By Raymond Plank | November 4, 2012 | Updated: November 4, 2012 12:49pm in The Houston Chronicle

For the first time in my life and oil and gas career, I believe that the United States has the capability to accomplish three major energy-related objectives.

The first is North American energy independence.

Technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have expanded America's petroleum resource base to the point where we now can meet our needs for at least a century. Add in Canada, Mexico and coal, and our energy resource base becomes perhaps four times larger than that of the entire Middle East.

All we have to do is use it. We have the ability, the technology and the commitment to do so while still protecting the environment.

North America's rich energy resource base provides time for us to achieve the second major objective: transitioning to sustainable fuels. This transition cannot be hastened by lavishing billions of federal stimulus dollars on technologies that are not yet ready for prime time.

We've seen the results of that approach as just about every federally subsidized solar energy firm has gone the way of Solyndra-bankrupt.

More research is needed, and research takes time. Distorting the marketplace with federal subsidies for electric cars that catch fire or don't run does not inspire confidence in that technology. But develop an electric car that is affordable and meets public needs and the buyers will come.

Likewise, distorting free markets by artificially raising the cost of fossil fuels to make higher-priced alternative technologies more competitive only creates inflation, impedes job growth and harms our economy.

The third achievable objective is the development and utilization of North America's resource base cognizant of and committed to environmental standards.

But those standards need to be real. They must be grounded in science rather than political calculation and hyperbole. Here again, the debate over fracking-a technology that has made North American energy independence possible-is illustrative.

Fracking involves pumping fluid containing sand or other granular material underground at high pressure to form cracks (fractures) in a gas- or oil-bearing formation. The fluid is then extracted, leaving the sand behind to prop open cracks so that the oil or gas may flow more freely.

The technique was first employed in 1947, but modern fracking in conjunction with lateral drilling dates to the 1990s in the Barnett Shale of North Texas.

In all that time-65 years-there has never been a significant environmental incident attributable to fracking.

What is really needed is a national consensus for achieving energy independence within a decade.

To get there, the American people must understand the benefits such a collaboration would bring:

- Massive job growth (witness the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota);

- Lower energy prices (which also would reduce the cost of food, gasoline and consumer goods);

- A stronger economy and the wherewithal to promote a cleaner environment;

- Improved national security; and

- Time to develop low-cost sustainable energy solutions.


A very interesting development considering that Mayor Bloomberg has supported SAFE gas development in New York State. One would think that our Governor would be wise enough to recognize the folly of his ways. One only has to look at the devastation that Sandy brought to New York and the relationship to rising sea levels and dirty fossil fuels. It is clear that New York State has steadily caused the demise of upstate industries in favor of the tax rich financial markets focused in NYC. The emasculation of upstate  through the practical elimination of industrial diversification that in the past made NY strong, has brought it to its knees. Hurricane Sandy will compound the negative effects on our state. Safe drilling and extraction have been our constant theme, not just drill and run. We need gas and we need it now, we cannot afford delay after delay the clock is ticking! While we wait the acid rain caused by coal fired plants continues to destroy our lakes and forests.JLCpulse
By Published: November 1, 2012 in The New York Times
In a surprise announcement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Thursday that Hurricane Sandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign and that as a result he was endorsing President Obama.

Mr. Bloomberg, a political independent in his third term leading New York City, has been sharply critical of both Mr. Obama, a Democrat, and Mitt Romney, the president’s Republican rival, saying that both men have failed to candidly confront the problems afflicting the nation. But he said he had decided over the past several days that Mr. Obama was the best candidate to tackle the global climate change that the mayor believes contributed to the violent storm, which took the lives of at least 38 New Yorkers and caused billions of dollars in damage.

“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of next Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Mr. Bloomberg wrote in an editorial for Bloomberg View.

“Our climate is changing,” he wrote. “And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s announcement is another indication that Hurricane Sandy has influenced the presidential campaign. The storm, and the destruction it left in its wake, has dominated news coverage, transfixing the nation and prompting the candidates to halt their campaigning briefly.

More than that, it appears to have given a new level of urgency to a central issue in the presidential campaign: the appropriate size and role of government.

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency began undertaking relief efforts across the Northeast, Mr. Romney found himself in the tough position of having to clarify a statement he made last year in which he appeared to back giving the states a larger share of the federal government’s role in disaster response.

But Mr. Bloomberg’s endorsement was largely unexpected. For months, the Obama and Romney campaigns have sought the mayor’s endorsement, in large part because they believe he could influence independent voters around the country.

Mr. Bloomberg has steadfastly withheld his support, largely because he had grown frustrated with the tone and substance of the presidential campaign – recently deriding as “gibberish” the answers that Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney gave during a debate to a question about an assault weapons ban. He has expressed disappointment with Mr. Obama’s performance over the past few years, and concern about what he has described as Mr. Romney’s shifts in views over time.

In announcing his endorsement, Mr. Bloomberg listed the various steps Mr. Obama had taken over the last four years to confront the issue of climate change, including pushing regulations that seek to curtail emissions from cars and power plants. But the mayor cited other reasons for endorsing Mr. Obama, including the president’s support for abortion rights and for same-sex couples, two high-priority issues for the mayor.

At the same time, Mr. Bloomberg said he might have endorsed Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, except for the fact that the Republican had abandoned positions he once publicly held.

“In the past he has taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care – but he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the very health care model he signed into law in Massachusetts,” the mayor said of Mr. Romney.

Mr. Bloomberg did not endorse a presidential candidate in 2008, when Mr. Obama ran against Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

Even in his endorsement, the mayor continued to express criticism of the president. He said that Mr. Obama had fallen short of his 2008 campaign promise to be a problem-solver and consensus builder, noting that he “devoted little time” to creating a coalition of centrists in Washington who could find common ground on important issues like illegal guns, immigration, tax reform and deficit reduction.

“Rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice,” Mr. Bloomberg said of Mr. Obama, “he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.”

In a statement, Mr. Obama said he was “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement.” The president acknowledged Mr. Bloomberg’s chief concern, saying climate change was “a threat to our children’s future, and we owe it to them to do something about it.”

“While we may not agree on every issue,” the president added, “Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time.”

And, alluding to the damage from the hurricane, Mr. Obama said: “He has my continued commitment that this country will stand by New York in its time of need. And New Yorkers have my word that we will recover, we will rebuild, and we will come back stronger.”

The endorsement is the latest effort by Mr. Bloomberg to affect the national political debate as he nears the twilight of his tenure in City Hall.

Last month, the mayor announced that he was creating his own “super PAC” to support candidates from either party, as well as independents, who he believed are devoted to his brand of nonideological problem solving, and who supported same-sex marriage, tougher gun laws or school reform. A billionaire, Mr. Bloomberg said he would spend from $10 million to $15 million of his money in highly competitive state, local and Congressional races.

New York, New York - Accepting the endorsement of the 70,000 strong Joint Landowners Coalition, U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long called on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to pledge to preserve state primacy on the regulation of shale gas development.


"I am very proud to accept the endorsement of Joint Landowners Coalition and believe that we are building the momentum to finally get drilling approved in New York State. One way to remove remaining uncertainty is to eliminate the specter of looming federal overreach," said U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long.


Long added,  "New York has always been a leader, setting the standard nationally for environmental protection. Further, no state has done a more comprehensive review of the impacts of shale gas development than New York. I believe that if Senator Gillibrand truly supports Governor Cuomo's position on shale gas development, as she told the Syracuse Post Standard on Wednesday, then she would state unequivocally that she will honor state supremacy in the regulation of the development of shale gas."


Below is a portion of an article written by Paul Driessen on 10/27/2012 in

Hydraulic fracturing devastates their mantra that we are running out of oil and gas. It annihilates their incessant assertions that hydrocarbons are the energy of the past, and renewables are the future. In reality, wind and solar cannot live with cheap natural gas (because they cannot possibly compete with it) and cannot live without it (because they only work 20% of the time and need gas as constant backup power).


Burning tap water. Yes, you can ignite methane at your kitchen faucet, if your well was drilled through gas-bearing rock formations and was not properly cemented and sealed to keep gas out. (Eternal Flame Falls in New York’s Chestnut Ridge Park is one example of natural methane leakage.) But fracturing zones are thousands of feet below groundwater supplies; production wells use cement and steel casing that extends hundreds of feet below the surface; and sensitive instruments monitor downhole activity, to ensure that valuable gas does not escape into near-surface formations or the atmosphere.


Consequently, the anti-fracking factions have concocted a hodgepodge of eco-scares, each one more absurd and indefensible than the last.


Groundwater contamination. Fracking fluids are 99.5% water and sand. The other 0.5% is chemicals that fight bacterial growth, keep sand particles suspended in the liquid and improve production. The vast majority today are found in household items that Americans use safely every day – including cheese, beer, canned fish, dairy desserts, shampoo and cosmetic products. New fluids like those developed by FamilyJoule and Halliburton represent the new kinds of entirely nontoxic and biodegradable chemicals that almost all drillers are now using.


Steadily improving technologies, techniques and regulations minimize risks even further. For instance, heavy plastic liners are now commonplace under drilling rigs, storage tanks and containment pits. Along with modern drilling and well casing methods, they help make the likelihood of chemical or salt contamination of groundwater a minuscule fraction of what is posed by winter salting of icy roads.


Wastewater and water depletion. In addition to changing the composition of fracking fluids (and making that information readily available online), to address concerns about water use and wastewater disposal, drilling companies increasingly recycle the water they use. Devon and other companies have recycled hundreds of millions of gallons, and some 90% of water produced in the Marcellus shale region of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia is now reused. Moreover, the amount of water used in fracking is far less than what is required to grow corn and process it into ethanol.


Earthquakes. Fracturing rocks does cause cracking that can be measured with ultra-sensitive equipment. But these micro-seismic events measure around 0.8 on the Richter Scale, about what is caused by a car passing by. Even loaded dump trucks register only a 3 (the minimum that can be felt by humans), and property damage does not begin until level 5. Deep injection of water for geothermal energy development or enhanced oil recovery operations (or to dispose of petroleum, municipal or industrial wastewater) has caused detectable seismic activity; however, of more than 800,000 injection wells nationwide, only about 40 were actually felt at the surface. Rules and practices increasingly address these injection well issues.


Fracking is unregulated. State and local regulation and cooperation with industry, constant refinements and improvements in rules and practices, and accommodation to public concerns about water, drilling and fracking fluids, road congestion, community impacts and other issues have been ongoing for decades. That is part of the reason that 2.5 million instances of fracking worldwide (over 1 million in the USA) since 1949 have not caused any serious harm. That’s a safety record any industry would envy.


Unfortunately, environmentalist fractured fairy tales cost us energy, jobs, revenue and prosperity – for no ecological benefit. The ultimate irony is Europe, where Big Green opposition to fracking and nuclear power is ushering in a coal-burning renaissance. Germany and other central EU countries will be building 10,600 megawatts of new coal-fired electrical power plants during the next four years!


Meanwhile, green power mandates have already pushed Germany’s electricity prices to the second highest in Europe (32 cents per kWh, compared to an average of 10 cents in the USA) – and the average German household faces another 50% rate hike over the next year. Countless jobs are also at risk.


America has the world’s largest reserves of oil, gas and coal. We need access to these deposits, under rational regulations that reflect reality, instead of eco fairy tales. We need people in the White House, Congress and government bureaucracies who can distinguish between fact and fiction, understand how to produce real energy, jobs and revenues, and don’t have an agenda to “fundamentally transform” our nation.

October 26, 2012 – Binghamton, NY - Libous is a True Champion of Landowners

In the contentious debate over natural gas drilling, one individual stands out as the voice of reason.

From the beginning, this individual said that there must be a way to drill responsibly and gain the economic benefits our region so desperately needs.

This individual has tried to ensure that this issue is decided based on facts and science -- not wild claims from those with extreme views.

This individual stood up to those who don’t live in our community but who nevertheless try to dictate what happens here.

This individual has been a true champion of landowners in the Southern Tier.

We are referring to Sen. Tom Libous.

Sen. Libous has sought to ensure that landowners – the ones who have the most at stake --have a voice in Albany, and that our concerns about the economic future of our communities are considered.

For his efforts, he has been the target of those who want to block any and all drilling. Fortunately for us, the Senator is not one to buckle under pressure. He continues to fight for us in Albany. His courage and integrity are an example for others.

On behalf of the 77,000 people who are members of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, we want to express our respect and gratitude to Senator Libous.

In the same way that he has been there for us, our members will support him on Election Day.

Very truly yours,

Dan Fitzsimmons

President of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc.

PO Box 2839

Binghamton, NY 13902

607 775-5821




Ron Phillips

Central Broome Landowners Association


Dale Roe

Chairman, Western Barker Landowner’s Coalition


Brian K. Conover
President, Central New York Landowners Coalition


Marchie Diffendorf

Chairman, Kirkwood Gas Coalition


Nick Schoonover

Chairman of the Tioga County Landowners


Steve Szczepanski

Chairman of the Maine NY Gas Coalition

James Worden

President Windsor-Colesville Gas Coalition


Loretta Sullivan

Chair, Apalachin Landowners Group


Mark Sorochinsky

Chairman of the Nanticoke Gas Coalition

Steering Committee of the Owego Gas Coalition


Robert Poloncic

Chair, Vestal Gas Coalition

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