OH EPA Dings MarkWest Over Slurry Spills in OH Swamps

Swamp ThingOnce upon a time here in the good old U.S. of A. we used to call large areas of stagnant, smelly, mosquito-infested pools of water what they are: swamps. Then came the so-called environmentalist movement that renamed the word “swamp” to the pristine-sounding word “wetland.” Gotta love a good euphemism. We used to drain swamps. Now we make people get permits to walk across them, for fear of killing a mosquito (no doubt carrying West Nile Virus). Such is the enlightened age in which we live.

MarkWest Energy, arguably the largest midstream company (pipelines and processing plants) in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, is having trouble in–or more properly under–some of Ohio’s swamps. In drilling under some Ohio “wetlands” to install pipelines, MarkWest has leaked a non-toxic clay-and-water slurry on a number of occasions. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has told MarkWest recent spills are “unacceptable.” Ohio anti-drillers see it as an opportunity to shut down fracking (no pipelines, no way to get the gas and liquids to market). Fortunately, the Ohio EPA is a bit more level-headed than that, saying they prefer to work with companies like MarkWest to help them do better, not just shut them down…
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Antero Given Green Light to Resume Drilling at WV Blast Site

In early July, MDN told you about an explosion at an Antero Resources drillpad in Doddridge County, WV (see Update on Antero Well Explosion in Doddridge County, WV). Half a dozen workers were injured in the resulting fire. Sadly, two of those workers recently died from their injuries.

We now know what caused the blast: open hatches on a number of wastewater tanks that allowed gas to build up, which led to a flash fire. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) shut down drilling at the site after the fire to investigate. The DEP is now satisfied that Antero knows what happened and has put in place measures to prevent it from happening again, so the DEP has just lifted the “cease operations” order. Antero is now free to resume drilling at the site…
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Chesapeake’s Current Thinking on their Utica Shale Program

At a meeting in Mahoning County, OH, a Chesapeake Energy representative tackled the question of how long Ohio residents will see drilling in their midst. The rep then spoke about the next phase after drilling–production and piping product to market. The answers given were not anything we haven’t heard before. Still, some of the Chesapeake rep’s comments did give us insight into the company’s current thinking about the Utica Shale and the counties where they intend to concentrate their efforts…
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MDN Calls for the Criminalization of the NY Green Party

Does that headline sound a bit unhinged? Over the top? Sorta stupid? It’s no more stupid than the New York Green Party calling (as it has done yet again) for the “complete criminalization” of fracking in the Empire State. We thought we would illustrate absurdity with absurdity and call for criminalizing the stupidity that’s rampant in the Green Party. The unhinged and wacko Greens want to turn a safe, legitimate and needed industrial activity–fracking–into a criminal act. They point out that, Hey man, even the pot smokers in Woodstock, NY have voted to criminalize fracking (our words).

We propose that the Greens’ stupidity is itself a criminal act. Here’s the latest lunacy from the anti-drilling left in the People’s Republic of New York, otherwise known as the Green Party:
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Muskingum Watershed District: $77M in Utica Lease Revenue, So Far

There’s no doubt a change has happened at the board of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD). Last year they self-imposed a moratorium on selling water to Ohio Utica Shale drillers (Muskingum Watershed Reverses Decision to Sell Water to Drillers). This year, they can’t wait to lease MWCD land to Utica Shale drillers and sell them the water to frack it (MWCD to Sell 138M Gallons of Seneca Lake Water for Utica Drilling). Why the change?

An MWCD official talked about the change in thinking for the MWCD board at a meeting last week of the Guernsey (County) Energy Coalition…
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Cuomo & DiNapoli: Asleep at Sales Tax Switch in NY Southern Tier

MDN has long chronicled the sad situation for landowners in New York State with a moratorium that is, as of today, 5 years and 20 days old. It has had catastrophic economic consequences for New York, especially for those who live in the Southern Tier of the state–that area along the mid-state “southern” border with Pennsylvania (Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Steuben counties). Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spineless on the fracking issue–that much is clear. He won’t stand up to the shrill and unreasonable voices in his own party. No one will take him seriously on the national stage. Cuomo’s rising star has become a shooting star–straight down.

Thomas DiNapoli, NY State Comptroller, is clearly an avowed anti-driller. We’ve brought you a number of stories that illustrate his disdain for drilling (see MDN stories about DiNapoli here). We find it particularly offensive and hypocritical (although not surprising) that DiNapoli has just issued a report that shows sales tax revenue is up in most of the state’s counties, but down in Southern Tier counties–down a lot. DiNapoli bemoans the fact that the Southern Tier continues to take it in the neck–yet he makes no mention of how shale drilling could instantly reverse the economic misery of Southern Tier residents. Typical politician–identify the problem but offer no solutions…
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SRBC to Get New Executive Director in Sept: Andrew Dehoff

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), one of two governmental agencies created to oversee rivers and tributaries in the northeast, has just named a new executive director effective Sept. 19. Andrew Dehoff will become the third person to hold that position in the SRBC’s 42-year history.

The SRBC is important to the shale drilling industry in Pennsylvania because it regulates how much–and when/if–water can be taken from rivers and streams for use in fracking. The SRBC announcement:
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