Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth,
Monday, December 4, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017
After more than two dozen failures at the local level in Ohio, the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense (CELDF) recently announced plans to launch a statewide initiative petition for two Ohio constitutional amendments. The ultimate goal is to alter state law to allow local fracking bans (among other extreme objectives). While the proposed so-called “Ohio Community Rights Amendment” and the “Initiative and Referendum Amendment for Counties and Townships” garnered 1,000 signatures and was certified by the Ohio’s Attorney General, the road to a statewide ballot measure includes passing muster with the Ohio Ballot Board and would require at least 305,591 Ohio voter signatures to qualify. In other words, CELDF is on step two of the 28 total steps it will take implement an actual statewide citizens-initiated constitutional amendment. In addition, despite what CELDF claimed in a press release announcing the decision this week, the group has had nothing but failures in other “similar” attempts in other states (a fact most media outletsfailed to note).
With that said, here are the facts of the matter (to date):
When was the petition submitted and certified? And how does that process work?
On Nov. 17, CELDF submitted two petitions for state constitutional amendment to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who certified the signatures on Nov. 27. These were the first and second steps in a very long process that is nowhere near complete. While CELDF would have you believe their so-called ballot measure will hit the masses tomorrow, 26 steps in the process remainleading up to the July deadline, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. Notably, more than 50 percent of efforts that clear the Ohio Attorney General’s first two steps do not make it to the ballot.
What do the petitions actually say?
The Ohio Community Rights Amendment initiative petition states as follows:
This amendment secures the right of local, community self-government for the people of Ohio by guaranteeing local authority to enact laws to protect unalienable rights and the health, safety and welfare of community members and natural ecosystems, free from state preemption or corporate interference. This right includes the power of each Ohioan to act collectively through his or her local government to alter, amend or abolish systems of law and government when they fail to protect or when they directly or indirectly violate the unalienable rights and the health, safety and welfare of community members and natural ecosystems.
Following adoption of this proposed amendment, the right of local community self-government will be exercised through the adoption of county and municipal laws either directly by the people of those communities through the initiative process or by their local elected representatives on behalf of the people of the community. Under this amendment, State laws won’t have the power or authority to preempt or overturn local laws enacted to protect the rights of community members and the local ecosystem. Claimed corporate “rights” will not be able to override the rights protected by the exercise of the right of local community self-government. Local laws enacted pursuant to this amendment will not be valid if they violate or diminish the rights of natural persons or ecosystems, nor will they be valid if they reduce established protections in law for natural persons or ecosystems.
The Initiative and Referendum Amendment for Counties and Townships initiative petition statesas follows:
This amendment establishes a right of initiative and referendum powers to residents of counties and townships, just as residents in Ohio municipalities have possessed since 1912.
Has a political action committee been filed for this effort?
No. Not at this time. This is significant because any legitimate effort to actually launch a statewide campaign would include a campaign committee.
Have there been any other statewide ballot initiatives in other states where CELDF has been successful?
No. While CELDF is aggressively trying to mislead Ohio media and the public that they have made headway “advancing” what they call “similar efforts” in other states, that’s simply not true. CELDF’s similar efforts in both New Hampshire and Colorado failed, and they only recently made attempts to implement similar initiatives in other states.
And let’s not forget they have been failing for years in Ohio at the local level.
CELDF is the very definition of “big money.” Its coffers swelled from $1.6 million in 2014 to $2.5 million in 2015, and spent almost a million dollars on lobbying and grassroots efforts, as a result of the more than $3.4 million the group has raised over the past few years. According to its latest tax filing, the organization has seen its fundraising increase by more than 73 percent since 2009. However, new reports indicate there may be millions more in dark money pouring into its coffers.
What does the language of the petitions actually mean?
The language of the petition is extremely broad, and CELDF itself said in its recent press release, “This goes beyond fossil fuel industries.” Indeed it does. And in fact, the constitutional amendment, if passed, would literally mean that a local law (on any issue) would supersede state law. In other words, local townships or cities could pass laws to prohibit certain activities that are protected by state laws, as Susan Beiersdorfer, activist and author of these amendment petitions, has admitted:
“This is a movement about saying we, the people, in the cities of Youngstown can decide what industries come in here.”
That’s right: if the city decides it doesn’t like your business, you’re out of business!
Beiersdorfer’s statement is certainly consistent with CELDF’s overarching mission to ban any kind of industry it doesn’t like, as stated by CELDF founder, Thomas Linzey,
“If you are going to put all that work into a ballot initiative, why not do a ballot initiative that bans all finance companies in New York City from funding new projects that exacerbate climate change? Why not do something real…why not do something real…cause people are saying to themselves, ‘it would be illegal, it would be unlawful, it would be unconstitutional, because you are taking their property’ well..(expletive), it’s time.”
If that’s not enough, take a look at this meeting where CELDF organizer Ben Price and his colleagues explain how they’d like things to run:
Meeting attendee: “Ben was nice enough to say we’re gonna make decisions in here that the rest of the community will just have to live with.”
Ben Price: “It’s how it’s done!”
Meeting attendee: “We laugh about it, but sadly it’s how it’s done.”
After six consecutive CELDF failures in Youngstown, one would think that voters have spoken on this issue enough. As the Youngstown Vindicator rightfully pointed out,
“A reasonable person — with emphasis on the word reasonable— would conclude, therefore, that the outcome of the general election should be the final word on this self-serving issue. After all, the people have spoken, over and over. But the Beiersdorfers and others, who are determined to save us from ourselves, continue to believe they represent a majority of the residents of the city — despite evidence to the contrary.”
But CELDF has proven to be anything but reasonable. And it is important for Ohio voters to know that the group’s lack of rationality is surpassed only by its desire to ban fracking and other business activity essential to Ohio’s economy.
In total, the upstream oil and natural gas industry has spent more than $300 million in eight Ohio counties from 2011 to the first quarter of 2017, and improved more than 630 miles of roads from these investments alone. This report takes a closer look at the history and execution of these agreements within eight counties spanning from 2011 to 2017: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Guernsey, Jefferson, Harrison, Monroe and Noble. This report is the second of its kind in an on-going Utica Shale Local Support Series between OOGA and EID Ohio that collectively examine multiple ways in which oil and natural gas production directly benefits local schools, counties, townships, cities, villages and other vital local services and infrastructure.
Key Findings For Ohio Shale Counties:
· Total Investment Made in Ohio Infrastructure: More Than $300 Million
· Total Number of Road Miles Improved: More Than 630 Miles
· Amount of Investment Directly to Local Communities: 100 Percent
Earlier this year the first report was released, which found Ohio’s oil and gas operators contributed more than $43 million dollars in six counties over five years, as a result of property taxes paid on crude oil and natural gas production. An addendum with two additional counties was added to the release report to include both Columbiana and Jefferson Counties pushing the Ad Valorem contributed number to $45 million. Combined, these two reports find the oil and gas industry has contributed more than $345 million in direct investment into counties where drilling and production of oil and natural gas from the state’s shale resources is occurring.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Monday, November 6, 2017
Updated: Thursday, November 9, 2017
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted its seventh annual Technical Conference and Oilfield Expo on November 2, 2017. For the third year, the event was held in Cambridge at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center. With the industry slowly recovering from the downturn, the overall attendance, as well as enthusiasm, was up over the last few years as the industry settles into the new normal. The event hosted a wide array of attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors, all contributing its success. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18 was the event’s premier sponsor and was a key driver to the overall success of the event.
The evening before the technical conference presentations, the Association hosted a welcome reception held on the exhibit floor for everyone attending. This was well attended and provided an opportunity for attendees to network, mingle, and visit the exhibitor booths while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
“Our technical conference is about sharing information to make our industry better and more efficient. It was truly a great event this year,” OOGA Executive Vice President Shawn Bennett expressed. “This year we had presentations from all aspects of our industry so there was something there for all of our members. We had a great turnout and can’t wait to be back next year.”
What really stole the show were the speaker presentations and panel discussions during the technical conference, providing in depth discussion on topics impacting the oil and gas industry.
Some of the various topics at the Technical Conference included comments from experts on emergency response and minimizing costs, to overviews of pieces of equipment such as reciprocating compressors and in-pipe turbine generators. One of the key presentations was provided by Bryce Custer who is experienced in all aspects of commercial real estate. Bryce spoke on the topic site selection criteria for petrochemical and energy service facilities.
“We are beginning to see a renaissance along the Ohio River Corridor. Dormant steel factories, power plants and industrial sites are being remediated and repurposed for the advent of industries related to the shale gas industry,” said Bryce Custer, with NAI Spring. “The Shell petrochemical plant under construction in Monaca Pennsylvania is providing additional interest in the entire Ohio River and Appalachian basin area. From “Rust Belt to Plastic Belt” will be the new normal for the entire area.”
“This area has the key criteria for Site Selection in terms of abundant and low cost feedstock, many suitable sites, ongoing infrastructure upgrades, a skilled workforce and most importantly, our proximity to customers along with local and state incentives” according to Custer.
Every year the Association strives to bring the best and brightest to Cambridge to keep all of its members up to date on the latest and greatest innovations within the industry. This is one of the key roles the Association plays, creating a platform for its members to interact and do business. We encourage everyone to join the conversation next year and attend the event in person to hear the presentations impacting our industry in their entirety.
Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations,
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Updated: Thursday, November 9, 2017
The Appalachia Chapter of National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) recently held its annual conference at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulfur Springs, WV. Members from Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere attended the annual event to network and discuss current issues regarding leases, drilling activity and legislative affairs the Utica and Marcellus development area.
The two day event hosted many knowledgeable speakers on a wide range of topics.
Bob Orndorff, Dominion Energy; Jim Crews, Marathon/MPLX; and Brent Breon of Blue Racer Midstream sharing some insights on the topic of midstream buildout. Eclipse Resources’ Oleg Tolmachev provided a report on what his company is up to as they continue to expand lateral length and explore for resources underneath the Wayne National Forest. A legislative update from West Virginia and Ohio were provided by State Senator Charles Trump and State Representative Andrew Thompson.
Energy in Depth’s (EID) Jackie Stewart joined OOGA for a talk about how to most effectively use grassroots to get your message across. Your Association and EID have a great and ongoing working relationship with the folks at NARO. Additionally, Jackie had her own session to speak about what the anti-oil and gas groups are up to these days, explaining her various efforts pushing back on their. OOGA was also able to provide a Utica Shale update discussing the status of various upstream, midstream and downstream projects and how the industry gives back to communities across Ohio.
At the membership dinner, The Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Lab’s, Dr. Randall Gentry shared the various research projects he and his teams are working on how their work impacts the industry.
The credit for this very successful event goes to our friend and Medina County’s own, Rebecca Clutter, NARO Appalachia Board member. Rebecca put together a very comprehensive program addressing many of the hot topics of the day. Perhaps most importantly, she addressed the audience about her working relationship with the industry in Ohio and how through combined efforts has been able to get many important items to both landowners and producers accomplished.
This was a great event and we are truly grateful and thankful to Rebecca for having OOGA out to speak and to have the ability to network among friends.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven,
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2017
Once again the Ohio Oil and Gas Association is pleased to host its seventh annual Technical Conference and Oilfield Expo on November 1-2, 2017 in the heart of Eastern Ohio at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center in Cambridge. Network with other professionals, hear dynamic speakers discuss cutting edge topics and join the oilfield welcome reception on the evening of November 1. The main event is all day November 2 and is slated to host hundreds of participants, see who is exhibiting with the interactive Trade Show Floor Plan. As OOGA’s premier fall oil and gas industry event, in-depth presentations on today’s most important topics will include:
OOGSC – Emergency Response to Gas Meter Station Slip
Minimizing Costs and Maximizing Assets for Salt Water Disposal Wells
Structural Control of the Point Pleasant Formation Deposition and Production
Capacity Control for Reciprocating Compressors
In-Pipe Turbine Generator (IPTG)
Site Selection Criteria for Petrochemical and Energy Services Facilities
Dissolved Hydrocarbon Gas Analysis in Water
Characteristics and Performance of Microbial-Based Well-Stimulation and Paraffin Dispersal Products Obtained From a Novel Fermentation Process
Following day one of exhibitor set-up all event attendees are invited to join exhibitors for the new evening networking reception that will be held on the trade show floor.
OOGA would also like to thank each of our sponsors for making this event possible, with special recognition to International Union of Operating Engineers for being the event’s premier sponsor.
We look forward to seeing you there, visit the event website to learn more and register online!
Posted By Brian Hickman, Director of Government Affairs,
Monday, October 16, 2017
In 2010, House Bill 133 was passed and enacted. The bill provided Ohio with a formalized process to determine if oil and gas activity was suitable on public lands. Before HB 133, Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was the sole arbiter of leases, which usually entitled DAS sending the agency in question a boilerplate contract for such an agreement.
HB 133 looked at this practice and created the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission. The panel was comprised of two representatives of the oil and gas industry, a representative knowledgeable in finance or real estate transactions, an environmental or conservation interest, and the Chief of the Division of Geological Survey, who would Chair this group.
Collectively, the Commission would harness these perspectives and decide if an oil and gas lease would be beneficial to enter into with an operator. This analysis would be vital to both the success of the program and the quality of offers accepted and entered into by the State of Ohio.
For example, conceptually the oil and gas industry representatives would provide the Commission with information regarding the drilling of the well, setbacks, and other details pertinent to drilling and operating an oil and gas well. The member representing real estate or finance would provide the Commission with information on the lease, as in what is a reasonable amount for the state to receive with the lease or other contractual provisions. The environmental or conservation interest would bring a perspective of these state lands, as in is it feasible to lease here or, if a lease can proceed, what additional safeguards should be discussed.
In summary, the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission was established to create a formalized process for various interests to begin a discussion about if an oil and gas lease should be entered into on certain state lands. Communication between these interests, the state, the regulatory body, and the general public is the central notion of the program. Now that one individual has been appointed, it is our hope that more appointments follow so that this important discussion can take place for the benefit of Ohio and its citizens.
It is like Christmas in October for the city leaders who have been forced to tighten city budgets on the various needs of the city due to the over $187,000 spent, according to Energy in Depth, on official notices and Election Day expenses over the last six election cycles.
“the decision doesn’t really surprise me. The ‘corporate state’ is alive and well, and it doesn’t work for the people.”
The “corporate state” as Mrs. Beiersdorfer puts it, did not draft the so called “Community Bill of Rights” and in fact had nothing to do with the entire effort or the fact that court disagreed with the proposal. The “corporate state” was and is too busy putting the hard working people of Youngstown and the greater Mahoning Valley to work assembling cars, rolling steel and building power plants. Out of state lawyers for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) wrote the documents, Beiersdorfer helped spearhead the campaign. Businesses big or small are not to blame for this end results.
After seven attempts and garnering less wins then the Cleveland Browns, it might be time to stop and take note. That is seven spent summers collecting signatures and seven falls campaigning the message, some would say agenda, yet it continues to not resonating with local voters, chambers of commerce, labor unions, their own Mahoning County Board of Elections and the Ohio Supreme Court. Oil and gas is not the enemy in Youngstown, as voters have proved time and time again. Ray and Susie both have positions of influence at Youngstown State University where they are in front countless students who are the next generation of leaders for the Mahoning Valley. They should challenge them to rebuild their community, engage them to be the agents of change for the betterment of the entire region, driving it forward instead of just spinning their wheels.
While CELDF continues to rack up big money in their political accounts and losses in Ohio (5-28 by our count) many county boards of elections, court of common pleas, court of appeals, the Ohio Secretary of State, the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Supreme Court have all said the efforts do not comply with state law. The message to the CELDF and the dwindling amount of followers, stop trying to spread misinformation, stop trying to sell the so called “Community Bill of Rights,” stop wasting precious tax payers dollars because no one is listening anymore.
Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth,
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a competitive online auction today for federal minerals on 191 acres located in the Wayne National Forest (WNF). The combined sale of this acreage – all of which is located in Monroe County, Ohio — totaled $192,023.84, bringing the grand total for the three WNF lease sales thus far to just under $7 million. That grand total only accounts for five percent of the potential acreage available to lease in WNF.
The state of Ohio will receive approximately 25 percent of today’s sale, and each county with WNF acreage will also receive a share of the proceeds. This is certainly good news for the people who live and work in Monroe County, as Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher recently told the Times Leader,
“The money goes to the county to be divided. The school district gets 68 percent, and the rest is to be divided between the townships, local governments and levies. This is only initial sales, not royalties.”
But it’s not just the direct revenue from WNF lease sales and royalty payments that are having significant impacts. The real potential economic driver going forward is access to larger private units that will now be available for exploration. Previously, some private minerals and lands adjacent to the public land leased today were held hostage because WNF is a non-contiguous patchwork of federal and private lands and minerals weaved together, which is problematic for economic oil and natural gas development. Thanks to this recent lease sale, more exploration on adjacent private lands can be developed, and with that comes significant tax benefits from property taxes paid on production. As you can see below, Monroe County has watched its property taxes from production skyrocket since shale development began. In 2015 the county collected over $3.4 million.
With 37,904 acres yet to be leased in the Wayne through competitive online auction sales, WNF leasing and development are going to provide tremendous benefits for nearby communities in the coming years — especially if local schools near Ohio are any indicator.
Local schools see big benefits
The oil and gas industry has truly been transformational for children in Appalachia. Monroe County schools are reporting that revenue from the WNF lease sales combined with taxes from oil and natural gas development has enabled them to have more resources available for students. This added funding has helped curtail the recent trend of students transferring to schools that have traditionally had more resources available. As Beallsville High School Head Football Coach Larry Deem recently said,
“It’s a step in the right direction, and hopefully the kids are starting to see it, too. We will have what we are supposed to have (enrollment wise). As of right now, this is the first year we don’t have any eighth graders open-enrolled out of Beallsville for the first time since I’ve been here.” (Emphasis added)
To put the significance of this into perspective, it’s important to understand the school has been in dire need of funding to add and improve resources. For instance, the Beallsville High School football team has been using a two-room trailer that has only one restroom, no hot water and a leaky roof as its locker room. Thanks to local oil and gas leasing and development, including in WNF revenue, the school is now able to make improvements. As Beallsville Superintendent Jeffrey Greenley recently reported to the Intelligencer,
“There is a legitimate business reason to invest in our campuses. Every year we lose 102 students to Barnesville, and in 2016 we also lost another 102 to Shadyside. We receive $6,000 per student, and if I keep 50 kids from leaving the district for three years, we make our full investment back. I don’t think they’re going to come back, but if I can keep them from going there in the first place is the goal. … We want to compete for our kids, and we have to invest in these programs to keep them.”
Greenley reported that one school in his district has been able to spend $948,000 on academic materials just within the last 15 months, with plans to spend an additional $200,000, thanks to revenue from oil and gas.
But Beallsville is not the only school district in the region that has benefited. Thanks to property taxes paid on production combined with proceeds from the mineral sales in WNF, the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District recently made a $700,000 improvement to their athletic field, replacing grass with artificial turf. This is a repair that should last 15 years before it needs replaced. In fact, all three schools in the district are planning to make improvements to their athletic complexes, including their softball and baseball fields, all funded exclusively by oil and gas money.
In Monroe County particularly, gaining access to these federal minerals is vital, which is why the local schools have overwhelmingly supported the leasing of federal minerals. This is just one more example of many of how disconnected fringe environmental activists really are out of touch with the people who live in work in these communities. The fact is, fracking is positively changing lives and lifting communities and schools in Appalachia.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Thursday, September 28, 2017
The OOGA held its annual Region 1 & 2 fall Golf Outing at Shady Hollow Country Club in Massillon last Friday, September 22. The event was very well attended with more than 75 golfers out on the course.
The golf outing previously run by Frank and Doug Gonozalez, owners of GonzOil based in Canton was passed onto the Levengoods, owners of Sound Energy Company, Inc. based in Dover. Tyler Levengood spearheaded along with his brother Nate, enthusiastically stepping up as the new organizers, reinvigorating the event for all generation to partake. The Levengoods moved the event to a new course, added event sponsors and brought in new raffle with some great prizes.
The Association would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in the 2017 Region 1 & 2 Golf Outing or contributed to its success. Finally, a big thank you to our main event sponsors including: American Refining Group, Inc. for providing lunch and Ergon Oil Purchasing, Inc. for providing beverages. We look forward to seeing you at our next OOGA event—the Technical Conference and Oilfield Expo, being held on November 1-2, 2017 at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center in Cambridge, Ohio.
The biggest take away is that world energy use is projected to increase 28% by the year 2040. That is a rise from 2015 global energy consumption at 575,000,000,000,000,000 (quadrillion) British thermal units (Btu) to 736 quadrillion Btu in 2040. Much of the growth is driven largely by increased demands in China, India and other Asian countries.
The increased energy consumption will come from all fuel sources, with the exception of coal demand that remains basically flat. Renewables are expected to be a fast growing source, along with nuclear power, yet the world will rely primarily on fossil fuels as its principal energy source well into the future. Fossil fuels are expected to account for 77% of energy use in 2040, with natural gas rising considerably.
Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the IEO2017 outlook. Global natural gas consumption is expected to increase 1.4% per year, due to abundant natural gas sources and rising production. In the United States we are seeing a rebound from where the industry was last year at this time, and U.S. natural gas production was projected to increase to a record 59.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in October. This is up from September and reflects the upward trend that we have been seeing for the past seven months.
Also not in the forecast of their report is a peak in global oil demand. Petroleum and other liquid fuels will remain the largest energy source throughout the next two decades, based on IEO2017 predictions. To the tune of the world using 95,000,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2015, to 104 million b/d in 2030 and 113 million b/d in 2040. To satisfy this growing energy demand, the world needs a production increase by 16.1 million b/d from 2015 to 2040.
The United States is contributing to meet these energy needs, seen in the US EIA’s monthly drilling report, Shale production is set to rise for the 10th month in a row in October. The seven big shale plays across the states are forecasted to bring a rise in monthly production by nearly 79,000 b/d, totaling 6.1 million b/d.
On a local level, we’ve seen a modest increase in production in 2017. The latest quarterly results from the state show Ohio producers recovered 4,044,072 barrels of oil and 388 bcf of natural gas, spanning April 1, 2017 through July 31, 2017. The production results are a positive sign for our industry, as 2016 ended with the industry seeing both oil and natural gas production decrease.
The predictions from the IEO2017 are another set of data points in a larger on going discussion of what our world’s energy future needs to, and will look like. I encourage anyone interested in learning more to view the full report.