Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC

This is a bitter and sad day. The five Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a decision yesterday (copy below) that FERC will not overrule an illegal decision by the corrupt Cuomo Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to block construction of the Constitution Pipeline (which FERC approved in 2014). Is this truly “lights out” for the Constitution? It would seem so. Cuomo’s DEC took more than two years to evaluate and eventually reject the Constitution Pipeline–a $683 million, 124-mile pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY to move Marcellus gas into NY and New England (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Constitution went to federal court to overturn that decision, but ultimately failed last August (see Court Rejects Constitution Pipe’s Case Against NY DEC; Now What?). But then a ray of hope appeared in the galaxy. FERC overruled NY DEC in another pipeline case, so Constitution filed a request with FERC to overrule NY DEC in their case (see Constitution Pipeline Asks FERC to Override NY DEC). FERC wanted to overrule DEC again. You can read between the lines and detect it in yesterday’s decision. But ultimately FERC could not overrule the DEC because the DEC rejected the permit with four days left ticking on a one-year clock (we explain it all below). So this question: Are all avenues exhausted for Constitution? Is the ray of hope in the galaxy now extinguished? Will evil (i.e., the Cuomo-corrupted DEC) rule the galaxy? According to Williams, Constitution’s builder, the answer is an emphatic, “NO!” Williams will first file with FERC, asking them to rehear their decision (which we don’t think is likely). If FERC denies the rehearing request, Williams is prepared to appeal FERC’s decision to federal court…
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Following Constitution Pipe Decision, NY Virtual Pipe Now Vital

1/24/18 Note: We have edited this post to be less incendiary and more respectful of the opposing viewpoint.

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a request by Constitution Pipeline to overrule the (very corrupt) New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation and allow construction of the pipeline to commence (see our lead story today: Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). As we report in that story, Williams is not (yet) giving up the hope and dream of building the Constitution. However, given that tree clearing for the pipeline would have to begin now, and be done by the end of March (in order to save the bats–don’t ask), another year will go by before the Constitution could even begin construction. And it will take a year to build. That’s IF Williams prevails in court. In the meantime, businesses in New York State are DESPERATE to receive shipments of natural gas. Major employers in the Southern Tier of New York had planned to tap into the Constitution and use cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania, saving them money and lowering emissions. Without the Constitution, what can these employers do? Yes, they can leave the state (and some already have). But there is a solution. NG Advantage is planning to build a “virtual pipeline” in the Town of Fenton, on the outer edge of Binghamton, NY (Broome County). A virtual pipeline is a compressor plant (series of compressor plants) that grabs gas from a pipeline–in this case the Millennium Pipeline–and compresses it and loads it onto special tractor trailers that then deliver the gas to industrial customers like manufacturing plants, hospitals, and even small regional gas distribution systems servicing residential homes. NG’s project got derailed last year when a group of residents living nearby sued, stopping the project in its tracks (see Broome Virtual Pipe Project in Limbo, Fenton Board Refuses to Act). The residents claim three trucks per hour going through side streets will negatively alter the neighborhood. It’s bogus. NG is undaunted. They have patiently, calmly and repeatedly reached out to the community to answer questions and address concerns. NG has more than bent over backwards in an attempt to work with community. NG followed the judge’s directive and refiled the project with the Town of Fenton for a second time. There is a Fenton zoning board hearing at 6 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Port Crane Fire Department to consider NG’s refiled request. Residents who are opposed are already gearing up to pressure board members. Pro-gas folks need to show up in large numbers to show the zoning board there is support for this vital project. Let’s not let the other side win this one! Jobs in, indeed the future of, the Southern Tier depend on it…
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Dominion Files FERC Request to Expand Pipeline from PA to OH

On Wednesday, Dominion Energy filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand capacity along the existing Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. (DETI) pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ohio. Why? To flow more gas that will be used to generate electricity for the Midwest market. The project, called the Sweden Valley Project, is projected to cost $48 million and add another 120 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of PA Marcellus Shale gas to the existing flow along DETI. Dominion says all 120 MMcf/d are already contracted and spoken for–by an unnamed customer. Notice the headline says “expand” and not “extend.” This project would build a tiny three miles of new pipeline, with the new pipeline lying next to existing pipeline (in Greene County, PA). The only greenfield construction is building a 1.75-mile pipeline to connect with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Tuscarawas County, OH. The other main part of the project is updating three units a compressor station in Licking County, OH. In the constellation of pipeline projects that disturb earth and disrupt landowners, this one is pretty minor–yet it will deliver big results by flowing an extra 120 MMcf/d of gas west to a new market…
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Monroeville Pushes Ban on NatGas Activity, Incl. Drilling & Plants

The dunderhead leaders of Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) are at it again, acting hostile toward the shale industry, attempting to stymie any kind of shale activity within its borders. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance is meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which wants to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality. In October, the contractor hired to do the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, took Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance. Both sides compromised and in November settled the case (see Monroeville Council Approves Seismic Testing Court Settlement). In October, Monroeville Council passed a temporary ban on oil and gas well drilling everywhere except for those areas marked M-2 industrial zoning–a big change (see Monroeville, PA Hostile to Shale, Bans Drilling in Most Places). Previously drilling permits were “conditional use,” meaning each permit was evaluated on its own merits, regardless of which zoning district it was located in. By limiting drilling to M-2, the Council effectively banned drilling in the municipality. They passed the temporary ban until they could pass a new zoning ordinance that would set the frack ban policy in concrete. That day is now here. Monroeville Council has just advertised a new zoning ordinance to FURTHER RESTRICT any kind of oil and gas activity–not just drilling, but pipelines, compressor plants, etc.–to a 150-acre parcel located next to the city dump. That’s 150 acres out of 12,620 acres that make up Monroeville (1%). In other words, this is a complete and total ban on the shale industry in Monroeville–the Pittsburgh suburb that’s officially “closed for business”…
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Another 3 Bcf/d of Pipeline Takeaway Coming to M-U by March 31

In the fourth quarter of 2017 (Oct-Dec), 2.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of new/extra pipeline capacity was added in the Marcellus/Utica region, to carry our gas to markets outside the region. Even though production in the Marcellus/Utica has continued to climb every single month, that 2.3 Bcf/d of extra “takeaway” capacity had an immediate effect–prices for our gas began to rise. Here’s a bit of exciting news: By the end of the first quarter this year (that is, by Mar. 31st), another 3 Bcf/d of pipeline takeaway capacity will be online. We expect this new takeaway, combined with last quarter’s increase in takeaway, will continue to drive prices for our gas higher…
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PA Court Rejects Request to Block Royalties Funding DCNR Operations

Last June, radical anti-drillers from the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised from allowing drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land. A divided court ruled that money from royalties (not lease signing bonuses) must be used only for “environmental” purposes. The Supremes sent the case back down to the lower Commonwealth Court to settle some of the still-unsettled issues. PEDF tried to fleece Commonwealth Court into disallowing lease bonus payments and royalties from being used to pay the operating expenses of the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). You read that right. The antis wanted to gut the funding that pays the people in the department to do their jobs! PEDF wanted lease and royalty money to be used exclusively for Big Green causes. Earlier this week Commonwealth Court told PEDF no, they will not address the issue of funding the salaries and operating expenses of DCNR. The only decision they will make, per their instructions from the lofty Supremes, is whether or not lease bonus payments must also be used for the same things royalty payments are used for–whatever those “same things” happen to be (operating expenses or not). In other words, if PEDF wants to gut DCNR, they will have to go back to the Supremes to do it…
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OH Towns Duped by CELDF Nervous Following PA Court Ruling

Svengali

Earlier this week MDN told you that Tom Linzey, the anarchist attorney who founded and runs the radical Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), has been sanctioned by Federal Judge Susan Paradise Baxter and ordered to pay $52,000 to Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) for his “bad faith” in continuing to press legal arguments on behalf of Grant Township, in Indiana County, PA (see Attorney for Anti Group CELDF Fined $52K for “Bad Faith”). Not only that, Judge Baxter also referred the matter to the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with a request they review Linzey’s actions with an eye to imposing more punishments against him. Linzey is red hot with rage following the sanctions imposed on him–claiming he’ll sue everyone and everything to clear his good name. Thing is, Grant Township isn’t the only town Linzey has duped using his Svengali routine. There are others, in both PA and OH. Athens, OH is one of them. The so-called “Community Bill of Rights” adopted by Athens in 2014 is almost word for word the same exact language thrown out by Judge Baxter in PA. Which is giving folks around Athens pause. It’s making them nervous about what will happen if they get sued, as you can detect in the following story…
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Ultra-Lib Boston Globe Now Admits New England Needs New Pipes

In the end, even the ultra-liberal editors of the Boston Globe couldn’t ignore and deny reality–the reality that their own favorite sons and daughters are to blame for sky high energy prices and dirtier air, because they’ve fought against new natural gas pipelines. We’ve been blowing the horn that New England is getting hosed on energy prices, paying the highest average prices in the world for natural gas, because of their stubborn refusal to allow new Marcellus gas pipelines into the region (see New England’s Lack of Pipelines = Most Expensive Gas in the WORLD). And now, even the ultra libs are admitting it. Here’s what the Boston Globe says “went wrong” and why the region is experiencing more air pollution this winter…
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U.S. Becomes Net NatGas Exporter – First Time in 60 Years

We consider this REALLY BIG news–and yet we’ve only seen it mentioned in a single mainstream news story. For the first time since 1957, in 2017 the United States exported more natural gas to other countries (Canada, Mexico, and internationally) than it imported (from Canada, Mexico and other countries). That is, in 2017 the U.S. became a “net exporter” of natural gas–the first time in 60 years! The reason is, of course, because of shale. And because the Marcellus/Utica produces over 40% of all the shale gas produced in the U.S., you can justifiably say we just became a net exporter, thanks to the Marcellus/Utica. So pop a cork on the champagne bottle. It’s Friday. Let’s celebrate!…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jan 12, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye over the break that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Chemical leak at Derry gas well spreads odor for miles; seminar in Belmont County gives info on o&g royalties; Trumbull County hoping for CNG filling station; de Blasio’s bogus war on fossil fuels; Upstate NY shrinks as Andy cuts off pipeline lifelines; cold snap leads to biggest U.S. natgas draw ever; forecasters missed East Coast deep freeze; oil heading for $80?; Nova Scotia shale gas deposits “to large” to ignore; and more!
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