PA DEP Fines Regency/PVR $306K for Sloppy Pipeline Work in 2012/13

pay fines here signIt’s old news, but is just now hitting the public domain. PVR Midstream, which is now part of Regency Energy Partners (see Marcellus/Utica Midstreamer PVR Bought by Regency Energy for $5.6B), did some sloppy installation work with pipelines in Lycoming and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania in 2012 & 2013. So says the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). According to the DEP, PVR had multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law, Dam Safety and Encroachment Act and state regulations while building two pipelines. PVR, at the time of the citations, quickly corrected everything wrong. Regency, the new owner of PVR, had to pay the fine. Oh, the fine (paid in August by Regency) was $306,570. Ouch…
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EPA Draft Frack Study Coming March 2015, Peer Reviewed Papers Soon

So what’s happening with federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long awaited report on fracking? Back in 2010 an activist Congress “ordered” the EPA (funny, the legislative branch ordering the executive branch) to study fracking and its affects (or lack thereof) on water supplies. Congress wanted to give EPA a big, fat open door to control and regulate fracking at the federal level–something that’s supposed to be done by Congress itself. Of course such laws, if passed by Congress, might fail since they contravene the U.S. Constitution–you never know with our Supreme Court. Easier to get the executive branch to create new laws via “regulations.” The study was originally due by the end of this year. But in June of 2013, EPA said they would need an extra two years (see Big News: EPA Fracking Study Delayed 2 Years – Now Due 2016). However, some great investigative reporting by NGI’s Shale Daily has discovered the EPA will release a draft report in March 2015…
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PA Republican Senator Hands Out $2M+ in Impact Fee Money

Being President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate has its privileges–like handing out $2,086,132 in grants for six energy, trail and water and sewer projects in your district–just two weeks before the election. Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) announced awards yesterday to fund projects including $150K for a recreation trail in Elk County, nearly half a mil for a flood mitigation project in Senator’s home county of Jefferson, and $546K to buy some sort of biogas contraption for a pig farm in Tioga County (something that turns pig crap into electricity). All of these projects are funded by PA shale drillers through the Act 13 law and the impact fee collected…
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Smaller Dominion Pipeline Coming in WV – Part of Atlantic Coast?

Dominion plans to build a 550-mile, $5 BILLION pipeline that will carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from West Virginia into Virginia and eventually to North Carolina (see Dominion Commits to Major New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline Project). As part of that project, or perhaps in addition to it, they plan to build a smaller diameter 34-mile pipeline, called the Supply Header project, from Wetzel County through Doddridge County and into Harrison County, where it will connect to the new Atlantic Coast pipeline…
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WV Legislature Closes Loophole for Drill Cuttings in Landfills

Earlier this year, the West Virginia legislature passed a bill allowing the state’s landfills to create a special cell with special monitoring to accept shale cuttings–leftover rock and dirt–as much as they want and can handle (see WV Drill Cuttings in Landfill Bill Passes in Record Time). That is, with one important exception: The new law disallows a special cell for drill cuttings to be built in landfills that sit over top a “karst” topography (where there are a lot of underground caves, sinkholes, cracks and fast-moving underground streams). However, there was a loophole, an oversight, in the new law: If landfills above a karst topography area are happy with maintaining their current lower cap of 9,999 tons per day of solid waste, they can accept shale drill cuttings in the regular part of the landfill (see Loophole in WV Landfill Law for Drill Cuttings Raises Concern). Oops. The loophole has now been closed…
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NEPA Town Residents Resist Frack Sand Transfer Station

Hi-Crush Partners, one of three major frack sand companies in the U.S., purchased PA-based D&I Silica for $125 million in May 2013. D&I is planning to build a frack sand transfer station in Tunkhannock (Wyoming County), PA. Except some (many?) residents who live in the area, along with the Wyoming County Planning Commission, don’t want it. All permits are in hand except one–from the Planning Commission. Hi-Crush has sued and the matter sits in court. However, there was a colorful appearance by one local anti-driller who dressed up in a canary outfit to attend the Wyoming County Commissioners meeting last night discussing the proposed transfer station…
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UC Hints Air Problems Near Drill Sites in Carroll County Research

In December MDN told you about a new air quality study in Carroll County, OH, being researched by the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University. The study will measure air quality for pollution potentially caused by local Utica Shale drilling. A good concept and worthy of everyone’s support. The only problem we had/have is that some of the volunteers helping with the project are from a local anti-drilling group (see Carroll County Anti-Drillers Eager to Help with Air Quality Study). The full results are not yet in, but preliminary results (UC won’t release any specifics), according to the AP, say that air pollution near some well sites is “higher than those in downtown Chicago”…
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Small Texas Driller Opens Branch Office in Midtown NYC

Texas Coastal Energy Company (TCEC) is a small but growing exploration and production company. TCEC was founded in 2011 by Jeff Gordon, an experienced (and third generation) Texas oil man. The company has drilled perhaps a dozen wells so far (maybe more, it’s hard to tell from their website). Why are they on our radar? TCEC is opening a new office in Manhattan, New York City. And why would they do that? Primarily because that’s where the big money is and they want to get some of that big money–but also because they’re considering drilling in the Marcellus Shale…
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Chevron Launches Appalachia Partnership Initiative with $20M

Kudos to Chevron. Yesterday the company announced $20 million in grants for education and workforce development in 27 counties across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Called the Appalachia Partnership Initiative, Chevron aims to fund education (for students) and training (for workers) in STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A variety of programs and organizations will be the recipients of Chevron’s largess…
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