Dunkirk, NY City Council Bites Off the NatGas Hand that Feeds It

bite off the hand that feeds youTalk about biting (off) the hand that feeds you. Get this one: The dunderheaded City Council members of Dunkirk, NY (near Buffalo) voted yesterday to ban fracking. Not only that, they want the entire county to follow suit! City Council members recited, almost chapter and verse, the same worn-out old lies told in Gasland, the fictitious movie from Josh Fox. After reading their comments we’re left to think the sum total of research done by the braintrust in Dunkirk into fracking was to munch popcorn and watch a movie. They apparently bought it hook, line and sinker. What dolts.

Here’s the thing. Three months ago almost to the day Andrew “can’t make a decision” Cuomo visited Dunkirk to tell them that the coal-powered electric generating plant that was about to close, and take some 40% of the local tax contributions to the City with it, had his lordship’s permission to convert to burning natural gas–fracked gas–instead (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). City Council rejoiced. “Yah! We get to keep 40% of the taxes that would have disappeared overnight!” And now? “Ban that evil, nasty fracking.” The very same fracking that will bring natgas from other states to Dunkirk so they can burn it to make electricity. Maybe that electric plant should reconsider its decision and close after all. Hmmm….
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Hilcorp Awarded Permits to Drill 7 New Wells Near Earthquake Zone

Oh oh. It appears one hand does not know what the other is doing. Last week a new series of small earthquakes–barely able to be felt, but there all the same–rumbled through the Mahoning Valley–near Youngstown, OH. Because of injection well related earthquakes near Youngstown two years ago, residents are understandably jittery and wonder if the drilling industry is somehow at fault with this new outbreak. So the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR), out of what they call “an abundance of caution,” asked Hilcorp to stop all drilling and fracking activity in the area (see # of Youngstown Earthquakes go from 2 to 11 – Fracking to Blame?).

Hilcorp readily complied. We’ve discussed (endlessly) that fracking simply does not cause earthquakes–injection wells can and have caused earthquakes, when injecting fluid over an active fault. However, it’s best to play it safe in this situation. Two days after the earthquakes and Hilcorp’s cessation of drilling in Mahoning County, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded Hilcorp permits to drill seven new horizontal shale wells in Lawrence County, PA–about six miles from where they stopped drilling over the border in Ohio. Oops…
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Williams Pipeline Connection in NEPA Leaks Brine Near Local Lake

A Williams pipeline in Susquehanna County, PA used to carry brine (salty water from the depths that comes out long after fracking is done and over) was found leaking earlier this week. A pipeline interchange leaked an unspecified amount of brine and left what appeared to be a copper-colored dust over land owned by the Loomis Lake Association.

The Lake Association is understandably concerned that some of the brine may have leaked into the lake itself. Daily testing is underway to determine if the brine reached the lake. Williams has cleaned up the leftover dust–and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection is investigating. No one is panicking, but everyone is on high alert and keeping a close eye on the situation…
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Youngstown Wastewater Dumping Case Nears End, Lupo to Plead Guilty?

Last year the owner of Youngstown area Hardrock Excavating and its sister company D&L Energy, Ben Lupo, allegedly instructed one of his employees who hauled frack wastewater (through the Hardrock company) to dump the wastewater down a drain–at night so no one would notice. And it wasn’t just one or two times (see Youngstown, OH Illegal Wastewater Dumping Happened “At Least” 24X). The employee and Lupo were eventually caught. After both businesses were effectively closed down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, the assets were eventually auctioned off (see Denver Co Buys OH Wastewater Polluter D&L Energy for $20.7M).

The employee plead guilty and will be sentenced tomorrow. Until now Lupo has maintained innocence. However, the judge in the case has scheduled a “change of plea” hearing for Lupo next Monday in Cleveland. That almost always means the defendant is changing his plea to guilty. To which we say, it’s about time…
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Allegheny Co Exec Bests Range on Deer Lakes Park Lease Deal

In December MDN told you that Allegheny County, PA was close to a deal with Range Resources to all drilling under (not on) Deer Lakes Park (see Range’s Big Money Deal to Drill Under Deer Lakes Park in SW PA). The deal at that time called for a $3.5 million signing bonus and a royalty of 17%, meaning over time the county stands to gain something like $70 million.

The final deal has been struck between Range and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. That old Rich, he’s wily and a tough negotiator. The final deal is a $4.7 million signing bonus and 18% royalties. Now it’s up to the Allegheny County Council to approve it. Let’s see–$70 million+ on one hand with no environmental impacts, or please a few loud-mouthed hippies who watched Gasland and don’t want us to drill. Tough decision…
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MSC Launches Shale Advocates – An Army of Shale Volunteers

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) is the premier organization of its kind for promoting shale drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the MSC has some 300 members and associate members–a veritable Who’s Who in Marcellus drilling. All of the big boys (drillers and midstream companies) and many of the smaller ones belong. The MSC has enormous influence with lawmakers and does a great job with publicity for shale drilling. Just one thing missing–and that’s a way to involve people who “advocate” or support shale drilling but don’t necessary work in the industry or belong to the MSC. How to enlist the help of the army of volunteers who would be willing to spread the word to family and friends–and perhaps nudge their local political officials–to support responsible shale drilling?

The MSC has the answer. Yesterday they launched a new initiative and website called Shale Advocates (www.shaleadvocates.com) that encourages shale supporters–no matter where they are and who they are–to help write letters and emails, and even call, political officials. It is a way to focus the efforts of the vast army of volunteers who support shale energy–a force for good. And frankly, a force for reason in an age of unreason. Here’s more on the new Shale Advocates movement and what the MSC aims to do by launching it…
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More Predictions from Ohio’s State Geologist on Utica Drilling

Yesterday MDN told you that the Ohio State Geologist, Mike McCormac, made a pretty bold prediction (see OH State Geologist Predicts 19K New Utica Wells in Next 19 Years). McCormac’s predictions and thinking are outlined in a new and as of yet, unreleased report. However, as we pointed out, the Akron Beacon Journal somehow got a copy and shared some of the highlights.

The Beacon Journal has published a second article with even more tidbits from the soon-to-be-released report from McCormac:
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New President Elected for 2 Year Term at OOGA

Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) has a new president: David R. Hill has been elected to serve as president for a two-year term. Hill is a native Ohioan–a good thing since Gov. John “foreigner hunter” Kasich keeps an eye on these things. Hill is a long-time independent oil and gas producer and geologist based in Byesville, OH.

The announcement from OOGA:
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PA State Treasurer Rob McCord Unveils Gas Death Plan

Poor old “Pass a Joint for John” Hanger dropped out of the race to be the Democrat nominee for governor in PA. Who will be next? Apparently not State Treasurer Rob McCord. Get this, he’s just released an utterly brilliant natural gas plan–tax the whole darned thing 10%…on everything produced. According to McCord, that will raise $1.63 billion for the state in just the first year.

Of course the plan is, in reality, utterly brain dead and moronic. If such a plan were ever to see the light of day it would effectively kill all shale drilling in the state. Done. Finished. Over. And then instead of the $200 million+ PA now extracts in a reasonable impact fee–they would get nothing. How on earth do these people keep getting elected to office? Here’s more of the moronic McCord gas death plan:
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PA Game Commission Stops Promotion of Moonlighting Staffer

Last week MDN told you about the moonlighting head of oil and gas leasing for the Pennsylvania Game Commission and his impending promotion (see PA Gov Corbett Blocks Promotion of Moonlighter at Game Commission). The independent 8-member board that runs the commission was about to promote William A. Capouillez to the top job of executive director. Capouillez manages the Commission’s 1.4 million acres of land for leasing by day, but in his off hours he assists private landowners with leasing their land to some of the same companies he brokers deals with during his day job. In other words, it has the appearance, if not the realistic possibility, for a conflict of interest.

Gov. Tom Corbett put the breaks on Capouillez’s promotion. He also put the breaks on a deal the Game Commission had cooked up to give it’s outgoing executive director a $220,000 severance package. (Hey, where do we sign up to be members of the PA Game Commission board?) Yesterday the Game Commission said they would not promote Capouillez and they have put a stop payment on the $220K check to outgoing director Carl Roe due to objections from the governor…
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Childlike Green Groups Continue Letter Writing Campaign to Feds

A handful of loud-mouthed anti-drillers with printed letterhead, pretending to represent a popular uprising–a veritable horde–sent yet another ninny nanny letter to Obama’s Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz–because they’re not getting invited to private talks about methane pollution.

Here’s what petulant, ill-raised children grow up to do:
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