Federal Judge Grants MVP Eminent Domain, Affects 300 Landowners

Last Friday a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia granted Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) the right to enter and construct the pipeline on properties of landowners who have refused to negotiate a right-of-way across their land. There are nearly 300 landowners who have refused to deal with MVP–and their time is now up. Instead of getting a higher price for leasing their property, MVP will first build and later let a court determine how much money the landowners will receive. The courts almost always determine amounts lower than could have otherwise been negotiated between the landowner and the pipeline company. Oh well. Some folks have to learn the hard way…
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Radicals Go Up a Tree in Quest to Illegally Block MVP Construction

Sometimes radicals who have “jumped the shark” and descended into complete lunacy go up a tree–literally. We’ve spotted this mental condition before (see PA Anti Literally Goes Up a Tree to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline). It’s happening again–this time in West Virginia where six of out-of-state, paid protesters climbed trees in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and are camping out in the trees–to prevent them from being cut down. Radical antis and sycophantic reporters call it a “direct action” by “pipeline resisters.” It’s actually an illegal, law-breaking action by criminals. Notice how the media attempts to change the narrative and spin stories by clouding the language? These are radical antis who seek to break our laws and FORCE their anti-fossil fuel views on society. MVP has asked local a WV judge to order law enforcement to remove the lawbreakers…
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PA House Considers “Fix DEP” Bills at Hearing on March 13

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs fixing. That fact is acknowledged by everyone. The question (or rather disagreement) is in how to fix it. The DEP can’t seem to get its act together with respect to approving simple erosion permits. Turnaround from the time a permit is requested until it is supposed to be approved is, by DEP’s own statutory standards, 14 days. Last year it was taking over 250 days in some areas of the state (see More Pushback on PA Senate Plan to Fix Slow DEP Permit Reviews). Since that time the DEP has, according to DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell, improved on that number. Statewide erosion permit delays stand at just under 100 days. Still not acceptable. How to fix the DEP? The PA House of Representatives has a plan, covered in five proposed bills. The House will hold a hearing on their plan next week…
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PA DEP Extra $2.5M for 33 Hires Will NOT Go to O&G Program

DEP Sec. Pat McDonnell

As we point out in a companion story today, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs fixing, and the PA House has a plan to do it (see PA House Considers “Fix DEP” Bills at Hearing on March 13). Perhaps fearing at least some of the House initiatives may bear fruit, a few weeks ago DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell proffered his own plan to fix his agency–spend an extra $2.5 million to hire 33 new full-time employees to assist in the permit review process (see PA DEP Says $2.5M Will Fix Chronic Drilling Permit Delays). However, there’s a teeny tiny problem with that. According to the February quarterly meeting held between the DEP and oil and gas industry, all of those 33 (or 35, depending on the source) positions would be hired for the safe drinking water program, NOT for the oil and gas program. So McDonnell’s statements about the reason for the new positions and increase in budget are misleading at best…
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Fake Ohio Landowner Groups Launch Misinformation Campaign

Ohioans are wising up to the misleading information being pedaled by radical anti-fossil fuelers. MDN warned you last month that “Keep It In the Ground” activists have launched a new, deceptive campaign in their holy mission to end the use of fossil fuels–fake landowner coalitions (see Warning to Ohio Residents: Beware Fake Landowner Coalitions). The same people behind Food & Water Watch, Food and Water Action, the Sierra Club and other Big Green groups are launching faux coalitions in Ohio with the aim of stopping Utica drilling. They have two new recruits to help them in their holy mission: Earthworks and Congressman Dennis Kucinich. You may recall that Kucinich is running for governor in Ohio and said if he’s elected he will stop all new oil and gas development in the state (see Ohio Democrat Candidate for Governor Says He’ll Ban Utica Drilling). Nobody gives Kucinich a snowball’s chance in Hates of actually getting the Democrat nomination–but then again, crazy Bernie Sanders almost got the Dem nomination for president. One never knows…
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York, PA Gas-Fired Electric Plant Fined $25K for 2-Day Shut Down

Brunner Island Power Plant

Brunner Island Power Plant is located in York County, PA, straddling Lancaster County. It is a huge, 1,490 megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant, and has been the target of environmentalists for years. In February 2017, MDN told you that the new owner of the plant (Talen Energy) is investing $100 million to retrofit the plant so it can, at least part of the time, burn Marcellus Shale gas (see York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel). The plant recently signed an agreement with the state to burn only Marcellus gas during “peak ozone season”–from May 1 through Sept. 30–starting in 2023 (see York, PA Electric Plant to Drop Coal, Burn Only Marcellus Gas). Talen will phase out coal completely by 2028. Until 2023, the plant burns Marcellus gas at various times–hence our interest. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has just levied a $25,000 fine against the plant for shutting down for two days in the dead in the winter. Why is that a problem? Don’t these plants sometimes need to shut down?…
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Northampton County Wants Jury Trial re PennEast Eminent Domain

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PennEast Pipeline, a 120-mile pipeline from near Wilkes-Barre, PA to near Trenton, NJ., is in the unenviable position of having to sue a few holdout landowners who refuse to negotiate in good faith to allow the federally-approved pipeline from crossing their property. Northampton County, PA is one of those landowners. PennEast Pipeline will traverse Northampton-owed conservation easements along its route. Northampton wouldn’t negotiate, so PennEast sued. Northampton wants a jury trial, supposedly to stop PennEast–but we think it’s really because they want more money for the conservation easements, something they appear to admit in a recent article…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Mar 7, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: New CNG buses arrive in Lycoming County, PA; labor union teams up with Virginia college to train pipeline workers; IEA says Shell PA cracker part of new wave of domestic petchem dominance; how the left’s deranged climate change lawsuits make all American’s pay; anti-Exxon “researcher” lashes out after being criticized in new study; energy investors dump renewables, put money in fossil fuels; ConocoPhillips didn’t “drill their brains out” like shale companies did; major second wave of U.S. fracking about to be unleashed; and more!
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