Attorney for Anti Group CELDF Fined $52K for “Bad Faith”

Tom Linzey, the attorney who founded and runs the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), has just been sanctioned by Federal Judge Susan Paradise Baxter and ordered to pay $52,000 to Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) for his “bad faith” in continuing to press legal arguments on behalf of Grant Township (Indiana County, PA)–legal arguments that say the people of Grant have rights they actually don’t have. Linzey has continued to claim rights for the citizens of Grant that have no legal basis and have been discredited in court. Not only that, but Judge Baxter also referred the matter to the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with a request that they review Linzey’s actions with an eye to imposing more punishments against him. We’ve previously reported on the story of two Pennsylvania towns that were either hoodwinked, or perhaps willing led astray, by the radical CELDF into passing (now overturned) bans on fracking and injection wells in their towns–Highland Twp (Elk County) and Grant Twp (Indiana County). The two townships thought they would do an end-run around the state’s authority to issue permits for two injection wells–one in each township, by re-incorporating under so-called home rule charters. The towns essentially declared themselves independent of the state for a variety of matters, including oil and gas permits, which PA state law clearly says is a function of ONLY the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. In March, the DEP issued final permits for the injection wells AND sued each town to get those portions of their home rule charters, dealing with oil and gas, overturned (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). Both towns eventually backed down (see 2 PA Townships Won’t Enforce “Home Rule” Against Injection Wells). However, in May, Grant’s attorneys (i.e. Linzey) filed a counter-claim against PA asking Commonwealth Court to recognize a sort-of extra-judicial set of rights the town can exercise over top of, or in addition to, state laws–instead of their previous position of trying to replace state laws (see CELDF Continues to Agitate Against Indiana, PA Injection Well). The company building the injection wells, PGE, has been economically harmed by the actions of the towns and attorney Linzey, and sued to recoup costs. This decision in part satisfies that lawsuit. The judge, in very strong language, is punishing Linzey for his continued, intentional abuse of the legal system. We note she is not punishing the towns but rather Linzey…
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Russian LNG Coming to Boston to Alleviate NatGas Shortage?!

This is so wrong on so many levels. Our blood pressure went through the roof when we spotted a story that a shipload of Russian-produced LNG (liquefied natural gas) is almost certainly coming to Boston and will be delivered on Jan. 22nd. We suspect it may be an illegal shipment. Here’s what happened. The LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie loaded a shipment of LNG at Russia’s Yamal LNG plant–in the Russian Arctic–delivering it to the UK at the Isle of Grain terminal in Kent. The LNG was offloaded and stored, but not pumped into the UK grid. Instead, officials said the LNG would be resold to a higher paying customer. A few days later the tanker Gaselys loaded LNG from the same terminal in Kent. While those who own the shipment won’t say, it’s almost certain the LNG they loaded was the very same LNG unloaded a few days prior–from Russia. Gaselys is coming to America–to unload the Russian LNG in Boston, because New England is natural gas starved at the moment due to the ongoing cold snap. Why not just bypass the unloading/reloading process and ship direct to the U.S.? Because the U.S. slapped the Yamal LNG plant with sanctions following Russia’s moves against the Ukraine. It’s illegal to receive gas produced from that plant. So the people involved “whitewashed” the gas by unloading in Kent, and then pretending they’ve reloaded different gas molecules from the same facility. It’s a farce. Fake. Fraud. The gas coming to Boston is Russian gas. The reason New England needs gas so bad is because of their elected leaders, like Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren–both of whom adamantly oppose new natural gas pipeline projects in their state that would deliver cheap Marcellus/Utica gas to the region. Massachusetts residents should rise up against Healey and Warren for their actions which now mean New England is paying our ENEMIES for natural gas. How screwed up is that?…
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Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant Planned for Potter County, PA

A new shale wastewater treatment facility that works in tandem with a local sewage treatment plant may be on the way in Coudersport (Potter County), PA. Epiphany Water Solutions, via a subsidiary company called Epiphany Allegheny, filed for a permit to build a centralized water treatment facility in Coudersport in July 2017. The initial application with the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) was deemed “incomplete”–so Epiphany filed again and this time the application was complete. The DEP will hold a Jan. 16 public hearing in Coudersport to gain local resident’s input on the facility. This is not the first we’ve heard of Epiphany. They were one of four winners of the Ben Franklin Institute’s Fifth Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest in 2016 (see 4 Winners Bag $80K at 5th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest). Epiphany started life as a company with a mission to pioneer the use of solar technology to desalinate water so people in poor countries have safe drinking water. Laudable goal. However, Epiphany found they actually need to turn a profit and pay bills first–and their technology works equally well for the oil and gas industry. CONSOL Energy (now CNX Resources) was an early backer and user of their technology. JKLM Energy, owned by Buffalo “Marcellus” Bill’s owner Terry Pegula and with active drilling in Potter County, needs a better way to dispose of frack wastewater. So Pegula turned to Epiphany and Epiphany is working with the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) to make it happen…
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Former Ormet Site in SE OH Changes Hands, Gas-Fired Plant Coming

Rendering of the 485 MW power plant at the Long Ridge Energy Terminal

Back in 2014 MDN told you that the former Ormet aluminum plant in Hannibal (Monroe County), OH had been purchased out of bankruptcy by Niagara Worldwide and turned into the Center Port Transload Facility, with an emphasis on providing services for the Marcellus/Utica industry (see Center Port Transload Facility Already Up & Running in OH). In April 2017, we brought you news about plans to build a 485-megawatt Utica gas-fired electric plant at the Center Port location (see More on Gas-Fired Elec Plant Coming to Center Port Terminal). A lot has happened since that time. Most of the facility (not all) changed hands again, selling to Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure for $30 million last June. Since that time, what was called Center Port Terminal has been renamed–to Long Ridge Energy Terminal. The new owners are moving forward, quickly, with plans to build the gas-fired power plant, which is now called the Hannibal Port Power Project. According to the Long Ridge website, the Hannibal Port Power gas plant will be operational by 2020–meaning construction will begin this year…
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Bill Introduced to Fix PA DEP’s Extreme Delays Issuing Permits

Last year the pressure was intense to pass a severance tax in Pennsylvania to help fill a budget gap. The severance tax issue in PA is a political football–a promise made by current Gov. Tom Wolf to pay off teacher’s unions in Philadelphia for voting him into office. During the budget machinations, traitorous Republicans in the PA Senate caved to pressure and in July passed a budget bill that hikes taxes on lots of things, including a severance tax (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). As part of the Senate’s misguided and mangled budget bill, Republicans slipped in fixes to the state Dept. of Environmental Protection’s chronic delays in issuing permits related to shale drilling (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). As we said at the time, the writing was already on the wall–Democrats would lobby to remove the DEP fix and leave the severance tax. The DEP fix (surprisingly) continued in further revisions to the budget plan–until October, when the DEP fixes came out (see Latest PA Budget Bill Drops Fix for Slow DEP Permit Reviews). Although the fix came out, the severance tax came out too and was never passed (thank God for small miracles). But problems remain for Marcellus drillers. Delays are long in the Keystone State when it comes to permits for shale wells. The problems need to get fixed. So PA House Rep. Greg Rothman (Republican from Cumberland County) has just introduced a standalone bill to fix the problem. Predictably, enviro nuts and Democrats are lining up to oppose the fix…
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Co-Tenancy Front and Center for WV Legislature as Session Nears

At the beginning of each new year the West Virginia legislature meets for a 60-day session. This year the session runs from Jan. 10 to Mar. 10. For the previous maybe 6-7 years, the shale industry has pushed for some sort of forced pooling legislation. Each year those bills, as close they sometimes got, were defeated. This year the industry is staying well away from saying anything about “forced pooling.” Last time around (in 2017) we came close with something MDN calls forced pooling lite–a bill that would have allowed for co-tenancy and joint development. That bill was eventually defeated (see WV Force Pooling Lite Goes Down in Flames – Lawmakers Blame Pot). For the rest of last year WVONGA (the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association) hyped both co-tenancy and joint development. What are they? Co-tenancy says a majority of rights owners can vote to accept a lease for drilling. It corrects a situation in which multiple rights owners are listed for a property–sometimes 200 or more rights owners for a single piece of property! It is often difficult, if not impossible, to track them all down and get them to sign on the dotted line. Joint development (sometimes called “lease consolidation”) is more nuanced. Currently there are a number of existing old leases, signed before shale drilling began, that prevent drillers from drilling a horizontal well across an individual property boundary line–until a new lease is signed. Joint development says if the driller already owns the leases on all adjoining properties they want to combine into a single drilling unit, they can do so without signing a new lease. WVONGA says it corrects a loophole that prevents more drilling from happening. Rights owners say joint development legislation lets drillers have a freebie–instead of signing a new lease (for more money), the driller gets something never envisioned when the original lease was signed. It is a form of theft. We’re happy to see WVONGA leave joint development behind. This year WVOGNA and legislators are laser-focused on co-tenancy, which we think is a good thing…
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What is Condensate? A Closer Look at this Important Shale Hydrocarbon

From time to time MDN mentions condensate. What, exactly, is condensate? We’ve seen it described as a “light” form of crude oil. Condensate is an important component of what comes out of wells drilled in southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Condensate can be sold for a higher price that plain old natural gas molecules. As we’ve often written, when you sink a hole in the ground looking for one hydrocarbon, like oil or gas, you get other hydrocarbons out of the ground along with it. Natural gas (methane) comes out of holes drilled looking for oil, and the reverse. And just about all of the holes drilled get some form of natural gas liquids–including ethane, pentane, butane and propane. So where does condensate sit in the constellation of hydrocarbons? Is it closer to crude oil? Or closer to natural gas and NGLs? Two ships collided in the East China Sea over the weekend–one of them loaded with condensate. The ship exploded and all 32 souls on that ship died in the blaze or are lost at sea. So Reuters posted an article to explain just what the heck condensate is. We found the article useful for our own understanding, and thought you might too…
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Finalists Announced for 2018 Northeast & 2018 Texas Oil & Gas Awards

Once again Marcellus Drilling News is happy to partner with and support the Oil & Gas Awards, for 2018. The Awards boys have just released two lists of finalists–one for the Northeast Awards, being held March 1 in Pittsburgh; and one for the Texas Awards, being held March 7 in Houston. This year six of the entrants for the awards contracted with MDN editor Jim Willis to help them prepare their entries (both Northeast and Texas). It was a blast for Jim to dig in and understand more about the companies submitting an application for the awards–and to help them craft what we hope are winning entries! Jim worked with some true professionals from the companies entering the awards–it was a pleasure. Below is a list of the finalists in each region. Good luck!…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jan 8, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye over the break that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Anti-fracking NY invests more retirement $ in fracker CNX Resources; soaring prices in NJ show need for PennEast Pipeline; hearing for Scranton-area power plant emissions credits; local freight railroad in NEPA breaks record, thx to shale industry; permits in OH and PA remain strong; pipeline debate renews in New England with world’s highest prices; CUmmins Wesport natgas engine gets approved; record U.S. gas demand due to cold weather & exports; and more!
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