The One Issue on Which Anti- and Pro-Drillers Agree

why can't we all just get alongIs there an issue on which both anti- and pro-drillers can agree? Is there ever a time both sides can sit at the same table and discuss a potential problem, and do so without hyperbole and snarky comments? Is there an issue over which both sides can talk and not have it end in shouting? Indeed there is–and it is the issue of air pollution. MDN realizes we’re on shaky ground with our industry friends by writing this, but on several occasions we’ve pointed out there is a growing body of evidence that shows a marked increase in air pollution in heavily drilled areas–mostly from compressor plants, but also from drilling rigs, truck traffic, etc. (see PA DEP Report: Counties with Fracking Have More Air Pollution). The issue of air pollution is enough to unite two neighbors from Dimock, PA who were formerly on opposite sides of the drilling debate.

One of those neighbors starred in Josh Fox’s Gasland II fiction–Victoria Switzer (see More on “Pro-Drilling” Conversion of Gasland II Star from Dimock). We wouldn’t say Vickie is exactly pro-drilling these days, but she’s decided to be realistic and constructive, instead of obstructive, and that’s a positive change. She’s once again on speaking terms with her Dimock neighbor Ron Teel, a pro-drilling landowner. Ron and Vickie both belong to the local advocacy group Breathe Easy Susquehanna County…
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Cracker Talk: Shell Rumored to be Buying Up Land Near Site

Yes, more “cracker talk,” but we’re hopelessly addicted to cracker talk. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Shell is buying up more land around a proposed ethane cracker site in Beaver County, PA. If Shell has decided to not build the cracker, it certainly doesn’t make sense for them to spend money on purchasing land. So, maybe this is a good sign that Shell is moving forward with their cracker?

The race is now on to see who will build the first ethane cracker in the northeast: PA or WV. Is the talk about Shell buying land just more hype by the Pittsburgh media? Or is there something “there” with this story? The latest scuttlebutt about the Shell cracker…
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Sunoco Logistics Planning Second Mariner East Pipeline for NGLs

More than a year ago MDN brought you the news that Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East pipeline–an existing pipeline being upgraded to convey propane and ethane from western Pennsylvania all the way to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia–was completely spoken for (see Mariner East Pipeline to Philly Refinery 100% Committed). Range Resources announced at the time that they would be the main user of the pipeline (see Range Announces They’re Main Shipper for Mariner East Pipeline). Upgrades to the Mariner East are under way now and will be online beginning in 2014.

In re-reading those stories from last year, we should have noticed something we did not. Sunoco said they were considering a second “open season” for Mariner East. If the pipeline is already 100% committed, how can they take on even more customers? Answer: Build a second Mariner East pipeline. Thanks to an excellent bit of reporting in the Harrisburg Patriot-News, we now understand what that statement meant last year. In a story published yesterday, the Patriot-News says Sunoco is working on a plan to build a second Mariner East pipeline across PA. Although there are currently few details, the outlines of where the pipeline may go are taking shape thanks to notifications received by PA landowners in the Susquehanna Valley area…

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Anti-Drilling Cabal Issues Biased Report on Marcellus/Utica Jobs

A collection of highly partisan anti-drillers (people who abjectly hate fossil fuels) get together and issue a “report” that claims to be backed by “research” (a few interviews with a few people in a few counties), and it’s instantly news. The officious sounding and never before heard from Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative has just issued a report saying, “Nah, the Marcellus and Utica Shale industry doesn’t create all that many jobs after all.” Er, right. Who is the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative? A group of five anti-drilling groups who use the word “nonpartisan” so many times if we had a nickle for every time it appears on their websites…you get the idea. This new league of anti-drillers (“cabal” about pegs it) attempts to appear nonpartisan and above it all. They are not. They are completely partisan on the issue of drilling. How do we know? Look at who funds them and their so-called research on employment: The Heinz Endowments, Hillsdale Fund, Park Foundation, and Stoneman Family Foundation. Need we say more?

Below are the press release and the full report issued by the cabal. It’s not really worth anyone’s time to read it–we present it to you so you are informed of the latest coordinated and scripted attack against shale drilling–so when you see Reuters/Bloomberg/AP/Gannett et all pick it up and breathlessly report it as real news, you’ll know what you’re looking at. Just more propaganda from the usual suspects…
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Marcellus Drilling Helps Fix Biggest Polluter of Chesapeake Bay

Natural gas will help clean up the single largest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. What is that source? Acid mine drainage that pours out of a single hole called the Old Forge borehole drilled by the federal government (Army Corps of Engineers) in 1962. Some 60-100 million gallons of acid mine water pour out of that hole every day–into the Lackawanna River which dumps into the Susquehanna River which empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

Where does all that water come from (what causes it), and what does natural gas have to do with fixing the problem? Read on…
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New Report Goes Back to Basics: What is Fracking & Is It Safe?

Every now and again it helps to take a step back and review the fundamentals–the basics. A wide swath of the American public still doesn’t understand what fracking is, and only reads the occasional headline that seems to paint the picture that shale drilling is negative or dangerous for the environment. Wouldn’t it be great to have a “this is basics of shale drilling and fracking” kind of document? A primer of sorts, that strips out the wild allegations and concentrates on the facts–including facts about the negatives of shale drilling?

We now have such a document. Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Heartland Institute issued a 36-page primer/research paper titled, “Hydraulic Fracturing: A Game-Changer for U.S. Energy and Economies” (full copy embedded below). This excellent paper answers the “What is it and how does it work?” questions along with environmental safety questions. The paper is written in understandable language and is extensively footnoted (i.e. they offer proof for their statements). Here’s the announcement about this important new resource:
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AAPL Seeks to Set the Record Straight on Role of Landmen

Landmen, rightly or wrongly, sometimes have a bad reputation. Landmen fulfill an important role in signing landowners to leases to allow shale drilling on or under their property. The common perception (misperception) is that a landman swoops in to town and using equal parts carrot and stick, entices/cajoles/pressures dimwitted country bumpkin landowners into signing a lease they might not have otherwise signed (see MDN Goes to the ‘Promised Land’). Are there some bad landman apples in the barrel? Like any profession, the answer is yes (see When Landmen Go Bad: Butler, PA Landman Arrested for Fraud). However, the vast majority are honest, upstanding and dedicated professionals–and they do a job vital to the drilling process.

The American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) has 18,000 members. They recently launched a public relations campaign called “Meet Us” in which they use short videos to convey the truth about who landmen are, what they do, and how they do it…
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