Breaking: NY Court Upholds Local Town Frack Bans

Winston ChurchillIt is a day of disappointment, but also a day of resolve, for landowners in New York State. Yesterday, the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division in a 4-0 decision ruled towns have the right to ban hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling. MDN has previously chronicled the long fight against a simple majority of three town board members unilaterally stripping away the rights of all property owners in a township to allow natural gas drilling. The matter came to a head when lawsuits were filed in two of those cases, the towns of Dryden (Tompkins County, near Ithaca), and Middlefield, (Otsego County, near Cooperstown)–see Town Frack Ban Cases Heard in NY Supreme Court Appellate Division for important background information.

The 77,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, whose lawyer, Scott Kurkoski, represented a JLCNY member in the Middlefield case, has responded to the loss (below) by saying they intend to appeal the decision to the next, and highest, court in New York–the Court of Appeals. MDN has a copy of the court’s decision (embedded below), reaction from the near-orgasmic anti-drilling eco-nuts, and our view of what it all means for the future of drilling in NY…
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Mark Ruffalo Invited to Upstate NY Screening of FrackNation

MDN received the following notice from documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer, creative force behind the excellent FrackNation documentary. Phelim will be speaking at a screening of FrackNation in Sullivan County, NY on May 8, and he (and the residents of Sullivan County) have invited movie star Mark Ruffalo (one of his many homes is located in Sullivan County) to attend the screening…
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List of “Things to Consider” Before You Sign a Pipeline Lease

The rapid ramp-up in Utica Shale drilling in Ohio, and Marcellus drilling in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has meant a shortage of “infrastructure” like pipelines to carry all of the bountiful shale gas being mined. Infrastructure development–pipelines and processing plants–are not being built at a furious pace across both the Utica and Marcellus–but particularly in the Utica. That means a pipeline company landman may come knocking on your door, if you’re a landowner. What are the things to watch out for, before you sign a lease to allow a pipeline?

The attorneys at Bricker & Eckler (with several offices in Ohio) have a handy list of “things to consider” before you sign on the dotted line to allow a pipeline across your property…
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Anti-Drillers Try to Stop Pipeline Connector in NE PA

Even though a pipeline connection, known as a “gate station,” has existed in Wyoming County, PA (northeastern part of the state) for the past 50 years, apparently no one noticed it existed (see Back to Kindergarten: UGI Explains NatGas Gate Stations). A small number of anti-drillers oppose a plan by local utility company UGI to build a second pipeline connector/gate station in the area. It’s not a compressor plant–just a connector. And even though it will lower their natural gas bills, they don’t want it. Why? They (erroneously) believe it’s a back-door way for UGI to build a new compressor plant in the area, apparently:
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OH Company Builds Units to Convert NatGas to Diesel

Ohio company Velocys, located in Plain City, just outside Columbus, has just opened for business and the impact for both the Utica and Marcellus Shale region could be huge. The company makes machines (based on 1920s technology from Germany) that convert natural gas into diesel fuel. Right now diesel is about 6 times more expensive than an equivalent amount of natural gas. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is starting to come on strong–witness UPS’ announcement last week to purchase 700 new tractor trailers that run on LNG (see UPS to Grow NG Fleet with Additional 700 LNG Tractor Trailers). That’s certainly one very necessary solution.

However, Velocys believes there’s a market to convert natural gas to diesel to feed the already existing market of millions of diesel engines on the roads today. And they’re right…
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National Fuel/Seneca FY 2Q13: Marcellus Production Up 57%

National Fuel just finished the second quarter of their fiscal year–what we would call the first quarter of the calendar year–which ended March 31. Yesterday, National Fuel (and their Marcellus drilling subsidiary Seneca Resources) filed their FY 2Q13 fiscal and operating update. Earnings for the company were up an impressive 27% year over year. Even more impressive, natural gas and crude oil production for Seneca Resources (in the Marcellus Shale) was up 57% year over year. They attribute it to Seneca’s “strong well results in Lycoming County” (PA).

Here’s the full report issued by National Fuel yesterday:
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