Columbus Radical Admits Frack Ban Ballot Measure Not Legal

Just a few days ago we told you about a group of anti-fossil fuel nutters, backed by the Big Green group CELDF, making yet another run at an illegal frack ban in Columbus, OH (see CELDF Finds New Group of Suckers in Columbus for Utica Frack Ban). Columbus, with a population of 2,078,725 people, found 12,134 suckers (1/2 of 1% of the entire population) to sign a petition to get a so-called Community Bill of Rights on the ballot in November. As we previously pointed out, this initiative is illegal. State law specifically reserves the right to regulate oil and gas activity at the state level–local towns, cities, etc. don’t have the staff or expertise to regulate such activities. In a new article, one of the main agitators behind the ballot measure admits the so-called Community Bill of Rights is likely illegal. But that doesn’t matter to him: “[T]he initiative is still worth pursuing because it brings attention to what he believes is the unfairness of cities not having a say in oil and gas drilling.” So the antis know it’s illegal, it will never stand, but they want taxpayers to have to burn money and time to challenge it anyway. Just because they don’t like fossil fuels and activities to extract them. How do you even have a conversation with someone who is totally irrational?…
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Utica Fracking May Help Locate Evidence of Life on Mars

In 2016 MDN brought you the story of researchers who found microbes (bacteria) living nearly two miles down in Utica Shale wells. They dubbed one of the never-before-seen bacterial “lifeforms” in the well Frackibacter. We immediately labeled it a different name: Frackenstein (see Frackenstein! Researchers Find New Life Form in Fracked Utica Wells). One of the Ohio State researchers who helped discover Frackenstein continued the work. Last July he published a study titled, “Sulfide Generation by Dominant Halanaerobium Microorganisms in Hydraulically Fractured Shales” (see Ohio State Research Finds Microbes in Utica Well May be Corrosive). The researcher said a different bacteria he studied, that appeared in multiple Utica wells (called Halanaerobium) may be a cause for concern, possibly corrosive to pipes and cement and toxic for workers. Bear in mind the study was theoretical and based on observations at a single Utica well. The intrepid researchers at Ohio State have kept at it and have now published a third study. This new study, titled “Coupled laboratory and field investigations resolve microbial interactions that underpin persistence in hydraulically fractured shales” (full copy below), may “hold clues to extraterrestrial life” and assist in our efforts to search for life on the planet Mars. Far out! ET phone home–we’re about to frack Mars…
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Fake Duke Study Says Fracking Will Make you Fat

Yet another wild, totally false “study” has been published by Duke University and University of Missouri researchers that finds when you pump rats full of chemicals, some of which may (or may not) be used in fracking, dosing the rats at many multiples of times more that any human would ever be exposed to, it makes the rats gain weight. And voila, a new meme in mainstream faux media is born: fracking makes you fat. How do “researchers” actually get jobs after publishing this kind of garbage? Who would hire them? Perhaps the Heniz Endowments or William Penn Foundation. This is the same “research” team that tried to connect shale drilling to impaired immune systems, low sperm counts, ovarian follicle problems and pre-cancerous mammary gland lesions, in previous fictional studies. More of the same with this study…
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NY Landowner Who Sued for “Takings” re Frack Ban Loses Fed Case

Is this the sad end to a noble cause? In 2015 MDN told you about an Allegany County, NY attorney/landowner who filed a lawsuit against the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) over their infamous and politically-motivated ban on fracking (see 1st Lawsuit Filed Against NY Cuomo Frack Ban – in Allegany County). The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court in Allegany County. Don’t be fooled by the Supreme Court label. In NY, Supreme Court is one level up from county court. The Supreme Court judge tossed the case saying the attorney/landowner didn’t have standing to file the lawsuit in the first place because he never had a permit to drill on his property. The Appellate Division later upheld the decision. The attorney/landowner then filed the same lawsuit in federal court–bypassing Cuomo-appointed state judges–in federal court last December (see NY Resident (& Lawyer) Sues DEC in Federal Court re Frack Ban). On Monday U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca ruled in that case–against the attorney/landowner, on what amounts to a technicality, saying the case violates the 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects states from being sued for money in a federal court. Is this now the end? Does our intrepid attorney/landowner, have anything else up his legal sleeve?…
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CNX Signs Deal with Evolution to Use 100% Electric Fracking Fleet

CNX Resources announced Tuesday that the company has signed a long-term contract with Evolution Well Services to use Evolution’s 100% natural gas-fueled electric pressure pumping equipment. That is, CNX will use electric fracking equipment, with the electricity generated by burning natural gas (instead of diesel). According to Evolution, their “next generation” equipment saves drillers “up to 95 percent on fuel costs.” Whoa! If that claim is true (we have no reason to disbelieve it), it certainly changes the economics of fracking. Using natgas to generate the electricity, instead of diesel, also has the benefit of cleaner air. And here’s the coolest part: The natural gas used to power the electric generator comes from other other CNX wells in the area, i.e. “field gas.” Look ma, no more endless truck deliveries of diesel fuel! Here’s the exciting news that CNX is a “first-mover” on this new technology…
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Antis Convince Chatham County, NC to Extend Frack Moratorium

In 2014, the North Carolina legislature passed a law that specifically says local municipalities can’t regulate oil and gas exploration–it is the sole responsibility of the state to do so. Some municipalities thought there were loopholes they could use. Stokes and Chatham counties enacted moratoriums instead of outright bans, hoping to game the system. In order to plug the loopholes, the NC General Assembly approved a 41-page “technical corrections” bill (literally passed in the middle of the night) in September 2015 (see NC Legislature Makes Local Frack Bans/Moratoria Illegal). The technical corrections bill, signed into law by then-Gov. Pat McCrory, introduced language which closes any perceived loopholes and makes any actions like the ones in Stokes and Chatham illegal. And yet the moratoriums in those counties persist, contravening NC law. On Monday night Chatham County commissioners voted (unanimously) to extend their illegal moratorium until Jan. 31, 2019. How do they get away with it? The obvious answer is that nobody cares about drilling in Chatham County, otherwise there would have been a lawsuit to challenge this blatant violation of the law…
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New Yale U Study Finds Fracking Does Not Affect PA Water Wells

Here’s what happens when the Heinz Endowments, William Penn Foundation, National Resources Defense Council and other far-left “environmental” funders don’t fund a study: real science gets done. We’ve knocked Yale University in the past when so-called studies (junk science) were released about fracking in the Marcellus/Utica (example from March 2018: Yale Study Claims Ohio Utica Fracking Causes STDs). Those studies are almost always funded by Big Green groups and the results conform to Big Green’s predetermined outcomes. This time, a group of Yale students and professors conducted a field experiment where they drilled a number of water wells in an area where there would soon be (and subsequently was) Marcellus wells drilled–in Susquehanna County, PA. A controlled experiment to find out if drilling shale wells leads to water contamination via methane migration. The results are in. According to the Yale researchers, there was NO (zero, nada) impact on the water wells from nearby shale well drilling. Case closed. The study (full copy below) was published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s the third such study in the past few months to be released showing the same thing: NO impact from Marcellus/Utica drilling on groundwater supplies. The funny thing is how biased mainstream media, like (Dis)Associated Press, is reporting it. They can’t paper over the results of these studies, so they spin the story and the headline instead. Try this headline out from an AP article running in dozens (maybe hundreds) of newspapers: “Studies show groundwater holding own against drilling boom.” The truth is there is no impact from Marcellus Shale drilling on groundwater. But AP simply can’t present the bold, honest truth. Instead, they spin it to imply “Water has to hold it’s own and fight off fracking. That water is brave. It’s courageous. Even though those nasty frackers WANT to pollute our precious groundwater, that old water just hangs in there and holds its own.” That’s the impression left by AP’s headline and the accompanying story…
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Penn State Study: Water Quality IMPROVES in Heavily Drilled Areas

Good news for the Marcellus industry, which is bad news for Big Green (Sierra Club, Earthworks, Food & Water Watch, NRDC, EDF, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, et al): A new independent study by Penn State University has just been published that shows groundwater is getting cleaner (!) in the most heavily drilled areas of the Marcellus. You read that right. “The most interesting thing we discovered was the groundwater chemistry in one of the areas most heavily developed for shale gas – an area with 1400 new gas wells – does not appear to be getting worse with time, and may even be getting better,” said one of the authors of “Big Groundwater Data Sets Reveal Possible Rare Contamination Amid Otherwise Improved Water Quality for Some Analytes in a Region of Marcellus Shale Development,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology. Talk about nuking the lies of Big Green when it comes to “water contamination”–one of the biggest and most-repeated lies they spin. A team of geoscientists and computer scientists used new data-mining techniques to study a huge dataset of 11,000 groundwater samples located near ~1,400 shale wells taken after drilling in Bradford County, PA. You may recall that the University of Cincinnati recently released a similar study focused on the Ohio Utica (see Univ of Cincinnati Utica Groundwater Study Finally Published!). These are real scientific studies, not the fake stuff put out by Big Green groups. Here’s more on the latest evidence that fracking is good for water, and good for the environment…
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Frack Gel Now Made from 4 Grocery Store Products

The fracking revolution continues to revolutionize itself. Last time we checked, the #1 most visited article on MDN (by far) was this one, from 2010: List of 78 Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid in Pennsylvania. A LOT has changed since 2010. Fracking chemicals have become more “green” in recent years. Antis claim fracking uses “dangerous” chemicals in large quantities. How about this? Nowadays, fracking gel can be made from four items you can pick up at the local grocery store: guar gum, milk of magnesia, Visine original eye drops, and distilled white vinegar. That’s it! We’ve come a long way since 2010…
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PA Senator Intros Bill Declaring DRBC Frack Ban ‘Taking’ of Property

PA State Sen. Lisa Baker

Three cheers for PA Senator Lisa Baker (Republican from Luzerne County). Rather than wait around for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to move forward with adopting a threatened ban on fracking within their jurisdiction–a patently illegal move–Baker isn’t waiting. She’s taking a different approach to defeating the DRBC ban. Her approach is to bankrupt the DRBC if they decide to move forward with it. How? By introducing a bill which, if it becomes law, would make a DRBC ban officially a government “taking” under eminent domain. If the government “takes” (or seizes) a citizen’s property, that citizen is, under law, owed money from the government entity seizing the property. There is no way on God’s green earth the DRBC would/could have enough money to pay all of the landowners it’s shafting with a frack ban. Affected landowners live primarily in Wayne and Pike counties in northeastern PA. This is a brilliant move on Baker’s part–IF she can get the bill passed and signed into law by the feckless Tom Wolf…
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United Nations Publishes Inaccurate “Study” Dissing Shale Gas

The United Nations–essentially America’s enemies–recently issued a false report (full copy below) that tells the countries of the world to forget about shale energy as a way to lower carbon emissions and increase the standard of living among its peoples. Why? Because natural gas is methane and methane, according to UN warmists, is “worse” for the precious climate than CO2. Far worse. And because “everyone knows” that the world needs to dump the use of all fossil fuels sooner rather than later. So just forget about shale. Don’t give it a second thought. That about sums up the idiotic conclusions of this totally false, totally misleading report by the UN. Why are we not surprised? According to the wizards of smart issuing the report, it’s far better for counties to invest in solar (even though the sun doesn’t always shine) and wind (even though the wind doesn’t always blow)–and, you know, just keep your impoverished people living in mud huts. All in an effort to keep Mom Earth from toasting to a cinder. Even though the earth hasn’t been warming for 20 years!! Frustrating. Hard, actual science plays no role. This is a political report, not a scientific report. Bear that in mind as you read it…
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Radical Groups Band Together to Pressure Gov Wolf to Ban Fracking

A mishmash of national Big Green and local Little Green (funded by Big Green) groups from Pennsylvania have banded together in order to apply pressure on (i.e. bully) a weak-willed governor, PA Gov. Tom Wolf. A coalition of anti-fossil fuel groups, calling themselves Pennsylvania Fracking Health Impacts, has begun protesting Wolf outside of fundraisers and other venues. Their demand? That Wolf enact an immediate moratorium (i.e. ban) on all fracking in the state. One of the useful idiots providing support to the new coalition is actor and fractivist Mark Ruffalo (who plays The Incredible Hulk in Marvel’s Avengers movies). Ruffalo trash-talked Wolf and said that Wolf, “has done nothing to help the many families who have been harmed by fracking. Now I am joining with the Pennsylvanians who are launching this public health impacts campaign to help shine a light on this unjust tragedy and ask when will Governor Wolf act?” Just because Ruffalo is a good actor doesn’t mean he’s smart. Far from it! He’s about as stupid as they come. Talented actor–you can’t take that away from him. But when it comes to actually having a brain? Sadly, he was passed over. The aim of the new group in PA is to see if they might be able to shame and pressure Wolf into shutting down the Marcellus industry. We seriously doubt that will happen, but hey, one never knows when it comes to Lib Dems…
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Univ of Cincinnati Utica Groundwater Study Finally Published!

From January 2012 to February 2015, researchers from the University of Cincinnati collected 180 groundwater samples in Eastern Ohio, from water wells located close to Utica Shale drilling activity. In early 2016, the lead researcher shared some high level results from the study. The preliminary results showed that fracking in areas where there are water wells doesn’t affect those wells (see Antis Not Happy with Results of OH Fracking Study They Funded). Two anti-drilling groups were the primary funders of the study–Deer Creek Foundation in St. Louis and the Alice Weston foundation from Cincinnati. The two groups immediately cut their funding when they heard results they believe they didn’t pay for (see Anti Groups Abruptly Cut Funding for OH Fracking Study). Since that time, no more of the study’s results have been released, for over two years! That is, until now. The full peer-reviewed study, titled “Monitoring concentration and isotopic composition of methane in groundwater in the Utica Shale hydraulic fracturing region of Ohio,” was published last week in the scientific journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Summing up the results of the full study in the words of the researchers themselves: “We found no relationship between CH4 [methane] concentration or source in groundwater and proximity to active gas well sites.” And, “…our data do not indicate any intrusion of high conductivity fracking fluids as the number of fracking wells increased in the region.” Finally! An honest study using Big Green money, that Big Green tried to cover up and silence, is now available for the whole world to see…
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Unease Over PA Rule of Capture Case Spreads Nationwide

This much is clear: The “Briggs” court decision in Pennsylvania cannot stand as it is without threatening to end the shale miracle, certainly in Pennsylvania, and perhaps across the country. Some believe we’re making too much of the Briggs decision recently handed down by two judges sitting on PA’s Superior Court (see PA Superior Court Overturns “Rule of Capture” for Marcellus Well and PA “Rule of Capture” Case has Power to Limit Marcellus Drilling). The issue, in brief, is that the Superior Court decision disallows using an age-old principle called the “rule of capture” when it comes to shale drilling and fracking. It opens the door to a myriad of frivolous lawsuits claiming that a fracture, a crack created during fracking, is draining gas from a neighbor’s property without justly compensating the neighbor for the gas. Southwestern successfully argued in a lower court that the odd crack here and there that may slip under a neighbor’s property is permissible. The landowner appealed to Superior Court and three judges heard the case. Two of them voted to overturn the lower court decision in favor of Southwestern and sent the case back to a lower court where the landowners (the Briggs) now have to prove Southwestern trespassed and work out how much gas they believe was “taken.” Southwestern has asked the full Superior Court–all 20 judges–to hear the case again. No word yet on whether that will happen. We have, from the beginning, considered the Briggs decision to be an existential threat to the Marcellus industry in PA. In a recent Bloomberg article, some experts believe the threat has the potential to spread beyond PA. Below we explain how might happen, and provide some historical perspective on the rule of capture…
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Study: The Closer People Live to Fracking, the More They Like It!

You might think people who are not leased and live close to shale drilling activity, that is, those with the most “impacts” from that activity, would be the ones most opposed to it. However, you would be wrong. That’s according to a new study just published by the ultra liberal Oregon State University. A study appearing in monthly peer reviewed academic journal Risk Analysis titled, “The Effect of Geographic Proximity to Unconventional Oil and Gas Development on Public Support for Hydraulic Fracturing,” finds that the closer you live to shale drilling, even those who are not leased, the more supportive of it they are. Why is that? Because they understand it–they’re more familiar with it. MDN has spoken to residents in Susquehanna County, PA who live close to drilling yet are not, themselves, drilled on/under. Their opinion? Sure they’d like it if they got money. After all, they incur the impacts (trucks, noise, lights, dust), but don’t directly benefit with money in their pockets. Yet, when asked if they had a choice and could wave a magic wand so there never would have been drilling, the answer is swift and universal: NO! They still prefer nearby drilling, because it benefits their neighbors and, to some degree, the community at large via tax revenue and charitable contributions. Here’s news of a study that proves the closer you are to drilling, the more you like it…
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Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) Wants Feds to Regulate Fracking

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat from the 13th District in Ohio, signed up last week to co-sponsor a new bill called the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals, or FRAC, Act. In fact, all 61 co-sponsors of the bill were Democrat–no Republicans–which is a big, fat, red flag. A totally partisan bill. Democrats have been trying this trick since 2009. It’s nothing new. Supposedly the FRAC Act will require “transparency,” forcing frackers to disclose which chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing. The thing is, drillers already disclose that information! What the FRAC Act is REALLY all about is federal regulation of the oil and gas industry by doing something that has never been done before: subjecting oil and gas drilling to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. We’re tired of revisiting this topic, but feel compelled to set the record straight because of this renewed attack on the industry. Fact: There is no “exemption” from the Safe Drinking Water Act for drillers–they never were under the Act to begin with! The U.S. Constitution vests the power to regulate oil and gas activity with the individual states–NOT with the federal government. What Ryan and his fellow libs are trying to do in forcing oil and gas under federal regulation is a bastardization of the Constitution–an erosion of states’ rights. Which is why Ryan needs to be voted out of office. Shame on him. He’s from one of the biggest stars in the shale firmament–the Ohio Utica. And yet he’s pushing to kill it. There’s nothing “common sense” about the FRAC Act, as Ryan claims. It’s all “nonsense.” Here’s the latest attack by Dems at the federal level, a group that wants to kill the shale miracle in this country…
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