Atlantic Coast Pipeline Delayed in Virginia by Water Board Vote

Last week Virginia’s Water Control Board issued a water permit/certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project–a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA (see Virginia Water Board Approves Mountain Valley Pipe – Antis Erupt). Antis erupted with threats and bullying following that decision. Perhaps that was on the minds of Board members when they voted yesterday to “approve” Dominion’s $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project–a $5 billion project from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. Water Control Board members voted 4-3 to approve issuing the same water permit/certification for the project, except there are very long strings attached. The Water Board’s approval is conditional, the condition being approval “is dependent on a final review of several environmental studies.” Those studies won’t be done until March or April of next year. ACP planned to begin construction, now, this year. So the Water Board wimped out–caved to pressure from bullying extremists (people who behaved like bullies at the hearing). The Board appeared to approve the project without actually approving it–have your cake and eat it too. There’s no way to sugarcoat that the Board’s non-approval approval yesterday is a (temporary) setback for ACP–and a (temporary) win for enviro Nazis…
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OH Sand Producer Fairmount Santrol Merging w/Unimin in $170M Deal

Fairmount Santrol, an Ohio-based sand producer that sells sand as a proppant for use in Utica and Marcellus Shale drilling, announced yesterday it has accepted an offer to sell itself to another sand company–Unimin, a subsidiary of Belgium-based SCR-Sibelco. Fairmount Santrol shareholders will get a $170 million payment and 35% ownership in the newly combined company. The new company will have revenues approaching $2 billion per year. Fairmount Santrol’s CEO, Jenniffer Deckard, is expected to become the CEO of the new company (the name of the new company has not yet been decided). However, make no mistake–Fairmount is selling itself. The board of directors for the new company will have 6 members picked by Unimim parent SCR-Sibelco and 4 members picked by Fairmount Santrol. The location of the headquarters is still up in the air. A lot of unknowns at this point. However, one thing that IS known is that this is a done deal…
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WV O&G Property Tax Revenue $96M in 2017, Down $38M from 2016

The West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) issued a press release yesterday (that MDN didn’t receive) to tout the fact that property tax revenue on WV oil and natural gas production will provide “just over $96 million” to fund local school systems and vital community services. That is certainly cool and worth calling attention to. However, the WVONGA press release failed to point out that property tax revenue for local schools from o&g property taxes is going down by $38 million in 2017–because of the formula used to calculate those taxes. In Wetzel County, for example, Wetzel County Schools project a loss of $8.6 million in property tax revenue from oil and natural gas production for the 2017 tax year as compared to 2016. WV uses a formula based on production and pricing from the period two years prior to the current year. So property taxes from o&g are calculated on how much production, and the price received, during 2015–right at the bottom of the market. Which is why when production and prices are up now, tax revenues are down. Still, $96 million is nothing to sneeze at. Here’s the WVONGA press release, along with the rest of the story…
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Ashtabula, OH Residents Give New Pipeline Thumbs Up @ Open House

Click for larger version

RH energytrans, which plans to build a short 60-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ashtabula County, OH, recently held an open house for government officials, landowners who will be affected by the pipeline, and “interested residents.” The event was held in Conneaut (Ashtabula County), OH, and was remarkable for what didn’t happen. What didn’t happen was antis protesting. Local officials (those who spoke) unanimously support the project and the fracked natural gas it will bring to the county. We didn’t spot a single negative comment–from officials, landowners or interested residents. In October MDN brought you details about the proposed $86 million Risberg Line Project (see New 60-Mile Pipeline Proposed from NW Pa. to NE Ohio). The project will use approximately 32 miles of existing pipeline in an established Right of Way originating in the Meadville, PA area. Approximately 16 miles of new pipeline will be installed in Pennsylvania and approximately 12 miles of new pipeline will be installed in Ohio–meaning 28 miles of brand new “greenfield” pipeline needs to get built. Two school districts in Ohio where the pipeline will traverse have agreed to reduce the amount of property tax the pipeline would need to pay by 75% over a 15-year period–a huge vote of confidence (see Update on Proposed 60-Mile Pipeline from NW Pa. to NE Ohio). Here’s what happened last week at the RH energytrans open house for the Risberg Line Project…
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More on EQT Board Member Serving in WV Gov’s Office

Yesterday MDN told you about EQT board member Bray Cary and his work as an unpaid, “informal” adviser to WV Gov. Jim Justice (see EQT Board Member Unofficial Adviser to WV Gov Justice). WV media continues to track (hound) this story. The bone of contention is that Cary, who is a long-time WV resident (lives in Charleston) appears to have unfettered access to Justice. Cary has his own “swipe card” giving him 24/7 access to the Capitol. Cary has been “taking part in policy-oriented meetings.” He’s not on the payroll and he doesn’t answer to anyone. He’s also not subject to the state Ethics Act. And because Cary sits on the EQT board, and EQT has big assets in WV (and a big interest in pushing for a forced pooling law), critics see a conflict of interest. But is there? Yes, Cary sits on the EQT board, but that’s just one small piece of Cary’s background and active life. Cary is “best known for his former role as an executive with West Virginia Media.” He’s a player. He’s connected. An important guy. And Gov. Jim Justice wants to bend his ear on occasion, to get Cary’s advice and feedback. The real issue is not will/does Cary’s presence give EQT some sort of unfair advantage in the highest levels of WV state government. The real issue is the *appearance* of a conflict of interest–whether there actually is one or not…
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New Study Shows NO Link Between Marcellus & PA Mortality Rates

An important research report has just been released that shows no connection between Marcellus Shale drilling and death (i.e. mortality) rates in Pennsylvania. Since the dawn of shale fracking, antis have made wild claims about fracking leading to low birth weights, asthma, and early death for those who live near active shale drilling operations. This study (full copy below) refutes that junk science–by using real data and real facts. Energy in Depth (an industry group) sponsored the research, but they hired an independent researcher to do the work. Hey, if we don’t pay for real research, it won’t get done! The independent researcher analyzed Pennsylvania Department of Health data for the state as a whole and the counties of Bradford, Greene, Lycoming, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Washington from 2000 to 2014. The data shows mortality rates in those six PA counties (which happen to be the counties with the most Marcellus Shale development) have declined or remained stable since shale production began in the region. In fact, the top Marcellus counties experienced declines in mortality rates in most of the indices. This is yet more proof that natural gas is not only good for the environment, it’s good for humans too…
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Baker Hughes Nov Rig Count – US & Marc/Utica Counts Go Down

The International (non-U.S.) Baker Hughes rig count for November 2017 was 942, down 9 from the 951 counted in October 2017, but up 17 from the 925 counted in November 2016. The U.S. rig count for November 2017 was 911, down 11 from the 922 counted in October 2017, but up 331 from the 580 counted in November 2016. The average Canadian rig count for November 2017 was 204, unchanged from the 204 counted in October 2017, and up 31 from the 173 counted in November 2016. What about rig counts in the Marcellus/Utica? Pennsylvania lost one rig (second month in a row PA has lost a rig), running an average of 31 rigs during October. Ohio gained a rig to run an average of 30 rigs. West Virginia saw the biggest swing–a huge swing–by losing 3 rigs, running an average of 12 rigs last month. So the Marcellus/Utica combined lost 3 rigs last month. Here’s the BH update…
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Eversource Threatens Enviro Defense Fund w/Lawsuit re False Report

In October the radical group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) published a “report” that makes the preposterous claim that New England customers have overpaid utility bills by $3.6 billion due to collusion between the natural gas and electricity industries (see EDF Accuses New England Gas Utilities of $3.6B Market Manipulation). The report says New England utility companies Eversource and Avangrid intentionally manipulated the flow of gas along the Algonquin natural gas pipeline by placing and later withdrawing orders, in order to spike the cost of gas which then spiked the cost of electricity generated by the resulting higher cost of gas. It is a totally made-up, false report. But in today’s world that doesn’t matter. A group of ambulance-chasing lawyers found enough people to sign on to launch a class action lawsuit against the companies for market manipulation (see New England Lawsuit Claims Utilities “Constrained” NatGas Pipeline). If you allow a lie to linger long enough, it becomes “truth” for the general population. So Eversource is fighting back–telling EDF to remove their false report from the internet and to stop with the false smears–or else. Or else what? Or else Eversource will sue EDF into oblivion. In a “cease and desist” letter sent to EDF, Eversource said this: “Your false and misleading statements are immediately actionable and expose you and those acting in concert with you to liability for substantial damages.” The letter also warns EDF staffers to not destroy emails and other communications. The implication is that warrants may be issued, looking to see who the EDF is colluding with to try and destroy honest companies like Eversource. It’s about time someone gave Big Green groups like EDF a little bit of their own medicine…
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Thank God Trump Got Us Out of Paris Climate Shakedown Deal

Yesterday French President Emmanuel Macron held a “One Planet Summit” to mark the second anniversary of the idiotic Paris Climate Accord–an agreement that was nothing more than an elaborate shakedown/theft of American money. How do we know? Because the big promoters of the accord–France and Germany–refuse to put up their own money to fund the goal of lowering carbon dioxide emissions. Yeah, they wanted the U.S. to be the patsies paying for the party. Back in June President Trump pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Paris farce (see Three Cheers! Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Horrible Paris Climate Treaty). The United States would have been punished economically–transferring billions of our taxpayer dollars to other countries for generations to come. All in the name of supposedly stopping global warming. China and India would get to add as many coal-fired electric plants as they want, while we would have to close ours down, essentially shifting our jobs to other countries. The deal was bad from the beginning. Even if we had stayed in and even if all countries lived up to their obligations (i.e. paid their “fair” share) under the treaty, the projected difference in lowering global temps by 2100 would have been 0.17 Celsius–little more than one-tenth of a degree. After spending hundreds of billions of dollars. THIS PLAN WAS INSANE from the start. But you won’t learn that from mainstream media. So Marcon threw a big party to honor the treaty (with people arriving in their carbon-belching planes and trains and trucks and cars and SUVs). Even those who support this flummery and yesterday’s big party could not avoid pointing out that with the U.S. gone, nobody is willing to pay for the party…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Dec 13, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Rover Pipeline donates $270,000 to local first responders; tech training needed in WV with China big investment; PennEast concerns unfounded; Tellurian raises $94.8M for LNG export plant; EIA bashers should check their own crude oil numbers; US exporting oil & gas at a record pace; Texas research finds no link between fracking and water contamination; Stanford’s renewables map to nowhere; Germany supports Russian natgas pipeline; and more!
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