Youngstown, OH Votes Down Fracking Ban Amendment

voteYesterday was D-Day, Decision-Day in the City of Youngstown, Ohio. Would the citizens of the city vote to commit economic suicide by adopting an amendment to the city’s charter that would not only ban fracking in the city, but also ban just about any activity related to shale drilling? A group of anti-fracking zealots, aided and abetted by Democrat city council members, were pushing for just that (see Youngstown, OH to Commit Utica Suicide with Vote to Ban Drilling).

Good news: Wiser heads have prevailed in Youngstown. Rational-thinking people voted down the ban by a vote of 57% to 43%. Closer than we’d like to see, but a convincing win nonetheless:

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Gulfport Energy 1Q13: Utica Utica Utica

Gulfport Energy Corporation reported its first quarter financial and operating results yesterday, and there’s lots of talk about their efforts in the Utica Shale. Gulfport includes details about their wells and the oil and gas production they’re achieving in the Utica.

Here’s the Gulfport operational highlights for 1Q13 along with their Utica Shale Operational Update (complete with impressive 24-hour production rate numbers for the current nine operating wells that are now online):
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Envelope Please: Winners of Shale Gas Innovation Contest are…

For the second year running, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center selects three winners from a field of 12 entrants to award a $25,000 prize in its Shale Gas Innovation Contest–a contest that recognizes startups and small businesses and gives them visibility and encouragement for their efforts.

MDN previously highlighted this year’s entrants, particularly because we’re acquainted with one of them (see REV LNG, 11 Others Finalists in Shale Gas Innovation Contest for the entire list of this year’s entrants). We won’t keep you waiting any longer. The envelope please! This year’s three winners are…
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Alpha Hunter Takes Delivery of ‘Robotic Drilling Rig’ for Utica

Magnum Hunter Resources’ subsidiary Alpha Resources has just taken possession of a “robotic drilling rig” that it plans to use to drill Utica Shale wells for the next three years. The robotic rig can, by itself, lift the entire drilling rig six inches off the ground and rotate it and move it to a new position and location.

According to Magnum Hunter CEO Gary Evans, the rig is “state of the art” and Magnum has worked with the manufacturer, Schramm, over the past six months to develop it.
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PA County Official Calls Local Anti-Driller “Stupid” at Meeting

Sometimes anti-drillers become unhinged and behave very badly. Case in point: Susquehanna County’s most famous anti-driller Vera Scroggins, who used her potty mouth on FrackNation filmmaker Phelim McAleer in January when Phelim tagged along to ask Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon about fracking when they came to Susquehanna County (in a Mercedes bus) to promote Artists Against Fracking. Scroggins didn’t like McAleer posing tough questions to the goddesses she worships, so she made it her mission to use every foul word and anti-Irish, prejudiced comment she could think of to insult McAleer, making a video of it and posting it on Youtube (see “The Final Ploy of the Desperate” Natural Gas Opponents).

You can appreciate that the normally patient folks of rural Susquehanna County grow tired of Vera’s antics. At a recent county commissioners meeting, a Susquehanna County official had had enough of Vera’s tiresome antics and actually called her “stupid” before the assembled audience. Cool! Wish we had been there to video it and put it on Youtube. Here is what prompted the outburst:
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When We Get Behind Closed Doors…Range Resources & Cecil Twp

There’s certainly no love lost between Range Resources and the supervisors of Cecil Township in Washington County, PA. Range has repeatedly requested the supervisors consider granting a conditional use permit to drill a new well, the supervisors say Range has not provided “full information” on the application, and the whole matter eventually ended up in court–before a judge whose wife is anti-drilling (see Court Fight: Range Resources v Robinson, PA Twp).

But what’s this…are Cecil officials finally willing to call a truce? The supervisors voted on Monday night to schedule a private “behind closed doors” meeting with Range to “discuss their relationship.” Sounds more like marriage counseling than governing to us, but hey, if getting behind closed doors is what it takes…
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NY Company Sells Frack Wastewater Technology to PA Site

Even though New York State is an economic and jobs-creating disaster area with no prospect of shale drilling to lift it from the economic basement any time soon, some New York-based companies are still profiting from the shale boom–that is the shale boom happening across the border in Pennsylvania. One such company is R3 Fusion, Inc. in Troy, NY. R3 makes technology that recycles fracking wastewater for reuse, and they’ve just sold an installation of their technology to Hydro Recovery in Blossburg, PA.

The R3 announcement:
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PA Senator Proposes Panel to Study Health Impacts from Drilling

The main architect of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 legislation that was passed last year was Republican state Senator Joe Scarnati. Act 13 was PA’s most sweeping revision of oil and natural gas drilling in decades, providing for (among other things) the collection of an “impact fee” (or tax) that resulted in $204 million in revenue in 2012.

Scarnati is back with a proposal for more legislation that will impact the Marcellus Shale–this time, he wants to create an advisory panel to investigate public health issues related to Marcellus drilling…

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