Judge Tosses Wayne County, PA Landowner Lawsuit Against DRBC

In May 2016 a landowner in Wayne County, PA–in the Delaware River Basin–filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) asking a judge to declare the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). MDN has chronicled, for years, the lawless actions of the DRBC in seizing power it does not have to block shale drilling in essentially two PA counties where measurable quantities of shale gas could be extracted: Wayne County and Pike County. DRBC’s former director, Carol Collier, is a hardened anti-driller who colluded with Josh Fox in making his infamous propaganda film Gasland. Collier is gone and it was thought her replacement, Steve Tambini would bring some order and sense to the organization (see DRBC Selects Steve Tambini as New Leader, Enviro Groups Unsure). Unfortunately that hasn’t happened–so far. The DRBC has blocked drilling since it considered rules for drilling in 2010, when it put a “temporary” ban in place. A Wayne County landowner argued in the lawsuit that oil and gas wells, under the DRBC’s charter, do not constitute a “project” that is regulated by the DRBC and therefore are exempt from oversight from the DRBC. Last week U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani disagreed and ruled against the landowner (copy of his ruling below). However, this may not be “bad news” for landowners and “good news” for the DRBC, as it may first appear, on the surface…
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Co-Tenancy/Joint Dev Bill Heads to WV Senate – On Fast Track?

The West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) is pushing hard to get legislation passed that we call “forced pooling lite”–WV Senate Bill 576 which addresses the issues of co-tenancy and joint development (see Analysis of New WV Bill SB 576 re Co-Tenancy & Joint Development). This is the sixth time forced pooling-related legislation has been put forward and WVONGA is determined this time it will pass. They’ve pulled out all the stops. Last week WVONGA organized a bus-in rally at the Capital where nearly 1,000 people showed up at a rally to support the legislation (see WVONGA Delivers ~1,000 at Rally to Support Co-Tenancy, Joint Dev.). It most certainly had an impact. SB 576 is now out of committee and on the Senate floor for consideration, as of Friday and had its first reading. It had its second reading on Saturday and is scheduled for a third reading today. The bill is being touted as a way to increase the number of jobs in the oil and gas industry in the state. What is co-tenancy and joint development?…
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Radical Green Groups File Fed Court Case to Stop Atlantic Sunrise

Radical green agitating groups, including the Sierra Club, Lancaster Against Pipelines, Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, Allegheny Defense Project, Clean Air Council, Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County, and Heartwood, have filed a lawsuit in the liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in an attempt to block construction of the $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project in Pennsylvania. Instead of waiting for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consider a so-called re-hearing of their decision to authorize Atlantic Sunrise, a group of radical green organizations are jumping the queue and going directly to court, demanding that a judge stop construction until a quorum is in effect at FERC. Yes, it’s all complicated. We’ll break it down for you. What you need to know up front is that more Big Green money is behind the lawsuit to stop Atlantic Sunrise…
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PA DEP Permit Delays Causing Slowdown in New Marcellus Drilling

Delays in turning around permit applications for new Marcellus drilling is hurting the industry, according to the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). MSC president Dave Spigelmyer says lack of certainty in the PA Marcellus means more drilling goes to neighboring West Virginia and Ohio–even to Louisiana. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), responsible for reviewing and issuing permits, sounds somewhat defensive about their lack of performance, blaming delays on staff shortages, staff turnover, and “enhanced scrutiny of permit applications.” The Pittsburgh office now takes over 200 days (over 6 months!) to process an erosion control permit–up from 139 days in 2015. Simply not acceptable…
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“Multiple Signs” of Recovery in PA Marcellus Industry

There are signs that the Marcellus industry in Pennsylvania is beginning to rebound. We’ve been noting it for months. Our early prediction of an upswing came last June (nine months ago) when we noticed an uptick in the number of drilling rigs operated by Patterson-UTI changed from a monthly drop to a monthly gain (see Tide has Turned: Patterson-UTI June Rig Count Ticks Up by 2). The evidence of an upswing in the drilling industry in PA (and OH/WV) continues to mount. Here’s more…
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Judge Warns Atlantic Sunrise Protesters – Feds are Comin’ for Ya

As MDN previously reported, anti-fossil fuelers opposed to the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project–a $3 billion, 198-mile pipeline running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County–are using the same (losing) playbook to oppose Atlantic Sunrise as they used to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline (see Protesters Try to Resurrect Failed ND Pipeline Fight in Lancaster). Namely, they say they will use “civil” disobedience to protest and block workers from engaging in construction work on the pipeline. Yeah, just like their “peaceful” protests in North Dakota (see Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Turn Violent; Coming Here Next?). On Friday, a federal judge warned these “peaceful” protesters that if they attempt any of their shenanigans in Lancaster County–if they block access–they will be hauled off to jail by the U.S. Marshals Service. Grab your popcorn and head to Amish County, this could get interesting…
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Respectable Volume of Oil (Yes, Oil!) Coming from Marcellus/Utica

We spotted an article on The Motley Fool website by one of our favorite authors, Matt DiLallo. The article shines a light on the states that produce the most shale oil. Surprisingly (for us), the Marcellus/Utica was in the list. Appreciable amounts of shale oil are coming from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, from both the Marcellus and Utica formations. Of course the amount produced in our neighborhood pales in comparison to the enormous amounts of oil coming from the Texas Permian and North Dakota Bakken. But hey, the fact that we even show up in such a list is kind of exciting…
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Halliburton Rehires 2K, Says “Animal Spirits are Back” in US Land

In a “hasty” and “rare” operations call last Friday, Halliburton, the world’s second largest oilfield services (OFS) company, offered up some interesting comments. The call was apparently an attempt to blunt the coming news that the company will likely miss analyst’s expectations for profit/loss and dividends, due to rising costs and weak demand in international markets. Top brass at Halliburton wisely know that “he who gets there with the bad news first, wins.” However, the call was wide-ranging and included some good news: After trimming 35,000 jobs over the past couple of years, Halli is adding back 2,000 jobs. That’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. CEO Dave Lesar also had this rather bizarre statement on the call, in his ebullience over the drilling comeback in North America: “This diverse and exciting market has created a surge of activity and supports my thesis that the animal spirits are back in U.S. land.” OoooKay. We’ll go with it. Animal spirits. Here’s the news coming from last week’s hasty Halliburton homily…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Mar 27, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Hogan’s frack ban will cost Maryland jobs, benefits; eastern OH sets bar for natgas production; natgas reemergence in the Haynesville Shale; US drillers add another 20 rigs last week; market implications of 2017 o&g recovery; NiSource COO retiring; and more!
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