Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Is Back to Frack Ohio With Investment of $1.7B
By Steve Horn
Former Chesapeake Energy CEO and Founder Aubrey McClendon is back in the fracking game in Ohio's Utica Shale in a big way, receiving a permit to frack five wells from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Nov. 26.
"The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded McClendon's new company, American Energy Utica LLC, five horizontal well permits Nov. 26 that allows oil and gas exploration on the Jones property in Nottingham Township, Harrison County," a Dec. 6 article appearing in The Business Journal explained. "In October, American Energy Utica announced it has raised $1.7 billion in capital to secure new leases in the Utica shale play."
The $1.7 billion McClendon has received in capital investments for the purchase of 110,000 acres worth of Utica Shale land came from the Energy & Minerals Group, First Reserve Corporation, BlackRock Inc. and Magnetar Capital.
McClendon—a central figure in Gregory Zuckerman's recent book The Frackers—is currently under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He left Chesapeake in Jan. 2013 following shareholder upset over controversial business practices.
He was given a $35 million severance package, access to the company's private jets through 2016 and a 2.5 percent stake in every well Chesapeake fracks through June 2014 as part of the Founder's Well Participation Program.
Power Mapping McClendon's New Venture
The former Exxon CEO's son John Raymond is the Managing Partner, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer of Minerals & Energy Group, currently the largest capital investor in McClendon's start-up venture and is also a partner in McClendon's new venture. Ryan Turner, Chesapeake's Stock Plan Manager has also joined the team as a partner.
"Mr. Eads...is a prince of this world," the New York Times reported in Oct. 2012. "His financial innovations helped feed the gas drilling boom, and he has participated in $159 billion worth of oil and gas deals since 2007."
Eads maintained tight financial ties with McClendon when he was at the helm of Chesapeake Energy. The flow chart below depicts the financial and career ties binding Eads and McClendon.
High Stakes Game
In teaming up with Lee Raymond, the former CEO of ExxonMobil—notorious for its role in funding climate change denial—and his brother John, McClendon has shown he is back in Ohio ready to play ball.
With the U.S. Navy predicting an ice-free summer by 2016 due to climate change, it's a ball game with undeniably high stakes.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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Listen:<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/17278520/height/45/theme/standard/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/" height="45" width="100%" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/01/college-course-teaches-students-how-to-be-climate-leaders/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Yale Climate Connections</a>.</em></p>
By Daniel Raichel
Industry would have us believe that pesticides help sustain food production — a necessary chemical trade-off for keeping harmful bugs at bay and ensuring we have enough to eat. But the data often tell a different story—particularly in the case of neonicotinoid pesticides, also known as neonics.
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