Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From Dana and Marj-Great Insight-Thanks

My wife and I took a ride along Seneca Lake to Himrod, then we went over the hill to Penn Yan. On the way back home we got to talking about the antis and their complaints. Every time there is a meeting where their "hear say" can be promoted, they are there. I know last week a fellow from "Preserve the Finger Lakes" came all the way down to Cameron to tell us "country hicks" how we should be protecting our water. First of all, do they think that we want polluted water? Marj and I did an "SGEIS" study of our own on the Finger Lakes as we drove by. We came up with many bad things that are going in to each lake. Here are a few that we thought of: chemicals from every winery, anything put on the roads in the winter, every boat leaves an oil slick, swimmers pee in the water, sewage from the cottages(even if they have a septic tank, where does it go when they have it pumped?), where does the fish get rid of their waste? , where do the fish go when they die?, when a hunter shoots a duck, who has to pick up the feathers? I am sure that you can think of many more contaminants that go into "their pristine waters". I am sure that the Catskill Riverkeeper and the other environmental groups don't have their own territories figured out yet, so why do they think they can come into our territory and tell us what we should be doing? We are asking for a proven process of putting water with a half percent of normal chemicals thousands of feet under our water aquifers. They haven't cured how to protect their own water, but yet feel compelled to come tell us "country hicks" how we should protect our own water( which we all have been doing forever). One other thing that upset us, we couldn't see the ducks on the lake because there were too many cottages. So, Marj and I came to the conclusion that there should be no one living above the water line of these lakes. Absolutely no boats on these lakes, all wineries will have to move, no one can travel the roads.... We were going to do a study on how much pee goes into each lake over a course of a year, but we gave up when we figured out how much pee and bs is up in that area. Our study took us about 45 minutes. How long do you think the State study will take? If you can't tell, it is starting out to be a boring winter. Marj and I wish you all Merry Christmas and I hope a very Happy New Year. Dana and Marj

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cheer from David& Karen-Thank You

Would like to share a story with you that recently took place in PA and hopefully next year stories like it will take place all over New York... David's uncle, aunt and mom lived in Gillette, PA with their parents. His grandpa died and his grandma came to live with them. That left the farm...David's uncle had the least of the three so the sisters signed the farm over to him...no money involved...just gave it to him... Fast forward 60 plus years...his uncle now in his late 80s, not in good health, received a sizeable sign-on bonus a couple of weeks ago...he invited his sisters over for lunch remembering their kindness to him years ago...and gave them each a generous check...of course, they were thrilled because they are now both widowed and living on fixed incomes...they never asked for anything, but isn't it neat he was able to give them something cause he finally could after all these years... A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all... David and Karen

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

My Family and I would like to wish the Steuben County Coalition Members,the Joint Coalition Members and other organizations that have helped us during the past year, a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Neil

Saturday, December 10, 2011

WE need this young man in Albany

As a college student concerned with the future of our economy, I commend Keystone Energy Forum for hosting “The State of Pennsylvania’s Energy” in Hershey. I learned a great deal about the important role Pennsylvania is going to play in the future of our economy from various energy representatives from the coal, wind and Marcellus Shale industries. It is great to know that Pennsylvania is on the verge of another energy boom. Oil and gas put Pennsylvania on the map and it’s going to keep us there. Our natural resources have made us one of America’s energy leaders and, for Pennsylvania residents, that means many more jobs to come. Nate Boring State College Read more: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/12/09/3014460/states-future-looks-bright.html#ixzz1gAjr3JXb

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good News for the New Year!

DEC fracking report may come as soon as spring 2012 By Marie Cusick New York’s top environmental regulator, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, says his agency will likely finish its review of hydrofracking late next spring. That means drilling permits for fracking could quickly follow. That’s a faster timeline than expected. DEC officials had previously been much less specific, saying their report will probably be finished “sometime next year.” “That’s really alarming,” says Robert Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “I’d be curious to know how [the DEC] reached that conclusion, unless they’ve already determined an outcome … Clearly that would signal to me that there continues to be pressure to get this done sooner rather than later.” Drillers see it as a good sign. Brad Gill is the executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, a trade association representing the industry. He wrote in an an e-mail statement: “ Given the work that the DEC has left to do, late spring seems like a realistic time frame to begin issuing permits. It’s been a three-and-a-half year wait, and during that time, we’ve watched as businesses left New York for other states. It’s encouraging to think about moving forward in spring of 2012 and realizing the benefits that have eluded New Yorkers.” Earlier this week, the DEC extended the public comment period on its review of fracking, known as Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS). The comment period was originally supposed to end on December 12th, but will now go until January 11, 2012. Agency officials cited the huge volume of comments they’ve received on their latest draft of the report, which has already topped 10,000 in just three months. The DEC also saw an unprecedented turnout to a series of four public hearings about hydrofracking held around the state last month. More than 6,000 people attended the meetings. The SGEIS will determine whether New York moves forward to allow hydrofracking. The DEC’s current position is that the controversial drilling technique can be done safely, with strict regulations. Martens was in WMHT’s studio today to answer questions from viewers about hydrofracking. That interview will be broadcast on the December 9 edition of New York NOW (check your local listings).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Comment on DEC Hearing

Most of the reasons stated at the DEC hearings against drilling for natural gas in New York were not factual in nature and wouldn’t be worth mentioning. One issue that was brought up by the anti movement which has a basis of truth is, the housing shortage that is happening in PA is due to the gas drilling industry. The problem is the influx of people from all over the country coming to PA for employment opportunities, which are very sparse in most of the country, has increased the demand for housing. The increased housing prices and rental rates, has caused a strain on people who are on a fixed income, whether it be social security or public assistance. This is not a permanent problem. With the increased tax revenue that PA is receiving from the gas industry, more low income housing can be built. Many of the employees of the gas industry will build new houses in the area. This is capitalism at work and has served our country well for the last 200 plus years, our economic system is and always will be the inspiration for the rest of the world! The American economic system has enabled more people to move from poverty to prosperity in the history of mankind! -Neil

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The next time you meet someone sitting on the fence

Often, people say that they are for gas drilling if it doesn’t pollute their water. The “if” in that statement has been removed by the 2011 dSGEIS. No ones water will be at risk when gas drillers follow the rules and procedures in the 1500 pages of the 2011 dSGEIS. The DEC will not issue any permits to drill unless the company involved with harvesting this New York gas, complies with the 2011 dSGEIS. If gas drillers do not follow these rules and procedures they will be heavily fined and no more permits will be issued to them. This is the same principle that everyone in New York that has a drivers license most follow. If DMV rules and regulations are not followed, the driver involved will be fined or lose his license.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It Is Time To Let Albany Know What You Want!

This is the last chance for Southern Tier and New York State residents to achieve permanent property tax relief and economic recovery. The DEC hearing in Dansville on November 16th is the first of four DEC hearings that will be held in November. The dates for the other hearings are on the Joint Landowner’s Coalition website. This will be the last chance for residents of the Southern Tier to express their opinion regarding whether or not the natural gas industry will be allowed in New York State to pull us out of our despicable economic situation. This is the only industry that wants to conduct business in our state. Pennsylvania has changed the energy picture for the country for the next 100 years. Green energy will never be able to compete with $3.00 per thousand cubic feet natural gas. Even if it could, New York would be the last state that any green energy industry would enter. Our environmental regulations are far too strict for this to occur. Already, green energy companies in America cannot compete with those in foreign countries such as China. An excellent example is Solyndra, who received over a half billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and still ended up in bankruptcy. Will we continue to listen to the so-called intellectuals on the hill in Ithaca, or at least give the natural gas industry a chance to prove that what occurred in Pennsylvania regarding its economic recovery due to the natural gas industry, is also possible in New York. We need everybody’s support at these hearings to preserve the future of the state. There has been a handful of very dedicated and hard working members in a handful of coalitions who have kept this dream of economic recovery alive. It is time for everyone else to stand up and be counted to allow the natural gas industry to enter the state! -Neil

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's Time To Sand Up For Your Minerial Rights

It's time for all Steuben County residents who own land in New York to attend one or all of the DEC hearings that are listed on the SCLOC home page! We have struggled for over 3 years and faced many obstacles and it is time for the State of New York to allow landowners in New York their state constitutional rights and enjoy the financial rewards of their mineral rights, stated in New York Environmental Conservation Law. Make your position clear at these hearings, that this abuse of our property rights has come to an end, this year. In 2012, horizontal drilling and hydrofracking will finally begin. When this happens all residents of New York State will benefit from job creation, lower energy costs, better schools, infrastructure repair, lower property taxes and overall better quality life for everyone in the State. See you at the DEC hearings. Thank you. Neil.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PAC meeting update

The monthly PAC meeting was held at Thurston at 7PM on Wednesday 10/17. The meeting began with a roundtable discussion on what the landowners' response should be to the SGEIS report, and in connection with that what our approach should be to the DEC hearing in Dansville on November 16. The general conclusion was that while we need to be aware of concerns about some of the restrictions in the SGEIS report, we need above all to remain supportive of the DEC. Since we can now actually see the permitting process beginning in the near future, we don't want to do anything that might slow that process down. The DEC hearing in Dansville becomes a very important interest for the landowners mainly in the sense that we need a strong presence there. There will be media coverage there and we don't want them to be able to say that the Anti's dominated the two sessions. The PAC will be doing everything it can to boost landowners attendance. The two sessions are at 1PM and 6PM in the Dansville Middle School Auditorium. Neil Vitale is working with the JLC (Joint Landowners Coalition) on issues of concern to the Landowners in the SGEIS. Jeff Heller, representing the SCLOC, is to be the "moderator" for a series of Industry informational meetings in the western half of the state. One of the meetings will be in Corning on Dec. 6 at 6PM at the Southeast Steuben County Library. In the now monthly chairman's "situation report" it was stressed that it is overwhelmingly positive now - for the first time in three years. We are fairly confident that Governor Cuomo is in favor of drilling - for both political and economic reasons. Martens has been very strong in his defense of SGEIS and the DEC rep at Congressman Reed's meeting in Corning was very effective at countering the Anti's charges against drilling. These are the people that will decide whether we finally get drilling in N.Y. For the first time in three years it looks like they openly favor drilling. A point of interest that should be of interest to N.Y. is the Pa. Dept. of Labor and Industry report that now puts the number of state jobs directly connected to the gas industry at 214,000 statewide. Of course it is comforting to know that N.Y. does not need those kind of jobs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

dSEGIS states- it's time to drill in New York

I would encourage land owners of the Southern Tier to read the 2011 Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, that can be found on the New York DEC website. This 1500 page document is very technical and some parts are not an easy read. Many of us have busy lives and do not have the time to review this entire manuscript, it would behoove any land owner to review Chapter Nine-Alterative Actions, it’s not a voluminous chapter, it does specify in precise language why natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing will happen in New York State in the very near future! Neil.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

T.Boone Pickens

It’s Time for New York to Listen to T. Boone Pickens- Four Members of the Steuben County Land Owner Coalition attended on September 30th, an event at Williamsport PA. Community Arts Center, the topic was- Powering Our Future: A Conversation with T. Boone Pickens. One very insightful comment Mr. Pickens articulated was that drilling and hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas shale plays in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma ,Alaska, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, California, Alabama, New Mexico, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and thirty-two other countries will provide cheap energy that will foster a second industrial revolution! This will create millions of private sector jobs in our country. It was a little uncomfortable listening to this being from New York which is sitting on top of the largest gas and oil shale play in the world and not participating in helping our country to be come energy independent. This will help create a second industrial revolution with inexpensive energy to power our transportation vehicles, industry, manufacturing, agriculture and to lower every citizen’s utility cost. Ithaca NY and Williamsport PA are similar communities in size with populations of 30,000 each with per capita income of $19,000, both have heavy student populations. Ithaca is a city with cumulative wealth but Williamsport is a community aspiring to the American dream. Williamsport is achieving this dream. Williamsport’s GDP grew by 8% in 2010, ranking it 7th in the nation of the 366 Metro areas . Ithaca gained only 1% and it is ranked 252 in the nation. Four years ago, Williamsport was facing a bleak future being a member of the rust belt. At that time Ithaca’s economy was $169 million larger than Williamsport’s economy. In 2010 Williamsport economy had a $43 million advantage over Ithaca NY due to the natural gas companies and those companies that service them. T.Boone Pickens stated that this gas play in Pennsylvania will last from 50 to 100 years. It is time for Ithaca New York to listen to T Boone Pickens not Tony Ingraffea. Neil Vitale- Steuben County Land Owners Coalition

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thanks Congressman Tom Reed

A few comments on the forum that Congressman Tom Reed sponsored on “Marcellus Shale Drilling in New York: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks?” At the Corning Library on Sept. 27. First, SCLOC-Steuben County Land Owner Coalition, thanks Congressman Tom Reed, Congressman Glen “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania, Eugene Leff- Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, John Holko-President ,Lenape Resources ,Inc, Energy in Depth and all the coalition members who were at the forum for their support for gas drilling in New York. The anti drilling minority was there with misinformation and emotion as usual. The residents of New York who still have misgivings about the benefits outweighing the risks of drilling in the Marcellus Shale, should know these facts. The “State Environmental Quality Review Act”(SEQR) stated to protect the mineral rights of its citizens and to develop the natural gas in the Marcellus shale for the economic benefit of the state and nation. DEC was mandated by this act to develop environmental study and regulations that would enable the gas & oil industry to harvest this natural resource in a environmentally safe way. This is what SGEIS is (Supplement Generic Environmental Impact Statement). After millions of dollars of tax payer money and years of study by thousands of experts it is time to start drilling! Neil

Friday, September 23, 2011

Notes on the monthly meeting of the Political Action Committee 9/19/11. The first item of discussion was the creation of a brief report for the blog site of each month's meeting. The chairman discussed the idea that the overall situation is good for the landowners. Now that SGEIS is released we can only wait for the end of the 90 day comment period. For some of us a very serious effort must be made to not let the silly comments made by the anti's, the media, and some politicians, "get" to us. There is every reason to believe, at least right now, that Governor Cuomo sincerely wants this for New York - not to mention for his "legacy". The chairman, backed up by Ken Knowles, discussed our loss of one of the most interested groups in buying our leases. This party, after negotiating for months, and showing real interest in Steuben County, simply walked away. To make a long story short - they went to a state where they could start drilling now! These kinds of losses are devastating to most of us, but bear in mind that there are still other groups that are very interested in Steuben County leases. Another area of discusion was the increasing interest in the Utica Shale. Our County is very strong on the Utica. In fact we are much stronger in the Utica in terms of covering the entire county than in Marcellus. Other topics that were discussed more briefly included: - Rita Peters brought up Fracking with Propane - Elaine Swiler pointed out the possibility of much larger areas of coverage from a single well pad. ( Including up to 18 spokes off a single vertical drill with laterals out to 10,000 feet.) - attendance by some of our PAC members at the recent Southern Tier Economic Forum. ( when the meeting started with the statement that there would be No discussion of Marcellus , our people left!) - Tom Reed's town meeting was attended by Gordon Foster - there was no discussion of Marcellus. - Elaine brought up Tom Reed's speaking at the Gas Innovation meeting in Philadelphia. Congressman Reed is very much in our camp on this! - We will have representation at the Corning City Republican Party dinner in October. - Bill Lock pointed out the many pro-natural gas commercials appearing on TV recently. These are a very big help to our cause! - We had our monthly discussion on the Corning Leader with general agreement that while certainly not objective, it has improved on the editorial page. Some of our letters are getting published again. - Elaine brought up the South African company SASOL, which is investing $10billion in Louisiana on a plant to convert natural gas to diesel fuel. (Even the N.Y. Times covered this.) - Kenny reported on an energy company in Pa. that tests all water wells within a 5 mile radius before they start to drill. They find that up to 85% of existing water wells in that area have methane in them! They also find that a very large % are not putting out "safe" drinking water. Earlier Penn State studies showed more or less the same thing. Both conditions exist before any drilling! This kind of a policy applied in Dimock in 2008 probably would have saved us a lot of grief! - Mary Hickey reported on adding links on the SCLOC website for Yates, Schuyler, Chemung, and Allegheny Counties. These are to provide any help we can to those counties. All of us on the PAC would like all of our landowners to rest assured that we are still doing everything we can to protect all our interests on this issue. The chairman extends a special thank you to Linda Knowles for her fine minutes which were used as an outline for this report.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jeff 's Letter to the Editor-Sept. 15 Leader.

To the Editor: The recent letter titled "How many local jobs ?" deserves a response. On that specific question the answer is well documented - at least in Pa. The industry says it has hired 74% local workers, but the Federal Department of Labor says it has "only" hired 71%. The 25,000 jobs created by drilling, based on what has happened in Pa. seems extremely low - unless that is DEC's estimate for just the first year. The implication that drilling will wipe out the 600,000 "visitor sustained" jobs is ridiculous under any objective criteria. The visitors will keep coming because the water will be fine ( there has never been a verified case of hydrofracing causing any water problems), the land will not be cleared for drill sites ( a two to three acre pad can now cover 640 to 1280 acres), and the air is not full of nitrogen oxide anywhere ( including Wyoming) as a result of drilling for gas. There will be an increase in truck traffic on some roads ( which can be controlled), and while this is the only valid concern in the letter, it has not been enough of a problem in any of the fourteen states that are already using horizontal hydrofracing to stop that process. The realistic conclusion on this issue is simply that the benefits outweigh the risks. Fourteen states have realized this - one has not! Jeff Heller Bradford

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Leader, Managing editor- opinion on fracking in NY

Doors will open to fracking in N.Y. THE ISSUE | Hydraulic fracturing in New York state. OUR OPINION | It’s only a matter of time before drilling begins. U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, put out the welcome mat to natural gas drillers Wednesday, urging them to come to New York. “New York is going to be open, it’s going to be open soon,” Reed said. He’s right. Like it or not, high-volume, hydraulic fracturing natural gas drilling will be legal in New York. Reed made the statement during a panel discussion held at natural gas drilling conference in Philadelphia. His remarks came the same day the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued its long-awaited economic and enviro mental report on hydraulic fracturing, the process used to mine the natural-gas rich Marcellus Shale. Drillers use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to tap into natural gas fields by injecting wells with millions of gallons of chemically-treated water and sand. This process breaks up the shale and releases the gas. The process is controversial, with opponents citing air and water contamination and illnesses as a result of fracking. Recent methane contamination in Pennsylvania, which allows drilling, has added fuel to the fire. There are nearly 4,000 wells in Pennsylvania, and more are on the way. Those who support mining the Marcellus say the industry will bring thousands of jobs, cut U.S. dependency on foreign oil, decrease electric bills and benefit the landowners leasing the land to drillers. We believe it’s the lure of more jobs and an improved economy that will eventually open New York’s doors to drilling. In fact, the DEC report touts the number of jobs – as many as 55,000 – that could come from the industry. A consultant hired by the DEC found that as many as 25,000 full-time jobs and more than 29,000 jobs in other parts of the economy could be created. Even without drilling, New York is already reaping the rewards of fracking. The Marcellus Shale extends from southern New York through Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Although the state does not allow permits to be issued, other fracking-related businesses have found their way to New York. Locally, Schlumberger supplies materials and technical services to the natural gas drilling industry, employing hundreds at its new facility in The Center in Horseheads. In Steuben County, the Legislature is expected to follow Chemung County’s lead in accepting drill cuttings at its landfill to boost revenue. Cuttings are rocks and debris removed to install drill casings into the Marcellus Shale. DEC approval is still needed before Steuben can accept the cuttings. Already, drillers working in Pennsylvania are staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants and shopping at our stores. The Town of Erwin earns about $500,000 annually selling its water to drilling companies. Painted Post officials are working on a deal to sell water. The village could make an estimated $2.6 million annually in water sales, officials say. Meanwhile, officials in the city of Corning are watching the deal closely as they consider tapping its water supply. None of the projects are without controversy. Contamination and road damage caused by heavy truck traffic are just some of the issues raised by protesters attending meetings. Others fear selling water to drilling companies could harm local residents during a drought. An LPG storage facility proposed by Inergy near Seneca Lake is receiving the strongest opposition. A grassroots campaign drew thousands to a concert held last weekend to fight hydrofracking and the proposed facility. Whether the storage facility is approved by the DEC and Town of Reading officials remains to be seen. However, it’s only a matter of time before fracking is allowed in New York state. The DEC said no permits will be issued until the study is finalized, likely in 2012. A public comment period on the environmental study is open until December. A comment period on regulations will begin in early October. There is still much work to be done before drilling can begin. In its report Wednesday, the DEC issued guidelines to protect the environment, human health and communities from potential harm. In October, the agency will propose regulations. However, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens all but gave his support, saying the state’s priority is to protect drinking water and the environment while allowing drilling to proceed. “This (report) will allow New York’s economy to benefit from this resource and the job opportunities that development is expected to bring,” he said Wednesday. In previous editorials, The Leader has urged caution and backed a moratorium on drilling until the DEC’s studies were complete and regulations created. We still urge caution and eagerly await the DEC regulations. And we don’t want those who oppose fracking to throw in the towel. Their protests have brought needed awareness to problems with the procedure and most certainly have helped pave the way to tougher restrictions. We do not want to discourage anyone from commenting during the public commenting period. You can do so by visiting http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html. However, we don’t believe opponents will be successful in their drive to prevent fracking in New York. When it’s all said and done, it’s still about the economy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Thanks Peter for the DEC update

Irene pushes DEC’s hydrofracking report back Posted by: Jon Campbell - Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 31, 2011 A 1,000-plus page draft of a report on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has been pushed back because of Tropical Storm Irene, according to a Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman. The report, which DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said was slated to be released today, will now be unveiled at some point next week, with a public comment period to follow. “DEC continues to be focused on hurricane response and recovery,” DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said in an e-mail. “Therefore, we will release the revised draft SGEIS next week.” The review is called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), and will provide the framework for the DEC’s high-volume hydrofracking permit process, which hasn’t been permitted in New York since the review was started in July 2008. The technique is used with gas drilling to send a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to break up shale formations—like the Marcellus Shale—and release natural gas. Most of the DEC’s draft was released in July, but the department said it would install a new chapter on the socioeconomic and community impacts of gas drilling before officially releasing it for public comment. The department had originally set the comment period at 60 days, but said a final decision on the length as well as whether to host public hearings would be announced when the document is released.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

News from DEC by Jon Campell

ALBANY -- The state on Wednesday will release its latest report on hydraulic fracturing, though the length of a public comment period on the document is still up in the air, the state's top environmental regulator said Friday.

Joseph Martens, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, said his office would announce the length of the comment period when it releases the 1,000-plus page document next week.

The DEC had previously said the draft report on the controversial hydrofracking process, which uses water and chemicals to break underground shale formations and unlock natural gas, would be released in late August.

A preliminary draft was released in July, but the state was waiting to incorporate an outside report on the community impacts of hydrofracking into its review before beginning a comment period.

The comment period was originally slated for 60 days, but conservation groups have pressured the department to triple the length.

"We're considering all of the comments we've gotten about extending it or shortening it," Martens said. "And we're busy now about getting the document out as we said we would on Aug. 31."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, said Thursday he wasn't keen on the idea of extending the timeframe. Cuomo tapped Martens to head the DEC earlier this year.

"I've heard no reason why the comment period isn't adequate as it is now," Cuomo said.

High-volume hydrofracking remains on hold in New York until the DEC's review is complete, which is expected at some point next year

Monday, August 22, 2011

SCLOC thanks John Starzec for his positive comments

Recently I attended a coalition meeting and wish to share with you the following. The issues of drilling Marcellus range are complex: with many stakeholders, State and Federal regulations and the concerns of all NYS residents. That being said, what I witnessed from listening to the committee is that much progress has been made on your behalf with a host of complicated legal issues and the future of contractual guidelines.
As the process in Albany continues to unfold, your leaders will present you with a more definitive schedule of direction and actions they will be undertaking.
Two major issues which were emphasized at great length:
1) Continue to retain your mineral rights if you plan to sell your property. The royalty benefit may well exceed any signing bonus you may receive. In fact, the value of the Utica range maybe greater than the Marcellus, according to some experts.
2)Do not sign any lease with agents who are presently in the area without first checking with your leadership team as to their validity.
As we await the decision of New York State DEC study, keep your powder dry.
Coalition Member
John Starzec
Painted Post, NY

Friday, August 19, 2011

Good News

Governor Cuomo has asked five additional people to join the thirteen members of DEC Commissioner Joseph Martin’s advisory panel on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Three of the new members are, Chemung County Executive, Thomas Santulli, Robert Williams of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, and Brad Gill, executive director of the New York’s Independent Oil & Gas Association. SCLOC congratulates these new and very talented members. This is very good news for all pro- drilling advocates in the state. The panel which is comprised of a mix of industry, lawmakers, and conservationists, held its first meeting Thursday at the DEC’s headquarters.
Some Good News for SCLOC
Lately, there has been much interest in Steuben County’s Utica Shale formation (which lies below the Marcellus) by the gas and oil industry.

Until next week,


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Message from SCLOC member Lisa Robinson

Message body

The Woodhull Natural Gas Storage Committee held a meeting for landowners affected by the storage field in Woodhull, Rathbone, Tuscarora and Troupsburg on August 10, 2011. Talking points from the meeting presented by Aaron Mullen of The Snavely Law Firm included:

What happens next if Dominion is granted Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity?

How proceedings affect the landowners.

Potential extent of the taking of mineral rights.

Extent of Taking if mineral rights are not leased and property is in the Expansion Area.

Extent of Taking if mineral rights are leased and the property is inside the current storage area.

Why you should seek legal representation.

Benefits of Solidarity.

Reasons to move quickly.

Discussion of Legal Representation.

If any landowners missed the meeting or any landowners have further questions, you can contact any of the following Committee Members, John Crane at (607) 359-2190, Lisa Robinson at (607) 525-6329 or Terry Towner at (607) 359-2314. Aaron Mullen of The Snavely Law Firm may be contacted at (607) 937-5205.

New york getting it right

New York is finally getting it’s act together! The Manhattan Institute has stated that New York State had the distinction of losing the most state residents in the Nation, for the past two decades. New York has lost 1.6 million NY residents, the population equivalent of Buffalo, Rochester, White Plains and West Babylon combined. The latest poll taken states that the majority of New York State residents, now believe that gas drilling should be allowed in New York State. The coalitions in the Southern Tier can take some credit for getting the truth out about gas drilling. When the gas industry begins drilling in New York State, this two decade trend of population loss, will be reversed and tax revenue will be greatly increased for a State that desperately needs it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Energy in Depth-Guest Blogger-Michael Bengamin.

Gas Exploration Will Bring Jobs To NY

2011 July 26

tags: Benjamin, jobs, New York

by EID Guest Blogger

Michael Benjamin
Former Member of the NY State Assembly

When the New York State Legislature passed the hydraulic fracturing moratorium bill late last year, I drew a lot of flack for urging then-Governor David Paterson to veto the measure. Supporters of the moratorium raised the ghastly specter of contaminated water supplies and went as far as supporting a ban on all natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and well beyond.

Paterson vetoed the measure but then issued an executive order instituting a moratorium on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. It was a head-scratching decision because drilling could not be permitted because the environmental regulations had yet to be drafted.

Because of my outspoken opposition to the hydraulic fracturing moratorium, I was invited, along with John Holko, president of Lenape Resources, onto a NY1 News debate with actor Mark Ruffalo and Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox. It was an enlightening experience fending off both men’s wild accusations about the perils of “fracking.”

Since leaving office last year, I have written op-ed essays and appeared on the radio extolling the benefits of natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale. The NY Post published my op-ed, Phony Fears on Fracking, where I refuted the hysteria about the threat allegedly posed by horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

The election of pro-business Governor Andrew Cuomo brought the opportunity for a change in state policy. When asked about his efforts to reduce state spending, keeping taxes low and reducing the state workforce, Cuomo replied, “I’m a progressive who’s broke.”

Just last month, Governor Cuomo and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) agreed that prohibiting gas exploration without any credible evidence of danger to the state’s water supply would not be in the best interest of our state’s economy. Cuomo has gone on to say that his focus over the next six months will be “jobs, jobs, jobs.” That is good news for the residents and local governments in the state’s Southern Tier.

The State DEC has reaffirmed that the New York City watershed, as well as that of other major New York cities, is off-limits to natural gas exploration. The DEC is and remains a national leader in regulations protecting New York’s environment.

The State DEC’s proposed draft regulations are evidence of its commitment to protecting the wells, aquifers, and potable water supplies of Southern Tier residents and their communities. Since the DEC will finalize its Draft regulations by year’s end, it is imperative that the US EPA conclude its study of horizontal hydraulic fracturing technology and its effect on the environment much sooner rather than mid-2012.

I was heartened to hear EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson asserted before a Congressional panel that there is no credible evidence that horizontal hydraulic fracturing has contaminated the water supply.

Natural gas exploration is an economic necessity both for New York’s Southern Tier economy and for reducing our dependence on higher priced, out-of-state and foreign natural gas supplies. We know that over 20,000 good-paying jobs have been created just over the border in Pennsylvania and millions of dollars in taxes and fees were generated for the Pennsylvania state treasury.

The Public Policy Institute, the research arm of The Business Council of New York State, recently reported that as few as 300 natural gas wells per year in the Marcellus Shale could generate more than 37,500 annual jobs.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has invested $1 billion in New York State pension funds in companies involved in natural gas exploration. Apparently, Comptroller DiNapoli recognizes that gas exploration is a good investment and does not imperil the environment or our water quality.

Creating upwards of 37,000 good-paying jobs in upstate New York and generating millions of dollars in taxes and fees for our state treasury will reduce future deficits and ensure the success of Governor Cuomo’s approach to leaner, smarter government. Not to mention, guaranteeing state pensioners a positive return on Comptroller DiNapoli’s wise investment of public funds.

I feel vindicated in my steadfast belief that natural gas exploration will provide our State with thousands of desperately needed jobs, real property tax benefits and increased tax revenues in these tough economic times. Natural gas exploration and extraction in the Marcellus will trigger an economic multiplier effect that makes good on Cuomo’s recognition that “jobs, jobs, jobs” will lift the upstate economy.

After awhile, New York will no longer be a progressive state that’s broke. And we can thank Governor Cuomo and the Marcellus Shale for our improved fortune

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interesting article in NY Post

Gov. Cuomo's state Democratic Party chairman says, "Drill, baby, drill" when it comes to controversial "hydrofracking" to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation on the New York-Pennsylvania border.

And party leader Jay Jacobs, a successful summer-camp owner, has a financial interest in having the drilling take place -- although he insists that it has nothing to do with his support for the hotly contested activity.

Jacobs says he's signed a contract with, and received per-acre upfront money from, energy giant Hess Corp. to drill on some 140 acres of land at his Tyler Hill summer camp, just over the border from New York's Catskill Mountains.

Shannon DeCelle

FUEL FOR THOUGHT: As Albany weighs hydrofracking, Democratic boss Jay Jacobs already has a deal with Hess to drill at his Tyler Hill summer camp in Pennsylvania.

Jacobs, who annually hosts hundreds of kids at Tyler Hill and two other nearby Catskills camps in New York, called the risks from hydrofracking "minuscule."

While Jacobs told The Post he's never talked with Cuomo -- who will soon decide whether to give hydrofracking the go-ahead -- about the issue, he said his own study convinced him it's the right thing to do.

"Many things that we do in modern society have the potential to destroy the environment, and we can't stop doing everything because of minuscule risks. It's when those risks become significant that we have to stop," said Jacobs.

"My belief is if we can extract natural gas, which is a cleaner form of energy, from our land, reducing the import of foreign oil and the cash flowing out of our country, and make for cleaner air, improve the economy and not damage the water, I'm for it," Jacobs continued.

"We have to be rational here, not emotional. If it's going to destroy people's water, I'm against it, too. But I've been led to believe that there are definite ways if you do this right not to destroy the water."

Jacobs wouldn't disclose how much money he's received from Hess.

But he said he entered into a contract with the huge company only after insisting on "tough restrictions" that banned drilling during the camping season and from the immediate areas around the camp buildings and related facilities, including adjacent lakes.

Jacobs said one of his two Catskill camps wouldn't be eligible for gas drilling because it's in the New York City watershed area, which will be excluded from consideration.

He said gas companies haven't approached him about his other camp, although even if they do, he insisted he wouldn't sign a contract because of Cuomo's involvement.

"I want to underscore that I haven't done anything [on drilling] with my land in New York, so I don't want anyone to think I will benefit one way or another [from Cuomo's decision], Jacobs said.

"I've been very careful. I don't want anyone accusing me of benefiting financially from anything I did in New York."

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens told Cuomo in a detailed report in July that the hydrofracking technique could be safely carried out in most areas of the Southern Tier, as long as strict regulatory oversight was imposed.

Drilling advocates, pointing to Pennsylvania, say it would generate tens of thousands of New York jobs in an economically depressed region and bring in billions in badly needed tax revenues over the next decade.

Opponents, led by major environmental organizations, claim hydrofracking could damage critical watershed areas, although no such damage has occurred in Pennsylvania or in other regions of the country where it's been used.

A 60-day public-comment period on the recommendation begins today, after which Cuomo will render a decision.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Traveling in Pennsylvania

SCLOC is sponsoring a meeting for all landowners who own their mineral rights in the Dominion Storage and buffer zone on Wednesday August 10- 7 PM- Woodhull town hall.
I would like to comment on the article in the Sunday Corning Leader about the potential road damage in New York State, claiming that the hydrofracking activity will damage the roads. Vincent Spagnoletti of the Steuben County Public Works said the gas companies working in PA have repaired and rebuilt the roads to a better standard than previously constructed. New York needs the tax revenue gas drilling will generate to repair its deteriorating infrastructure. Last week I traveled for 8 hours through PA on different roads and I did not see one drilling pad or drilling rig, but I did see many wind turbine farms that had disrupted the natural beauty of the landscape forever .Neil

Friday, July 22, 2011

Great meeting at the Hellers

Everyone had at great time at the coalition barbeque last Sunday .We all thank the Hellers and Ballards for their efforts to make it a success. I came across this fact about the value of natural drilling in National Review. The latest spot price for natural gas at the Henry Hub in Louisiana is about $4.40. To make the math easy, let’s call it $4. Over the four-year period from 2005 to 2008, U.S.natural-gas prices averaged about $7 per thousand cubic feet. That price reduction is now saving American consumers about $60 billion per year, or about $180 million per day.
So much for the Anti’s rant that only the landowners benefit from the Marcellus Shale play. Neil.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Natural Gas Drilling Supporters- Please Sign and Mail

Hon. Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York State
State Capitol Building, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12247

Dear Governor Cuomo:

In response to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) release of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), I would like to thank you, DEC Commissioner Martens, and all of the DEC scientists and staff for the commitment, diligence, and hard work they devoted to preparing the document.

I see this release as a very positive step towards enjoying the protections, prosperity, and benefits that safe and responsible Natural Gas development will bring to New York’s communities. I look forward to reviewing the changes that have been made to the document in the weeks to come and offering rational, science based substantive comments as deemed necessary to protect our homes, lands and the environment.

It is my sincere hope that the remainder of the SGEIS review process and final approval will be expedited and allowed to proceed without any undue delays so that New York can prove that environmental protection and economic development are not just compatible, but mutually beneficial. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

Name Date




Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some Thoughts from Jeff

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo--
I don't think it's too early to start thinking about your "legacy". You are inheriting a state that is a total train wreck. We are a fiscal, economic, demographic, and political disaster. You are, in fact, inheriting an almost hopeless situation. And that's the good news! The bad news is there is a very real chance it will get worse. Even as a polar opposite philosophically, I can still see the reality of your challenges.
The basic political conflicts show no signs of changing. Upstate interests are totally controlled, through the Assembly at least, by New York City. Succession is, unfortunately, a non-starter. So, a tyranny of the majority is, democratically, imposed on the upstate citizenry.
That political reality does not lessen your fiscal, economic, or demographic problems. The apparent "easy" cure for a lot of the state's problems would be a rapid, strong economic recovery. That really doesn't look like it's in the cards. However, you do have access to a step in the right direction. That would be the Marcellus Shale gas deposits. I won't attempt to outline all the benefits-they are so obvious they become literally a "no-brainer".
Accepting the benefits, we are left with the "disadvantages". I also will not attempt to break down all the "anti's" charges. For now let's just say that all of them, every single one, under scientific, factual, honest, study become to at least some degree, buffalo chips. To make a very long argument as short as possible I will present a question that I have never seen an intelligent answer to: If drilling for gas, including hydraulic fracturing, is so devastating, why haven't any of the states using the process stopped it's use?
Let me answer that trick question. It's because the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, or problems. This is the collective conclusion of at least fourteen other states. Are we to believe that all those states' environmental protection agencies are wrong, and only New York's environmentalist extremists are right?
I know that as a liberal you have to cater to the environmentalists-as opposed to the more rational conservationists like most of us on the other side of this issue. Only you can decide if there are more votes there than there are in the labor unions as they become more and more involved in this.
We have already catered to the "anti's" for over two years. Let's let DEC speak on this. Let's release the SGEIS and take a big step to catch up to all the other states.
I say this will all the understanding of an ex U. S. history teacher and a political junkie. In view of the situation you have inherited, your legacy is going to need all the help it can get!
Jeff Heller

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Excellent Editoral from the NY Daily News

N.Y., start hydrofracking: Jobs await, and we all need cleaner, homegrown energy
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Wednesday, July 13th 2011, 4:00 AM

Americans are tired of deficits, a sluggish economy and international energy markets that keep us reliant on foreign oil. It was troubling to see that the U.S. posted a $238 billion trade deficit for the first four months of this year, driven by energy imports, and that the Federal Reserve just cut its outlook for U.S. economic growth, in part due to higher oil prices.

Most days it seems as if the U.S. is caught between a rock and a hard place in its trade, growth and energy ambitions. It is, just not the way you think.

The rock at issue is shale. Due to the density and depth of shale gas, it was virtually impossible to extract until engineers in Texas combined a technique called horizontal drilling with one known as hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") just a decade ago. Seemingly overnight, this technological breakthrough put more than 2,119 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the U.S. in play.

A good bit of that's in New York. Politicking in Albany, however, has delayed progress on shale for three years. Gov. Cuomo's been attacked recently - mainly by environmentalists who fear any fracking whatsoever - for "lifting" the fracking moratorium in New York.

But he didn't lift anything. Rather, the moratorium - put in place out of extreme caution - was ordered in 2010 by Gov. David Paterson. It expired exactly when it was scheduled to.

Back in 2008, when Paterson asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation to complete an Environmental Impact Study on natural gas development. In conjunction with the review, all natural gas production stopped.

The first draft of the EIS was released in 2009. Paterson decided it was not thorough enough and ordered a second draft. He placed a moratorium on fracking in December 2010 and set it to expire on July 1, 2011.

So here we are in July 2011. Just last week, the DEC released its second EIS draft.

The good news: It reports that as long as precautions are in place, fracking can be done safely and won't contaminate our drinking water. Remember, this was not an industry report. It was issued by an environmental watchdog in a very liberal state.

The bad news: Opponents cling to their knee-jerk opposition. Already, New York has lost jobs and economic benefits as a result of its intransigence. At this point, realistically, natural gas development won't begin until the latter half of 2012. A recent Manhattan Institute study found that such foot dragging could come at a cost of over $11.4 billion in economic output and $1.4 billion in tax revenues. And some 15,000 to 18,000 jobs could be created in the Southern Tier and Western New York, where 48,000 jobs were lost between 2008 and 2010.

The high stakes at play in this debate go well beyond the state's borders: There's over 2,000 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in the U.S.

Take, for example, my home state of Pennsylvania - which has a significant portion of the Marcellus Shale. In 2009 alone, natural gas development generated over 44,000 new jobs and $389 million in tax revenue, according to a Penn State study.

New York could see much the same kind of benefit. But despite the extensive domestic benefits of natural gas development and technological advances to improve its safety, environmental activists remain hell-bent on stopping it.

The opposition is as hypocritical as it is histrionic. Many members of the anti-fracking movement have spent decades calling to end U.S. energy imports and develop cleaner domestic fuels. That's exactly what shale gas is.

All those concerned about energy sources, the environment and jobs for our middle class should welcome fracking in New York.

Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, is president of the American Action Forum

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some Thoughts from Neil

Everyone from the SCLOC who attended the JLCNY Clam Bake had a great time!
I read an article in the Corning Leader this morning that I feel needs to be addressed.
The Leader is still at their anti -drilling campaign with their Sunday article about how some of the clergy is questioning the benefits of drilling and fracking in the Marcellus Shale. The clergy is misinformed stating that the drilling is only helping a few and putting the environment at risk. First, let us address the financial benefits of the drilling in PA. This has dropped the cost of natural gas used by 70% of the US consumers by half, in heating their home in the past 3 years. Second, EPA has stated that hydro fracking has never contaminated any aquifer in the United States during the last 15 years of hydro fracking. The NY DEC has recently published the SGEIS report that states that hydro fracking is safe. The developing of the abundance of natural gas reserves will discontinue our reliance on energy from foreign nations and stop the funding of the terrorist movement towards the US & Israel.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Important Information from Jeff

The Steuben County Land Owners Coalition was originally created to help land owners. This included providing guidance on leases and dealing with "land men". That purpose had to change when New York's environmentalist lobby was able to block any progress on drilling here. While fourteen other states have taken advantage of the benefits of drilling, New York has continued on it's phenomenal economic, fiscal and political progression - but that's another subject.
Reports of the reappearance of landsmen in upstate New York re-introduces major concerns for the land owners of the upstate area. Some land owners who are used to leasing offers of three dollars to fifty dollars an acre may be overwhelmed with offers of five hundred or even on thousand dollars an acre. In view of past offers, these new offers would understandably be extremely tempting. However, there is reason to believe these numbers could be chump change! There are no "known" numbers for our area (Steuben County). We know the Marcellus Shale is much shallower and not as thick as it is to the east. We know numbers for PA leases below the Binghamton area - they are literally unbelievable! In the name of honesty or objectivity, our area landowners must bear in mind they will not see those kinds of numbers, but the offers should still be extremely impressive compared to the "good" offers of the past.
With this very basic awareness of what's going on with gas leases, the best reaction for land owners approached by landsmen now would be to consult with an attorney or a coalition before signing. The gas companies are willing to talk about leases for anything from one acre to one thousand acres. It's hard to imagine that there could be to many decisions more important than this one for our local land owners.
Jeff Heller
Bradford, NY

Friday, July 1, 2011

Martens; Hydrofracking can be done safely

Martens: Hydrofracking can be done safely

2:35 PM, Jul. 1, 2011 |

Written by

Jon Campbell

ALBANY -- The state's top environmental regulator said today he's confident that natural resources can be safely extracted from New York's gas-rich shale formations, a major boost for industry and landowner groups that have intensely lobbied the issue for the better part of three years.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said he's convinced the much-debated technique of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas will be practiced safely and effectively -- so long as the proper safeguards are in place.

Martens, at a news conference, outlined a number of recommendations his department will make as part of a 900-page draft report meant to mitigate the environmental impacts of high-volume hydrofracking, a newer technology using a mix of water and chemicals to break shale and unlock gas.

"I believe it can be done safely," said Martens, a former open-space advocate who was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year. "With all of the precautions that we have built in to the process, I believe it can be done safely."

The full draft is due to Cuomo's office today and will be available online for the public on July 8, according to the DEC. Martens said he has not presented it to Cuomo yet, and the governor hasn't commented on the DEC's summary of recommendations so far.

The DEC yesterday summarized a number of major, sweeping changes to its much-critiqued 2009 draft review of hydrofracking.

Among the department's new recommendations is a formal ban of high-volume hydrofracking in the Syracuse and New York City Watersheds as well as all state-owned land. Gas wells would also be kept at least 500 feet away from the primary aquifers, which provide drinking water to most of the state's urban centers.

The DEC's latest recommendations would still allow for fracking on most private lands within the Marcellus Shale formation, including land owned by counties and municipalities.

But high-volume hydrofracking in New York is still on hold until the DEC issues a final version of its environmental review. The department still has to make another round of revisions after the public comment period is expected to end in October, a process that likely will take several months.

Martens said he expects the final review to be completed near the end of the year, but said it was "highly unlikely" any permits would be granted before 2012.

"It's impossible to predict," Martens said. "It depends, in part, on how many comments we get."

The state's initial 2009 draft attracted 13,000 comments.

Both industry and environmental groups said they're going to wait for the full draft to be released before offering any substantive comments.

"Of course, we're waiting on the details," said Katherine Nadeau, a project manager for Environmental Advocates of New York. "This is a release about a 900-page document. But from what the department has said, there are a couple of gigantic holes that need to be filled, but there are a couple of things to be happy about, too."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cuomo will seek to lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: NYTimes.com News Alert
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 7:18 PM
Subject: News Alert: Cuomo Will Seek to Lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing
To: mhickey@stny.rr.com

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thursday, June 30, 2011 -- 1:15 PM EDT

Cuomo Will Seek to Lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

The Cuomo administration is expected to lift what has been, in effect, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technology used to extract natural gas from shale, people briefed on the administration’s discussions said.

Administration officials are discussing maintaining a ban on the process inside New York City’s sprawling upstate watershed, as well as a watershed used by the city of Syracuse, according to people briefed on the plan. But by allowing the process in other parts of the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would open up New York to one of the fastest-growing — critics would say reckless — areas of the energy industry.
Read More:

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Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 9:53 PM

Subject: Five Fast Reminders...

Dear Coalition Leaders, Landowners, Union Leaders, Workers, Business Leaders, and Natural Gas Supporters Everywhere,

(Please circulate this to any and all pro-gas supporters as soon as you receive this.)

Five simple reminders...


Last fall we suggested that you take your "Friends of Natural Gas/JLCNY" signs inside for the winter. Now we're asking you to please display them proudly once again. It is important to show that support for natural gas is strong and unified throughout our communities, and putting the signs out is one of the best and easiest ways to do that. You can add a nice touch by sticking one, two, or more small 4" x 6" American flags that are in the stores now for the holiday in the top of the sign! If you need a sign please contact your coalition leader who will put in a request to us.


JLCNY Clambake tickets are still on sale. Click on the link directly below to learn more and purchase your tickets.


The Clambake is is a fun filled event where we stop talking shop for a while and just hangout and have some fun. A main feature is an auction that is a spirited way to get rid of spare belongings or acquire more while helping the JLCNY out. So come early, eat lots, and stay late.


In light of our recent successes donating now would help us take advantage of the momentum we've won and fight for you even harder. To donate please use the donate box on the left of the www.jlcny.org website home page or mail a check or money order to…


PO Box 2839

Binghamton NY 13902

If you’re in the mood to celebrate you could also purchase a JLCNY Clambake ticket. For details see the flier on the JLCNY home page. It will be a great way to kick back and relax with some good company, dining, music, and fun.


Speaking of momentum, you can help keep us rolling along by emailing Governor Cuomo. Please see the “Tell the Governor No More Delays” article on the JLCNY home page.


Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July Holiday!!!


Dan Fitzsimmons, President

Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Important message from David&Karen for land owners

Below is a letter we sent to Governor Cuomo...as we see it...they legalized same sex marriage, the pressure was on...the antis are going to realize that and continue to put pressure on & up it...we need to keep letters and phone calls to Governor Cuomo and our legislators going...every week...get kids involved...neighbors...friends...even your mother-in-law...we need to keep the pressure on...we are so sick of calling and writing letters...but we can't stop now...let's encourage each other to keep on keeping on....tell him about our rights as land owners...that we don't need anymore public comments periods...as always be polite, but firm...As Ellen taught us...Keep on drillin'...and we might add...until they start drilling...
David and Karen
Part of his reply--written on June 21--As part of this process, DEC will issue a second draft of the SGEIS this summer and accept another round of public comments before finalizing the SEGEIS.
June 10, 2011

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany , NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo,
We read with interest your comments of March 9, 2011 talking about the legislation to legalize “same-sex marriages”. “To me, this is more than just a piece of legislation. This is about the lives of people who I have known for many years, who currently are without the rights to which they are entitled.”
Our question to you…what about the lives of people who have owned land for years, generations in New York, who are having to sell out, live in a constant struggle to make ends meet?? What about their rights to sell the gas underneath them? They have paid taxes on this land every year and now they can’t even harvest what is theirs!!
What about the young couple who ventured out and bought some land to raise their family on? What about their rights?
Do you really care for these struggling people?
We have been patient and our patience is wearing thin. Three years of waiting.
Looking forward to hearing some good news regarding drilling in the Marcellus Shale soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SCLOC Thanks CHK's response to NYT article.

From: Aubrey McClendon
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2011 8:37 PM
To: All Employees
Subject: FW: CHK's response to 6.26.11 NYT article on shale gas

Dear CHK Employees: By now many of you may have read or heard about a story in today’s New York Times (NYT) that questioned the productive capacity and economic quality of U.S. natural gas shale reserves, as well as energy reserve accounting practices used by E&P companies, including Chesapeake. The story is misleading, at best, and is the latest in a series of articles produced by this publication that obviously have an anti-industry bias. We know for a fact that today’s NYT story is the handiwork of the same group of environmental activists who have been the driving force behind the NYT’s ongoing series of negative articles about the use of fracking and its importance to the US natural gas supply growth revolution – which is changing the future of our nation for the better in multiple areas. It is not clear to me exactly what these environmental activists are seeking to offer as their alternative energy plan, but most that I have talked to continue to naively presume that our great country need only rely on wind and solar energy to meet our current and future energy needs. They always seem to forget that wind and solar produce less than 2% of America electricity today and are completely non-economic without ongoing government and ratepayer subsidies.

During the past seven years, Chesapeake has helped create an extremely disruptive and valuable technology in the form of shale gas, and now shale oil is on the way, and hopefully it too will be as disruptive, and will lead to lower oil prices, a stronger economy and fewer foreign military entanglements. Since the shale gas revolution and resulting confirmation of enormous domestic gas reserves, there has been a relatively small group of analysts and geologists who have doubted the future of shale gas. Their doubts have become very convenient to the environmental activists I mentioned earlier. This particular NYT reporter has apparently sought out a few of the doubters to fashion together a negative view of the U.S. natural gas industry. We also believe certain media outlets, especially the once venerable NYT, are being manipulated by those whose environmental or economic interests are being threatened by abundant natural gas supplies. We have seen for example today an email from a leader of a group called the Environmental Working Group who claimed today’s articles as this NYT reporter’s “second great story” (the first one declaring that produced water disposal from shale gas wells was unsafe) and that “we've been working with him for over 8 months. Much more to come. . .”

But I wanted you to know that this reporter’s claim of impending scarcity of natural gas supply contradicts the facts and the scientific extrapolation of those facts by the most sophisticated reservoir engineers and geoscientists in the world. Not just at Chesapeake, but by experts at many of the world’s leading energy companies that have made multi-billion-dollar, long-term investments in U.S. shale gas plays, with us and many other companies. Notable examples of these companies, besides the leading independents such as Chesapeake, Devon, Anadarko, EOG, EnCana, Talisman and others, include these leading global energy giants: Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron, Conoco, Statoil, BHP, Total, CNOOC, Marathon, BG, KNOC, Reliance, PetroChina, Mitsui, Mitsubishi and ENI, among others. Is it really possible that all of these companies, with a combined market cap of almost $2 trillion, know less about shale gas than a NYT reporter, a few environmental activists and a handful of shale gas doubters? I seriously doubt it and I expect you do as well.

It is also ludicrous to allege that shale gas wells are underperforming as we sit awash in natural gas, with natural gas prices less than half of what they averaged in 2008. I also note that CHK and other shale gas producers are routinely beating our production forecasts – how can shale wells be underperforming if shale gas companies are beating their production forecasts and as US nat gas production has recently surged to new record highs (in fact, in 2009, thanks to shale gas, the US passed Russia as the largest natural gas producer in the world). Also, isn’t it completely illogical when this reporter argues that shale gas wells are underperforming, yet acknowledges that gas prices are less than half the price they were three years ago. Today gas shale production represents 25% of US natural gas production, if it were underperforming, how come gas prices are so low when US gas demand is at a record high?

This reality of generations’ worth of natural gas abundance is also supported by virtually every credible third-party expert, such as the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Colorado School of Mines’ Potential Gas Committee, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Navigant Consulting and others. You also need to know that all these facts and others were provided to the newspaper by our media team well in advance of publication and the NYT predictably choose to ignore them.

By analyzing actual Chesapeake well performance, we know that the initial productivity associated with a majority of our shale gas wells have been steadily improving over the years in all of our gas shale plays, both in initial production rates and the expected ultimate recoveries of natural gas. We fully expect that the majority of these wells will be productive for 30-50 years, or even longer. In fact, the industry has vertical Devonian Shale wells in Appalachia that have been producing natural gas for more than 100 years, and I believe it is quite likely many of our horizontal shale wells will produce for a similar length of time. Further, there is no reason to believe that shale gas wells will have shorter lives than our conventional wells – some 8,000 of which are 30 years old or older.

As far as accounting practices, we follow full-cost accounting rules to the letter and routinely have our filings reviewed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as is typical for any public company of our size. The same holds true for the rest of our industry – our reserve accounting techniques are strong and have stood the test of time for decades. In 2008 in fact, the SEC recognized that the prior rules regarding direct offset wells were too restrictive, especially in shale plays where producing horizontal wells typically prove up larger areas for development. Once a shale gas play becomes well-defined by drilling results, exploration can be more accurately described as a manufacturing process because well outcomes become very predictable, substantially reducing risk. We believe that the new modernized SEC rules very reasonably reflect the advancements in our industry’s ability to predictably produce oil and natural gas resources from unconventional formations.

In summary, you work for a great company and a great industry that is changing our country (and someday our world), much for the better. We have detractors out there, as any successful company or person has, but there are other, more prestigious and less biased, publications that really do understand the big picture as you can read today on myCHK.com and through the links I have provided below. Again, thank you for all your hard work in building our company and in delivering to all Americans a brighter future through more affordable energy, more American energy, more clean energy and more job and wealth creation. Sure, it's become a little noisier in the media since we started moving some folks’ cheese, but we will remain committed to state of the industry performance in all that we do and we will now re-double our efforts to educate as many people as possible so that they may know the truth from us rather than distortions and dishonesty from others.

We hope that every Chesapeake employee can be part of our public education outreach. At more than 11,000 strong, we are an army of “factivists” – people who have knowledge of the facts and the personal knowledge and ability to spread them. You can do this by talking to your families, friends and others in your spheres of influence (schools, churches, civic organizations, etc) about the kind of company you work for and the integrity of what we do every day for our shareholders, our communities, our states, our nation, our economy and our environment. You don’t have to be an expert to stand up and tell folks that Chesapeake is committed to doing what’s right – and that commitment is expressed every day by you and your colleagues across the company.

You can also get involved by joining Chesapeake Fed PAC, our political action committee. Our opponents are extremely well funded and organized. We need to make sure our voice is heard in Washington, DC and with elected officials who are making decisions that affect our industry, our company and our ability to operate in the many states in which shale gas and oil have been discovered. The Chesapeake Fed PAC is an important way to reach the decision makers who can impact our business for better or worse. Please look out for more information on this effort soon inviting you to support this important effort with a contribution. Thanks to each of you for making Chesapeake a leader in all we do. Aubrey

PS: please see the links below for further information:





PSS: never forget a few other important facts:

1) The US natural gas industry is providing a direct daily economic stimulus to the economy of $250 million through lower gas prices from 2008. The indirect economic effects are likely many times this amount.

2) The US natural gas industry has created more than 500,000 jobs in the past 7 years of the gas shale revolution and created tens of billions of $ in economic value at the same time, plus reduced the amount of coal and oil burned in the US – I ask you, what value has the NYT or environmental activists created during these same past seven years? You either create value in this world or you consume/destroy it – we are value creators, please never forget that and know that you are on the right side of history, they are not, so always stand tall and proud for CHK and our industry.

Monday, June 27, 2011

SCLOC Thanks Tom Reed

Bipartisan Group of Nine Congressman Tell Obama to Get Fracking – Now

Five Democrat and four Republican Congressman have written a joint, bipartisan letter to President Obama encouraging him to move forward with developing natural gas in the United States, particularly by using “unconventional” hydraulic fracturing. Yes, you read that right. Democrats and Republicans together, agreeing on something—and that something is fracking.

The letter states in part:

As members of both political parties and as citizens in support of your call to get serious about a long-term policy for secure and affordable energy, we urge you and members of your administration to take a leadership role in encouraging the continued development and utilization of our nation’s vast natural gas resources by any means necessary, but most specifically, by unconventional shale gas recovery.

In referring to the State Department’s Global Shale Gas Initiative, a project that seeks to export American technology to other countries to help them develop their own shale gas resources, the Congressman say:

While we are doing this important work abroad, it would be the height of contradiction to place unwarranted restrictions on both the locations and methods by which we attempt to recover our own 2,552 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the United States.

The committees the Congressman are members of include: the House Armed Services Committee, Select Intelligence Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Homeland Security Committee. The Congressman are:
•Texas: Michael Conaway (R), Mac Thornberry (R), Henry Cuellar (D)
•Pennsylvania: Mark Critz (D), Jason Altmire (D), Bill Shuster (R)
•Ohio: Tim Ryan (D)
•New York: Tom Reed (R)
•Oklahoma: Dan Boren (D)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dominion Buffer Zone

SCLOC is beginning to receive phone calls and requests for information and advice regarding the proposed expansion of the buffer zone of the Dominion Gas Storage Field in Woodhull. A committee is being formed to coordinate the details. They are Terry Towner,--359-2314, John Crane---359-2190--Office--359-3227 and Lisa Robinson--525-6329. This will be the Gas Storage Committee. Current plans are to have a meeting for those who will be affected sometime in mid July. If you have questions or can help please contact them.

Letter to Corning Leader

SCLOC is responding to the June 24 Letter to the Editor in Corning Leader by Tim against Fracking.
A single natural gas well tapped through the drilling method known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, could generate significant tax revenue for Ulster County local governments, school districts, libraries and fire companies, an industry representative says.

Scott Cline, a petroleum engineer who spoke in favor of hydrofracking as a panelist at an Ulster County Community College forum last month, said the assessed value of the drilling operations would be based in part on a rate set by the state on the number of cubic feet of natural gas produced. Separately, local governments would assess property associated with the operations.

At last month’s forum, Cline, representing the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, said a standard Pennsylvania well in the Marcellus Shale region, which extends to the western Catskills of Ulster County — produces 3 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. On that basis, he applied the low end of New York state’s assessment rate of $9.80 to $12.12 per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas drawn; an equalization rate of 57 percent — recognizing that many municipalities are not assessing at full value — and then applied property tax rates for the Otsego County town of Worcester.

One that basis, Cline said a well would generate $50,083.04 in taxes for the town, $29,235.60 for the county, $181,192.96 for the school district, $943.31 for a library district, and $13,660.54 for a fire district, for a total of $275,115.45 in the first year.

By comparison, Ulster County, whose property tax rate of $3.86 per $1,000 of assessed value is lower than Otsego County’s, would see between $41,891 and $51,808 in county tax revenue. Revenue to towns, school districts and special tax districts would vary, depending on the location of a well.

Cline noted that the highest production from a well is during the first 12 months, and then it declines rapidly.

“You’re probably looking at a well life of about 20 years, but it is a steep decline,” he said. “It starts off at a high rate and then goes down linearly pretty quickly and then levels off over a long period of time. I would say the (second year) this well might average 2 million cubic feet a day instead of 3 million and the next year it might be down to one (million cubic feet per day) and then it probably would stabilize with something less than 500,000 to 700,000 cubic feet for a long period of time.”

He said companies seek to offset the production decline by increasing the number of wells.

“Typically one pad will have up to eight wells,” he said. “You’re drilling more wells to make up for your decline. Over time you’ll ramp up and you’ll reach a peak at some point in the future.”

Cline said the industry has also increased royalty rates for property owners.

“Historically in New York it was one-eighth royalty,” he said. “Now those royalties are actually approaching 20 percent. They are going up because it’s actually more competitive.”

Geoffrey Gloak, a spokesman for the state Department of Taxation and Finance, said the taxable value of wells is not set until the January after production begins.

“The unit of production value is based literally on the data that’s provided by the producers,” he said.

Confusion over assessing property under speculative sales of natural gas rights led the state Department of Taxation and Finance’s Office of Real Property Tax Services to issue guidelines for determining land value in March 2010.

“We have recently received questions concerning the treatment of short-term leases of the rights to search for and extract natural gas,” the agency said in its memo. “The particular questions concern leases for five-year periods. These leases can be for as much as $5,000 per acre, a price far in excess of what land similar to the leased land had sold for previously. The leases also contain a royalty payment if gas is extracted.”

The agency said that although it is possible to separately assess oil and gas rights, “we strongly recommend against doing so” because regulations have not been set for drilling.

“Separately assessing the lease would of course require the assessor to determine what the value of the lease is,” the agency said. “A one-time payment for these rights does not establish the value of the lease itself. Similarly, it would be unsound appraisal practice to assume that this one-time payment establishes the value of the land subject to the lease in an open market transaction. It would be even more unsound to assume these payments establish the market value of other properties.”

The agency suggested that assessors “monitor land sales to see if these leases are having any effect on sales prices.”

“Even if an assessor determines that the possibility of extracting gas has come to permeate a market, as with any other factor the assessor would also have to consider whether this factor has any effect on the value of particular parcels,” the agency said.
By William J Kemble, Correspondent
Tim’s assertion that the gas and oil industry are exempt from federal environmental laws; the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, every part of it, is false. The oil and natural gas industry is regulated under every single one of these laws — under provisions of each that are relevant to its operations.
The process of hydraulic fracturing has never in its 60-year history been regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). It has, however, been regulated ably and aggressively by the states, which have compiled an impressive record of enforcement and oversight in the many decades in which they have been engaged in the practice.
Far from being “pushed through Congress by Dick Cheney,” the Energy Policy Act of 2005 earned the support of nearly three-quarters of the U.S. Senate, including the top Democrat on the Energy Committee; current Interior secretary Ken Salazar, then a senator from Colorado; and a former junior senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. In the U.S. House, 75 Democrats joined 200 Republicans in supporting the final bill, including the top Democratic members on both the Energy & Commerce and Resources Committees.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Great Letter To The Editor, Thanks Jeff

To the editor:

The last few days have seen a flurry of letters and editorial comments that are "anti" gas drilling. Those of us who are "pro" drilling have been fighting these same half-truths statements for three years now, while watching fourteen other states using horizontal hydrofracing and enjoying all the economic and financial benefits. Beyond all the obvious local and state benefits we need to bear in mind that gas drilling will lead to improvements to the environment; that it will decrease our dependence on imported oil; it could improve our trade balance by selling LNG to China(with money flowing into the US for a change) and it would decrease our funding of terrorists intent on our death and destruction.

We are hard pressed to "reason out" why the "antis" continue to make these half-truth statements in spite of all the historical and scientific evidence. Their designs might best be compared to the design of the bikini: revealing point of interest, while covering up all the vitals.

Space here will not allow total coverage(oops!). But let's look at a few of their more interesting points. The most prevalent one runs in effect: "it could ruin our water". Now that is a generalization that will get your interest. But that conceals some vitals. Over 40,000 wells have already been horizontally hydrofraced, a total of over a million have been hydrofraced in one form or another. How many of these wells have led to any verified water contamination according to the EPA or any state DEP? As a matter of fact, not one! That's right, not one. Now that really is a vital point.

The "point of interest" that seems to be the current favorite is a real beauty: 'there's radiation down there and they're bringing it up to the surface, trucking it into our back yards, and depositing it in our children's play boxes! Now, the fact that there is radiation in the drillings is a point of interest. The fact that the concentration level is TOTALLY insignificant is vital. Remember: sacarin can cause cancer--you only have to drink 700 cans of diet soda a day to get it!

So, if the whole truth is not in them, and in the Dale Carnegie tradition we have to recognize that the antis are sincere, what is their objective? It would seem fairly obvious that they simply don't want any drilling. They really want to be just like California-a train wreck! Since NY is second only to California in its financial status, can we assume that our environmentalist don't like being second?

Jeff Heller

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another great article about Natural Gas Drilling. Thanks,Scott

Move forward with NY drilling

Since moving back to the Finger Lakes region after a 20 year career as a geologist and petroleum engineer in other states, I have been astounded by the NY opposition to drilling. What may have begun in NY as an inquiry into the science of shale gas development has now devolved into emotional and irrational behavior calling for one unnecessary moratorium after another. Yes, occasional drilling accidents are inevitable as with any human endeavor but unquestionably the technology is already in place to minimize any onshore occurrence or impact and DEC will soon ensure its implementation.

Fears of environmental ruin are exaggerated and examples often have no relevance to shale gas technology. A narrow 5 ½ diameter horizontal hole over a mile beneath the surface, sealed with multiple layers of casing and cement, stimulated by a time proven technology of creating micro-fractures no more than 150 feet in height presents no danger to those of us on the surface. And while the public still debates and frets about surface fluid handling and footprint, industry is already quickly approaching near 100% reuse and recycling of waste water in closed loop systems which minimize the surface spill risks and well pad spacing is now two miles apart, not the 80 acres popularly depicted. In reality shale gas development has evolved into primarily a traffic nuisance.

While natural gas is not the perfect answer to a carbon free utopia, it can provide an abundant and inexpensive bridge fuel with capability to make significant inroads into both electrical generation and transportation fuel at the expense of dirtier oil and coal. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel with no SO2, mercury or particulates, 80% less NOx and 50% less carbon dioxide than coal and 30% less than oil. The simple transition of the tractor trailer fleet from diesel to compressed natural gas can reduce our oil imports by 50% alone!

It is also a national security and economic issue. Have we already forgotten the past, present and likely future economic, environmental, political and security consequences of our unsustainable and dangerous dependence on oil? Obstructionists with no practical energy or economic alternatives fiddle from their ivory towers while typical upstate New Yorkers and communities struggle in quiet desperation epitomized by what a local struggling farmer recently told me; “We are in the fight of our lives for our economic survival and our basic mineral rights.”

There is no technical reason to continue the endless moratorium cycles. Let our eminently competent DEC simply complete their unparalleled comprehensive analysis that will result in NY requiring and enforcing the latest already proven technical practices and then begin measured Marcellus drilling in NY. It’s time to move forward rather than hinder this exceptional economic opportunity for our state and the miraculous opportunity to help our nation transition away from oil and coal.

Scott B. Cline

BS Geological Science

MS, PhD Petroleum Engineering

Dr Cline, retired from the oil and gas industry, has over twenty years of world-wide exploration and production experience. His research also includes the reservoir engineering aspects of horizontal drilling in fractured reservoirs. He holds a BS in geological science from Penn State and both MS and PhD from University of Oklahoma . He resides in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good article on NG drilling. Thanks EZ.

Interesting article in the Albany Times Union.....

Gas drilling pays big benefits


Published 12:25 a.m., Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Page 1 of 1

Twenty years ago, the Barnett Shale in North Texas was all but unknown. Today, it's the largest producing natural gas field in the United States with output exceeding 4 billion cubic feet a day. It has added a new dimension to the Texas economy, supporting thousands of jobs and generating millions in tax revenue for local governments and school districts.

Imagine such an energy-driven economic boom in New York.

A recent study prepared for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce found that drilling and production activity in the Barnett was supporting, directly and indirectly, more than 110,000 jobs across the region. And a study by this author a few years ago calculated that Barnett wells and related equipment had added $6 billion to the local property tax base. In South Texas, where new oil wells are being drilled in the Eagle Ford shale, the unemployment rate has fallen to half the state average while sales tax receipts have jumped 70 percent.

This is not to suggest that the growth of shale gas drilling and extraction has occurred without controversy. In particular, concerns have been raised about the use of hydraulic fracturing, which uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to force gas out of rock formations. This process utilizes huge quantities of water, and the spent fluids must be disposed of properly in order to avoid surface-water contamination. Similarly, because all wells are drilled through the groundwater table, care must be taken to ensure that the well casing is sufficiently reinforced to prevent any migration of gas or fluids into the water supply.

Fortunately, accidents related to shale gas extraction have been extremely rare in the Barnett, with only a handful of surface water contamination incidents in the completion of more than 14,000 wells. In those cases, responsible companies have provided clean water and compensation to affected families. What's more, careful studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ground Water Protection Council haven't revealed a single case of ground water contamination from shale gas drilling itself.

Today, most local drilling companies are utilizing "greener" fracking fluids and reprocessing them many times before final disposal into specially designated wells. In addition, the Texas Legislature recently passed a bill requiring oil and natural gas companies to disclose the contents of their fracturing mixture on a publicly accessible data base.

In terms of potential output and economic impact, however, the Barnett and Eagle Ford are dwarfed by the Marcellus Shale formation that stretches across large swaths of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

New York, with an effective moratorium on shale gas drilling, continues to hemorrhage jobs along its Southern Tier.

Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is already benefiting mightily from shale gas production. Several studies have documented the huge economic boost to the state in term of jobs, income and tax revenue. One study found that nearly 48,000 jobs related to Marcellus Shale activity have been created in Pennsylvania over the past year.

The experience of Texas has shown that oil and gas extraction from shale formations can be accomplished with minimal environmental degradation while generating huge economic and fiscal benefits.

Is producing, gathering, processing and delivering oil and natural gas from shale formations completely risk free?

Of course not. But these minor risks must be weighed against the huge economic and national security benefits that can be realized by fully developing America's and New York's energy resources.

Bernard L. Weinstein is associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute and a professor at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business in Dallas. His was formerly on the economics faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His email address is bweinstein@cox.smu.edu.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Poll: Strong support for gas drilling in Pennsylvania

June 15, 2011

HARRISBURG (AP) — Pennsylvania voters support natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll that also shows strong backing for an extraction tax on energy companies.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows that 63 percent of Pennsylvanians say the economic benefits of drilling outweigh the environmental impacts, while 30 percent express the opposite view.

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Gas drilling fee advances in state Senate

The poll appears to reflect the prosperity that drilling has brought to economically struggling regions of the state. Drilling firms and related industries added 72,000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011 — at an average salary higher than the statewide average, according to the state Labor Department.

Meanwhile, 69 percent told pollsters they support a drilling tax on gas companies, unchanged from an April survey. Pennsylvania remains the largest gas-drilling state without an extraction tax. The state Senate plans to debate a bill as early as next week that would impose an "impact fee" on natural-gas drilling.

"'Drill, baby, drill,' is the call from Pennsylvania voters, and 'tax, baby, tax,' is the follow-up as voters see natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale as an economic plus more than an environmental negative," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "They also see added taxes on gas drillers as one of the few acceptable ways to help balance the budget."

Gov. Tom Corbett, who promised in his 2010 campaign not to increase taxes or fees, has said recently he would consider a fee that helps drilling communities cope with the impact.

The Quinnipiac poll also shows that Pennsylvanians' views of Corbett differ markedly along gender lines as he approaches six months in office.

Pennsylvanians as a whole remain divided over Corbett, with 39 percent approving of the job he's doing and 38 percent disapproving. The numbers are similar to April's poll results.

But men and women have much different impressions of Corbett's performance. Tuesday's results show 30 percent of female respondents approved, compared with 48 percent of men. The 18-point gap is more than twice the 7-point margin in the April 29 poll.