Eminent Domain Begins for Landowners in Path of Atlantic Sunrise

You beg and plead and beg and plead. You come with your hat in your hand. You try to explain that no, the pipeline isn’t going to avoid your property, Mr. or Ms. Landowner. But some landowners refuse to negotiate. So the last resort option must be exercised. That’s the situation with Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in several counties in Pennsylvania–including Lancaster, Lebanon, Columbia, Northumberland and Schuylkill. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final certificate for Atlantic Sunrise, allowing construction to begin, just two weeks ago today (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC). Although the project is still waiting on an approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Office, Williams expects to begin construction soon. Very soon. Landowners who either oppose the pipeline because they hate fossil fuels, or because they thought they might get a higher offer, or because they thought they could just make it go away by singing, “La la la la, I don’t hear you!”–are now out of time. Atlantic Sunrise is taking recalcitrant landowners to court and will soon have a court order allowing them to proceed with construction…
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DEP Concludes Hilcorp Drilling Caused Minor Earthquakes in W PA

In April of last year (2016), MDN brought you the story of earthquakes so minor nobody could feel them in Lawrence County, PA were likely caused by fracking (see PA DEP Investigates Hilcorp Fracking in Earthquake Nobody Felt). However, seismic monitoring equipment could detect them. We have to stress that earthquakes caused by fracking is rare–like this is one of five instances we’re aware of. Far more common are earthquakes caused by deep injection wells. But fracking itself? Statistically zero percent of the time earthquakes are caused by fracking. So when it happens, it’s noteworthy. The conditions must be just right–fracking immediately overtop a fault in the rock layers. The driller in this case, Hilcorp, was ordered to stop all fracking and drilling activity at the well site, which they did. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) says they have concluded their investigation and will today (on a webinar) disclose their results. Here’s the kicker: the DEP could have avoided this. Two years earlier the same driller, Hilcorp, caused minor earthquakes seven miles away–just across the border in Ohio. At that time Ohio officials stopped Hilcorp from drilling in that region. A week after the Ohio earthquakes that stopped Hilcorp, the PA DEP issued permits to drill in the same area (see Hilcorp Awarded Permits to Drill 7 New Wells Near Earthquake Zone). MDN was the only source to make that observation. We waved our little red flag and said maybe it’s not such a wise decision to grant those permits. Someone at the DEP needs to read MDN! At any rate, below is the news, as much of it as we currently know. By the time you read this, the DEP earthquake webinar will be over, but we’ve included the webinar notice as (so far) it’s the only information we have to indicate the DEP now concludes Hilcorp drilling was at fault for the earthquakes in Lawrence County…
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REX Pulls Rabbit Out of Pipeline – Adding Another 150 MMcf/d

The Rockies Express Pipeline (REX), originally built from Colorado and Wyoming to Monroe County, OH to bring natural gas from west to east, last year reversed the flow for a large and important section of the pipeline. On August 1, 2015 the section of REX from Monroe County, OH to Mexico, MO reversed the flow and began to carry 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Utica and Marcellus Shale gas to the Midwest, including to the greater Chicago area. REX has been hard at work on plans to expand capacity even more by beefing up compressor stations along portions of the pipeline. REX filed a plan with FERC to add another 800 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of capacity along the same portion of the reversed pipeline–for a grand total of 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). In mid-December, the first 200 MMcf/d of capacity came online (see Reversed REX Pipeline Goes from 1.8 Bcf to 2.0 Bcf). A week later another 250 MMcf/d was brought online (see REX Pipeline Adds Yet More Capacity, Now Flowing Extra 450 MMcf/d). In January, the final 350 MMcf/d went online, and REX is now flowing 2.6 Bcf/d of Utica/Marcellus gas to Chicagoland and beyond (see REX Pipe Completes Expansion Today, 2.6 Bcf/d Flowing East-to-West). Expansion complete. Except–Tallgrass says they can squeeze another 150 MMcf/d out of the reversed pipeline! Next month they’re going to run a new open season to sell yet more capacity, which would bump what had been 2.6 Bcf/d to 2.75 Bcf/d…
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FERC Actively Reviewing VA/MD/DC Pipeline, Public Hearing March 2

Dominion Eastern Market Access Project

Last October Dominion announced a new pipeline project called Eastern Market Access Project (see Dominion Announces $145M Project to Expand Gas Supply to DC & MD). The project will beef up two compressor stations in Virginia, build a new compressor station in Maryland, and add a couple of pipeline taps near Washington, D.C. The purpose of the $145 million project is to deliver more gas to Washington Gas (and its customers), and to deliver gas to a new gas-fired electric power plant being built in Maryland. A Dominion spokesman confirmed to MDN that the gas will come from either the Marcellus or Utica plays. We have an update on that project. Even though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency in charge of reviewing and certifying the project does not have enough Commissioners to vote on anything, they still are fully staffed and FERC personnel are actively working on an environmental assessment for the project…
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Cove Point LNG Progress Report for FERC – Now 84% Complete

Fossil fuel haters did their best to stop Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export facility in Lusby, Maryland. They sued (see Radicalized Sierra Club Files Cove Point Appeal in DC Court). They protested (see Cove Point Protesters Disrupt Monday Night Football Game on TV). They screamed and hollered and lied (see Cove Point Protester Sentenced to Jail, Lied About Police Assault). But in the end, it didn’t matter. The project has gone forward, and according to Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell, Cove Point is now 84% complete and will go online later this year…
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OH Gov Kasich’s 500% Severance Tax Increase a Jobs Killer

Ohio Gov. John “severance tax” Kasich is Johnny One Note when it comes to his desire to tax the Utica Shale industry and transfer their hard-earned money away to other people who didn’t earn it. In January, Kasich announced he would obstinately include a nosebleed-high Utica Shale severance tax (6.5%) in his biennium budget–again (see OH Gov. Kasich Recycles Proposal to Increase Utica Severance Tax). If you calculate it out, Kasich’s proposed increase is 500% higher than what it is now. According to Joe Nichols, policy analyst at The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center in Columbus, the increase in the Utica Shale tax is a jobs-killer in the Buckeye State. Nichols takes aim at this latest effort by Kasich to screw up the Utica Shale industry in Ohio…
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Pro-Severance Tax Unions Give 600% More than O&G to PA Campaigns

Rep. Greg Vitali

Pennsylvania State Rep. Greg Vitali, from the Philadelphia area, is an environmental extremist. In the past, he’s floated plans to force Pennsylvanians to use less natural gas (see PA Rep. Vitali Wants to Force Residents to Use LESS Natgas). Nobody, except some media outlets, pay any attention to him. He’s so far left even his own party has disowned him, removing a committee assignment from him and reassigning personnel away from his office (see Radical Democrat PA House Member Tossed to Curb by his Own Party). But Vitali needs to keep his name in the news–for reelection purposes. So a few weeks ago he popped back up again with a faux report that says “the system is rigged” in Harrisburg with respect to failing to pass a severance tax. That the reason a severance tax is not enacted is, according to Vitali, because of the money spent by Big Oil & Gas on lobbying and in campaign contributions. Of course mainstream media covers this nonsense without ever bothering to verify the claims. Here’s the facts Vitali won’t tell you in his report. While Marcellus industry PACs did spend $1.1 million last year in campaign contributions, government union PACs spent a whopping $7.8 million in campaign contributions! Of that, some $2.7 million was spent by Big Education unions–the same unions that contributed money to Vitali’s campaign. Huh. That fact got conveniently left out of all the reporting about the “unfair” advantage the Marcellus industry has. Let’s see, unions (in favor of the severance tax) are spending $7.8 million around, while shale (against the jobs-killing tax) is spending $1.1 million. Unions are spending 600% more than the shale industry–yet the shale industry has an “unfair” advantage. Tell us again how that works, Rep. Vitali…
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Trump to Issue Exec Orders “Reshaping” EPA – Swamp Rats Nervous

EPA swamp rats: prepare to be drained. Reuters is reporting from two difference sources that President Trump will sign several (up to five) Executive Orders to “reshape” the Environmental Protection Agency, once his pick to become Administrator, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed. That vote is expected today in the Senate. There is one turncoat–RINO Susan Collins from Maine (currently the worst Republican in the Senate, needs to be put out to pasture), who says she will vote against Pruitt (see this Maine Public story). However, two brave Democrats will break with their party’s radicals and vote for Pruitt: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp (see this The Hill story). Well, that’s not quite accurate. They’re both in re-election mode and scared to death that Trump supporters will toss them next year, so they’re voting to protect their own cushy jobs. But whatever. We’ll take it. Back to draining the disgusting swamp that has become the EPA. As we recently reported, the EPA has become a gravy train for so-called researchers, funneling our tax money into programs that suppress jobs and don’t do a thing to help the environment (see EPA Gravy Train Comes to an End – “Researchers” Freak Out). If Pruitt is confirmed today, we expect to see Trump’s Executive Orders issued next week–and that has the swamp rats nervous…
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Energy Transfer Breaks Silence on ND Criminal Protesters, Obama

We have, for some months, reported on the so-called protesters in North Dakota protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. They are in actuality paid thugs and criminals (see Police Remove Pipeline Protesting THUGS from Private Land in ND). It is not, as the media has lied, some small band of Indians who object to a pipeline crossing ancient burial grounds. That is 100% false. The reason we have warned you about them is because the very same paid thugs have threatened to come to the Marcellus/Utica region next (see Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Turn Violent; Coming Here Next?). In fact, it has already begun (see Dakota Access Pipeline Radicals Protest in…Scranton?). Energy Transfer, the company building the pipeline, has been extremely restrained in their public comments about these thugs. Until now. On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing titled, “Modernizing Energy and Electricity Delivery Systems: Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Infrastructure Improvement and Expansion.” One of the speakers was Joey Mahmoud, Project Director for the Dakota Access Pipeline. His testimony (full copy below) lays bear the truth of what has been happening. Did you know that the so-called protesters attacked pipeline personnel–putting one person in the hospital? Did you know they stole or damaged MILLIONS of dollars worth of equipment? That they tried to bomb a bridge and that a bomb did go off, ripping the arm off one of the protesters (i.e. eco-terrorits)? And did you know that of the 660 protesters who have been arrested, 94% of them were not from North Dakota? Mahmoud lays it all out in his compelling testimony. Folks, this is what we may be up against in the near future here in our neighborhood–a well-financed attempt to overthrow our peaceful government with eco-violence…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Feb 17, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Time to boycott Finger Lakes wineries; number of permits in Beaver County, PA down “drastically” from last year; the United States of gas & oil; EPA work slowing down due to hiring freeze; Wall Street’s love affair with energy heats up; and more!
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