Courageous PA State Rep Tackles Shameful Forced Pooling Law

courageousFinally, a PA state representative with balls intestinal fortitude: Rep. Michele Brooks (Republican from Greenville, 17th District). MDN previously told you about bone-headed legislation (SB259) signed into law last month by PA Gov. Tom Corbett (see PA Gov Corbett Signs Back-Door Forced Pooling Bill into Law). No matter how you try to pretty it up, and no matter what redeeming qualities the legislation has for landowners who need more royalty calculation transparency–at the last minute a provision was slipped in to the law providing for forced pooling for some landowners with old leases. It’s a bad law for PA landowners. Already EQT has used the law against landowners in the Pittsburgh area (see Bad News: EQT Sues 70 Landowners Using New PA Forced Pooling Law).

PA Rep. Michele Brooks has had the courage to step forward to offer a new bill repealing the forced pooling provision in SB259. She’s currently looking for some of her fellow Republicans (and perhaps a few pro-drilling Dems) to stand up and be counted with her. Who will match her courage?
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Chesapeake Short-Changes PA Landowner on Royalty Checks

MDN has brought you a couple of stories in recent weeks about landowners suing Chesapeake Energy over royalty checks, claiming Chesapeake is playing fast and loose with post-production expenses (see Bradford County, PA Landowners Sue Chesapeake over Royalties). A new Chesapeake royalty story (below) appears on the ProPublica website. It opens with a poignant tale of yet another landowner who was apparently screwed by Chesapeake with respect to royalties. It’s maddening.

However, we have to put the story in proper perspective. ProPublica is anti-drilling through and through. They have an agenda and that agenda is to make all drillers and anyone/anything connected to fossil fuels look bad, so as you read the story below, keep that in mind. Still, if even 10% of what is reported below is true, it’s disturbing. More than ever, it’s vital that landowners have a detailed, well-spelled-out lease that’s been reviewed and tweaked by a lawyer who knows oil and gas contracts inside and out. It’s also important to monitor every royalty statement…
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Wheeling, WV Approves GreenHunter Frack Wastewater Facility

With capes gently flapping in the breeze, it was a crushingly sad defeat for the brave and noble Wheeling Water Warriors who sought to stop the evil frackwater company from establishing yet another facility along the shores of the pristine (*cough*) Ohio River…. OK, enough of that drivel! A great victory for GreenHunter Water and for sanity: The Wheeling (WV) Planning Commission has approved GreenHunter’s plan to develop a frack wastewater recycling/barge facility at the former Seidler’s Oil Service site on North 28th Street. The plan, opposed by a small band of anti-drilling protesters who called themselves the Wheeling Water Warriors, came before the Planning Commission several times without a vote in recent months (see Wheeling Delays Vote Again on GreenHunter Wastewater Facility).

The Commission took up the matter again at it’s Monday meeting and finally voted to approve GreenHunter’s plan. Eventually, GreenHunter hopes to use the facility to not only recycle shale drilling wastewater, but also ship some of it (by barge) down the Ohio River to locations in Ohio for disposal via injection wells. Shipping wastewater by barge is currently under review at the federal level, awaiting approval…
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Range Resources Argues with Mt Pleasant over Water Impoundment

Range Resources seems to have a problem maintaining good relations with southwestern PA townships on the matter of water impoundments. In May, MDN told you about Cecil Township’s concerns over a 15 million-gallon water impoundment still actively used by Range even though the three gas wells at the impoundment site were drilled long ago (see Cecil, PA Supervisors Want Better Relations with Range, but…). Range had another tangle with a town board last night–this one in Mt. Pleasant Township. The same issue has once again appeared: a water impoundment is being used not for the wells drilled at the site, but for other wells being drilled in the region.

According to Cecil and now Mt. Pleasant officials, Range has the habit of expanding the use of water impoundments from their original intent. Range says the water impoundments are properly regulated by the state and not the towns. Who’s right?
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Antero Resources Rolls Dice on 1/2 Billion Dollar Marcellus Pipe

According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, Antero Resources will spend half a billion dollars to construct an 80-mile pipeline in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region. But this rather expensive pipeline will not carry natural gas, gas liquids or even oil. Instead, it’s a pipeline that will deliver water from the Ohio River to some of Antero’s most active drilling locations scattered in West Virginia and Ohio–to be used for fracking.

For Antero with some 100K acres of leased land in the Marcellus, committing to half a billion dollars (the company grossed $265 million last year) is a huge roll of the dice…
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Hypocritical Governor of Delaware: No for Thee But Yes for Me

The anti-drilling Democrat governor of Delaware–Jack Markell–is one of five voting members of the Delaware Basin River Commission (DRBC). He’s been a reliable “no” vote when it comes to the release of new drilling rules to allow Marcellus Shale drilling in the Delaware River Basin since 2011, even though there is no Marcellus gas under his own state (see DRBC Says No Marcellus Vote Until Nov. 2012 Earliest).

Last month, Gov. Markell attended an event to celebrate the conversion of a coal-fired power plant in Dover, DE to clean-burning, cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas. Er, what’s wrong with this picture?…
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TGP Spokesman Addresses Pike County Chamber – Protesters MIA

In March of this year, anti-drilling malcontents tried to physically stop the expansion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP). The TGP’s “Northeast Upgrade” is an extra 40 miles of pipeline in PA and NJ that will expand the pipeline’s capacity to handle additional Marcellus Shale gas. A judge told the malcontents to knock off their aggressive “protests” (illegal blocking of public roadways) or face jail time and stiff fines (see PA Judge Grants Injunction Against Protesters of TGP NE Pipeline).

At the time, the malcontents also plotted to disrupt a meeting of the Pike County, PA Chamber of Commerce where TGP was going to speak about the project, so the Chamber postponed the event. The rescheduled talk finally took place last week. Here’s a summary of what was said:
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