting to illustrate for her that anyone can lie about how they’ve been harmed. Apparently Vic’s lesson was lost on Ms. Lissac as she continues to compile and promote a list that, while it may have a few legitimate cases of negative impacts from fracking, is mostly full of false information.
Vic recently put The List under the microscope for an analysis. This is what he found…
Yesterday, MDN told you that Buffalo-area State Sen. Mark Grisanti had re-introduced several bills from last year that deal with fracking. Specifically, his bills would treat fracking wastewater as hazardous waste, disallow wastewater to be used as a de-icer on roads, and prohibit wastewater from treatment at municipal sewage plants (see NY Senator Grisanti Introduces 3 Fracking Bills – Is it a Sign?).
MDN concluded there was really nothing new or noteworthy about the re-introduction of the bills—it’s not a “sign” that fracking is about to be allowed in the state. However, we sent off a question to Grisanti’s office, just to be sure. We got back this response:
A group of extremist anti-drilling organizations, including PennPIRG, PennEnvironment, Public Citizen, Keystone Progress, One Pittsburgh, Common Cause PA, University of Pittsburgh students and “others” held a press conference outside EQT’s annual shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh on Wednesday to unilaterally call for EQT to forfeit their rights to free speech under the U.S. Constitution. These extremist groups want to muzzle EQT’s right to contribute money to political candidates who would stick up for the legal rights of industry to drill for natural gas and oil. Thing is, these extremist groups aren’t willing to give up their right to free speech (i.e. spending money on political campaigns), so why should EQT?
The most recent weekly report from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) shows that Ohio has now issued 605 Utica Shale permits to drill. Of those, 297 wells have been/are being drilled, and 89 wells are now producing. Although recent talk from Bloomberg and others has attempted to throw cold water on the Utica Shale, there’s no denying it’s still white hot.
Here are the the numbers from the latest report, and the grand tallies for where all those permits have been issued—by county, and by driller:
You don’t read much these days about new land deals and offers being made in the PA Marcellus. Oh it happens, but not nearly as much as it used to. So when MDN runs across mention of a new offer, we figure that’s news you want to know about—particularly where and how much?
Rex Energy has just made an offer to Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA to lease some or all of the town’s 20-plus acres located on Browns Hill Road. Rex is just floating the idea at this stage to Middlesex—no specific numbers were thrown on the table. However, Rex did recently make an offer to neighboring Clinton Township, so it stands to reason the numbers for lease bonus and royalties would be similar. Here’s the details:
MDN previously told you the story of Sanford (Broome County), NY town officials who had grown tired of the ceaseless, endless droning of anti-drilling wackos at every single town meeting. In Sept. 2012, Sanford town officials voted to forbid frackspeak (pro or anti) at future town meetings so they could actually get town business done instead. Big mistake—never deny a wacko time to vent. Sanford’s action to “limit free speech” precipitated a lawsuit by the National Resources Defense Council and Catskill Citizens for (So-Called) Safe Energy (see NRDC & CCSE Sue Sanford, NY over No-Frackspeak Resolution).
Update: In light of the deep-pockets lawsuit by these well-funded (with out-of-state money) organizations, Sanford has reversed course and rescinded its ban on frackspeak. The lawsuit has now been dropped by NRDC and CCSE. Cue music to “Send in the clowns“…
A couple of recent law school grads from SUNY Buffalo now work as environmental, health, and safety regulatory analysts researching New York’s proposed regulations to allow fracking. They launched a blog site in February called New York State Fracking Unplugged. It’s a very informative blog site (be sure to bookmark and read it). On Wednesday, one of the lawyer/authors, Robert Grimaldi, penned a post covering a story that’s received very little mention in the mainstream press: this week the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing to examine whether or not individual states can handle their own oil and gas regulatory oversight without the need for the feds to butt in (which is contra to the U.S. Constitution).
West Virginia drillers were not happy last year that it was taking three, sometimes four months to get a new Marcellus or Utica Shale drilling permit approved by the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP Secretary Randy Huffman pledged to trim that number to 60 days. However, he now says 75 days is a more realistic target for drilling approvals given the complexities of horizontal drilling.
More than two months to approve a permit is still not good enough, according to Corky DeMarco, executive director of the WV Oil & Natural Gas Association…