PA Game Commission Keeps on Leasing, Not Subject to Wolf’s Ban

In a companion story today, MDN brings you news that anti-drillers are taking a case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that could potentially require the state to consider “environmental rights” when considering whether or not to allow drilling on state-owned land. That is, a requirement that drilling be banned on state-owned land. One state agency that owns state land–the Pennsylvania Game Commission–continues to lease land for drilling even though there is currently an executive order by Gov. Tom Wolf that prohibits drilling in state-owned parks and forests. The Game Commission is outside of the executive branch and therefore autonomous and continues to lease land. Here’s an update on who drills the most on and under Game Commission land, and the latest leases (signing bonus and royalties) the Game Commission most recently negotiated…
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PA Supreme Court to Hear Case on Banning Drilling on State Lands

Pennsylvania’s Democrat Supreme Court will take up the issue of whether or not private property rights still exist in the Keystone State. That’s the clear legal issue before the court over whether or not the State of Pennsylvania can continue to allow oil and gas drilling on state lands and use the revenues it receives as part of the general fund. Lower courts have all ruled that yes, the state can legally lease its own property, and allow drilling under public land for which it doesn’t, in some cases, own the mineral rights. But radical environmentalists are attempting to abuse the state’s highest court–now packed with liberal Democrats–to achieve what they can’t achieve by any other means. They’re hoping the high court will find a new cockamamie “right” to protect the environment that trumps public and even private property rights in the process. That is, they’re hoping the Supremes will rule that the state MUST ban drilling on state-owned land, in order to protect Mother Earth…
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How a Louisiana LNG Export Facility is Connected to the Marcellus/Utica

An article about Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project (LNG export plant) in remote Louisiana caught our attention for a couple of reasons. First, the plant will make its first shipment of LNG in January. Some of the natural gas the hungry Sabine Pass facility will use will (eventually) come from the Marcellus/Utica, via pipeline. That makes the Sabine Pass plant story an important story for our region. Second, the plant is a picture of/preview for what is coming to other regions where such facilities are built–like Cove Point, Maryland where Dominion is currently building (about half done) the Cove Point LNG export facility. Sabine Pass is a massive economic and job creation engine for Louisiana’s south coast. So too will Cove Point be for Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay area…
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State Official Calls Shale Impact “Profound” on PA Agriculture

Recently the Pennsylvania Agriculture Department Executive Deputy Secretary, Michael Smith, addressed the Natural Gas Task Force for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) in Hershey. He had some interesting things to say about shale development in the state. Among them: Shale’s impact on agriculture in the state will be “profound” and “transformative.” Did he mean that in a good way, or a bad way? Yes…
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Antis Ramp Up to Discredit EPA Study that Found Fracking is Safe

It was certainly a major blow to radical environmentalists when, after studying fracking for more than four years (reviewing some 950 studies, including conducting several original studies of its own), the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced what everyone already knew: fracking is safe (see EPA Draft Report Says Fracking Doesn’t Pollute Groundwater Supplies). Science is science and facts are facts. The announcement took the wind out of the sails for anti-fossil fuel nutters who thought they could convince everyone to return to the stone ages and eliminate the use of fossil fuels. However, science has been corrupted and politicized–just witness the global warming debate. Radical environmentalists knowing they can never convince the hoi polloi, the great unwashed, the people they consider idiots, to go along with their holier-than-thou energy plans to eliminate fossil fuels, if fracking is perceived as anything but evil–are fighting back. Here’s the plan. Get the EPA to discredit its own study. That process is now underway. In October the usual radical suspects showed up at EPA HQ to demand they turn their backs on their own study (see Anti Groups Try to Convince EPA They Got it Wrong with Water Study). Apparently they got through to at least a few sympathetic “scientists” who are members of the EPA’s own Scientific Advisory Board…
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Guernsey County, OH a Microcosm for Shale Economics in Northeast

Have we entered the oil and gas apocalypse? If you’re one of some 230,000 oilfield workers out of a job in the past year, you may think so (who can blame them?). The reality is, however, that although rig counts are down (way down), permits issued are down, and in general drilling of new wells is down–drilling IS still happening. Businesses in the supply chain–those servicing the upstream and midstream sectors–are still making money. Not as much money, but we haven’t entered the apocalypse–not yet anyway. Example: Cambridge (Guernsey County), Ohio, where drilling happens less these days–but drilling still happens and local businesses like restaurants make more money than they did prior to the Marcellus/Utica fracking miracle…
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Success Story: Welder Starts Pre-Fab Company in PA Shale Country

MDN has previously marveled and talked about the amount of money welders can command in the shale industry–upward of $1,000 per day (VERY long, 12-hour days). It’s hard work out in the elements–not for the faint of heart. Today there are fewer welding jobs simply because there’s less drilling going on and therefore less wells that need pipelines connected to them. However, this is a story about a welder who didn’t just settle for welding pipelines and equipment at drill pads. This is the story of a welder who have the guts to start his own pre-fab business in the heart of Pennsylvania shale country–and hit it big. Make no mistake, this is not like hitting the lottery. Starting and running a business is HARD work. But if you have what it takes, it can pay off in spades, as it has for our latest Hero of the Marcellus, welder Bill Emick…
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Natural Gas is Killing City Trees! Tree Whisperer Tells All

Here’s one more reason to dump evil, nasty, rotten fossil fuels–like natural gas. It kills trees. Yes, methane is a TREE KILLER. Who knew? In yet another laughable “all fossil fuels are evil” meme from the usual suspects at the Democrat house organ called StateImpact Pennsylvania, we get the latest anti-fossil fuel story about how methane leaks in cities are killing poor, defenseless trees that can’t stand up to that nasty bully, fugitive methane. Seems there’s a good business to be had being a tree whisperer…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Nov 30, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: dawn of the Utica era; the tortoise and the flare; Utica Shale Academy gets grant; Q&A with PennEast; EQT hits a gusher, stock takes a plunge; Chesapeake’s doldrums; OPEC still hasn’t killed shale a year later; China’s shale gas problems; and more!
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