Lawsuit Prevents NY Power Plant from Converting to NatGas, Closing

closedAlthough anti-fossil fuel nutters in New York State have worked to oppose converting electric generating plants from burning coal to clean-burning natural gas (see Anti-Drillers Oppose Converting 2 NY Electric Plants to NatGas), it’s not anti-fossil fuel arguments that will shut down those plants. It’s good, old fashioned, American…lawsuits. Lawsuits brought by a competitor. You may recall Gov. Andrew Cuomo slogged through three feet of snow in December 2013 to announce in Dunkirk (near Buffalo) that he would provide state assistance to the NRG plant to convert from coal to natural gas (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). That was good news for Dunkirk. The Dunkirk electric plant provides something like 40% of all the tax revenue that flows into the coffers at the town. Can you imagine what would happen to local roads, public safety services (police and firefighters), and to the local school district, if the plant closed down? Imagine no more. A lawsuit brought by a competitor against NRG’s plan to convert has NRG saying the plant will close after all. NRG expects the lawsuit will take years to litigate–so by next March they’re shuttering the plant. There goes 40% of Dunkirk’s tax revenue–right down the toilet…
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Park Foundation Resolution Defeated by ExxonMobil Shareholders

happy dance - SnoopyIt’s not often (enough) that the odious and disgusting Park Foundation suffers a total defeat–so we do a happy dance when it happens. It happened yesterday at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting where shareholders handed the Park Foundation (of Ithaca, NY) a humiliating defeat of their resolution that Exxon compose a cockamamie report every year detailing the so-called “risks” involved with unconventional drilling. Apparently the self-loathing Park Foundation wants Exxon to become self-loathing too–to produce a report that essentially says they’re creeps destroying Mother Earth by fracking. Three-fourths of Exxon shareholders said “no thanks.” Shareholders also voted down an idiotic proposal by a group of Catholic priests from Milwaukee who have lost their first love (Jesus Christ) in favor of a new love (Global Warming) to put a global warming expert on the board of directors. Ah, excuse us Fathers, whatever happened to your vow of poverty? Seems the priests of Milwaukee now have more money than the Lord Himself and want to throw their weight around at shareholder meetings rather than save souls…
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Cornell Prof Admits He’s Anti-Drilling Advocate, Not Impartial

Tony Ingraffea

When someone says “a professor of hydraulic fracturing from Cornell University” is bad mouthing shale drilling, it certainly grabs your attention. Cornell is a storied institution and professors at Cornell face tough competition to teach there. We’ve written plenty about Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, the Cornell prof with a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder–and an “expert” in hydraulic fracturing. Ingraffea has a nice sideline business of bashing fracking whenever and wherever he can–and when he does so, it is with the full reputation and backing of Cornell University behind him. We still remember the first time we heard Ingraffea in person (see Cornell Hydraulic Fracturing Expert Headlines First Meeting of New York Residents Against Drilling (NYRAD) in Vestal, NY). Ingraffea spoke about everything at that meeting–except the science of fracking. And therein is the bait and switch that Ingraffea engages in. He trades on his reputation as a geologist and scientist, and on the reputation of Cornell–yet he never attacks the actual science of fracking. To do so would be intellectual and professional suicide. It is the other, tertiary issues Ingraffea attacks–like “boom and bust” cycles, and truck traffic, and theoretical damage to water aquifers. Recently Tony finally admitted, on the record, that he’s not an impartial scientist at all when it comes to fracking. Tony himself said he’s an advocate and that he engages in advocacy–not science…
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NY Anti-Drillers Still Unhappy — Maybe (Another) Meeting Will Fix It?

EeyoreNew York’s anti-drillers are still not happy–even after winning a ban by pressuring a spineless governor. They continue to rally and agitate and spread lies and threats and tell scary stories of environmental boogeymen…”that pipeline’ll kill ya”…”the fracked gas comin’ out the stove has radon in it”…”the compressor station three miles from your house that you didn’t even know existed is poisonin’ Mother Earth.” Why do they persist long after they’ve won? Are they empty in the soul and only find meaning in these silly pursuits and endless meetings? Do they have otherwise meaningless lives? Is there a permanent cloud over their heads no matter the circumstance? Who knows. Here’s the latest “fracking will still kill New Yorkers–even though there is no fracking in New York” event this Thursday, starring the so-called “distinguished scholar in residence” at Ithaca College, Sandra Steingraber…
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NY High Court Rebuffs Norse Request to Re-hear Town Ban Case

nopeWe won’t bother to chronicle, once again, the long fight in New York State over the right of a town board with 3-5 members deciding that every resident in a township will lose the right to use their property the way they want to (even though property ownership is sacrosanct under the U.S. Constitution). In the People’s Republic of New York, the mob rules. The rule of law is out the window. And so, a few New York high court judges who want to retain their posts under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, decided nobody really reads the Constitution anymore anyway–and that local town boards (not individual landowners) will now decide whether or not shale drilling will take place (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). One of the litigants in the case was Norse Energy, forced into bankruptcy by New York’s now 6+ year moratorium on fracking. Norse took over leases from Anschutz Exploration and sued the Town of Dryden, NY over their idiotic frack ban. Based on a recent Colorado case that is similar (and found against so-called “home rule” by towns), Norse asked New York’s highest court to re-hear the case (see Norse Energy Appeals Town Ban Case Back to NY High Court). The crooked judges said “nope”…
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Norse Energy Appeals Town Ban Case Back to NY High Court

In April MDN reported on the rumors that Norse Energy, the ill-fated company that bet big on New York State with 180,000 acres of leased land in NY, had been sold at bankruptcy court (see Highest Bid for Norse Energy $2.65M – Was it Sold & Who Bid?). As we pointed out in the story, we don’t know if the company was actually sold, and if it was, who the actual buyer was. We still don’t know. What we do know is that the only thing left to sell were Norse’s leases, since they had already sold off all of the hard assets (see Lights Turned Off, Door Closed – Good Night, Norse Energy). However, the Norse trustee retained at least some of the leases assets so the company could continue their lawsuit against New York for bankrupting them. Try to get back at least some of that money. Then the double-whammy: The New York Court of Appeals (our highest court) ruled against Norse and said local towns can ban fracking (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). The new news, just coming to light for us, is that Norse appealed that decision back to the Court of Appeals for a second time, based on a recent decision in a Colorado court…
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Park Foundation Exposed as Funding Faux Research Against Shale

South ParkFor years MDN (and others) have written about the shadowy Park Foundation, a supposedly philanthropic non-profit with offices in Ithaca, NY, as behind some of the most insidious and frankly false “research” that attempts to smear the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. A new article in the summer issue of Philanthropy magazine lays bare the collusion that exists between the Park Foundation and researchers at once-storied institutions like Cornell University. In fact, Park is the funder of many anti-shale groups, including Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and more than 50 large and small groups. Park has woven a clever web of bought-and-paid for “researchers” and “reporters” at both big and small media outlets to plant false stories about shale gas…
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MDN Calls on NY Towns to Ban Windmills; Boycott Cooperstown

No WindmillsThey’re noisy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They use rare earth minerals in their manufacturing process and endanger Chinese workers who have to mine the toxic metals from the ground. They kill bald eagles and bats and all manner of birds. No one wants to live next to one going whup whup whup 24/7 (drives the neighbors insane). We’re talking of commercial windmills of course. Today MDN kicks off a campaign to get 170 New York townships to ban windmills. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s also have town boards ban big solar farms too…
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NY Pro-Drillers File Final Briefs in Dryden/Middlefield Cases

court gavelAccording to Tom West, lead attorney in the New York “Dryden” court case that seeks to overturn bad lower court decisions that allow towns to completely ban fracking, the “last word” has been now been filed by landowners and (in the case of West’s client), drillers like Norse Energy. West, via his blog site, announced two days ago that the final briefs with counter-arguments have been filed for both the Dryden and Middlefield cases (copies of both final briefs are embedded below). According to West, additional friend-of-the-court briefs (called amicus briefs) will still be filed, but until oral arguments are heard in a few months, this is the final word from our side of the isle. Interestingly, when you read through the two briefs, they each make slightly different arguments–perhaps increasing the odds that something will resonate with the justices.

Here’s what West says via his blog site about the filings:
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Anti-Fracking Slottjes Use Norse Energy NY Lawsuit as Fundraiser

The husband and wife legal team of David and Helen Slottje are using the Article 78 lawsuit filed by Norse Energy against Gov. Cuomo, and Commissioners Martens and Shah as a shameless fundraiser. The Slottjes have made a career out of touring cities and towns in upstate NY, attempting to convince innocently ignorant town board members to illegally ban fracking, thereby denying the Constitutional rights of landowners throughout entire municipalities. The Slottjes have been doing it for years now. (See our initial impression of Helen Slottje from February 2010 in this article: DISH, Texas Mayor Calvin Tillman Visits Binghamton – Marcellus Drilling News was There.)

All of that traveling and “pro bono” work needs to be funded somehow. So whatever the Park Foundation won’t pay them, they have to raise themselves, which they do by using a front organization called the Community Environmental Defense Council (Incorporated). The Slottjes are rather shameless in the yarns they spin, all the while sticking their hands out. Here’s the latest example of “never let a good crisis (or lawsuit) go to waste”…
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Groton, NY (borders Dryden) Votes DOWN 6-Month Frack Moratorium

Whattya know? Maybe there is hope for the People’s Republic of Tompkins County, NY after all. Tompkins County is home to anti-drilling organizations including the partisan Park Foundation and the many people it funds–like Cornell professors Tony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth, and the wife and husband lawyer team of Helen and David Slottje, who make mischief at local town board meetings, encouraging them to institute illegal bans and moratoriums on fracking.

One of the the towns the Slottjes duped into passing a ban was Dryden, NY–in Tompkins County. The Dryden ban has been appealed all the way to the highest court in New York, the Court of Appeals where the case will be heard in early 2014. We’re sure the taxpayers of Dryden enjoy footing that portion of the legal bill not generously covered by the Park Foundation. Anywho, the town next door to Dryden is Groton. The Groton town board voted down a proposed six-month moratorium on fracking at their Tuesday night meeting. It’s a small victory for democracy and right thinking. Too bad some of Groton’s common sense wouldn’t rub off on their Dryden neighbors…
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Anti-Drillers Oppose Converting 2 NY Electric Plants to NatGas

This is the tale of two electrical generating power plants. Both are located in New York State–on opposite sides of the state. One is in Tompkins County (near Ithaca, NY), the other in Chautauqua County (Dunkirk, near Buffalo, NY). Both are powered by coal and both will either need to convert to natural gas or close down.

Something else both have in common: anti-drilling nutters want them closed rather than converted  from burning coal to burning natural gas–even though closure means school and property taxes in both areas will go through the roof–higher than the nosebleed rates they already are. In both cases the power plants are the single largest taxpayer in their respective municipalities. Makes no difference to the nutters because most of them don’t live there and could care less. An update for both the Cayuga Power Plant and the Dunkirk Power Plant…
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Ithaca, NY Bank Won’t Grant Mortgage on Land with Drilling Lease

New York landowners who are pro-drilling may want to consider whether or not to continue doing business with Tompkins Financial Corporation, a bank/wealth management/insurance firm based in Ithaca, NY. Why? They refuse to give a mortgage on any property under lease with a drilling company. They’re attempting to blame federal guidelines from Fannie Mae as their excuse. Sorry Charlie, that doesn’t fly. It’s anti-drilling prejudice plain and simple.

Two other banks you may want to reconsider doing business with: Spain’s Santander Bank and State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C. Same reason…
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If NY Electric Plant Can’t Convert to NatGas, School Gets Screwed

As MDN has previously reported, anti-drillers in Tompkins County, NY are making a serious attempt to prevent an electrical generating plant near Ithaca, NY from converting from coal to clean-burning natural gas (see NY Eco Group Protest to Stop Plant Converting from Coal to NatGas). If the utility company is not granted permission to convert, they’ll shut the plant down, which is exactly what the anti-drillers want.

Problem is, if that plant shuts down, it will remove one of the largest sources of tax revenue for the local Lansing school district. But the antis, blinded by their twisted “renewables-only” energy philosophy, don’t care…
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NY Eco Group Protest to Stop Plant Converting from Coal to NatGas

It would be hysterically funny if it weren’t so pathetically sad. So-called environmentalists don’t want an electrical generating power plant in Tompkins County, near Ithaca, NY, to switch from burning coal to natural gas because they’re afraid it will mean more fracking. Talk about cuckoo birds. Members of a group called the Finger Lakes Action Network protested at the plant on Saturday…
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Dryden Files Request with NY Highest Court to Not Consider Appeal

Although New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dithered for more than a year on whether or not to allow fracking–and continues his equivocation–there is a much more important drama unfolding that will ultimately, in our opinion, determine whether or not New York will ever see meaningful shale drilling. The more important issue is now in the courts. Specifically, it revolves around whether or not New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, will hear a pair of cases from towns that have banned drilling.

A few weeks ago we told you about the appeals from a landowner near Cooperstown (Middlefield) and from Norse Energy (Dryden) asking the Court of Appeals to hear the case and overturn the town bans. The Town of Dryden has now sent their own request to the Court of Appeals–asking them to not consider the case…
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