NY Assembly Once Again Passes Frack Moratorium Bill (Yawn)

yawnYesterday two sleazy New York City politicians–Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Robert Sweeney–announced that, as they have done for the last three years running, they have arm-twisted downstate Democrats to approve an Assembly bill that would continue to ban hydraulic fracturing for (unbelievably) another three years–even though it’s already been banned for six years! Assembly bill A.5424-B was passed mostly along party lines. Donna Lupardo-D, whose district includes potential drilling locations in Broome County, NY, shamefully voted “yes” to pass it (she needs to be tossed at the next election). Not that any of it makes a hill of beans worth of difference. It will never pass the Republican-controlled Senate in NY…
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Western NY Power Plant Approval to Convert from Coal to Natgas

Last December His Lordship, the man-child Andrew Cuomo, slogged through the nasty snow in western New York to grant a wish to some of his subjects. He told Dunkirk that they have his permission to convert a coal-burning electric generating plant to burn natural gas (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). It may not sound like a big deal, but that plant was a whisker away from closing–and if it did, it would have gutted the region’s budget. The power plant contributes 42% of the revenue the City of Dunkirk collects in taxes, and 30% of the budget for the local school district. How did Dunkirk repay NRG Energy for keeping the plant open? By shoving a big stick in their eye with a vote to ban fracking (see Dunkirk, NY City Council Bites Off the NatGas Hand that Feeds It). How’s that for gratitude?! Last week the state Public Service Commission announced their final approval on NRG’s $140 million plan to convert the coal-burning plant to natgas…
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OH Landowners Lose Important Lease Case to Chesapeake

Sometimes the drilling industry gets a well-deserved black eye for their sleazy actions. This is one of those times. Chesapeake Energy took over low-ball leases signed in Jefferson County, OH in 2007 that awarded landowners $10 per acre. The lease calls for paying $10 per acre until the land is drilled. Original term of the lease was five years. But at the end of the five years Chessy automatically renewed it based on something called “paragraph 19” in Ohio’s contract law. Chessy says the language in the lease allows them to renew with the same screw-ya terms. Thing is, landowners who waited now get thousands per acre when signing a lease…
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PA Residents Rank Gasland Dead Last in Trustworthy Info Sources

Who do Pennsylvanians trust when it comes to information about Marcellus Shale drilling? A poll of PA residents in 21 counties–between June and October 2012–tried to answer that question. The results of that poll, and an analysis of the results, is published in the June 2014 Energy Research & Social Science journal. Titled “Hydraulic fracturing and the management, disposal, and reuse of frac flowback waters: Views from the public in the Marcellus Shale,” the poll shows that of the eight primary ways people were getting information about fracking, dead last in “trustworthiness” was Josh Fox’s fictional movie Gasland. What strikes MDN as odd is why it took a year and a half to publish the results…
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Williams/Access Midstream Deal Continues to Reverberate

The news continues to roll in about the proposed merger/buyout between Williams and Access Midstream (see Big News: Williams Partners Buying Access Midstream for $6B). As MDN reported yesterday, such a merger has the potential to create the country’s largest midstream company (by market capitalization), potentially displacing Kinder Morgan from that lofty throne. The stock market certainly likes what it sees in the proposed merger. Williams’ stock ended trading yesterday up 19% in a single day, closing at $56.02 per share. More on the proposed deal and what Williams CEO Alan Armstrong said yesterday about it…
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Utica Shale Academy Having Tough Time Finding Students

It was only three months ago (March 2014) that a new charter school in Ohio was launched to great fanfare. The Utica Shale Academy in Salineville (Columbiana County), OH was founded to develop energy trade skills in high schoolers. It’s a very cool idea. Get this–it doesn’t even cost anything to attend! There’s just one problem at the Utica Shale Academy–not enough students have signed up to attend…
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Martians Threaten Lawsuit Against PA Town to Prevent Drilling

For some time MDN has chronicled the liberal push-back from anti-drillers in the Mars School District in Butler County, PA. First we told you they need their heads examined after refusing a lease from Rex Energy that would have netted money “for the children” on the order of $1 million (see Earth to Mars (School District) – Time to Check into Funny Farm?). Then we told you that supervisors in Adams Township, where the Mars School District is located, wisely decided to not restrict drilling by Rex Energy on property near the school (see Adams Twp, PA Votes to NOT Block Drilling “Near” Mars School). Now the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is saying it’s “not a given” that the agency will grant Rex a permit to drill on any property near the school…
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150 Members of Congress Sign Anti-Dumping Letter to Commerce Sec.

MDN has chronicled the recent story of other countries “dumping” steel pipes in the U.S., selling them at below what it costs to manufacture them in order to corner the market and drive U.S. manufacturers out of business (see “Dumping” Leads to 177 Jobs Lost at PA Marcellus Pipeline Plant). In an effort to keep up the pressure, 150 members of Congress, from both major parties, have signed a letter by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) to the Dept. of Commerce urging them to make a full and complete investigation of the dumping practices by South Korea and other countries…
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