More Royalty Theft by PA DCNR – Streambeds Leased for $497K

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is grabbing more money that we think belongs to private landowners. This time from leasing land underneath the Youghiogheny River and Little Pine Creek. DCNR has leased 124.2 acres for a signing bonus of $496,800 (or $4,000 per acre). Plus the state’s customary royalty rate of 20% on anything produced. And no, the state does not allow post-production deductions–they get their full 20% royalty.
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Huntley & Huntley Proposes Another Well Pad in Upper Burrell

Upper Burrell Twp

Huntley & Huntley continues to make Upper Burrell in Westmoreland County, PA a key area of focus. In January we told you about H&H’s plans to add two more well pads in Upper Burrell, numbers 10 and 11 (see Huntley & Huntley Proposes Shale Wells 10 & 11 in Upper Burrell). And now, just a few months later, yet another new H&H well pad is being planned–number 12.
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Antis Ask Westmoreland Co. to Stop CNX Drilling Near Reservoir

Anti-fossil fuelers are once again riding their high horse “demanding” that the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County block any more shale drilling on county-owned property located near Beaver Run Reservoir. Even though CNX’s shale drilling has been going on there since 2011 with zero impacts on the reservoir and its water supply.
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CNX Faulty Utica Well in SWPA Will Cost Company $30M+

CNX was fracking their Shaw 1G Utica well in Washington Township (Westmoreland County) on Saturday, Jan. 26, when they detected “a strong drop in pressure” and stopped fracking (see CNX Hits Major Problem Fracking Utica Well Near SWPA Reservoir). Turns out the well was “communicating” (i.e. losing gas to) several nearby conventional wells.
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CNX Rogue Utica Well in SWPA Affects 9 Vertical Wells, Maybe More

CNX was fracking their Shaw 1G Utica well in Washington Township on Saturday, Jan. 26, when they detected “a strong drop in pressure” and stopped fracking (see CNX Hits Major Problem Fracking Utica Well Near SWPA Reservoir). Turns out the well was “communicating” (i.e. losing gas to) several nearby conventional wells.
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PA Leases Youghiogheny River Land in SWPA to Chevron $4K/Ac

Youghiogheny River (credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), every now and again, will lease state-owned land for gas drilling. The DCNR has just leased land under the Youghiogheny River in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. We have the full lease, and lease terms, below…
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2 Workers Injured Working on Mariner East 2 Pipe Near Pittsburgh

Pipeline Inspection Gauge

Two workers were injured, one seriously, when a “pig” they were operating at a section of the nearly completed Mariner East 2 pipeline (near Pittsburgh, in Westmoreland County) accelerated and hit them late Sunday. What’s a pig? It stands for Pipeline Inspection Gauge–a device used inside a pipeline for cleaning, inspection and maintenance, and fluid batching. A pig is pushed along the inside of the pipeline by the flow of liquid or gas or (in this case), air. A pig launching station is used to insert the pig into a pipeline using a series of valves and hatches. The pig is pushed through the pipeline by the fluid/gas/air to the pig receiving station. We don’t have all the details for how this accident happened. What we know is that two workers, a man and a woman, were operating the pig when it hit them. Both were taken to the hospital. The woman was later released, but the man sustained a broken arm and is still hospitalized.
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Allegheny Twp Antis Ask PA Supremes to Consider Frack Ban via ERA

In November 2015, MDN first reported on a zoning court case in Westmoreland County, PA that’s still playing out (see 3 Western PA Antis Weigh Appeal of Court Ruling in Zoning Case). Three ladies brought a lawsuit against Allegheny Township because the town approved a permit for CNX Gas to drill a well on a farm owned by John and Anne Slike. Since the farm is about 1,200 feet from where the ladies live, they objected. The ladies’ legal argument is that fracking is a violation of the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA). After losing in lower courts, they eventually lost their case in PA Commonwealth Court in October (see PA Antis Suffer Crushing Defeat in SWPA Zoning Case re ERA). Which should have been the end of it. But it seems the pockets of Big Green groups (which are funding the lawsuit) is bottomless. The ladies and their Big Green lawyers have just appealed the case to the PA Supreme Court. Will the Supremes accept it?
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Anti Group Loses Penn Twp Frack Ban Case in PA Commonwealth Court

The last time we checked in (June) on a brewing frack ban in Penn Township (Westmoreland County), PA, a challenge to a local ordinance which allows Apex Energy and Huntley & Huntley to drill and operate wells rested with a county judge. Things have since rapidly progressed. We’re guessing the local judge ruled in favor of allowing the wells to be drilled because the case was appealed to PA Commonwealth Court. Late last week the judges in Commonwealth Court issued a ruling in favor of Penn Township’s “special exception” permits awarded to Apex Energy, allowing them to drill shale wells.
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Range Resources Helps Save Pretty Butterflies in SWPA

Can fracking save butterflies? According to California University of Pennsylvania’s Supervisor of the Fish & Wildlife, you betcha. You heard how important “pollinators” are, right? We immediately think bees when we hear the word pollinator. But monarch butterflies, a species whose population has dropped 90% since 1990, is also a important pollinator. In places across southwestern PA habitats for the monarch have disappeared, long before shale drilling showed up. Range Resources is helping replant vegetation that monarchs love. And it’s having a big impact. Range’s efforts are not just “throw a few seeds here and there” for publicity. Range is working hard and “willing to do it right.”
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PA Antis Suffer Crushing Defeat in SWPA Zoning Case re ERA

An important court case was decided on Friday in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that potentially impacts all shale drilling in the state. You will recall that seven selfish towns sued the state over the 2012 Act 13 law and it’s provision that would substitute a statewide, uniform and fair set of zoning ordinances for drilling in place of a patchwork, crazy quilt system of local ordinances for oil and gas drilling. Seven selfish towns (including Robinson Township) wanted their own ordinances and sued, ultimately winning at the Supreme Court (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). Since winning the “Robinson” case, antis have used local ordinances to try and block or greatly restrict drilling. But sometimes a town uses the Act 13 decision to allow drilling in more places. Antis don’t like it, but last Friday’s decision ratifies you can’t take one (restricting drilling) without the other (not restricting drilling), if that’s what a town wants to do.
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