2 Dimock Families Suing Cabot O&G Settle Out of Court

Some big news that both Cabot Oil & Gas and the two families suing them seem to want to keep quiet: they’ve settled out of court. Brief background for those new to MDN and to the “Dimock” story: There were 14 families along the Carter Road area of Dimock Township, PA (Susquehanna County) that reportedly experienced turbidity in their water from methane migrating, supposedly from Cabot’s drilling operations nearby. The state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) investigated in 2010 and declared Cabot guilty and imposed stiff fines and requirements, including a requirement to install permanent water treatment systems at each home and even an offer to each of the families to pay twice what their property was worth at the time (see PA DEP Takes Aggressive Action Against Cabot Oil & Gas over Dimock Township Methane Contamination). We won’t recount all of the twists and turns we documented over the years, including research that showed Cabot wasn’t responsible for the methane migration. All of the 14 properties either sold to Cabot or got their water systems repaired–except for two holdout families who were riding the horse of hope that they could sue Cabot for big money and retire millionaires. For a time, it appeared their plan worked. Last year, in March 2016, a trial took place in Scranton. It was a sham trial, with the lawyer for the two families engaging in borderline unethical practices in the courtroom in her attempt to influence the jury. One of the two families admitted, under oath on the witness stand, that their water had too much methane in it BEFORE Cabot Oil & Gas began to drill nearby. The same family, the Elys, later built a 22-room, $1 million mansion on the same property AFTER they admit there was trouble with the water. And yet the jury found Cabot at fault and awarded the Elys $2.75 million. The other family suing Cabot got $1.49 million (see Dimock Jury Levies $4.24M Judgement Against Cabot in Dimock Case). The verdict was obviously brain dead and a federal court judge threw the verdict and judgement out, saying a brand new trial would have to take place (see Fed Court Overturns $4.2M Dimock Judgement Against Cabot O&G). There will now be no new trial. Last week both sides settled the case “amicably”–whatever that means. We’ll tell you what it means. It means Cabot paid big bucks to make it all go away–although they won’t admit it…
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Analyst Speculates Chesapeake May Look to Unload Marc/Utica Assets

Reuters ran a story yesterday quoting an analyst with Tudor Pickering who says he thinks Chesapeake Energy is actively considering a sale of some (most? all?) of its Marcellus and Utica Shale assets, as a way of helping raise $2-$3 billion which the company previously said it would raise from asset sales this year and next. Idle speculation? Perhaps. There’s no doubt Chesapeake has a real jewel in its Utica and Marcellus acreage–built by Aubrey McClendon back in the day. Would Chessy really consider selling it? The Tudor analyst says yes, because these days the company is concentrating on oil drilling and production more than gas. But is that really true?…
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Top 10 Drillers in All of PA, by Number of Permits Issued

Yesterday we brought you the “Top 10” drillers in southwestern Pennsylvania, as ranked by the number of permits issued (see Top 10 Drillers in SWPA, by Number of Permits Issued). Today we’re bringing you the Top 10 list of drillers by number of permits issued for the entire state of PA. As you might imagine, the picture statewide is quite a bit different from looking at only SWPA. Yes, some of the same companies are in both lists–but only three are in both lists (Range Resources, EQT and Rice Energy). Our Top 10 list is extracted from a list prepared by the (must read) Pittsburgh Business Times…
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Anti-Pipeline Quartet Sues Sunoco, ET, Police, Others re ME2 Arrests

Two serial, paid protesters, along with a landowner and her daughter have sued Sunoco Logistics and parent company Energy Transfer for breaching their constitutional rights. You may recall our story about the daughter of a Huntingdon County, PA landowner, radicalized by Big Green groups (as evidenced by her association with well known protesters previously arrested), who took to a tree on her mom’s property in March 2016 in order to illegally stop crews working on tree clearing for the Mariner East 2 pipeline (see PA Anti Literally Goes Up a Tree to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline). It ultimately didn’t matter, because Sunoco came back and cut down the few trees they needed to cut anyway (see Sunoco Tricks Radicalized Protester – Returns and Cuts More Trees). Eventually law enforcement got around to arresting the daughter, and the mom (who also trespassed during tree clearing). Law enforcement also arrested two serial criminal trespassers/antis who participated. Unfortunately, in a miscarriage of justice, the charges against all them were later dropped (see Charges Dismissed Against Tree Sitting Anti in Huntingdon County). The quartet is now suing everyone and his brother: “The suit accuses Sunoco, plus a private security firm, a publicist, and 27 state and local police officers of violating constitutional protections over free speech, false arrest, malicious prosecution and equal protection.” More Big Green money at work with yet another frivolous lawsuit…
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Anti on HuffPo Agrees w/MDN: Wolf Dangled $1M Carrot for Severance Tax

Last week MDN told you about a visit by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to Wyoming and Susquehanna counties in northeastern PA (see PA Gov. Wolf Visits NEPA to Barter for Marcellus Severance Tax). As we said at the time, the point Wolf was making on his visit to Tunkhannock is that $1 million promised to the village as part of the PIPE (Pipeline Investment Program) is being held up because the state budget is late. The budget is late because (according to Wolf) those dunderheads in the House won’t approve a severance tax. And if the hicks in Tunkhannock and elsewhere in rural NEPA would just pressure their House members to pass the severance tax, voila, that $1M check is in the mail. Sleazy. So imagine our surprise to read a column by a hardened anti-fossil fuelers in the Huffington Post–that essentially says the same thing. She even used our analogy–that Wolf is holding out a $1M carrot to elicit support for the severance tax. While you have to put up with the anti-drilling snark, the article/column is actually pretty good, giving a history of the PIPE program and its successes (which the author considers failures)…
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Severance Tax Still Stalled – 3 Reasons It’s a Bad Idea

The good news is that any number of severance tax proposals in Pennsylvania are still “stalled” and going nowhere fast. The bad news is that there still is not a finalized budget. Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. They passed an unbalanced, whopping $32 billion state budget plan months ago–without a way to pay for it all. Which has set up extreme pressure to adopt new taxes, including a severance tax and gross receipts tax. It appears that the GRT is dead, but the severance tax is not yet totally dead. Why? Because House Speaker Mike Turzai continues to hold the line–preventing a floor vote on the severance tax. Pin a medal on that man! Elect him as your next governor! He knows how to lead. However, since the severance tax is not totally dead (yet), we feel it’s necessary to keep talking about it. We’ve heard from some MDN readers who ask, “Why not adopt a small severance tax? It’s not all that bad, is it?” Yes! It is bad! And the Commonwealth Foundation (of PA) tells us why…
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2 Nova Scotia LNG Export Projects Moving Forward

Over the past few years MDN has tracked the progress of 4 LNG export plants planned for the eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Two of those projects appear to have life–the Bear Head LNG project (see our Bear Head LNG stories here), and Goldboro LNG (see our Goldboro stories here). Why bother tracking LNG export facilities all the way up in Nova Scotia? Because they’re a huge potential market for Marcellus and Utica Shale gas. There are challenges to getting our gas there, to be sure. The Maritimes & Northeast pipeline will need to be converted to be bidirectional, and other pipelines connected to the Maritimes pipeline to flow the gas north. Those plans are in the works. However, the Marcellus/Utica, albeit the closest to Nova Scotia, is not the only game in town attracting the attention of these two projects. Word on the street is one of the two Nova Scotia projects is looking closely at piping gas all the way from Alberta to Nova Scotia–that is, from western Canada…
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New Site FractCheck.com Fact Checks Wild Fracking Claims

For years Hollywood celebrities and those who want to be celebrities have lied and spread fake news about fracking. Some of the more colorful attempts have come from the likes of the singularly untalented Julian Lenon and stepmom Yoko Ono “singing” (if that’s what you call it) the song “Don’t Frack My Mother” (see “Frack” No Longer a Naughty Word, Loses its Sex Appeal). Susan Sarandon joined Yoko Ono and Julian Lennon on a fossil fuel-belching bus trip of northeastern PA to visit fracking sites and spread more lies (see Looney Toons Anti-Fracking Celebrities Visit Montrose, PA). When these gits make their wild claims, mainstream media doesn’t bother to fact check it–because mainstream media doesn’t care what the truth is. There’s only the narrative they support–which is fossil fuels are evil, carbon (and methane) are toasting Mom Earth, yada yada yada. So when we get claims like “fracking pollutes water” or “fracking causes asthma” there is no one, aside from sources like MDN, to set the record straight. Now there is. Texans for Natural Gas, a pro-energy grassroots group with more than 270,000 members, has launched a new website called FractCheck.com. FractCheck.com will fact check major claims about fracking. Egregiously false claims will be branded as such and accurate claims will be acknowledged as “Fracts.” Cool, eh? It’s about time we started fact checking these empty-headed Hollywood types, to expose them for the vapid people they really are…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Sep 27, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA rig count steady; battle for the pipelines – the Agency strikes back; fracking an “answer to prayer” in OH; Manchin tells WV to stay in state for energy jobs; Shell cracker plant already spurring local development, loans; NC Senators urge FERC to approve Atlantic Coast Pipe; natgas boom has led to cleaner air; Farmer’s Almanac winter forecast bullish for natgas prices; Tesla’s high-priced electric cars can’t compete with fracking; fracking proof that “God…loves us,” says Sec. Interior; and more!
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