OH Minority Report: Shut Down Wells Before They Cause Earthquakes

Minority ReportThe Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management for the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (currently Rick Simmers) is a man with a lot of power. He has the power, according to a ruling just handed down on August 12, to make his own decisions about suspending permits to operate in the absence of specific violations of a law or regulation. In September 2014 Simmers suspended permits for two wastewater injection wells in Trumbull County, OH after a very low level earthquake was detected close to those wells (an earthquake that couldn’t be felt at the surface and caused no damage of any kind). American Water Management Services sued saying they hadn’t violated any laws or regulations on the books and their permits could not just be arbitrarily revoked like that. But the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission said nope–Tom Cruise, er, a, Mr. Simmers can arbitrarily do what he wants when there is no specific rule or guideline or law–because he has the best interests of the people at heart…
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It Speaks! An “Ecosystem” has Filed to Join a Lawsuit in PA

Better be careful, the water table running under your property may decide to sue you for sinking a water well into it and withdrawing water for drinking, showers, etc. What…Absurd? Funny? Foolish? We’re not kidding. It seems that water tables and rock and dirt are now considered “ecosystems” and, if a lawsuit is allowed to stand in a Pennsylvania court, such an “ecosystem” has the right, under law, to sue. A motion has been filed by the radical leftist PA-based group Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) on behalf of an ecosystem to intervene in a federal lawsuit to defend its own “right” to exist and flourish. Background: In 2013 the CELDF convinced enough ignoramuses in Highland Township in Elk County, PA to pass a so-called Community Bill of Rights. Essentially it’s a way to prevent wastewater injection wells from being drilled in the township. Seneca Resources filed a lawsuit to overturn the illegal law. Highland Twp taxpayers are now defending their illegal action with $upport from the deep pockets of Big Green groups (i.e. the CELDF). In an attempt to bully Seneca into backing down from the lawsuit, the CELDF claims to speak for the ecosystem and has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the ecosystem. It’s utter bull crap of the highest order–but a dangerous precedent if allowed. We can see your dog suing you, the trees that ring your property suing you, wrongful death lawsuits for killing a snake…you get the idea. An ecosystem filing a lawsuit would be funny, if it weren’t such a tragically vicious attack against the fabric of this country and the HUMANS that live in it (the only living things with “rights” under our Constitutional form of law)…
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CELDF Tries to Shut Down GreenHunter’s OH Injection Wells

The radical leftist PA-based group Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is making mischief in neighboring Ohio. The CELDF is using some of its millions of Big Green dollars to file a lawsuit against Meigs County, OH Commissioners because the commissioners refuse to put an illegal ballot measure up for a vote in November. The CELDF pressured the citizens of Highland Township in Elk County, PA in 2013 to pass a so-called Community Bill of Rights–the same kind of law they want Meigs County to adopt (see today’s companion story about the ecosystem that speaks). Meigs County already has two injection wells recently brought online by GreenHunter Resources, with plans to bring another two online in the near future (see GreenHunter Brings 2 New Injection Wells Online in Meigs County, OH). GreenHunter has built out a barge terminal along the Ohio River in Meigs County where they plan to unload barged brine for disposal (see GreenHunter Resources 1Q15: Bets the Ranch on OH Injection Wells). The CELDF so-called Community Bill of Rights would stop GreenHunter’s injection wells and the barge terminal from operating. Can you imagine the lawsuits and the amount of money Meigs County residents would have to pay out if that happened? It would likely bankrupt the county. Meigs County commissioners rightly seek to protect the citizens they were elected to represent from this horrific economic apocalypse. And so now, the CELDF is suing Meigs commissioners because they won’t allow the ballot measure to proceed…
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Is Wayne County, OH Sheriff Breaking the Law re NEXUS Pipeline?

It appears that an anti-pipeline member of the Wayne County, OH sheriff’s department, Capt. Doug Hunter, has convinced his boss, Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, to ride roughshod over the members of the department–telling deputies they can’t, in their off-duty hours, moonlight as security guards for the NEXUS Pipeline. Hunter’s argument to Hutchinson is that a member of the sheriff’s department going out with surveyors, who have been threatened by anti-pipeline wackos, somehow “intimidates” landowners. Even though the sheriff’s deputies are not in uniform, not driving a police car, and are otherwise unrecognizable to landowners as belonging to the sheriff’s department when they tag along to be sure the surveyors don’t get accosted by the peace-loving landowners the sheriff is “sworn to serve.” Sheriff Hutchinson bought Hunter’s argument hook, line and sinker. And so Sheriff Hutchinson has told his deputies what they can and can’t do in their off-duty hours. Hmmm. We wonder how the deputies like being told what they can and can’t do when they’re off the clock? We wonder if they like the sheriff preventing them from earning extra money working for a private company (a common practice with off-duty law officers)? Could the sheriff himself be breaking the law by disallowing his deputies from working for one specific private company, when (we presume) he allows the very same practice for other private companies?…
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Stark County, OH Judge Orders Sheriff to Assist NEXUS with Surveys

In Summit County, OH, a county judge has denied NEXUS Pipeline’s request to force recalcitrant landowners to allow surveyors on their property (see Summit County, OH Judge Denies NEXUS Request to Survey Properties). In neighboring Stark County, it’s the reverse. A judge in Stark County granted NEXUS a court order allowing them to survey properties where the pipeline may potentially run. And whereas in Wayne County (borders both Summit and Stark) the Wayne County Sheriff won’t let his deputies work as off-duty security guards for NEXUS (see today’s story questioning the legality of the Sheriff’s action), the judge in Stark County has ORDERED the sheriff there to enforce NEXUS’ right to enter properties to survey them. The Stark County sheriff is telling his on-duty deputies to accompany surveyors to protect them. Is your head spinning yet?…
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Differing Versions of How PA Budget/Severance Tax Talks are Going

baseball bat kneecapsWhere does the Pennsylvania budget negotiation/standoff stand? Depends on who you ask. There have been some intense negotiations over the past few days (a room with a bunch of men hollering at each other). When he emerges from the meetings, PA Gov. Tom Wolf, the most liberal governor in the United States, paints a smile on his face and mouths unspecific platitudes about making progress. When Wolf’s top surrogate emerges, State Sen. Vincent Hughes (Democrat from Philadelphia), Hughes says they aren’t any closer to getting Republicans to cave on a Marcellus Shale-killing severance tax. And that irks him. And Hughes blusters that there will be NO budget without a severance tax as part of it. Good luck with that Sen. Hughes. We applaud Republicans for preserving the Marcellus industry–what’s left of it in this low price environment. Let’s hope Republicans don’t cave to the bluster and deceit being pedaled by the Democrats in Harrisburg. We certainly understand the Dems are in a real bind. They PROMISED the teachers unions big money in return for their support. This is a payoff–shaking down the Marcellus industry to give the money to overpaid teachers and union bosses. And if Wolf doesn’t pull it off–he can kiss a second term good-bye as far as the unions are concerned. They play for keeps and Wolf knows it. Here’s the latest in the ongoing budget battle…
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New NatGas Powered Electric Plant Coming to…Rhode Island?!

Yet another new electric generating plant that will use abundant, cheap and clean-burning natural gas to power it was recently announced in…Rhode Island? Yep–Rhode Island, the socialist paradise on the East Coast. Home to old money and people who oppose change of any kind. At a big ceremony last week none other than RI’s Gov. Gina Raimondo joined the CEO of Invenergy to announce the Clear River Energy Center–a 900 megawatt electric generating plant that runs on natural gas. The new plant will lower RI residents’ electric bills by a collective $280 million and replace aging coal and oil power plants–cleaning the air in the process. With the jobs created, the investment in the facility, and lower electric rates, it’s calculated this single plant will have a $1.3 billion impact on the economy of RI. Now if we can only get either the Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct or Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast pipelines built…
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Moody’s Downgrades EXCO Resources Credit Profile to the Basement

We don’t mean to be piling on EXCO Resources–honest. We just report what we notice. We’ve been reporting for some time that EXCO appears to be in financial trouble (see our EXCO stories here). Just yesterday we brought you information about EXCO’s #1 stockholder, Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. (see EXCO Resources #1 Stockholder and his “Distressing” Investment). Today we noticed an investment bulletin issued by Moody’s Investors Services, one of the top two or three such credit ratings agencies that evaluate the credit worthiness of companies, governments, even countries. Moody’s issued a notice yesterday about EXCO–essentially downgrading the company’s credit risk to one of Moody’s lowest ratings categories–Caa1 and Caa3…
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Frack Wastewater Treatment Market Still Worth $1.9 Billion

Even though we’ve had a dramatic decline in global oil prices–a price collapse from near $100 per barrel to less than $45 per barrel in under a year, and even though that price collapse is directly related to less shale drilling and fracking everywhere–including the Marcellus/Utica, water reuse/recycling in the Marcellus Shale is still in demand says a new report by Lux Research. In fact, the market for frack water management across the country is still estimated to be worth $1.9 billion, not including water transportation and disposal…
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