OH Supreme Court Rejects County Frack Ban Ballot Proposals, Again

court-gavel.jpgAnti-fossil fuel zealots in Athens, Meigs and Portage counties in Ohio are spitting and sputtering after the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday once again shut down their childish frack ban ballot measures–ruling that Secretary of State Jon Husted and the election boards of those counties did not violate the law in tossing out the ballot measures. The radical Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is particularly torqued off. It’s not the first time the Supremes have slapped them down. Their frack ban ballot measures were also tossed last year by the Supremes (see Ohio Supreme Court Keeps Frack Bans Off Ballot in 3 Counties). It’s not good for future fundraising letters when the CELDF can’t win a case. Below we have a roundup of stories about the decision, including a full copy of the decision itself, handed down on Tuesday…
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700+ Landowner Rally in Bradford County, PA Pushes Royalty Bill

civil-warFor some time now MDN has highlighted the ongoing internal division among the ranks between Pennsylvania landowners and drillers over the issue of royalty checks. PA landowners are supporting House Bill (HB) 1391 which would guarantee landowners receive a minimum 12.5% royalty check regardless of post-production costs (see New Bill HB 1391 Will Guarantee PA Landowners 12.5% Royalties). Disagreement over the bill has erupted into a full-blown civil war, with landowners in Bradford County, PA–one of the most heavily drilled counties in the state–leading the charge (see Civil War: Bradford PA Escalates Fight with MSC re Royalty Bill). Last night the troops in Bradford assembled, and their numbers were 700+ strong, a very impressive showing. The rally’s purpose in Bradford was to call attention to HB 1391 and to specifically put pressure on PA legislators, whom attendees said were bowing to pressure (and money) from industry lobbyists–namely the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Here’s what went down at last night’s assembling of the troops…
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Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow: NJ Elec Plant Expands with Marcellus Gas

Construction has already begun with land-clearing on a 6.25-acre plot at the Bayonne Energy Center (BEC) in Bayonne, New Jersey to add two more gas turbines to the natural gas-fired electric generating plant. There are already eight (!) natgas-fired turbines at the plant. The two new turbines will add an extra 132 megawatts of electric generation to the plant, bringing the grand total output to 644 megawatts. The plant is a joint venture owned by Hess Corporation and ArcLight Capital Partners. It is operated by EthosEnergy. Recognize the name? Earlier this week MDN reported that EthosEnergy has been selected by Moxie Energy to run its new electric generating plant near Wilkes-Barre (see Moxie Chooses EthosEnergy to Run NEPA NatGas Electric Plant). The great part of the Bayonne Energy Center story is that Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania feeds the plant. Below are the details on the technology being used in the Bayonne plant, and a little bit about how these kinds of plants work: “Suck, squeeze, bang, blow”…
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NEXUS Pipe Aims at Local Utilities, Signs Columbia Gas of Ohio

exclusiveSpectra Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada, continues to build support and a good head of steam. In July the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project, a sure sign that FERC intends to approve it (see Spectra’s NEXUS Pipeline Gets Favorable Draft EIS from FERC). Earlier this week MDN reported the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has granted air emissions permits to NEXUS so they can build five compressor stations (see OH EPA Grants Permits for 5 NEXUS Pipeline Compressor Stations). Even more good news: MDN has exclusively learned that Columbia Gas of Ohio (CGO) has signed a long-term contract to ship 50,000 decatherms per day (50 million cubic feet per day) of natural gas along the NEXUS from two points in Ohio and Pennsylvania to a point in Sandusky County, OH. This new agreement appears to be a shift in strategy by Spectra. How? CGO is a natural gas utility company–delivering gas to end users like residences and businesses. In industry parlance CGO is an LDC, or “local distribution company.” Much of the focus by the media on NEXUS has been that gas flowing through the pipeline will end up exported to Canada. This newest agreement shows that at least some of the gas flowing through NEXUS will stay in the region, distributed by LDCs. Cheap Utica (and Marcellus) gas will benefit Ohio residents and residents in surrounding states. Here’s the details of the CGO/NEXUS agreement…
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Obama EPA, National Park Service Try to Rain on PennEast Parade

rain-on-my-paradeVarious government agencies populated with liberal Democrats, including the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama National Park Service, the Obama Fish & Wildlife Service, and the New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency, filed negative comments about the PennEast Pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday. The last day to file public comments on PennEast was this past Monday, Sept. 12. In what almost seems like a coordinated attack, various agencies all filed their highly inflammatory and negative comments at the eleventh hour. The Obama EPA’s comments were particular egregious, making fantastically wild claims like building PennEast “may” end up causing arsenic in groundwater supplies. Talk about bogus B.S. (Barbara Streisand). The question is, will this unwarranted assault by federal and state agencies cause further delays in the already-delayed PennEast project?…
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Duke Energy Modifies/Scales Back Plan for SW OH Pipeline

duke-energyDuke Energy Ohio, an LDC or “local distribution company” serves some half a million customers with natural gas in Ohio. The company has a ~12 mile pipeline to flow gas it needs to move from one point to another in Hamilton County, the southwest corner of the state. The Duke pipeline has been around and in service since the 1950s. Duke needs to replace that pipe or some of the half million Duke customers won’t get natural gas any more. Because anything to do with “fracking” or “pipelines” has been so thoroughly bastardized by the media and anti-drilling whack jobs, there was, of course, opposition to Duke’s plan. So Duke “listened” and has scaled back their plans. Instead of building a 30-inch gas pipeline running at 600 psi (pounds per square inch), the revised plan calls for a 20-inch pipeline running at 400 psi. Duke has proposed two potential routes (see the map below). Here’s the lowdown on Duke’s scaled-back, tiny pipeline project in Hamilton County called the Central Corridor Pipeline Extension Project…
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Youngstown OH Ready to Defeat Frack Ban Proposal for 6th Time

Groundhog DayThe longer we write MDN, the easier it gets–because the stories just keep repeating themselves. That’s how we felt when we spotted a story about the adults in Youngstown, OH pushing back against the temper tantrums of anti-fracking, childish nutters in the city who have, now for the sixth time, put a frack ban measure on the ballot for the November election. Five previous times the same group of rabid anti-fossil fuel haters have done this–and five times they have gone down to defeat (see MDN’s previous stories covering Youngstown ballot initiatives here). The antis waste everyone’s time and money by getting just enough fellow wackos to sign a petition to get the measure on the ballot each November. The adults in Youngstown must stay vigilant, so they held a rally Tuesday morning to announce opposition to the ballot measure. The mayor of Youngstown was there. So too were a number of union workers, Chamber of Commerce members, local businesses and supporters of the oil and gas industry in the Buckeye State. They were all there to recommend a “NO” vote on this asinine ballot measure, once again…
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OH Lets Dominion Boost Recoverable Spending on Pipe Replacement

dominionDominion launched a $4 billion, 25-year Pipeline Infrastructure Replacement (PIR) program in mid-2008. The program involves replacing over 5,500 miles of Dominion’s 22,000-mile pipeline system. Most of the pipeline to be replaced was installed in the first half of the 1900s. Some of the pipeline (much?) is being done in Ohio. The pipelines Dominion wants to replace in Ohio are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). If Dominion wants to do anything with or for the pipelines in Ohio, they first need PUCO permission. Dominion has sought, and now received, PUCO permission to expand the program in Ohio. Dominion currently spends $160 million per year on the program in Ohio. PUCO gave them permission to up that amount to $170 million next year and $200 in 2018. Why is that important? Because Dominion gets to “recover” the costs (i.e. charge the costs) to utility customers. Dominion customers in Ohio can expect to see a rate increase…
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OH Company Buys Canadian Pipeline Coating Manufacturer

rpmRPM International Inc. is a manufacturing company based in Medina, OH. It is the owner/maker of such name brands as Rust-Oleum. RPM’s subsidiaries that are leaders in specialty coatings, sealants, building materials and related services across three segments. One of those segments is the oil and gas industry. So it’s no surprise that RPM has just bought out Specialty Polymer Coatings, Inc. (SPC), a Canadian manufacturer of high-performance coatings for the global oil and gas pipeline market. No details of the deal were announced, but we do know that SPC has annual net sales of $26 million. The upshot: another Ohio company will get more deeply involved in the shale oil and gas industry–just one more way oil and gas (and shale) benefits everyone…
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$4.4B Dominion-Questar Merger Happens Tomorrow

M&AIn February MDN told you that Dominion, with a major presence in the Marcellus/Utica region, had floated a takover offer to Questar Corporation, offering to buy the company for $4.4 billion (see Dominion Resources Makes Play for Western NatGas Company Questar). Questar is a Rockies-based integrated natural gas company operating through three principal subsidiaries. The deal is an attempt by Dominion to diversify out of the northeast/Mid-Atlantic region. It’s also a deal to bump up Dominion’s natural gas footprint, lessening the company’s reliance on electric power generation which is not growing. Since that time the deal has progressed, and tomorrow the two companies will officially tie the knot…
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