John Hanger’s Proposals for PA Shale Drilling: Tax & Regulate

John Hanger John Hanger is currently a lawyer in private practice in Harrisburg, but previously served as the Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection under then Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell, prior to the Republican Tom Corbett administration. Last year, John Hanger was the featured speaker for MDN’s very first webinar (watch it here: Webinar Replay: John Hanger on Gas Drilling and Energy Choices). John is also running for the Democrat nomination for PA governor, to run against Corbett. He’s a serious guy and although the list of Dems running in PA is long, he stands a good chance of being the nominee. When John talks about shale drilling in the state and what he would do if elected governor, you need to pay attention.

John has just released a list of how he would do things differently to restore “public confidence” in the PA drilling industry, should he be elected the Keystone state’s governor this fall. Top of that list? Implement an expensive severance tax. Next in line? Heavy regulation. We’re not quite sure how taxes inspire so-called lost confidence—other than the sleazy aspect of buying off people who didn’t earn it (primarily politicians). As for regulation, air pollution seems to be at the top of his agenda. He also wants to ban drilling in all state parks. Here’s exactly what John says he’ll do if elected:

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Lenape Appeals Ruling, Seeks to Overturn Frack Ban in Avon, NY

Lenape Resources Inc., a small independent oil and gas company located in western NY, and its president John Holko, have “guts.” The Town of Avon, NY (Livingston County) where Lenape has a good portion of its operations voted last year to ban fracking. The poorly written law violates existing New York State law which says towns can’t regulate oil and gas drilling. It also was so broadly written it affects conventional/vertical drilling as well as unconventional/horizontal drilling. Lenape has used vertical fracking in Avon for decades (for background, see Fracking Ban in NY Town Closes Conventional Wells Too). Lenape shut down operations in Avon and sued to have the ban overturned.

Unfortunately, in March an “acting” judge in a lower court decision (misleadingly and quirkily called “Supreme” Court in NY) supported Avon’s illegal law (see Third NY Town Wins Court Approval to Ban Fracking). Lenape has received overwhelming support from the oil and gas industry and landowners, so they’ve decided to appeal the lower court ruling to the next level up in an effort to resolve this mess for all drillers in NY:

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New Federal Effort to Regulate Shale Drilling via NETL & NIOSH

The feds are once again sniffing around shale gas drilling done in the individual states with an eye toward regulating it. This latest effort does not come from the EPA, which is on its own mission to regulate shale drilling via the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, nor does it come from the Dept. of Interior with onerous new rules for fracking on federal lands. This effort comes from the Dept. of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The two agencies have signed a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) to “identify and monitor the potential impact of shale gas production on air quality and [mythical] greenhouse gas emissions.”

Sprinkle in important sounding phrases like “science-based,” “core competencies,” and “human health,” pull in an alphabet soup of other agencies like DOI and EPA, and voilà: A brand new way is born to regulate oil and gas drilling by the feds…

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JLCNY Provides Extensive Update on NY "Takings" Lawsuit

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) recently issued an update on the status of their lawsuit against New York State for “takings,” the legal concept that New York has now entered the status of denying landowners the rightful use of their land with its ongoing moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, and so, under the U.S. Constitution, the state must reimburse them. The lawsuit update is embedded below. The short version? The JLCNY needs more money before it can file the lawsuit…

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State College, PA Mayor Wants City to Dump Fossil Fuel Investments

Long-time readers of MDN know that our theory of the real reason anti-drillers are against fracking and shale drilling is not because of concerns over water contamination and the list of other pretend excuses they spin, but because of their twisted views that all fossil fuels are somehow “evil.” However, that theory bears repeating from time to time for new readers, and to remind people of the fight we face against those who are unreasonable and militant in their opposition to clean-burning natural gas. The latest example comes from the wacky mayor of State College, PA, Elizabeth Goreham, who along with a few other small town mayors, is “urging” municipalities to “divest from fossil fuel companies.”

State College sits in the middle of abundant, cheap Marcellus Shale gas. Perhaps drillers and utility companies should just shut off the natural gas spigot to State College? Maybe they’d rather just burn coal or wood? Yeah, now that would be real environmentally friendly, wouldn’t it? Here’s the latest rant by the irrational and obtuse anti-drilling movement:

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Weekend Anti-Gas Propaganda-fest Scheduled for Upstate NY Towns

An all-hands-on-deck anti-drilling propaganda-fest will be held this weekend in Bath, Spencer and Elmira (all in NY state). The so-called “Fracking vs. Human Health Forums” will feature lies and distortions carefully crafted to scare the general public. If you’re a landowner who lives in those areas, attend and make your voice heard to counter the untruths that will be presented.

The details on times and locations:

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Range Resources 1Q13 Update: Marcellus Provides "Impressive Results"

Range Resources, the first driller to sink a Marcellus Shale well in western PA in 2004, issued their first quarter financial and operational update yesterday. According to Range, the liquids-rich Marcellus in southwestern PA “continues to provide impressive results.” Range’s daily production hit new highs in 1Q13. Most of their Marcellus work is concentrated in the “super rich” area of SW PA where they brought 25 new wells online in the first quarter. However, Range also drilled 7 new wells in NE PA, in the “dry gas” zone of the Marcellus.

Here’s part of the Range update, including details on their Marcellus operations:

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Food & Water Watch Tells MD Gov "Not so Fast" on Fracking

The odious anti-drilling group Food & Water Watch (FWW) sent a letter yesterday to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley expressing “serious concerns” that O’Malley’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s draft report, while issuing warnings about fracking, seems to be resigned that fracking in Maryland is “inevitable” and therefore should be regulated. That doesn’t sit well with far-out groups like FWW, Josh Fox and a small list of other anti-drillers.

The statement (and letter) issued by FWW:

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Have We Reached the Tipping Point for LNG Trucks?

Yesterday MDN brought you the announcement from UPS that they have just committed to adding an additional 700 new LNG tractor trailers to their current fleet of 112 LNG tractors (see UPS to Grow NG Fleet with Additional 700 LNG Tractor Trailers). An article by the New York Times assembles all of the strings that provides in evidence, to MDN, that we may well have just reached a “tipping point” where natural gas vehicles, at least for trucking fleets, and will now start to rapidly expand. What are those strings?…

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