The “Berlin Wall” on New York’s Border

The Daily Caller has an interesting story mentioning the “Berlin Wall” on New York’s border.  Here’s an excerpt:

New York’s Southern Tier — the counties along the border with Pennsylvania — sits on top of the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale, but the state’s moratorium on fracking prevents people from accessing it. However, just across the border in Pennsylvania, many credit fracking with revitalizing local economies.

“The Pennsylvania-New York border is the ‘Berlin Wall,’” Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Pennsylvania is West Berlin, and New York is East Berlin.”

Speaking of a Berlin Wall analogy, where one set of rules applies on a different side of a wall.  You might recall that there was a time in Montana when the Adam Walsh act could not be enforced in one part of Montana, while it could be enforced in another part of Montana.  It all stemmed from a ruling by US District Judge Don Molloy, who ruled an effort to crack down on sex offenders as unconstitutional.  The other federal judges in Montana felt differently, so the law could be enforced in the Bilings and Great Falls districts, but not in the Missoula district. 

Could we see a similar split if an anti-fracking, climate alarmist judge were now appointed to the federal court in either Billings or Great Falls?  Dave Skinner, who writes a bi-weekly column for The Flathead Beacon, responded to my post yesterday regarding one climate hawk, or climate alarmist (whichever you prefer), who is on the short list for the federal bench in Great Falls.  

Skinner had two columns back in 2011 revealing more insight on climate hawk lawyer Elizabeth Best, now on Sen. Max Baucus’ short list for the federal bench.  In one column from November of 2011, Skinner notes that Best fought a proposed power plant in Great Falls on behalf of the activist Montana Environmental Information Center.  

The case, argued by Kalispell attorney Roger Sullivan (and current Supreme Court candidate Elizabeth Best) on behalf of Montana Environmental Information Center, went mostly SME’s way at the district level, so SME began turning dirt, deciding in February 2009 to build a 40 megawatt gas “peaking” facility for an interim source of power (and revenue).

Plaintiffs appealed, but never got an injunction halting work. But in July 2010, a deeply-split Montana Supreme Court ruled the site had been illegally “spot zoned.”

In another column from July 2011, Skinner noted the climate lawsuit effort by Best and the rest of the activist legal team was paraphrased this way by one the suit’s backers: “All we need is one friendly judge to put it through.”

This search for friendly judges involved six friendly Montana lawyers: Amy Poehling Eddy, Elizabeth Best, James A. Manley, Randall Bishop, Greg Munro, and Thomas J. Beers. All have made federal political contributions – only to Democrats. All except Mr. Manley are University of Montana (UM) law school alums, with Mr. Munro currently a professor.

Let’s face it. The warmist political movement has utterly failed to convince the unwashed electorate rabble of the righteousness of their cause, their data, their “consensus” – and lost in the court of public opinion.

So what’s a good elitist totalitarian to do? Pursue kitchen-sink litigation in hopes of a “friendly judge” willing to subvert the political processes of a free country, of course.

Speaking of fracking, and the Bakken, liberal columnist George Ochenski warns of tying long-term spending to the oil and gas revenues from the Bakken. 

In his latest column, Ochenski says the “Bakken Bust is already beginning.”  Here’s an excerpt:

The Montana Legislature is frenzied over the sudden wealth produced by the fracking operations in the Bakken formation. But if legislators actually performed the due diligence responsible policy and budgeting requires, they’d find that the Bakken’s wells have very short periods of peak production followed by precipitous declines. In short, the Bakken Bust has already begun – and our Legislature hasn’t a clue.

The question no one seems to be asking is: What happens when the inevitable bust follows the boom – and how will all the new infrastructure continue to be maintained when the roughnecks follow the drill rigs to their next big play?

Meanwhile, The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) based in Bozeman, Montana has an interesting piece titled, “Fracking, Reconsidered” by Brian Lutz and Martin Doyle:

Our research shows that for the Marcellus Shale — by far the largest shale gas resource in the United States — significantly less wastewater is generated for every unit of natural gas recovered by hydraulic fracturing than by conventional gas production.

Our results surprised us: On average, shale gas wells generated about 10 times more wastewater but also produced about 30 times more natural gas. This means conventional wells generate about three times more wastewater than hydraulically fractured wells to produce the same amount of natural gas.

The next federal judge in the Great Falls district of federal court could also play a key role in any potential legal battles involving bison, national monuments, and fights over grazing in the Missouri River Breaks and the CMR. 

In case you missed it, Billings doctor Brad Anderson has a good writeup at American Spectator regarding American Prairie’s efforts to push ranchers off the land in Northcentral/Northeastern Montana.  

It is a long way from the recent sale of a ranch in northeastern Montana to the creation of a vast “buffalo commons,” with tens of millions of acres emptied of permanent residents. It is, however, a clear step, and neither the fact that it is “voluntary” nor the fact that it is touted as a “market-based” solution can change the fact that we are watching a “public-private partnership” between deep-pocketed conservation groups and the federal government.

Roger Scruton, in his recent and excellent book How to Think Seriously About the Planet, asserts that “wise government… should not have a goal beyond that of reconciling, as best it can, the goals of its citizens.” What ranchers throughout the West have been discovering, however, is that the government is not trying to reconcile anything, but is rather picking winners and losers. When environmentalists want what ranchers have, ranchers are consistently finding that it is they who are the designated losers.

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