Having failed to actually find any gas in any productive amounts in New York State, Norwegian penny stock company Norse Energy has devolved into a fracking Rent-A-Plaintiff by taking over born-again-billionaire Phil Anschutz’s position in his lawsuit against the Town of Dryden – buying two of Anschutz’s leases for a nominal amount, so that Norse can nominally be shown as the plaintiff of record in the case, in order for Tom West to trot out a fracking appeal. Meaning Norse is appealing a lawsuit that they had nothing to fracking do with in the first place. This obscure legal maneuver is known as the Frack Zombie Rent-A-Plaintiff Gambit. Perhaps West should apply for a trademark.
To illustrate the fracking hypocrisy in this, a Norwegian company – from a country where onshore horizontal shale gas exploration is illegal – is taking over a suit from a Colorado company – a state where both municipal and county land use ordinances apply to gas wells – in order to challenge a New York town’s right to apply local laws to where (not how) gas wells can be drilled in the town. Needless to say Norse will not be using Norwegian or Colorado land use lawyers to argue its case. Or Texas lawyers, or California lawyers, or lawyers from all the other places where local land use laws apply to gas wells. No, Norse will be using Fracking Tom West. Or to be more precise, Tom West will be using Norse as his Rent-A-Plaintiff. In fairness, West evidently tried to get a Rent-A-Plaintiff from a place where local ordinances do not apply to gas wells – but a suitable Chinese company could not be found in time. Nor could a Somalian company.
Behavior like this once gave Norwegians a bad name – when they were known as “vikings.” So West is stuck with Norse and vice versa. In Norse, West has a client that embodies everything that is wrong with shale gas exploration in New York: a shoddy operator that tears up roads prospecting for gas. That acts as a paid fracking shill in advance of the landmen. That sits on panels to promote fracking mockumentaries like Truthland. That has most of its New York acreage on the block. Cheap. Fast close. That has a passel of permit applications to test the Utica – in hopes of flipping them to any real company that is interested in low producing dry methane wells at $3 mcf.
In West, Norse has a fracking lobbyist – not a land use attorney. A lobbyist that, after his recent vivisection has admitted that he is just going through the motions on this transparently formulaic appeal – unpaid and out of political expediency with a zombie Rent-a-Plaintiff for a client. What a charming couple they make. Just in time for Halloween !