For months now, since the announcements of who then Gov.-elect Tom Wolf would appoint in his new administration to head up environmental efforts at both the Dept. of Environmental Protection (John Quigley) and the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (Cindy Dunn), MDN has called attention to the fact that both of those individuals are problematic based on their previous roles in the anti-drilling organization PennFuture. A third member of the Wolf administration is John Hanger, a previous Secretary at the DEP and an early member (supposedly founder) of PennFuture. All three once worked for Democrat Gov. Ed “Fast Eddie” Rendell and now are at the top of the power structure in Harrisburg working for Wolf. MDN friend and ace analyst Tom Shepstone rips the mask off PennFuture and exposes it for what it is in a new article published on his always excellent Natural Gas Now website. Tom delves into the intricate (and sleazy) web that connects PennFuture to anti-drilling organizations like the Heinz Endowments, the Delaware Riverkeeper, William Penn Foundation, FracTracker Alliance and others. Because it’s important for PA citizens to understand who these people are–and because it’s important for PA’s legislators to question (grill) Quigley and Dunn about their anti-drilling activities before confirming them–we bring you Tom’s excellent expose below… Continue reading
PennFuture, the anti-drilling organization that has produced three top lieutenants in the PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration (see Ripping the Face off PennFuture & It’s Former Employees), frequently uses the court system in its attempt to slow or stop the Marcellus industry. One such case was a lawsuit PennFuture filed against Ultra Resources in 2011. Ultra had eight compressor stations scattered across Tioga and Potter counties–all of them many miles apart from each other. PennFuture tried to make the legal argument that all of the compressor stations should be combined together and treated as a single entity for the purposes of the federal Clean Air Act, which would have resulted in either very expensive equipment to reduce each facility’s nitrgen oxide (NOx) output, or perhaps closed some of them down to make the combined total come in under a certain threshold. PennFuture tried to say the eight facilities are “adjacent” for the purpose of the Clean Air Act. Ultra argued adjacent means “next to,” as in sharing a border. It all boils down to what the definition of adjacent means. Earlier this week U.S. District Court for Pennsylvania’s Middle District ruled in favor of Ultra and against PennFuture… Continue reading
A common misconception for those who live in New York–especially dunderheaded anti-drillers–is that “Cuomo banned all fracking” in the Empire State. Sorry you dolts, fracking has been going on in this state for more than 40 years–and continues to this very day. The kind of fracking Cuomo banned is water-based, high volume horizontal fracking. New York’s drillers have and continue to drill vertical wells and frack them using less than 75,000 gallons of water. Presumably if a driller wants to drill a horizontal shale well and use something other than water, they can do that as well. At least, that’s the theory–and it’s that theory that the Town of Windsor (in Broome County, NY) is using to develop a plan to allow drillers to develop new shale wells in the town… Continue reading
It appears PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s severance tax proposal isn’t the slam dunk he thought it would be. Must be time to sneak in a supposedly “impartial study” that says raising taxes on drillers won’t hurt anybody–they ain’t goin’ nowhere ’cause that gas in under Pennsylvania soil. And right on cue the partisan so-called Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO)–populated with Democrats appointed by Ed Rendell and paid with taxpayer’s money–has issued a “research brief” which says the “effective tax rate” on PA drillers four years ago was 5.3%–but today it’s a measly 2.1% (robber barrons!). The new “brief” delights Gov. Wolf and the soak-the-drillers-we-hate-fossil-fuels-anyway Democrats in Harrisburg. This is not the first so-called research issued by the IFO calling for high taxes on drillers. They said the same thing last year–only last year’s report was longer (see PA Partisan Study Finds PA Needs to Soak Drillers with New Taxes). Here’s the latest pathetic attempt to build a case for stealing the money from one industry (oil & gas) to give it away to another (big education)… Continue reading
NOTE: The original version of this article incorrectly stated CONE had hit 1 billion cubic feet per day of throughput. MDN regrets the mathematical error!
In August 2014, CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy formed a midstream joint venture called CONE Midstream to primarily serve to connect their Marcellus and Utica wells (see CONSOL & Noble Energy Form New Marcellus Midstream Company). In October, CONE floated an initial public offering (IPO) to sell units (units are like stocks for master limited partnerships) in the new jv, raising $423 million (see CONE Midstream’s IPO Takes in $423M, Market Cap Already $1.71B!). The fledgling jv is growing up fast. The company has already passed the 500 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of throughput on its pipeline system–six months ahead of schedule. In 2014 the company had $15.3 million of revenue… Continue reading
Maryland’s anti-drillers aren’t going down without a fight. On his way out of office, Maryland Democrat Martin O’Malley set the wheels in motion to allow fracking in the state (see Maryland Gets Ready to Frack! Gov O’Malley Files New Regulations). Almost immediately a Maryland Democrat in the House of Delegates, from a Washington, DC suburb, introduced a moratorium bill (see Maryland Delegate Introduces Moratorium, Before Fracking Begins). That bill isn’t getting any traction, so the Dems have returned to a favorite tactic used by totalitarian governments around the world: you’re guilty until you prove you’re innocent. It’s the exact opposite of the jurisprudence philosophy that underpins the greatest country on earth–ours. In the USA, you’re innocent until proven guilty. But a new bill just introduced in the Maryland legislature, actually supported by Maryland’s Democrat attorney general, would flip that around and presume drillers are at fault if there’s the least little change in water quality, air quality, etc. Under this bill, you’re guilty and YOU WILL PAY until you prove otherwise. In other words, this bill is a ban on drilling flying under a different name… Continue reading
Somebody help us out here. We noticed one day after MarkWest Energy released their 2014 numbers and commentary (see MarkWest Energy Continues to Soar in 2014, New Record for Northeast and MarkWest Energy Investor Phone Call Excerpts + PowerPoint), the company issued two press releases saying they are shopping senior unsecured notes (essentially IOUs) looking to raise money to pay off other money they borrowed in the past. Yes, they’re borrowing money to pay off borrowed money. One of the press releases says they want $650 million, and the other says $500 million. Are these two different tranches of money they’re after ($1.15 billion total)? Or did they issue one press release to supersede the other? And if so, which amount do they really want? Help!… Continue reading