Thomas J Shepstone's Blog – September 2012 Archive (18)

Walter Hang's Massive Errors in Reporting on DEC Natural Gas Record

For the second time in as many years Walter Hang makes alarming claims his “facts” just don’t support. It’s another case of “massive” mischaracterization of DEC data.

Walter Hang is at it again. We know, from his earlier efforts, the founder of Toxics Targeting, an Ithaca, New York, based environmental auditing firm, knows his way around government reports. We also know, from previous experience, Walter tends to gloss over details, resulting in significant errors in reporting and…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 28, 2012 at 4:05pm — No Comments

Bloomberg Takes Wrong Fork in the Road

Bloomberg News takes the low road through small-town Pennsylvania by siding with the plaintiffs in a natural gas lawsuit, making major factual errors and choosing sensation over substance at almost every turn.

Like a lot of small communities, the village of Franklin Forks in northeastern Pennsylvania can be pretty confusing to outsiders, especially if they’re just passing through. It can be hard enough to find your way back to the Interstate, so trying to understand the inner workings…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 27, 2012 at 4:01pm — No Comments

50,000 More Natural Gas Fans

Last week, for the first time in Susquehanna County’s history, landowners there were given the ability to utilize a natural resource they have been developing in the area for years. Through the efforts of Leatherstocking Gas Company, natural gas is now being used at Pennsy Supply in Montrose to make asphalt. I had the opportunity to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony where representatives from Williams Midstream and Cabot Oil and Gas were also present. Others in attendance included State…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 25, 2012 at 8:37pm — No Comments

DRBC Non-Voters Are Hypocrites

A few weeks back John Hanger, former Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Protection, used his blog to point out New York State sure is using a whole lot of natural gas. He noted “New York’s appetite for natural gas got a lot bigger in the first half of 2012, when its consumption of natural gas rose 18.6%, compared to the same period in 2011.”

Hanger then went on to draw a rather poignant contrast between that state’s rhetoric and its actions, stating “given all the heat from…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 23, 2012 at 9:44pm — No Comments

That 1970's Energy Narrative

Ever since the early 1970’s the public has assumed the U.S. is running out of domestic sources of energy. The OPEC oil crisis of 1973 reinforced this idea as people waited in long lines to buy gasoline at skyrocketing prices. Much of the current opposition to natural gas development stems from the persistent narrative that energy is scarce and all fossil fuels are bad for the environment.

These ideas have been repeated so many times they have become unquestioned articles of faith in…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 22, 2012 at 6:58pm — 2 Comments

No More Panic Policy Making

Many government policies are developed and implemented based on little data or understanding of how they impact businesses or consumers. Over the years, my firm has examined hundreds of policy proposals, documenting how they impact not only the economy, but consumers, businesses, and the general public.

More often than not, we find that even the most well-intentioned regulations have serious and costly consequences, many of which are far worse than the problem that the regulation was…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 21, 2012 at 4:46am — No Comments

Can we focus on some real pollution?

If you ask a strident natural gas activist the largest threat to Pennsylvania’s water quality they will likely tell you –without hesitation- that hydraulic fracturing is the main culprit despite any evidence supporting this assertion. Ask someone who truly understands the challenges facing Pennsylvania and you will receive a much different answer. Mainly, an expert will tell you agricultural runoff, sewage overflows, and suburban runoff are more serious culprits as they actually pollute…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 19, 2012 at 9:55pm — 4 Comments

Binghamton Rally Brings 'Em Out

Last Saturday, there was a rally at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York featuring two men running for office, both of whom are openly opposed to natural gas development in New York State. The rally brought out about 150 people altogether, both pro and con with respect to natural gas. The latter thought it would be a great opportunity for their traveling band of the disgruntled to gather at the park but ,when the supporters of natural gas got word, they gathered as well.…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 18, 2012 at 8:45pm — No Comments

Change is inevitable as is the opposition to it - but natural gas is future

What does modern natural gas development have in common with early railroads, electricity and indoor plumbing? Well, each of those major Victorian age innovations spurred entire industries, replaced old ways of doing things and greatly improved people’s everyday lives. Today we depend on railroads, electricity, and modern plumbing and take them for granted. But when first introduced all were feared and vigorously opposed by much of the public. Sound familiar? History repeats…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 18, 2012 at 1:10pm — No Comments

Forest Fragmentation Arguments Flawed

We notice a new phrase cropping up a lot lately in the arguments of NIMBY types and other anti-growth advocates – “forest fragmentation.” It sounds ominous, of course, and, therefore, our friends on the other side of the natural gas debate have seized upon it. There’s nothing negative that doesn’t make them go wobbly in the knees, after all. Recently, some of those folks have turned to a USGS report on Bradford and Washington Counties for evidence natural gas development will somehow leave…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 17, 2012 at 10:03am — No Comments

Conservancy Opts for Facts First

A recent tour of natural gas development operations in northeastern Pennsylvania provided Countryside Conservancy supporters with new insights on the process. It was a welcome opportunity to share the facts often getting lost in the debate. The tour hosted around 25 people some of whom own land under conservancy protection and the rest being local folks from the Wilkes Barre and Scranton areas. Conservancy Executive Director, Bill Kern, arranged the tour to provide friends of the group with…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 15, 2012 at 1:17pm — No Comments

French and Canadians Come In Peace

A group of French and Canadian media, as well as members of the French delegation traveled to Dimock, Pennsylvania for a natural gas well site tour last weekend. France sent the government officials to Pennsylvania specifically for them to gather information about natural gas development and report what they learned. This group was part of a larger tour consisting of activists from Quebec and members of their legislature conducting a “window” tour of natural gas activity in the Marcellus…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 14, 2012 at 9:12am — No Comments

Enough with Entertainers Already

A few weeks ago the Oneonta Star printed two AP stories with no apparent connection. However, what I call “The Gas Wars” make for strange bedfellows, even on the news beat. Let me explain the connection.

The first story was a report out of the Empire Center, a non-partisan think tank that focuses on New York. In “The Graying of the Empire State: Some Parts of NY Grow Older Faster,” the researchers highlighted the growing regional differences in age distribution, particularly in young…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 10, 2012 at 10:34am — No Comments

Damascus Citizens Just Another NYC Anti-Gas Group

Damascus, Pennsylvania, is home to me. I grew up there on a farm my great-grandfather established in the late 1800s and his grandfather is buried in the Hillside Cemetery there. I graduated from the same Damascus High School my parents did and had some of the same teachers. My mother, my brothers, my son and grandson all call it home, too. I own land there that I leased for energy development long before I ever heard of Energy In Depth. I’m related to most of the folks who live in Tyler Hill…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 9, 2012 at 11:05pm — No Comments

Dimock Train Is On Track But Not Yet Moving

Early the other morning Joe and I traveled to Dimock, Pennsylvania to talk with some residents about “the box” Energy in Depth has mentioned in a couple different posts. The box is a nine square mile area in Dimock where Cabot Oil and Gas was temporarily forced to stop all production until further notice from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP has officially given Cabot Oil and Gas the go ahead to continue exploring natural gas wells that have already been prepped for…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 8, 2012 at 2:32pm — No Comments

NYT Misses Truth for the Forest

In his “Dot Earth” blog for The New York Times, writer Andrew Revkin recently wrote (8/31/12) that a frequent talking point for natural gas foes is “the prospect of gas companies poised to deploy a forest of rigs to drill 50,000 wells.” A forest of rigs would indeed be a frightening prospect, but it’s really nowhere on the horizon – not now, nor ever.…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 7, 2012 at 8:31pm — No Comments

Dear Governor Cuomo

The following is a letter Sondra Bauernfeind, a retired schoolteacher from Sullivan County, New York recently sent our Governor, Andrew Cuomo in an appeal for action to address Sullivan County, New York’s long pressing economic development crisis. "I offer it in the hope others will also write him and share their sentiments as well. The time for action on our economic crisis is now and the remedy is right before our eyes – natural gas. Please review and write a letter of your own."…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 2, 2012 at 5:40am — No Comments

The Final Word on Artists In Search of Recognition

This week, we’ve been looking at the group “Artists Against Fracking” and their misinformation campaign to stop natural gas development in New York. Part I delved into a recent radio campaign by Michelle Williams, and for Part II we’ve been looking at co-founder, Sean Lennon’s, recent opinion piece in the New York Times. So, let’s just take another few moments to Imagine if all these artists took the time to do some real research on natural gas development.…

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Added by Thomas J Shepstone on September 1, 2012 at 6:06am — No Comments

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