Read Tom Wilbur’s Marcellus Shale: A tale of two cities:
Nearly two years after drilling began in Dimock, residents, rich and poor, have learned to live with the routine din and clamor of drilling rigs and traffic.
As more wells come on line, royalty payments flow in as gas flows out. Some have made millions, while others have made just enough to disqualify them from food stamps… “All we want is a decent place to live and decent water,” said Fiorentino, whose royalty payments have averaged less than $300 a month. “Why do some people get water and compensation, and others don’t?” (Read more)
In the West, The Bureau of Land Management has allowed increased drilling and allowing drilling practices that are killing ranchers’ cattle. Now, a coalition of ranchers including Republicans and Bush supporters are fighting back.
Click for more info and to watch the episode online: Sierra Club Chronicles Episode 4: Range Wars Rage On
Natural Gas Prices Plummet to a Seven-Year Low by Clifford Krauss for the New York Times attributes the change to “declining demand and a big expansion of domestic production.” This may mean more shut-in wells as companies rush to drill and lock in leases. Many Cortland landowners report that as soon as gas is found the wells are cemented and added to reserves providing no local revenue.
Have you had a well drilled on your property? Tell us your story!
Three experts will be present at a public forum in Dryden to give taxpayers, landowners, and other residents the opportunity to ask questions about natural-gas drilling in New York’s Marcellus Shale formation, and to consider their rights in the land leasing process. The event is being held on Thursday, August 20, from 7:00 – 9:30 pm in the Dryden Fire House Community Room (26 North Street, Route 13; next to Dunkin’ Donuts). Addressing those present will be NY State Assistant Attorneys General Michael Danaher and Roberto Barbosa, from the Binghamton Regional Office; they will speak about citizens rights in the leasing process. Their fifty-minute talk will be followed by a thirty-minute presentation by Andrew Byers, a Shaleshock organization leader, who will speak about gas drilling’s potential impacts to our community and the specific drilling technique planned for Tompkins County. There will be an opportunity to ask questions after the two presentations. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
The forum is designed to address residents’ concerns about the pros and cons of signing a lease with a gas company, what options are available to landowners who choose not to sign a lease, and how industrial-scale gas-drilling might affect the county’s water resources, farm land, property values, tax base, truck-traffic volume, and recreational activities like tourism, hunting, birding, hiking, and biking.
The Dryden public forum is sponsored by Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC). DRAC, which was formed by a group of concerned Dryden residents in June 2009, seeks to learn the truth about the hydrofracking process, and to determine the effects it will have on local homes, roads, communities, and recreation areas, as well as the local economy. All concerned citizens are welcome to join. For additional information, contact: Marie McRae at 607-280-9250 or email@example.com, Martha Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Hilary Lambert at email@example.com.
Read Jennifer Tomsey’s Family dilemma: To drill or not to drill:
My family has heard the offers to drill. I know these deals can be difficult to refuse, especially in tough economic times. But as an environmental science and policy major, I have studied natural gas drilling and have reservations about it.
Read the rest
The 2009 draft State Energy Plan that was just released seems to be getting little public attention. The interim plan (March 2009) was developed after a number of hearings last winter and was focused on renewable sources. The interim plan was replaced on the website by the draft plan this week and has expanded coverage to all energy sources including development of the Marcellus Shale.
Pages 49-51 address natural gas development and quote the potential recoverable production that are prevalent in the industry publications but are now being questioned based on experience in the fully developed Barnett Shale. There are a lot of assumptions about the economic benefits of increased landowner wealth and tax collection although property taxes on gas production are extremely modest and NY presently has no severance tax on natural gas production. It does acknowledge concerns about the local impacts to communities, including increased truck traffic, noise, aesthetics, and impact on quality of life. Assumptions are made that environmental protection is fully satisfied by the DEC during the GEIS process.
The Ithaca Journal had an article on the Plan this week based on the Governor’s executive order and a press release. It also quotes environmental advocates.
There is a series of public meetings through Aug and Sept. (PDF) and a mid Oct. deadline for written comments with the final report due in November.
It seems to me that this deserves a high priority for all government officials and environmental advocates.