Thursday September 27, 6:30 pm ET  Press Release from  Leatherstocking Gas Company,LLC

HARRISBURG, PA—Sep. 27, 2012 –

At its public meeting today the Pa. PUC approved Leatherstocking’s application 5-0.  Chairman Powelson and Commissioner Gardner both had positive written statements they summarized stating they were “very pleased to support the application,”  emphasizing that local gas for local customers is a great idea, and that it is a “win” for businesses and residents in the application territory.  Chairman Powelson stated that he “applauds Leatherstocking’s management” (mentioned Corning and Mirabito as well known and well run companies) for investing in PA.

Under Docket No. A- 2011- 2275595 LGC can provide service to the Townships of Bridgewater, Forest Lake, Great Bend, Harmony, New Milford and Oakland and the Boroughs of Great Bend, Hallstead, Lanesboro, Montrose, New Milford, Oakland and Susquehanna Depot.  The new service territory is approximately 210 square miles.

LGC will begin constructing natural gas distribution networks in the summer of 2013. Initial construction will be from existing gathering lines in the region to larger volume anchor customers such as hospitals, schools, commercial areas and municipal buildings. The Company will connect residential customers along the initial route. Customer demand in the form of received applications and transportation agreements will provide future development. Company official believe providing one of the area’s most abundant natural resources to the people living above it makes good business and environmental sense. The company will be able to provide a lower cost cleaner burning energy source to the people of the region. This will create the greatest benefit for the most people.

Company officials are pleased with the news and excited about the prospect of serving customers in 2013. LGC would like to thank local and state legislators and business officials with the help they have provided throughout the filing process.  Leatherstocking CEO Mike German stated “the level of support provided by the community has been outstanding. We feel obligated on a personal level to provide gas service as quickly and economically as possible”.

LGC currently has gas supply agreements in place with Cabot Oil & Gas and Williams. The company will continue to expand its supply portfolio in the region with other producers and energy marketers. The LGC system will be an open access system that provides customers to opportunity to purchase gas supplies from the most economical provider.

Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC is a joint venture between Corning Natural Gas Corporation (“CNGC”) and Mirabito Holdings Inc. (“MHI”). The Joint Venture was formed in November of 2010 with the purpose of providing natural gas distribution service to currently un-served or underserved regions of central New York State and the northern tier of Pennsylvania.  The company currently has 6 municipal franchises in central New York along the I-88 corridor. Currently corporate headquarters are 49 Court St. Binghamton, NY 13902. The company will open operational centers through the service territory as the distribution network develops.

Seems like there is really nothing new upon which to hang a hat. Just be prepared for the continued claims by the antis that nothing means some thing when it comes to fracing.JLCpulse

MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press | Thursday, September 27, 2012 | Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 7:32pm

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — New samples from beneath a Wyoming gas field where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency linked hydraulic fracturing to groundwater pollution seem unlikely to sway hearts and minds on a nationwide debate over the contentious issue: The additional data just isn't a whole lot different, or more substantial, compared to what the EPA detected previously.

Calgary-based Encana, which owns the gas field in the Pavillion area in west-central Wyoming, still says the EPA research was flawed and, so too, last year's finding that implicated the petroleum industry technique.

An environmental group still says Pavillion shows more regulation is needed for fracking, the practice of blasting of millions of gallons of water and smaller amounts of sand and chemicals down well holes to force open new fissures.

"This newest information reinforces our concerns that fracking may be putting our drinking water and health at risk," Kate Sinding, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Thursday. "It's why it's so critical we get safeguards on the books to protect Americans from dangerous drilling practices."

The Pavillion field has shallow gas and geology much different from other gas fields. Fracking occurred unusually close to home water wells, and the EPA has said that any findings in the area shouldn't be applied to fracking in general.

Even so, Pavillion now is widely associated — maybe permanently — with fracking. People with significant concerns about or a stake in fracking scoured the new U.S. Geological Survey data, released Wednesday, that was collected in partnership with the state of Wyoming, EPA and two American Indian tribes.

The EPA drew its findings last year from two wells it drilled to test for pollution and this year's study sought to resample both wells. The USGS released the new data without any analysis.

One hydrogeologist said he didn't see much from which to draw conclusions.

"These groundwater investigations are kind of a tricky business. You don't always get these super-conclusive results with, you know, just a couple rounds of sampling from two wells," said David Yoxtheimer, an extension associate for Penn State's Marcellus Initiative for Outreach and Research.

"When you've got two wells, you really are just kind of scratching the surface. You really aren't able to determine too much. You might be able to detect the contaminants, but from there you need to expand your investigation."

That hasn't happened yet. In fact, just one of the wells was flowing with enough water to yield reliable tests when the latest samples were taken in April.

Encana has been critical of how the EPA drilled its two wells. Now, it is critical that one of the wells wasn't reliable.

"They couldn't get a good sample because it was so poorly constructed," company spokesman Doug Hock said. "That well really needs to be abandoned and should not be used for further study because it's not a good well."

The data don't contain any surprises, said Encana chemist John Gardner, but do show lower potassium levels and pH and potassium levels. Previously, the EPA had pointed to unusually high pH and the detection of potassium hydroxide, a basic chemical used in fracking, in suggesting that fracking had affected the groundwater tested.

The pH of water tested hadn't declined by much, said Tom Myers, a Reno, Nev., hydrologic consultant for the NRDC, and much of the other data was similar to before.

"There's nothing in this resampling that suggests what they found in December is wrong. It more or less supports that," Myers said. "I would say that the status quo is maintained."

Wyoming officials criticized last year's EPA data and findings almost from the time they saw them. This year, they're being a lot more quiet — in public, anyway.

However, they have noticed "some differences" between this year's data and last year, said Renny MacKay, spokesman for Gov. Matt Mead, who pushed the EPA for the new testing and got it.

"Gov. Mead believes it would be premature to draw conclusions about what those differences mean at this point," MacKay said by email. "He says that before Wyoming makes conclusions he wants some careful analysis done and a technical team will do that and brief the Governor before Wyoming issues any conclusions."

A full peer review of the sampling and findings to date is planned but has not yet been scheduled.

NY Post Editorial     Last Updated: 10:39 PM, September 23, 2012

Gov. Cuomo swept into office some 21 months ago vowing to build a “new” New York. But as the midpoint of his term nears, it’s becoming clear that, on key issues, Andrew’s New York will stay as “old” as ever.

Cuomo seemingly got off to a good start. He held down spending his first year, especially compared to his predecessors. His sophomore budget was also responsible.

And Cuomo got lawmakers to place a desperately needed cap on local property taxes, offering homeowners hope for relief from their nation-leading tax bills.

Yet despite his astonishingly high standing in the polls, the governor risks squandering his chance to make a real difference.

Even his biggest triumph, the tax cap, is endangered — because he never delivered the relief from state mandates that towns and districts need to make the cap work.

The result of all this: a string of broken promises — and dashed hopes.

* On fracking: “The economic potential from [fracking] . . . could provide a badly needed boost to the economy of the Southern Tier,” he said in his “New NY Agenda” books during his 2010 campaign, referring to the process of drilling for gas and oil in rock formations deep underground.

Yet on Thursday it became virtually certain that fracking won’t happen during Cuomo’s current term. That’s because, after four years of study, Cuomo OK’d yet another review of the process — this time, to assess any potential public-health risks.

The review will be done by the health commissioner, Nirav Shah — an honorable guy, to be sure. But there’s no deadline for finishing, and who knows what kind of study Cuomo & Co. will require next ?

Meanwhile, fracking’s legal in every other state in America, and even eco-zealot EPA boss Lisa Jackson and President Obama say it can be done safely.

* On teacher evaluations: “It’s a victory for all New Yorkers,’’ Cuomo said last February, after striking a deal to have school districts evaluate teachers.

Alas, only 107 districts statewide so far have had specific plans approved by Albany, out of some 700. Only 314 have even reached deals with labor leaders and sent them to the state. (New York City is among those still battling the union.)

* On mandates: “Mandate relief is a critical part of the equation,” Cuomo said in his campaign treatise calling for a property-tax cap. “It’s something we have to accomplish this session,” he insisted early his first year.

No kidding: Towns are being squeezed. Their revenues, limited by the cap, go largely to pay for spending mandated by Albany, such as for Medicaid and pensions, with little left over for much else.

Cuomo eased their Medicaid bills slightly and passed a pension-relief bill, but neither is making much of a dent in the problem.

And he won’t take on one issue that can provide major help: the Triborough Amendment, which requires raises for union members even when their contracts have expired — thus removing their incentive to settle for a less costly contract.

“It’s a non-starter,” Cuomo has said about scrapping or reforming Triborough.

Then there’s the massive tax hike he imposed last December, after vowing not to. Lawmakers read his lips, and went to town.

Ironically, a likely post-election special legislative session could mean raises for Cuomo’s top aides (and maybe lawmakers).

With so little accomplished — despite Cuomo’s huge opportunity — that surely would be rubbing salt in the wound.

From Marcellus Drilling News9/27/2012

Anti-drillers in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio decry fracking and it’s “hazards” saying it could never be done near populated areas. They don’t want it done in any location, to be sure! But especially not near a heavily populated area. Can’t be done safely, they say. Is drilling in general and fracking in particular really hazardous when done near or (gasp) in a city?
Both conventional and unconventional drilling sink a hole straight down. Both typically use fracking—even in New York (bet you didn’t know that). But unconventional drilling, after going down vertically, then turns and drills horizontally through a shale layer. About the only real difference between the two types of drilling is the amount of water used in fracking. Conventional wells use less than 75,000 gallons of water for drilling a well. Unconventional wells use 3-5 million gallons of water—sometimes more, sometimes less. The volume of water used is the chief difference between conventional and unconventional drilling. Same technologies, same processes, just more water needed and a heck of a lot more gas comes out of the ground with a horizontal well.
Back to the original question. Is drilling—whether conventional or unconventional—unsafe in populated areas? Let’s let Beverly Hills High be our guiding example:
Right at the heart of one of the most affluent and exclusive communities in the country, oil producer Venoco extracted almost 114,000 barrels of crude and 103 million cubic feet of natural gas, as well as 807,000 barrels of waste water, from 19 conventional wells on the campus of the famous Beverly Hills High School last year, according to state records.
Across Beverly Hills, 95 wells are currently producing from two pools, which lie entirely beneath a heavily built up area, stretching along Pico, Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards. The wells have been drilled from four clusters (of which the High School is one), and are hidden in windowless buildings, but are otherwise part of the normal urban streetscape.
The field as a whole produced 805,000 barrels of crude oil in 2011, 1 million cubic feet of natural gas and 8.8 million barrels of waste water. The Nileguide blog gives some idea of how the wells have been blended into the urban scene: here
Royalties from oil and gas earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the school’s general fund.*
Calling Erin Brockovich
Erin Brockovich sued Venoco over the wells, claiming pollution from the operation has caused cancer. But it seems the judge was not star-struck with her performance:
Between 2003 and 2006, six lawsuits were brought against Venoco, the school district and others on behalf of approximately 1,000 former students, alleging that pollution in the air, water and soil as a result of the wells had caused illnesses, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer.
Some of the claims were brought by campaigning lawyer Erin Brockovich – famous for securing $333 million from Pacific Gas and Electric in an earlier pollution case, and immortalized by actress Julia Roberts…
But in a setback for the toxic-tort lawyer, twelve test cases were dismissed in 2006. The judge ruled the claimants had failed to prove any medical link between their illnesses and the alleged emissions.*
To get past the ongoing litigation from piranha-like personal injury lawyers swarming around, Venoco is reportedly settling the outstanding lawsuits—but they’re not admitting guilt and not removing the wells.
Lessons Learned
The drilling at Beverly Hills High is conventional, not unconventional horizontal fracking. Still, we can draw some conclusions based on the 90210 example:
  1. Fracking could be done safely in heavily urbanized areas (although truck traffic and noise are drawbacks).
  2. People are still suspicious about the safety of drilling—both conventional and unconventional.
  3. The drilling industry has not done a good job of alleviating public concerns.
We’re not saying fracking should be done in center city—we’re saying, however, it could be done, and Beverly Hills is a great example that punctures anti-driller arguments to the contrary. Positive drilling actions speak volumes louder than naysaying words.

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm by Rick Karlin, Capitol bureau in Capital Confidential

As the Sikorsky Aircraft company is saying goodbye to the Southern Tier community of Big Flats (they are consolidating their operations in Florida) supporters of hydrofracking are saying the departure is the latest sign that gas drilling is needed to revive the economy of this struggling area.

Here’s a statement from Karen Moreau, executive director of the state Petroleum Council on the looming shut-down and loss of 570 jobs:

“If Albany needed a wakeup call about the sagging economy in the Southern Tier, today’s announcement from Sikorsky should do the trick. But a wakeup call is not enough; it must be a call to action. We know the answer to creating jobs and opportunity in the Southern Tier. We know what will allow young adults to stay in their communities and not have to move out of state for work. We know what will help bolster housing prices, and allow those who rely on this major investment for their retirement plans to realize their dreams.

“The Marcellus Shale offers tremendous opportunities to create jobs and lift up entire communities, and we know that we can the extract natural gas in a safe and responsible manner. We know it because it’s happening across the country and right over the border in Pennsylvania. The State must move forward with hydraulic fracturing in a timely manner. To do otherwise is tantamount to turning your back on the Southern Tier.”

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