Monday, June 20, 2016

The Politics of Water Contamination in a Rigged Economy

The Politics of Water Contamination in a Rigged Economy

From The Frontlines:
Just as in Flint Mi, watch powerful, well heeled corporate interests, conspire to persuade the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to betray the public trust at a public hearing of the EPA's Science Advisory Board on June 14th and 15th, 2016

This time it's the titans of the Fossil Fuel Industry dispassionately testifying that widespread, irreversible water contamination in places like Dimock, PA is simply not a result of hydrofracking….

Environmental Activists provide stark testimony that the EPA has colluded with the Fossil Fuel Industry and arrogated their responsibility to protect citizens.
Follow the money and you will see the rigged economy at work. - Jay Wilcox


Rift Continues Between Drillers & Landowners re Royalty Bill

PA State Representative Garth Everett, was "smacked on the knuckles" directly by the drilling industry! 

Or was the "smack" delivered through their legislative shills like Gene Yaw, Joe Scarnatti, Mike Turzai, and Jeff Pyle? I was wondering, is this one of those pieces of legislation that gets introduced on behalf of the constituents - so the legislator could say "I tried", knowing full well it won't pass? 

By the way, landowners being screwed out of royalty payments is merely one reason "everybody hates oil and gas companies"The abusive taking of land via eminent domain, the lies, the bullying tactics used to get people to sign a lease or pipeline ROW, the poisoning of their drinking water, the toxic air quality, the loss of their property value, the total disruption of their way of life, etc., etc. 

A real legislative "champion of the people" would surely introduce legislation to address those issues as well to make sure royalty owners, as well as their impacted neighbors and communities are treated "fairly". Right? 

Maybe State Rep. Garth Everett should take more aggressive action, rather then simply trying to "call attention" or just "raise the profile of the issue."  (Sounds like your back-peddling.)

Perhaps State Rep. Garth Everett should introduce a bill that would require PA to conduct independent health impact studies in the Marcellus shalefields, too - like New York and Maryland did. 

Or, maybe he's afraid that would subject him to an actual public "flogging" and not just a symbolic "smack on the knuckles"? - JT

Rift Continues Between Drillers & Landowners re Royalty Bill

Garth Everett
Rep. Garth Everett
Last year yet another new bill was introduced by State Rep. Garth Everett to guarantee landowners get a minimum of 12.5% royalties–regardless of post-production deductions (see New Bill HB 1391 Will Guarantee PA Landowners 12.5% Royalties). Organizations like the PA chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) fully support the bill. However, drillers make the counterargument that duly signed contracts which allow for certain deductions should not be swept away with the stroke of a pen. The industry is steadfast against this and other bills like it. This spring HB 1391 got a brief hearing in the House (see Landowners vs Drillers: PA Minimum Royalty Bill Gets a Hearing). But since then–nothing. That is, until Rep. Everett attached HB 1391 as an amendment to another bill. Everett quickly withdrew his amendment–the purpose was to “call attention” to it and reignite the discussion. Everett was quickly smacked on the knuckles by the drilling industry who is not happy with him for his action…
A bill aimed at ensuring oil and gas royalty owners are paid fairly made a fleeting appearance at the Pennsylvania Capitol this week.
“I succeeded in bringing attention to the issue and to the bill,” says Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), who on Tuesday attached, and then quickly withdrew, his royalties bill as an amendment to another measure that ultimately passed the House and Senate.
In the wake of the Marcellus Shale boom, leaseholders have been complaining for years that they’re getting cheated out of royalty money by some of the nation’s biggest gas drillers. Before withdrawing the amendment, Everett spoke on the House floor and urged his colleagues to support changes to the state’s royalties law. He says the maneuver was simply to raise the profile of the issue.
“I got immediate feedback from the the governmental affairs folks from the Marcellus Shale Coalition and other gas producers,” says Everett. “They disagree with the premise of the bill and said, ‘Why are you doing this again?’ I said, ‘I’m doing this because royalty owners aren’t getting paid fairly.’”
“There’s a reason everybody hates oil and gas companies,” says NARO-PA president Jackie Root. “They got so outrageously greedy. If they can’t operate profitably, they should shut the wells in.”
Neither the Marcellus Shale Coalition nor the Pennsylvania division of the American Petroleum Institute would comment. Drillers have previously argued the bill could violate the state constitution by changing the terms of existing contracts they have with landowners.
Despite a failed attempt to get a different royalties bill passed last session, Everett says he’s pressing on with HB 1391, which has substantially different language. He is meeting with House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R- Indiana) next week to discuss it, but doesn’t expect it will advance before next fall.*
 *Harrisburg & Philadelphia (PA) StateImpact Pennsylvania (Jun 17, 2016) – Royalties bill makes very brief appearance at State Capitol

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How Gas Drillers Rented Pennsylvania’s Government

Does anyone actually believe that the gas industry and their lobbyists spent this kind of money on PA's government without expecting - and getting, a significant "return on their investment"? 

This is why "lobbying, bird-dogging, petitioning", elected officials and trying to work through the nightmarish and cleverly rigged "regulatory system" is a complete waste of time, energy, and resources. 

This report is a "must read" for every Pennsylvanian to understand the depth and the extent of corruption in PA politics. - JT

How Gas Drillers Rented Pennsylvania’s Government 
Click this link below to read the full report. 
Top Executive Recipients in 2013-2014: 
  • Governor Tom Corbett - $794,884 
  • Republican Governors Association - $501,377 
  • Governor Wolf's Chief of Staff Katie McGinty - $72,500 
  • Governor Tom Wolf - $59,500 

Top Legislative Recipients in 2013-2014: 
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati* - $101,788 
  • House Majority Leader Dave Reed – Cosponsor of Act 13 - $81,250 
  • Former Senator Tim Solobay – $63,192 
  • Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa – $48,700 
  • Representative Jeffrey Pyle* – $44,745 
  • Former Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi – $43,000 
  • Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman – $40,750 
  • House Speaker Mike Turzai – $27,500 
  • Senator Don White* – $25,200 
  • House Majority Caucus Administrator Brian Ellis – Cosponsor of Act 13 – $21,550 
  • Senator Kim Ward* – $18,500 
  • House Minority Leader Frank Dermody – $18,000 
* Serves on House or Senate Environment Resources & Energy Committee 

Lobbying: 2007-2014 total: $46,869,515 
Lobbying expenditures declined slightly to $9.1 million in 2014 from an all-time high of $9.6 million in 2012. The jump in 2012 spending likely reflected the efforts to pass and implement Act 13, but relatively stable levels in 2013 and 2014 demonstrate major ongoing attempts to influence policy. 

Gas Industry Lobbying in Pennsylvania by year: 
  • 2007: $1,733,056 
  • 2008: $2,941,195 
  • 2009: $3,209,763 
  • 2010: $5,260,532 
  • 2011: $6,253,185 
  • 2012: $9,568,046 
  • 2013: $8,843,073 
  • 2014: $9,060,665

John Trallo
Vice Chair, Shale Justice Coalition
Vice President: 
PA Community Right Network 
National Board of Directors
National Community Rights Network 
Opinions & editorials:
Citizen Sane/blog

"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson