9 More Seismic Testing Devices Stolen in SWPA, 6 Were Returned

Click for larger version

Somebody in southwestern Pennsylvania has sticky fingers. In March MDN reported that someone(s) in SWPA had stolen nine seismic testing nodes in Westmoreland County (see Whoops! Stolen Seismic Testing Nodes in SWPA have Tracking Devices). The seismic testing devices were legally placed in various locations by Geokinetics, hired by Huntley & Huntley to map what’s below the surface in preparation for drilling shale wells. Geokinetics let it be known that if the devices were not returned by March 26, the perps would be hunted down and prosecuted. Oh! And did we tell you that each device has a GPS tracker in it, so Geokinetics can locate the devices whenever they want? We now have a second case of sticky fingers. Stupid is as stupid does. Geokinetics reports another nine units were lifted, this time in Monroeville (Allegheny County). Once again the word has gone out: Return them now, by April 16th, or you will be found and prosecuted. Six of nine have already been returned…
Continue reading

Monroeville Continues to Block Seismic Testing to Prevent Drilling

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) is hostile toward the shale industry. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance is meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which wants to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality (for potential drilling in a neighboring municipality). In October, the contractor hired to do the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, took Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance (see Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Challenged in Court). Both sides compromised and in November settled the case, which Monroeville Council voted to accept in December (see Monroeville Council Approves Seismic Testing Court Settlement). That should be the end of the story, right? Wrong. Monroeville has continued their harassment by asking a court to immediately suspend the testing because (they claim) Geokinetics did not give proper notification to residents that the testing was happening. This is nothing more than a transparent attempt to prevent future drilling by slowing, or stopping, H&H’s ability to get an accurate picture of the best places are to drill a Marcellus well. Fortunately Geokinetics just finished the testing, so Monroeville’s pathetic attempt to stop it is now moot…
Continue reading

Whoops! Stolen Seismic Testing Nodes in SWPA have Tracking Devices

Click for larger version

To the person or people who recently stole nine seismic testing nodes in Westmoreland County, PA, know this: You have until March 26 to return the devices (worth $1,500 each). After that, you will be tracked down and prosecuted for the multiple felonies you’ve committed. Yes, each stolen seismic device has a tracker embedded in it, and you WILL be found (loser!). The seismic testing devices were legally placed in various locations by Geokinetics, hired by Huntley & Huntley to map what’s below the surface in preparation for drilling shale wells. Are anti-drilling wackos responsible for stealing the devices as a way to prevent H&H from drilling shale wells? It’s certainly possible and fits the pattern of previous actions by some of the more insane among the movement. However, we’ll reserve judgment. The thefts could have been your garden variety dopers who steal to get money to buy drugs. Either way, the loser or losers who have stolen the equipment will be found out–unless they decide to do the right thing and return the equipment. The clock is ticking, loser(s)…
Continue reading

Monroeville Council Approves Seismic Testing Court Settlement

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) is hostile toward the shale industry. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance is meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which wants to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality. In October, the contractor hired to do the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, took Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance (see Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Challenged in Court). Both sides compromised and in November settled the case (see Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Court Case Settled). Although the court case was settled, there is a final step required before the thumper trucks can begin their work. Monroeville Council must officially vote to accept the court agreement with the revised regulations. That vote happened last week…
Continue reading

Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Court Case Settled

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) is hostile toward the shale industry. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance is meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which wants to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality. In October, the contractor hired to do the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, took Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance (see Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Challenged in Court). In the complaint, Geokinetics said, “Monroeville’s intransigence is not motivated by any legitimate concerns for the health and safety of its citizens, but rather by its council’s concerns about November elections.” The elections have come and gone and the hostile-to-shale Monroeville Council has settled the court case with Geokinetics. And yes, seismic testing will now begin!…
Continue reading

Monroeville Responds to Court Challenge re Seismic Testing Ord

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) is hostile toward the shale industry and continues to display their hostility in court. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance was meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which had wanted to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality. The contractor doing the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, took Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance (see Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Challenged in Court). In the complaint, Geokinetics said, “Monroeville’s intransigence is not motivated by any legitimate concerns for the health and safety of its citizens, but rather by its council’s concerns about November elections.” Claiming seismic testing will “potentially have a profound impact upon the environment,” the solicitor for Monroeville filed a rebuttal on Monday. The municipality is fighting an injunction of their junk seismic ordinance with wild claims that tapping the ground will damage the environment…
Continue reading

Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Challenged in Court

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) is hostile toward the shale industry. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance was meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which had wanted to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality. As an aside, H&H’s headquarters is in Monroeville. Maybe they should move it, taking their jobs and tax contributions with them? At any rate, the contractor doing the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, has taken Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance. In the complaint, Geokinetics says, “Monroeville’s intransigence is not motivated by any legitimate concerns for the health and safety of its citizens, but rather by its council’s concerns about November elections.” One of the Democrat councilors up for reelection, Linda Gaydos, replied, “It had nothing to do with my election and it certainly wasn’t for political gain.” However, Gaydos’ actions speak louder than her words. Gaydos and other anti-drilling Council members voted earlier this month to ban shale drilling in most places within the municipality (see Monroeville, PA Hostile to Shale, Bans Drilling in Most Places). We hope the residents of Monroeville enjoy paying more in taxes to fund lawsuits brought against the municipality because of the actions of “leaders” like Gaydos…
Continue reading

Southwestern Energy Offers $5/Acre for Seismic Testing in WV

In 2014, Southwestern Energy cut a massive deal to buy 413,000 Marcellus/Utica acres from Chesapeake Energy, most of it in northern West Virginia, for $5.375 billion (see Chesapeake Sells Close to 25% of Marcellus/Utica Operation). Southwestern has done some drilling on that acreage since, but all the signs are now visible that the company intends to really ramp up their WV drilling program. In August, Southwestern nailed down some missing acreage in the Wheeling area by leasing 66 acres from the Wheeling Park School District for $231,000 (see Wheeling Park HS Signs Lease with Southwestern for $3500/Acre). Just last week we reported that midstream giant Williams has cut a deal with Southwestern to provide gathering and processing for over 200,000 acres in Marshall and Wetzel counties (see Williams Launches Major WV Expansion to Serve Southwestern Energy). And now, further evidence: A contractor working for Southwestern plans to begin seismic testing covering 260 square miles–stretching from Donegal (Westmoreland County), PA through northern WV all the way to Shadyside (Belmont County), OH–next year. The contractor, in speaking with members of the Bethlehem Village Council (Wheeling, WV area), said Southwestern is offering the “standard” price of $5 per acre for seismic testing…
Continue reading

Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) voted last night to restrict seismic testing within municipal boundaries–a move meant to restrict future shale well drilling in the area by Huntley & Huntley. In a July story, MDN brought you the news that Cougar Land Services, a subcontractor working with Huntley & Huntley, is planning to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality, including “small portions” of Monroeville’s northernmost and southernmost tips (see H&H: Seismic Testing Coming to Monroeville, Not to Oakmont). Monroeville Council voted in early August to publish a draft of its new seismic testing ordinance for 30 days of public comment, prelude to a final vote (see Monroeville, PA Close to Passing Restrictive Seismic Testing Ord.). The restrictions are meant to hassle anyone wanting to conduct seismic testing, i.e. Huntley & Huntley. Which is kind of sad, as H&H is headquartered in Monroeville. Kind of like spitting in the company’s face. Last night Monroeville hawked up a huge wad of phlegm and let a big one fly in the face of H&H. Not to worry. If the ordinance “is outside the state parameters,” H&H intends to sue. Just to add insult to injury and let the Marcellus industry know how unwelcome they truly are, the council also voted to put a new ordinance on the agenda that pretty much blocks all Marcellus Shale drilling throughout the municipality…
Continue reading

Penn Hills, PA Grudgingly Votes 5-0 to Allow H&H Seismic Testing

What a difference two months–and the very real threat of a lawsuit–can make. At the end of July Penn Hills (in Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh) voted to ban seismic testing in their community as a symbolic action “meant to send a message to companies that the municipality is against oil and gas activities on Penn Hills property.” Driller Huntley & Huntley has hired Texas-based Geokinetics to conduct seismic testing in the region and had wanted to conduct testing on 37 municipal-owned properties in Penn Hills, about 390 acres total. But Penn Hills resisted. So H&H’s attorneys at Steptoe & Johnson sent a “we’ll sue your rear-ends” letter and that got the attention of the symbolizers. Last night another vote was taken. This time it was 5 to 0 in favor of allowing seismic testing after all. The mayor (grumbling) said the municipality did it’s best to resist…
Continue reading

Monroeville, PA Close to Passing Restrictive Seismic Testing Ord.

Monroeville, PA (suburb of Pittsburgh) is making moves to restrict seismic testing within municipal boundaries–a move meant to restrict future shale well drilling in the area by Huntley & Huntley. In a July story, MDN brought you the news that Cougar Land Services, a subcontractor working with Huntley & Huntley, is planning to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality, including “small portions” of Monroeville’s northernmost and southernmost tips (see H&H: Seismic Testing Coming to Monroeville, Not to Oakmont). Monroeville Council recently voted to publish a draft of its new seismic testing ordinance for 30 days of public comment, which means they intend to adopt it following that period. The restrictions are meant to hassle anyone wanting to conduct seismic testing, i.e. Huntley & Huntley. Which is kind of sad, as H&H is headquartered in Monroeville. Kind of like spitting in the company’s face. Perhaps H&H should consider moving? At any rate, H&H says they are reviewing the ordinance now and if it “is outside the state parameters,” H&H will litigate…
Continue reading

H&H: Seismic Testing Coming to Monroeville, Not to Oakmont

In June MDN brought you news about a move by the Borough of Oakmont (suburb close to Pittsburgh, northeast side of the city) to regulate seismic testing in the Borough, essentially to prevent it from happening by Huntley & Huntley (see Pittsburgh Suburb Moves to Regulate Seismic Testing by H&H). Not long after that story ran, MDN was contacted by H&H CEO Keith Mangini to set the record straight. H&H never intended to do any seismic testing in Oakmont. According to Mangini, Oakmont “is just too congested and one could not possibly have ever designed a seismic program as such.” H&H’s land agents were making the rounds, and Oakmont was on the list (for full transparency). But the company never had plans to test there. So we found it curious to run across an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stating that Oakmont has adopted seismic testing restrictions, and because of it, H&H has now “dropped its plans” for testing in Oakmont. The Post-Gazette gets it wrong again. There never were plans to test there! However, H&H is beginning to run seismic tests in the nearby town of Monroeville…
Continue reading

Pittsburgh Suburb Moves to Regulate Seismic Testing by H&H

One of the first steps before a company decides to drill for shale gas (or oil), is to conduct a seismic survey–bouncing sound waves through the rock layers a mile or more down–to “see” what the geology looks like. It helps drillers target locations with the best possibility of success, which is a good thing for everyone (no unnecessary “misses” when drilling a well). One of objectives of the original Act 13 law passed in PA in 2012 was to provide uniform zoning ordinances for the oil and gas industry, so drillers don’t have to work with a crazy quilt patchwork of zoning requirements in every new town in which they drill. That failed when seven selfish towns filed a lawsuit that ultimately went to the PA Supreme Court, where the towns won the right to pass their own zoning regulations for oil and gas drilling (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). So now drillers have to face different standards/restrictions/rules in every town where they drill. Thank you seven selfish towns! Huntley and Huntley is one of those drillers. In May MDN told you that H&H is conducting seismic surveys in Westmoreland County (see Huntley & Huntley Targets New Drilling in Westmoreland County, PA). H&H now wants to conduct seismic surveys in neighboring Allegheny County, in the Borough of Oakmont (suburb close to Pittsburgh, northeast side of the city). Because of H&H’s interest, Oakmont has (surprise!) proposed a new seismic survey ordinance. We have a copy of the 9-page ordinance below. Oakmont will hold a special meeting on July 3rd to discuss it…
Continue reading

Huntley & Huntley Targets New Drilling in Westmoreland County, PA

Click for larger version

It’s been a few years since MDN has written a post about seismic testing. Typically before land gets leased and drilled on, drillers will contract with seismic testing companies to conduct a mapping survey of the land. The survey does not show the surface, but rather the sub-surface–a kind of “x-ray” of what the rock layers look like deep underground. Drillers then use that information to determine the best places to drill. Seismic surveys, like every aspect of drilling, is not without controversy (see our previous stories about seismic testing here). Folks understandably have concerns. Will the survey company use dynamite charges? Will they use those big “thumper” trucks? Will it affect water wells? Sewer lines? All legitimate questions. On Monday city officials from Lower Burrell (Westmoreland County), PA asked a lot of tough questions of seismic contractors hired by Huntley and Huntley to map the township–presumably (and the point of this post) so that H&H can soon apply for permits and commence with new drilling in the town. Here’s how it went…
Continue reading

PA Rabbit Breeder Settles Lawsuit w/Land Co for 168 Dead Rabbits

It took more than a year, but a lawsuit filed by a rabbit breeder in Lycoming County, PA has reached an out of court settlement for the death of some of her rabbits. MDN first told you about this case in May 2014 (see Fracking Killed the Rabbits!). The rabbit breeder, Susan Knowlden and her husband Terry, claim they had an agreement with CGG Land to not fly helicopters near the rabbit farm. CGG was doing seismic testing in the area at the time. CGG was supposed to stay at least 1,000 feet away–a “no fly zone” over the rabbits. But they got too close and “boo!” there goes another rabbit, keeled over dead. Nobody is saying what the settlement is for (confidentiality agreement), but rest assured CGG paid out big money for 168 hasenpfeffers–rabbits they scared, literally, to death…
Continue reading

Seismic Testing Company Behaves Badly in Greene County, PA

The following story makes us very angry. Provided the details are accurate and true–we have no reason to believe they aren’t–Geokinetics (a seismic testing company) and Cougar Land Services (landmen) have behaved badly toward a landowner in Greene County, PA that didn’t want any testing done on his land. To be fair, the property owner does not own the mineral rights under his land and doesn’t know who does. However, neither the landman nor the seismic testing company that attempted to (in our opinion) trespass on his property to do the testing notified him that they had permission from the mineral rights owner. And even if they did have permission from the mineral rights owner, they should have handled the testing in a far different manner than they did. The following article is from PublicSource in Pittsburgh. Yes, PublicSource is largely an anti-drilling news organization–but provided the reporting is accurate, truth is truth, no matter where it comes from…
Continue reading