PA Gov-Elect Wolf Selects Anti-Drillers to Head DEP, DCNR

I See Your True ColorsIn a huge disappointment, Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has tapped two members of the same anti-drilling “environmental” organization–PennFuture–to head up the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Both also once worked for Gov. Ed Rendell (Wolf is acting more like Fast Eddie every day). Wolf is tapping John Quigley, who was Secretary of DCNR under Gov. Ed Rendell, to be Secretary at the DEP. Lately, Quigley has hung his hat at PennFuture as its government relations manager. His boss at PennFuture, Cindy Dunn (president of that organization), will become the Secretary of DCNR for Wolf. She served as deputy secretary of the DCNR under Rendell. It’s all kind of incestuous, isn’t it? PennFuture has a history of opposing the Marcellus industry–and now these two Rendell retreads are put in charge of managing the Marcellus industry. Unfortunately, we take that has an bad harbinger of what Wolf plans for Marcellus drilling in the Keystone State. His true colors are starting to show…
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Wedding Day: Williams & Access Midstream Get Hitched on Feb 2

It looks like February 2, 2015 will be the day of the wedding for Williams and Access Midstream. In June 2014, Williams announced a friendly takeover/merger with Access Midstream (see Big News: Williams Partners Buying Access Midstream for $6B). Access was once Chesapeake Midstream, spun off into its own company. Both Williams and Access have major operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. The takeover is going just fine and Access stocks will be distributed/swapped/split/converted/traded/whatever (makes our eyes glaze over just to read it) on Friday, January 30. By the time it’s all hashed out over the weekend, when trading begins on Monday, February 2, Access will be part of Williams…
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Phila. Gas Works Launches 12-Day Open Season to Expand LNG

An interesting footnote to the drama that’s played out over the past 10 months in the proposed sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), Philly’s city-owned natural gas utility. You may recall that Philly’s Democrat Mayor, Michael Nutter, worked out a deal to sell PGW for $1.86 billion to UIL Holdings, a Connecticut utility (see Phila. Gas Works Deal for $1.86B – Marcellus/Utica One of Keys). Eventually, after months and months and months, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, acting like a corrupt Philly crime boss, refused to allow any hearings on the sale and killed the deal (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). The crown jewel of PGW (see LNG Facility the Crown Jewel in Scuttled PGW Sale) is once again in the limelight. PGW announced yesterday they are holding a 12-day, non-binding “open season” for potential new customers of LNG sold by the plant with an eye to expanding the LNG plant. If they do expand it, they’ve said they will use Marcellus Shale gas to feed it…
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Pro-Drillers Out in Force at Constitution Pipeline Hearing in Binghamton

Constitution Hearing - Front

Last night MDN editor Jim Willis “took one for the team” and attended a New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) hearing in Binghamton, NY on the application of the Constitution Pipeline. Even though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the Constitution, the state DEC must grant a 401 Water Quality Certificate that allows the Constitution to lay pipe through and under swamps, creeks and other bodies of water. According to one of the speakers last night, there are 270+ such bodies of water along the Constitution’s route. The session was lively, as they usually are. It was also predictable–well, mostly predictable. We can honestly say if you’ve been to one such hearing you’ve been to all of them (see Vicariously Attend FERC Scoping Hearing on Constitution Pipeline). The one big difference we detected at last night’s hearing is that landowners and labor union workers (in favor of the pipeline) far outnumbered those against the pipeline. Judging by the clapping, booing and other audience feedback, we’d peg the crowd of 250 or so at about 75% in favor of the pipeline, 25% against. What got things kicked off early was an address by a full-throated Communist (who was against the pipeline)…
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WVU Launches 5-Year Study of Local Frack Site for Air, Noise, H&S

This is very cool. A West Virginia University professor, now interim chairman of WVU’s School of Public Health (Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences), is going to perform some REAL science. Dr. Michael McCawley is someone we’ve highlighted before. He’s done some excellent research on air quality near drill sites (see WVU Prof Keeps Up Pressure on Improved Air Quality at Drill Sites). Dr. McCawley is launching the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL)–a project that will drill a test well and provide real-time air, noise, occupational safety and health monitoring over a five-year period. It is one of three such projects approved and funded (in part) by the U.S. Dept. of Energy…
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Deerfield, MA Hoping Kinder Morgan Sues Them over Pipeline “Ban”

Grasping at straws, a lawyer for Deerfield, Mass. continues to attempt an illegal “ban” on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and its plans to come through that area (see MA Town Health Board Claims “Unlimited Power” to Stop TGP). The Deerfield Board of Health says most of the gas that will flow through the TGP will be exported. Their proof? They say there’s way more gas that would flow through the pipeline than could be used by New Englanders. And if a single molecule of that gas gets exported, shazam, exporting supports their right to ban it. Yeah, we don’t get quite get the logic either. But let’s back up a step. Deerfield and its zealous lawyer argue from a false premise–that current demand will remain static in New England. Their argument overlooks Obama’s war on coal and his earnest desire to mothball every single coal-generating electric plant on U.S. soil. There are a number of huge coal-generating (and nuclear) electric plants IN NEW ENGLAND that will shut down in the next few years. Would New Englanders welcome rolling blackouts from lack of electricity? Would they enjoy paying 100x the electric rates they pay now? Or might having more natural gas come to the area to convert those coal generating plants to natgas be the wise solution? Deerfield’s attempt to block the TGP overlooks the fact that demand will only increase, dramatically, in the coming years…
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Troubling Win in PA Court Victory that Allows State Land Drilling

Last week MDN told you about the crushing defeat of the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) in one of the their many lawsuits to stop drilling in PA (see PA Court Rules to Allow More Leasing/Drilling of State-Owned Land). What’s kind of funny about it is that the very case they sought to win–the Act 13 case that allows local towns to impose their own zoning on drilling–was used against the PEDF in the decision. Citing the “Robinson” case some 16 times, the Commonwealth Court told the PEDF that yes, the state can lease state land for drilling and yes, the General Assembly can decide how and where they want to spend the money such activity raises. Even though the outcome (for pro-drillers) was a positive, the way the court got there–using the Robinson decision–is troubling for the Marcellus industry…
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Shale Gas News Radio – January 10, 2015 [Audio]

Every Saturday the one-hour Shale Gas News show airs on Scranton, PA’s 94.3 FM “The Talker” radio station. The show is co-hosted by Kevin Lynn of Linde Corporation and Bill desRosiers from Cabot Oil & Gas. MDN brings you the latest program show notes and recordings for Shale Gas News each week (well worth your time to listen). Here’s the latest program, recorded on Saturday, Jan. 10…
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