The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), are pleased to announce a joint partnership to host the sixth annual SHALE INSIGHTTM Conference. This industry-leading event will take place in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica shale gas plays on September 21 and 22 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“By partnering with key regional trade groups in three of the top energy producing states in the nation, SHALE INSIGHTTM 2016 is sure to be the premier industry conference this year, and will further enhance the conference’s programming by highlighting the challenges and opportunities in the Appalachian Basin, presenting greater value to attendees,” said MSC president David Spigelmyer. “The SHALE INSIGHTTM conference has been at the forefront of showcasing emerging trends, especially related to technologies and best practices, while bringing together thought leaders, top executives as well as public officials to discuss and offer impactful analysis.”
The focus of this year’s conference is the next phase of the shale revolution and will emphasize end use and connecting the market place through infrastructure. The conference will feature keynote presentations, an interactive and robust exhibit floor, tailored panel discussions, the Technology Showcase and a Natural Gas Use Marketplace, which all present networking opportunities for attendees.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our region, and we’re excited to be collaborating with the MSC and WVONGA this year for SHALE INSIGHTTM,” said OOGA executive vice president Shawn Bennett. “While our industry continues to face significant challenges, the current and future prospects for the Appalachian Basin remain very promising. This conference creates an important forum to exchange ideas, share best practices and heighten the dialogue around common sense energy policies, and we’re glad to be part of its continued success.”
In addition to several keynote presentations, the conference will feature daily educational sessions exploring various technical and public affairs-related topics.
“A number of energy producers as well as suppliers and vendors across Appalachia are active in more than one state, so this combined effort absolutely adds value for attendees,” said WVONGA executive director Corky DeMarco. “We’re very eager to contribute to the conference and look forward to working alongside our regional partner trade groups to make this year’s event worthwhile for all involved.”
Registration is now open, offering special member and early bird rates. A variety of sponsorships offering comprehensive entitlements are available, including general session presentations, luncheons, networking events and other branding and marketing opportunities.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
The member spotlight series features legacy OOGA members who have been a member of the Association for at least 10 years. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Henthorne Jr. was born in Olive Hill, Kentucky in 1941; his father J. G. Henthorne Sr., worked as a mining engineer for General Refractories Fire Brick Company. Jay Jr. attended the University of Kentucky where his original major was chemical engineering, however, he graduated in 1964 with a B.S. in petroleum geology. Working as a roughneck the summer of his junior year in western Kentucky altered Jay’s career path, leading him to a career in the oil and gas industry that has stuck for more than 40 years.
Working for Tennit Brooks in eastern Kentucky was where Jay started out as a junior geologist, among holding other roles. The Morrow County oil boom had taken off in Ohio during that time, and brought a force of frenzied oil development that attracted people from all over the country to come take part in the oil play. Brooks invited Jay to follow him to Morrow County and work for Clark and Cardinal Oil, a partnership between Brooks and Clark oil, whose office was in Worthington, Ohio. The Morrow County, Mount Gilead oil boom would be seen as the last unrestricted oil development in the state. Jay found success in Morrow County and was a consultant on other successful jobs. In 1965 the Ohio division of oil and gas was created, which also brought new spacing regulations that effectively caused the end of the Morrow County boom.
In the fall of 1965 Jay left to work for a company that logged wells in Wooster called Birdwell Logging. Jay accepted the position as a logging engineer and was involved with setting up storage logging programs with East Ohio Gas Storage and Columbia Gas Storage during the East Canton Drilling boom. Birdwell became even busier when the Clinton drilling boom struck. Jay worked for Birdwell for nine years until he left in 1974.
To his wife’s dismay, Jay left a stable job at Birdwell to start his own company, all while having two young sons at home. In 1974 he started Petro Evaluation Services, which became fully incorporated in 1976.
Work History Overview:
Morton Salt was one of Petro Evaluation Services’ first big clients as Jay had previously done consulting work for the nationwide company. Early on Jay traveled around the country drilling and fracturing salt wells, using a salt mining solution that recrystallized salt to become edible. Fracturing the salt wells was a much different process when compared to mining salt; the mined salt was dirty and not edible.
Petro also found success when it started drilling some of its first wells back in Morrow County. Jay visited Red Armstrong of Armstrong Drilling in Wooster and they made a deal for Jay to have a rig available by the time the state permit was issued to drill a well in Harmony Township. After nailing down the logistics the two shook hands on the deal and went on their way. Jay questioned if they needed a contract and Red replied, “Aren’t you going to pay me?” to which Jay said, “Of course.” Early on many deals were simply made on a handshake. The well, Hurdle #1, was among one of Petro’s best producers.
Other wells that Petro attributes to its early on success were found around east central Lake County, Lake Erie College in Painsville, Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, University School in Pepper Pike, and various other sites around the city of Cuyahoga Falls. Drilling wells in urban areas and college campuses was not a common practice in the mid 1970s; Petro was involved in some of the early urban drilling projects in the northeast.
The city of Cuyahoga Falls hired Petro to drill six wells on a local golf course, which was in a residential area. Knowing the importance of building a good reputation and having strong environmental practices, Jay made certain to keep the area around the well nice and used industrial mufflers to keep the noise down as they drilled throughout the night. There were some complaints from local residents in the area but Petro always attempted to make good with the local residents and got praise from local media and the parks and recreation superintendent in doing so.
Jay described the situation, “That was kind of our philosophy and it stuck, building strong community relations.”
Petro continued to grow as the company continued to drill new wells during the Clinton drilling boom. They hit many good wells and the Clinton boom moved south. “It was crazy, the wheeling and dealing at these times. It was a lot of fun and quite a ride,” recalled Jay.
Throughout the 1980s Petro drilled many wells with Leo Altier. Perry County was an area Petro and the Altier brothers found success. Petro also drilled numerous well with many of the conventional producers still involved with the Association today, include Jerry Olds, David Hill, and Dick Poling.
Petro expanded its drilling operations outside of Ohio into Pennsylvania and Michigan for a period of time. It was during this time Jay asked his son Jason to join the company—having a background in geology and environmental science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Finding the most success in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Petro opened an office in Pennsylvania in 2005 with Jason heading up much of this operation. Petro drilled a 12,458 foot well in Pennsylvania, completing it and eventually selling it. Samples from the well and the footage was donated to the Ohio Geological Survey, Petro found it important to donate this information to help Ohio because the logs that the state had did not contain this type of information. The Pennsylvania office remained open for five years and was used primarily for leasing until the downturn started.
Drilling projects that Petro focused on across Pennsylvania were in the Trenton Black River and Knox formations. The company’s Utica and Marcellus leases helped offset some projects that were less successful than anticipated. The company had a good acreage position on the boarder of Ohio and Pennsylvania before people knew what the Marcellus was. The wells and experience gained in the Trenton and Knox put them on the forefront of the shale.
Petro tried to morph as times got tough opening different entities over the years; with Petro Evaluation Services, Inc. remaining the overarching business that has been operating in Ohio for 40 years. In the 1970s Petro opened Environmental Brine and learned how to operate the disposal process. Petro Energy Services was opened for a period of time to serve mid-stream companies. Petro Evaluation served as the leasing arm of all the Petro companies. Jay attributes Petro’s success to keeping ahead of the curve and not growing too rapidly. Petro has actively owned, managed or been involved in almost every aspect of oil and gas production in Ohio.
Today Petro operates with seven full time employees, ranging from office employees to a few pumpers working in the field. From the beginning Petro has drilled and operated its own wells, and has approximately 80 wells still in operation today.
Changes in the industry:
Recently, while giving a presentation to a group of college students Jay was asked how many booms he’s been through, and was able to quickly respond, “four.”
“When I got out of college all the geologist were facing a downtime. I remember four of these downtimes, the industry grows, falls, grows and falls, and it will be back though.”
The greatest positive change Jay has seen in the industry over time has been the advancements in technology. Technological drilling techniques and the ability to get answers quickly from computers has shaped the industry to a new level it’s at today.
With the new technology bringing new drilling techniques—like horizontal drilling—it has also brought stricter regulations. Jay thinks working in the industry is not going to get any easier and it is important to get and stay ahead of the curve. Some of the rules being applied to horizontal drilling get carried over to older wells where they shouldn’t apply—which new inspectors don’t often realize.
Jay’s outlook for the industry remains strong. He feels it is important for someone such as himself, who has been in the industry for years, to give back. He does this by supporting his preferred colleges and occasionally speaking at them.
“There’s going to be a lot of severing of minerals that we can do. Natural gas is the main stay energy of the future. We’re going to need geologist to steer us away from trouble, and geology in that sense is going to be absolutely critical.”
History with the OOGA:
Jay has been a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since the mid 1960s when he started working for Birdwell. In 1987 he was elected to the Board of Trustees where he held the position through 1995. Jay also had involvement with the PAC committee over the years.
Jay feels the educational side of the Association, Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) has been a great thing for the industry, stressing the importance of educating our teachers and students on the oil and gas industry.
Jay described Petro as going about the industry “the old fashion way” and enjoying things. He touted the work that the Association has done to make Ohio a good state to do work in.
“Ohio is really a ring leader in state development, in terms of being pro oil and gas. And that’s in large part to Tom Stewart and a couple of his forbearers.”
Jay’s positive outlook and closing thoughts on the industry, “Drill baby, drill. It has been fun, and it still is.”
In a press release from FWAP it seems as if they’re deeming the conference as a flop:
The conference hoped to provide the information and education regulators and legislators need from sources not connected to the oil and gas industry. Organizers invited regulators from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ONDR), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Health, the Kasich Administration and all Ohio legislators. The conference was organized in the Statehouse Atrium with accessibility for regulators and legislators in mind, but few managed to make an appearance to learn from the experts.
Holding the event in an opportune place to draw legislator attendance was not able to bring in the presence the group was looking for. Or maybe it was because the ODNR regulates the industry and did not feel the need to hear from these so called “experts” whose only affiliation with the industry is in its attempts to bring it down.
The University of Cincinnati had two speakers, Erin Haynes and James O’Reilly, presenting on various topics at the event. Erin Haynes was slated to present on oil and gas development, views from environmental public health perspective. Much of presentation time was passed on for a collaborator from the University of Cincinnati to present new findings from preliminary results from a new pilot study examining the quality of life amid unconventional oil and gas extraction in eastern Ohio. The results presented looked to be more along the lines of a survey results than a scientific study, where interviews were conducted with 34 residents in Guernsey and Noble County.
It was interesting to see these two speakers from the University of Cincinnati present at the forum, but the researcher who conducted a three-year study testing water contamination from hydraulic fracturing was not on the speaking roster. Dr. Amy Townsend-Small analyzed groundwater before the onset of fracing, during, and after fracing completion, concluding that hydraulic fracturing does not have any links to contaminating water. She likely would have been asked to speak if the results were negative, just like she said while presenting them at a public meeting in Carroll County, “I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results. They feel that fracing is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”
The final speaker of the day was Jensen Silvis, an attorney for the FWAP (also in a press release from FWAP):
“There are too many regulatory loopholes at the federal and state levels to allow fracking to degrade public health and the environment. We need to educate ourselves and our representatives regarding the facts and close the legal gaps allowing the industry to proceed and pollute at public harm and expense.”
After flying through his presentation on the numerous regulatory loopholes he found through his research, Silvis said:
“I wish I knew of more. I always tell people, I’m not a scientist either. So I can look at the law. I’m brand new at doing the legal stuff too. But I need like another me as a scientist, to try to help me decipher all these different numbers and all this. If you know anybody, let me know.”
This concluded the pane of experts the FWAP organized for its public health and liability, fracing and Ohio’s future discussion.
Additional data released by the EIA today shows that carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in 2015 were lowest since 1993. Similar to other reports, this data indicates that,
“A shift on the electricity generation mix, with generation from natural gas and renewables displacing coal-fired power, drove the reductions in emissions.”
It is thanks to a boom in domestic production, and the fracking that made it possible, that so much natural gas is available at a reasonable price for this electricity generation.
— Original Post May 10, 2016 —
Increased natural gas production from fracking is driving a dramatic drop in American carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since 2005, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA found that CO2 emissions have fallen by 12 percent since 2005 and estimates that 68 percent of that drop can be attributed to increased natural gas usage. The report attributes CO2 emissions reductions due to an “increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.” From the report:
“The reductions in CO2 emissions are spread out among the different end-use sectors in proportion to the share of total electricity sales to each sector. Overall, the fuel-use changes in the power sector have accounted for 68% of the total energy-related CO2 reductions from 2005 to 2015.” (Emphasis added)
“We project that as a result of recent coal retirements, as well as advocacy for related policy measures like efficiency and demand response and market forces including historically low natural gas prices, electric sector coal use in 2015 will be approximately 9 percent lower than in 2014.” (Emphasis added)
The EIA’s latest report is simply the most recent testament to the climate benefits of fracked natural gas.
Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations,
Monday, May 9, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Niels Bohr, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922 once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.” This comment brings to mind the current debate about climate change and what role, if any, humans are playing.
Which leads to the questions, is the globe warming? Are humans the cause? Is the science settled on the matter?
A new documentary called Climate Hustle takes on these very topics and several others; bringing forward fact based compelling arguments questioning much of what the public believes to be “settled science” around the Earth’s changing climate.
As seen in the film, the alarmists are continually proven wrong on their current sales pitches on global warming, forcing them to adjust the contentions they are putting forward. It used to be called “global warming” but now is being widely referred to as “climate change.” Since the arguments they have put forth are being challenged by a wide range of the international scientific community as soon as they are spoken, those who are pushing the “climate change” agenda have to reach way in the future in order to attempt to make their case. They are making predictions, and those predictions come with a DIRE warning, “We must act now!” Those pushing the climate agenda try to rush decision makers into action in a hurried fashion to eliminate the debate on the topic.
A similar instance where this tactic was tried was during the late 1960s. There was a theory perpetuated called the “Population Bomb” theory, which hypothesized that the planet had too many people and with more coming the human species was never going to be able to feed everyone by the 1970’s…oops.
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate” -Population Bomb
Now that is not to say that parts of some countries aren’t experiencing famine, however, much of that has less to do with the growth of population as it does with conflict, economics and government leadership.
As for Climate Hustle, one of the first questions the movie tackles is – Who is behind the “Climate Change” movement?
The filmmakers pose that very question to the founder of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore who says it is the media looking for sensationalism, the environmental groups looking for donations, the politicians creating the appearance of “saving the world,” the businesses that want to look green, and the academics (universities) that want public money for grants to study this. Those are not exactly honorable motives to pursue scientific discovery. To study the climate is a science and one that must use scientific methods and sound testing which allows the researcher to come to a rational scientific claim, regardless of their motives.
In the film, one of the arguments exposed is that 97% of all scientists agree that climate change is happening and humans are the cause. That number is pulled from one survey that was conducted among 77 climate scientists, in which, 75 respondents said that climate change is happening, it is catastrophic, and that humans cause it.
Here are 97 articles that have been published that show that 97% to be incorrect.
Which leads to the next question? Are we getting warmer?
In the film, that very specific question is posed to Dr. Robert Giegengack, former Chair of the Department of Earth and Environment Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Does more CO2 = a warmer world, True or False? Dr. Giegengack says that a warmer world would equal more CO2 but does not think that CO2 is a driver of Global temperature. That comment is echoed by Dr. Moore who says that over time (about 800 years) temperature goes up followed by the climate.
One of the most important parts of the movie is the reversal of position from several of the leading international climate scientists such as France’s Dr. Claude Allegre. This is confirmed in an article in the National Post, where Dr. Allegre stated that,
"the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters.” The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, “is to see ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."
Dr. Allegre is not the only member of the scientific community who has reached the same conclusion on the topic. There are others, and it has affected their professional careers.
As seen in this clip in the film from these scientists:
“I have been ostracized by the main stream, the consensus.” Dr. Curry
“They shun me, the do not allow me to have my materials published”. Dr. Rancourt
“They either ignore you or ridicule you”. Dr. Pielke Sr.
Even those with a basic understanding of scientific principles know that scientific study is used to challenge the status quo. The Earth is flat right?
This film premiered nationwide on May 2nd and adds some interesting and much needed commentary to the “climate change” debate. It creatively, intelligently and using sound scientific methods pushes back against those who claim that the “science is settled” on the cause and disastrous effects of climate change. As the great Mark Twain reminds us “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”
If you did not see the movie check out some of the great clips and stories at climatehustle.org
Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations,
Monday, May 2, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
There is a long way to go before any shale drilling takes place within the Wayne National Forest (WNF) but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took a step in the right direction when they recently issued its preliminary “Finding of No Significant Impact” statement regarding leasing 18,000 acres in the Marietta unit.
According to the BLM district manager, Dean Gettinger, in the recent Athens Messenger article,
“Based upon a review of the EA and supporting documents, I have determined that the proposed action (leasing of 18,494 acres in the Wayne’s Marietta Unit) is not a major federal action, and will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment, individually or cumulatively, with other actions in the general area.”
The draft Environmental Statement is subject to a 30 day public comment period (until May 29) where anyone may submit their comments focused on anticipated environmental impacts of leasing for oil and gas development. After the closing of the comment period the BLM is expected to take about 60 days to review and respond to the comments submitted. Should the “Finding of No Significant Impact” stand, the BLM can continue forward with the leasing process should the Forest Supervisor decide to move forward. If the Forest Supervisor decides to proceed with the steps to open the Wayne National Forest for oil and gas leasing, there will likely be an additional comment and review period before the final step- the lease auction. Then the process to apply for and receive a permit to drill would transpire.
A Call to Action
For now, send in your comments to encourage the BLM, and later the WNF, and show your support for leasing, drilling and private property rights. As we have stated before, the WNF is made up of many pieces and parts scattered across several counties in southeast Ohio, with many landowners personal property and minerals (through no fault of their own) are being held captive by this process.
Also, be aware of the group called “Fracking Exposed” (connected to the Athens County Fracking Action Network). They are the group that has the billboard across from the WNF headquarters calling for an end to “fracing.” They are also part of the “Keep It In the Ground” movement. We know they are going to send in comments (again) and but the strong response from the landowners, elected, business and community leaders advocating for leasing defeated the anti-drilling voice, allowing the process to continue to move along. Keep up the fight!
Please note that according to the BLM news release–
“Comments that identify issues relevant to the proposed action, or those that contain new technical or scientific information are most helpful, but all comments are considered in this decision-making process.”
Contact information for BLM
Contact: Kurt Wadzinski, Planning & Environmental Coordinator, BLM Northeastern States District
By Mail - 626 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 200, Milwaukee, WI 53202-4617
Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth,
Monday, April 25, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The Buckeye State is having a lot of good fortune lately: ExxonMobil announced recently that the company and its employees contributed $870,000 to higher education institutions across the state, as part of ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2015 Educational Matching Gift Program. In addition, Antero Resources also announced donations throughout southeastern Ohio to local schools to help with their athletic departments.
Combined, Antero Resources, ExxonMobil and their employees donated a whopping $915,000 to Ohio local schools and education institutions.
According to a press release today, Ben Soraci, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation said,
“Quality education is the foundation for individual opportunity and economic prosperity. We have a long history of supporting education excellence in the country. It’s a shared priority, year after year, with ExxonMobil employees.”
Antero Resources and their employees, echoed this same sentiment, Al Schopp, Antero’s Chief Administrative Officer and Regional Senior Vice President said,
“Supporting the communities where we’re privileged to operate is a core Antero value. We look forward to continuing to invest in the region’s youth and working to ensure they have the resources they need to meet their full potential.”
Thirty-six Ohio colleges, universities and local schools have recently been supported by ExxonMobil and Antero Resources, thanks to these generous donations. According to the press release today, ExxonMobil was able to use the donation to maximize total investment to qualified colleges and universities as they provided match donations on a 3:1 ratio, along with the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund. The company also stated that they would like to see the grant put toward math and science programs supporting student engagement. Ohio’s support is only a fraction of the nationwide giving through the 2015 Educational Matching Gift Program, which has supported over 850 institutions through donations in excess of $45.4 million. ExxonMobil has a keen interest in encouraging students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as teacher training initiatives, with a focus particularly on women and minorities.
Educational institutions all over the state are showing gratitude for these investments. For example, Barnesville High School Superintendent, Randy Lucas said,
“Once again, Antero Resources is providing financial support to our athletic department. They have been a great partner with the school district and we appreciate their continued support!”
Marietta City Superintendent, Will Hampton said,
“Any time an organization within our community is willing to support our schools is a big deal and we really appreciate that. It says a lot when you have the support of the people you live and work with every day.”
Supporting local jobs, schools, and improving the environment, all thanks to fracking, is certainly a recurring theme in Ohio. That’s why Ohioans overwhelmingly support the oil and natural gas industry and continue to be grateful for the funding that our communities continue to receive. This week’s announcement, is just one more example of tangible results from the industry that indeed have lasting impacts for the families who live and work here.
Posted By Katie Brown, PhD, Energy In Depth,
Monday, April 18, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
New reports by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Free Beacon have further exposed how anti-fossil fuel activists colluded to push politically-motivated investigations of climate dissent, adding to a series of reports from Energy In Depth that already uncovered the fundingand inspiration behind the broader campaign.
After the Wall Street Journalrevealed Wednesday that anti-fossil fuel activists (such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben and former member of Greenpeace Board of Directors Kenny Bruno) met “behind closed doors” at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices in January to strategize on furthering the #ExxonKnew campaign, many more details have now emerged.
And if there’s any doubt about how Bruno really feels, here’s what he tweeted on March 30:
Note here how the memo states quite clearly that the group is focused on establishing “in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution.” Despite that, Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, literally uttered the following words to the Wall Street Journal this week:
“‘It’s about helping the larger public understand the urgencies of finding climate solutions,’ said Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which hosted the January meeting. ‘It’s not really about Exxon.’”
Of course, the claim that the campaign was “not really about Exxon” could raise new questions about its real purpose, which many have already alleged is politically motivated. The effort has already led to a subpoena of a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC, with the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general demanding documents related to that organization’s advocacy on climate policy. Naturally, the USVI official also wants to know who funds the group.
Not the first time
What the Wall Street Journal and Free Beacon didn’t report, however, is that the January 2016 meeting was not exactly the first strategy session that took place in which plans to target Exxon in particular were on the agenda.
In 2012, the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which are both funded by the Rockefellers, held a workshop in La Jolla, Calif., at which one of the topics discussed was the various ways they could help hasten an investigation into ExxonMobil via RICO laws. Apparently proud of the progress they had made, the groups released a report after the meeting concluded called, “Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.” The Rockefellers, as mentioned, hosted the Jan. 2016 meeting. And guess who provided the financial support for 2012 conference in La Jolla? (Yes, them.)
Interestingly, the January 2016 meeting included many of the same participants who attended the 2012 meeting in La Jolla, including attorneys Matt Pawa and Sharon Eubanks, Carroll Muffett, and representatives from Greenpeace.
Matt Pawa, an attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and a board member of the CAI, which organized the La Jolla meeting, has long been involved in campaigns aimed at attacking ExxonMobil. As the CIEL website states,
“Mr. Pawa also has pioneered the use of tort theories against greenhouse gas polluters in cases such as Connecticut v. American Electric Power and Kivalina v. ExxonMobil.” (emphasis added)
Sharon Eubanks was the director of the Department of Justice’s tobacco litigation effort in the 1990s and has been active in the press on anti-Exxon efforts. Carroll Muffett is also on the board of CAI.
The state attorneys general investigations rely on cherry-picked articles written by the Rockefeller-funded InsideClimate News (ICN) and Columbia School of Journalism, which Energy In Depth has definitively debunked. ICN published an article entitled “How We Got the Exxon Story” in November 2015, which admits that ICN journalist Dave Hasemyer “learned from scientist Michael MacCracken, who had long helped run federal climate research programs, that Exxon scientists had worked with the government on climate science as far back as the early 1980s.” Michael MacCracken is a scientist with the CAI and he also attended the 2012 La Jolla conference.
According to the activists themselves, they had been looking to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for quite some time as the perfect person to launch an investigation. As ICN alsoreported in that same article, “Some climate advocacy groups have long urged that Schneiderman, a second-term Democrat, investigate Exxon and other companies under the 1921 statute.”
“State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light. In addition, lawyers at the workshop noted that even grand juries convened by a district attorney could result in significant document discovery.”
In other words, the #ExxonKnew campaign didn’t just materialize overnight. It was the product of four long years of careful planning and constant coordination among the groups and the Rockefellers, which handled at key stages issues related to logistics, network management, and (critically) funding. The Rockefeller Family Fund has admitted that it poured tens of thousands of dollars into ICN and Columbia School of Journalism in order to push “better climate policy.” According toReuters:
Rockefeller Family Fund Director Lee Wasserman said Exxon was not singled out when it granted about $25,000 to InsideClimate News.
“We supported public interest journalism to better understand how the fossil fuel industry was dealing with the reality of climate science internally and publicly,” Wasserman said. “No specific company was targeted in our push to drive better public understanding and better climate policy.”
This is just the latest report to note the large web of activists working hand in glove to push a story that is based on anti-fossil fuel ideology, rather than the facts. We don’t expect it to be the last.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted its 69th annual Winter Meeting in Columbus on March 16th – March 18th which brought together hundreds of attendees including membership and top industry leaders from Ohio and the nation to provide the most current updates of the state’s oil and gas industry.
The first day was considered a day of “pre-meeting events,” where OOGA’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees convened; continuing to work towards improving the Association. The Ohio Geological Society held its annual meeting that brought in a large crowd to hear Joseph Smith with PDC Energy present on the Determination of Wellbore Orientation in the Utica Shale of Southeast Ohio. Evening receptions followed on day one and two that allowed for attendees to network and the Association to thank attendees for their support.
The next two days held the main events including updates from national authorities, state and federal elected officials, and included production, exploration, legal and legislative insights. The keynote speaker for this year was David Wasserman, U.S. House editor and quantitative election analyst for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, where he is responsible for handicapping and analyzing U.S. House races. Wasserman provided stirring insight on the current presidential primary results, road mapping potential likelihoods of candidate’s winning nominations and charting how winning the White House would be achieved. He provided a humorous approach to understanding how Donald Trump has been able to ride a wave of discontentment with the established Republican Party to become the lead nominee. The information was extremely timely, relevant and looked at the presidential nomination process, impacts on senate races and the potential of a contested republican primary.
While the business session presentations were occurring the other component of the Winter Meeting was simultaneously taking place right outside the presentations in the form of an industry trade show. This year the Association had more than 70 exhibitor booths displaying products, demonstrating new equipment techniques, and representing multifaceted components of the industry. As attendees came and went and transitioned between business sessions, they could engage with exhibitors showcasing the latest in oil and gas technology.
And of course this event would not be possible without our sponsors. Even during trying times for the industry we appreciate the support from each and every one of you.
The Association hopes to see each of you back at next year’s 70th annual Winter Meeting.
Posted By Penny Seipel, Vice President of Public Affairs,
Monday, March 14, 2016
You may have seen recent headlines about a court case involving Cabot Oil and Gas in Pennsylvania. The case was brought by two families, Scott and Monica Ely and Ray and Victoria Hubert. There were three parts to the original lawsuit: personal injury and fraud, reduction of property values and nuisance claims which stemmed from the finding of the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (DEP) that Cabot oil and gas was responsible for contaminating some water wells because of faulty well casing. The plaintiffs allege that faulty well casing allowed natural gas to migrate into water wells.
The parts of the lawsuit pertaining to personal injury and property values were thrown out by the judge for lack of evidence. As it relates to the lowering of property values, the judge found that property values had actually gone up.
The third issue, the nuisance claim, is more complicated because Pennsylvania law includes a “presumption of liability”. This means that the company is presumed to be responsible for any well contamination within 1,000 feet from a drilling site regardless of whether the company was actually at fault. It is the company’s responsibility to prove in court that they are not liable. The DEP had previously determined that Cabot was responsible for the presence of dissolved methane in some families’ water wells. Even though a Consent Order and Agreement was signed by the DEP and Cabot, Cabot disagreed with the determination that its activities caused the contamination.
In spite of Cabot’s vigorous defense, on March 10, 2016, a jury found that the company was guilty of the nuisance violation and awarded the two families a combined $4.2 million.
In 2010, Ohio passed Senate Bill 165 which made significant upgrades to the state’s oil and gas regulatory laws. One very important change included more stringent well casing standards for the industry. The bill required additional strings of steel casing and proper cement to protect underground sources of drinking water. Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources must also be notified when the cement is being set.
Additional protections were put in place in 2012 when the legislature passed Senate Bill 315, which required water well testing within 1,500 feet of a horizontal well before drilling takes place.
While regulations can’t predict every unforeseen circumstance, Ohio’s oil and gas regulatory framework is considered one of the most comprehensive in the nation.