Will Utica Shale Drilling Come to Athens County, OH Soon?

coming soonFrom time to time Athens County, OH pops up on the radar screen–mostly related to a misguided attempt by a few anti-drillers to ban fracking (see last month’s article Athens Election Board Votes Against Anti-Frack Ballot Measure).

However, there has been no Utica drilling in Athens County so far. Is that about to change? The Athens News says drilling is inching steadily closer. They take a close look at the prospects (and evidence) that drilling may come to this southeastern Ohio county–soon…
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Niles, OH Votes to Lift Frack Ban One Month After Passing It

Well that didn’t last long. One month after Niles, OH City Council voted to spite its face by cutting it’s nose off (i.e., voted to ban fracking), they’ve voted to lift the ban. Why? Because the ban language also bans businesses from selling to the drilling industry–including the city itself (situated in Trumbull County), which sells a lot of water for fracking (see Niles, OH Considers Vote to Rescind Ill-Advised Frack Ban for background).

On Wednesday, Niles City Council voted to lift the ban. Congratulations on wising up!…
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Forbes Article Exposes Cornell Prof Howarth and His “Research”

Earlier this week MDN told you about the newly released Environmental Defense Fund research study that found (surprise!) not nearly as much methane leaks out of shale wells as scaremongers like Cornell professors Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea want you to believe (see New Study Final Nail in Coffin of Inflated Fugitive Methane Claims). It won’t surprise you that Prof. Howarth is indignant that his research has been called into question (yet again).

An article on the Forbes website by George Mason University’s Jon Entine does a masterful job of investigating anti-frackers like Howarth and Ingraffea and what really motivates them. Hint: Follow the (Park Foundation) money…
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NJ Company Becomes Agent for NatGas to Power PA Electric Plant

In October 2012, Moxie Liberty LLC of Vienna, VA applied for and received permission from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to build Pennsylvania’s first new electric generation plant to use Marcellus Shale gas to power it (see PA DEP Approves 1st New Electric Plant to Use Marcellus Gas). The new plant will be built in Bradford County, PA, the state’s most heavily drilled Marcellus Shale county. A month ago we learned that the project had been sold to Panda Power Funds of Dallas, TX and will now be called Panda Liberty (see Moxie Liberty Sells PA Electric Plant Project to Panda Power). Yes, we childishly made fun of the name!

More “new” news about Panda Liberty. One might think (as we did) that the new power plant will just hook up to whatever local driller or midstream company wants to sell them cheap, locally produced Marcellus Shale gas. However, that would be the wrong conclusion…
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3 New Bills Would Change PA’s 1979 Oil & Gas Lease Act

On Monday, three new bills were introduced into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that, if passed, will update the state’s 1979 Oil and Gas Lease Act. Two of the new bills were introduced by anti-drilling Rep. Jesse White–he of fake ID shame (see PA Rep. White Says Fake IDs were “Error in Judgment”).

A quick run-down on the proposed new bills and what they do:
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WashPo Turns on Anti-Drilling Friends Over Cove Point LNG Exports

MDN told you the happy news that the Dept. of Energy, under new Secretary Ernest Moniz, has approved a project to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cove Point, Maryland (see Celebrate! Dominion Wins DOE Approval for MD LNG Export Facility). However, Dominion is not yet out of the woods with respect to putting shovel to ground–there are another 60 or so signoffs required by various agencies before they can begin to build. Anti-drillers, like the Sierra Club, have vowed to fight Dominion tooth-and-nail every step of the way, hoping they can block the LNG export facility.

In an amazing (to us) editorial, the Washington Post editorial board turns on anti-drillers (whom they usually support) and tells them, in essence, to get a life and leave it alone. The Post says we need that LNG export facility and we need it now…
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Chesapeake Axes CNG Vehicle Program Too :-(

It seems that Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler’s ax-wielding will affect more than just the company’s bottom line–it may affect all of us. The brisk pace of layoffs at the company continues (see God, Veggies & Bees – What’s Next on the Chesapeake Chopping Block?). Sadly, one of the programs deeply affected by these reductions is the division set up to grow usage of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles by average consumers.

Chesapeake has been one of the leaders in producing technology to make it possible for consumers to “fill ‘er up” with CNG. However, the company’s CNG division has now also come under the budget ax, which means retail CNG efforts in this country will, at least for a time, be “substantially diminished”…
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Chevron Wins 1st Approval for New Regional HQ Near Pittsburgh

In May MDN told you about Chevron’s purchase of a 61-acre site in the suburbs of Pittsburgh where they plan to build a huge, 350,000 square foot office complex that will be home to 1,750 people when it’s done (see Chevron to Build New (Big) Regional HQ in Pittsburgh Suburb). It is an important sign that Chevron is committed–in a big way–to the Marcellus and Utica Shale.

On Wednesday the Chevron project moved one step closer to reality when Moon Township officials gave it their thumbs up…
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UGI to Invest $1.2B to Upgrade Pipelines in PA to Deliver NatGas

UGI is Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas distributing utility serving more than 586,000 natural gas customers in 45 counties. Along with that many customers comes a lot of underground pipelines–some of which need to be replaced. So UGI is on a quest to hire at least 100 new full-time workers to help replace them. They plan to spend $1.2 billion on the project to upgrade their infrastructure in PA.

So what does UGI’s new pipeline replacement project have to do with the Marcellus Shale?…
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