GreenHunter Says OH River Wastewater Barging to Begin September

Ohio River bargeThe centerpiece of GreenHunter Resources strategy is to quickly ramp up, and start producing revenue from, a series of wastewater injection wells in Meigs County, OH (see GreenHunter Resources 1Q15: Bets the Ranch on OH Injection Wells). There are two ways wastewater, both flowback and brine, will get to the Meigs County wells (called the Mills Hunter facility): 1. trucking, 2. barging. For years MDN has covered the controversy about barging brine (and possibly flowback) down the Ohio River to injection wells in Ohio. The holdup–frankly the problem–has been that the Obama administration has been pressuring the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to withhold such approval. Never mind that substances far more toxic than shale wastewater are currently (right now) barged up and down the Ohio River every single day. That makes no difference. It’s public perception and how anti-drillers are able to warp and mold public opinion that is at issue here. After having their fill of waiting, GreenHunter made a brilliant move on the chessboard to break the stalemate. Using the USCG’s own rules and regulations against them, GreenHunter said current regulations issued in 1987 give them the right to barge brine–right now. And they intend to do so as soon as they have a facility built to load the barges. This is a little-covered aspect of this story and MDN, if we may immodestly say so, was the first and one of the few to figure it out (see GreenHunter/Coast Guard War of Words — MDN Explains It). Although a war of words has gone back and forth, GreenHunter has not backed down. During the 1Q15 earnings call we got an update on where things stand and a time frame for when GreenHunter plans to begin barging wastewater down the Ohio River…
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Martian Arrogance: Town MUST “Protect Us” from Drilling via Zoning

My Favorite MartianThose trouble-making Martians are at it again. Four virulently anti-fossil fuel parents from the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA are being assisted–we maintain illegally–with support from THE Delaware Riverkeeper (violating its own charter of operating on the other side of the state in the Delaware River Basin) and by the Philadelphia group Clean Air Council. Riverkeeper’s interference in Butler County invalidates their tax-exempt status. Get this, using money from Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council, the four Middlesex residents are trying to FORCE locally elected leaders in Middlesex to “protect them” from an activity that’s harmless–drilling a shale well 3/4 of a mile away from the local Mars School. It’s the same type of “sue and settle” being used at the national level, being tried locally. Seven selfish PA townships sued the state (and won) to retain the right to zone where drilling can and can’t take place. Now the Martians want to (ab)use the same Act 13 law to force the town to enact zoning that this small group of residents wants regardless of what a majority of town residents want. In other words, there is only one outcome (for them) allowed under Act 13: no drilling. It is an amazingly arrogant position and needs to be vigorously opposed legally, morally, via popular opinion–in any way possible…
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New Permit Applications Down 30% in PA, DEP Scrambles for Funding

Starting in 2014, the price to file an application for a permit to drill a Marcellus or Utica Shale well in Pennsylvania went from $3,200 to $5,000 (see Coming Soon: PA Drillers to Pay 56% More for Marcellus Permits). In early 2014, then head of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, Chris Abruzzo, said the fee hike and forecasted new revenue from it would allow the DEP to hire more help (see New Staffers on Way at PA DEP O&G Courtesy Higher Permit Fees). But a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum–the price of natural gas dropped like a rock because of too much supply and, in the northeast, not enough pipelines. Year over year the number of applications for permits to drill new wells is down about 30% according to the DEP, and that means the previously forecasted revenue isn’t there. What will the DEP do now?…
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Belmont County, OH Ethane Cracker to Get 3rd Partner

More movement on the recently announced $5 billion ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH being planned by two companies from Thailand and Japan (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). The new news is that the two companies are seeking a third company to become a partner (i.e. contribute cash) to help them build it. PTT Global Chemical from Thailand will be the majority owner with a 51% stake. Japan’s Marubeni Corp is the money manager/investor for the project. According to PTT, five other companies are interested in becoming the third partner…
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WV Officials Say Odebrecht Considering Reconfigured Cracker Plant

As MDN told you a month ago, Brazilian company Odebrecht is signaling they may not build an ethane cracker plant near Parkersburg, WV after all (see Odebrect Pushes the Pause Button on WV Ethane Cracker). Which is a big disappointment, since the project seemed to have so much forward momentum. However, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s representatives are still not defeated–far from it. They don’t see Odebrecht’s statement that the plant “needs to be re-evaluated” (Odebrecht’s words, not ours) as a definite “no” so they’re continuing to hold out hope that it will get built, but perhaps modified from its original plan…
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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Chooses Alternate Route in 2 VA Counties

There’s been a course change for Dominion’s $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 550-mile natural gas pipeline that will bring Marcellus and Utica Shale gas south to Virginia and North Carolina. Yesterday Dominion announced they will shift the pipeline in two Virginia counties to the “alternate” route–in Augusta and Nelson counties. Landowners, who are being contacted now, will know the alternate routes as the Augusta Industrial Park variation, the Appalachian Trail South alternate, the East of Lovingston Connector alternate and the East of Lovingston alternate (see map below). According to Dominion, the new routes will have “the least impact to environmental, historic and cultural resources.” Other sources say the reason for the change is due to very vocal opposition in Augusta and Nelson counties. It appears the new route will make a different set of landowners unhappy–but perhaps fewer will be unhappy than before…
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Cecil Twp Violates Court Order re MarkWest Compressor Permit

MDN first started tracking the issue of MarkWest Energy’s desire/application to build a compressor station in Cecil Township (Washington County), PA all the way back in May 2011–four years ago (see MarkWest, Range Resources File Legal Appeal Over Denial of Permit for Gas Compressor Station in Cecil, PA). The case goes back even further to the fall of 2010 when MarkWest first filed for the permit. Since that time, Cecil has steadfastly denied MarkWest a permit to build the compressor. It took nearly four years of lawsuits (see our many stories here), but last fall a judge ruled that Cecil could not disallow the MarkWest compressor in an area zoned industrial (see MarkWest Wins Court Case to Build Compressor Station in Cecil, PA). The Cecil Town Board decided not to appeal the decision, but the zoning board has kept it bottled up since last October. The town has now exhausted all legal options and the court, in April, told the town they have 45 days to grant the permit. The clock is ticking and yet the zoning board is still dragging its feet and intends to violate the 45-day court order…
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PA Gov. Wolf Throws Temper Tantrum at Groups Opposing Sev. Tax

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is a typical Democrat. When he doesn’t get his own way, he throws a temper tantrum and stomps his feet and behaves like a child. Yesterday he sent his chief of staff, Katie McGinty, off to the Pennsylvania Press Club to give “reporters” the narrative they should use to try and mass brainwash the PA population on why his 15% severance tax plan is such a great idea (see today’s companion story). Meanwhile, Wolf sent a temper tantrum letter off to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry along with a 16 other PA business organizations to lambaste them for having the gall to disagree with his severance tax plan and point out its shortcomings…
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Wolf Chief of Staff: Marcellus Industry Lying About Tax

According to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff Katie McGinty, the Marcellus Shale industry is lying about its own economic health (or unhealth), and the only “responsible” thing to do is pass Wolf’s Marcellus-killing severance tax. That’s essentially what she said at a talk delivered to Democrat operatives–otherwise known as “reporters”–attending her speech at the Pennsylvania Press Club. “Reporter” Robert Swift was in attendance to take dictation/receive marching orders from McGinty and he “reports” this…
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Former Access Midstream CEO Reappears – on MarkWest Board of Dir

Last June, Williams announced the biggest midstream news of the year–a deal to buy Access Midstream (the old Chesapeake Midstream) and fold it into their own operation (see Big News: Williams Partners Buying Access Midstream for $6B). After clearing all of the regulatory and financial due diligence hurdles, the two companies officially merged on February 2nd (see It’s Official: Williams and Access Midstream Tie the Knot). But before they did, Mike Stice, the CEO of Access and the President and COO of Chesapeake Midstream before it was Access, left Access as of January 1st of this year (see Access Midstream CEO Replaced by COO Under Williams Ownership). We don’t know if Stice’s departure was amicable or not. Stice’s #2 man, Chief Operating Officer Robert Purgason, took over as the head of Williams’ new Access division. Mike Stice has turned up again–this time on the board of directors for Williams’ arch competitor MarkWest Energy…
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PA Gov Wolf Appoints EQT’s Andrew Place to Public Utility Commission

A few weeks ago Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, disastrous Democrat ruining the Keystone State, appointed someone we suspect is an anti-driller to head the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC), Gladys Brown (see Anti-Drillers Cheer PA Gov Wolf’s New Appointment to Head PUC). The reason we think Ms. Brown is an anti-driller is her religious-like belief in man-made global warming coupled with a big endorsement from the odious anti-drilling National Resources Defense Council, which issued a press release positively gushing at Brown’s appointment. Perhaps to soften the criticism, perhaps because he’s mildly schizophrenic, Gov. Wolf has appointed another new member of the PUC–this time someone from the Marcellus Shale industry–Andrew Place. Andrew, you may recall, works for Marcellus driller EQT and was the founding and interim executive director of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (see Important: Drillers & Enviros Form New Group, Launch Cert Program). Andrew seems to have the ability to “reach across the isle” and work with loony toons environmentalists, so it’s no surprise Wolf has tapped him for this important post…
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