Williams Atlantic Sunrise Project to Begin Partial Service on Sept 1

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline – click for larger version

An important piece of Williams’ $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, meant to flow Marcellus gas to new markets in the Mid-Atlantic and southeast, is about to go online in the next few days. You read that right. Most of the coverage here on MDN with respect to the Atlantic Sunrise project has been about the most controversial part of the project–183 miles of new “greenfield” (brand new) pipeline construction that will happen in Pennsylvania–a project referred to as the Central Penn Line. Small groups of antis in places like Lebanon and Lancaster counties have vigorously opposed the new pipeline portion of the project in their communities. However, upgrades to several compressor stations and fixes to the existing Transco pipeline as it runs through states like Maryland and Virginia are also needed in order to make Transco bi-directional–able to continue flowing gas from the Gulf to the northeast, but now, also able to reverse and flow gas from the Marcellus/Utica in the other direction. Although the greenfield portion of the project has not yet begun (should in the next few weeks), the “brownfield” or tweaks to the existing pipeline/compressor stations has been underway, since February, and is now ready. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just granted Williams permission to bring the new tweaks online, which will allow Transco to reverse and flow an extra 400 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas from Lancaster County, PA all the way to Choctaw County, Alabama…
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Judge Rules Against Broome Virtual Pipe, NG Advantage to Try Again

A Broome County, NY judge ruled yesterday that the Town of Fenton Planning Board did not take a hard enough look at environmental and traffic issues related to their approval of NG Advantage’s plan to construct a facility in the town to compress and load natural gas onto tractor trailers for delivery to regional customers who desperately need the gas–what is called a “virtual pipeline.” MDN has chronicled the project from the beginning (see our NG Advantage stories here). Yesterday’s ruling was not an indictment of the project itself by the judge–only the way in which it was approved by the local town planning board. The judge left the door open for the town to re-do it’s approval process–this time including a full environmental impact study and an aquifer study. NG’s CEO Rico Biasetti said that while he is disappointed, the company remains committed to building the facility at the Fenton location and will work with Fenton to try again…
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OH Gov Kasich Finally Caves, Will Allow Drilling Under State Lands

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (RINO) promised, five years ago, to allow shale drilling on state-owned forests and parks. He promptly then reneged on his promise. The way Kasich blocked drilling was to refuse adding new members to the Oil and Gas Commission, charged with approving potential drillers on state land. Kasich created a de facto moratorium that prevents fracking on state-owned land. In May of this year, Republican legislators, tired of Kasich’s recalcitrance, added a “little-noticed provision” in the state budget deal that will give the legislature, and not the governor, the power to select members of the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission (see Ohio Legislators Push to Allow Fracking in State Parks, Forests). Kasich vetoed the measure but legislators overrode the veto. As we reported in July, Kasich was on the verge of losing his power to block state land drilling (see Ohio Gov Kasich About to Lose Power to Stop Drilling on State Land). Faced with humiliating defeat, Kasich decided to act and is now reportedly “working hard” to get the appointments made…
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Shell Cuts Deal with Big Green Groups re Cracker Plant Air Permit

Exactly two years ago, two Big Green groups–the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council and the Washington, DC-based Environmental Integrity Project (both disgusting litigation factories)–filed a complaint against Shell to block the air quality permit needed to build the $6 billion ethane cracker in Monaca, PA (see Big Green Groups File to Block Shell Cracker Air Quality Permit). The filing came after the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) approved the air permit for the facility. The two Big Green groups filed an appeal with the state Environmental Hearing Board–a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions. The groups believe the DEP “should have required more stringent monitoring requirements for fugitive air emissions from Shell.” Specifically the groups want fenceline monitoring and restrictions on flaring. Shell caved and gave them most of what they want, signing a settlement agreement last Friday (copy below). Shell did win one important concession: the litigious Big Green groups can’t sue Shell over any of their wild claims in the original filing…
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Allegheny Institute: PA Impact Fee is Better than a Severance Tax

The Allegheny Institute is out with another top notch policy brief. This one tackles the state’s existing impact fee and addresses the issue of why revenues from the impact fee have slid over the past several years. The Institute is not denigrating the impact fee, but lauding it as a better system of taxation than a severance tax. The Allegheny Institute exists to conduct research, education and advocacy work in a mission to defend taxpayers and businesses against burdensome taxation, inefficiency and intrusiveness of an ever expanding government–a pretty tall order because government at all levels is always expanding, like a voracious monster. Think of the Allegheny Institute as a mini version of the Heritage Foundation–focused specifically on Pennsylvania. The newest brief, titled “Shale Gas Impact Fee Revenue Continues to Slide” (full copy below) takes an honest, and hard look, at the impact fee. Researchers conclude that slapping a severance tax on top of the impact fee would be a disaster and violate the state’s commitment to drillers when they passed the impact fee…
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CIA Veteran Says Russia Funneling Money to Va. Anti-Pipe Groups

An extensive expose appearing on The Daily Signal blows the doors off collusion and money funneling from Russia to several Big Green groups using that money to oppose pipeline projects, including opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline projects here in the Marcellus/Utica region. A 29-year CIA veteran does a masterful job of connecting the dots between the Kremlin and so-called environmental groups that are using Russian money to oppose these American, much-needed pipeline projects. Group allegedly receiving Russian money include Virginia Organizing, Preserve Montgomery County and Friends of Nelson County in Virginia. Nationally, groups on the take with Russian money include the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Are they committing treason? We report, you decide…
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PA DEP Raising Shale Well Permit Fee Later This Year

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has put drillers (and everyone) on notice that it will bump up the fee to file for a permit to drill a Marcellus Shale well. Prior to 2013, the permit fee for a new Marcellus well was $3,200. In 2013 the DEP bumped it up by 56%, to $5,000 (see Higher Marcellus Permit Fees Coming for PA Drillers). The DEP says statutorily it must review the fee “every three years” and now is the time (past time, really). The DEP is signaling “the need for a fee increase.” How much? The DEP is being coy about what kind of a jump they plan this time…
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NFG Asks FERC for Speedy Re-hearing to Bypass NY DEC re Pipeline

There’s been an interesting twist in the saga of National Fuel Gas Company’s (NFG) Northern Access Pipeline project. The $455 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the project in February of this year (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval). Shortly after, NFG filed a request with FERC (in March) to bypass the New York Cuomo-corrupted Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) because the DEC was dragging its feet on a decision to grant stream crossing permits for the project (see Gutsy: NFG Asks FERC to Cut NY DEC Out of Pipeline Approval). Needless to say, the DEC didn’t like it. In April of this year, the DEC ruled against granting the project stream crossing permits, effectively killing it, at least for now (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). After DEC’s denial, NFG sued the DEC in the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn their denial (see NFG Sues NY DEC in Fed Court re Northern Access Pipe Rejection). OK, now is where it gets interesting. A similar court case was filed by the Constitution Pipeline against the DEC with the 2nd Circuit. The court ruled against the Constitution and for the DEC on August 18 (see Court Rejects Constitution Pipe’s Case Against NY DEC; Now What?). We’re sure NFG can see the writing on the wall for their lawsuit. So NFG has gone back to FERC and their request filed back in March that FERC bypass the DEC and go ahead and grant permission anyway. NFG made a motion for an “expedited request” by FERC last week. What if FERC agrees and overrules the DEC? And what if they don’t?…
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Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Give “Pollinator” Insects a Boost

Dominion Energy’s $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, will help butterflies, bees and other “pollinator” insects along the pipeline’s route. Last week Dominion announced an initiative to establish new habitats for pollinator insects. The plan will use 750 acres along roughly 50 miles of the proposed route in Virginia and North Carolina. It’ll be fun to see how so-called environmentalists will find fault with helping the environment…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Aug 29, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Cuomo’s ‘clear energy’ con game; Cuomo’s preposterous renewable energy plan threatens Long Island fishing industry; NEXUS will create 5,300 OH jobs; PA rig count drops by 3; new 2-year compression degree program in central PA; judge approves light sentence for green presidential candidate Jill Stein following criminal actions re Dakota Access Pipeline; Harvey throws a wrench in US energy engine; US LNG heading to Portugal; get politics out of pipeline approvals; and more!
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