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Methane Madness Infects Washington Energy Politics

global warmingPaul Driessen
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow

 

Methane madness, the latest virulent obsession of activists and special interests promoting their political agendas, has infected Washington politics.

Quick: What is 17 cents out of $100,000? If you said 0.00017 percent, you win the jackpot.

That number, by sheer coincidence, is also the percentage of methane in Earth’s atmosphere. That’s a trivial amount, you say: 1.7 parts per million. There’s three times more helium and 230 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You’re absolutely right, again.

Equally relevant, only 19% of that global methane comes from oil, natural gas and coal production and use. Fully 33% comes from agriculture: 12% from rice growing and 21% from meat production. Still more comes from landfills and sewage treatment (11%) and burning wood and animal dung (8%). The remaining 29% comes from natural sources: oceans, wetlands, termites, forest fires and volcanoes. 

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An Insane Dimock Verdict Gets Challenged

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

 

The Dimock verdict, so insane even the Scranton Times called it jury nullification, is now being challenged, thank goodness. May justice prevail this time.

The jury’s verdict in Scott Ely’s case against Cabot Oil & Gas was so counter to the facts, so opposite the law, so bad, even the Scranton Times used the words “jury nullification” to describe it. It was as if the Dallas Cowboys had scored 10 touchdowns to the Philadelphia Eagles single field goal, only to have the referees call them all back at the very end of the game and declare the Eagles the winners. It had to be challenged and now it has been, as Cabot has filed a compelling motion with the court to throw the whole thing out.

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Dimock Verdict Headline Fail

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

The only thing worse than the media reporting of the Dimock verdict was the collection of false, misleading and just plain wrong headlines it produced.

Our post of yesterday about the Dimock verdict and what the media got wrong in reporting on it (or, more accurately, what it missed because it wasn’t there for the trial) provides a rundown of the major facts indicating why the verdict was most likely an act of jury nullification. There is one other aspect to the story that we didn’t have room to address in that article, but also deserves attention; the collection of totally false, misleading and just plain wrong headlines that accompanied both media and fractivist reporting of the Dimock verdict.

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Why the Marcellus Shale (and Utica) Are So Important

Shale gas - Nick Grealy ReportsNick Grealy
Administrator of NaturalGas2.0NoHotAir and ShaleGasInfo Blogs

 

Nick Grealy explains why shale gas near urban areas is so valuable, illustrating for us why the Marcellus Shale (and Utica) are such valuable energy assets.

Laszlo Varro, recently appointed Chief Economist of the IEA is the smartest and funniest guy in the energy room in my opinion, a rare combination in a field known for portentous and pretentious expertise. Over the past few years Laszlo has predicted the oil and gas resource is much larger than any one would dare admit and has also accurately predicted that environmental opposition in the US, not Europe, presents the greater danger. He also predicted that gas would start to replace coal on price even in Asia a couple of years before anyone else dared think it. His insights about the relationship between energy assets and location are, therefore, something to be taken seriously.

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The Dimock Verdict: What the Media Got Wrong

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Virtually every bit of reporting on the Dimock verdict missed the point and failed to call out why it was a decision totally contrary to the evidence presented.

The reporting on the Dimock verdict was abysmal. Only one reporter actually attended the trial and she left before Scott Ely finished testifying, not to return until the end. Others, such as Laura Legere, who wrote dozens and dozens of Dimock stories over the years helping to fashion the myths surrounding the case, couldn’t be bothered to attend, perhaps because, deep down, she knew the truth; methane problems in Dimock existed long before drilling.

Legere still lives in the Scranton area and only took interest when the surprise verdict came down, writing yet another piece suggesting Cabot had it coming, of course, with her characteristic sleight-of-hand reporting. She included quotes from Cabot about the lack of evidence but, like so many others writing about the Dimock verdict, couldn’t speak to it herself in any detail because she wasn’t there. The reporting from others was similar, as story after story accepted the contamination verdict with putting it into context or even discussing the evidence. If they had, they would have come to the inescapable conclusion the Dimock verdict was an instance of jury nullification – an extraordinary story that should have been told.

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Bad Guys Win in Dimock Despite Evidence and Timeline

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Ignoring overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the jury in the Dimock case decided to reward the plaintiffs for their bad behavior and speculation.

Earlier today, I stated it was impossible to predict what the Dimock jury would do, “but if the evidence matters, there is but one answer and it is that such water problems as did exist preceded drilling and there is nothing but speculation to suggest Cabot caused them.” As it turns out, the evidence didn’t matter. The jury just found Cabot was responsible for creating a nuisance that was worth $2.75 million to the Ely family and $1.49 million to the Huberts; an absolutely absurd number that went against every instruction by the court. Cabot has, in fact, lodged objections to the verdict based upon lack of evidence to support the jury’s findings and misconduct by plaintiffs’ counsel that deprived Cabot of a fair trial.

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The Dimock Case: Cabot’s Closing Argument

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

The jury continues to deliberate the Dimock case but the closing argument of Cabot’s attorney sums up the facts of the matter.

The Dimock case, as I noted yesterday morning, has gone to the jury. The closing arguments told us a great deal. Leslie Lewis, counsel for the Dimock plaintiffs, relied upon a series of tortured arguments such as related here in previous posts, contending her plaintiffs, who couldn’t keep dates straight and relied upon speculation more than anything else, were credible and the written record was not. She had to be halted by the judge, in fact, during her statement for inviting speculation regarding things not in evidence and personal vouching for facts, neither of which is permitted, Cabot Attorney Dillard, by contrast, relentlessly detailed the facts in evidence, indicating the plaintiffs have no real case.

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Dimock Case Heads to Jury

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Cabot rested its defense yesterday, the other side had no rebuttal and the Dimock case went to the jury based on the woeful evidence of the plaintiffs.

The Dimock trial wound down Tuesday as Cabot Oil and Gas attorneys finished up with their powerful defense. The plaintiffs offered no rebuttal and the case is headed to the jury for today after both sides give closing arguments and the judge provides instructions. The jury has but one claim to decide at this point, that being one of nuisance, which requires a finding that Cabot’s actions involved an unreasonable risk of harm. While jury decisions are unpredictable, that’s a difficult burden.

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Judge Ends Part of Dimock Case: No Evidence of Damages

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Judge Carlson has thrown out the biggest part of what remains of the Dimock case in a devastating critique of Scott Ely’s testimony and a lack of evidence.

Yesterday was a very big day in the Dimock trial as another resident told a story of living with methane migration and “firewater” long before there was any gas drilling in the area, Dr. Lawrence Hilbert smashed what little was left of Tony the Tiger’s credibility and Judge Carlson threw out the plaintiffs’ claim that Cabot Oil and Gas negligence had damaged their property values. The incompetent, ideologically driven nature of the plaintiffs’ case was never more apparent than it was yesterday, in fact, as their lawyers stumbled through the proceedings like some blind horse, bumping into everything, backing up, trying again and then running over the client.

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Dimock and the Intolerant Face of Fractivism

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

The Dimock trial has revealed the ugly and intolerant face of fractivism as true believers intent on keeping the truth buried have used Facebook to do so.

Like many readers, I expect, we received word from Phelim McAleer this morning about an attempt by fractivists to shut down his reporting of the Dimock trial in Scranton, which has, to date, gone very badly if the evidence is any indication. Phelim has been writing about the trial and capturing some of the players on film outside the courthouse. Fractivists aren’t happy and have launched a campaign of intolerance to simply shut down Phelim’s voice, rather than defend their indefensible case.

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