Yesterday Tom West, lead attorney with The West Firm in Albany, NY, issued a “demand” letter to Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens (full copy of the letter embedded below). The hand-delivered letter (arrived around 12:30 pm we’re told) tells Martens that, as MDN revealed last week, The West Firm has been retained as legal counsel for Norse Energy (see Norse Energy Suing NY Gov Cuomo to Force Release of SGEIS). The letter asks (actually demands) that Martens inform West within the next two weeks of the “date certain in the near future” he plans to release the SGEIS drilling regulations…or else.
The “or else” is not spelled out in the demand letter, but we know what it is: If Martens does not release the drilling rules promptly, West will file an Article 78 lawsuit to force Martens–and Gov. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Nirav Shah–to get off their rear-ends and just do their jobs. That’s what an Article 78 is–a citizen or company’s legal way of forcing recalcitrant and disobedient public servants (Martens, Cuomo and Shah) to do the job they were hired to do. So three cheers for Norse Energy and Tom West! Finally we should start to see a resolution to the 5 year, 4 month and 10 day old defacto ban (i.e. “moratorium”) on shale drilling in New York…
The Utica Shale is being developed faster than other shale plays–it is perhaps the fastest ramp-up in the short history of U.S. shale plays: 0 to almost 1,000 shale wells permitted (609 of them drilled) in the last 3 years. Some of the lessons being learned in the Utica are being carried to other, more “mature” plays like the Marcellus and the Bakken. So what’s going on in the red hot Utica?
A status report on the Utica Shale, courtesy the Youngstown Business Journal and the recent DUG East conference in Pittsburgh…
Thanks to our ever-helpful second set of eyes, Chris Acker, MDN was alerted to a Seeking Alpha article with a table showing the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for commercially developed U.S. shale plays. It is a way of ranking shale plays (specific regions within plays) that shows the profitability of the plays. The higher the IRR percentage, the better/more profitable that play is. A dollar of investment goes further with a higher IRR.
And what did we spot in scanning the chart? The top spot–the most profitable shale play in America–is the “Marcellus Super Rich” area located in southwest PA and the northern panhandle of WV. The second most profitable play, virtually tied with the Marcellus? The “Utica Liquids Rich” region in eastern OH. It’s a fascinating table. Have a look…
There’s a lot of trash talking about how many jobs shale drilling “actually” creates–by those desperate to stop drilling. In classic disinformation style they throw out wildly inflated numbers, say those of us on the pro-drilling side made those claims, and then knock down the “straw man” they created when employment numbers don’t measure up. “See! The drilling industry lied to you about how many jobs they would create.” That’s the tact they use to try and discredit this jobs-creating industry.
The truth is, shale drilling has created thousands of new, direct jobs in the oil and gas industry–in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. It’s also created thousands more jobs in related industries, like environmental consulting, trucking, etc. So let’s, for a change, talk about real numbers, shall we? The Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services, official tallying agency for employment numbers in Ohio, says Ohio’s natural gas and shale employment numbers have gone up 30% over the past two years…
No one has ever mistaken actor Martin Sheen for someone who’s actually smart. He’s a good actor, but not that good! However, Sheen is pleasant enough to watch, especially as he ages. And he has a nice voice–perfect for voice over work. So Sheen supplements the long periods when the phone doesn’t ring by pimping himself out to liberal/loony causes. The latest “Martin for hire” work is playing now–an “expose” on fracking.
Apparently the program airing the so-called expose is called Breakthroughs–a semi-regular series on PBS narrated by Sheen, who dutifully reads what is set before him–outright lies, big huge whopper lies, and smaller insidious lies–but all lies. Sheen doesn’t care he’s lying to you–he’s getting paid by whomever. For the fracking episode Sheen is being paid by the rabidly anti-drilling Environment America to pedal their pap to the snooty crowd that watches public television…
Recently MDN brought you the story that New York State is the only state in the union that does not allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and fueling stations (see LNG Storage/Fueling Stations Latest Anti-Drilling Target in NY). Such facilities were banned after a tragic accident at a Staten Island LNG facility killed 40 workers in the early 1970s. Wacko anti-drillers oppose building new ones because, well, they’re wacko. Calmer heads, however have prevailed and the Dept. of Environment Conservation expects to finalize new regulations early next year to allow construction of LNG storage/fueling facilities that can super-cool and store natural gas in a liquefied state.
Why is it important that NY get with the program? Why do we need LNG anyway? Because entire trucking fleets–like that of UPS–are converting from diesel to LNG because it’s cleaner burning and cheaper. LNG is a true win/win, regardless of what the ninny nanny naysayers say. Once the new regs are in place, the DEC estimates NY will see 21 new LNG facilities built over the next five years…
Someone who used to work at the National Park Service (NPS) is probably in the unemployment line this week because he or she made the boss look bad. Last week the NPS had to retract negative comments inserted by an unnamed (and hopefully unemployed) NPS staffer about shale drilling in the official NPS position on fracking forwarded to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is formulating their own rules to regulate fracking on federal lands and wanted (intelligent) input from other agencies.
As part of the official comments/views on fracking from NPS, some
idiot unnamed staffer at NPS actually quoted the goofy Cornell professor Tony Ingraffea and his wild ideas (published in the compliant New York Times) about fracking being “a gangplank to more global warming.” Whatever Tony. NPS now says they don’t agree with those crackpot comments…
A majority of Americans are clueless when it comes to fracking. They don’t know what it is! For those of us who have tracked and followed the issue for years, it’s beyond comprehension–but there is a wide swath of the American public that either doesn’t care, or hasn’t felt the need to tune in to the debate over their energy future.
A recent survey of Americans found that 58% (!) don’t know anything about fracking–don’t know what it is, don’t know what it does–they just don’t know. It’s sad. However, it’s also a huge opportunity for those of us on the pro-drilling side of the debate to educate them on the objective truth–on the benefits of fracking and what it means for every single citizen in the country…
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: