Rendell Paints Hanger into Corner on PA Democrat Moratorium Vote

painted into a cornerFinally (finally!) some news outlets grudgingly, dragging their feet every step of the way, had to cover one of the biggest stories to ever come from the Marcellus Shale region: Two weeks ago the Pennsylvania Democrat party voted to support a statewide moratorium on all Marcellus drilling–in effect, an ongoing ban. They want to shut down drilling in the state. MDN stood alone for days in making this news known (see PA Democrat Party Votes to End Marcellus Shale Drilling Statewide). Finally, the Harrisburg Patriot-News and Associated Press covered the story when former PA governor (and Democrat) Gov. Ed Rendell spoke out against the vote, calling it “ill-advised.”

In his comments, Rendell painted his former Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Hanger, into a corner (see below). Shockingly, Hanger has still not renounced this act of political suicide by his fellow Democrats. In fact, he refuses to criticize the eco-nuts in his own party, preferring to sit on the fence with regard to a moratorium (see his equivocating response below). We’d call that a “stunning fact,” John. Wouldn’t you?
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Duke Study #2: Drilling Causes Methane Migration in Water Wells?

Two years ago researchers at Duke University, funded by the anti-drilling Park Foundation (i.e. agenda-driven science), released research that supposedly showed a link between Marcellus Shale drilling and methane (natural gas) contamination of nearby water wells (see MDN In-depth: Duke University Study Links Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling with Methane Contamination of Water Wells). The research was later shown to be shoddy (see Former PA DEP Officials, Industry Group Point Out Problems with Duke University Study Linking Methane in Water with Fracking).

Most of the same researchers are back with a second study titled “Increased stray gas abundance in a subset of drinking water wells near Marcellus shale gas extraction” (see full copy embedded below). This time the Duke researchers were sure to keep Park Foundation funding well hidden with no direct grants (to layer on a veneer of impartiality), and on Monday they released a new study with new methodologies and new tests and oh-so-much that is new…and guess what? Same old conclusions. And, same old problems and weaknesses with the research and its conclusions…
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OH Wastewater Dumper D&L Energy Gets Business Death Sentence

The sad story of D&L Energy, a Youngstown, OH operator of several wastewater injection wells, has come to an ignominious end. It’s owner was (is?) Ben Lupo, who also owns sister company Hardrock Excavating, operating both companies under the D&L Energy Group umbrella. Starting last September, Lupo instructed a Hardrock employee to dump untreated fracking wastewater down a sewer drain that emptied into the Mahoning River. Lupo and the driver were found out earlier this year (see Youngstown Business Dumped >200K Gal of Untreated Wastewater).

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) promptly shut down both D&L Energy and Hardrock in February (see OH Company Dumping Frack Wastewater in Drain May Appeal Shut-Down). The shut-down led to a filing for bankruptcy in a desperate attempt to re-open and keep D&L afloat. Lupo appealed the ODNR ruling claiming D&L Energy is separate from Hardrock and just because he behaved badly at Hardrock does not mean D&L should be punished too. The Ohio Oil & Gas Commission (OOGC) has now ruled on that appeal…
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Youngstown Democrat Gets “Return to Sender” Over D&L Letters

An interesting story related to the business death sentence handed down to D&L Energy by the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission (see today’s related story). State Rep. Robert Hagan (Democrat from Youngstown) tried to improperly influence the OOGC, technically a court body, by sending letters directly to members ruling on the D&L appeal. He requested that they reject the appeal. The OOGC didn’t fall for it and instead sent the letters on to the OOGC attorney and the attorney for D&L. That is, Hagan got a “return to sender” from the OOGC, along with a rap on the knuckles. He was (eventually) cleared of wrongdoing by the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Oh, this is the same Rep. Robert Hagan who wants to more than double the oil and gas drilling tax in Ohio (see Youngstown Democrat State Rep Wants to Hike Severance Tax to 7.5%). Here’s the D&L/Hagan kerfuffle:
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Pittsburgh Paper Takes Soros Group to Task over CSSD & Heinz

A few weeks ago, MDN told you about a sham report from the George Soros-backed (and anti-drilling) Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), which took aim at the new Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) claiming to “out” the head of the Heniz Endowments–one of the environmentalist organizations in the CSSD–as having deep ties to the drilling industry (see Heinz Endowments President Owns $1.2M in Kinder Morgan Stock). The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has (surprisingly) taken aim at PAI’s criticism of the CSSD. Summarizing the tone of the P-G editorial (our words): “Everybody already knew Bobby Vagt of the Heniz Endowments gets industry money–lighten up PAI. The CSSD  is a good thing.”

Here’s part of the P-G editorial:
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Crosstex Ships Utica Condensate with OH Rail Loading Terminal

Yesterday, Crosstex Energy re-activated and started to use its Black Run rail loading terminal in Frazeysburg (Muskingum County), OH. The facility will let Crosstex load and ship 24,000 barrels a day of light oil condensate. The condensate is produced by Utica Shale wells.

The rail loading terminal sits on the short line Ohio Central Railroad (OHCR), which in turn connects with the Columbus and Ohio River Railroad, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway. Plenty of markets for drillers to now access for their Utica condensate production…
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Energy in Depth Websites Consolidate with National Website

For those wondering (like we did) what the heck happened to the Energy in Depth – Marcellus and Energy in Depth – Ohio websites, they’ve been merged into the national Energy in Depth website. Each of those original websites and their excellent articles are still around–they’re just part of the main site, found at //energyindepth.org.

EID is a vitally important voice in the drilling debate. It is the voice of the drilling industry–backed by the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Those who hate fossil fuels are quick to point out that EID is the voice of “big oil.” Well, uh, yeah, it is. It’s also the voice of little oil and gas companies. But let’s not quibble–all oil is big oil for the eco-nuts. The anti-fossil fuel gang would love nothing better than to put a muzzle on EID. Fortunately for the vast majority of Americans who love fossil fuels and the prosperity we derive from them as a nation (fossil fuels provide virtually all of our energy), EID is not going anywhere. They’re still around setting the record straight. They’ve just done a bit of housekeeping and consolidation of their many websites into one, according to this press release:
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Drilling Supply Chain: Trade Your Accounts Receivable for Cash

Businesses in the Marcellus and Utica Shale supply chain–from drillers to those who supply them with services–now have a new way of getting their hands on money to keep business moving (or expanding). Transfac Capital, a finance company with offices scattered across the country, has just announced they have expanded into Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia with cash in hand ready to make loans in the drilling industry. Transfac is a “factoring” company–meaning they are not a bank but make loans based on a business’ accounts receivable list. That is, they purchase accounts receivable, paying cash now to businesses that would otherwise have to wait to receive that cash–perhaps up to 90 days or more…
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