Ohio State Senator Shannon Jones
COLUMBUS — Sen. Shannon Jones, Chair of the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee has set two more hearings for Gov. John Kasich’s fracking bill, S.B. 315. On Wednesday, May 2, the hearing will be at 9:00 AM in the Finance Hearing Room, Room 126, Senate Building, and on Thursday, May 3, the hearing will be at 9:30 AM in the South Hearing Room. According to the meeting notice, both hearings will be for testimony from proponents, opponents and interested parties.
Recognizing there may be many people who want to testify, those who are interested in testifying are asked to contact Dana Dunlap in Chair Jones’ office (614-466-9737) as soon as possible to obtain a witness slip and get on the list to testify.
Witnesses are asked to provide an electronic copy of their testimony in PDF format and 40 hard copies to Dana Dunlap in the Chair’s office no later than 4:30pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Electronic submissions can be sent to email@example.com.
Written testimony is available from the following witnesses from last week’s hearings:
Melissa English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action, Attachment 1, Attachment 2
Donna Carver, Mt. Gilead, Attachment 1, Attachment 2, Attachment 3
Rev. Frank Edmands, Member, Social Justice and Public Policy Committee, Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio; Board member, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light
Dr. Alan Rosenfield, League of Women Voters of Ohio
Kevin Schmidt, Director, Public Policy Services, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association
Jed Thorp, Chapter Manager, Sierra Club Ohio Chapter
Nathan Johnson, Staff Attorney, Buckeye Forest Council
Greg Smith, President, Energy Optimizers USA
Dylan Sullivan, Staff Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council
Eric Thumma, Director, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Iberdrola Renewables, Inc.; PowerPoint
Ron Wyss, Commissioner, Hardin County
Eric Zimmer, President, Tipping Point Renewable Energy; Chairman, Advanced Energy Economy
David Boehm, Partner, Boehm, Kurtz, and Lowry, representing Ohio Energy Group
Trent Dougherty, Director, Legal Affairs, Ohio Environmental Council
Steve Frenkel, Director, Midwest Office, Union of Concerned Scientists
Tracy Sabetta, representing National Wildlife Federation
Todd Snitchler, Chair, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, supporting documents
James Zehringer, Director, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Brain Kaiser, Ohio Environmental Council
Dayna Baird, American Wind Energy Association
Julian Boggs, Environment Ohio
— Paul Ryder, Assistant Director, Ohio Citizen Action
A pump capable of extracting almost 5,000 gallons of water per minute sits idle adjacent to a bridge over the Licking River near the Licking-Knox county line.
UTICA — “Officials in Newark, where the Licking River is the primary source of water, say the loss of water won’t be a problem unless a drought occurs, but the law says that if it reached that point, the government would have no authority to make drillers stop withdrawing from the river.
Some of that fracking water will return to the surface and must by law be transported to an injection well, where the water will be deposited deep underground, presumably never to see the surface again.
Ohio has 177 injection wells, and two more have been proposed for Mansfield. Despite vocal opposition at the local level, the decision as to whether the well can be drilled rests at the Statehouse in Columbus.
Whether it’s the procurement of water necessary to drilling operations, or how that water is disposed after the well is fracked, or just the wells themselves, local governments have little statutory power over oil and gas development within their boundaries.”
— Russ Zimmer, Coshocton Review
Continue reading Power of local government is limited on gas development
Nin Andrews, Poland, Ohio.
COLUMBUS — “The operator of a northeast Ohio deep-injection well tied to earthquakes in the area has yet to receive the state clearance it says is necessary to conduct independent seismic research aimed at proving the well wasn’t the cause of the quakes.
Documents show D&L Energy in Youngstown sought state permission in February to re-open the shuttered well – after plugging it to a shallower depth – and then to measure the vibrations for its analysis. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has yet to respond, in what could signal a permanent delay.
D&L closed the Youngstown well after a New Year’s Eve quake reached 4.0 magnitude. The state then imposed a moratorium on deep-injection drilling near the site, halting regional disposal of millions of gallons of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or oil and other forms of drilling.
ODNR spokesman Carlo LoParo said Friday the state can’t approve the request as long as the indefinite moratorium is in place.”
— Associated Press
Continue reading Still no earthquake study by well operator
Youngstown resident Tom Cvetkovich
YOUNGSTOWN — “Opponents of fracking peacefully made their presence known at Youngstown’s city council meeting on Wednesday.
Youngstown resident Tom Cvetkovich addressed city council during the meeting’s public comments period to an unusually full house of spectators made up of people who are against the fracking process.
Cvetkovich is taking his plea to city leaders, the governing board of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District and Mill Creek Park Commissioners to ban fracking in the Meander and Mill Creek Watersheds.”
— Jennifer Baligush, WFMJ
Continue reading Fracking opponent pleads for ban on drilling near local water shed
GALION — “Electricity customers in Galion are part-owners of a $5 billion power plant that is behind schedule and might lead to years of high utility bills.
The city of about 11,000, about 60 miles north of Columbus, is one of many in Ohio whose city-owned electric companies have chosen to invest in the Prairie State Energy Campus, a coal-fired power plant being built in southwestern Illinois.
…Electricity from Prairie State will cost $57 per megawatt-hour this year and average about $65 for the life of the plant, AMP has said. This covers almost all aspects of power production and the debt to build the plant. It does not include delivery costs.
Today, an Ohio buyer can get electricity on the wholesale market for less than $35 per megawatt-hour, plus a capacity charge of less than $10 for a total of less than $45.
…Environmental groups, such as Ohio Citizen Action, say AMP members have signed up for overpriced, dirty power.
‘You’ve got the market shifting out from underneath them,’ said Sandy Buchanan, the group’s executive director. ‘At the same time, you’ve got communities locked into long-term financial deals that say they have to repay no matter what. That’s the nightmare scenario.’”
— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch
Continue reading Cities on hook for power plant’s costs
CINCINNATI — “This is big news.
The announcement is the culmination of a campaign that started last fall, when Ohio Citizen Action and Greenpeace ran a successful ballot initiative to allow the City to bargain for electricity on behalf of its residents. The voters passed the initiative by a resounding 59-41 percent. In February, the coalition was successful in rallying the citizens of Cincinnati to give the city a clear mandate to supply 100 percent renewable energy and no ‘fracked’ natural gas. The Council responded with resounding approval of the people’s demands, unanimously passing a motion asking bidders to include a 100 percent Renewable Energy Credit option (in addition to a lowest cost electricity option).
…A renewable energy future for the city of Cincinnati is great news; it is a great first step in the direction we need to go as a nation. It is time to see real, deployed, and distributed renewable energy solutions across America.”
— Phil Radford, Greenpeace and Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action
Continue reading Cincinnati dumps Duke Energy
NEW YORK, NY — “As Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s board of directors moves to distance itself from loans taken by CEO Aubrey McClendon, documents reviewed by Reuters show that at least one former board member had undisclosed personal financial ties to him in the past.
Now-retired board member Frederick Whittemore lent money to McClendon in the late 1990s, the documents show, even as Whittemore helped determine how much the CEO should be paid to run Chesapeake.
…Although nearly 14 years old, the McClendon-Whittemore deal raises a number of concerns, some analysts said. Among them: whether a board member who helps determine McClendon’s salary should have a separate, private financial relationship with the CEO he oversees.”
— Brian Grow and Anna Driver, Reuters
Continue reading Exclusive: Chesapeake board member lent money to CEO McClendon
COLUMBUS — “I have attended virtually all of my County Commissioners meetings this year. They have been working very hard to develop a Roads Usage Maintenance Agreement. In the past there was an Ohio Department of Natural Resources rule that drilling companies had to sign a Roads Usage Maintenance Agreement prior to obtaining a permit to drill. . . . I then learned that the gas and oil industry was hosting an event for the Ohio legislature on February 7 of this year. Within weeks, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources dropped the Roads Usage Maintenance Agreement rule, only requiring a ‘good faith’ agreement. As a resident of a very poor rural county that does not have funds to repair roads and bridges that are already in need of repair, I am distressed that this rule was dropped. I ask that at the very least this requirement be reinstated and include roads and bridges damaged by the hauling of wastewater to and from injection wells.”
— Testimony of Donna Carver, Mt. Gilead, Ohio, on S.B. 315, before the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, April 25, 2012.
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati hopes its energy supply will soon be cheaper and greener.The city said Thursday it will be the first major city in America to choose a 100 percent ‘green’ electricity supply for its eligible residents and small businesses while saving as many as 53,000 households money through the city’s Government Aggregation Program.The city has selected First Energy Solutions as the city’s new electricity provider through an aggregation process in which the city represents all eligible individual customers as one larger buying unit to negotiate a lower price on electricity.”
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati will be the first major city in America to choose a 100% ‘green’ electricity supply for its eligible residents and small businesses while saving as many as 53,000 households money through the City’s Government Aggregation Program.
The City has selected First Energy Solutions (FES) as the City’s new electricity provider through an aggregation process in which the City represents all eligible individual customers as one larger buying unit to negotiate a lower price on electricity. Specifically, Cincinnati is collectively becoming a giant consumer to whom the green energy market can sell.
FES’s selection will save the average eligible household approximately $133 per year on their electricity bills. Energy aggregation was proposed by City Council and approved by voters in November 2011.”
— Meg Olberding, Communications Director, City of Cincinnati
Continue reading Cincinnati becomes first major city to offer 100% green electricity to residents
WASHINGTON, DC — “Breathing polluted air can harm your health and even shorten your life. State of the Air is a report card on air pollution in communities across the nation. The more you learn, the more you can protect your health and take steps to make our air cleaner and healthier.”
— American Lung Association Continue reading State of the air
CHARLESTON, WV — “Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, and perhaps part of it was the way the stories were reported by two different reporters (neither of which was me — and I didn’t attend Akins’ appearance in Charleston or the company’s annual meeting). But it struck me as a bit of playing to your audience. To shareholders worried about their bottom line, the message was that AEP is diversifying and moving away from what is fast becoming a costly and out of favor fuel. To West Virginia business leaders — always a crowd who wants to hear how great a future coal has — the message was to not worry and be happy. Nothing to see there with those projections of huge declines in Central Appalachian coal production. Just move along.”
— Ken Ward, Jr., Charleston Gazette Continue reading The truth about coal’s future in Southern W.Va.
NEW YORK, NY — “Chesapeake Energy is almost out of rope. Investors have punished the company in recent days, sending its shares down as much as 25%, following reports that Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s co-founder and chief executive, engaged in some questionable transactions with the company.
But while accusations of sweetheart deals are troublesome, they are really the least of Chesapeake’s worries. The company is drowning in debt and can no longer rely on hedging to shield itself from low natural gas prices. Chesapeake and its embattled chief executive are now in a race against time to diversify the company’s production away from natural gas to oil, so they can prove to investors that they can make money the old fashioned way – by actually earning it through the drillbit.
McClendon grew Chesapeake from a small energy company into the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. in just a few short years, second only to ExxonMobil (XOM). He did it by aggressively reinvesting the company profits to acquire large tracts of drillable land.”
— Cyrus Sanati, CNN Money
Continue reading How Chesapeake Energy went from darling to dud
Workers move a section of well casing into place at a Chesapeake Energy well site in Bradford County on Friday, April 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
GLENROCK, WY — “Several dozen residents near Douglas have evacuated because of a problem at a natural gas well.
The Glenrock Bird reported that large amounts of gas were coming out of the ground on Tuesday night but it wasn’t immediately clear what happened.
The owner of the well, Chesapeake Energy, said there was a “well control incident” but hasn’t released any details yet.
A Converse County sheriff’s dispatcher said residents of a subdivision were told about the problem Tuesday and given the option to stay or evacuate.
KCWY-TV reports that over 50 of the nearly 400 residents left their homes. Residents told the station that the sound of escaping gas could be heard six miles away.”
— Associated Press Continue reading Chesapeake gas well failure prompts evacuation near Douglas
NEW YORK, NY — “Disclosure requirements vary considerably from state to state, as ProPublica recently charted. In many cases, the rules have been limited by a “trade secrets” provision under which companies can claim that a proprietary chemical doesn’t have to be disclosed to regulators or the public.
One apparent proponent of the trade secrets caveat? The American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC, a nonprofit group that brings together politicians and corporations to draft and promote conservative, business-friendly legislation. ALEC has been in the spotlight recently because of its support of controversial laws like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” provision.
…The Environmental Protection Agency cannot regulate fracking in order to protect groundwater, because in 2005 Congress exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which controls how industries inject substances underground.
According to ALEC’s blog, the model disclosure legislation is designed to promote ‘responsible resource production’ and ‘aims to preempt the promulgation of duplicative, burdensome federal regulations’ from the EPA, in particular. ALEC has consistently opposed any federal control over fracking. In 2009, the group adopted a ‘Resolution to Retain State Authority Over Hydraulic Fracturing.’”