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Mike Benard Columns

Voices From the Shale


Speaker, Writer, Coach on Communications Issues

Blogger on Property Rights & Energy Industry

Former Director, Communications and Public Affairs, and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company

  • Mike Benard held the top communications job at Kodak as Director of Communications and Public Affairs and Vice President for more than a dozen years, until his retirement in 2006.
  • As head of Communications and Public Affairs, he had worldwide responsibility for internal and external communications, government affairs, community relations, corporate contributions, and management communications.  Prior to Kodak, Mike was in corporate and business unit communications at PPG Industries.
  • Mike served as a discussion leader at the American Press Institute’s seminars on the transformation of the newspaper industry.  In addition, he served as a highly rated speaker for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association; and he has written on the transformation of the news and photo industries driven by the shift to digital and internet technology.
  • He publishes a property rights blog dealing with the energy industry, based on the experience of receiving royalties from gas wells then having property rights seized for an underground natural gas storage reservoir. This was an eminent domain action backed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Spectra Energy Watch emerged from that battle and has expanded from property rights to include natural gas industry issues related to hydraulic fracturing of shale gas fields.  Link:
  • He leads professional development seminars for PR folks, addresses university-level marketing classes, and provides communications coaching for execs.
  • A graduate of John Carroll University, he holds a BA in English and a M.Ed. from Temple University.  His undergraduate studies included one year at Loyola University’s Rome Center, Rome, Italy.

March 3, 2014 Voices From the Shale: "Boo-Hoo" Award for Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson Property Rights Emerge as Growing Issue; Could Tillerson be a Property Rights ‘Illiterate’?

Source: Mike Benard, featured commentator

A recent Wyoming Supreme Court decision noted the shale gas "gold rush" has triggered the law of unintended consequences for energy industry executives and government regulators where property rights are concerned.1 [more]

January 21, 2014 Voices From The Shale: Sabal Trail Pipeline – Spectra Energy’s Proposed Gas Transmission Pipeline Draws Citizen Opposition in Georgia, Florida, Alabama

Source: Mike Benard, featured commentator

Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE), the US$5 billion pipeline and underground natural gas storage company, is now in a position where its reputation precedes it. When it holds community meetings to sell a proposed natural gas...[more]

September 27, 2013 Spectra Energy Betrays Community; Latest: 431.5 Thousand Cubic Feet of Nat Gas in Uncontrolled Release From Spectra Energy Facility – After 6 Months Company Still Refuses to Publicly Disclose Amount & Why

Source: Mike Benard

Slick words from a Spectra Energy executive who publicly touts the company’s “continual communication and …. Discussion with stakeholders to address their issues and concerns.” By stakeholders, the company means landowners...[more]

July 5, 2013 Voices from the Shale - Control Risks? API targets New York State with Multimedia Campaign to Push Fracking

Source: Mike Benard, featured commentator

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is sponsoring a multimedia campaign focused on New York State that recycles an old and discredited message: “… there’s never been a single case of groundwater contamination from hydraulic...[more]

April 5, 2013 Spectra Energy ?Backtracks?

DESCRIPTION:By Mike Benard?Spectra Energy ?Backtracks? on Methane IncidentFirst: ?Nothing Released ?. No Smoke ?. No Incident?Then Admits:? Methane & Hydrocarbons Released?Investor Group Wants Report on Fugitive Methane...

April 1, 2013 Spectra Energy Retreats on Methane Incident

Source: Mike Benard, featured commentator

Spectra Energy Corporation (NYSE:SE) was forced to backtrack on dismissive assertions it made about a nighttime incident at its huge natural gas compressor station in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, after persistent neighbors and a...[more]

February 28, 2013 Compulsory Integration – Legal Challenge Coming; Investigative Work by William Fischer; Attorneys to File Suit if New York Government Issues Permits for Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing

Source: Mike Benard

New York State’s compulsory integration law – written by the gas industry and passed with no public hearing – is fast approaching a serious legal challenge.[more]

February 1, 2013 NY Farm Bureau Supports ‘Safe & Responsible’ Drilling But Opposes Unequal Treatment by Compulsory Integration Law

Source: Mike Benard

While the New York Farm Bureau supports “safe and responsible development of natural gas in a manner that protects our land and water,”1 it is challenging several aspects of New York State’s compulsory integration law.[more]

October 19, 2012 Myth of “Free Ride” for Landowners Forced into Drilling Units; Compulsory Integration Supporters vs. Opponents

Source: Mike Benard

New York State’s 2005 compulsory integration law was written by the oil and gas industry and passed unanimously with no public hearings, according to Attorney Chris Denton, an oil and gas lease attorney in New York State. ...[more]

October 2, 2012 Voices from the Shale: Eminent Domain as Compulsory Integration: Property Owners Treated Differently – Face $$$ Penalties When Forced into Drilling Unit

Source: Mike Benard, featured commentator

The shale gas/oil “gold rush” in the U.S. brings with it the power to take surface and/or subsurface property rights from private citizens – by several means. Today, the United States is effectively approaching the status of many...[more]

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