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."