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The “Tragic” Performances That Led to the Dimock Verdict

dimock verdict - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

The Dimock verdict overturn by Judge Carlson tells the story of what he describes as a “tragic” pre-trial event and performance by the plaintiffs’ counsel.

Absorbing the full impact of Judge Carlson’s decision overturning the Dimock verdict on Friday requires reading his decision multiple times. There is so, so much there. It is packed full of insights as to how the fractivist cause has been pursued to the detriment of all involved, including the plaintiffs themselves, who were used like puppets in an ideological campaign against oil and gas development. Carlson used the word “tragic” to describe a pre-trial disaster at the hands of Attorney Leslie Lewis, counsel for the plaintiffs. The word is hardly typical of legal argument and obviously wasn’t chosen lightly. It is, nonetheless, absolutely correct.

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Park Foundation Funds Fascist “Beyond Extreme Energy”

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

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Beyond Extreme Energy is a fascist group intent on shutting down any speech with which it disagrees and the Park Foundation funds it through Earthworks.

Extremist environmental protesters who don’t want to hear any viewpoints other than their own (i.e., fascists who love to suppress free speech), got a bit violent and ugly on Tuesday and shut down a meeting at Duke University (headquarters for insane environmentalism) where the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Cheryl LaFleur, was scheduled to speak. Beyond Extreme Energy was one of the groups behind the illegal action. They’re funded by the Park Foundation and Earthworks, among others.

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Rubin and Ingraffea Play Role in Dimock Verdict Overturn

dimock verdict - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

The Dimock verdict now having been overturned, it’s worth looking how fractivist experts did in the eyes of the judge. They didn’t impress him much at all.

Yesterday afternoon came the great news that the Dimock verdict had been overturned by Judge Carlson, the man who heard the entire case. For the record, Carlson not only but bent over backwards to accord the plaintiffs’ counsel respect they refused to give others, but he also stood on his tiptoes, stretched his arms and legs as far as they would go and offered to do somersaults to give the plaintiffs the opportunity to make their case.

Anyone who was there for any part of the trial could see that. Indeed, my view is Judge Carlson went too far in tolerating the plaintiffs’ counsel tactics and wasn’t explicit enough with the jury when he gave final instructions. He also allowed in very speculative expert witness testimony by the plaintiffs though he was anything but impressed by it.

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Truth, Justice and Vindication: Dimock Verdict Overturned

dimock verdict - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

The insane Dimock verdict rendered last year has been overturned, the jury’s decision bearing “no discernible relationship to the evidence” says the judge.

Friday can be a wonderful day and this one is especially so. The Dimock verdict rendered last year by an out-of-control jury that paid no attention to the evidence has been overturned. The $4 million award to the plaintiffs has entered the universe of wild dreams from which one awakes to find the world is still right-side up. Truth, justice and vindication have been dispensed.

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The Only Outrage, Mr. Journalist, Is Your Own Failure

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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A PennLive article by a young journalist purporting to tell both sides of a oil and gas story involving DEP completely misses the real point, the big story.

I never heard of Colin Deppen until yesterday when a long-time friend texted me a link to a story he wrote at PennLive. Titled “‘That’s not DEP’s role’: Outrage and localism after state sues towns that banned frack water wells,” it is the quintessential example of how today’s “journalist” is manipulated and, in turn, manipulates by deciding what to include and, especially, what not to include in a story. This is not to say Colin has an agenda; I’m not convinced he does after reading some of his other work on fracking issues. It’s certainly not to say he can’t write, because he actually does so rather well. It’s not even to say his story is inaccurate. He appears to have the bulk of the facts correct. Yet, it is an incredibly misleading story that does a huge disservice to the public. It’s all a matter of who he chose to quote and what he left out.

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Full Speed Ahead to the 3rd Circuit on DRBC Lawsuit

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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The lawsuit challenging DRBC authority is moving ahead, having taking a big leap forward toward the ultimate decision by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Only 10 months ago I reported on the launch of what I described as a “beautiful thing” – a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) for arbitrarily absconding with the rights and property of Upper Delaware River basin landowners. The case went to Federal Court in Scranton, where the DRBC and its bosom buddy the Delaware Povertykeeper (a/k/a Riverkeeper) challenged the challenge.

The DRBC argued for dismissal on the astounding theory it hadn’t taken any real action to stop drilling. The judge soundly rejected that bizarre theory and used 90% of a 44 page opinion doing so. He then moved the case directly to the Court of Appeals by dismissing the case on language that had yet to be debated, rocketing the case forward for a real decision by the court. No one reading the opinion (please do) can come to any conclusion but that judge rejected DRBC reasoning and kicked the case upstairs.

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Why Is Pennsylvania DEP Shooting at Gas Pipes?

fracking - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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Pennsylvania DEP is engaged in something inexplicably dangerous; effectively shooting at gas pipes with targeted attacks on the gas industry over methane.

There is something very wrong going on at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The agency is, rhetorically speaking, shooting at gas pipes, threatening to explode an industry that saved the Pennsylvania economy during the last recession.

The issue is methane regulation, a solution looking for a problem, as the Marcellus Shale Coalition properly puts it. Never has government put so much effort into punishing one industry that’s done more than any other to solve a problem. It’s as if the District Attorney has decided to prosecute the Chief of Police for reducing crime and making their jobs less important. Such has always been the nature of Pennsylvania DEP where real problems are ignored in favor of harassing the innocent.

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Gomez Addams (a/k/a Wallflower Pete) Finds Himself at 87

fracking - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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John Astin, the 87-year old actor who played Gomez Addams and did a gig singing Wallflower Pete has found himself in opposing fracking. Who knew? Game over?

The death rattle of journalism is evidenced by the increasing frequency of episodes where I am forced to exclaim, yet again, “If any further proof be needed of the death…” The latest is an AP Big Story item entitled “Addams Family actor lends voice to fracking opposition.” The article is all of 122 words. It tells us Baltimore native John Astin, the 87-year old actor who last appeared in the Addams Family sitcom 51 years ago as Gomez Addams, has put out a TV ad endorsing a Maryland Fracking ban.

That’s the news in a state with a city ranked as the No. 5 murder capital of the US so far in 2017? What AP employee possibly thought a story about an actor few thought was still alive doing a fracking ad was the “Big Story”? Did Astin’s agent slip him a $100 bill or was it Food & Water Watch?

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Fracking Lowers Mortgage Defaults, Raises House Prices

fracking - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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A study from Clemson University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows fracking lowers mortgage defaults, raises home values and improves FICO scores.

It was a little less than six years ago when Ian Urbina, as part of his “Drilling Down” series in the New York Times, wrote a piece entitled “Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages.” Urbina who was always looking for opportunities to slam fracking, quoted an official of Wells Fargo bank as telling a mortgage broker from Northeastern Pennsylvania it would be “very difficult to obtain financing due to the potential hazard” as well as “unknowns.” Urbina, of course, long ago moved onto other things, and history has moved beyond the baseless speculation at the root of so much policy discussion to the hard facts, which are very friendly, as it turns out, to fracking.

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Pennsylvania’s Bountiful Future Due to Fracking

fracking - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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Fracking is going to make Pennsylvania shine again as a center of manufacturing and progress, due to the enormous potential of the Marcellus and Utica shale.

There is an amazing new study out — produced for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, no less — that uses hard data to illustrate what a bountiful future the Commonwealth has before it due to fracking. Titled Prospects to Enhance Pennsylvania’s Opportunities in Petrochemical Manufacturing and filled with wonderful maps and charts, it is an independent report by IHS Markit. Team Pennsylvania Foundation (Team PA) commissioned the report “to identify and evaluate the opportunities for petrochemical and plastics manufacturing in Pennsylvania based on natural gas resources available in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.”

I didn’t think Tom Wolf had it in him, but the report is simply outstanding. It makes the case for infrastructure development like no one else has. Jim Willis was, as usual, the first to open the book and his take is available here at MDN. The report also has a nice Executive Summary but it’s probably a little lengthy for our busy readers, so I have distilled the basic facts down to bullet points for those eager to get to the good news faster and there’s plenty of it.

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