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December 27, 2014
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No drilling in the region?


But he said, perhaps an even more important factor was that the rock that makes up the shale in the area around Narrowsburg likely was exposed to too much “clastic material,” meaning essentially sandstone and clay, which washed out or diluted the organic material. So, Engelder said, “right from day one the rock was not rich enough to serve as a reservoir” for the gas.

The "anti" mantra

The mantra of the anti drilling crowd has always been "wait for the science" or "let's do a cumulative impact study" or "what's the hurry". The fact is that they have no intention whatsoever of honoring the science if the science is contrary to their agenda which is kill the drill. This is evidenced right here in this very story where we have a highly educated Penn State professor giving his opinion on the topic. The anti drillers rush to disprove, discredit and dismiss his opinion. Their goal is to stall drilling indefinitely or at least until more favorable political environs at which time they can crush it. Landowners such as myself see through this ploy. We have done our research and have concluded that the risks are small and acceptable on our land. We have also concluded it is our duty to manage our resources properly for the good of our selves, the local area, and the nation as a whole.

TheNatural misinformation

TheNatural’s statements are incorrect, to say the least.
This “gas drilling struggle” is most real, and will remain so.

“We” have given the DRBC nothing. The Agency either has authority, or it does not, and this will, most likely, be determined in a Federal Court of Law.

Fourteen or so “Test wells” were allowed by the DRBC, without review (except by the rubber stamp PADEP), in the Delaware River Basin. Several of them were drilled in our area, the Woodland Partners well near Callicoon, and the Crum well in Milanville, to name but two. NWPOA, Hess, and Newfield, chose to drop their pursuit of a hearing against the DRBC, and chose not to drill the other wells that had received PADEP permits. The fact remained, that the industry did not need to drill the numerous other “test wells” in order to gather the information they needed. Those would all have been “production” wells in the end.

The description of those opposed to this industrialization and contamination in the Basin as “wealthy elite”, and “vacationers” vs. “struggling property owners” who are pro shale drilling and hydro-frac’ing, is as offensive, as it is false.

The research that I performed for Damascus Citizens, on Damascus Township, shows clearly that 29% of the properties leased to drilling, in the Township, were owned by non residents, and their percentage of the total acreage leased, amounted to 38%.

I would further clarify this by pointing out that only 25% of the total number of properties owned by primary residents had been leased for drilling. The combined total of acreage leased for drilling amounted to 69% of the Township's acreage, even though only 33% of the owners of property leased.

This gas extraction issue, in our Basin, is about safety, health, and land use. It is not a division between “wealthy elite” (second home) property owners and “struggling” primary resident property owners. If one were to seek a division among property owners, it would be more appropriate to describe it as holders of large properties, vs. holders of small properties, and even that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Huh?

Mr. Barth states that natural gas extraction, "in our basin" is about safety, yada, yada, yada. Does that mean that in other basins it is not about safety, yada, yada, yada? What is Mr. Barth's vision of energy supply for the next thirty years? He easily rules things out, but what does he expect to fuel this country into the foreseeable future? Mr. Barth's penchant for voodoo math is well known and easily dismissed. Figures do not lie, but...

Engelder speculation

In 2002, Prof. Engelder projected minimum recoverable gas from the Marcellus. That year, multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontals was introduced in shale. That combined with developments in slick-water fluids, along with PA's willingness to allow extraction companies to experiment on its citizens, and environment, led Prof. Engelder to up his estimates, in 2008, to between 16.8 tcf, and 51.4 tcf of recoverable gas in the Marcellus. The following year, his projections jumped another 1,000 %, as further experiments yielded more "positive" results.

In 2008, projections for toxic, flowback waste averaged 70% recovered, with 30% remaining underground. In 2009, Cabot began reporting that 80-85% remained underground, and 15-20% returned to the surface. This, by the way, co-incided with the outcry and concern about disposing the flowback waste. The revised figures were very convenient to the industry.

The residents and property owners of the Delaware River Basin have put up a valiant, stiff fight, against the industry's proposed industrialization, and contamination, of our precious area. Perhaps industry just wants to diffuse our opposition?

That will not happen, regardless of how Prof. Engelder's speculation turns out. The professor is not sure of the boundaries, whether the "maginot" line is at the Lackawanna Syncline, or further south, through Damascus/Cochecton. More importantly, he avoids discussion about all the other target zones above and below the Marcellus.

Perhaps, in two years, we will be hearing estimates on how those zones of stone are the "Kuwait" of gas? In the meantime, we will fight them at the river's edge, in the sky, in the fields and the forests (apologies to Churchill). Whatever exists below, the surface is our precious life blood, and we will not let it become a wasteland.

The Shale play

This is all very interesting. This entire gas drilling struggle could be a moot point. That would mean that we have given the DRBC increased control over our property for no good reason. It would also indicated that test wells should have been allowed to determine if there is any need to even carry on this struggle. This would be good news for the wealthy elite that vacation or have moved to the river basin, and very bad news for property owners struggling to keep their property. You all know which side of this issue you are on.