Thursday, April 17, 2014

EPA Official Leaves to Join Environmental Group

From the Washington Examiner:
An Environmental Protection Agency official has entered the revolving door of cronyism by leaving the federal government to become an executive at a prominent environmental group. 
Lisa Garcia, former associate assistant administrator for environmental justice at the EPA, will become Earthjustice’s new vice president of litigation for health — a position created just for Garcia. 
“In this role, Garcia will chart Earthjustice's course in groundbreaking and high-impact litigation to protect communities and families from the wide range of pollution issues that confront them on a daily basis,” the organization said in a press release. “Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because of dirty air; hundreds of thousands more land in hospital emergency rooms because of asthma attacks and respiratory disease.”
You can click here to read the entire article. 

Do the activist leanings of government officials in the EPA concern you?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant Planned for Lordstown

From Business Journal Daily:
A 57-acre plot in this village is the perfect place to construct an $800 million power generation plant because it sits near an "electrical highway" of power lines that connect Cleveland and Pittsburgh, says the executive of a Boston-area energy company. 
Clean Energy Future LLC, formed in 2011 and based in Manchester, Mass., is looking to build a natural-gas-fueled power plant at 1107 Carson Salt Springs Road, reports its president, Bill Siderewicz. 
"We're hoping to begin construction by the end of next year," Siderewicz said Tuesday. "We've still got to get all of the necessary permits." 
Siderewicz says his company has helped develop power-generation plants in California, Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania. Among the most recent were two ventures in Ohio -- one in Fremont, near Sandusky, the other in Oregon, in Lucas County.
Read the rest of that article here.

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IPCC Credits Fracking For Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

From Energy in Depth:
Just days after the Sierra Club released a report rehashing its thoroughly debunked argument that natural gas development is “releasing billions of tons of new climate-disrupting carbon pollution into the air,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its latest assessment, which should finally put this claim to rest.  As the IPCC makes clear, it’s largely because of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas that the United States has been able to reduce its GHG emissions dramatically:
“A key development since AR4 is the rapid deployment of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies, which has increased and diversified the gas supply… this is an important reason for a reduction of GHG emissions in the United States.” (Ch. 7,p. 18)
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to remember what Sierra Club Director Michael Brune said about the IPCC when it released its latest, fifth assessment report  (AR5).  He said:
“First, the scientific work reported by the IPCC in the AR5 is the gold standard for getting a big-picture understanding of what’s happening to the climate.” (emphasis added)
Bill McKibben, the head of another activist group, 350.org, has also been calling the IPCC the “gold standard” for years.  Frances Beinecke of the anti-fracking NRDC put it this way: “The IPCC is the most authoritative group in the business.”
What’s also interesting is how these groups have long leveraged the IPCC’s findings to support a ban on fracking.  Take, for instance, a letter from Americans Against Fracking to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, which quotes the IPCC heavily.  From the letter:
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Reaction Continues to ODNR's Statement Linking Fracking to Earthquakes

From CNBC:
"While we can never be 100 percent sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps to protect human health, safety and the environment," said the Ohio agency's director, James Zehringer, in a statement. The new policy "will provide more information" about the causes behind tremors in the region, he added.
For the moment, the jury is still out on how tight the link is between quakes and soaring shale production, and few think it will derail a U.S. drive toward energy independence that's built largely around fracking. However, the surge in seismic disturbances has left both sides of the fracking debate more polarized than ever.
For their part, fracking advocates said the decision will do virtually nothing to alter the boom that has sent proven U.S. oil reserves to their highest since 1976.
"What Ohio is done is certainly not an indication that there's any danger," said Mike Krancer, a law partner in Blank Rome's energy practice, and Pennsylvania's former top environmental official.
"What they have indicated is that it's a data point and we need to be mindful of," he said. "There's a misread that there's a governmental agency arguing this poses a safety or danger issue. It does not."



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Links for 4/15/14: New ODNR Rules Too Much?, Industry Responds to New Methane Study, Train Hauling Frac Sand Derails, and More

Cleveland.com:  Ohio shale fracturing rules tough enough to bench Seattle Seahawk fans, says industry   -   "The Seattle Seahawks haven't played in Cleveland since 2011. That was before shale gas and hydraulic fracturing were..."

Akron Beacon Journal:  Stow company benefits from Ohio’s Utica shale boom   -   "Ohio’s Utica shale boom is benefiting Polystar Containment. In the past 3½ years, the drilling industry in Ohio and other states has become one-third of the sales for the Stow company that specializes in spill..."

Energy in Depth:  ICYMI: Five Facts about Ingraffea and Howarth’s Latest Methane Study   -   "A new study on methane was published this week, arguing that emissions from seven well pads emit methane “2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than US Environmental Protection Agency estimates” during the drilling phase of a well. Unsurprisingly, several news outlets put out the expected headlines portending..."

WFMZ News:  Train derailment under investigation in Northampton County   -   "It was a frightening scene in Northampton County after multiple train cars ran off the tracks, narrowly missing homes and a popular restaurant in..."


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Pocono Record:  Cleanup to start today in train derailment   -   "Cleanup is scheduled to begin today on the rail cars that came off their tracks Saturday afternoon in Northampton County, the train operator said. The six cars on the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad train that derailed along Slateford Road in Upper Mount Bethel Township were carrying clean sand used in hydraulic fracturing..."

Reuters:  U.S. appeals court upholds hazardous air pollution rule   -   "In a victory for the Obama administration, a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld a regulation that would limit emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants, starting..."

Tribune Chronicle:  Fabricating plant opens in Hubbard   -   "What had been a brownfield site in Hubbard was unveiled as a new 20,000-square-foot green facility serving the oil and natural gas drilling industry. The ribbon cutting, tours and open house at the new expansion at Evets Oil & Gas Construction Services held Friday afternoon showcased the..."

National Journal:  Greens Fear a Fracking Obsession on the Campaign Trail   -   "Pennsylvania's environmentalists want to talk about renewable energy. It's proving a lonely conversation. As a crowded field of Democrats competes for the right to take on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, the state's green movement is looking for some mention of how to restore..."

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Former Chesapeake CEO McClendon Puts Out Call for Ohio Workers

From Columbus Business First:
McClendon, boss of one of the most aggressive oil and gas explorers in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale region, in March put up a billboard along Route 315 near Ohio State University that says in large letters, “NOW HIRING!” A towering rig is pictured next to the text, along with the name and logo of American Energy Utica LLC.
The message on the Clear Channel Outdoor-owned billboard is one of a recent spate of moves by the Oklahoma City-based company as it tries to make a mark in the oil and gas play first touted by its founder years ago.
It’s also unique because while Ohio’s oil and gas activity has  attracted almost $19 billion in investment, much of it is still centered in eastern Ohio, where the exploration and production actually occurs. A billboard right by the state’s biggest university, letting Ohio’s capital city know that a fledgling natural gas producer is hiring, shows that some of the ancillary activity, however minor, is trickling westward.
You can read more by clicking here.

McClendon certainly can't be accused by anyone of going small or resting on his laurels since leaving Chesapeake.  He's been every bit the mover and shaker he was while with his former company.

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Ohio Appellate Court Rules on Case Related to Dormant Minerals Act

From Vorys:
In Walker v. Noon, the Seventh District Court of Appeals recently addressed two issues concerning the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (DMA).  In Walker, the Court of Appeals held:
(1)  for the purposes of the DMA, a severed mineral interest was not the “subject of” a title transaction that conveyed the surface with a restatement of a prior mineral reservation;
(2) the 1989 version of the DMA automatically vested a surface owner with a severed mineral interest where no savings events occurred within the statute’s look-back period, and that such vesting was not disturbed by the amendment of the DMA in 2006.
The Seventh District Court of Appeals covers Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe and Noble counties.

BACKGROUND

The appellant (Noon) purchased a tract of land in Noble County in 1964. In 1965, Noon sold the surface of the property but reserved the mineral rights. Thereafter, the surface was transferred through conveyances in 1970 and 1977. The 1970 and 1977 conveyances repeated the mineral reservation and provided the volume and page number of the original reserving deed.  The appellee (Walker) purchased the property in 2009. On December 2, 2011, Walker sent a notice of abandonment under the 2006 version of the DMA to Noon. On January 10, 2012, Noon filed a claim to preserve.
To read about the court's decision, click right here.

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Antero Sees Stock Price Tumble in Wake of Adjusted Utica Shale Expectations

From Bloomberg:
Antero Resources Corp. (AR), an oil and natural gas producer that began trading in October, fell the most ever after cutting its production estimate for a section of its Utica Shale holdings.
Antero dropped 3.8 percent to $60.81 at 11:25 a.m. in New York. The shares earlier tumbled as much as 11 percent, the most intraday since Oct. 10. Prior to today, shares gained 44 percent since the Denver based-company’s public offering on Oct. 9.
Antero reduced its estimate for how much gas one section of its Utica holdings will yield by 34 percent, according to a statement today. Another section’s production forecast was cut by 31 percent. The company’s oil and gas holdings are located in West VirginiaOhio and Pennsylvania.
You can read more by clicking here. 

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