No Fracking Way

Of Hockey Pucks and Natural Gas

by Dory Hippauf on October 3, 2012

In February 2011, Bloomsburg reports Billionaire Terry Pegula bought the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres.  What does hockey have to do with gas drilling?  Maybe nothing, and maybe in the case of Terry Pegula – a lot.

On February 23, 2011 the Buffalo News reported:  Excerpt: Pegula drew violations as gas driller

In the course of making his fortune, the Florida billionaire, negotiating to buy the Buffalo Sabres, contributed heavily to politicians in a position to advance his business interests and established a less-than-stellar track record in the environmentally dicey business of drilling for natural gas, The Buffalo News has found.

A news review of compliance records found East Resources, the company Terrence M. Pegula sold last summer for $4.7 billion, had a middling record of complying with environmental regulations in Pennsylvania, his base of operations. The company last year paid the largest regulatory fine in its history and was involved in a spill of toxic wastewater that resulted in the first quarantine of cattle in the history of natural gas drilling in the state.

Excerpt: On Sept. 17, Pegula announced his donation of $88 million — the largest philanthropic act in university history — to help fund a state-of-the-art ice arena, as well as the addition of men’s and women’s NCAA Division I hockey programs to his alma mater (Penn State).Buying a Hockey Team, big donation to Penn State .

 Where did the money come from?

Royal Dutch Shell Scoops Up East Resources for $4.7 Billion  By Tom Taulli Posted 10:57AM 05/28/10 Energy, Company News

 Excerpt:   About a year ago, private-equity firm KKR struck a $350 million deal to invest in East Resources, a natural gas exploration and development company focused on an area called the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from Ohio and Virginia to New York. At the time, the transaction got little fanfare.

Well, now it’s getting lots of attention. On Friday, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) announced it had agreed $4.7 billion in cash for most of the assets of East Resources.

Guess Who’s Fueling the Fracking Boom? | Forbes | Halah Touryalai, Forbes Staff | October 3, 2012

Excerpt (emphasis added): One deal that opened up the floodgate of big money interest in fracking was KKR’s $312 million investment in June 2009 for 33% of East Resources, a Pennsylvania oil and gas exploration firm founded by Terrence Pegula. Pegula’s company had accumulated more than 650,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale formation in Appalachia. The KKR cash infusion helped East Resources increase the pace of horizontal wells being drilled, and in May 2010 KKR and Pegula were able to flip East Resources to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.7 billion. The deal made Pegula a multibillionaire and netted KKR over $1 billion, for a 371% return in under a year

 

By April 2012, the Pegulas increased the initial commitment of $88 million for the hockey arena to $102 million.

Approximately on September 2010:  Pegula: Marcellus Shale Development Good for Us   

EXCERPT: “If you could tell students here at Penn State one thing, what would it be?”

He (Pegula) paused for just a millisecond before saying,

” I would tell students that this contribution could be just the tip of the iceberg, the first of many such gifts, if the development of the Marcellus Shale is allowed to proceed.”

Penn State was not the only beneficiary of the Pegula’s new found wealth.

In Pennsylvania the subject of gas drilling was beginning to heat up, and it was also mid-term elections and the Pennsylvania Governor’s race.  The future of gas drilling would depend heavily on who would be Governor.

There is no campaign donation limit in Pennsylvania.  Anyone can give any amount to any state candidate. Corporate wallets and Political Campaign are wide open.

Kim Pegula (Terry’s wife) donated $180,000 to Tom Corbett’s campaign for Governor.  Terry Pegula donated $100,000 to Tom Corbett’s Campaign for Governor

Kim and Terry both list the parent organization as Royal Dutch Shell:

PEGULA, KIM: Total Given to Date: $180,500 (4 records); Employer: EAST RESOURCES INC; Parent Organization: ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

PEGULA, TERRENCE Total Given to Date: $100,500 (2 records); Employer: EAST RESOURCES INC; Parent Organization: ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

Per Source Watch (emphasis added) : Pegula and his wife, Kim’s, donations to lobbying groups and candidates accounted for 15 percent of all donations by the fracking industry.

Political Donations by Company Execs:  Senior management has donated large amounts of money to politicians, front group PACs and the Republican National Committee.

Pegula and his wife, Kim, were frequent funders of pro-drilling politicians. Kim Pegula donated the most money in 2010 to a single candidate: $360,000 to Tom Corbett. Pegula and his wife are also major contributors at the federal level, with donations of $106,350 since 2006 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and national and state Republican committees.

Pegula has also donated to his alma mater. In September 2010, he gave $88 million to build a Division I arena for Penn State’s hockey team. Penn State is also the home of The Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.  The center funds research for the advancement of methane drilling technology and procedures in the Marcellus Shale area. They are currently conducting a study on the safety of tap water in the homes surrounding the wells and fracking sites owned by East Resources and Shell.

Politicians who received contributions: Governor Tom Corbett (R-Pa.), Gubernatorial Candidate Lynn Swann (R-Pa.), Senator Don White (R-Pa.), Senator Joseph Scarnati (R-Pa.), Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) and Senator Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.)

East Resources employee contributions between 2002-2010:

  •     Terrence and Kim Pegula – CEO and President – $630,000
  •     Robert Long – Executive Vice President – $50,000
  •     William Fustos – Chief Operating Officer – $7,000
  •     Jack Showers – Director of Community Relations and Regional Affairs for East and Shell – $1,500
  •     Paul Dudenas – Engineer – $1,000

Lobbying

According to Common Cause’s “Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets“, Pegula and his wife, Kim’s, donations to lobbying groups and candidates accounted for 15 percent of all donations by the fracking industry.

In November 2010 Tom Corbett became Governor Tom Corbett.   The gas drilling issue is a priority for the new governor, so he decides to form a committee to make recommendations.

March 2011Governor Corbett announces the formation of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee.

One of the newly appointed committee members is none other than Terry Pegula.

I’m so surprised.  NOT.

 

November 2011 – The Penn State Sandusky Scandal breaks

Pegula silent on Penn State | November 9, 2011, 11:49 PM

Excerpt: What does Western New York’s most prominent Penn State alum and booster think of the sex-abuse scandal allegedly involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky that has rocked the university? So far, he’s silent. 

Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has declined to make any comment on the chaotic situation at his alma mater that resulted in Wednesday night’s firings of football coach Joe Paterno and president Graham Spanier.

Pegula addresses Penn State situation |Business First by James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporter | Friday, November 11, 2011, 12:20am EST

 Excerpt (emphasis added): Cliff Benson, Pegula’s close friend who helped broker the deal to buy the Sabres and is now a team executive, is listed as a board member of the The Second Mile, an agency founded by Sandusky in 1997, that aids at-risk youth in Pennsylvania.

Terry Pegula stands by $88M donation to Penn State, but demands school officials ‘come clean’ | Published: Friday, November 18, 2011, 3:42 PM     Updated: Friday, November 18, 2011, 10:27 PM

Excerpt (emphasis added): Terry Pegula, the Penn State alumnus whose $88 million gift funded two Division I ice hockey programs, said this week he’s “standing behind the university” in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal, but also had candid words for university officials in an interview with Canadian sports network TSN. 

Pegula also told TSN he intends to be more active in university affairs in the wake of the scandal to make sure “the right things are done.”

More Money for Corbett 2014

Although 2012 isn’t an election year for PA Governor, Corbett is already filling his campaign coffers for 2014.   He currently has $2,758,326.   Oil & Gas contributions, as a sector,comes in at 2nd place.   Expect that number to increase significantly the closer we get to 2014 elections

Kim Pegula has already tossed him $50,000

A Fracker gets a Cracker

After 6 months of budget cutting things like healthcare, education and the DEP all in the name of “reducing the deficit”, Kevin Harley, spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett, confirmed a deal on the so-called ethane cracker tax credit. Royal Dutch Shell plc has an option to purchase land near Monaca for the plant

Corbett proposed a $66 million annual tax credit for Shell and other companies that can be lured to the state to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus shale formation

Between 2009-2011, Royal Dutch Shell has given Corbett $385,000.   Over all, Royal Dutch Shell has made campaign contributions to Pennsylvania Legislators amounting to $405,925 (figure includes donation to Corbett) from 2000-2011.    Stack it up against a $66,000,000 yearly tax credit for 25 years, and it is a very good return on their investment.

  

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

DEB October 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Wonder if Terry is still donating to Penn State…..Hmmmmmmmm……perhaps he is courting a Philly school now so he can get his mitts on some of that shale when the moratorium is lifted.

Reply

Terry Pegula April 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

“Bloomsburg” huh?

Reply

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