Signs of Life in Lawrence County, PA NatGas-Fired Electric Plant

A Marcellus gas-fired electric plant planned for Lawrence County, PA, which had been dead, has roared back to life and now looks like it will get built. In February 2013 MDN first told you about a plan by LS Power Development to build Hickory Run Energy–a $750 million electric generating plant at a former manufacturing site along the Mahoning River in North Beaver, PA (see NW PA Town Approves Site for Marcellus-powered Electric Plant). The 900-megawatt plant, when built, would be powered by Marcellus Shale natural gas. A couple of months after the initial announcement, there was some early opposition to the plant (see Supporters, Detractors Meet on Proposed NatGas Power Plant in PA ). The original plans called for Hickory Run to be online and operating sometime in 2016. That never happened. It was at that point the story went cold for us. What we didn’t realize was that the project got sold by LS Power to a subsidiary of Japan’s second largest corporation. In June 2016, Tyr Energy, a subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation, announced they had purchased the project and that they hoped to have financing and paperwork done by June of this year to begin construction this fall. We don’t know if that schedule still holds, but we do know that South Korea’s KB Asset Management just announced they are investing $150 million in the project–a sure sign that the pieces are now coming together for construction to begin on the Hickory Run Energy plant…
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PennEast Pipeline Asks FERC for Expedited Final Approval

Jeff Tittel, the head of the New Jersey Sierra Club, last week called President Trump a “fossil fool in the White House” and panned Trump for doing his Constitutional duty in appointing new members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Tittel’s latest titillation came in response to PennEast Pipeline sending a letter to FERC last Thursday requesting the agency move forward posthaste with granting the project a final certificate to proceed to construction–something that terrifies Tittel and his sidekick, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum. Tittel and van Rossum have staked their reputations and the reputations of their anti-fossil fuel groups on stopping PennEast. So once the bulldozers fire up and begin digging trenches, it’s all over for them. They might actually have to find real jobs. Below is PennEast’s request to FERC along with the instantaneous (and paranoid) reaction from several Big Green radical groups….
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Monroeville, PA Close to Passing Restrictive Seismic Testing Ord.

Monroeville, PA (suburb of Pittsburgh) is making moves to restrict seismic testing within municipal boundaries–a move meant to restrict future shale well drilling in the area by Huntley & Huntley. In a July story, MDN brought you the news that Cougar Land Services, a subcontractor working with Huntley & Huntley, is planning to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality, including “small portions” of Monroeville’s northernmost and southernmost tips (see H&H: Seismic Testing Coming to Monroeville, Not to Oakmont). Monroeville Council recently voted to publish a draft of its new seismic testing ordinance for 30 days of public comment, which means they intend to adopt it following that period. The restrictions are meant to hassle anyone wanting to conduct seismic testing, i.e. Huntley & Huntley. Which is kind of sad, as H&H is headquartered in Monroeville. Kind of like spitting in the company’s face. Perhaps H&H should consider moving? At any rate, H&H says they are reviewing the ordinance now and if it “is outside the state parameters,” H&H will litigate…
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Making a Strong Case for NG’s Virtual Pipeline Near Binghamton

Somewhat surprising for our local Gannett outlet here in Binghamton (the Press & Sun-Bulletin), but on Sunday the newspaper published two opinion pieces that make a very strong case FOR building a natural gas transfer station (i.e. virtual pipeline) in the Town of Fenton, on the outskirts of Binghamton, by NG Advantage. One of the editorials was written by a resident who lives in the community where the station will get built. The arguments are compelling and destroy the NIMBYism and hysterics of local residents opposed to the project. The other editorial is from the fire chief and emergency management director from a community in New Hampshire that has two facilities to decompress gas delivered by NG Advantage. He speaks about the safety of the trucks and the gas carried on them. Bottom line: This facility is safe, the trucks hauling the gas are safe, and it’s good for the economy. There’s absolutely no reason why it should not get built in Fenton (near Binghamton)…
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PA’s Regulatory Mess Slows Marcellus Drilling – Time to Fix It

Since Tom Wolf assumed office as governor of Pennsylvania in January 2015, the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been in a downward spiral when it comes to the speed with which they approve permits for the Marcellus Shale industry. The DEP has a policy of issuing erosion and sedimentation permits 14 days from the date of application. These types of permits are common and necessary when building roads, well pads, etc. Lately it has taken the DEP 250 days to issue those permits! Permits related to drilling wells are supposed to take no more than 45 days. Those permits now average 93 days. The DEP is hopelessly backlogged–and it’s getting worse. When PA’s traitorous Republican Senate sold out and signed on to a Marcellus Shale severance tax back in July, the Senate also approved (as part of the budget bill) fixes to speed up the permitting process (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). Since DEP can’t seem to fix its own mess, the Senate is willing to “lend a hand” to help them get it done. Kathryn Klaber, former president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and now CEO of The Klaber Group, writes about the necessary revisions to PA (and the country’s) regulatory mess. She makes the point loud and clear that tweaking regulations is not an attack on the environment, as radicals seek to spin it…
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Drumbeat Continues: Tax PA Shale & Give Money to Teacher’s Unions

The steady, daily drumbeat coming from mainstream (i.e. fake) news outlets in Pennsylvania is that the PA House of Representatives is sitting on its hands, dithering, not doing anything about the so-called budget crisis. The fix is, of course, for the House to accept and pass the ludicrous plan from traitorous Senate Republicans that will tax natural gas a total of four times, with four separate taxes (see PA Business Roars Disapproval of Senate’s Plan to Tax Energy 4X). As we have pointed out, for years, PA Gov. Tom Wolf wants to slap a severance tax on top of an impact tax on Marcellus gas as a way of raising money to give to teacher’s unions (i.e. “education”). We’ve shouted this until we are hoarse, yet no one seems to notice that Wolf is attempting political payback by penalizing one industry in favor of another. From time to time we revisit the topic, using mainstream media’s own words against them–to indict them. Here’s yet another example. So-called Rev. Gregory Holston (from Philadelphia) in addressing a rally attempted to make the case that not adopting a Marcellus gas tax is tantamount to racism–because educational funding in PA is “unfair” and the state doesn’t spend enough on minorities in places like Philly. Standing right next to the “Reverend” at the rally was the president of the Philadelphia Teacher’s Union who said, “we are more than happy to lead the charge for a shale tax.” Do you need any more proof to believe our statement that the severance tax is nothing more than a way to funnel money to teacher’s unions?…
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FERC Open Meetings Restart on Sept 20, Some Votes Coming Sooner

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent an important signal last week: the agency is open for business and they won’t wait until the first public meeting (Sept. 20th) to begin voting on important pipeline projects. That’s our take after reading a notice posted by FERC, and after reading statements made by a FERC spokesperson. Which is good news for the many pipeline projects currently in limbo. A quorum of voting members was reestablished last week when both Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson were sworn in (see FERC Quorum Restored; New Chairman; List of Stalled Pipe Projects). There are now three (of five) commissioners appointed and working–enough to cast votes on important/big/”controversial” pipeline projects. Typically such votes are cast in an open and public meeting, held monthly. The next such meeting will be held Sept. 20th, according to a FERC announcement. However, the same announcement hints that voting will go on now, ahead of the public meeting, and projects can (likely will) get approved now, ahead of the monthly public meeting…
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The Shocking Ignorance of Anti-Fossil Fuel Protesters

Every now again we go on a rant about the hypocrisy, indeed the stupidity, of those who claim we can just stop using fossil fuels altogether–now–and switch to so-called renewables. If we only had the political will. According to the fantasizers, solar and wind and hydro and other non-fossil fuel sources could eliminate the need for fossil fuels. But what they fail to understand or grasp or admit (or perhaps all three), is that without fossil fuels they would not have clothes, houses, cell phones, vehicles for transportation and a host of other modern conveniences. Frankly, without fossil fuel extraction, we would immediately be plunged back into the Stone Ages–with cruel, very short, lifespans. Antis fail to recognize the key role fossil fuels play in our everyday lives. Our ongoing prediction, which will be proved long after we’ve exited this world, is that fossil fuels are here for at least the next 100 years. We spotted a local letter to the editor from a numskull spouting this “fossil fuels will kill us all” meme, and on the same day, an article by the always-excellent David Blackmon, writing for Forbes, which outlines many of the ways life would change without fossil fuels. Together these two pieces show the stark contrast between those who think, and those who don’t…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Aug 14, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Plum injection well makes Murrsyville nervous; pipeline could bring 100,000 barrels of Canadian crude to Maine port; US shale output keeps rising; the good news about high US oil imports; Baltic states push for joint LNG market; battery waste big problem with electric cars; OPEC beginning to panic; criminal tactics on the rise against pipelines; and more!
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