NY Gov. Cuomo Kills Prospects for Fracking

Breaking NewsThis is a very sad day for all New Yorkers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to not proceed with high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the state. MDN editor Jim Willis has just finished listening to a live announcement in which the State Dept. of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker embarrassed himself by admitting he relied on shoddy rumors and flawed studies–and even lack of studies–to draw the conclusion that fracking should not be allowed. Zucker repeatedly said “there’s not enough research” to convince him that fracking is safe for NY’s human population.

NY’s anti-drilling Commissioner of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Joe Martens, then said, essentially, “yep, good enough for me, no fracking” and that was that. Cuomo, acting like the buffoon that he is, then said he has no further role to play in the debate and it’s case closed. How sad and how tragic. The only recourse left is to vote Cuomo out of office, which won’t happen now for another four years. We who live in New York have just been royally screwed by our governor. No wonder this state is dead last in jobs, economy, and every other important measure. No wonder people are leaving the state in droves. We predict it’s a trend that will only accelerate with this decision.

More on NY’s decision tomorrow. This is just a quick note to alert you.

4 Marcellus Companies Debut on Debtwire’s Distressed Watchlist

WatchlistDebtwire is an interesting service. They keep an eye on publicly traded companies to give subscribers to their service a heads-up on which companies are potentially carrying too much debt–companies that may, due to changing economic circumstances, have a hard time paying back that debt. Think of Debtwire as an early warning system to let you know BEFORE Moodys or Fitch Ratings downgrades a company’s credit rating. Later this month Debtwire will issue a new Distressed Watchlist with 176 companies on it. Some 55 new companies will be added to the list from the energy industry alone. With the addition of the 55 new companies, the Distressed Watchlist will have 70 (of 176) companies from the energy industry–making 40% of the list top heavy with energy companies. We have what we believe is an MDN exclusive–Debtwire has sent us the top 20 energy-related companies on the list. Of the top 20, four of them have operations in the Marcellus/Utica region…
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PA Gov-Elect Wolf Transition Team Includes DRBC’s Carol Collier

Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has selected the members of his takover team (sometimes referred to as a transition team). Who has he selected when it comes to taking over the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)? Those are the two organizations most closely involved with the issue of shale gas drilling in the Keystone State. MDN has reviewed the list of takeover team members for both the DEP and DCNR (see it below). We’ve identified those we consider either pro-drilling (highlighted in green) or anti-drilling (highlighted in red). At a glance it appears to be pretty evenly split. However, the big red flag for us is the appointment of Carol Collier, former director of the Delaware River Basin Commission, to the DEP takeover team. Interesting thing is, Wolf’s website doesn’t mention Collier’s most recent position at the DRBC–perhaps hoping no one would notice?…
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Dominion Fined $55K for Run-off in WV Creeks

Dominion Transmission has agreed to pay $55,470 in fines for violating the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act. The fines are the result of WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) investigations that started in November of 2012. The DEP investigated “slips” or slopes restored after Dominion dug trenches to lay pipeline. The slopes were not restored properly and sediment and erosion ended up in area creeks. Dominion is required to fix the creeks and pay the fine…
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EXCO Resources Suspends Dividend Payments to Shareholders

It’s never a good thing when a publicly traded company suspends dividend payments. EXCO Resources, an oil and natural gas driller with operations in Texas, Louisiana and a small drilling operation in the Pennsylvania Marcellus, announced on Monday that because the price of oil has gone so low, they’ve suspended dividend payments to shareholders. One more case of how low oil prices can and does affect drilling for natural gas in the northeast…
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NY Anti-Drillers Ramp Up the Rhetoric, Demand Cuomo Delay Again

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo nears a decision to allow fracking (what other decision can there be?), anti-drillers are once again becoming more shrill. Especially anti-drillers who also hold public office–they’re the worst of the lot–total nutjobs who want to deny property rights to the citizens they supposedly represent. Even though we now have over 200,000 horizontally fracked shale wells, many of which are right across the border in Pennsylvania, and a multitude of scientific studies, the call goes forth again (from NY anti-drillers) that Cuomo should delay a decision. In other words–no drilling is acceptable to the unreasonable anti-driller. Not now, not ever. So the antis are ramping up the rhetoric ahead of a decision they fear will go against them…
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Chesapeake Gets $4B Line of Credit Refinanced Extra 5 Yrs

With numbers that are really too large to get your head around, Chesapeake Energy announced yesterday that their creditors have agreed to give them another five years to pay back $4 billion–and the deal will allow them to borrow up to another $1 billion along the way! To be fair, it is an “unsecured revolving credit facility.” That is, a line a credit. Write a check and if you haven’t borrowed up to the maximum, the check will clear. The announcement does not say how much of that $4 billion, originally due in December 2015, has been used and how much is left to be used. Here’s what Chessy did say yesterday:
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PA Sen Brewster’s “Excrement for Education” Severance Tax Bill

Pennsylvania State Sen. Jim Brewster (Democrat from Allegheny & Westomoreland counties) wants to be known as the politician that killed Marcellus drilling in the Keystone State. That’s the only thing we can conclude from his efforts to introduce (yet again) a bill that would tax Marcellus drilling into idleness. Brewster’s plan calls for KEEPING the impact fee and ADDING a severance tax to it–but deducting impact fee payments from the severance tax. Complicated cockamamie? Yeah. Brewster proudly calls his bill/plan “Extraction for Education” because it will give all of the severance portion raised (5% or whatever portion it works out after impact fees) to teachers’ unions. We call it “Excrement for Education”…
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PA Senators to Re-Introduce Impact Fee Bill for Pipelines

Two Philadelphia-area state senators, John Rafferty (Republican from Collegeville), and Andrew Dinniman (Democcrat from West Chester), will introduce legislation in January that would extend the Act 13 impact fee to include newly built gathering and transmission pipelines in the state. The new fee/tax would be based on the amount of acreage used by the pipeline, which includes the entire right-of-way on either side of the pipeline. According to the senators, most of the revenue generated would stay with the local counties and towns where the pipeline is located, in keeping with the intent of an impact fee. The industry is pushing back, saying pipelines have a minimal impact…
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