NEPA Anti Group Wins Lawsuit, Dropped from Terrorist Watch List

watchlistIn 2010, activities of the anti-drilling group Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, Inc. (GDAC) of Luzerne County, PA (Wilkes-Barre area) caught the attention of the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) Foundation, a company contracted by Pennsylvania’s Department of Homeland Security to monitor potential threats in the Keystone State. The ITRR Foundation put GDAC’s name on a list of organizations to keep an eye on–a so-called “terrorist watch list”–which lists potential threats against “critical infrastructure” in the state. The list with GDAC’s name was circulated to law enforcement agencies and to the drilling industry as well. When word of their inclusion on the list leaked, GDAC huffed and puffed and sued. Lo these 4+ years later, it appears they’ve won that lawsuit and the right to be permanently kept off the list…
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Gulfport Energy Enters WV Utica, Leases in Ohio/Marshall Counties

Looks like Gulfport Energy, with 184,000 acres of leases and an active driller in eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale, is making moves into the West Virginia Utica Shale. We spotted an article that says Gulfport has purchased an 87.5% stake in “hundreds of lease agreements” in Ohio and Marshall counties in WV. We don’t know how many acres are involved (yet). But we do know who they’ve purchased the leases from…
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Strange: DEP Fines Range Resouces $1.75M for Water Withdrawals

A strange announcement from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday says that Range Resources has agreed to pay $1.75 million to the state for failure to keep track of water withdrawals made by the company (takes a lot of water to frack, much of which comes from creeks and rivers), and for exceeding the amount of water withdrawn according to the plan they have on file with the DEP. What’s strange about the announcement is that a) you can’t find it on the DEP website itself, b) Range was making withdrawals and not recording/tracking the withdrawals from 2009 to 2014–five years–but apparently the DEP didn’t notice or didn’t care, and c) $950,000 of the $1.75 million “fine” (more than half) will go to fix up and operate the Hamilton Abandoned Mine Treatment System in Findlay Township, Allegheny County…
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Quigley Says Opportunity to Get Marcellus Drilling “Right” in PA

Pennsylvania Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf’s intended appointment of John Quigley to become the next Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to trouble us. We’ve heard from MDN subscribers, people we respect, who say that Quigley is a good bloke, lay off on being critical of his appointment. However, we continue to rely on our eyes and ears and what we see and hear bothers us. Quigley once worked for an avowedly anti-drilling organization–PennFuture. That was enough to concern us. But now we have have his own comments to rely on. Last week he answered, on the record, questions from the Harrisburg Patriot-News. Specifically he indicates that so far PA has not “gotten it right” when it comes to Marcellus Shale drilling, and he looks forward to helping the Keystone State get it right. He doesn’t say what, exactly, has been gotten “wrong” with drilling, which is what troubles us…
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Waterless Fracking Company GASFRAC Files for Bankruptcy

There’s been some talk in New York that perhaps waterless fracking could play a role in moving the Empire State forward with shale drilling. When such talk happens, it usually centers on Canadian company GASFRAC. Not long ago GASFRAC was engaged in fracking its first Utica Shale well in Ohio (see Details on GASFRAC’s Waterless Frack Test in OH Utica). However, last Thursday GASFRAC announced they’ve filed for bankruptcy in Canada. According to the press release they will remain in operation and the management team in place now will continue to run the company. But let’s be honest, a company in bankruptcy doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in a cutting-edge technology that could save New York. The fact remains that water-based fracking is still the cheapest, most efficient way (currently) to frack…
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Real Reason for EPA Methane Rules: Prop Up Expensive Renewables

One of the keynote speakers at last year’s Shale Insight conference, held in Pittsburgh, was the dynamite Stephen Moore. Steve is the chief economist at the Heritage Foundation–the country’s premier conservative think tank, headquartered in Washington, DC. He’s also a Fox News contributor. Steve not only gave a dynamite speech on the role of shale drilling at Shale Insight, he also came along for the riverboat cruise MDN helped organize. It was great fun to talk with Steve and a number of other industry luminaries who came along for the cruise. Steve is back with a killer editorial in the Washington Times that skewers the latest attempt by the Obama EPA to throttle shale drilling by using the “boogeyman” of fugitive methane. As he points out, Steve says cows farting (our word) contributes more methane to the atmosphere than leakage from oil and gas drilling operations. Be careful farmers–the EPA is coming with corks for the cows next!…
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Can Risk-Averse Phila. Gas Works Successfully Expand LNG Plant?

Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) was up for sale, a winsome suitor was found (UIL Holdings from Connecticut) and the deal to sell the nation’s largest publicly-owned gas utility was obliterated by a corrupt City Council. We won’t recount the history (see our stories here). With the $1.86 billion deal now dead, PGW is moving on and trying to act and behave like a private sector company–except it’s not a private sector company. Last week they announced a 12-day “open season” to gauge interest in expanding their liquefied natural gas plant, a plant that would be fed by Marcellus Shale gas (see Phila. Gas Works Launches 12-Day Open Season to Expand LNG). However, LNG is not regulated like the delivery of natural gas, PGW’s main “business.” That is, there’s risk involved–and the people who bear the risk for PGW, being a municipal-owned utility–are the ratepayers, not the investors/owners, which would be the case if PGW were a private sector company. Are Philly residents willing to risk higher rates if PGW bungles the LNG expansion?…
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Let’s Slap 5% Tax on ALL PA Natural Resources, Not Just Shale Gas

One of Pennsylvania’s top conservative (Republican) strategists and consultants, Charlie Gerow, offers up a sobering picture of the hard work ahead for liberal/leftist Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf when, on Wednesday, he assumes office and we drop the “-Elect” part in his title. Gerow points out that Wolf got elected by offering few specifics about his plans to raise taxes, except for a tax on the Marcellus Shale–he was crystal clear on that. When Wolf assumes office on Wednesday, all of his campaign prevaricating comes to an end and he will have to start offering real proposals for big problems. Gerow evaluates the prospects for a Wolf severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas this way:
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Farmers National Opens Minerals Management Branch in Northeast

Farmers National Company (FNC) calls itself the “largest independent mineral management firm” in the country. Started in 1929, the company works with landowners, farmers in particular, to turn their farms into profitable businesses. They also list and sell agricultural properties–one of the largest real estate firms in the country that do so. But it is their “mineral management” service that caught our eye. In a press release issued today, FNC announced they’ve expanded their mineral management services into Appalachia–Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio (Marcellus/Utica country) to assist landowners with managing oil & gas leases and royalties…
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