Appalachian Basin

Facts Trump Folly at Reed Natural Gas Forum

During a recent forum hosted by Congressman Tom Reed panelists were asked to discuss risks and rewards of natural gas exploration. Trying to keep this discussion fair and balanced, Rep. Reed invited an expert from the natural gas industry, John Holko; a deputy commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Eugene Leff; and a regional activist, Peter Gamba, to share in the day’s discussion.  Despite being evenly split between an industry representative, a state regulator and an environmental activist, as usual, many activists in attendance thought the panel was heavily biased towards natural gas exploration. This of course could not have been further from the truth given the equal representation provided to all.  What is true however is that the professionals representing DEC and the natural gas industry, with decades of expertise, provided an elightening fact based discussion on the development of  natural gas.

The panel discussion was a refreshing event unlike so many others associated with natural gas exploration in upstate New York.  It was refreshing because the panelists, well-steeped in knowledge, industry practices and actual risks inherent in natural gas exploration and development based their discussion on science and facts putting the anectodal claims of the anti’s in the backseat.

John Holko is president of Lenape Resources, Inc and a member of IOGA-NY with more than thirty years experience developing oil & gas reserves in New York and Pennsylvania.  Click here and here for copies of his presentations. Of the many issues John discussed here are a few that stand out.

  1. Sub-surface, or shallow methane as it is commonly referred to, has been an issue across NY and PA for decades. In fact it is a common occurrence across the country in places like Colorado. You might recall seeing shallow methane before when Josh Fox video taped it coming out of a faucet. Click here for a full debunking of this myth.
  2. NY has a very unique tax-structure called Ad-valorem in place to ensure fair revenue is generated from producing wells. Also, this tax structure guarantees revenue for local municipalities and townships not state coffers. While many in the anti-community will disagree because Chip Northrup said so, the fact of the matter is Ad-valorem has been utilized successfully in NY for many years. Click here to see Chip’s reaction when asked about Ad-valorem.
  3. The process of Hydraulic fracturing stays within the Marcellus Shale and does not penetrate the rock above it. NY Dec already has a firm set of regulations in place to prevent development in areas where the Marcellus Shale is too shallow among other things. Click here for a very detailed description of NY state oil & gas development regulations by Dr. Scott Cline.

Here are some clips from the question and answer period.

Developing Better Regulations – Methane is Common. In this two part clip Eugene Leff describes some of the effort DEC is putting into new Oil & Gas regulations in N.Y. The second clip is John Holko answering a question about shallow methane.

Recycle & Reuse. In this video John Holko describes how the industry is recycling and reusing produced water in future wells. This practice is environmentally friendly and more efficient for the industry.

The playlist below contains some thoughts from Eugene Leff concerning science and emotion. The second includes a statement from a participant in the audience at the event and the final video is from another audience member correcting the myth that roads in Pennsylvania have been ruined by Natural Gas development. Enjoy!

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