NY Antis Flood FERC in Fight Against Dominion’s New Market Project

By Andy Leahy

stack of papersBy most measures, Dominion Transmission’s New Market Project is a fairly dull $159 million capacity upgrade to an existing natural gas pipeline which runs across upstate New York from the PA line, west of Horseheads, northeasterly to the state’s Capital Region (see the map below). We are now about a month away from the originally forecast April 2015 date when Dominion thought it might get a green light from FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Docket Number CP14-497). September 2015 was originally forecast for beginning construction (280 jobs, all temporary, as are all construction jobs), while November 2016 was the target in-service date (adding 10 to 12 permanent jobs, running forward)…
Continue reading

WV Forced Pooling HB2688 Passes House, Heads to Senate

forced poolingWest Virginia House Bill (HB) 2688 (see WV HB2688 Forced Pooling Bill Continues March Toward Passage) has done what no other forced pooling bill over the past six years has done–it’s been approved by a full vote in the WV House. The House approved HB2688 on Wednesday by a vote of 60-40. The vote came after two hours of spirited debate over the merits–or lack thereof–in forcing some holdout mineral rights holders to allow drilling in certain, limited situations. Why has this bill gone further than the others before it? Probably because it creates a standard that 80% of the mineral rights in a unit must be leased in order to “force” the other 20% into the unit–to allow drilling. That’s one of (perhaps the) highest percentage for any state with a forced pooling provision. The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote…
Continue reading

CBS Philly Manufactures False Story about Marcellus Freight Trains

Is it a case of yellow journalism? Anti-drilling conspiracy? Or is it the case of an ignorant editor at a major Philadelphia news outlet? Take your pick. We’re referring to the headline and accompanying picture (see below) that are 100% false. The headline says, “Local Environmental Groups Warn of Accident Potential From Marcellus Shale Freight Trains” and shows a picture of a train derailment from three years ago that has nothing to do with shale oil. That’s called manufactured news folks. It’s also called a lie. And it appears boldly on the website of Philadelphia’s CBS News affiliate (channeling the lying Dan Rather are we?). The article refers to a new propaganda piece issued by Penn Environment and Frac Tracker Alliance–both strongly anti-drilling organizations. The “report” issued is a “boy who cried wolf” missive that warns PA residents of oil trains passing through the state, coming from the North Dakota Bakken Shale, with scary stories of exploding trains because of shale oil. And therein is the egregious lie–not only is the picture false (nothing to do with Bakken oil or oil of any kind), the headline is false–THERE ARE NO MARCELLUS OIL TRAINS. Any oil or condensate or natural gas liquids in the Marcellus region are transported by pipelines–not rail cars…
Continue reading

PA Gov Wolf Increases DRBC Funding by 73% to 3/4 Million Bucks

On Tuesday, PA Gov. Tom Wolf delivered the most expensive budget in PA history, a budget that plans to steal money from landowners and drillers and give it away to Big Education (see Post-Gazette: Wolf Budget with Severance Tax “a Miss…Utter Folly”). Not only does Tom Wolf want to “restore funding” for Big Education, he also, disappointingly, intends to restore funding for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) so it can continue its anti-drilling ways. Wolf wants to lavish the DRBC with 3/4 of a million dollars, which is a 73% increase over last year’s funding under then-Gov. Tom Corbett. The problem with funding the DRBC is that PA taxpayers are footing most of the bill because other member states, including NY, NJ and the federal government, are short-changing the DRBC–not paying what they owe. Delaware is the lone member that pays what it’s supposed to (which is much less than PA). So PA taxpayers are in the unenviable position of propping up an organization that acts against their interests…
Continue reading

Cleveland Fed Finds PA Natgas Production Up 1000% from 2009-2014

Earlier this week the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland published a paper titled “Trends in Energy Production and Prices” (full copy below). In the paper, Cleveland Fed researchers examine national and Fourth District (KY, OH, WV, PA) trends in energy production and prices. What did they find? OH and WV doubled their natural gas production from 2009 to 2014. However, production in PA went up 1000% during that time, thanks to the Mighty Marcellus. Because of shale gas, energy prices are generally down across the region. Coal production is also on the decline in the northeast…
Continue reading

Anti Groups Sue ODNR to Stop All Frack Waste Disposal in State

With seeming endless supplies of money to file frivolous lawsuits, the virulently anti-drilling and misnamed Food & Water Watch (FWW) along with the so-called FreshWater Accountability Project (FWAP) have, yes, filed yet another lawsuit. Surprise! This time to the two organizations are suing the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) in a case that, if successful, would prevent the ODNR from issuing permits to allow the safe disposal of frack wastewater and drill cuttings. That is, drillers in Ohio (and Pennsylvania, which sends a lot of waste to Ohio for disposal), would have no place to safely dispose fracking wastes, which would (you guessed it) shut down drilling in the Utica and Marcellus…
Continue reading

Bentek Energy: Feb Natgas Production Comes Close to All-Time High

Researchers at Platts’ Bentek Energy division estimate natural gas production in the lower 48 States increased by 0.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 72.3 Bcf/d during the month of February. That’s a 10.5% increase over February of 2014. It still doesn’t quite match the all-time production high achieved just last December of 72.8 Bcf/d, but it comes close (see Marcellus/Utica Lead in New Record High Production for Dec 2014). The main reason February didn’t fly by last December’s high is due to “freeze-offs”–wells that freeze up and stop flowing due to the cold winter weather…
Continue reading

New Report: Housing and Marcellus Shale Development in PA

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly, continues to pump out the reports on the Marcellus Shale and its impacts on the state. In January, the Center published their third report in the Marcellus series (see New Report: Marcellus Shale Drilling’s Impact on PA Schools). In February, they issued their fourth report (see Report: PA’s Youth Not Impressed with Marcellus Industry). In March? Yep–a fifth report. This one is titled “Housing and Marcellus Shale Development” (full copy below). This study takes a look at how you house all those Marcellus workers when they show up to start drilling–and does it affect rent prices?…
Continue reading

Peer Review Fraud at Cornell, Ithaca College re Fracking “Studies”

It seems you have to go all the way to Canada to find real investigative journalism. The Toronto Financial Post exposes the fraud perpetrated by “acting” New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in using a number of so-called “studies” to support his ban fracking recommendation last year that were authored by, and “peer reviewed” by people like the anti-drilling Sandra Steingraber–who is paid with Park Foundation money and holds a position on the faculty of Ithaca College, where she teaches nothing. She’s a paid environmentalist hack. A pretender. The Financial Post calls Zucker’s use of so-called studies written by anti-drillers and “peer reviewed” by Steingraber and other zealots “junk science” in support of “New York’s phoney fracking ban”…
Continue reading