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Scranton Times Advice to Act on Methane All Wrong

shale gas news - desRosiers_headshotBill desRosiers
External Affairs Coordinator, Cabot Oil & Gas

 

The Scranton Times-Tribute recently criticized the Think About Energy series in an editorial titled Act on Methane, but their facts are all wrong.

Recently the Scranton Times-Tribune published an editorial titled Act on Methane. I found this editorial to be a disservice to their readership. Not only did it undermine the educational purpose of the “Think About Energy” series, but it all grossly misrepresents methane emissions from Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.

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Why Is Pennsylvania DEP Ignoring Reality on Methane?

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

 

 

Pennsylvania DEP is determined to target shale producers with insane methane regulations regardless of the facts and achievements in reducing such emissions.

There is something very weird going at Pennsylvania DEP. The agency is directly targeting the Commonwealth’s shale producers with punishing discriminatory regulations for which there is no rational justification. It’s all about two sets of what are known as General Permit regulations known as GP-5 and GP-5A. Only in the labyrinths of bureaucracy do rules get such arcane labels, of course, which serve to immediately dissuade us commoners from digging deeper. Many have, accordingly, failed to pay attention, but that’s how government gets away with its dirty work.

Fortunately, some people are paying attention and pointing out the absurdity of the proposed regulations. Among them are the principals of an interesting firm known as Silent Majority Strategies, who have made a devastating case against this effort by the Pennsylvania DEP to punish the natural gas industry for what appears to be Wolf administration retribution for not getting the severance tax the governor so ardently desires.

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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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Ohio EPA Making Pennsylvania Look Like New York?

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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Recent actions by the Ohio EPA to both upgrade and streamline its natural gas regulations while Pennsylvania complicates them raises the specter of New York.

New York has always been difficult. I well recall many years working on some branch line railroad issues in the Empire State and confronting a whole floor of regulators in their Department of Transportation. I was used to dealing in Pennsylvania where three people did the work of 30+ New Yorkers. But, times have changed. Pennsylvania, under Tom Wolf, now seeks to emulate New York’s self-defeating style, especially when it comes to natural gas regulation. The Ohio EPA is putting our DEP to shame, managing to get plaudits from both environmentalists and natural gas company while we attempt to drown our biggest economic drivers in a sea of regulations. The Ohio EPA is making us, God forbid, look more like New York every day.

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Josh Fox Tries to Stave Off Justice for Upper Delaware Landowners

Bob NolanBob Nolan
Wayne County, Pennsylvania, Landowner

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Upper Delaware landowners are fighting back against the injustice of the DRBC sitting on over-the-top gas regulations for years and Josh Fox is flailing. 

Josh Fox, on Friday, put out a call to action to the little swarm of malicious malcontents who follow him to rise up and exercise some mobocracy against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) at its meeting this Wednesday. He titled his screed “Once Again We Are Under the Threat of Fracking.” He called the Delaware “our beautiful watershed” (even though he operates from Brooklyn out of natural gas heated space). He stated “we simply can’t allow DRBC to frack up our river, our land, air and public health,” and repeatedly raised the specter of threats to his drinking water.

The email was another self-indulgent exercise in crying wolf by the attention starved Fox. It was another reminder of how badly Upper Delaware landowners have been treated at the hands of both this chameleon and the DRBC he holds up as the supposed enemy, even though they’ve been on the same team.

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Will A Bumble Bee Be Allowed to Sting the Gas Industry?

 

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

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

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The USFWS issues a midnight ruling and puts the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee on the endangered species list, impacting drillers and mid-streamers.

bumble beeBack on October 3, 2016, I posted a story on MDN about the potential listing of endangered species, which impacts drillers and midstreamers. Most notably in the northeast has been the northern long-eared bat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is responsible for recommending and listing varies species, empowered to do so under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

USFWS admitted the long-eared bat is threatened because of something called white nose syndrome, which has nothing to do with habitat destruction. Yet drillers and midstreamers are hamstrung with regulations to “save the bats”, even though they are not the ones causing harm to the bats. Now, the agency has done the same thing with the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, one of 46 species of Bumble Bees in the US., taking another whack at oil and gas and any other type of development.

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The Year Wraps Up With Natural Gas Usage Rising

Constitution Pipeline - MarkindDaniel B. Markind, Esq.
Weir and Partners, LLP

 

Natural gas usage keeps rising, despite the hurdles it has faced. Daniel Markind highlights accomplishments and challenges at the state level.

Without a doubt, the election of Donald Trump was the big story of 2016.  While Barak Obama never came out fully against shale gas and oil, and indeed reaped its benefits, their production did not fit his “clean” agenda and the Obama Administration never was welcoming to the new technology or the industry.  The new President will have a different mindset.  It remains to be seen what specific steps Donald Trump will take, and what reaction those steps will engender.

At the state level, the gas and oil supply glut is over and 2017 looks more promising than 2016, albeit with numerous challenges.  Among the most interesting states, here are some of the highlights:

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Fracking Regulation Overkill; Time to Talk?

Constitution Pipeline - MarkindDaniel B. Markind, Esq.
Weir and Partners, LLP

 

Fracking regulation in Pennsylvania has swung like a pendulum. It’s time to talk and craft reasonable rules that allows the industry to move ahead.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition has filed a Petition for Review in Commonwealth Court challenging the new oil and gas regulations enacted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Quality Board and known generally as the Chapter 78a Regulations.  It’s the latest evidence of failure by all parties involved in figuring out a process to work together for the good of the entire State. 

The energy industry overreached  under the Corbett Administration, almost inviting public derision by pushing provisions in Act 13 such as the medical gag order.  Once in office, the Wolf Administration returned the favor with absurd tax claims and abuse of the regulatory process to develop the Chapter 78a Regulations.  As I’ve said repeatedly, some of these Regulations are common sense, some are workable and some just ridiculous.

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Pumpkin Spice, Colder Mornings, and Maryland Fracking: I Love the Fall

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 3.45.08 PM

K.J. Rodgers
Crownsville, Maryland  

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One year from now the Maryland fracking expires. Despite tougher regulations, fractivists still aren’t happy about Maryland fracking, though.

Fall is among us here in Maryland. We are casually preparing for a new winter as we eat our last blue crabs of the season, sip on pumpkin spiced everything, and watch our state’s government spin its wheels while trying to figure out fracking regulations.

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John Quigley’s Email Shocks the Conscience

delaware riverkeeper - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

 

We knew, of course, it had to be bad, but the e-mail sent by John Quigley to his fractivist allies in the “environmental community” shocks the conscience.

The e-mail that got DEP Secretary John Quigley fired is now out and it’s far worse than anything I had imagined. This man-child had no business being in position of authority on the smallest board in the tiniest community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, let alone serving as the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. He not only lacked the temperament for such a role, but also demonstrated a complete lack of judgment. His actions were appalling for someone with his level of responsibility and “shock the conscience.”

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