US Supreme Court May Hear Illinois Takings Case – NY Implications?

More than six years ago a group of landowners in Wayne County, Illinois sued the state for its refusal to grant permits to drill and frack in the New Albany Shale deposit. Over the years the case morphed and the plaintiff became Next Energy, LLC, which acquired the leases to explore and develop the shale under the landowners’ property. The huge news is that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken an active interest in the case and is demanding the Illinois Attorney General file a response to the case–a key indicator the Supremes are leaning toward hearing the case.
Continue reading

DRBC Presses Forward – Special Mtg to Ban Fracking in Dela. Basin

What is it with the recalcitrant members of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)? As we told you a few weeks ago, the DRBC is being sued by a Wayne County, PA landowner–who stands an excellent chance of winning (see DRBC Frack Ban Heading for Defeat in October Trial). The lawsuit argues DRBC does NOT have the authority to classify shale gas drilling as a “project” under its charter, and consequently, DRBC does not have the right nor the authority to ban fracking in the Basin. Yet DRBC has just announced its commissioners will meet (virtually) next week to finalize their ongoing moratorium of fracking into a full-on, permanent ban.
Continue reading

Delaware Riverkeeper Seeks to Intervene in DRBC Fracking Lawsuit

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, a radical anti-fossil fuel organization headed by Maya van Rossum who presumes she is the only voice that speaks for the Delaware River, has filed a motion to intervene (i.e. join) a lawsuit filed against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) by a group of Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers. Riverkeeper accuses PA lawmakers of violating their oath of office with this lawsuit. It’s the opposite. The lawmakers are standing up for the rights of their constituents–land rights stripped away by the DRBC.
Continue reading

Heinz Endowments Launches Another Fake ‘Report’ Bashing the M-U

For the past week or so we’ve spotted stories in the Democrat press (i.e. mainstream news) about a so-called “research report” issued by a front organization for the Heinz Endowments called the Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI). The ORVI recently released a report that purports to show the fracking miracle in the Marcellus/Utica hasn’t actually created all that many jobs or economic benefits. Here’s the first tip this report is a scam and a sham: The lead researcher from the so-called ORVI doesn’t live in the Ohio River Valley nor anywhere near the M-U, he’s a playwright who lives thousands of miles away on the Left Coast, in Washington State. In other words, the report is fiction.
Continue reading

McCandless Twp, PA Blocks Shale Drilling with New Zoning Law

Last June MDN told you about a plan by McCandless, a township in Allegheny County, PA (near Pittsburgh), to block any and all shale drilling within its borders by getting creative (see McCandless Twp Tries to Block Shale Drilling with New Zoning Law). McCandless cooked up changes to its zoning laws that make it illegal to drill a well in land zoned for commercial development. Since towns have to allow drilling in at least one zone, McCandless will allow it only in “institutional districts”–meaning schools, hospitals, universities, and parks. Meaning zero drilling will ever happen.
Continue reading

DRBC Frack Ban Heading for Defeat in October Trial

In January MDN told you that after five loooong years, a federal judge in Scranton, PA had finally ruled the Wayne Land and Mineral Group (WLMG) v. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) lawsuit will go to trial this year (see Judge Rules Wayne Landowner Lawsuit re DRBC Frack Ban Continues). We’ve since learned the trial is set to begin in October. Andrew Makuth, ace reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, chronicles the journey of this lawsuit and what it means for landowners and environmentalists.
Continue reading

Most Important Lawsuit in PA Shale History – Review & Fallout

It was exactly one year ago that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in THE most consequential lawsuit for Marcellus Shale drilling we’ve seen, a case called Briggs v Southwestern Energy (see HUGE NEWS: PA Supreme Court Keeps ‘Rule of Capture’ for Fracking). Now that the dust has settled, it’s a good time to take a look at the case and the lingering fallout from the case on both landowners and drillers in the Keystone State.
Continue reading

DOE Report: Biden Frack Ban Will Destroy the Economy

Last week the Trump Dept. of Energy (DOE) released a new report titled “Economic and National Security Impacts under a Hydraulic Fracturing Ban” (full copy below). The report shows that a ban on hydraulic fracturing would spike greenhouse gas emissions, boost coal generation, and reverse America’s energy exporter status. A full-on fracking ban would result in 7.7 million jobs lost across the country and the overall U.S. economy would take a significant hit just as the pandemic recovery is underway. Devastating.
Continue reading

US Well Locks in Long-Term E-Fracking Contracts with Range, EQT

In a pair of announcements earlier this week, U.S. Well Services announced it has signed new long-term deals with both Range Resources and EQT to supply “electric fracking” services. We told you in February 2020 that Range had signed on with U.S. Well Services to continue using its electric fracking service (see Range Resources Converts to Electric Fracking with US Well Serv.). A couple of months later EQT signed up with U.S. Well too (see EQT Converting One-Third of Completions to US Well E-Fracking). What’s the difference between traditional fracking and electric or e-fracking?
Continue reading

PA Senators Sue DRBC for “Taking” Property re Frack Ban

In a brilliant move aimed at boxing in the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), two northeastern Pennsylvania State Senators–Gene Yaw and Lisa Baker–along with members of the PA Senate Republican Caucus, filed a lawsuit yesterday against the DRBC, accusing the quasi-governmental agency of “taking” the property rights of PA residents without just compensation under the law.
Continue reading

Judge Rules Wayne Landowner Lawsuit re DRBC Frack Ban Continues

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani issued a couple of rulings in the Wayne Land and Mineral Group (WLMG) v. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) lawsuit that should encourage landowners in eastern PA whose property rights have been “taken” by the DRBC. The DRBC has prevented landowners in areas like Wayne and Pike counties from drilling for shale gas under their land for more than a decade.

NOTE: Our good friend Tom Shepstone has written an important post on this development on his Natural Gas Now website: DRBC Lawsuit Finally Going to Trial After Five Years! We encourage you to click and read it.
Continue reading

Johns Hopkins Junk Science: PA Fracking Gives You Heart Failure

Do political, agenda-driven “researchers” never tire of spinning false narratives around fracking? When Michael Bloomberg pays your salary (as he does for researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), apparently not. Back in 2016, Brian Schwartz, a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute (virulent anti-fossil fuel group) was among a group of researchers who published a junk science report claiming fracking in PA gives you headaches (see Johns Hopkins Junk Science: Fracking Gives You Headaches). He’s baaaack! This time Schwartz says PA fracking gives you (gasp)…heart failure.
Continue reading

API Vows to Fight Biden’s Promised Federal Land Frack Ban

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has finally grown a backbone. Maybe. Back on Nov. 7, the API welcomed, with open arms, dithering old Joe Biden and Kamala “Commie” Harris–long before the outcome of the race was even determined. Now that the catastrophic (to oil & gas) reality of a Biden administration has started to sink in, API is changing its tune.
Continue reading

Some in Oil & Gas Industry Look Forward to a Biden Presidency

Every now and again we hear from MDN readers who mildly (or strongly) disagree with our politics and view of the leftwing Democrat Party and the frail, mentally-challenged Joe Biden (who won’t last two years in office before he’s pushed out for medical and/or mental reasons). They tell us a Biden presidency isn’t the end of oil and gas, and maybe he will even help our industry! (Even though Biden promised to “transition away from oil” in his last debate appearance.) We’re mystified that anyone can hold the view that Biden will be good for O&G, but there are people (in our audience) who do hold that view. The article below does a good job of capturing their viewpoint and thinking about the incoming Biden administration.
Continue reading

DOE Marcellus Research Finds High Frack Pressure Keeps Gas Trapped

Here’s a little known fact: Fracking for natural gas in shale only extracts about 20% of the methane gas that’s trapped in shale rock, meaning (of course) that 80% of the gas gets left behind. Researchers with the Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory have made what we consider an astonishing breakthrough discovery: Too much pressure used during fracking actually locks some of the methane away tighter in the shale, instead of loosening it. In a published paper revealing their results (full copy below), researchers recommend a range of pressures to use to optimize (increase) recovery rates for methane in the Marcellus.
Continue reading

The 2020 Election All Comes Down to Fracking in Pennsylvania

There is a reason why President Trump and sleepy/creepy Uncle Joe Biden are visiting Pennsylvania so much. It is one of the “battleground” states, likely THE state, that will determine who wins the presidential race next week. The key issue both candidates talk about is fracking. Joe Biden (says Donald Trump) will take away the right to frack in PA, and along with it thousands of jobs. Biden insists he won’t ban fracking, but in the next breath says he will “transition” the country away from using oil (and gas, all fossil fuels) over the next 15 years. Which is, in essence, a ban on fracking.
Continue reading