NY High Court Rebuffs Norse Request to Re-hear Town Ban Case

nopeWe won’t bother to chronicle, once again, the long fight in New York State over the right of a town board with 3-5 members deciding that every resident in a township will lose the right to use their property the way they want to (even though property ownership is sacrosanct under the U.S. Constitution). In the People’s Republic of New York, the mob rules. The rule of law is out the window. And so, a few New York high court judges who want to retain their posts under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, decided nobody really reads the Constitution anymore anyway–and that local town boards (not individual landowners) will now decide whether or not shale drilling will take place (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). One of the litigants in the case was Norse Energy, forced into bankruptcy by New York’s now 6+ year moratorium on fracking. Norse took over leases from Anschutz Exploration and sued the Town of Dryden, NY over their idiotic frack ban. Based on a recent Colorado case that is similar (and found against so-called “home rule” by towns), Norse asked New York’s highest court to re-hear the case (see Norse Energy Appeals Town Ban Case Back to NY High Court). The crooked judges said “nope”…
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Dunkirk NY Electric Plant Natgas Conversion Challenged in Lawsuit

There is precisely one (and only one) decision that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made with regard to clean-burning natural gas that we know of. Last December Gov. Cuomo trudged through three feet of snow in Dunkirk, NY to announce a deal had been struck to convert the local coal-burning electrical generating plant to burn natural gas instead (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). If the plant is not allowed to convert, it will close and 435 megawatts of electricity will disappear, and along with it, 40% of the taxes paid to local governments and the local school district will evaporate too. You might think environmentalists would be happy to have the plant convert from “dirty” coal to clean-burning natural gas. How have they responded? By filing lawsuits against the conversion…
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Civil War Between Cecil Supervisors/Zoning Board Over Compressor

As MDN reported in early October, MarkWest Energy finally (after four years) won the right to build a compressor station in Cecil (Washington County), PA (see MarkWest Wins Court Case to Build Compressor Station in Cecil, PA). The compressor station will be built on property owned by Range Resources. It’s Range’s gas that will flow through that station on its way to market. The Cecil Board of Supervisors voted to not challenge a Commonwealth Court (a lower court) decision that said the zoning board erred when denying MarkWest a permit to build the compressor station. However, the zoning board itself can still appeal the decision (see Cecil Supervisors Vote to NOT Appeal MarkWest Compressor Decision). It appears to us like a civil war has erupted between the Cecil board of supervisors and the zoning board…
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Fitch Ratings Says Chesapeake/Southwestern Megadeal a “Win/Win”

There are three ratings agencies (the “big three”) that rate companies and governments on their financial health, including the ability to borrow money and pay it back. The big three are Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. Fitch, in a move we have not seen before, issued a press release on Friday commenting on last Thursday’s really big news that Chesapeake is selling 413,000 acres and 435 drilled wells–all of it in the Marcellus/Utica–to Southwestern Energy (see Chesapeake Sells Close to 25% of Marcellus/Utica Operation). Fitch jumped in with their own analysis of the deal and has pronounced it a “win/win”…
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Antero Resources’ Line of Credit Upped $1B to $4B

One of the largest Marcellus/Utica drillers is Antero Resources. Last week we reported on Antero’s third quarter update in which they tout that by using shorter stage lengths (SSLs) when fracking wells has resulted in better producing wells (see Antero Resources 3Q14: Shorter Stage Lengths Yield 20-30% More Gas). Looks like Antero’s bankers liked that news too. They’ve just extended Antero’s credit line an extra $1 BILLION!…
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DC Lawyer: PA Landowners Should Get Involved in Pipeline Process

A surprisingly (mostly) fair and balanced article from anti-drilling PBS reporter (we’d call her an anti-drilling advocate) Marie Cusick with StateImpact Pennsylvania from last week on the topic of pipelines. The occasion was a good-sized meeting of 200 or so in Lancaster County, PA–folks who turned out to hear some out-of-town lawyers talk about how they can deal with the inevitable Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project proposed by Williams. The project will mean 177 miles of “greenfield” pipeline–pipeline that digs up completely new trenches across “virgin” land where there is no existing pipeline. Washington, DC attorney Carolyn Elefant was one of the speakers at the meeting and spoke to StateImpact following the meeting…
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Economist Briefs WVU-P on Odebrecht Ethane Cracker

In February, the former director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and professor emeritus at WVU, Tom Witt, released a study about the coming economic miracle that will be the Odebrecht ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg, WV (see Economist Releases Report on WV Cracker Plant’s Economic Impact). Witt’s previous employer, WVU, also hired him to brief them about this coming economic miracle. They specifically want to be sure their educational programs will help prepare the local workforce. Witt briefed the Parkersburg Board of Governors earlier this month. What did he tell them?…
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BG Poaches Statoil CEO Helge Lund with Big Bucks

Statoil is a Norwegian oil and gas company that has a number of joint venture deals–along with their own drilling program–in the Marcellus and Utica Shale (see MDN’s list of Statoil stories here). So it was with interest that we noticed a changing of the guard at the top. Statoil CEO Helge Lund was lured away by BG Group. What lured him away? Big money. BG gave Lund a £12m “golden hello” (that’s a roughly $19.4 million signing bonus) and the possibility of annual earnings of £13.5m (or $21.8 million, per year!) if he hits all his targets. BG wanted Lunde bad. We searched and found one reference on MDN to BG–they spent $950 million in 2010 to lock up 654,000 acres of leases here in the U.S., including 186,000 acres in the Marcellus, although they have no active drilling program of their own in the northeast (see Recent Marcellus Shale Joint Venture Deals). What does Lunde’s change from Statoil to BG mean for northeast shale drilling?…
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