Dela. Riverkeeper Loses Fed. Court Case Against NEPA Pipeline

In March, Big Green group THE Delaware Riverkeeper (leftist political lobbying arm for the William Penn Foundation that funds it) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District requesting the court overturn a Clean Water Act permit granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Kinder Morgan’s Orion Project in northeast Pennsylvania. Yesterday, in a humiliating defeat, the Third Circuit rejected Riverkeeper’s request and ruled the Army Corps was well within its right to grant the permit (full copy of the ruling below). In October 2015, Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) filed their official, full application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking approval for the Orion Project (see Tennessee Gas Pipeline Files PA Orion Project with FERC). The project will cost $143 million and construct 13 miles of “looping” pipeline in Pike and Wayne counties, Pennsylvania. The project will boost capacity on the TGP by another 135 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), allowing TGP to pump more Marcellus Shale gas to Mid-Atlantic and New England states. The project received full FERC approval in February of this year (see TGP Orion Project in NEPA Gets Final Approval by FERC). The project remains on track to be built/online in June 2018…
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More Pushback on PA Senate Plan to Fix Slow DEP Permit Reviews

There is a growing storm of opposition to a plan put forward by the Pennsylvania Senate in the current budget bill to fix the problem of long delays in issuing permits by the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Enough traitorous Republicans in the Senate joined with just about all of the Democrats in the Senate to pass a budget bill that slaps new taxes on natural gas–a severance tax on drillers and a gross receipts tax on consumers (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). As an olive branch to the industry, Senate Republicans also included (in the budget bill) fixes to the slow DEP, to speed things up (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). 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. The Senate olive branch was meant to address this serious issue. But of course antis have (and continue) to come out in force to oppose the fix. Now, an assortment of previous Secretaries of the DEP have also voiced their concerns about the plan–including a voice we highly respect, Michael Krancer…
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Bloomberg Hit Piece Reveals Rover Enviro Record Better than Most

A Bloomberg New Service article that is profoundly biased attempts to smear and denigrate the Rover Pipeline, claiming it is “wreaking environmental havoc” and that the project “has racked up more environmental violations than other major interstate natural gas pipelines built in the last two years.” There is no doubt Rover has had its problems, the most infamous being a 2 million gallon drilling mud spill in a wetland near the Tuscarawas River (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). However, in their zeal to smear Rover, the Bloomberg smarties include a chart comparing Rover with other pipelines, showing the total number of “noncompliance incidents.” Rover, far and away, has the most total number of such incidents–104 to date. However, it’s also the longest pipeline in the comparison. The longer the pipeline, the more chance there is for problems to happen. Just like the longer a new road is, the more problems there will be when building it. When you run the numbers (as MDN has, see below), you find that when you look at how many “noncompliance incidents” there are per mile of pipeline installed, Rover has a better record than most of the others! Thank you Bloomberg for helping us understand just how much BETTER Rover is than many other pipeline projects…
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It Begins: Radical Group Demands FERC Re-Do ACP Pipeline Review

Yesterday MDN brought you the news that the radical Sierra Club had prevailed in a federal lawsuit against a trio of pipeline projects in the southeast (see DC Court of Appeals Legislates New Law re FERC & Global Warming). The ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reconsider the projects based on their potential impact on mythical man-made global warming. As we said yesterday, it won’t take long for Big Green groups to use the decision to make trouble at FERC for other projects. Indeed, it’s already begun. The Southern Environmental Law Center (radical leftist group) is calling on FERC to throw out its previous environmental assessment for the Dominion $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)–a project that will run from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. Southern Environmental Law Center says FERC must now weigh the impacts of the pipeline on global warming, because 80% of the natural gas flowing through it will feed clean-burning natural gas-fired electric plants in the South. Apparently the nutters would rather have dirty coal than clean natural gas for electric power generation. Or perhaps they prefer no electricity at all? Just turn off those air southern conditioners and sit in the dark and sweat. This turn of events–a blizzard of FERC challenges–was entirely predictable…
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Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Advances in PA

In March of this year, Williams filed a full, official application for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project (see Williams Files with FERC to Expand Transco Pipeline to NYC, NE). The new project is meant to increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets. In particular, Transco wants to provide more Marcellus natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There are a number of components to the project, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco offshore. Much of the Raritan Bay pipeline is located in New York territorial waters. In a case of “here we go again,” the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which has been corrupted and politicized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, sent a notice to Williams in July (to their Transco subsidiary) to declare the application for a 401 water-crossing permit for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project is deemed “incomplete,” pending certain items (see NY DEC Tells Williams NE Supply Water Permit App is “Incomplete”). However, NY isn’t the only state involved. The project wants to build 10 miles of pipeline, build four roads and build a new compressor station (next to an existing compressor) in Pennsylvania. Even though the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been slow in issuing permits for drilling (see today’s story More Pushback on PA Senate Plan to Fix Slow DEP Permit Reviews), the DEP is far less dysfunctional than the NY DEC. The last Saturday the DEP published a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin that the agency will issue the necessary permits for the project in PA after a public comment period that ends on Sept. 18…
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Sale of Cabot’s WV-OH-VA Assets to Carbon NG Closing Sept 29

Exactly one week ago MDN brought you the exclusive news of WHO is selling a bunch of conventional wells and leases (and pipelines) located in West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia to Carbon Natural Resources (see Carbon Natural Gas Buys Cabot’s Conventional Wells in WV-OH-VA). MDN was the only news source to identify Cabot Oil & Gas as the seller. The press release from Carbon Natural refused to identify the seller. Another news source has finally stepped forward to confirm what you read here a week ago. Argus Media has done some of their own sleuthing and found via pipeline filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that indeed Cabot is the seller. Argus also includes some facts not in the original release–that the sale includes 780,000 acres of leases. Yikes! That’s more than 3/4 of a million acres! But just a reminder–it’s conventional (not shale) acreage. At least as far as we can tell. Finally, another new tidbit from Argus: the deal is expected to close on September 29th…
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WSJ Harpoons NY Gov Cuomo for His “Blockade” of Natural Gas

The editors at the Wall Street Journal have taken the gloves off with respect to the insane policies of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo when it comes to natural gas. Because of Cuomo’s “blockade” of natural gas, by banning fracking and by blocking natural gas pipelines from Pennsylvania into NY, Cuomo stands on the cusp of not only ruining his own state with high prices for natural gas–he’s going to ruin it for other states (like those in New England) as well. Cuomo wanted the Indian Point Nuclear plant closed–and it’s closing. He wants coal plants closed, and they have. But at the same time, the state is adding new natural-gas fired electric generating plants, like the one in Orange County. So far, Cuomo’s corrupted Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has refused to issue a permit for a pipeline to feed the plant (see NY DEC Holds Sham “Hearing” for Power Plant Pipeline). If the plant doesn’t get the pipeline, it will burn dirty oil instead. The state is building 11 new microgrids that use natural gas to generate electricity–including in the center of NY’s capitol, Albany (see NY Building Not Just One, but Eleven (!) NatGas-Fired Micogrids). And yet Cuomo continues to reject major pipeline projects to bring more gas to NY. Guess what that will do to the price of natural gas and electricity in the Empire State? And what about the price of natgas and electricity in New England? Already Northeast residents pay 29% more for natural gas and 44% more for electricity than the U.S. average. What a tragedy. Loads of natural gas waiting to serve those markets, produced in PA, WV and OH–and Cuomo refuses to let it in. The Journal takes him to task for it…
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WVU Study: How CNG/LNG Vehicles Can Lower Methane Emissions

Researchers at West Virginia University have just published a new study that looks at how to reduce methane emissions from LNG (liquefied natural gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas) fleet vehicles in coming years. Today’s heavy-duty natural gas fueled fleet is less than two percent of the total fleet. However, in the next 20 years, the heavy-duty truck fleet is expected to undergo a massive change–to as much as 50% of those vehicles powered by natural gas. That is a HUGE number! And potentially a huge new market for Marcellus/Utica gas! Natgas has a lot of advantages over diesel fuel, but folks are concerned over the mythical global warming potential of methane leaking into the atmosphere. Hence this study which looks at ways to prevent that…
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MDN Vacation Day Friday, Aug. 25

It doesn’t happen often, but MDN editor Jim Willis will take a day off on Friday, Aug. 25, to enjoy a quick getaway with his lovely bride. Heading to beautiful Lancaster County, PA. MDN will be back on Monday bringing you all the non-fake news about the Marcellus/Utica that’s fit to electronically print.

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Aug 24, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Youngstown City Council “forced” to accept frack ban charter ballot measure; Portage County, OH builds county’s first CNG station (for $3M); supporters show up in force at Brooke County, WV power plant hearing; Trump’s energy dominance strategy working; next round of LNG export; the guilt-ridden elites behind fractivism; India’s RIL wants to import U.S. ethane; India’s GAIL doesn’t want to import U.S. methane; and more!
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