Setback for Mariner East NGL Pipe – Judges Say Not Public Utility

court gavelTwo “independent” administrative law judges for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission have dealt what could be a major blow to Sunoco Logistics’ request to have the Mariner East NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline declared a public utility. The two judges–David Salapa and Elizabeth Barnes–handed down a decision yesterday that denies Sunoco’s request to have 18 pump and 17 value stations (in 31 locations) that would need to be built along the 300+ mile pipeline exempt from local zoning ordinances. If the pipeline is considered a public utility it would be exempt from local ordinances. Without that exemption, Sunoco Logistics faces a nearly impossible task of trying to gain permission to build the necessary new stations. Below is a copy of the decision, and MDN’s background on this important pipeline project, along with a “where do we go from here” analysis…
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EIA Adds Utica to Drilling Prod. Report – Looks Like Eagle Ford!

We’re not sure how we missed this spot of important news, but last Friday our favorite government agency–the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)–announced they are adding another shale play to our favorite report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The new shale play being added as of the August DPR? The Utica! The brains at EIA (and we mean that respectfully, they really are brainiacs) announced on their website last week that the Utica looks an awful lot like the Eagle Ford in its early development. That’s high praise indeed. EIA points out in adding Utica to the other existing six shale plays they cover in the DPR, that the Utica’s production per rig is currently outpacing all of the other shale plays they track…
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Beaver County Organic Farm vs Cardinal Midstream Compressor Plant

A drama playing out in Beaver County, PA that first came to public attention last week pits a midstream company against an organic farmer. Don and Becky Kretschmann operate one of (perhaps the) largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) organic farms in western Pennsylvania. The vegetables, fruits and herbs they produce on the farm are sold to some 1,000 customers throughout the area. Cardinal Midstream plans to build a pipeline compressor station with first four compressors, and eventually eight compressors, at a location about 1/3 of a mile (2,000 feet) from the Kretschmann’s organic farm. The Kretschmanns say the compressor station threatens the existence of their farm and organic certification…
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Towns that Ban Fracking Could be Bankrupted by Takings Lawsuits

New York townships that recently won the right to outright ban shale drilling with a 3-2 majority vote by a town board may want to rethink their ill-advised votes. Due to a tip from a sharp MDN reader, we bring you a press release from the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) about recent court decisions in Colorado. Similar to the New York case, some municipalities in CO have attempted outright bans of fracking–and those cases, contrary to what happened in NY–are being lost. (Certainly not the first time NY has been out of step on important issues.) One study mentioned in the NARO announcement says that bans and moratoria in Boulder County, CO could result in more than one billion dollars of “takings” lawsuits by landowners. In other words, the lawsuits will bankrupt the towns and villages stupid enough to enact a ban. Are you listening Dryden and Middlefield? You won round one in NY–but the battle is far from over and taxpayers in your towns may one day rue your decision to act foolishly to ban fracking…
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Engineering Services Firm “Quietly” Opens Utica Office in SE Ohio

Fenstermaker, an environmental engineering and consulting firm with 300 employees companywide in the U.S., says they “quietly” opened their latest branch office in Cambridge, OH in March in order to better serve their customers in the Utica Shale. They’re no-so-quietly trumpeting their presence now. Although the company’s announcement doesn’t say how many are employed at the new location, it does say Jarrod Hughes, a Project Manager experienced in both field and office supervision, has stepped into the role of Northeast Operations Leader. According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Hughes most recently has worked for Fenstermaker as a senior environmental specialist in the Montrose (Susquehanna County), PA area–i.e. the Marcellus Shale…
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Fact: Unemployment Lower in States with Fracking

Bernard Weinstein is a researcher and the associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business (in Texas). According to new research being touted by Weinstein, it’s a proven fact that states with active shale drilling–like Texas and Pennsylvania–saw faster economic turnarounds after the recession in 2008 when compared to those who have no drilling activity, like New York. In fact, the unemployment rate in Texas is the lowest of any large state–5.1%–while New York’s unemployment statewide remains stubbornly high–at 6.7%. The unemployment rate is even higher in Upstate New York, where Marcellus Shale is abundant and would be an economic miracle if allowed to proceed…
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Anti-Drillers to Push Their Message at Binghamton Spiedie Fest

Anti-drillers will infest, er, attend the Binghamton Spiedie Fest that runs from tomorrow, August 1st, through the weekend. They will, as they have in past years, have an “information” (i.e. lying propaganda) table at the event. They’re desperately trying to get volunteers to show up and “man” the table–by offering them a free pass to enter the event. For those outside of the Southern Tier region, the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally is the biggest such regional fair each summer–drawing in around 100,000 visitors. Anti-frackers are using it to spread their lies…
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