He’s Baaaack! Aubrey McClendon is Back in OH Shale Country

Aubrey McClendonAfter being unceremoniously tossed out of the door at Chesapeake Energy (the company he founded) by corporate raider Carl Icahn, Aubrey McClendon is, according to the Columbus Dispatch and Upstream magazine, back and active in the Utica Shale with his new company American Energy Partners.

There are four VERY interesting, juicy tidbits in the story about Aubrey’s return to the Utica…
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PA Democrats: Internal Fighting Over Vote to Ban Shale Drilling

Well well, finally a mainstream media outlet that is talking about the elephant (or in this case the donkey) sitting in the room that’s so big, it can no longer be ignored–i.e. the firestorm that has erupted inside the Pennsylvania Democrat Party over their idiotic vote in June to support a statewide, ongoing moratorium/ban of Marcellus Shale drilling (see PA Democrat Party Votes to End Marcellus Shale Drilling Statewide). MDN previously told you about the building dissension within elected Democrat ranks over the vote (see 18 PA House Democrats Dissent from Party’s Vote for Frack Moratorium).

We wouldn’t call the internal squabbling in the Democrat Party a full-blown internecine war–yet. However, it’s getting there, according to an article printed over the weekend in the Harrisburg Patriot-News. Be forewarned that the Patriot-News article is written from a Democrat apologist viewpoint that tends to downplay how serious this issue is within Democrat ranks–but they can’t cover up the truth. The article is more of a begrudging, feet-dragging “guess we have to write about this” article than a gleeful “screw the Republicans again” article they would rather write. Keep that in mind as you read:
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Student Intern Vandalizes 3 Gas/Oil Wells in PA Allegheny Forest

What are those anti-drilling professors teaching in college these days anyway? A very misguided student intern, working on a project to clear a trail in the Pennsylvania Allegheny National Forest, decided he would vandalize three gas and oil wells drilled in the forest–wells that are legally there, with the blessing of PA state officials. Wells that are helping to reduce carbon in the atmosphere (if that sort of thing is important to you). Wells that may or may not have been horizontal shale wells.

So this so-called student–Jeffrey Branham (from Arizona)–damaged three wells and caused oil to spill on the ground, contaminating the precious environment he thinks he’s saving. What a dope…
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Should the Full 7-Member PA Supreme Court Re-Hear Act 13 Case?

The PA townships that sued the State of Pennsylvania last year over a section of the new Act 13 law that prevents towns from slapping their own zoning requirements on top of a uniform state zoning standard sense they may have won at the state Supreme Court level (which will allow them to zone) and are arguing against having oral arguments re-heard by all seven justices.

The original case–arguably one of the most important to come before the state Supreme Court in a long time–was originally heard by seven justices last fall–but one of the seven has since resigned due to campaign fundraising irregularities. The six justices remaining are three Democrats and three Republicans. Court watchers predict the Act 13 case decision will break down along party lines. If it’s a split decision at the Supreme Court level, the lower court ruling which favors the towns will stand. So the towns are arguing they don’t want the case re-heard by a full panel, now that a seventh justice (a Republican) has just taken the bench.
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Pipelines Lower Taxes in Some Ohio School Districts

New York is perhaps the most taxed state in the Union. When MDN editor Jim Willis tells people that his school and property taxes went down–because of a single shale pipeline and compressor plant recently built in the township where he lives–they look at him like he’s gone mad. Who ever heard of taxes going down anywhere in New York State? But it’s true!

School districts (and taxpayers) in Ohio are now learning about the benefits of pipelines. Because of revenue generated from taxes on pipelines, school taxes are heading down in some Ohio school districts. And that’s even without Gov. John Kasich’s “spread the wealth around” higher severance tax…
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18 WV Lawmakers Flying to ND for a $20K Overnighter on Drill Tax

West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler really really wants the WV legislature to set up a rainy day fund or “WV Future Fund” with some of the severance tax money raised from shale drilling in the state, so this week he’s flying himself and 17 other state lawmakers to North Dakota for an overnighter to hear from ND leaders about how their “Legacy Fund” has worked in that state. Total cost to WV taxpayers: $18,000 – $20,000.

Er, why are they not flying one or two ND officials to Wild, Wonderful WV to make the presentation–for $2,000? Best not to ask such questions of the political ruling class…
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PA Court: Preparing to Drill Locks Up All Land in a “Unit”

PA landowners listen up: If your gas/oil lease is near the end of its term with no drilling and you looking forward to signing a new lease, you may have a problem. If the driller holding the lease decides to do work in preparation for drilling on your neighbor’s property, you’re locked in too if your land is part of the drilling “unit.” According to a court case recently decided in PA, if a driller prepares to drill (which may be as little as moving around some dirt, depending on the language in the lease), the obligations of the lease are then fulfilled and all land in that unit is locked in–even if actual drilling doesn’t happen for a long time.

In legalese it’s called the habendum clause
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OH Democrat Senator Wants Total Ban on Wastewater Injection Wells

Ohio Senator Michael J. Skindell (Democrat, District 23) has introduced a bill in the state legislature that will ban disposal of fracking wastewater via injection wells. Yet another elected anti-drilling Democrat who’s trying to shut down one of the safest forms of energy in the world–shale gas. If you shut down disposal of fracking fluid, you shut down drilling…
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PA Director of Game Commission Double-Dipping with Gas Leases?

An extensive investigative article about the director for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, William A. Capouillez, appears in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. The article spotlights a potential conflict of interest between Capouillez’s day job and his moonlighting side job as an agent for property owners who lease their land for oil and gas development. The issue? He signs private deals with the same companies that often work with his state agency. For one driller–Range Resources–it’s become a serious (legal) issue.
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PA Sierra Club Looks for a New Warmist to Lead the Faithful

The head of the extremist Sierra Club for the state of Pennsylvania is retiring, and the “race is on” to find someone just as extreme to fill his shoes. What does the PA Sierra Club’s Jeff Schmidt think is the most pressing issue facing the Keystone State? Of course it’s the mythical bogeyman “climate change.” What utter folly to say the climate changes! It’s like saying the sun shines and the earth rotates–which happen to be the two things that most affect the weather on this chunk of rock we call planet earth. Of course the climate changes–it’s definitional. What Schmidt means is that he believes man is causing catastrophic global warming–or anthropogenic warming. When the so-called “average temperature” on earth stopped warming about 15 years ago, the true believers had to quickly rename their manufactured crisis to “climate change.”
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Hess Sets Up Scholarship Program at Belmont College

Utica driller Hess Corporation and Belmont College (St. Clairsville, OH) announced last Friday that Hess has established a scholarship program that will make “multiple awards” of scholarships of up to $3,000 per student per year at Belmont. Students may be enrolled in either full- or part-time programs working on either an associates degree or a certificate.

The aim of the program is to help train non-traditional students–those out of work and downsized from a previous job. The awards are not just for those seeking energy-related jobs either…
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