Jim Willis on NGL Pipelines
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
[Editor’s Note: Biden is the face of an elitist empire. His methane tax is just part of s strike back campaign to destroy oil and gas and bring the middle class under control.]
The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) published a notice in the November 20 Pennsylvania Bulletin that it has signed an oil and gas lease agreement with BKV Operating, LLC (Banpu, Thailand’s largest coal mining company and an investor/operator drilling shale wells here) covering 198.5 acres of the Susquehanna River located in Mehoopany and Washington Townships in Wyoming County.
The DCNR has, for years, claimed that under a centuries-old law that the state of PA “owns” the property under “navigable” waterways–including rivers and streams (see PA DCNR Publishes Lease Agreements for Deals Under Rivers/Creeks). We understand the state claiming the Delaware River, and *maybe* the Susquehanna River, as “navigable” bodies of water. But smaller rivers and streams that see no kind of boat traffic? No way. Yet that’s exactly what happens in PA. We consider it theft of signing bonuses and royalties from the landowners whose property that stream crosses.
This time the lease is under the mighty Susquehanna River itself. We would argue it’s tough to call the Susquehanna “navigable” in northeastern PA–but the state does. We suppose if you can float a canoe down a river and the public is allowed to use it (which happens on the Susquehanna in NEPA), maybe the state has a claim. Maybe.
Regardless of our opinion, the state does claim ownership. The DCNR published a lease over the weekend it previously signed back in February. Good ole government efficiency. The lease for 198.5 acres requires an upfront payment of $794,000 (DCNR’s standard demand of $4,000 per acre) for five years and specifies a 20% royalty to be paid to DCNR. The contract also calls for a minimum of $0.35 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) if the 20% royalty falls below that level. Huh. The state demands minimum payments that it won’t enforce for private landowners. Sauce for the goose?
The lease requires BKV to maintain pollution liability insurance during the term of the lease to protect the state in case there are claims of environmental impairment and pollution.
Here’s a copy of the lease (a good model for PA landowners to use).
Editor’s Note: Notwithstanding Jim’s great points, what jumped out to me about this news is the utter corruption this lease reveals with the Wolf Administration’s contrasting positions with respect to natural gas development in the Delaware and Susquehanna River basins. As we have noted over and over again:
- The DRBC and SRBC are under the control of the same governing majority of Pennsylvania, New York and the Federal government.
- The SRBC has found thousands of gas wells developed in the Susquehanna River Basin have had “no discernible impact” on stream water quality.
- The DRBC, answerable to the same governing majority as the SRBC, has ruled natural gas development is too dangerous to be allowed in the Delaware River Basin.
Now, we have the ultimate proof that the entire DRBC strategy, prompted by Tom Wolf himself as part of that governing majority, has been nothing but an exercise in raw political power, a craven and despicable sellout to New York, Tom Steyer, the NRDC, the Heinz and Haas families, et al with the help of his sycophant DEP Secretary. If natural gas development is such a threat to the Delaware, why is Pennsylvania literally leasing the Susquehanna itself for it? Write your elected representatives! Raise Cain!
This post appeared first on Natural Gas Now.