« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Gas Pains

A roundup of the natural gas news of the week.

1. Despite a natural gas drilling moratorium in New York, that state’s Chemung and Broome Counties are feeling the economic lift from drilling next door in Pennsylvania. But to the New York Times, the ex-pat workers, largely from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, have awfully low-brow tastes, don’t you know. (NYT link below the fold.)

2a & 2b. The Daily Beast seems to have turned over reporting on energy issues to complete idiots. They should stick with things they do best, like candid upskirt photos of the Kardashian sisters. (Two DB links below the fold.)

3. Betty Sutliff is a member of the Upper Wayne County Property Owners Alliance. Her northeastern Pennsylvania county is prospective for Marcellus gas development, but a board called the Delaware River Basin Commission (representing New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the U.S. government) has blocked development. In addition an influx of well-heeled interlopers who own second homes in NE PA are vocal in their anti-gas rhetoric, although they have almost no skin in the game.

There exists a minority of those who vehemently oppose natural gas development. They would oppose it if it were 200% safe. For this group it really isn’t a question of safety. Instead, it is a new ideology aimed against anything fossil. Simplistically, these folks look at any fossil fuel development as an addiction that should be conquered “cold turkey.”

Most of these individuals own very little land and think (mistakenly, as UGI [retail natural gas price cut] demonstrates) they have nothing to gain economically from natural gas exploration and production. They also are typically residents who do not reside here full-time or have moved to the area after living elsewhere. They don’t want their peace and serenity, not to mention their viewscape, tampered with at all for any reason.

However well-funded, well organized, and vocal they may be, they do not speak for the majority of residents here who have called this area home for generations. This is noticeable by the landslide victories of pro gas candidates in local elections which show the majority of people in favor of moving forward with exploration and production of natural gas.

Well said, Ms. Sutliff. The loudest voices in the debate are the ones with the least knowledge and the least stake in the game. And they would be the first one to cry “Conspiracy!” if the cost to heat their home doubled, or if there were no gas available at all.

These elitists portray natural gas as bad for the environment (a very tenuous position), but in reality they know that cheap gas is the #1 enemy of their Mother Gaia-approved alternatives.

1. NY Times:
With Gas Drilling Next Door, County in New York Gets an Economic Lift

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. — At the Glamour and Glow boutique in the local mall here, crystal necklaces and fake fur vests have been hot-ticket items the last year.

When the drilling workers head home between long stretches of work in this gas-rich region, explained Christy Spreng, the shop’s owner, they need gifts for their wives and girlfriends. “They know what they want,” she said. “They’ll say: ‘Looks good. Wrap it up.’ ”

2a. The Daily Beast:
Gas Drilling Likely Caused Ohio Quake

A seismologist investigating a series of minor earthquakes in Ohio says they were almost certainly caused by a well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

Nice headline; too bad it is a blatant lie. Gas drilling doesn’t cause quakes; disposal of waste products in a well situated near a fault zone may have caused some slippage in the fault, so the well is being shut down to check it out. I blogged it here; even the Washington Post got it right in the article the DB links.

2b. The Daily Beast:
Youngstown Rocks: Is Fracking Causing Earthquakes in Ohio? by Jon Avlon

My wife and I were in town visiting my 96-year-old grandmother and felt the mid-afternoon rattle shake the roof for five to 10 seconds.

What makes the minor rumble newsworthy is that until 2011, Youngstown had never had a recorded earthquake.

What changed? Fracking. …

In response to a Christmas Eve earthquake—the 10th in nine months—the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ordered D&L Energy Inc. to stop its operations at a brine-injection well in the heart of downtown Youngstown.

The epicenter of the New Year’s Day quake was within half mile of the 9,000-foot-deep well. All of the earthquakes emanated from within five miles of local drilling, and in some cases as close as a few thousand feet. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is careful to state that there is no proven link between the drilling and the quakes, but the cause and effect seems clear to citizens.

This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. Mr. Avlon clearly doesn’t know the difference between a “drilling”, “fracking” and an “injection well”, and I suspect he could not care less. I set a very low bar of expectation for technical comprehension by journalists, and Mr. Avlon has tunneled under it.

Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.

Get Alerts