In May MDN told you about plans by the Millennium Pipeline to expand “south to north,” to haul Marcellus Shale gas from Cortland to Syracuse, NY, launching a non-binding “open season” to gauge interest (see The Irony: Millennium Pipeline Expanding in NY for More Shale Gas). The Cortland-to-Syracuse pipeline was part of a larger plan, to go from Binghamton-to-Syracuse. The Millennium’s plan is/was to build a pipeline from Binghamton to Cortland first, and then from Cortland on to Syracuse. The open season in May was to see if there would be enough interest for the Cortland to Syracuse leg. Apparently, there was not.
An article in the Syracuse Post-Standard yesterday says the Millennium has scrapped their plan to build the Cortland-to-Syracuse pipeline. And, even more surprisingly, the Binghamton-to-Cortland pipeline (where the Millennium would connect to the Dominion Transmission pipeline) is now ominously “under review.” Which sure looks to us like the entire project may be scrapped. Question: Did the ever-present opposition from anti-drilling nutters sink the Millennium project?…
A group of landowners in Wirt County, WV have just taken the crown as the largest landowner coalition MDN is aware of in the entire Marcellus and Utica Shale. The Wirt County Oil and Gas Group closed the door on new signups as of Monday, and the total acreage represented by the group is an astonishing 227,000 acres—almost 1/4 million acres! The really attractive part for potential drillers? The land is located in the wet gas area of the Marcellus.
The next largest group MDN is aware of is in Upstate New York—the CNY (Central New York) Landowners Coalition—with 194,500 acres. Both the Wirt County and CNY coalitions have representatives in Houston this week for the NAPE Winter Expo, shopping the acreage looking for a lease.
More details on the Wirt County group:
Yesterday, a debate on horizontal hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the process used to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, was held on the campus of the State University of New York at Cortland. “Debating the Pros and Cons of Gas Drilling” featured Professor Anthony R. Ingraffea from Cornell University on the anti-drilling side, and Professor Donald Siegel from Syracuse University on the pro-drilling side. Unfortunately MDN could not be in attendance. Since those opposed to drilling focus almost exclusively on the issue of fracking, one would expect this event to be heavily covered by the media. But checking news sources in the Binghamton, Cortland, Syracuse and Ithaca areas finds only a single report from all of the news outlets, from Binghamton’s WBNG-TV Channel 12 (embedded below).
Shaleshock Action Alliance, an anti-drilling group, recently sponsored a meeting at Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, NY to discuss the potential negative consequences of horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing (a specific technique used in drilling for natural gas). Shaleshock’s expert speakers for the evening included two chemists and an endocrinologist. One of the chemists was Ron Bishop, a biochemist at SUNY Oneonta and someone who has worked with gas drilling companies and in construction. According to Mr. Bishop:
“Hydrofracturing is not the boogeyman under the bed; it is not going to hurt you,” Bishop said. “You’re more likely to have problems with transporting the 10 to 30 tons of chemicals to the drilling site.”*
Mr. Bishop’s concern is with the transportation of chemicals to drilling sites and the potential for accidents and spills. But the thing is, truckloads of the same chemicals go over our interstates every day, and travel down our rail lines every day. It’s true you don’t see trucks carrying these types of chemicals on back roads every day, but with proper precautions, there’s no reason why it can’t be just as safe on our rural roads as it is on our other transportation systems.
So Shaleshock’s own expert agrees—hydrofracturing is safe. Thanks for your candid honesty Mr. Bishop!
*Elmira Star-Gazette (Feb 23) – Marcellus Shale: Spills of drilling chemicals worry experts