PA DEP Sec. Chris Abruzzo Resigns Following Porn Email Scandal

letter of resignationWe warned you about Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane when she was elected (see Will New PA AG Go After the Marcellus Drilling Industry?). It wasn’t long before she started trolling years-old cases to see what she could turn into big headlines, attempting to damage the Marcellus industry (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO). She not only went after the big players like XTO, she’s done her best to shut down smaller players too (see Minuteman Enviro Says PA AG Office “Terrorized” Family Members, Filing Lawsuit). Now her latest scalp. She went digging through five year-old computer records and found a couple of emails received and sent that contained porn on the computer of PA state employee Chris Abruzzo, back in 2009, when Abruzzo worked for then-Attorney General (and current Governor) Tom Corbett–long before Abruzzo was appointed as Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). A week after she started airing her charges to left-leaning media outlets, Abruzzo resigned…
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PA DEP Sec. Abruzzo’s Last Public Interview…with MDN

Sadly, Pennsylvania’s Sec. of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, Christopher Abruzzo, resigned yesterday. See our lead story today for the details. Below is a podcast/recording of what MDN believes is Abruzzo’s last publicly recorded interview before he resigned–an interview with MDN editor Jim Willis. The interview was conducted at the Shale Insight event on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. It was one day later, on Sept. 25, that news broke of five year-old emails, passed between Abruzzo and friends, that allegedly contained pornographic images. The issue triggered Abruzzo’s resignation yesterday. Regardless of his departure, Jim’s interview concerned important issues for the environment and the drilling industry in PA. Here’s the tough issues Jim tackled during the interview…
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Major Milestone: PA PUC Rules Mariner East IS a Public Utility

Sunoco Logistics is not home free yet–but almost. As MDN readers will know, for some time anti-drillers have attempted to prevent Sunoco Logistics from repurposing their 400+ mile Mariner East pipeline that stretches from western PA to Philadelphia to begin flowing natural gas liquids–ethane and propane. The legal tussle has been over whether or not the pipeline is a “public utility” with the right of eminent domain and the right to be exempt from local zoning ordinances. Bear in mind the Mariner East pipeline has been in the ground for decades, always considered a public utility in years gone by. Local municipalities are now seeking to stop a string of 18 pump and 17 value stations (in 31 locations) that will be needed along the pipeline’s route in order to flow the ethane and propane. So the municipalities launched a legal fight to remove Mariner East’s classification as a public utility. Yesterday the Commissioners of the PA Public Utility Commission put that issue to rest once and for all…
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Beck Energy & Munroe Falls Go to Court – Again

Munroe Falls, a “city” with 5,000 people located near Akron, OH (in Summit County) has a longstanding feud (and court case) with Beck Energy over Beck’s right to drill a shale well on private property within city limits. The drill site was evaluated and properly permitted by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) in 2012, but as soon as Beck started drilling, the city slapped them with a stop work notice for violating local zoning ordinances. That set off a court battle over “home rule” and the rights local municipalities have over oil and gas activity. An Ohio Appeals Court eventually stuck down home rule (see OH Appeals Court Strikes Down Home Rule for Drilling). The case was appealed and is now before the OH Supreme Court, awaiting a decision (see Home Rule Case Heads to Ohio Supreme Court). A new/second case was filed earlier this week by Beck Energy against the city of Munroe Falls. It seems about three barrels of oil were spilled at the site and the city is (unbelievably) preventing Beck from cleaning it up…
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Cornell Grad Students Publish Well Water Study from Upstate NY

Some real science coming from Cornell University–who knew it was possible? Normally we associate the discredited theories of professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea with the storied Cornell. They claim burning coal is better for the environment than burning natural gas (see Forbes Article Exposes Cornell Prof Howarth and His “Research”). It took a grad student at Cornell to conduct some real, fundamental, in-the-field research that will benefit Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling–IF it ever happens in New York. Doctoral student Lauren McPhillips is the lead author of a research paper recently published in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies. The study is titled “Assessing dissolved methane patterns in central New York groundwater” (full copy below). McPhillips and her fellow researchers recorded the chemicals found in 113 water wells in Chenango County, NY, to serve as a baseline when/if widespread shale drilling comes to the county…
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CONSOL Energy Adds 2 New Board Members

Marcellus/Utica Shale driller CONSOL Energy has just added a couple of new board members to their Board of Directors–the people that the CEO reports to and ultimately the people charged with ensuring the company grows and flourishes. CONSOL’s executive chairman, Brett Harvey, says the two are coming on the board at a “critical time” for CONSOL. The reason they’re being added? Two current board members are geezers, er hitting retirement age, and won’t be nominated to remain on the board at the next annual meeting. Here’s the details on who is joining the board at CONSOL…
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O&G Editor Provides Key Insights into Shale Revolution

The editor-in-chief for Oil and Gas Investor, Leslie Haines, has been closely watching the shale revolution since it began in 2005. In a wide-ranging interview with The Energy Report, Haines talks about energy independence, whether or not we’ll ever stop importing fossil fuels, the Marcellus and Utica, depletion rates for shale wells, what constitutes a “monster well” and a whole lot more. It’s an interesting read…
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Demystifying Ethane + Let’s Go on a Trip to Saturn

SaturnSay it ain’t so. Ethane can be found on Titan–one of Saturn’s moons?! Now how did those nasty, evil frackers already get their claws into Titan? Don’t the Titanians know that faffing about with ethane and methane and all of those “anes” will cause global warming?

We are, tongue-in-cheek, introducing a serious bit of information. In very basic terms ethane–an NGL coming from the ground along with methane–is “cracked” in huge petrochemical plants (“crackers”) to produce ethylene, which is converted into plastic like polyethylene. We’ve been writing a lot about the (now) three cracker plants in various stages of planning for the northeast that will use ethane from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (see Thailand & Japan Partner to Build 3rd Big Marcellus Ethane Cracker). We spotted what we consider a really good description of ethane and the cracking process that goes a little beyond the mere basics. We found it enlightening and thought you would too:
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