Science Advisory Board Gives EPA Cover to Change Fracking Report

science for saleThe one great, huge, towering problem that anti-drillers have is that there is no scientific evidence that supports their wild claims that fracking contaminates water–which is their favorite lie to spread. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived at the same conclusion–that fracking doesn’t pollute water–after four years of studying it, that really took the wind out of the sails of rabid fossil fuel haters (see EPA Draft Report Says Fracking Doesn’t Pollute Groundwater Supplies). The EPA reviewed research from over 950 studies and even conducted nine of their own primary studies. Conclusion: fracking doesn’t pollute water supplies. What’s a good fossil fuel hater to do? Answer: Pressure the EPA to change the outcome of their study. True science means nothing to liberals–science is not objective for them, it’s political, a tool to be used. So the EPA set about to “fix” the “problem” by using a small committee of people, called the Science Advisory Board (SAB), to change the results of their original findings (see EPA Science Advisory Board Engaging in Fraud re Fracking Study). The fix was in from the beginning. The SAB’s appointed job was to cast doubt on the original report and the conclusions it made that fracking does not contaminate water–against four years and hundreds of studies of evidence that say otherwise. Yesterday the SAB filed its “final review” and depending on whom you read, the SAB either accomplished their objective by casting enough doubt on the original report that it should be thrown out (according to the crazies at Food & Water Watch), or the SAB upheld the findings of the original report (according to IPAA’s Energy in Depth). We think the SAB has done great damage to the reputations of its own members and to the objectivity of the scientific process by bowing to political pressure with a final review that appears to us (at least at first blush) to be highly critical of the original four-year study and its conclusions. The SAB’s final review gives radical EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy political cover to change the original report and its conclusions before she’s flushed out Washington with the rest of the Obama Administration later this year. It should be noted that four brave members of the SAB dissented from this politicization of science and said the original report and its conclusions are correct…
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Crestwood Offers Compromise on Finger Lakes Facility, Antis Reject

spit.jpgHow do you deal with people who are bullies and refuse to compromise? Answer: You defeat them and don’t give an inch in doing so. Crestwood Equity Partners (used to be Crestwood Midstream) bought a project years ago called Finger Lakes LPG–a proposed liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane) storage facility along the shoreline of Seneca Lake in beautiful Upstate New York. Seneca is one of the Finger Lakes. The facility would be built in a former, now depleted, salt mining operation. Salt mining was far more dangerous for the environment than a proposed underground propane storage facility would ever be–but you didn’t hear a peep about the salt mining operation from nutty environmentalists at the time. We’ve endlessly covered the antics of people like Sandra Steingraber–a professional anti-fracking agitator paid and on the staff of Ithaca College (funded by the Park Foundation). Steingraber opposes the Finger Lakes LPG facility because she has a visceral (and irrational) hatred for all fossil fuels–even though her house is heated with them, the school she “works” at is heated with them, the vehicle she drives is powered by them, etc. ad nauseum. Steingraber and dozens of others have been arrested a number of times for blocking the entrance to the facility. In a bid to compromise and address the concerns of Steingraber and others, Crestwood has, in our opinion, made a mistake. On Monday Crestwood sent a letter to the completely dysfunctional NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) offering to scale back the LPG storage project–removing rail and truck shipments in and out of the facility–one of the major objections by Steingraber and other ninny nannies opposing the project. So what does the anti group “Gas Free Seneca” say to Crestwood’s gracious offer to meet them more than half way? They figuratively spit in the face of Crestwood. They demand the facility never get built. That’s the actions of  bullies and profoundly unreasonable (not able to be reasoned with) people. Which is why we say, they must be totally, utterly, and completely defeated…
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FERC Approves 3 Spectra Energy Pipe Projects in Marcellus/Utica

approvedThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) for three Spectra Energy projects: Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Express. The three are part of an expansion of the Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipeline. The combined projects will transport an additional 662,000 dekatherms per day (or 662 million cubic feet) of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi. This is great news indeed!…
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Experts Say New Marcellus/Utica Drilling “Imminent”

the beastWe’d never heard this before, but apparently the Marcellus/Utica has been known for some time as the “Beast of the East.” Fitting! However, our region has gone from “Beast of the East” to “Beast on a Leash.” Very true. Low prices have suppressed new drilling projects. But according to experts on a recent webinar held by S&P Global Platts, new Marcellus/Utica drilling “is imminent.” Now that’s REALLY good news! Here’s some other things said on the webinar…
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Chesapeake Energy Hands Over Keys to Barnett Shale to Someone Else

hand over keysChesapeake Energy had some big news on Tuesday. The company is selling off its Barnett Shale assets, and in the process lightening the company’s future debt load considerably. This is a bit complicated, but we’ll try our best to break it down. Chesapeake announced Tuesday they are handing over the keys to 215,000 Barnett Shale acres (some developed, some not), along with 2,800 operational wells–giving it away to Saddle Barnett Resources LLC, a Dallas-based firm backed by First Reserve Corp. In return, Saddle Barnett is taking on renegotiated midstream contracts with Williams. The net result for Chesapeake is that the deal will “incinerate” about $1.9 billion in payments they would have had to make to Williams and others. As we said, it considerably lightens the stress on Chesapeake’s balance sheet. Williams is trying to put a happy face on the fact they will get less money after the deal than before. But then again, a solvent Chesapeake (and/or Saddle Barnett) paying something less is better than a bankrupt Chesapeake paying nothing. Why cover this story on MDN, a Marcellus/Utica focused website? Because if Chesapeake did it in the Barnett in Texas, they (or someone else) may try to do something similar in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Dominion Selling “Future Stocks” – Hopes to Raise $1.25B

dominionOn Monday utility and midstream giant Dominion announced it would offer 25 million “equity units” at a price of $50 for each unit. They hope to raise $1.25 billion “for general corporate purposes, including the buyout of Questar Corporation (see Dominion’s Quest to Buy Questar for $4.4B Advances). What the heck is an equity unit? Dominion says, “Each equity unit will be issued in a stated amount of $50 and will consist of a contract to purchase common stock in the future and two 1/40 undivided beneficial ownership interests in remarketable subordinated notes each having a principal amount of $1,000.” Huh? It sounds to us like Dominion is selling a financial instrument that will (POOF) turn into a stock at some point in the future. We call it a “future stock.” Dominion issued a pair of press releases about the plan–one on Monday and another on Wednesday. Here’s what they said…
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The Evil Empire Strikes Back Against Exxon in Court Case

Empire Strikes BackYesterday MDN brought you the story of how New York’s disgusting Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has been colluding “unlawfully” with other AGs, including the equally disgusting Massachusetts AG Maura Healey (see Letter Proves NY AG, Others “Unlawfully” Ganged Up on ExxonMobil). In June Exxon sued AG Healey–in U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Fort Worth, Texas, attempting to strike a blow against the monolithic and overreaching power of the government (see Exxon Fights Back Against Mass. AG’s Illegal Subpoena). Think of it this way: Exxon is the Rebel Force in Star Wars (the good guys), and Schneiderman/Healey are the Evil Empire (the bad guys). The Empire Strikes Back. Healey filed a motion in that Texas court on Monday asking the judge to dismiss Exxon’s case. In other words, she wants to smash Exxon’s right to free speech. If Exxon doesn’t agree that the fairy tale of man-made global warming exists, and that their product is polluting the planet, Healey wants the right to throw them in jail and take all their money. That’s what this is about. Unbridled, Nazi-like powers against private citizens and private companies by a state run amok…
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Pittsburgh Paper Asks, Is PA Severance Tax Dead? Yes!

no-tax.jpgUnfortunately a Pittsburgh-area newspaper, the Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter, has fallen prey to a lie. Somehow the paper’s editors think because there’s not something called “severance tax” in the tax code of Pennsylvania, that means the state doesn’t have one–when in fact they do. It’s called an Impact Fee coupled with a corporate income tax. Add the two together, and PA’s drillers pay a “severance tax” rate that is higher than Texas and other shale states. In a recent editorial published in the Observer-Reporter, the editorial board admits that a severance tax is (for now) dead in PA. That’s the good news. When your opponent admits defeat, that’s a good sign. However, the editors still whine for a nosebleed-high severance tax anyway, accusing the drilling industry of getting a “sweetheart deal” that, they say, should end when gas prices go up again…
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Anti-Drilling Radicals Push Frack Ban in Virginia

Groundhog DayVirginia doesn’t have the Marcellus/Utica under it–at least not very much. But Virginia does have another shale layer–the Taylorsville. We commented back in 2014 that the state is inching closer to allowing fracking in the Taylorsville and other potential basins (see Virginia Inches Closer to Shale Drilling in Taylorsville Basin). They’re still inching–and it’s not going very fast. Anti-drilling radicals have risen up to oppose anything to do with shale in the state. One such radical is King George County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ruby Brabo. Ruby is agitating against drilling. She’s traveling all over Hades’ half acre to try and figure out how she can import frack bans in King George County. She’s being supported in her efforts by the odious nutters of the Sierra Club. A local anti-drilling reporter in Ruby’s area, Cathy Dyson, serves as Ruby’s media shill, lionizing her idol in a recent article…
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Taxpayers Bail Out Nuke Plant Scheduled to Close – Paying Up to $7.6B!

FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant
FitzPatrick nuclear plant

Last November MDN told you that the nuclear power plant in Oswego, NY will shut down, largely because it can no longer compete with electric plants powered by cheap Marcellus Shale gas (see PA Marcellus Gas Claims a Nuclear Scalp in Central NY). New York Gov. Cuomo banned fracking, so NY doesn’t produce any cheap, abundant, clean-burning natural gas. That’s a burr under Andy’s saddle. He detests closing the nuke plant because gas has won. So instead of letting market economics dictate what happens in NY, Cuomo fought the closure of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant (see NY Gov Cuomo Vows to Fight FitzPatrick Nuke Plant Closure). Unfortunately Cuomo has won the fight–at a great and terrible cost to taxpayers. The company that now owns the plant, Exelon, will keep the plant open because the government will allow Exelon to soak ratepayers to the tune of $7.6 BILLION over 12 years. Who wouldn’t keep a tottering old nuke plant open for another 12 years if they got PAID BILLIONS to do it? Exelon would be crazy not to keep it open. Thanks Andy, for soaking Upstate residents once again…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Aug 12, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Pipeline takeaway capacity in the Marcellus/Utica; a few people show up to protest NEXUS pipeline in OH; Mariner East 2 pipeline hearing draws a big crowd; energy industry driving higher business bankruptcies in Pittsburgh; Trump pledges an energy “revolution”; $245 billion coming in o&g investments; and more!
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