WV DEP Orders Rover Pipe to Stop Construction for Violations

Rover Pipeline is in hot water again. This time it’s not Captain Craig “Ahab” Butler from the Ohio EPA, but the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection. In a letter just released publicly (dated March 5), WVDEP slapped Rover with a “cease-and-desist” order, stopping all construction of Rover in the state, because of inspections in February that found 14 violations of water pollution regulations. The violations occurred in Doddridge, Tyler and Wetzel counties. Violations ran the range of leaving trash behind at construction sites to improper perimeter controls (no erosion devices installed) to failure to clean up the roads they used. In addition to trouble in WV, Rover is also facing new issues in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. In February heavy rains in the region caused “slippage issues” where the pipeline is being installed. Rover filed a report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week to say it has eight crews working to correct slippage issues at six locations along its 51-mile Burgettstown Lateral. Here’s the latest on WV shutting down Rover, and Rover’s work to fix slippage issues…
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PA PUC Votes Thursday to “Ratify” Shutdown of ME1 Following Sinkholes

Last week MDN reported that due to underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) in Chester County, PA for the Mariner East 2 (ME2) Pipeline project, a third sinkhole had developed. ME2 is being built close to the existing Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline. The sinkhole exposed a portion of the ME1 pipeline to the open air, which is why the head of the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) temporarily shut down the propane and ethane flowing through ME1 (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). The shutdown is for 10-14 days, which sent ME1 customers Range Resources an CNX Resources scrambling to find alternate ways to ship their ethane and propane (see Range, CNX Look for Alternatives to ME1 Pipe Following Shutdown). Tomorrow the PUC will meet and as part of that meeting, they will vote to ratify the action of PUC Chairwoman Gladys Brown in issuing last week’s emergency shutdown order…
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Big Green Makes Desperate Attempt to Stop Atlantic Coast Pipe

Big Green groups opposed to Dominion Energy’s $6.5 billion (up from $5 billion due to delays) Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina are about out of options in their holy mission to stop the project. They’ve tried multiple lawsuits, protests, bullying state environmental agencies–the whole bag of nasty tricks. And yet ACP is now under construction. What’s left to try to stop it? The Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates, on behalf of a mishmash of second tier radical groups, have filed a “hail Mary” request with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop construction of ACP until a lawsuit sitting before the Fourth Circuit questioning the validity of the permits granted for the project is played out. In other words, back to the tried-and-true playbook: delay, delay, delay–until eventually you deny…
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PA DEP Introduces New Paperwork to “Save Time” on Permit Reviews

We bet you didn’t know that a bloated, inefficient government bureaucracy like the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) can cut down on the amount of time it takes them to review permits necessary in the drilling process (like erosion and stream crossing permits)–just by changing the paperwork. That’s the claim the DEP is making. Yesterday the DEP released new paperwork–new forms to fill out–for Chapter 105 General Permit Registrations relating to water obstructions and encroachments. These new forms “will improve the quality of General Permit registration requests, eliminate unnecessary redundancies, and reduce review time frames.” Yeah, and we have a bridge in Brooklyn we’d like to sell ya…
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PA House Committee Approves 5 “Fix DEP” Bills – What’s Next?

As we reported last week, this week the PA House of Representatives was due to host a hearing on a slate of bills aimed at fixing not only the slowmo way the state Dept. of Environmental Protection approves permits, but also roll back some of the egregious regulatory overreach in PA (see PA House Considers “Fix DEP” Bills at Hearing on March 13). The House State Government Committee met yesterday and approved three bills (out of five) to fix the DEP. Another two bills were previously approved by the same committee back in January. With all five common sense bills now reported out of committee, what happens next?…
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ODNR Proposes New Spacing Rules for Shale & Conventional Wells

Yesterday the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, posted draft rules for changing well spacing for both conventional and Utica Shale wells. The new rules, which the public can comment on now (comments due by April 10th), will establish new minimum distances horizontal shale wells may be drilled from the boundaries of drilling units and new minimum distances from other horizontal wells. In our quick read of the proposed regs, it looks like shale wells must be drilled at least 400 feet from the drilling unit boundary line. There is no required minimum between shale wells drilled on the same pad as part of the same drilling unit. Below are the proposed regs from ODNR…
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Ignore the Mexican NatGas Market at Your Own Peril

For some time now, MDN has had its eye on Mexico. Following landmark reforms in 2013 and 2014, Mexico’s oil and gas markets have been freed from strict government control. Mexico is interested in attracting foreign (i.e. U.S.) investment. While renewable energy prospects in Mexico grabbed much of the attention in mainstream media, the core of the energy reform effort lies in the expansion of Mexico’s natural gas market. Not only is power generation heavily focused on increasing capacity through gas-fired combined cycle power plants, but consumption by industrial users is also expected to rise at a steady pace in the coming decades. Mexico is already, and will become even more so, an incredibly important market for U.S. natural gas. NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence) knows just how critical Mexico is becoming to the U.S. and recently launched a new daily news and data service called the Mexico Gas Price Index (MGPI). Why is MDN psyched about MGPI, and what does it have to do with the Marcellus/Utica?…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Mar 14, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: WV storage hub bill approved in U.S. Senate committee; Green, OH residents file petition for NEXUS referendum; OH court rules on DMA notifications; PennEast warns NJ of fate of Mass. without pipeline; Belmont County takes Sierra Club to task; Texas permits jump 10.7% in Feb.; FERC chairman discloses he had brain tumor; Arnold Schwarzenegger loses his mind; and more!
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