WPX to Make 2nd Attempt at Removing Water Tanks in Franklin Twp

water buffalo tankIs Franklin Township in Susquehanna County, PA the new Dimock? Let us explain. You may recall that 17 families in rural Dimock, PA claimed that nearby natural gas drilling by Cabot Oil & Gas led to water well contamination from methane (natural gas) and/or fracking chemicals. The history of Dimock is well-established on this blog and in numerous other places. It was made famous by Josh Fox and his Gasland fictional movies. No one seriously believes the water in Dimock was contaminated with fracking chemicals because it’s never happened–anywhere. Not once. Methane, on the other hand, is a different matter. It can and does migrate–sometimes.

To this day Cabot disputes that their drilling led to methane contamination of Dimock water wells. The PA DEP investigated and said it did. The case is now closed on Dimock (see Cabot Buys Second Dimock, PA Property on Carter Road). One of the more theatrical aspects of the Dimock story was when Cabot removed DEP-ordered water tanks, called water buffaloes, from homes that refused to allow Cabot to install DEP-ordered methane filtration systems. Some of the families, like Craig and Julie Sautner, were suing Cabot for big bucks and didn’t want their water supply fixed. When Cabot came to remove the water buffaloes, it was a media circus complete with celebrities bleating on camera. In some respects, a town about 15 miles from Dimock–Franklin Township–is turning into the same media circus. Different driller, different families, same issue of removing water buffaloes…
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Groton, NY (borders Dryden) Votes DOWN 6-Month Frack Moratorium

Whattya know? Maybe there is hope for the People’s Republic of Tompkins County, NY after all. Tompkins County is home to anti-drilling organizations including the partisan Park Foundation and the many people it funds–like Cornell professors Tony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth, and the wife and husband lawyer team of Helen and David Slottje, who make mischief at local town board meetings, encouraging them to institute illegal bans and moratoriums on fracking.

One of the the towns the Slottjes duped into passing a ban was Dryden, NY–in Tompkins County. The Dryden ban has been appealed all the way to the highest court in New York, the Court of Appeals where the case will be heard in early 2014. We’re sure the taxpayers of Dryden enjoy footing that portion of the legal bill not generously covered by the Park Foundation. Anywho, the town next door to Dryden is Groton. The Groton town board voted down a proposed six-month moratorium on fracking at their Tuesday night meeting. It’s a small victory for democracy and right thinking. Too bad some of Groton’s common sense wouldn’t rub off on their Dryden neighbors…
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The Secret Back Room Deal to Raise OH’s Utica Shale Tax

Ohio’s top two industry trade groups, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) and the Ohio Petroleum Council (OPC) are not “on the same page” when it comes to the Republican raise-taxes-on-Utica-drilling plan 3.0. MDN recently told you about the latest incarnation of Gov. John Kasich’s desire to “spread the wealth around” in classic socialist fashion (see OH Repubs Offer Excuses Why This Time High Utica Taxes are OK). OOGA was in on the secret dealings to craft the latest tax hike (shame on them). OPC was not and so far they’re staying neutral and not giving their support. Not yet anyway. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The story about OOGA vs OPC in raising Utica Shale taxes:
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PA Sen. Bob Casey “Pressures” Shell to Commit to PA Cracker Plant

This is rich. MDN has long chronicled the flakiness of U.S. Bob Casey (Democrat, PA) on the shale drilling issue. On one hand he wants the heavy hand of the federal government to regulate drilling, violating the Constitution in doing so. On the other hand, like a typical sleazy politician, he has his hand out and wants the money and jobs shale drilling generates (see The Two Faces of Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) on Shale Drilling).

The hand-stuck-out-for-money-and-jobs Casey is manifesting again at present. He just fired a letter off to Shell to “pressure them” into making a decision about moving forward with an ethane cracker in PA. Which is kind of funny, that he’s posturing and preening and pretending to goad Shell along when Shell is already well along and likely to move forward with no regard for what Bob Casey wants or thinks (see Odds in Favor of a PA Ethane Cracker Just Went WAY Up). What a waste of a Senate seat. Here’s what the preening Bob Casey said to Shell…
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MarkWest Chartiers Twp Plant Sued for “Trespassing” on Air Space

Two couples with the same last name and who both live near the MarkWest gas processing plant in Chartiers Township (Washington County), PA are suing MarkWest claiming the plant is causing air pollution and is “trespassing” on their air space. MDN has chronicled problems at the plant in the past (see MarkWest Served Violation Notice for Chartiers Processing Plant).

Both couples, with the last name Sethman, report a variety of physical ailments they claim are caused by air pollution from the plant…
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Mercer County Landowners Suing Halcon Get Small Victory

Last fall Halcon Resources signed letters of intent with landowners in Mercer County, PA to lease some 60,000 acres for drilling, via CX Energy (Co-eXprise). In September 2012 Halcon called a meeting with landowners and told them they would only proceed with leasing about half of the acreage (see Halcon Says No Drilling for Half of Mercer County Landowners). Needless to say the half that were jilted didn’t take it well. In fact, they felt defrauded by Halcon and filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against Halcon.

The U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit has just passed the case (“remanded” it) back to a Pennsylvania trial court, which is a small victory for the landowners. How so? Well, it’s complicated, but we’ll do our best to explain it…
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Marcellus Shale Coalition Appoints New Slate of Officers

A new chairman of the board has taken the helm at the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). The MSC, arguably the Marcellus’ premier trade group, announced yesterday that their new chairman will be Scott Roy, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Range Resources Corporation. In addition to Scott, the positions of vice chair, treasurer and secretary will also change.

Stepping into the vice chair position is Heather Lamparter, VP at EXCO Resources; treasurer will be Mark Hager, senior government affairs rep at Williams; and secretary will be Gary Smith, VP & general manager for EOG Resources. Scott Roy as chairman of the board should not be confused with MSC president Dave Spigelmyer who is responsible for running the day to day operations of the organization. Here’s yesterday’s MSC board announcement:
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