Under the excuse of regaining control of its budget, the cash strapped and beleaguered Chesapeake Energy has indicated it will be marketing acreage in the Marcellus and Utica formations in Pennsylvania and Ohio that it considers less valuable, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
What’s left of Chinapeake Energy (formerly known as Chesapeake) is now trying to unload its Marcellus and Utica acreage. Time to do a post-mortem on what a boon this company has been to the fractavist movement. After all, with Chinapeake gone, who would we have to kick around ? What other company could have revealed the ugly face of fracking as thoroughly as Chinapeake ? Let’s review their legacy :
1. Chinapeake’s ownership belies the notion that the reserves are owned by Americans. Or that the gas is not going overseas – at the first available opportunity and from the nearest LNG export terminal. Or that if you drill a gas well, any US soldiers are coming home. Chinapeake ran the Gas Blonde TV Ads trumpeting “American’s 100 Year Supply of Natural Gas,” without saying where the gas was actually going. Hint: Somewhere other than America.
2. Chinapeake’s lobbyists wrote the fracking regulations. Key passages of the proposed HVHF regulations in New York were written verbatim by Chinapeake’s lobbyist, the peripatetic Tom West, who literally dictated the wording to industry moles inside the Division of Mineral Resources, an agency that has been thoroughly corrupted by the gas industry.
On March 26, 2008, Tom West, his law partner and as many as seven ChesapeakeEnergy employees met with Jack Dahl of the DEC to present Chesapeake’s proposalto increase the state well spacing for shale gas wells, and to reduce the set back of gas wells within that unit from the property lines. Simply put, it is better for the driller for the spacing unit to be as large as possible, since that enables them to hold more acreage with one well in what amounts to an acreage speculation. It is also better for the driller for the gas well setback to be as close as possible to the property line. Chesapeake got what they wanted.
3. Chinapeake bought control of politicians. “He who owns Skelos, owns the New York Senators” And the gas lobby owns Skelos via his bag man partner Jerry Kremer. And once bought, they stay bought. The DINO’s, what’s left of them, are just an impotent side-show. So there won’t be any meaningful fracking legislation coming from the Senate. Because control of the legislative agenda is already prepaid this session:
The hydrofracking issue has created a cottage industry for paid lobbyists, because the gas-drilling industry previously had little business in the capital. One major gas driller, Chesapeake Energy, has spent more than $1.6 million on lobbying over the past three years in Albany.
This year, Chesapeake has deployed 11 lobbyists to advocate on its behalf, hiring three private companies to buttress the Chesapeake employees given the task of promoting hydrofracking in Albany. As part of its lobbying push, Chesapeake has also paid for television advertisements, in both the Southern Tier and the Capital Region, and a series of roadside billboards in Albany. And the natural gas industry, including not only drilling companies but also distributors and pipeline companies, is making steady campaign contributions to elected officials. The companies and industry groups have donated more than $430,000 to New York candidates and political parties, including over $106,000 to Mr. Cuomo, since the beginning of last year, according to a coming analysis of campaign finance records by Common Cause.
4. Chinapeake Bought Cuomo. Cheap but completely. And his bag man, Larry Schwartz – who orchestrates access for the gas lobby, and denies it for everyone else – including any scientist, any environmentalist – other than a few token EINOs like the Environmental Defense Frauds – and, heaven forfend (!), any fractavist, like Yoko . . .
5. Chinapeake’s lobbyist wrote America’s Worst Compulsory Integration Law. New York’s 2005 compulsory integration law, as written by Chesapeake’s lobbyist, and as implemented by the NYS DEC, is literally the worst in the United States of America, bar none. Nothing short of privatized eminent domain, a travesty that would be illegal in other states, even Fracksylvania:
6. Chinapeake made “force majeur” a household phrase. Courtesy of Chinapeake’s lease scams, as perpetrated on clueless landowners by Chinapeake’s landmen, in cahoots with Encana on price fixing. If you have a Chinapeake lease, might be a good time to get rid of it. Before they sell it to Frak Kin Ho. . .
7. Chinapeake’s lobbyist tried vainly to kill Home Rule. By suing towns that applied their land use laws to gas drilling, Chinapeake’s lobbyist tried to enable frackers to frack anywhere – unconstrained. But he lost – in 4 trial courts. And he just made arguments up at the appellate hearing, probably because he was no longer getting paid by what devolved into a Rent-A-Plaintiff client.
So are they gone, but not forgotten ? No such luck. Chesapeake still has 47 Marcellus shale gas well permit applications on file with the DEC. By far the most of any fracker. At one time, the bankrupt Norse Energy had 22, now down to 6 heading to zero. If you have a Chesapeake HVHF well permit application in your neck of the woods, do what you can to get rid of it. Pronto. Before it gets rid of you.
And to think, some local fracking shills actually worshipped Chesapeake. . .