Actor James Cromwell Going to Jail for Blocking NY NatGas Plant

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek

It looks like Hollywood actor and anti-fossil fuel activist James Cromwell will get to enjoy prison food for a week. For the last couple of years, MDN has reported on a $900 million Marcellus gas-fired electric generating plant coming to Orange County, NY (see Orange County, NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant OK’d by Judge). The CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) Valley Energy Center project has been vigorously opposed by local anti-drilling ninny nannies, including Cromwell. Cromwell is a spoiled rich kid from Manhattan who happens to own a home near the plant. He’d prefer to keep Upstate pristine, as his own private playground. Cromwell enlisted some neighbors and six of them got themselves arrested in December 2015 for blocking construction at the site (see Actor James Cromwell Arrested Protesting NY Power Plant Site). No matter. The plant is now under construction, as we reported in March. Construction of the plant is “moving full-steam ahead” and is on track to go online in early 2018. What about Cromwell and the other criminal protesters? The wheels of justice grind slowly. In June of this year, Cromwell and his fellow criminals stood before a judge, after being found guilty for their actions, and were fined $375. The judge told them to pay up by June 29 or go to jail. Cromwell defiantly said he won’t pay, he *wants* to go to jail (see ‘Wayawanda Six’ Convicted of Illegally Blocking NY Power Plant Project). Cromwell is going to get his wish–and get to sample jailhouse cuisine. Three of the “activists,” including Cromwell, have just been ordered by a judge to serve a one week sentence in Orange County Jail for refusing to pay the $375 fine–which is about how much Cromwell pays for a tip at one of his Hollywood power lunches. Cromwell’s lawyer begged and pleaded and got a tw0-week extension. Pay by July 14, or off to the clink…
Continue reading

Demand Picks Up for Pipeline Workers in PA Downstream

Here on MDN we talk a lot about big interstate natural gas pipelines–like Rover and NEXUS, Atlantic Sunrise and Atlantic Coast. But we don’t talk so much about the tiny (in diameter) gas pipelines that connect to people’s homes. In oil and gas industry parlance, those pipelines belong to the “downstream”–or the end users of natural gas. From time to time we’ve covered stories about NiSource and other utilities spending big money to replace aging local distribution pipelines (see NiSource 3Q14: A Lot of Irons in the Fire, Spending Billions). However, we’re starting to see more such stories. The latest is from Philadelphia-based PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility delivering gas to more than half a million customers. In a story about PECO’s project to replace gas mains near Philly, we learn there is so much work in replacing old gas lines, there is now a premium on contractors and qualified pipe mechanics…
Continue reading

Lawyer Says PA Budget Unconstitutional Based on Enviro Rights Law

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you are tempted to treat everything as a nail (Abraham Maslow, 1966). Such is it with radical anti-drillers who recently won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth. The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised by leasing and allowing drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). A divided court ruled that money from royalties must be used only for Big Green causes, and cannot be used even to fund operations at the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The decision was based, in part, on PA’s so-called Environmental Rights Amendment, “guaranteeing” the “right” to “clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment”–without defining how those “rights” are to be administered. The radical lawyer who won the case is now attempting to use that narrow decision–in a case about funding the DCNR–to make the preposterous claim that PA’s budget, as drafted, is “unconstitutional.” Like a broken record, he keeps going on about the Environmental Rights Amendment…Environmental Rights Amendment…Environmental Rights Amendment…
Continue reading

The Man You Can “Thank” for PA’s Enviro Rights Amendment Mess

Franklin Kury was a young lawyer and PA House of Representatives member back in the late 60s/early 70s. He was, at that time, the author of Pennsylvania’s so-called Environment Rights Amendment (Article I, Section 27 of the PA Constitution). For 40 years the ERA didn’t have much of an impact–but then activist, liberal, leftist judges got ahold of it and (ab)used it to screw with the Marcellus Shale industry in the state. Things “all changed” on June 20 when the PA Supreme Court (ab)used the ERA to tell the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) it can’t use money raised from shale drilling to help fund itself–a bass ackwards view of things if ever we’ve heard of one (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The court based their decision, in part, on the ERA. And that has 80-year old geezer Kury doing cartwheels…
Continue reading

Ohio State Research Finds Microbes in Utica Well May be Corrosive

Last year MDN brought you the story of researchers who found microbes (bacteria) living nearly two miles down in Utica Shale wells. They dubbed one of the never-before-seen bacterial “lifeforms” in the well Frackibacter. We immediately labeled it a different name: Frackenstein (see Frackenstein! Researchers Find New Life Form in Fracked Utica Wells). One of the Ohio State researchers who helped discover Frackenstein, Mike Wilkins, has continued his work. In a newly published study, titled “Sulfide Generation by Dominant Halanaerobium Microorganisms in Hydraulically Fractured Shales” (full copy below), Wilkins says a different bacteria he studied, that appeared in multiple Utica wells (called Halanaerobium) may be a cause for concern. In this new study, Halanaerobium was found to convert thiosulfates found in the environment to sulfide–which can be toxic to workers and corrosive to pipes and cement in the ground. Bear in mind this latest study appears to be pretty theoretical–and based on observations at a single Utica well. However, the research seems legit to us, and was not funded by anti-drilling organizations…
Continue reading

Green Energy Device Generates Electric from Compressor Station Fans

Click for larger picture

Green electric generation has just come to pipeline compressor stations across the fruited plain–potentially in the Marcellus/Utica. If you’ve ever visited a pipeline compressor station–used to pressurize pipelines to keep the gas flowing along–one thing you will immediately notice is a ginormous fan (or more than one fan if there are multiple compressors at the site). Those fans are there to help cool the machinery working to compress and flow the gas. Here’s a genius observation: fans move air. Now let us tell you about some real genius. What if you attached something to that moving air, say a small turbine, and that turbine powered an electric-generating motor–so you could produce electricity. Maybe even enough electricity to power the entire compressor station. Now that IS genius! CEGEN (Clean Energy Generation) conceptualized, built, tested and is now selling such a device. Their “generator in a box” device has a constant, 24/7/365 source of “wind” to power it. It is green energy meets fossil energy–and it’s a match made in heaven…
Continue reading

Wind & Solar Powergen 3-4x More Expensive to Build than NatGas

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, has done us all a huge favor. Yesterday we brought you a post by EIA’s Today in Energy that points out in 2016 some 81% of all the energy we used in the US of A came from fossil fuels (see Fossil Fuels Continue to Dominate American Energy – 81% in 2016). Today we bring you another post from the EIA. This one compares the cost to build new electric generation plants, as measured by how much it costs per megawatt hour produced, to build the plant. What the post points out is that the only source of new electric power that’s cheaper to build/produce than natural gas, is hydroelectric power. Dams. And even at that, hydro is not all that much cheaper than natgas. Wind is nearly triple the price of natgas to build, and solar is four times as much! So much for the renewable nirvana future that awaits us…
Continue reading

France Commits Energy Suicide – No New Oil & Gas Exploration, Ever

Click chart for a readable version – France’s energy mix (as of 2013)

MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of visiting France in 2006. It is a breathtakingly beautiful country. Jim found the French people to be personable and easy to deal with (contrary to the popular myth they are arrogant and hate Americans). But hey, that was just one guy’s experience. Maybe you have had a different experience? We’ve written about France’s on again, off again frack ban over the years (see our stories about France here). You won’t have to worry about whether or not France will ever allow fracking. Beginning this fall, the country will stop issuing ANY/ALL permits to drill for ANY/ALL oil and gas–conventional, shale, doesn’t matter. France says it will “transition” to “environmentally-friendly energy.” You know, like solar and wind–even though discarded solar panels are about the same thing as disposing of nuclear waste (an ecological disaster). But appearances are everything for French President Emmanuel Macron and his certifiably-insane government. France currently (as of 2013) gets 44.5% of its energy from oil and gas, the single largest block of energy powering the country. Nuclear is second, at 41%. Wind and solar? Together they make up less than 1% of France’s energy supply! Why is France’s energy suicide an MDN story, other than Jim’s walk down memory lane? Because it’s easy to predict that France will not be able to operate on 100% renewable energy. Not now, not in our lifetime. It is a fact. If France doesn’t allow oil and natural gas exploration INSIDE their country, they will need to import oil and gas from OTHER countries. Enter the Marcellus/Utica with plenty of gas via LNG exports to sell. This is a tip to producers reading MDN to begin negotiating now to sell your gas to France. They’re going to need it…
Continue reading

Would Antis Oppose Pipelines If They Flowed Beer Instead of Gas?

Installing Belgium’s beer pipeline

Antis have lots of excuses for why they don’t want pipelines built. Digging trenches will cause erosion. Drilling mud may get spilled into ecologically sensitive areas, like swamps (i.e. wetlands). Landowners are “forced” to accept easements on their property and can’t build things over top of where a pipeline runs. But mostly, it’s because of what’s inside the pipeline that antis get their knickers in a twist. They irrationally hate fossil fuels–and pipelines flow fossil fuels (natural gas, gas liquids, oil, etc.) through them. And that runs counter to the gospel of renewable energy. But what if you replaced natural gas with, oh, chocolate? Or what about replacing it with beer? Yeah, that’s the ticket! What if there were a pipeline flowing beer instead of natural gas. Would antis still oppose it? You no longer have wonder. There IS such a pipeline–in Belgium. Plenty of antis inhabit Belgium. When it came time to build a new bottling plant some two miles from the Half Moon brewery, there was a problem: How to get the beer to the bottling plant. So Half Moon built a pipeline–under the streets of Bruges, a World Heritage Site full of historical sites. Yep, right underneath–and not a single protest…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jul 6, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Marcellus/Utica rig count stays near 2017 high; NY towns say NO to wind farms; WNF fracking helps fund OH schools; Philly refinery works threaten to strike over cut benefits; tale of two counties–Susquehanna & Broome; MI antis fearmongering re Rover Pipe; frac sand saves railroads; oil bull has turned bear; and more!
Continue reading