War: ETE Asks Fed Court to Overrule Corps of Politicized Engineers

its-warYesterday MDN told you that a war of words has broken out between the Obama U.S. Army Corps of Politicized Engineers and Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) over the Dakota Access Pipeline (see It’s War: ETE vs. Obama’s Army Corps of (Politicized) Engineers). The war has quickly gone from words to litigation. ETE has filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal district court in Washington, D.C. asking the court to recognize the pipeline’s right to complete the project–a project now 90% complete–apart from final written approvals from the Corps of Engineers. ETE argues that the Obama Administration is politically interfering with the Corps, which had previously approved the project. ETE says: “…the Corps has never before declined to provide written documentation of the granting of an easement, a perfunctory ministerial act, to use federally owned land after granting regulatory permission for work on the very same land.” In other words, the Corps is using withheld paperwork to stop the project. Therefore, the lawsuit seeks the courts permission (called a declaratory judgment) to finish the pipeline apart from the politicized Corps’ written permission/paperwork. ETE wants to do what the Corps previously approved. They have a strong case…
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WV Supreme Court: Mountain Valley Pipe Can’t Survey w/o Permission

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Mountain Valley Pipeline route – click for larger version

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The project, which filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2015, is being built by EQT, NextEra Energy and several other partners (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Files FERC Appl, Now Just Matter of Time). In order to build the pipeline, you first have to survey the route. Landowners in both West Virginia and Virginia have resisted, forcing the project to go to court to try and force recalcitrant landowners to allow a survey. In April 2015 Mountain Valley sued WV landowners (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Sues 103 WV Landowners for Survey Access). In March 2016, Mountain Valley won a lawsuit in Virginia (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Wins Right to Survey in VA w/o Permission). However, the WV lawsuit has ground on with appeals. Finally it reached the WV Supreme Court and yesterday the court ruled–in favor of landowners, disallowing survey access for the project (see a copy of the 31-page opinion below). Which is interesting. This decision sets up a potential Constitutional crises…
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TransCanada Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Using Canada Pipeline a Bust

failedYou may recall that TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada when/if the NEXUS and Rover pipelines get built (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. In October TransCanada launched an open season to lock up customers for the new, lower-priced option (see TransCanada Launches Open Season to Lowball Marcellus/Utica Gas). Yesterday TransCanada announced the open season is over and it was a bust–not enough takers to move forward with the plan…
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PA Gives $5M to Union to Train More Welders for Cracker Plant

5-millionOn Monday Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced PA taxpayers are forking over $5 million to Steamfitters Local 449 union for use in their Butler Training Facility project. The union training facility trains welders. The Shell ethane cracker plant, when it gets built, will need a LOT of welders. Right now the facility graduates 170 new welders a year. With the grant money, they will expand it to train and graduate 270 welders a year…
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Tit for Tat: NJDRC Responds to PennEast’s Devastating Refutation

tit-for-tatThe New Jersey Division of the Rate Counsel (NJDRC) is a state government agency responsible for representing the interests of residents, businesses and other rate payers in dealing with regulated public utilities and insurance firms. In September the NJDRC filed a so-called analysis with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) slamming the need and cost recovery plan for the PennEast Pipeline–a $1 billion, 118-mile, primarily 36-inch pipeline that will get built from Dallas (Luzerne County), PA to Transco’s pipeline interconnection near Pennington (Mercer County), NJ. PennEast responded to the NJDRC’s analysis with an independent report written by Concentric Energy Advisors, rippping to shreds the arguments put forward by NJDRC (see PennEast Responds to NJDRC with Study Proving Pipeline is Needed). The humiliated NJDRC has responded, yet again, by filing a response to PennEast’s obliteration of their arguments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…
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88% of Gas Used by Philly Customers Comes from PA Marcellus

pecoPECO, formerly known as the Philadelphia Electric Company, is the largest combined electric/natural gas utility company in Pennsylvania. PECO serves 1.6 million electric customers and about a half million natural gas customers. In October 2015 the state Public Utility Commission approved a PECO plan to grow their natgas customer base by approving a plan that allows new natgas customers to spread the cost of hooking up to the gas line over 20 years (see PA Utility’s Plan to Deliver Marcellus Gas Approved by PUC). The really cool thing about PECO is that the company continues to use homegrown, abundant, cheap and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas to sell to their customers. In 2014, 75% of the gas PECO sold to its customers came from the Marcellus. Last year, in 2015, that number shot up to 88%. Who knows what it will be this year!…
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Google’s Privacy-Invading Cars Map “Methane Leaks” in Pittsburgh

googleWe have to state up front that we are fans of Google’s services. We love the Chrome browser and Chrome OS, Android (for phones), Gmail for email, Google Drive…the list goes on and on. But at the same time, we detest the far-left, in-bed-with-Big-Green-groups leadership of Google. And we don’t like some of their initiatives–including their creepy snooping into every aspect of our lives. We spotted a story about Google’s roaming Street View cars that ride along our roads snapping pictures. Snapping pics isn’t enough for Googlers. In Pittsburgh they’ve added methane sniffers to help detect elevated levels of (they say) global warming causing methane escaping into the atmosphere, like a fugitive. Supposedly the methane sniffers will help People’s Natural Gas (which we suspect was bullied by Google) to identify where People’s 50 year-old natgas pipeline network is experiencing leaks. Look, we’re all for finding and fixing gas leaks–don’t get us wrong. But the motivation here is not the safety of the residents of Pittsburgh. It’s to bow down and worship at the altar of the Global Warming gods. Quick! There goes the Google car–turn off the gas grill…it might mistake your backyard barbecue for a gas leak! All joking aside, what will Google strap onto those cars next? Maybe they’ll snap a pic of a fat customer walking into McDonalds and send it to his friends to shame him. Or maybe they’ll snap a pic of (gasp) someone walking into a Donald Trump campaign office–sending it to that person’s boss. Yeah, that’ll fix ’em. It was no surprise to learn that PA Gov. Wolf also butted in on the Google methane sniffing action, along with the radical anti-drilling Environmental Defense Fund and PA Dept. of Environmental Protection…
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PA Acting DEP Sec. McDonnell Reaffirms Plan to Reduce Methane Leaks

Patrick McDonnell Acting Secretary, DEP
Patrick McDonnell Acting Secretary, DEP

MDN noticed something of interest from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), tucked at the bottom of a press release from the governor’s office about Google’s methane sniffing cars (see today’s companion story)–news that means shale drilling and pipeline infrastructure is about to get more expensive in the Keystone State. The press release was mostly about Google cars kitted out with special equipment that can help identify where methane is leaking from old pipes in cities like Pittsburgh. However, tucked in at the end of that press release was a repeat of an earlier press release announcing Wolf’s 4-point plan to reduce methane emissions. We first reported that plan back in February 2016, revealed by the former (now fired) DEP Secretary John Quigley (see More on Wolf/Quigley 4-Point Plan to Reduce Methane Emissions). Acting DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell reaffirmed the DEP’s 4-point plan as part of the Pittsburgh Google methane sniffing episode…
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WVONGA Hires Babst Calland Attorney as Executive Director

annecThe West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) has hired Anne C. Blankenship, an attorney with Babst Calland, to serve as executive director. She has some big shoes to fill following the sudden death of WVONGA’s former director Corky DeMarco (see WVONGA Executive Director Corky DeMarco Dead at 68). Anne becomes the standard-bearer for shale drilling in the Mountain State. We welcome her and wish her well!…
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Time to Ramp Up Fracking and Put Americans Back to Work

drilling-equals-jobs.jpgUndoing the damage caused by the Obama Administration over the past eight years is going to take time. When President Trump assumes office on January 20, 2017 (can’t come soon enough!), he will put in motion regulatory relief and tax policies that will create new jobs for the 94 million Americans now out of work (a staggering number that doesn’t get reported by biased mainstream media). However, those policies will take time to implement. If jobs are the #1 priority for Donald Trump, how can he deliver relief in the short term, starting on Day One? According to the retired president of the Association of Washington (State) Business, Don Brunell, Trump should turn to fossil fuels. Brunell suggests a quick solution to more jobs: more fracking…
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