Hope for NY Landowners? Kirkwood Coalition Gets Lease Offer

glimmer of hopeBack in March, MDN started to hear rumors that the Kirkwood, NY Gas Coalition (outskirts of Binghamton, NY, in Broome County) would soon call for an all-hands meeting of coalition members to consider an offer to lease coalition land for drilling (see Kirkwood NY Landowner Group Actively Negotiating Lease Deal). Then all of the wheels fell off the wagon when NY’s highest court decided 3 of 5 town members can, at a whim, decide to ban shale drilling town-wide (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). We figured after that debacle the Kirkwood deal and any other pending deals would likely disappear like a summer morning fog when the sun rises. But what’s this? An offer has been made to members of the Kirkwood Coalition–and it appears to be a pretty good one…
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Feds Slap Appalachian Oilfield Svcs with $129,802 for Back Wages

The federal government has slapped Appalachian Oilfield Services with a hefty fine. The U.S. Dept. of Labor investigated the company and found they were shorting employees by not paying them overtime. So 25 Appalachian employees working in Ohio will be given $129,802 in back wages/overtime according to an announcement by the DOL. Appalachian Oilfield Services is based in Lafayette, LA but as the name suggests, they focus on northeast drilling–providing equipment and personnel to assist with fracking operations. The company has an office in New Matamoras, OH. Here’s the feds tooting their own horn…
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PA Budget Signed by Gov. Corbett – No Severance Tax This Year

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed a Republican-passed budget for the state yesterday. The budget, thankfully, does not include a Marcellus Shale severance tax. It does, however, include new regulations that separate drilling standards between conventional (vertical only) and unconventional (shale) drilling. MDN has long chronicled the battle by PA’s Democrats to transfer wealth from the drilling industry to PA schools, and in the process kill the goose laying the golden eggs in PA (see PPG Op-Ed: Don’t Kill the Marcellus Goose Laying the Golden Eggs). In signing the budget, Corbett axed a bunch of money from the legislature’s budget, which has led to a Republican civil war in Harrisburg…
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Magnum Hunter Buys Ormet Property in OH/WV, More Wells Coming?

MDN has chronicled the sad story of the Ormet aluminum smelting plant in Monroe County, OH. The short version is that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) played a high-stakes game of chicken with Ormet and denied them permission to continuing burning coal to produce their own electricity while they got three Utica Shale wells on their property up and running (Magnum Hunter is the driller). Then PUCO denied Ormet’s request to get a reduced electric rate from the local utility company. Bottom line, more than 900 people are out of work (see Final Chapter of Ormet Plant Closing – Utica Could have Saved It). A reporter from NGI’s Shale Daily has a sharp eye and discovered that Magnum Hunter, the driller of the three Utica wells still operating on the Ormet property, has just purchased Ormet’s property in OH and WV…
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Top Management at Gulfport Energy Continues to Change – New CFO

In January Gulfport Energy announced the sudden retirement of then-CEO James Palm. In April, interim CEO (formerly the CFO) Michael Moore, a numbers guy, was promoted to the top spot as CEO and Ross Kirtley, formerly COO for Ohio operations, was promoted to COO for the entire company (see New Top Management at Utica Driller Gulfport Energy). The vacant CFO position has now been filled. Gulfport reports that Aaron Gaydosik, most recently VP of Finance at Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp, will become the new CFO. Kodiak is a Bakken driller…
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Range’s Next Battle in Robinson Twp: Water Tank Facility

In May MDN told you that after a two-year intentional delay by Robinson Township (Washington County), PA, Range Resources finally won the right to move forward with drilling two wells (see Range Resources Finally Wins Case to Drill 2 Wells in Robinson Twp). Robinson is one of the seven selfish towns that sued Pennsylvania over zoning provisions in the Act 13 law–a case they eventually won. Robinson tries to block drilling as much as they can–but the court has goosed them and told them they can’t stop all of it. Range’s next battle is whether or not Robinson will allow them to build a “tank pad”–a pad with tanks to store fresh water used in drilling and fracking operations…
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XTO Seeks Documents to Prove PA AG Kane Targeted Company

It was obvious from the beginning when Kathleen Kane was elected as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General in 2012 that she had a huge Marcellus Shale chip on her shoulder and that she would go after the drilling industry (see Will New PA AG Go After the Marcellus Drilling Industry?). She’s done just that–targeting the shale drilling industry in several high profile cases. One of those cases–a three-year old accidental spill by XTO in Lycoming County, PA–she reopened after it had been closed. Why? To make an example of XTO (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO). That case is back in the news with a new twist…
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Court: PA’s Landlord & Tenant Act Doesn’t Apply to Oil/Gas Leases

A Pennsylvania landowner signed an oil and gas lease on 98 acres and later sold part of that acreage to someone else. The someone else promptly filed a “quiet title action” making the argument that the lease is invalid because of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. The quiet title action put a cloud on the title to the property and the whole thing ended up in court. PA Superior Court recently ruled that “no,” the lease is not invalid and not under the purview of the Landlord and Tenant Act. Our friends at top law firm Babst Calland break it down for us…
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Athens County, OH Anti-Drillers Try to Delay GreenHunter Dock

The anti-drilling nutters of Athens, OH are at it again. They’ve just discovered what MDN told you on Tuesday–that GreenHunter Water has filed an application with the U.S. Coast Guard to get permission to build a barge facility in Meigs County (see GreenHunter Seeks Approval for Barge Facility in Meigs County, OH). The Athens nutters (see Break the Law in OH, Get an Award – Anti-Drilling Nuttery on Display) are now accusing the Coast Guard of undue secrecy because they didn’t beat the drums and sound the gongs that a private company had filed an application with them…
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