The article quoted here inadvertently reveals one way the extraction and devastation industry manufactures astroturf:  “New York landowners will receive $500 per acre when the lease is signed, and the other $5,000 per acre when the moratorium is lifted.”

Fortuna Energy agrees to pay $165 million for gas rights; 600 members of coalition to receive $5,500 per acre, plus royalties

By George Basler
September 12, 2009

“CHOCONUT, Pa. — A Horseheads-based company is willing to pay a collective $165 million for the rights to drill for natural gas in about 30,000 acres of the Marcellus Shale.

“Fortuna Energy Inc. has closed a deal with … a coalition of about 600 property owners, to lease all of the group’s acreage in Susquehanna and Bradford counties in Pennsylvania, as well as its land in Broome County, officials with the coalition said Saturday.

“Under the agreement, Fortuna Energy will pay all of the property owners in the coalition $5,500 an acre for a five-year lease on their property, with a company option to extend the lease for another three years. The company will also pay 20 percent royalties for producing wells.

. . . . .               dont_sign_full_size2

“Under the agreement, Pennsylvania landowners will receive the $5,500 per acre within 40 to 90 days of signing the lease agreement, Fortuna officials said.

“The deal will be structured differently for coalition landowners in New York, who are clustered in the towns of Binghamton and Vestal. That’s because New York currently has a moratorium on drilling [said a person who helped negotiate the lease]… New York landowners will receive $500 per acre when the lease is signed, and the other $5,000 per acre when the moratorium is lifted. The company will not be able to do any work on their land until New York begins issuing permits to drill.”


At least two sentences in the last paragraph are untrue. There is not currently a moratorium on gas drilling in NYS, or even on horizontally-drilled, high-volume hydraulically-fractured wells in tight shales (HD/HVHF), the new extraction technique currently under review by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (or as we like to say, Department of Energy Corporations). At any time, companies could be drilling and completing such wells, under one condition: they would have to complete a site-specific Environmental Impact Statement EIS at their own expense for each well.  Sounds reasonable enough, even like a good idea, doesn’t it, considering the mammoth scale and environmental impact of an HD/HVHF well? Instead, these companies prefer to pretend that they can’t drill until the DEC completes a statewide Generic EIS for them. That’s right: the gas drilling industry doesn’t want to pay its own way for each well it drills.  Instead, it wants you, the New York State taxpayer, to pay for the Generic (that is, one size fits all) EIS that will open the way for it to exploit our resources – and us. The gas drilling industry is a bully.

Binghamton and Vestal landowners, show some New York smarts – don’t be the blind led by the blind – and New York moxie.  New Yorkers know better than to give in to bullies.

The way to get maximum protection through any gas lease is by not signing it. Don’t sign. You’ll be glad you didn’t.


Complete PressConnects story here


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Lebanon, Madison County (WSYR-TV) – For the second time in just three months, a huge gas rig has caught fire in southern Madison County.

It happened in the town of Lebanon, near the Chenango County border.  Two workers suffered burns from the fire that lasted for hours Thursday.

Cleanup efforts have carried over into Friday, when crews had to go deep into the fields to reach that rig owned by Nornew, a subsidiary of Norse Energy.

The fire was so far in, there was no real danger to anyone living around there, but Lebanon town supervisor Jim Goldstein worries about what would happen if it were on a rig closer in.

“I think there should be a moratorium on drilling in this area until we get to the bottom of what’s causing these problems and what has to be done to remediate them,” Goldstein says.


It is the second fire in three months, but Holbrook says his company makes safety a top priority.
Still,  Goldstein is worried this gas rush may come at too great a risk.

The DEC says about 100 to 200 gallons of diesel fuel were released from equipment at the rig.  A spokesperson says the spill is contained and most of the diesel has been padded up.

There are also barriers in place to prohibit it from reaching a nearby stream.

That part of southern Madison County may just be sitting on huge reserves of natural gas, which energy companies see as a potential gold mine.

“We are in an area that some people have estimated is the largest gas well plate in the history of the United States, and there’s a right way to do it and the wrong way to do it.  We have an industry that I think is moving far too fast that cannot be tracked,” Goldstein says.

A handful of companies have come and gone — especially now, as the state reviews regulations for companies wanting to drive through the Marcellus Shale in an attempt to find that natural gas.

But one company has stayed; Nornew says it sees a goldmine in the Herkimer sandstone formation in the area.


In the town of Lebanon and the neighboring town of Smyrna, Nornew has about 100 gas wells already drilled.

“I have huge concerns about their ability to track when this Marcellus slate drilling starts where the water’s going to come from — where the waste is going to go,” says Goldstein.

Goldstein worries just what toll the search for the next big energy source will take on his area without proper controls.

Some geologists say there is enough recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus Shale to supply the entire United States for about two years.

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