Three town board members in the Town of Sidney (Delaware County), NY should be concerned–very concerned. They voted February 13th to enact a one-year moratorium against shale drilling and fracking. Two other board members voted against the moratorium, so it passed. Now, all residents of the Town of Sidney will have to shuck out more money in taxes to defend that vote–on Wednesday they were sued by a group of local landowners whose property rights have been violated by the ban.
The worrisome part for Sidney is who is doing the suing on behalf of the landowers–Hinman, Howard & Kattell (HHK)–the same law firm that successfully sued Binghamton over their moratorium. Binghamton’s moratorium was found illegal and tossed last year (see NY Judge Throws Out Binghamton Fracking Moratorium). Below is a summary of the lawsuit against Sidney, as provided to MDN by HHK:
Although New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dithered for more than a year on whether or not to allow fracking–and continues his equivocation–there is a much more important drama unfolding that will ultimately, in our opinion, determine whether or not New York will ever see meaningful shale drilling. The more important issue is now in the courts. Specifically, it revolves around whether or not New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, will hear a pair of cases from towns that have banned drilling.
A few weeks ago we told you about the appeals from a landowner near Cooperstown (Middlefield) and from Norse Energy (Dryden) asking the Court of Appeals to hear the case and overturn the town bans. The Town of Dryden has now sent their own request to the Court of Appeals–asking them to not consider the case…
A little over a month ago MDN told you the rumor that Antero Resources, a private drilling company headquartered in Denver, CO with major drilling operations in the Marcellus Shale (311,000 acres) and the Utica Shale (92,000 acres) would go public this year (see Rumor Has It: Antero Resources Will Go Public This Year). Looks like the rumor was right.
Yesterday, Antero filed paperwork with the Securities & Exchange Commission to float an initial public offering (IPO) sometime this year. Antero’s announcement (see below) does not list the number of shares nor the price they hope to get, although Reuters is reporting the company hopes to raise up to $1 billion with the IPO…
This is the second year that Pennsylvania, under its new Act 13 law, has collected and will disperse an impact fee. In 2012 (based on 2011 drilling activity), the state collected and dispersed $204 million (see List of PA Impact Fee Disbursements by County/Town). This year, in 2013, the state has collected and will soon disperse $202 million based on 2012 drilling activity. (See the list of drillers and what they paid below, along with the list of municipalities and what they will receive, also embedded below.)
While the politicians and various organizations slap themselves on the back at how wonderful this is, we will remind you that 40% of the “fee” collected is a tax, not a fee–because it goes to municipalities that have zero drilling and thus zero impacts from drilling (it’s supposed to be an “impact” fee!). Why do they get money? It’s the sleazy political price to be paid for passing the Act 13 law. Payola. Shake down. Call it what you will. Example: Philadelphia gets $1.29 million of the $202 million collected this year for doing precisely nothing except putting their hands out–they get more than most counties with drilling. It’s the same for suburbia counties around Philly: Bucks – $524,925; Chester – $421,961; Delaware – $468,518; Montgomery – $673,442.
An interesting article in yesterday’s Wheeling News-Register (below) takes a look at rig counts in the Marcellus/Utica region, noting the big increase in rigs drilling in Ohio while the number of rigs in West Virginia has remained the same or gone down slightly, and the number of rigs in Pennsylvania has decreased rather dramatically. The article also gives us a look at how much money, on average, Chesapeake Energy makes per day per well in both dry and wet gas areas. Very useful information.
MDN has inserted a Baker Huges rig count chart at the bottom showing the number of rotary drilling rigs by state (PA, OH, WV) for the past 12 months (taken from the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook):
We guess we’ve always known that country music superstar Willie Nelson tilts to the liberal spectrum when it comes to politics (but dang, we like his music!). One of the things Willie has done over the years, to his credit, is promote family farms. He’s raised a boatload of money from his “Farm Aid” concerts to benefit family farms. Unfortunately, Willie has allowed his liberal buddies to convince him that fracking is bad, and now that misinformed philosophy has sadly co-opted the Farm Aid events.
Willie is coming to upstate New York in September for another Farm Aid concert. His message? Buy locally grown/produced food, and ban shale drilling. We recommend you pass by supporting Willie, his music, and Farm Aid events…
Canadian company Enerflex is shutting down a natural gas compression and processing plant in Casper, WY and laying off dozens of workers. Why? No business. They say it’s no longer economical to get natural gas from coal-bed methane (CBM) in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin when it’s so darned cheap to get natural gas from places like the Marcellus Shale: