The gas companies received some bad news this month, as New York State extended its "fracking" moratorium for another seven months.
But in a bit of irony, gas companies actually flocked to the Empire State earlier this month, not for drilling, but for the all important Pennsylvania Society party where they got to hobnob with Pennsylvania's political elite.
The "Marcellus Shale Coalition," an organization that represents around 130 gas companies drilling in the shale and was formed in 2008, held an after-party to the Pennsylvania Society Dinner on Saturday, Dec. 11, that according to WITF-TV in Harrisburg, was well attended by state politicians and their aides.
Protesters were out in full force outside of the festivities in Manhattan.
Gov.-elect Tom Corbett, who has made it clear that he opposes a natural gas severance tax, was not seen at the party, but his aides were in full force, according to news reports.
According to the website, Marcellusmoney.org, a joint project of Common Cause Pennsylvania, an organization that bills itself as a "nonprofit, nonpartisan citizens' lobby organization" and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Corbett has received $835,720 in natural gas-related political contributions since 2001. That's miles ahead of other politicians, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato, who received $112,800 and current Gov. Ed Rendell, who has received $84,100.
The coalition's chairman, Ray Walker, senior vice president of Range Resources, donated $10,000 to the Corbett gubernatorial campaign.
Last week, Cabot Oil and Gas received an early Christmas gift of sorts from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The company agreed to pay $4.1 million to residents of Dimock, Pa., who had their drinking water contaminated by methane gas related to Marcellus Shale drilling that was going on in the area. They also agreed to install whole-house gas mitigation systems in 19 homes.
But the number is far less than the $12 million the company was asked to pay to extend a public drinking waterline to residents of the borough.
Officials at DEP said lack of political support forced the settlement.
Not making any assumptions here, but anyone can surely connect some dots.