DC Court Tells Millennium FERC Can Override NY DEC Pipeline Delay

An Appeals Court decision issued Friday has (in our opinion) HUGE ramifications for New York State and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that has been corrupted by political influence from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It also has ramifications in other states with overactive environmental agencies too. It is hard for us to overstate how important we think this decision is. The NY DEC has been corrupted and politicized by one of the most corrupt governors New York has ever had: Andrew Cuomo. The Cuomo DEC has unilaterally decided not to issue 401 water crossing permits for several federally-authorized pipeline projects, including Williams’ Constitution Pipeline, NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline, and a teeny tiny 9-mile pipeline Millennium wants to build from their main pipeline to an under-construction natgas-fired electric plant in Orange County, NY, called the Valley Lateral Project. Millennium took the bull by the horns early on, when it was apparent the DEC was following the same pattern of delay and then deny, suing the DEC (see Millennium Pipeline Sues Cuomo’s Corrupt DEC Over Expansion Delay). On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the lawsuit by Millennium, which at first blush may seem like a blow. But it was the reasoning and opinion of the judges in dismissing the case that may change everything in New York. The judges said there is no case because if, as Millennium says, the DEC is denying the water permits, FERC itself has the power to jump back in and simply override NY DEC and issue the permits. This is a BOMBSHELL decision. That is, it’s a bombshell if FERC (with a soon-to-be-in-place quorum) exercises its constitutional authority…
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FERC Issues Positive Final EIS for Mountain Valley Pipeline

As predicted, on Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a $3.5 billion, 303-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. In the EIS (full copy below), FERC says: “We determined that construction and operation of the projects would result in limited adverse environmental impacts, with the exception of impacts on forest….We conclude that approval of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but the majority of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels.” While a favorable EIS all but assures the project will get approved, it is not a final approval. A final approval will come after a full quorum of voting commissioners is in place–currently there are only two of five members sitting who can vote. Anti groups did their best to spin and smear the MVP project–all to no avail. All of their machinations, even with help from local anti reporters, amounts to nothing. This project is happening…
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Status Report for 9 Key Northeast Gas Pipeline Projects

Important, large users of natural gas to produce electricity are states that hypocritically either ban or try to greatly limit fracking. For example, 55% of electric power comes from natural gas in the six New England states. California gets 60% of its powergen from natgas. New York? We get 57% of our powergen from natgas. Florida gets a whopping 67% of its powergen from natgas. There’s only one way states along the Eastern Seaboard (New England, New York, Florida) will continue to get the gas they need to create electricity: pipelines. A recent article in Forbes highlights the critical and urgent need for pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region. A handy chart of 9 key projects is included (see it below, great chart), outlining when each project is likely to go online. Hint: all but one of the nine will be online by the end of 2018–with several online by the end of this year! The northeast natural gas great pipeline buildout is on the way, and states like New York, Florida and the New England states should bow down and kiss the ground that pipelines are getting built…
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VA Sec Natural Resources Tells Dominion to Back Off re AC Pipeline

A lot of communication (letters, phone calls, meetings) fly back and forth between a midstream (pipeline) company and regulatory agencies when an application is filed for a project. Particularly a project like the Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. Companies like Dominion send letters, make phone calls and meet with federal and state regulators, attempting to anticipate and answer questions and concerns. It’s a natural part of the process. So we found it interesting, indeed strange, that the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, Molly Ward, sent a letter to Dominion back in April (just now coming to light) in which she tells Dominion to back off and that people in the agencies that work for her “will not base their decisions on requests or suggestions from an applicant.” The Roanoke Times, “reporting” on the letter, opens their article with this sentence: “Attempts by Dominion Energy to sway regulators in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline permitting process prompted a top official under Gov. Terry McAuliffe to notify the utility that state agencies would not heed those efforts.” So now, when a company attempts to provide information, perhaps anticipating issues and concerns for regulators, and reaches out to contact them proactively, that’s called an attempt at “swaying” and is somehow nefarious and underhanded. Should Dominion contact regulators to ask them to NOT approve the project? Ridiculous! Of course Dominion is going to try and convince regulators that the project is worthy/sound/needed/safe/etc. That’s their job! Why would Ward not want her people to hear directly from Dominion? Her people hear plenty from the other side, anti-fossil fuel nutters opposed to the project…
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True Colors of Politicized NY DEC Evident on Agency Website

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York (IOGANY), sent an email last Friday to members alerting them to the profound bias evident for all to see on the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website with respect to renewable vs. fossil fuel energy. It seems the DEC has been politicized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and now reflects his energy bias in promoting so-called renewable energy sources over fossil fuel energy sources. As IOGANY points out in their email (and as we’ve stated many times), nobody is against renewable sources of energy. They (and we) are, however, against the state choosing sides and promoting some sources over others, when it doesn’t make sense environmentally nor economically. IOGANY’s observations are compelling–showing just how biased agencies like the DEC have become…
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Canadian Regulators Line Up to Support TransCanada Lowball Plan

TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal last year 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. The open season was a bust because TransCanada insists on a 10-year commitment (see TransCanada Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Using Canada Pipeline a Bust). TransCanada revived their plan in February. The original deal required a 10-year term with a long-term tolling rate between C$0.75/GJ to C$0.82/GJ. In February, the advertised deal was for a 10-year term and a simplified single rate of C$0.77/GJ (see TransCanada Revives Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Using Canada Pipeline). Although it looked almost like the same deal all over again with the same 10-year term and about the same price, TransCanada dropped a minimum amount to be shipped and is letting shippers opt out after five years under certain conditions. The changes worked (see TransCanada Says Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Worked, Shippers Sign Up). The plan needs a bevy of regulatory approvals, not only from the National Energy Board but also provincial agencies as well. Those agencies are now falling into line and giving their blessing, which has to happen by November 1st…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jun 26, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Rust belt no longer – Chemical plants bringing manufacturing jobs back to Youngstown; Three Mile Island operator takes another step toward closing nuclear plant; National Energy Technology Laboratory vital to W.Va. future; Rover Pipeline will benefit Michigan; The shale revolution’s staggering impact in just one word – plastics; For investors in shale drilling, the party’s over; and more!
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