News & Observer reporter John Murawski has an interesting report today on the lack of natural gas exploration in Lee County.
The story’s biggest revelation for readers in Lee and Harnett counties, though, is that the son of Republican state Sen. Ron Rabin is a self-described “wildcatter” who last fall spearheaded an ultimately failed attempt to set up a fracking operation in the area.
From the report:
So far, of the two groups that have expressed interest in drilling here, one ceased operations last year before conducting any testing. And the second unraveled this year, leaving unpaid fees and estranged business associates, according to draft business plans and private emails provided by one of those involved in the effort, Mark Rabin, a Fayetteville energy broker and the son of state Sen. Ronald Rabin. The Republican senator represents part of Johnston and all of Harnett and Lee counties; Lee is considered to be the epicenter of future fracking activity.
Rabin, 56, is fond of evoking the romance of the derrick, drill pad and “Christmas tree,” a term used to describe the drilling equipment on the surface.
“There’s nothing more beautiful than driving out to a rig in the middle of the night in South Texas, a hundred miles from the Mexican border, and seeing the Christmas tree lit up,” said Rabin, who lives in Fayetteville. “And you bring some beers out there and relax with the guys, and you see people working and making great money.”
The story also references characters anyone following the fracking saga in Lee County will recognize, including former Lee County Commissioner Jim Womack and J. Daniel Butler, a “a Southern Pines lumberman and real estate investor who owns more than 3,200 acres of drilling rights in Lee County. As the county’s single largest owner of ‘mineral rights,’ which he acquired decades ago, Butler has the legal right to drill for natural gas deep under the surface of properties that are owned by others.”
According to this blogger profile, Mark Rabin “has twenty four (24) years experience in the oil and gas industry. He has been a registered oil and gas broker and has served as sales and marketing vice president for various oil and gas companies. Most notably he was co-owner of two oil and gas firms, which had meteoric success. He is very well known for his innovative oil and gas investment strategies that have been very profitable for the oil and gas investor.”
As of Sunday, Sen. Rabin’s campaign website still contained a page called “The TRUTH about Fracking” in which the senator rambles about cronyism, Obamacare, and Solyndra in an attempt to raise money off of attack ads which targeted him for his pro-fracking stance. Curiously, his personal connection to the profit side of fracking is not addressed.