2 Anti-Drilling Dems Soundly Defeated in Mars School District Vote

My Favorite MartianTwo anti-drilling parents who are agitating to strip away private property rights from their neighbors in Middlesex Township, PA–Amy Nassif and Patrice Tomcik–were soundly defeated in their run for the Mars School District board of education. MDN told you back in June that three Martians tried to get on the ballot, but only two made it (see Anti-Drilling Martians Running for School Board in November). The two Democrats who made it, Nassif and Tomcik, are part of an anti-drilling cabal attempting to stop the legally permitted Rex Energy from drilling several gas wells some 3/4 of a mile from the school on the false premise that by doing so they will endanger the kiddies. The other voters in the Mars School District have said “Enough!” with a very loud voice. It’s obvious there’s overwhelming support to move ahead with drilling. Unfortunately the matter is currently tied up in court (see Landowner Lawsuit Against Martians NOT Dismissed After All). Here’s the good news story that the Martian Democrats were soundly defeated in Tuesday’s election…
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4 Antis Opposing NY LPG Storage Facility Lose Big in Local Election

Today’s lead story on MDN is about the defeat of two anti-drilling Martians in Tuesday’s election–but this story is a close second in importance. Since 2010 a debate has ragged in Schuyler County, NY over whether or not to allow then-Inergy, now-Crestwood Midstream, to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake into underground storage for LPG–liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane). We’ve covered the story extensively on MDN over the years. The current status is that an administrative law judge is reviewing the plan, but ultimately the head of the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will grant a final decision on whether or not to allow the plan to move forward. Unfortunately the DEC is mired in politics–controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is in turned influenced by his lunatic left wingnuts. Over the years some of those wingnuts like Sandra Steingraber, so-called “scholar in residence” at Ithaca College (paid to do nothing but trot around lying about fracking), and Josh Fox of Gasland fame have protested and gotten themselves arrested at the facility during publicity stunts. Antis need a forum to vent and they can’t get themselves arrested every day (that gets old), so they turned to the local town board (Town of Reading) where the LPG plant would be located. Board meeting after board meeting they bleated and blatted about the facility–to the point the board has forbidden any more discussion of the issue. So the antis mounted a challenge to the local town supervisor, two town board seats and the town clerk. In Tuesday’s election, all four antis running for those seats went down to a HUGE defeat. Wasn’t even close. Which is noteworthy, and heartening, that in our beloved overtaxed, over-regulated, over-liberal New York State there are still clear-headed people who see through the lies and smears of the antis. Here’s the story of their defeat, and why Reading is so important in this debate…
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Former MarkWest Energy CEO Urges Vote Against Marathon Buyout

What’s this? All is not butterflies, unicorns and kisses in the Marathon Petroleum takeover of MarkWest Energy. It was only a little over three months ago that MarkWest announced it was selling itself to Marathon (see Midstream Bombshell: MarkWest Sells Itself to Marathon Petroleum). Since that time both companies have been in a hurry to get the deal done. Last week Marathon told investors the deal will be done by the end of this year (see Marathon 3Q15: Closing on MarkWest Merger “Later this Year”). And just last Friday MarkWest told unitholder (equivalent of stockholders) to hurry up and vote (see MarkWest Tells Unitholders Time to Sign Proxy for Marathon Sale). However, one of the biggest single shareholder in MarkWest, the co-founder of the company and former CEO, John Fox, is telling MarkWest in an open letter that they’re nuts for selling…
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MarkWest 3Q15: $49M Profit, Expansions Continue, Buyout on Track

MarkWest Energy, which is selling itself to Marathon Petroleum (a move opposed by it’s co-founder, see today’s related story) issued their third quarter 2015 financial and operational update yesterday. On the financial side the company made quite a bit less money in 3Q15 than it did in 3Q14–$49.2 million vs $86 million–but the fact remains it made money. It didn’t lose money as so many other companies in the Marcellus/Utica region did during 3Q15. That’s a big success in our book! On the operational side, MarkWest started up the Sherwood IV processing plant in Doddridge County, WV during the last three months. There’s more expansion coming to the Sherwood facility later this year. MarkWest also signed a huge deal with Ascent Resources (formerly American Energy, Aubrey McClendon’s company) to build a dry gas gathering pipeline system on 100,000 acres of Utica Shale land in Belmont and Jefferson counties in Ohio. And yes, they also mention the Marathon buyout deal too…
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NEPA State Senator Introduces Bill to Regulate Rural Pipelines

A northeastern Pennsylvania State Senator, Lisa Baker, has introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1044 that would regulate thousands of miles of gathering pipelines (and compressor stations) that are currently not regulated in PA. The bill, introduced on Oct. 26 and co-sponsored by three other Republicans and two Democrats, is colloquially called the Rural Pennsylvania Pipeline Safety Act. The bill gives the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) the power to regulate rural pipeline operators. The Gas Processors Association is watching it closely and says they will be a part of its development going forward. Below we have a brief overview of the bill, along with a full copy as filed on Oct. 26…
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PA County Court Rules Drilling OK in Ag/Residential District

Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s horrible decision in the infamous “Robinson” case that ruled local municipalities have the right to regulate oil and gas drilling via local zoning ordinances, there have been several cases where anti-drillers have tried to turn the decision (a decision they earnestly desired) on its head. The “Supreme” justices decided that local towns and cities can control where drilling takes place–although they must reserve at least one zoned district (industrial) where they allow oil and gas drilling (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). What the antis didn’t factor is that there are some local communities with clear-thinking and straight heads on their shoulders–communities that may evaluate a request for drilling and grant an exception to allow it, in oh, say a agricultural/residential area instead of just an industrial area. Perhaps the most famous example of such a case currently being litigated is in Butler County where parents from the Mars School School district along with two Big Green groups from Philadelphia are using the courts to block, since last November, legally permitted and town-approved drilling 3/4 of a mile from the Mars School District (see Rex Drilling Operation Near Mars School Put on Hold). The convoluted argument from antis is, in essence, zoning regulations are not strict enough. That’s not what the Act 13 decision was about. You can’t have your cake AND eat it too. Some towns will decide to allow drilling under their zoning laws that you may not agree with! A similar case has just been decided in Westmoreland County in local county court–and it’s very good news for the Marcellus industry…
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9 Years Later Fracking Set to Begin in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest (WNF) is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Back in 2012 MDN told you that the U.S Forest Service, after holding up drilling in WNF since 2006, had cleared the way to allow fracking to begin (see Fracking Coming to Wayne National Forest in SE OH). Then any potential fracking came to a screeching halt because it was delayed by yet another federal agency–the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Since 2012 the BLM has moved like a snail, but finally (finally!) the BLM has scheduled public scoping hearings for Nov. 17, 18 and 19. Things are moving once again. Once the hearings are done, there will no reason not to move forward with plans to drill (and frack!) in the WNF…
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3 Democrats Win PA Supreme Court Seats – Trouble Ahead for O&G?

The Marcellus industry can forget about getting a fair hearing by PA’s Supreme Court from here on out. In Tuesday’s election, three liberal Democrats were elected to fill three open seats on the court, the most elected at one time in the past, well, in forever. The court is now stacked against fair trials with a 5-2 majority for Lib Dems. America’s most liberal governor, Tom Wolf (so says non-partisan website InsideGov in an independent survey) didn’t waste any time attempting to use the court victory to pressure the legislature to cave to his radical budget demands. Typical. The Dems outspent the Republicans by three to one–i.e. they purchased the election…
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Shell Restructures Upstream into Conventional/Unconventional Units

On Tuesday, Royal Dutch Shell held a “Management Day” event in London (another was planned for Wednesday in New York) in which Shell announced the company is restructuring its upstream (i.e. drilling) division. The newly configured upstream division will be split into an Unconventional Resources branch to oversee development of shale, tight natural gas and oil, and oilsands, and an Upstream International branch to oversee all conventional exploration. Nowhere in the presentation, a presentation which includes Shell’s strategies for midstream and downstream too, could we find a single mention of Shell’s potential ethane cracker project in Pennsylvania. There was also no mention of Shell’s Marcellus/Utica drilling program, although we found a single slide with a brief mention on it of northeast shale (see the slide below). Shell’s overall message, in essence, was this: “The ongoing low price of oil (and gas) is changing everything, and we’re making tough decisions in light of this new reality.” Below is Shell’s full Management Day announcement, which includes a description about dividing upstream so every part of it is more accountable to the bottom line, and a description of their efforts to buy BG–which consuming a lot of Shell’s energy and attention at the moment…
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Bought & Paid For: NY Anti-Drilling Researcher Gets $1.25M Grant

There’s a new thing going around–it’s called “advocacy science.” And boy oh boy does it ever pay big bucks! Here’s how it works: Attend an Ivy League school like Cornell, do some “research” with a pre-determined outcome (i.e. ignore real science), wait a few years–and collect $1.25 million?! That’s how it worked out for Elaine Hill, currently a University of Rochester Medical Center researcher who did sloppy research that she published as a Cornell student (without peer review) in 2012. The “study” found babies born near fracked wells are allegedly more likely to have low birth weights than those not born near fracked wells (see her paper here). Later studies that grabbed headlines used her work as its foundation (see MSC Devastating Critique of “Low Birth Weight Near Fracking” Study). Hill is now being richly rewarded for her efforts in aiding the anti-drilling cause. The National Institutes of Health (your tax dollars at work) have just awarded Hill–yes Hill, one person–a staggering $1.25 million grant to do more “research.” In essence, she’s set for life. Bought and paid for. A millionaire. All it took was trading on the name of Cornell University and ignoring real science to get there. Here’s the kicker–her degree isn’t in biochemistry or biology or medicine or any hard science. Hill’s degree is in economics…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Nov 5, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: the battle over Port Ambrose & LNG imports; firewood shortage NOT due to PA fracking; Audobon Society goes green with natgas; new “recommendations” (i.e. regulations) coming on rural pipelines from Quigley; Bernie “the commie” Sanders: ban fracking on federal lands; Yemen storm threatens New England natgas; and more!
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