Chesapeake's Ham Fist

Reader Groundhum's recent comment linked to the Star-Gazette's story on Chesapeake's application withdrawal. That story contains Chesapeake's letter to the DEC, and one paragraph illustrates how poorly Chesapeake continues to handle this whole mess:

We are not rescinding the application because we believe our proposed well would have been a threat to the environment or because of vocal opposition to the project. Quite the contrary, the well in question is an existing gas production well that has been in service since 1988, and it is part of a gas field in this area of the Finger Lakes region that has produced for decades with no effect on the environment.

First, the notion that public pressure had nothing to do with the application withdrawal is laughable. On February 2, Chesapeake told Eric Massa that they were not withdrawing the application. Two weeks later, the application is history. The only thing that happened in between was a series of highly-publicized meetings about Chesapeake's application.

More importantly, contrasting the safety of existing gas wells with the proposed use of the well as a wastewater dump is completely misleading. Chesapeake wanted to dump thousands of gallons of chemical-laden brine down one of the Finger Lakes gas wells that's less than a mile from Keuka lake. That's an entirely different proposition from taking gas out of that well.

The safety of existing Finger Lakes wells is also irrelevant to Chesapeake's desire to drill in the Marcellus Shale. Those old wells used traditional drilling techniques. Extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale will require the high-pressure injection of thousands of gallons of chemical-laden brine. The risks involved aren't the same, and Chesapeake knows it.

Chesapeake has shown nothing but arrogance and a desire to mislead throughout this controversy. Being one of Chesapeake's allies in the Southern Tier is pure political poison.


Geeze, you would have thought acquiescing to the wishes of residents would be regarded as a good thing. The kind of thing a company wanted to be known for. That's some superlatively bad PR.

Eric Massa gets it and clearly so do you Rottenchester. Once again great analysis of the story. Who needs the D&C when we have The Fighting 29th. I always want you on my side in a fight. Thank you.

The owners of the land in Pulteney where the gas well is located signed an additional lease to allow the toxic waste to be injected into it. The bad PR Chesapeake is getting because of the Keuka Lake Toxic Waste Water Disposal Well will hurt their efforts to get other land owners to sign disposal leases. The Pulteney well was just going to be the first of many.

DFE -- Yep, they're terrible at the PR.

Keuka, thanks. Even if they recycle 90% of the water (their claim), that means that thousands of gallons of fracking water need to go somewhere. They've destroyed their public credibility, so their next move will be interesting.

And, I'm guessing, their next move will also be stealthier.

Chesapeake was being stealthy on the Keuka Lake project. Then the information made it to the right two people who broke the story, sent the information to the right people and groups and then made an early morning call to Eric Massa, The Fighting Congressman. In less than 24 hours the story was a full scale fire storm. Chesapeake never saw it coming. The intensity was only going to get stronger as our summer residents and wine tour visitors found out.

@keuka: The intensity was only going to get stronger as our summer residents and wine tour visitors found out.

The ones I know found out early on, and the majority of them made sure their ire was known far & wide.

Well groundhum, that's because they have in you a very well informed friend. Many Summer residents did take up the fight with us and were a great help. But.... press coverage was very spotty especially in the Rochester area and we had not yet reached full intensity with our fire storm of negative PR for Chesapeake.