NY Releases Final Fracking Rules – Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

regulationWe finally have the final version of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) from the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This is the document that would control where and how (and if) fracking is done in the Empire State. The Final SGEIS (or FSGEIS), a full copy embedded below, is more than 2,000 pages long. No, we’ve not yet read it. But what we do know is that if drillers can drill and frack a well using less than 300,000 gallons of water, it’s permitted under this FSGEIS. Is such a thing possible? Probably not–at least not economically. You won’t make any money, so it’s a moot point. The FSGEIS is not the final document that will be issued. The very last thing to come will be a “Findings statement” by DEC Commissioner (and anti-driller) Joe Martens. According to state law, Martens cannot issue the Findings statement before 10 days from issuing the FSGEIS. Martens knows he’s going to get his rear-end sued from now until he leaves office, so he’ll take his time before releasing the Findings statement, which will essentially say “we don’t have enough science to prove fracking doesn’t harm people or the environment, so the safe thing to do is disallow it for now.” The phraseology he uses will be scrutinized and will be the basis of what we predict is at least several, possibly many lawsuits. Pro-drillers are not going away. Our property rights have been unconstitutionally stripped away. We will fight until we win…
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WV Sees 7 Pipeline Ruptures Last 30 Days, All Uninspected Lines

Somewhat troubling, at least on the surface of it, is that seven natural gas pipelines have ruptured in West Virginia over the past month because of the very wet spring. That’s according to WV’s chief pipeline inspector. All seven ruptures were along pipelines that are not regulated, and therefore not monitored by inspectors, because they are small gathering lines in rural areas. According to the Public Service Commission (PSC), there are typically only four ruptures of pipelines per year in the Mountain State. Two of the seven ruptures happened to Williams pipelines in Marshall County, a story we previously reported (see 2 Williams Pipelines Rupture in Marshall County After Heavy Rains). There’s only five inspectors for the whole state–and 14,000 miles of pipelines…
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PA Anti-Driller Scroggins Indicted with Felony Counts for Illegal Taping

A little-known (outside of northeast Pennsylvania) anti-driller, Vera Scroggins, was fined $1,000 last month in Susquehanna County court and the judge told her she’s going to jail if she doesn’t pay it (see PA Anti-Driller Fined $1K for Trespassing on Cabot O&G Site, Jail?). This month she was permanently banned from trespassing on Cabot Oil & Gas property in the county (see PA Fracktivist Permanently Banned from Cabot Property). It seems Vera’s legal problems are not over yet. She’s just been indicted on several felony counts for allegedly secretly videotaping and recording a conversation with a lawyer that happened two years ago, without permission…
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Conflict of Interest Prevents Hilcorp Wellpad Approval, What Now?

A strange ending occurred at the Pulaski Township (Lawrence County), PA Board of Supervisors meeting Monday night. The marathon four hour hearing saw Pulaski’s three Supervisors (actually, two of the three) approve one of two conditional use permits to allow Hilcorp to construct a wellpad on the property of Victor A. Litwinovich on Topper Hill Road–much to the consternation of anti-fossil fuel ninnies who were present. But when it came to approving a second Hilcorp wellpad–on the property of Sam Varano and his wife, Beverly, on Evergreen Road–the board couldn’t get a single motion among the three Supervisors to approve it. Why? Because one of the Supervisors is Sam Varano himself–a clear conflict of interest. A second Supervisor is Greg Carna, who owns land adjacent to Varano that is leased to Hilcorp and, presumably, would be included in the Varano well drilling unit–also a conflict of interest. That left the third Supervisor, Lori Sniezek, who won’t vote any Hilcorp matters because she is employed full-time by Hilcorp. Ethics rules barred any of the three from making a motion to approve the wellpad. Without a motion, Varano gavelled the marathon session to a close. What will happen next?…
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Sham Air Study: “Unsafe Exposure” for Those Near OH Frack Sites

We frankly don’t believe the studies being published in so-called peer reviewed journals anymore. These journals have proven, repeatedly, that they are biased and frankly have prostituted themselves out to Big Green causes. It’s not science that gets published–it’s propaganda and advocacy that’s now published. Here’s the latest example: a so-called study of air samples near shale drilling in Carroll County, OH finds that air pollution from fracking operations is deadly. It sneaks in the “c” word–cancer–implying those who live close to fracking operations “may have” an increased chance of getting cancer. The published paper is titled “Impact of Natural Gas Extraction on PAH Levels in Ambient Air” published in Environmental Science & Technology and written by researchers from Oregon State University. Yes, Oregon–a long way from home, no? There was also a single researcher on the team from the University of Cincinnati. Here’s what the authors themselves admit about their “research”: They hung a “small number” of air samplers (23 total) in “non-random” locations, and had homeowner “volunteers” pack up the samples and ship them to Oregon for study. Was there any science involved at all here? If there was, we sure can’t find it…
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West Goshen, PA Reversal: Votes to Approve Mariner East Pipeline

One by one the remaining communities that were fighting Sunoco Logistics and the company’s plans to re-purpose the Mariner East pipeline to flow natural gas liquids is disappearing. Sunoco is working with communities individually to address their concerns and resolve the issue to the point that the company must be near to completing the Mariner East project. As evidence, it was only last fall that West Goshen Township (near Philadelphia) took Sunoco Logistics to court in an attempt to stop them (see West Goshen’s Legal Shenanigans Try to Block Mariner East Pipeline). Yesterday West Goshen officials voted to accept a settlement agreement with Sunoco Logistics. West Goshen didn’t get everything they wanted and Sunoco didn’t either. But the agreement is done and the pipeline, which is already in the ground in West Goshen, will receive some safety enhancements and become operational…
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Williams is Buying Out Williams Partners Subsidiary for $13.8B

In the oil and gas industry, in both the upstream (drillers) and midstream (pipelines) sectors, companies often split themselves into several different companies on paper. It all has to do with taxes and getting as much money as possible to investors. High finance stuff. The trend lately, however, seems to be going in the reverse direction. Instead of creating subsidiaries on paper, midstream companies are recombining into one larger whole. It happened last November when the stockholders (or unit holders) for four Kinder Morgan companies voted to combine into one mothership company (see Shareholders Approve Kinder Morgan Plan to Merge 4 into 1). A couple of things were notable about that recombination: One thing is that Kinder Morgan is the largest midstream company in the U.S. The second thing is that its founder, Richard Kinder, is the man who pioneered the use of MLPs or Master Limited Partnerships as a way of bumping up profits for shareholders. He reversed himself and knit it all back together, on paper. What is perhaps the country’s second largest midstream company, Williams, is now doing the same thing. Yesterday Williams announced that it is buying out its subsidiary Williams Partners LP in a stock deal valued at $13.8 billion. That is, Williams is buying itself–or rather a piece of itself–and streamlining the corporate structure of the company…
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Winners of $100K for 2015 Shale Gas Innovation Contest Announced

A huge congratulations for the four winners of this year’s Annual Shale Gas Innovation Content, hosted by the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC). The four winners each received a check for $25,000 and bragging rights as being among the most innovative with products and/or services that are new, and make a difference in Marcellus and Utica Shale energy. The four winners are: Appalachian Drilling Services, EthosGen, Fairmont Brine Processing and PixController. Here’s the unique products/services each one provides…
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Fracking Shale Will Spur Another 462K Plastics Jobs Next 10 Yrs

Economists at the American Chemistry Council have just published a new report called “The Rising Competitive Advantage of U.S. Plastics” in which they state over the next 10 years U.S. jobs related to plastics manufacturing are expected to grow by 462,000. Why? Because of plentiful and affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids from shale. A decade ago the U.S. was one of the world’s highest cost producers of plastics. Today, because of shale, we’re one of the lowest cost producers. And it gets better every year. More and more manufacturing plants are relocating to the U.S. to take advantage of a cheap supply of plastics and low cost natural gas, made possible by shale energy. Plastics materials makers pay workers on average nearly $85,000 per year. Made possible by the miracle of fracking…
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