JLCNY Legal & Moral Response to NY AG’s Request to Dismiss Lawsuit

scales of justiceYesterday MDN told you about New York’s shameful Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, had filed to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York that seeks to have the courts force Gov. Cuomo and his lieutenants to do their job and release new drilling regulations (see NY AG Schneiderman Files to Dismiss JLCNY Lawsuit Against Cuomo). Immediately following our publication of that article, the lead attorney for the JLCNY, Scott Kurkoski, emailed MDN two legal documents he had filed in responding to the AG’s request to dismiss.

The first document (embedded below) is the 43-page “Petitioners-Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss”–the official response to Scneiderman’s shameful attempt to deny justice to residents of New York. It contains all of the legal reasons why the Article 78 case should move forward, and why Schneiderman’s request to dismiss should be denied. The second document (also embedded below) is a 113-page “Affirmation of Scott R. Kurkoski in Support of Petitioners-Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Respondents-Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.” Only a lawyer can come up with a name like that! This second document is Scott essentially saying, “I’m a lawyer in this case with personal knowledge, and I support the JLCNY’s request to deny dismissing the case, and here’s why…” The first document contains the legal reasons why the case should move forward, the second document contains the moral/ethical reasons and pertinent background. Why read through a 113-page legal document?…
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WV Chief of Homeland Security Not Concerned About Drill Cuttings

For all the hoopla from anti-drillers in West Virginia over radioactivity in drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling the borehole), and the disposal of those cuttings in landfills, you would think the state is in imminent danger of becoming a nuclear waste dump–glowing in the dark and visible from satellites passing through the night sky (see WV Anti-Drillers Continue to Harp on Drill Cuttings in Landfills).

The chief of Homeland Security and Emergency Response for the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection says the DEP recently tested drill cuttings from EQT heading to the landfill and found radiation levels to be so low, they were barely detectable. In his words, “I am not concerned about it”…
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Peters Twp School Board Votes Down Seismic Testing

Peters Township in southwestern Pennsylvania is one of the seven selfish towns that challenged the Act 13 oil and gas law passed a few years ago–and won (see Ongoing Fallout from PA Supreme Court’s Wrong Act 13 Decision). What did they win? The state is in disarray and doubt about the future of the $200 million plus per year collected from Marcellus Shale drilling, thanks to Peters and the other litigious towns. The “selfish seven” believe their own local zoning boards with no geologists or oil and gas experts are better equipped to handle complex matters of oil and gas drilling than the geologists and experts who work for the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. The very definition of hubris.

So it should come as no surprise that the Peters school board has just voted to deny a request by a seismic company to run some wires across school property to conduct seismic testing and mapping of what lies below not only the school’s property, but the land neighboring the school’s property…
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MarkWest Orders 70 Cat Gas Compressor Engines for Marcellus/Utica

Caterpillar has scored one of the largest orders it has ever seen for its Cat® G3600 engines from MarkWest Energy–for use in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. Yesterday Caterpillar Oil & Gas announced MarkWest has ordered 70 G3600 engines, which will be built in Cat’s Lafayette, IN plant. The engines are powered by natural gas and will be used in MarkWest compressor stations and processing plants.

This order, representing millions of dollars and numerous jobs, is just one more example of how shale drilling benefits everyone across the country–not just landowners and the drilling industry. Below is the press release from Caterpillar with more details, including other vendors that will be involved in assembling these “compression packages” for MarkWest, along with a news report from Lafayette, excited to have this huge new order…
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Controversy Over Belmont County, OH Drill Cutting Processing Ctr

Anti-drillers flying under the name Freshwater Accountability Project Ohio of Grand Rapids, Ohio (FWAPOH) are spinning wild tales of radioactivity and a rush job by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) in permitting a new facility that will process drill cuttings in Belmont County, OH. Last month Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry answered questions from local residents about the proposed site for EnerGreen 360’s new facility to be built at the Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park on State Route 800 North near Barnesville.

Even though the only thing to be processed by the company is leftover rock and dirt from drilling holes in the ground, anti-drilling zealots are opposed because they hate fossil fuels. So they spin yarns about radioactivity and mass poisoning. Fortunately it seems that science and cooler heads will prevail and that EnerGreen’s proposed facility will be built…
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PA Farm Bureau Joins Chorus Against Chessy on Royalty Issue

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is adding its considerable weight behind the effort to pass new legislation that will guarantee landowners in the state don’t get shafted by companies like Chesapeake Energy when it comes to royalty payments. As MDN has previously reported, the royalty situation in PA has turned messy with claims that Chesapeake Energy has engaged in an elaborate scheme to pass post-production costs on to landowners–costs they technically don’t have a right to deduct (see Chesapeake Shafting Landowners out of Royalties Mess Gets Messier). What it means is that some landowners are getting peanuts–far below the state mandated 12.5% minimum royalty.

The Farm Bureau is up in arms because its members are up in arms–and so the organization is pushing for new legislation to plug the loophole that Chesapeake (and maybe others) are apparently exploiting…
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Pipeline Information Website for Chester County, PA Goes Live

Lynda Farrell and her husband Steve, landowners in Chester County, PA (near Philadelphia) first learned of pipelines in 1992 when a pipeline close to their home was excavated to check for a leak. In 2008 Williams informed the Farrells and their neighbors they wanted to expand a pipeline in their area (you can see where this is going). In 2011, Lynda, tired of not having good information about what pipelines were where, and who’s planning what, started a non-profit called the Pipeline Safety Coalition.

Lynda’s efforts have borne fruit. Chester County, where she lives, has just launched a Pipeline Information Center complete with interactive maps of where existing pipelines are located, who owns them, and more. Lynda is now on a mission to get the other 66 PA counties to do the same thing. While we suspect Lynda considers herself to be against shale drilling and that her motivation in starting the Pipeline Safety Coalition is to whip up public dissent to new pipelines (and thereby shale drilling), we believe she’s done PA residents a good service. The site and the information are very good, and we’re big believers that more information when it comes to drilling and pipelines is a good thing. So, hats off to Lynda…
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York County Park Getting $150K Upgrade Courtesy Marcellus $

Even though there is no Marcellus Shale drilling in York County, PA, residents of the county will get $150,000 of improvements to a county park courtesy of Marcellus Shale drilling. MDN sees at least two or three of these kinds of stories–every week. We ignore most of them, but every now and again we bring you one of them to remind you of what the state is about to lose thanks to the “selfish seven” townships that sued the state to gut the Act 13 Marcellus drilling law–a law that provides for an impact fee that raises over $200 million per year that is distributed throughout the state–some of it in places like York County.

Here’s the story of the $150,000 upgrade coming to a York County park courtesy the drillers and landowners out of whose pockets the money comes…
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Fill ‘Er Up with CNG! ShaleNavigator Shows 1,400 CNG Locations

ShaleNavigator, the premier web-based mapping solution for shale oil and gas information (and the source for maps in MDN’s Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook) has just added a new layer to their excellent mapping service–CNG fueling stations. The new layer pinpoints 1,400 locations where CNG (compressed natural gas) is available or will soon be available across the country. The CNG locations include existing public fueling stations, planned fueling stations, and private fueling stations. ShaleNavigator has provided MDN with a breakdown for the Marcellus/Utica region (see it below).

In addition to the new CNG “layer” on ShaleNavigator, be sure to check out the new frack wastewater facilities map layer, along with overlays to show where existing pipelines are located, and well and well permits. ShaleNavigator is a really cool service…
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Moody’s Says Marcellus is Different–and Better–than Other Plays

Moody’s Investors Service has just published a new 11-page (5,231 word) report titled, “US Exploration and Production: Marcellus’ Natural Gas Bounty Rewards Early Adopters.” Pricetag? $550 smackeroos. A bit too pricey for us for an 11-page report! However, Moody’s has kindly shared some of the high-level conclusions they reach in the report, including this one: “Exploration and production (E&P) companies that extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale play will benefit more than natural gas producers elsewhere in North America, and their advantage isn’t likely to change anytime soon.” We agree.

The report says early movers like E&P companies including Chesapeake, Southwestern and Anadarko, and midstream companies like MarkWest and Sunoco Logistics, have a distinct and ongoing advantage. Here’s a bit more from their summary of the report in which they point out the Marcellus is not like any other shale play:
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