By Alvin Engelke

While the Creston area received more snow and cold weather the Big Eared One and his feckless secretary of state were out "fighting global warming". Locally it was the coldest January since 1978 and, of course, there has now been no global warming for 17 years. The plans to fight the so called "climate change" have no impact on weather but hit pocket books and restrict freedom which, of course, is the real game.

Nancy Engelke underwent a needle biopsy. She is to consult her surgeon this week.

Local residents were down at the Mouth of the Elk for Agriculture & Forestry Day in the Legislature and the Taste of West Virginia reception for legislators and other elected officials & dignitaries. Folks could dine on trout, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb & beef along with all the trimmings, the special milk punch, West Virginia wine and Holl's chocolate, among other things. Fresh lettuce was available from a West Virginia greenhouse as were other tasty treats.

The big out of state boys had one of their stoolies in the legislature introduce SB 578, the forced pooling law which is an absolute insult to West Virginia property owners and might be likened to when the coal companies paid 80 cents/acre for all minerals in areas with metallurgical grade coal and when Mr. Rockefeller got leases that paid property owners $50 to $300/year for gas wells and $5/year for gas that came from oil wells. The bill allows the companies to take property if owners refuse to sign leases that do not allow for the payment for gas liquids, allow for expenses to be deducted from royalties and caps royalties at 12.5% even though shales of lesser value elsewhere demand royalties of 25% which is the amount Cabot gets when that firm leases oil & gas to other operators. Everyone who owns any land or oil and gas in 54 of the 55 West Virginia counties needs to contact their favorite legislator and ask that the bill be killed. The bill likely does not impact Jefferson County for it appears that there is no oil & gas there.

At one of the interim legislative hearings it was noted that the purpose of the forced pooling bill was to lower the amount of royalties that had to be paid. With the loophole in many leases that "allow" no royalties to be paid on the gas liquids the state will lose huge amounts of severance tax and the counties will miss a significant amount of ad valorem tax. On e of Antero's new wells in Ritchie County made over $700,000 worth of gas liquids (plant product) in one month. As a fellow once said, "After a while, that would add up to real money." The state severance is 5% so one can do the arithmetic.

Gay Park reported that she is feeling much better.

The State Tax Department sent out property value increase letters all over the state and then let the local assessors take the blame as "they had to comply with guidelines". Also the state said that the value of coal increased at the same time that mines are being closed and the war on coal intensifies.

The folks down at the Mouth of the Elk passed the "minimum wage bill" which is part of the Big Eared One's plan to put the hurt on business while pretending to be helping "the workers". That is the same outfit that when the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) said that Obamacare would cause the loss of 2.3 million jobs the answer was, "That's good, people will be freed from the need to work -- they can spend more time with family and do the things they want to do." It has been noted for some time now that the way to raise the "minimum wage" is to have robust economic growth. In North Dakota which has the Bakken shale oil boom, the starting wage at McDonald's is $15/hour. Unfortunately, some entrants into the work force do not have the skills or ambition to command much of a wage. One fellow who has had a lot of personnel experience noted that the other day he observed a McDonalds in a W. Va. city and noted that some of the employees were worth $15/hour while others would do well to actually be worth $2.50/hour. Of course if the wage for entry level jobs is artificially high there will be fewer entry level jobs. Meanwhile the folks down in the lower Potomac swamps continue the programs that "enrichen" the very wealthy as they are the ones who finance the Big Eared One and his buddies. Ordinary folks cannot afford to attend $38,000 dinners. Speaking of the Big Eared One he is spending some time with the members of his old "Choom Gang" [described as childhood friends] out in the land of fruits & nuts (California).

The spineless ones in Congress allowed the national debt to go up again as they are fearful of being called "obstructionist". The also are afraid of opposing amnesty as if there was a shortage of low skilled workers with the lowest worker participation rate in decades. One would hope that the new congress has more women and men with spines who will say no to the nation's destruction. It was noted that the Chinese are building all sorts of new weapons and that the Iranians sent war ships to our borders and the U. S. Military is being dismantled before our very eyes. The victory in Iraq was given away to Al Quaida and now defeat is on the horizon in Afghanistan, Iran won in their dealings with the catsup boy, Syria and Putin skunked us and Madame Hillary stays mum on her disaster in Benghazi & plans on having her turn at ruling.

There was a good crowd at the Creston Community Building meeting. Topics discussed were the poker runs and a new cookbook. Folks should be getting out there favorite recipes for the new volume.

With the cold weather there ended up in some places with there being a shortage of natural gas. Some spot sales brought $36/dekatherm while locally the price was in the $4 range. Consumption was running 40 billion cubic feet/day ahead of production resulting in major draw downs from storage areas. Meantimes natural gas is being flared in the western states because of stupid executives who want the quick bucks from the oil. Of course such goes on in a big way in places like Nigeria where the natives have to cut down the rain forest to get charcoal for cooking while the natural gas is wasted and the greenies complain when folks here want to use incandescent light bulbs.

The New Jersey based trash haulers are behind again in their local trash pickups.

The price paid for West Virginia Pennsylvania grade crude is now higher than in Ohio, New York & Pennsylvania and is $99.30/bbl. Appalachian light sweet (drip) fetches $80.61 while Marcellus & Utica light is $88.96 and medium $98.30/bbl.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Hur Herald.

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