OH Supreme Court Rejects County Frack Ban Ballot Proposals, Again

court-gavel.jpgAnti-fossil fuel zealots in Athens, Meigs and Portage counties in Ohio are spitting and sputtering after the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday once again shut down their childish frack ban ballot measures–ruling that Secretary of State Jon Husted and the election boards of those counties did not violate the law in tossing out the ballot measures. The radical Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is particularly torqued off. It’s not the first time the Supremes have slapped them down. Their frack ban ballot measures were also tossed last year by the Supremes (see Ohio Supreme Court Keeps Frack Bans Off Ballot in 3 Counties). It’s not good for future fundraising letters when the CELDF can’t win a case. Below we have a roundup of stories about the decision, including a full copy of the decision itself, handed down on Tuesday…
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PA Conventional Driller Seeks $25M to Begin Shale Drilling in OH

Clinton-Medina layer
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A Pittsburgh-area investment company with a conventional oil and gas drilling division has decided the time is right to enter the unconventional (shale) drilling game. Bryan Investment Group, which operates Discovery Oil & Gas, LLC, is tapping its investors on the shoulder looking for $25 million to begin drilling in the Clinton/Medina sandstone layer–a rock layer that sits between the Marcellus Shale above it (Devonian group), and the Utica Shale below it (Ordovician group). According to president and general managing partner Richard Bryan, targeting the spaces between good wells drilled in the past is “painstaking work,” but it’s their specialty/niche. Bryan Investment intends to drill new Clinton/Medina wells in “the land between” in a four-county area of northeastern Ohio…
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More Frack Ban Ballot Measures Coming to OH in November

voteA few days ago MDN told you about the fruitless efforts by anti-drilling zealots in Youngstown, OH in delivering a petition for a sixth vote on a frack ban measure for the November ballot (see Brain Dead: Youngstown Antis File Petition for 6th Frack Ban Vote). As we’ve pointed out, repeatedly, the Ohio Supreme Court has already ruled such “home rule” measures, if/when they get passed, are unconstitutional (see OH Antis Handed Crushing Defeat in Broadview Hghts Home Rule Case). Makes no difference. There are a number of other brain dead Ohioans in other communities too. Medina, Athens and Meigs counties have all had petitions filed for anti-fracking ballot measures in November, as well as the city of Waterville. There’s still an active petition being floated in Portgage County. Nutters popping up everywhere in the Buckeye State!…
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OH Antis Circulate Petitions for Bans Already Tossed by Courts

The Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is a radical environmental group backed with Big Green money that exists to fleece local towns into adopting bans on fracking and pipelines. Last year we carried an expose of the group (see PA’s CELDF Unmasked as Troublemakers in Ohio Utica Shale). Much of their community agitating work is done in Ohio. Time after time their so-called “community bill of rights” initiatives are shot down by Ohio courts. The latest instance (and there have been many) was earlier this month when the U.S. 8th District Court of Appeals overturned the CELDF-created bill of rights law passed in the Cleveland suburb of Broadview Heights (see Mad Moms Hopping Mad Over Court Decision re Broadview Heights, OH). You would think towns would learn that a) these initiatives invariably are challenged and thrown out by the courts, and b) if the initiatives interfere with a local business that sues the town, the CELDF is nowhere to be found (see Anti Group CELDF Won’t Help Grant Twp Pay $1M Judgement). But there’s plenty of insane people–like those circulating petitions in Medina and Portage counties to get a CELDF-backed bill of rights initiative on the local ballot. The very same initiative already shot down by Ohio courts in other locations…
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3 of 4 Frack Ban Ballot Measures in Ohio Fail – Athens Exception

What about those idiotic “ban fracking” ballot measures up for a vote on Tuesday in Ohio’s Utica Shale? The ballot measure in Youngstown, OH was the fourth such vote for that city (see Fourth Time the Charm for Youngstown Frack Ban Measure?). The Youngstown ballot measure went down in flames. There was a ban measure in Gates Mills, OH, a suburb near Cleveland (see Gates Mills, OH Caves – Anti-Frack Measure on Nov. Ballot). The Gates Mills ballot measure went down in flames too. Finally, there was a ballot measure in ultra-liberal Kent, OH. That ballot measure was voted down (miracles never cease!). Three strikes and yer out. But what’s this? The loonies in Athens, OH prevailed in snookering enough Democrat voters to support a ban that it actually passed in Athens. A year ago we asked the question, Will Utica Shale Drilling Come to Athens County, OH Soon?. We can now answer that question: NO. No drilling will come to Athens–at least to the city (and likely the rest of the area) now that the voters of Athens have thumbed their nose at the industry. There’s plenty of other locations outside of Athens in which to drill…
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OH Village Water Study Finds Utica Drilling Doesn’t Pollute

Smart people in Garrettsville, Ohio. Garrettsville is a small village (population 2,325) located in Portage County, OH. In 2011 there were five Utica Shale wells being drilled near the village. Some of the residents were concerned that the drilling may affect sources of public drinking water the village relies on. So the village Board of Public Affairs contacted and arranged to have the Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute at Youngstown State University monitor some 20 water wells in the area to see if Utica drilling affected any of them. The study began in 2012 and is “ongoing.” What has it found?…
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Anti-Drillers Try to Close Portage County, OH Injection Well

Two anti-drilling groups–Concerned Citizens of Ohio and the the Virginia-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice–have filed a reckless complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleging an injection well in Portage County, OH has been illegally accepting millions of gallons of frack wastewater. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) disagrees. Here’s a breakdown of the situation and the claims and counter claims…
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Sunoco Logistics Answers NGL Pipeline Concerns in Portage, OH

Sunoco Logistics personnel were treated last week to a variety of silly concerns about an NGL pipeline they’re proposing through Portage County, OH–concerns like people keeling over dead because of undetected leaks in the buried pipeline and mass contamination of water aquifers. The anti-drillers are so good at distributing lies and distortions it’s no wonder average folks are concerned. You’d think a pipeline was the equivalent of an environmental holocaust.

Even though pipelines are the safest form of transportation in existence, people turned out last week and packed the local county commissioner’s office to express their unfounded concerns. Here’s how it went:
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ODNR Says Methane in OH Water Well NOT Caused by Utica Drilling

In January MDN told you about the Kline family, in Portage County (near Cleveland), who claimed nearby Utica Shale drilling had contaminated their water well with methane (methane migration) to the point they could, yes, light their water tap on fire. It made big headlines at the time and the family (with flaming faucet) was featured on the NBC Today show (see Methane Migration into Water Well Near Cleveland, OH). At the time MDN said it certainly appeared like they had a case against driller Mountaineer Keystone for methane migration. Our assumption was completely wrong.

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) performed an extensive investigation of not only the Kline family’s water well but a dozen other nearby water wells. Using test results from before and after drilling, they concluded the methane in the Kline’s water well is NOT from nearby Utica Shale drilling but is instead naturally occurring. Oops. Think the $25 million/year salaried Matt Lauer will now have the Kline family back on Today to ask them if they’re ready to apologize for making a false claim against the driller? Yeah, don’t hold your breath on that one…
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Tracker Lario Utica LLC Looks to Expand in Eastern OH

Back in January, MDN told you what precious little we knew about Kansas-based driller Lario Oil & Gas and their foray into the OH Utica Shale (see New Driller Enters Eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale). We now have a teeny tiny little bit more news about Lario, now flying under the name Tracker Lario Utica, and about their Utica drilling efforts.

Lario now has a partner (Tracker Resource) and is looking to add to their 25,000 acre position–previously purchased from Chesapeake and EnerVest–in eastern OH:

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Wastewater Injection Wells in Ohio – Comprehensive Update

updateOn Sunday, the Akron Beacon Journal ran an excellent article on injection wells in Ohio. Their findings: Portage County disposed of more frack wastewater via injection wells than any other county in Ohio last year–disposing of 2.3 million barrels of brine and frack fluid wastewater. Brine, you may recall, is naturally occurring water from the depths that comes out of drilled wells long after the fracking fluid has been pumped out. Brine is very “salty” with a high concentration of minerals.

What may be a surprising statistic for some: Nearly two-thirds of the wastewater disposed of in Ohio wells was from out of state–most of that from Marcellus drilling in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Here’s part of the article, which details a list of Ohio counties and how much wastewater they disposed of via injection wells:
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OH Village’s Extensive Water Tests Show No Impacts from Drilling

Good news for residents of Garrettsville (Portage County), OH residents: Your drinking water has been and continues to be just fine. The village board commissioned an extensive water testing program to keep an eye on private water wells on the outskirts of Garretsville as a way of spotting any water contamination problems that may happen before they reach the village’s drinking water supplies.

Village leaders were concerned that nearby Utica Shale drilling and a plethora of frack wastewater injection wells in Portage County may lead to contamination of the village’s water aquifer. Nope. Nothing of the sort has happened, once again proving that shale drilling and injection wells are safe for water, contrary to the bleating of fictional movies like Gasland 2 and anti-drilling protesters like Yoko Ono…
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Ohio Group Promotes NE Counties for New Midstream Projects

A group of business and political leaders from northeastern Ohio have crafted and are now marketing a plan to bring midstream infrastructure to the Mahoning Valley. A new report written and distributed by this committed group, titled “Mahoning Valley Midstream” (full copy embedded below) points out that currently there are no wet natural gas gathering lines in Trumbull, Mahoning, Geauga, Portage, or Ashtabula counties. This enterprising group has an ingenious plan to remedy that situation: repurpose abandoned or partially used rail lines, as well as use a web of strategic, divided (limited access) highways that converge on the closed “rust belt” steel mills.

They even have a site picked out for an ethane cracker plant…
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Chesapeake Puts 94K "Oily" Utica Shale Acres Up for Auction

for sale As this issue goes to press, the Wall Street Journal and Fox Business is reporting that Chesapeake Energy has put 94,205 Utica Shale acres on the auction block. That’s nearly 10% of their remaining 1 million Utica Shale acres. This is not unprecedented. Last June Chesapeake put 337,000 acres on the auction block (see Chesapeake Selling 337K Utica Shale Acres, Counties IDed). Although the company has not yet made a public statement about this sale, MDN went fishing and found the listing from the real estate site where it’s listed. We’ve embedded it below (shows a map of the acreage).

Here’s what we notice about the listing, including which counties are involved…

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New Utica Pipe/Equipment Plant Setting up in Portage County, OH

A welding and fabrication company—Six C Fabrication—has just purchased a former plastics plant in Rootstown (Portage County), Ohio where it will establish a manufacturing plant for piping and structural steel equipment for the Utica Shale drilling industry.

Six C hails from Louisiana. They believe the Utica offers a great opportunity to expand their business. Another 100 new jobs are on the way (this year) in the Utica…

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Kent State University: No Plans to Allow Gas Drilling

In Ohio, whether or not a state university like Kent State wants to allow drilling for natural gas on or under their land is up to the administrators of that university. Kent State owns over one thousand of acres of land. The main campus, in Portage County, OH, is over 900 acres by itself. Kent State owns eight campuses, a golf course and an airport—all in the Utica Shale region.

Although there is no official position (yet) coming from Kent on whether they want to lease their land for gas drilling, the administration has said there are “no plans to initiate drilling” on the Kent State campus.

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