OH Fractivist Claims Obliterated with Cold, Hard Facts from NEPA

MDN friend Chris Acker, standing in front of a rig about 200 yards from his house in NEPA

In December MDN brought you the news that Cabot Oil & Gas is sniffing around Ashland County, OH, with plans to possibly drill in a rock layer even deeper than the Utica Shale (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Cabot’s activity in the area was met with resistance by anti-fossil fuelers. Nothing new about that. What is new, however, is that some of the antis (a handful) in the Ashland area formed a faux landowner coalition, trying to fool landowners into joining them (see Warning to Ohio Residents: Beware Fake Landowner Coalitions). The faux landowner coalition has been busy spreading lies about Cabot, making wild accusations about what will happen if Cabot is allowed to drill in the county. MDN friend (and right arm) Chris Acker, a northeast PA landowner signed with Cabot, has written a guest post/rebuttal that obliterates the lies being spread by Ashland antis. Buckle up, this one will be fun to read!…
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Cabot O&G Continues Tradition of Philanthropy in NEPA Communities

The following guest post was written by Rick Hiduk:

Cabot Warming Hearts at Coldest Time of Year

It has been a particularly cold couple of months, and those most effected by winter’s bite tend to be the less fortunate families in our region and their children. Since Thanksgiving, Cabot Oil & Gas has been reaching out to the community in a variety of ways and brightening the lives of hundreds of area residents. While Cabot has become known for its ongoing philanthropy, the initiatives covering the holiday season were especially well received, helping more than 800 families in northeast Pennsylvania…
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It’s Time We Stop Missing the Point About the Mariner East Pipes

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection suspended all work on the Mariner East 2 NGL Pipeline project (see today’s lead story, PA DEP Caves to Big Green Pressure, Stops All Work on ME2 Pipeline). The project has been vigorously opposed by antis in the greater Philadelphia area from the beginning. Their opposition stems from a deeper philosophical preference to end the use of fossil fuels. Last September, MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Garland Thompson at the Shale Insight event in Pittsburgh. Garland, who lives in Philly, has written for the Career Communications Group of publications, including US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Hispanic Engineer & IT, and their siblings Woman of Color and Science Spectrum, for many years. He’s covered the shale revolution for those publications since 2008–before MDN began writing about it! Jim had an interesting conversation with Garland, about the need to educate folks, particularly the folks in the greater Philly area, about the benefits of pipelines. Springboarding on yesterday’s news, Garland has written a great opinion piece pointing out that opposition to the Mariner East pipelines (plural) is misguided and shortsighted. Garland builds a case for why everyone in the Philly region should want to see these important projects get built…
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Further Thoughts on PA’s Severance Tax “Mess”

Dan Markind

Last week MDN published an opposing viewpoint about the current severance tax debate in Pennsylvania (see Guest Post: An Opposing View of PA’s Severance Tax “Mess”). Please take time to read it. MDN editor Jim Willis has high respect for the author, Dan Markind (a partner with law firm Weir & Partners). When we published his post, we introduced it with our own thoughts. Dan had asked for the opportunity to respond to our intro, which we readily agreed to. Below is Dan’s response. We bring it with no further commentary necessary here, other than we like Dan and appreciate his views, even the ones we may not agree with…
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Guest Post: An Opposing View of PA’s Severance Tax “Mess”

Dan Markind

You know how MDN feels about a new/extra severance tax in Pennsylvania–we’re dead set against it. We have been from the beginning. We think the impact fee (i.e. tax) is doing just fine, having raised over $1 billion in revenue from 2013 to 2017 (assuming the Independent Fiscal Office’s 2017 projections are accurate). The best part of the impact fee is that 60% of it stays local–in counties where drilling happens–instead of going to the black hole of Harrisburg overspending. However, there are Republicans in the state legislature addicted to spending, just like Democrats, and they continue to lobby for a new severance tax, to be placed on top of the existing impact fee. As we saw yesterday, PA’s rig count has been static to slightly down all year long (see Marcellus/Utica Rig Count Race Tightens: OH Count Closes in on PA). Does PA want to drive even more business out of the state and into neighboring Ohio and West Virginia? That, in our humble opinion, is exactly what a severance tax will do. Although, MDN doesn’t play favorites, we love all our state children equally! We don’t want PA to make a serious mistake. However, there are opposing opinions on the severance tax issue from people we respect. One of those people is Dan Markind, a partner with law firm Weir & Partners. Dan writes a regular email newsletter covering the Marcellus Shale in PA. Last week he wrote about the budget negotiation collapse and the (admitted) debacle of House Republicans clutching at alternative straws–first a warehouse tax and then a hotel tax–anything but a severance tax. Dan believes the shale industry in PA has alienated other industries, and has boxed itself into a corner by not accepting some form of a severance tax. We disagree with Dan’s view on this matter–but his view is shared by many. Which is why we bring you his email newsletter from last week (with his permission), to present an alternative view on the severance tax issue…
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Guest Post: The Real Record of Ex-EPA Sec. Gina McCarthy

Depending on whether you’re a hardened leftist, or a common sense conservative, Gina McCarthy (former head of the Environmental Protection Agency) was either Savior or Satan. We tend toward the latter–someone who (ab)used her office to push a far-left political agenda. During her tenure, McCarthy oversaw the ramrodding through of the horrible Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and Clean Power Plan (CPP) regulations. It’s taken Team Trump a while, but both measures are being taken apart, plank by plank. Most people from agencies like the EPA retire quietly after their tenure. Not McCarthy. She’s out there in the media attempting to whitewash and cover up her mistakes, and castigating her successor, Scott Pruitt. Mainstream media, which tilts left of Attila the Hun, loves it (and her), giving her a voice. MDN friend Steven Heins, an energy and regulatory consultant and former vice president of communication for Orion Energy Systems, sets the record straight about Ms. McCarthy’s tenure as head of the EPA. Steve reminds us all of some rather uncomfortable truths about the EPA as it was under McCarthy…
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PA Sending Wrong Message to O&G, Petrochemical, Manuf Industries

Charlie Schliebs – Stone Pier Capital Advisors

Over the years MDN editor Jim Willis has had the pleasure of meeting many great people–both in the shale industry and in other industries that overlap with shale energy. One such person is Charlie Schliebs, managing director of the Pittsburgh-based Stone Pier Capital Advisors. Charlie is a long-time MDN subscriber (and friend). He’s a money guy, having had a hand in a number of deals to finance Marcellus/Utica drilling. He’s also smart, and a mover-and-shaker–well-connected with many of Pennsylvania’s top business and political leaders. Recently Charlie composed an editorial to share with his clients and friends. The original intent was to write about the severance tax and the sellout by PA’s Republican Senate. However, the editorial grew to encompass the state’s treatment of the petrochemical and even construction industries. We asked Charlie for permission to bring you his editorial, and he graciously agreed. In it, he offers some insight into his original support for Tom Wolf during the last gubernatorial election, his profound disappointment with Wolf (be sure to read about the event Charlie hosted in which then-candidate Wolf participated and made an arrogant fool of himself), and how Wolf settled on a 5% severance tax plan, based on an off-hand remark by EQT. This is great stuff–real behind-the-scenes stuff only someone like Charlie can write about. Take time to read the whole editorial…
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Coming GE-Baker Hughes Merger – World’s First “Full-Stream” Co.

You’ve heard of upstream, which that portion of the industry that finds and drills for natural gas and oil. You’ve heard of midstream, the pipelines and processing plants portion of the industry. And you’ve heard of downstream, which includes petrochemical plants, industrial users, and homeowners who use the stuff found and transported. But have you ever heard of “full-stream?” That would be a company that is involved, in a major way, in all three major areas of the energy business. Companies like Exxon Mobil and Shell come close, but they don’t really fit that description. They drill for oil and gas (upstream), and they have some pipelines (minimal). They do have a big presence in the downstream, with cracker plants and other petrochemical facilities. However, the first truly full-stream company is about to be born, from the merger between GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes. It will be a “molecule to megawatt” company. MDN friend Steven Heins, an energy and regulatory consultant and former vice president of communication for Orion Energy Systems, shares his observations about the impending merger and what it means…
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Guest Post: A Possible Solution for the PA Royalty Issue

ChrisAcker.jpgMDN is pleased to bring you another guest post from our very good friend Chris Acker. Chris is a geological engineer with an MBA. He grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela where his father, a petroleum engineer, was a drilling contractor for all the major players, onshore and off. Chris’ interest in energy economics and policy found him working for Exxon, Petroleum Industry Research Associates and Petroleos de Venezuela. He bought a parcel of land in the PA countryside twenty-five years ago and later semi-retired to work on antique pianos (see www.PianoGrands.com). A few years ago, it was established that Chris’ property in Susquehanna County sits atop one of the Marcellus shale’s most prolific areas. He leased with Cabot Oil & Gas and has a well sitting off his front porch not more than 200 yards away. Chris is now happily engaged once again in energy economics, with an emphasis, naturally, on gas. Chris is MDN editor Jim Willis’ right arm when it comes to scanning for stories, something Jim is profoundly grateful for. Chris sent Jim a note about the royalty issue, just a couple of paragraphs–and Jim found more wisdom in his few sentences than he has seen to date. So Jim asked Chris for permission to post his pearls of wisdom, and Chris decided to expand it. Below is a very thoughtful, intelligent, useful post on the royalty issue currently causing a schism between landowners and drillers in the Keystone State. We encourage everyone with an interest in this issue to read it. It contains a few new ideas we’ve not heard either side float–ideas that may help us find a way out of the current mess…
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Explaining the Rift Between Saudi Arabia & Iran; Impact on Oil

Daniel Markind
Daniel Markind, Esq.

You may have noticed a flare-up of tensions in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The “crisis” as it’s being called by news organizations like CNN has quickly escalated with other Arab countries taking sides–most of them siding with Saudi Arabia. The flare-up initially caused an uptick in the price of oil based on fears there may be oil disruptions in the region–but those fears quickly died down and along with it, the price died down too. What is this conflict all about? And how might it affect the price of oil (and gas) in 2016? MDN reader Daniel Markind, an attorney and partner in the Philadelphia law firm Weir and Partners, provides us with an excellent summary/overview of what this conflict is about…
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Is PA Gov Wolf Targeting the Marcellus Industry for Extinction?

Daniel Markind
Daniel Markind

Is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf actually *trying* to kill the Marcellus Shale industry? It’s not our question, but a serious question being asked by Dan Markind, a lawyer and partner with Weir & Partners in Philadelphia. In today’s guest post, Dan recounts Wolf’s actions during his first ten months in office and asks a serious question about what Wolf is trying to do to the Marcellus industry. Actions speak louder than words. [Incidentally, no one else seems to recall, but we do, that California billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer gave Wolf something like $14 million for his campaign (see CA Anti-Driller Tom Steyer Purchasing Tom Wolf PA Governorship). Perhaps Wolf is paying off his campaign debt to Steyer by targeting the Marcellus for extinction?]

Dan also updates us on the situation with the Constitution Pipeline–delayed by New York’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation; the Obama Administration’s decision to oppose ending a ban on crude oil exports; and a huge oil find in Israel, or is it really in Syria?…
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What Have We Learned from EPA’s Gold King Mine Disaster?

guest postOn January 9, 2014, a Freedom Industries facility next to the Elk River leaked ~10,000 gallons of crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) used in coal mining into the river, which is a tributary to the Kanawha River that runs through Charleston, WV. The results of that leak were dramatic. Some 300,000 residents from nine counties in the Charleston metropolitan area were without access to potable water for five days. Several Freedom Industries officials are now in jail and the company went bankrupt because of that single accident. Contrast coverage of that accident with another accident–caused by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Gold King Mine in Colorado. EPA personnel were fiddling around “testing” at a gold mine wastewater storage impoundment and accidentally unplugged it, dumping 3 million gallons of some of the nastiest wastewater you can imagine–with lead, arsenic and other heavy metals–into the Animas River north of Silverton, CO (see EPA Causes Environmental Disaster in CO; Connection to Marcellus?). The Gold King Mine spill turned the Animas “an opaque orange color reminiscent of boxed mac and cheese.” Question: Should EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy be locked up and the EPA dismantled based on a single accident? Is there a double standard when it comes to environmental reporting?

Stephen Heins, an energy and regulatory consultant for a Wall Street firm, and former vice president of communication for Orion Energy Systems, is an occasional guest blogger here on MDN. Steve has penned an excellent article (below) that takes a look at EPA’s response to the Gold King Mine disaster. Steve says he’s not second-guessing the accident itself–it was an accident (they do happen). He’s interested in how the EPA responded, what we can learn from it, and whether or not a double standard exists when it comes to environmental reporting about government-caused accidents vs. those caused by private companies…
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Ohio and 15 Other States Ask EPA to Delay Clean Power Plan

guest postMDN is pleased to add another occasional voice to Marcellus Drilling News. Stephen Heins is an energy and regulatory consultant for a Wall Street firm, and the former vice president of communication for Orion Energy Systems. Steve has penned an article (below) pointing out five critical problems with the recently announced EPA Clean Power Plan. Steve makes a strong case that the EPA needs to hold off on implementing this draconian new plan until the Supreme Court hears a case brought against the plan by 16 states. Pull up a chair and enjoy Steve’s expert insights…
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The Rotten Core of Obama’s Clean Power Plan: Global Warming Myth

The uber-arrogant Barack H. Obama and his bullying Environmental Protection Agency have given us an untenable Clean Power Plan that a) guts the rest of the coal industry, and b) sets its sights on gutting the natural gas industry, for power generation, too (see Obama Stabs Natural Gas Electric Plants in Clean Power Plan). The core tenant/religious belief perpetrated by Obama is the myth that mankind’s burning of fossil fuels, with an increase in carbon dioxide, is leading to a catastrophic warming of the earth’s atmosphere. There is no credible scientific proof for such a theory–it’s only a theory. But that doesn’t stop Obama and his minions from using it as an excuse to shut down legal and legitimate businesses that use fossil fuels to generate electricity. Since global warming jiggery-pokery is central to Obama’s Clean Power Plan, we thought it would be instructive to show you the headlines from six years, in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The headlines then, as now, blare that we have “just five years left” before it’s “too late”. We’re now six years later without the beseeched onerous policies and guess what: We’re no worse off today than we were then. The planet didn’t get warmer (and hasn’t for 18 years now). In fact, the global warming meme has been circulating for 100 years (see Global Warming Meme has Been Around Nearly 100 Years). Today we bring you a guest blogger that illustrates the falseness of global warmers’ claims by comparing their predictions from six years ago (that didn’t come true) with their predictions now…
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Guest Post: The Political Disaster that is Gov. Wolf’s PA Severance Tax Proposal

MDN friend Charlie Schliebs, managing director of Stone Pier Capital Advisors in Pittsburgh, sent along a copy of his firm’s latest newsletter yesterday. In it, Charlie has penned a superb article about the PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration’s current disaster with respect to the state budget (and Wolf’s demand for a high severance tax). As MDN reported yesterday, Wolf did something no governor has done for 40 years–he vetoed the entire budget (see PA’s Partisan Gov Wolf Vetoes No-Severance-Tax State Budget). Let’s put Wolf’s veto in perspective. He turned down, wholesale, a balanced budget that raises education funding (for the chil’ren) all while holding the line on tax increases. Instead, Wolf chose to shut down the PA state government. Why? Because he wants a nosebleed high tax on Marcellus Shale drillers to transfer their hard-earned money over to teachers’ unions. It’s sick. Charlie is more of a diplomat than we are and uses nicer words, but make no mistake, he has an iron fist in his velvet editorial glove when it comes to “The Political Disaster that is Gov. Wolf’s PA Severance Tax Proposal”…
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Opposing Viewpoint on Gulfport Water Lawsuit Against Barnesville

MDN reader Eric Fenster, who lives in the Piedmont Lake area of Ohio, wrote to take issue with MDN’s “take” on the lawsuit brought by Gulfport Energy against Barnesville for breach of contract in selling them water for use in drilling and fracking (see Barnesville Officials “Didn’t Think” When Signing Gulfport Water Deal). Mr. Fenster believes MDN has it mostly wrong and that the Gulfport lawsuit is frivolous and should be dismissed. He outlines his thinking in the following guest post…
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