More Pushback from PA Residents on Proposed Mariner East Pipeline

pushing backAs part of the good news story about the “makeover” of the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia, MDN came across more details about Sunoco Logistics’ plans to potentially use eminent domain in order to lay pipeline that will bring natural gas liquids, like ethane, to Marcus Hook. You may recall a few weeks ago we told you Sunoco Logistics had made a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to exempt the Mariner East pipeline from local zoning regulations in building some 31 pump and valve control stations across the length of the pipeline (see Sunoco Logistics’ New Roadblock in Building Mariner East Pipeline). A court case in Washington County, PA challenged that right in light of the decision from the PA Supreme Court that grants zoning rights, even for oil and gas development, to local municipalities.

Sunoco Logistics is now being challenged in court in Chester County, questioning their right to become a “public utility corporation” with the right of eminent domain. Just to confuse the issue further, a public utility corporation is not the same thing as being a public utility in PA. However, if Sunoco Logistics is granted public utility corporation status, it means they have the right of eminent domain but are overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and not by the PA PUC. In other words, they get the benefits of being a public utility, without the “burdens” of PA state oversight. That has some residents up in arms…
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OH County Commissioner Says ‘No Thanks’ to Severance Tax Increase

A lone voice crying in the wilderness! Amid all of the calls for more socialism–redistributing the hard-earned money from landowners and drilling companies to people who didn’t earn it via a higher severance tax–a Washington County, OH commissioner says “No!” He says raising the severance tax is a fundamentally bad idea and he does not endorse the Republicans’ dalliance with the idea.

And so we bring you a letter to the editor reprinted in the Parkersburg (WV) News and Sentinel from Washington County, OH commissioner Ron Feathers, a man we salute!…
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WV City Turns Former Football Field into RV Park for Shale Workers

Here’s an idea: Rent RV spots on a now-abandoned sports field to temporary workers in the area who are there to work on pipelines and compressor stations, drilling and fracking–and use the money to someday convert that field into a neighborhood park once the temporary workers have done their job and moved on. McMechen (Marshall County), WV Mayor Mike Gracik is proposing just that. The old sports field that once hosted football games for Bishop Donahue High School and the former Union High School is already hosting a dozen RVs right now, with room to easily double that number.

But (you may ask), won’t that bring in, you know, transient workers who will be loud and noisy and spread STDs all over the place? According to Mayor Gracik, the RV campground is “one of the most quiet places around the city”…
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Delaware Riverkeeper Gets a French Kiss from Phila. Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer today runs an extended article on Maya van Rossum, the head of the Delaware Riverkeeper organization, in honor of Worship the Earth Day. Van Rossum’s official title appears to be the Delaware Riverkeeper, an arrogant and pretentious title, like the person that holds it. You may recall the ill-mannered van Rossum disrupted a visit from her demigod, Barack Obama, by shouting at him during a speech in Scranton, PA last year (see Anti-Driller Shouts Fracking Question to Obama in PA Appearance). Fantastically, Delaware Riverkeeper was given standing to participate in the court case that resulted in overturning parts of the PA Act 13 drilling law–even though the drilling industry, which is directly affected by the case, was barred from participating in (see Act 13 Case Goes Back to Court, Drillers Petition to Join Lawsuit).

The purpose of the Philly Inquirer article is to paint van Rossum as a latter day Joan of Arc, a heroine who fights as the “voice of the river.” When in fact she’s rigid, unyielding and unreasonable. Her house is loaded up with expensive solar panels and she drives and electric car–and she wants to make you do the same. We have no issue with eccentric behavior, except when the person exhibiting that behavior demands you go along with it too. And that’s exactly what van Rossum does–she attempts to force her twisted view of the world onto the population at large. Unfortunately she has had more success than we’d like to admit, in part because of sycophantic “reporters” who write worship articles in major newspapers…
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Judge in XTO Criminal Spill Case Says Figure Out Your Own Charges

A small development in the shameful case brought by Pennsylvania’s anti-drilling Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, against XTO Energy over a four year-old accidental spill that she’s trying to prosecute as a crime (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO). XTO filed paperwork with the court to ask for more information about the charges that have been made against them. Apparently environmental cases are quite complex and you don’t always know what, exactly, you’ve been charged with!

The judge in the case has denied XTO’s request to be told what, exactly, they’re being charged with. Last Thursday Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio essentially told XTO, “You figure it out”…
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Company Sets up in Youngstown to Handle Radioactive Shale Waste

Too hot to handle? A Pennsylvania company operating in the Youngstown, OH area, Austin Masters Services, has been awarded a permit to handle and treat frack waste that potentially contains radioactivity. Anti-drillers want the permit revoked. Fracking waste is just too hot to handle, according to the nutters. Fortunately the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, which studies these things, has confidence that Austin Masters Services knows what it’s doing, and does it right. The company knows how to test oil and gas drilling waste for radioactivity without exposing anyone or anything in the process.

The litigious Lea Harper, head of the so-called Fresh Water Accountability Project (who is suing the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District over a drilling lease in the Seneca Lake area, and has sued to stop injection wells, etc.), has her knickers in a twist about the Austin Masters Services operation. So too do other anti-drilling wackos, although there’s not much to be upset over. Austin Masters doesn’t even have any customers for their services in Ohio, yet…
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Williams to Lay Pipeline in “Pristine” Lancaster County, PA

The rather boring information/news is this: Williams plans to install a 9.6 mile pipeline in Lancaster County, PA, part of an expansion project for the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (or Transco). The new pipeline will run under 7 creeks, two unkept areas overrun with weeds and trees, will involve cutting down a few trees and digging up some dirt–dirt that will be put back so you won’t even know it was ever disturbed.

However, in the hands of a talented propagandist, creeks become “high-quality streams,” unkept, rundown areas become “Natural Heritage Areas,” cutting down a few trees is turned into “clearing” trees–from (gasp) 26 acres! And digging up some dirt is converted into digging up 9 acres of (yes) “farmland.” What utter bilge…
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1 Day Only: 3 Free E-Books Chronicle Drilling PA Marcellus Well

MDN previously alerted you to the wonderful labor of love performed by Janice Gavern of Susquehanna County, PA. Janice is your “salt of the earth” type of person. She’s a cancer survivor and runs a goat farm with her daughter near Montrose, PA–right in the heart of some of the most productive shale in the entire Marcellus play. Four years ago Janice was intrigued by what was happening around her and grabbed her camera and with permission from her friend (a landowner) and from the company drilling on her friend’s property (Cabot Oil & Gas), Janice set out to capture the process. It resulted in more than 8,000 pictures (see PA Resident Snaps 8,000 Pictures of Cabot Well Construction).

Janice has, so far, created three e-books on Amazon’s Kindle service chronicling the drilling of a Marcellus Shale well. These are unedited pictures taken by a talented non-professional photographer. A fourth volume is in the works. In the meantime, Janice alerted us that the first three volumes, which normally cost $9.99 each, will be available for free–this week. Here’s the details on how (and when) to get them…
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RI Politicians Cry to Energy Sec. Moniz About High NatGas Prices

Free enterprise. Capitalism. Freedom. Works every time and in every place that it’s tried. And it works better than any of the alternatives. The opposite is government regulation, restriction, less freedom–and when that’s tried, in places like Rhode Island–you get less of things and higher prices. Which is why Rhode Island officials were crying to Energy Sec. Ernest “Hair” Moniz yesterday. They want relief from high natural gas prices and they (predictably) want “the government” to fix it.

What if, instead, Rhode Island and Massachusetts and other New England states, instead of banning fracking (see Vermont Becomes First State to Ban Fracking) tried capitalism, free enterprise and less government regulation? Hey, there’s a radical idea! Run some more pipelines and start fracking and you’ll see natgas prices drop in New England as it has in other areas. But a dose of common sense is simply a bridge too far for places like Rhode Island…
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MDN Quoted/Referenced/Reviled

We don’t toot our own horn much, mostly because that’s not in our nature. However, increasingly we spot Marcellus Drilling News or editor Jim Willis being quoted or referenced in various places. Jim has given information and interviews to reporters from half a dozen different publications over the past few months, including Bloomberg, the Washington Post and the Fayetteville (NC) Observer. When we spot media references, we’ll pass them along, for your reading enjoyment (and our tooting edification).

Today’s list includes Jim’s recent appearance on the David Madiera Show, broadcast on 94.3 FM “The Talker” in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, an article on the Media Matters for America website, and a reference on the Digital Journal. The interview was a “friendly”–Dave Madiera is pro-drilling. The other two are anti-drilling publications. MDN is regularly trashed by the other side–a badge of honor…
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