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Monday, September 17, 2018

Ohio State Rep. Looking to Block Injection Wells

From the Tribune Chronicle:
Steve Irwin, ODNR spokesman, said the regulatory environments in Ohio and Pennsylvania may lead drilling companies to choose to inject their waste in Ohio. 
Irwin said ODNR has “primacy” to regulate the state’s oil and gas industry, meaning companies that want to establish injection wells in Ohio can apply for permits directly from ODNR. 
On the other hand, Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry is regulated by both the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which increases the permit application time and expense because a prospective injection company needs a permit from both agencies. 
State Rep. Glenn Holmes, D-Girard, has introduced House Bill 723 that would cap the number of injection well permits the chief of ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management can issue at 23 per county. 
Ohio has 216 active injection wells, according to ODNR. Trumbull and Ashtabula counties top the list with 17 active wells apiece. Next are nearby Portage and Stark counties with 16 each followed by Meigs County in southeast Ohio with 14. 
Holmes said he arrived at the No. 23 by using Trumbull County as the base — it has 17 active wells with five more under construction and one that has been permitted, but has yet to be constructed.
Read the whole article by clicking here.

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Op-Ed Defends Utica Shale Drilling and Its Effect on Ohio Counties

From Crain's Cleveland Business:
Ted Auch argues in a Aug. 26 op-ed that opponents of the Lake Erie offshore wind project should be swayed to support the project by guilt over Cleveland's reliance on Utica shale natural gas development for much of its energy needs. His rationale is based on his contention that fracking has made the rural region of the state where Utica development has occurred a sacrifice zone rife with economic and environmental devastation. 
But Cleveland residents can rest assured — there is no need to lose sleep over using natural gas produced here in the Buckeye State, because most people who live along the Ohio River simply don't share Auch's view on the shale development taking place in their corner of the state. If they did, one would think "Keep It in the Ground" gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich's "ban fracking" campaign would have captured at least 25% of the vote in one of the state's top-10 natural gas producing counties in the May Democratic primary. But it didn't. Not even close in those counties. And for good reason — there is also simply no factual evidence to support Kucinich and Auch's anti-fracking claims.

For example, Auch repeats the common myth that "very few of the jobs in the Appalachian shale fields, or pipeline construction sector, go to Ohioans, let alone union members." But in fact, shale-related activities have supported thousands of union jobs in Ohio. As Ohio Laborers District Council pipeline specialist Ray Hipsher recently said, "The shale industry is hiring local workforce. That's going to keep the money in the community, and the laborers doing the work are going to take pride and care of the quality of their work, because we are your neighbors."
Read on by clicking here.

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Will Oil and Gas Drive Economic Recovery for Jefferson County?

From WTOV:

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Lifting the Curtain on the Group Blocking Shale Development in the Wayne National Forest

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a Tucson, Ariz.-based environmental activist group, has used the legal system for years to delay federal leasing of minerals. These delays are costly not only for federal and state government coffers, but for the local communities and forests CBD claims to be trying to protect. CBD’s latest target is Ohio’s Wayne National Forest – where CBD has claimed victory after victory over ongoing delays of federal permitting and, most recently, the cancellation of a federal auction lease sale.
CBD says its mission is “to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction.” But as EID has highlighted before, CBD is actually an extremist “multimillion dollar litigation factory” that brags about ignoring science and the law in pursuit of its agenda. What is CBD’s real agenda? To use “psychological warfare” to “mock” regulators and “destroy” and delay projects of every type – not to advocate more effective regulations or to protect the environment.
The Wayne National Forest provides a perfect case study illustrating CBD’s tactics. The group recently statedthat the “feds” are finally “listening to their concerns” with regard to its efforts to “stop all fracking in the Wayne.” In reality, of course, all of these delays can be traced to the CBD’s May 2017 lawsuit alleging, among other erroneous claims, that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Services violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing fracking in the Wayne.
EID will look at what the CBD claims to be, how the group articulates its real goals in rare moments of candor, its playbook of techniques designed to mislead reporters and frighten the public, and the disturbing business model that has evolved over the years to, among other things, fleece taxpayers through a technicality in the Endangered Species Act.
What does CBD actually do?
CBD employs a number of manipulative techniques, but its bread and butter is using the law to “turn one side of industrial society against itself” and abuse the law to fund its absurdly large budget – often through taxpayer dollars.
In a 2009 interview, CBD founder Kieran Suckling explained how the CBD playbook works – sue a federal government agency, attempt to “mock” and “destroy” regulator’s careers during litigation, and ultimately settle out of court.
Suckling has stated what CBD does in plain English, saying;
“The environmental movement spent a decade going to meetings and demanding action and getting nothing done. They were asking powerful people for something from a position of no power. We realized that we can bypass the officials and sue, and that we can get things done in court.”
“They are one tool in a larger campaign, but we use lawsuits to help shift the balance of power from industry and government agencies, toward protecting endangered species. That plays out on many levels. At its simplest, by obtaining an injunction to shut down logging or prevent the filling of a dam, the power shifts to our hands. The Forest Service needs our agreement to get back to work, and we are in the position of being able to powerfully negotiate the terms of releasing the injunction. They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed – and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning.”
This exact strategy has been employed by CBD in its effort to stop development in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest, as you can clearly see in this National Association of Royalty Owner’s (NARO) infographic.
These ongoing delays even caught the attention of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which recently held a hearing entitled, “The Weaponization of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Implications of Environmental Lawfare.”
With “psychological warfare” and endless litigation as its admitted strategy, CBD has not had to trouble itself hiring scientific experts or those concerned primarily with the nuances of species protection. Instead it has decided to recruit from top law schools, not primarily to ensure that we have clean water and air, or that loggerhead sea turtles thrive, but to shut down, if possible, entire industries that humans rely upon for survival and, failing that, to reap financial windfalls through abuse of the law.
It is not “winning” that CBD is interested in – it is using the process itself to frustrate the aims of regulators, other NGOs and industries trying to create a safe and healthy environment for humans and other species. This strategy allows CBD to generate a lot of media attention and even more money, while never having to actually help find a solution to any environmental problem.
As former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Director Dan Ashe explained to the House Committee on Natural Resources in 2011, this litigation strategy actually takes away from pools of money federal agencies would otherwise spend on species and habitat recovery. Ashe said,

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Protesters Fight Injection Well in North Lima

From WFMJ:
Today's rain didn't stop a local group of environmental advocates from making their voices heard. 
Rise for Climate held its "Day of Global Action" coinciding with events around the country and the world. 
They're demanding that governments commit to an energy economy without fossil fuels and an infrastructure that's based on renewable energy. 
Today's protest came at the site of Bobcat LLC's injection well in North Lima,- the same company that wants to build another well in Hubbard Township. 
Werner Lange of Rise for Climate told 21 News, "They have conducted a very effective petition campaign. The petition by Bobcat is still being considered by ODNR. We plan to raise so much hell that they will reject that petition and save that community."
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Ashland County, Ohio, Anti-Fracking Activists Looking to Pa. for Playbook Advice

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth

A recent meeting in Ashland County, Ohio, made it clear that anti-fracking activists there will be taking notes from their Pennsylvania counterparts in an effort to spread misinformation across state lines.
At the meeting, Elaine Tanner – a member of the fake Tri-County Landowners Coalition – read into the record a letter from fellow anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa. Scroggins is someone EID has mentioned a time or two on the blog, usually in an effort to set the record straight regarding the misguided “tours” she gives around the county, misinformation she has spread in the news media, and for her often rude attitude toward anyone that disagrees with her — most notably actual Susquehanna County landowners.
For those in the Buckeye state not familiar with Scroggins, she has harassed residents of Susquehanna County for years in an unsuccessful effort to halt the oil and natural gas industry from operating in Pennsylvania.
Here are just a few examples of some of the behavior Ohio residents may soon see if Tanner takes a page out of Scroggins’ playbook:
Tactict #1: Make up news and then continue to repeat it even after you’ve been proven wrong.
The flawed details of Scroggins’ letter and her warped version of what has occurred in Dimock and Susquehanna County aside, this wasn’t Scroggins’ first time embellishing events.
In fact, back in 2013 she and another activists went so far as to make up a story that was picked up by local media claiming the natural gas industry was responsible for an algae bloom that was noticeable on the opening day of trout season. Spoiler: It had nothing to do with fracking. As EID reported when all of this occurred,
“Most avid fishermen and women in Susquehanna County had seen this discoloration in years’ past and thought little of it. … But, that didn’t stop Scroggins and [Craig] Stevens from calling up a local news station and claiming the natural gas industry’s operations caused the change in the stream.  It even resulted in a report on WBRE, which provided a forum for the duo to make this claim to all of its viewers.  Worse still, the television report included no response from a natural gas company mentioned specifically in the report, or even from anyone who actually lives in the township who might have provided more perspective.”
The report was later removed after actual Franklin Township residents wrote into WBRE to not only call out the station for giving these activists a platform, but also to provide photographic evidence that the algae bloom had been occurring for years prior to shale development in the area. The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) later confirmed that water testing showed the discoloration was indeed an algae bloom – completely unrelated to the nearby natural gas development.
The truth certainly didn’t stop Scroggins from perpetuating her storyline during a tour she gave to New York state senators later the same month. As EID reported,
“If Senator Perkins was naive regarding pipelines, he was astute in asking another question about the “funny kind of green” stuff he saw in one of the rivers (2:05), reacting to something apparently told to him earlier by Vera and Craig and trying to get the other side of it.  Scott Miller informed him it was algae, but how would he even catch a glimpse of algae in a river without it being pointed out in a rehash of the quickly debunked claim these two advanced to WBRE recently?”
Or on the other end of the spectrum, how about the time Scroggins posted a 14-second clip of Dimock residents receiving water tests results from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that completely misrepresented the context of the actual 38-minute conversation that took place?
Tactic #2: Trespass and harass until you’re banned.
The thing that Scroggins is probably best known for is trespassing and harassing local property owners to the point that she has had injunctions filed against her and signs placed in yards telling her to stay away.
The following images are examples of signs that have been seen in yards across Susquehanna County over the years. While the first one plainly states whom the sign is directed at, the second, which was created by Franklin Citizens for Truth, was also a direct response to Scroggins.
In Franklin Township, Scroggins and a fellow activist harassed a local hoagie shop to the point that the business was nearly shut down. Upon Heavenly Angels receiving water tests from DEP that showed levels of arsenic in their water supply, Scroggins went on a smear campaign against the restaurant, which the owners felt was because they catered (literally) to oil and gas workers in the area. The harassment reached such a level that even national media outlet Bloomberg News mentioned the restaurant in a thoroughly inaccurate article.
Here is the article that the Susquehanna Independent published in response to the off the wall allegations made by Scroggins:
As Scroggins acknowledged in the following video, the restaurant eventually banned her from the premises – although that clearly did not stop her from taking her “tour” groups to see it.
And it is through those tours that Scroggins caused the most frustration for residents, as she would routinely trespass on property, block local traffic from accessing roads, and at times put the members of her tour and local workers in danger by entering well sites without proper safety gear and with complete disregard for the equipment on site.
This is an image from Natural Gas Now of her trespassing on a Cabot Oil & Gas well site.
And here is a video of Scroggins admitting she could care less about local residents who were unable to get to their homes because of the buses she had blocking roads.
Because of these antics – of which there are many examples over the years – Scroggins is currently subject to an injunction that prevents her from accessing Cabot’s well sites, the properties of the company’s leaseholders and from obstructing the roads near well sites. Although that has done little to stop Scroggins from continuing to do so, as is evident in two recent court incidents (Feb. 2015 and Dec. 2017) and video taken during a recent tour she gave a Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate where.
Tactic #3: Uphold the anti-fracking agenda above all else, including local residents you claim to be helping.
In another case, Scroggins led a protest at the residence of a family that had recently learned DEP’s long-term investigation of their water supply concluded that the shale industry had not caused methane to migrate into their water well, and thus, the company could halt water deliveries.
Following this decision a few things occurred:
  • The family declined the company’s offer to reconnect their water well.
  • The family purchased a new outside water tank that they planned to use in lieu of a water well.
  • The family, their attorneys and the company reached an agreement that the company would remove the existing, company-owned water tank on a specified day.
  • The company offered to leave the existing shelter for its water tank to protect the family’s new water tank and also to fill the new water tank before leaving the property on the specified day.
But the company was unable to follow through on its commitments because Scroggins and a crew of New York activists blocked company representatives from the property – even though the terms had been agreed upon by the residents and their attorneys.
In other words, the family was unable to get the promised water by the company because of activists that claimed to be there because they were concerned about the family having water.
These are only a few examples of what residents in Susquehanna County have experienced as a result of Scroggins’ antics over the years, and what Ashland County residents could soon be in for given Tanner and Scroggins’ relationship.
As guest columnist Chris Acker recently described in an EID guest post, contrary to the claims of these activists, the real impacts that Susquehanna County has experienced have been astoundingly positive, as shale development has:

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Activists Happy, Industry Frustrated as BLM Cancels Wayne National Forest Auctions

From the Marietta Times:
The withdrawal of two mineral leases set to be auctioned later this month in the Wayne National Forest was received with relief from an organization that had protested the proposal and frustration from the state trade organization for oil and gas interests. 
The two plots, one of 35 acres and the other about 40 acres, are in Monroe County, and the mineral leases were scheduled for auction Sept. 20, according to an announcement in July by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM announced Aug. 28 that the auction was canceled, citing Title 43 Code of Federal Regulations, paragraphs 3120.1-3, but offering no further explanation. 
That part of the code refers to suspending the offering of a parcel while an appeal is under consideration. 
Wendy Park, a senior lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday that her organization’s protest was the only one she could find that was lodged against the lease offering.
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Stanford Researchers Study How to Reduce Pollution from Flaring

From the Stanford News:
Until renewable sources of energy like wind or solar become more reliable and less expensive, people worldwide remain reliant on fossil fuels for transportation and energy. This means that if people want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there need to be better ways of mitigating the effects of extracting and burning oil and gas. 
Now, Adam Brandt, assistant professor of energy resources engineering in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences at Stanford, and his colleagues have performed a first global analysis comparing emissions associated with oil production techniques – a step toward developing policies that could reduce those emissions. They published their work Aug. 30 in Science
The group found that the burning of unwanted gas associated with oil production – called flaring – remains the most carbon-intensive part of producing oil. Brandt spoke with Stanford Report about the group’s findings and strategies for reducing flaring.
Read the interview by clicking here.

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