Time to fly the flags at half staff. Why? It seems that freedom and liberty in New York State have died. Tyranny has slowly crept in and has now taken up residence in the Empire State. For five long years, landowners in New York have been denied their Constitutional property rights to allow shale drilling on and under their land, and frankly, there’s no end in sight to this travesty of justice. Oh, we New Yorkers have not given up! As Winston Churchill once famously said, NEVER!
But honestly, it’s hard to keep your chin up month after month and year after year, especially when Democrats control so much of the state and just don’t give a darn about individual freedom or the Constitution. It’s especially disheartening when there’s rampant ignorance on the part of many in the general public who only read headlines and don’t bother to try and understand the sometimes complicated drilling issue. As we pointed out yesterday, the drilling issue in New York has devolved into celebrity emotion vs. science (see NY Fracking Debate is Celebrity Emotion vs Scientific Facts).
To mark today’s somber anniversary, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York will hold a “Five-Year Anniversary Event” at the Holiday Inn Arena in downtown Binghamton…
A research study appears in the May-June 2013 issue of Groundwater, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, that completely debunks the notion that fracking was the cause of methane contamination in local water wells in Dimock, PA (as famously claimed by Josh Fox and Gasland). The article, titled “Evaluation of Methane Sources in Groundwater in Northeastern Pennsylvania” (full copy embedded below), has flown completely under the radar and has received, so far as we can tell, no coverage in the mainstream media. It likely hasn’t been been covered because (a) the findings don’t fit the media narrative that fracking contaminates water, and (b) the study’s lead author is the head geologist for Cabot Oil & Gas, the company accused of contaminating some Dimock water wells with methane from nearby drilling activity.
The study looks at test results for 1,701 water wells around Susquehanna County, PA (where Dimock is located), both close to and far from shale drilling. What does the cold, hard data show? Methane is everywhere in Susquehanna County groundwater–and it has been for hundreds of years. No wonder Susquehanna County is such a productive gas field for Cabot! The study finds that methane in water is more prevalent in certain locations like valleys. Perhaps most importantly–the study finds no correlation between shale drilling and the level of methane in water wells. There’s no more methane in water wells close to drilling than there is in wells far from it. Science is science, and this study cannot be discounted simply because the wizards at Cabot wrote the report…
A huge congratulations is in order for Baker Hughes, the oilfield services company that also compiles the enormously useful rig count data that they’ve been sharing, like forever (for the past 70 years!). Big news: Baker Hughes has just launched a new “well count” data service as a compliment to their rig count data. The new well count service counts the number of new wells “spud” (when the drill bit hits the ground and starts chewing away) in a given quarter. The counts are tabulated by shale basin. This is an important new tool for landowners and businesses in the supply chain to use to monitor where drilling is heating up, and where it’s cooling down. Data geeks (like MDN) love this stuff!
See the very first set of well count reports from Baker Hughes embedded below (along with our commentary)…
An MDN reader has alerted us to some “funny business” going on in the Town of Covert, NY (near Ithaca) on the part of anti-drillers who circulated a petition in support of a town ban on fracking. It appears that at least some of the “signatures” on the petition were fraudulently added by the group circulating the petition, the so-called Concerned Citizens of Covert (CCC). The list of names of those supposedly supporting a ban were presented as a typewritten list to town board members, but (as far as we know), the original signed petitions have not yet been produced by CCC.
One Covert landowner says she did not sign the petition but her name, along with the names of other family members who also did not sign, appears on the typewritten version of the petition. She said it looks like the CCC simply went through voter registration roles and added a bunch of names, claiming they had all signed. If that’s true, the CCC petition should immediately be investigated by the local and state attorneys general (but don’t hold your breath)…
So just how much will the proposed new fracking rule (for wells fracked on public lands) from the Bureau of Land Management cost drillers? The Western Energy Alliance hired the respected economics firm John Dunham & Associates to run the numbers. What they found was that if the new rule goes into effect as written, it will cost drillers an extra $96,913 per well on average, making it cost prohibitive to even bother drilling some wells. Perhaps that’s the intent? The new BLM rule will likely not affect Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling because there is very little federal/public land in the northeast. So why bother to report on it? Because Obama administration officials have expressed their desire to one day “encourage” (i.e. force) the new BLM rule to be used for drilling on private land as well (see Feds ‘Hope’ States will Use BLM Rules for ALL Fracking).
The press release from the Western Energy Alliance, along with the full economic analysis from John Dunham & Associates:
As you may know, MDN editor Jim Willis has been partnering with ShaleNavigator founder Ed Camp for more than a year now to bring you the three volume Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series. The 2012 series was a huge success, and the new 2013 series (Volume 1 is out now) is shaping up to be the same. The Databook is a series of maps created using the excellent ShaleNavigator service to display where (and to whom) permits have been issued, county by county, throughout the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. However, the ShaleNavigator itself service is far more than just permits, displaying multiple “layers” of information users can turn on and off to display lease offers, pipeline locations, compressor station locations and much more (24 different layers in all).
Ed has just released an exciting and important new feature for the ShaleNavigator service: Subscribers may now produce reports displaying shale oil and gas wells, well permits, pipelines, and lease offer information near a specific address “on the fly.” Type in any address (your address maybe?), wait a few seconds, and get a PDF report detailing all of the permits issued, wells drilled, pipelines and lease offers within both a 2 mile radius and within a 5 mile radius of that address (see an example report embedded below). Folks, this is beyond cool!…