GAO Setup for Federal Regulation of Gathering Pipelines?

Pipeline Danger Will Robinson!The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report yesterday on the status of natural gas gathering pipelines (a copy of the full 41-page report is embedded below). We should note that the GAO issues a half dozen or more reports per day—i.e., they are a report-generating “mill” for the federal government, usually Congress—your tax dollars at work.

[Begin rant] Two Democrat Senators, Jay Rockefeller from WV and Frank Lautenberg from NJ, requested a report from the GAO on the safety or lack thereof for the estimated 240,000 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines now in use or under construction throughout the country. Sure seems like Congress is nosing around yet another federal takeover of what is properly a state’s Constitutional responsibility, and this report is designed to provide justification to do just that.

The report’s operating assumption is that all pipelines should be federally regulated—even small gathering lines. If a pipeline is not federally regulated, it’s an aberration, not normal, something is wrong—“Danger Will Robinson!” The further arrogant assumption is if pipelines are not regulated in the manner “we” say, they are not safe. Welcome to the nanny state where the federal government uses fear to manipulate public opinion: “Your pipelines will blow up or crack and leak nasty things if we don’t slap strict regulations on them right now.” Question: When was the last time you heard about a pipeline—any pipeline—exploding, breaking or leaking? [End rant]

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Property Values Up in Marshall, WV; Dominion Invests $1.2B

Dominion Transmission is investing nearly $1.2 billion in Marshall County, WV. Almost half of that—$500 million—will be spent on a new gas processing facility near Natrium (see this MDN story). Earlier this week, Dominion officials updated Marshall County commissioners on the progress of the new facility and other projects underway.

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Can Pro- and Anti-Drillers Ever Get Along?

Both pro- and anti-drillers addressed a Wall Street Journal conference this week called ECO:nomics—and the sparks flew. Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon spear-headed the pro-drilling side with his address, and Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, represented the anti-drilling side. Some of Gallay’s comments illustrate the nonsensical arguments from anti-drillers. He responded to McClendon’s vision of getting off foreign oil with U.S. shale drilling this way:

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PA DEP Hosting Webinars on Act 13 Zoning Law

Want to know more about the recently passed Act 13 law in Pennsylvania? That’s the new law essentially removing the right of local municipalities to regulate or otherwise ban drilling within their borders. Some townships are up in arms and threatening a lawsuit. The state Department of Environmental Protection wants to educate local officials and the public and is conducting four one-hour webinars to do it.

From the DEP press release:

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