ME2 Pipe Work in Chester County Shut Down (Again) Following Leaks

Hypersensitive: excessively or abnormally sensitive. That’s the word we would use to describe what’s happening in Chester County, PA–a suburb of Philadelphia–with regard to underground horizontal directional drilling work (HDD) being performed by Sunoco Logisitics Partners on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. The company keeps having “inadvertent returns”–which we call leaks. Drilling mud (bentonite) used to cool the drill bit goes down the hole, and sometimes it pops back up on the surface in a different place from where it went down. Since the drilling mud is non-toxic clay and water (same stuff used to make kitty litter, toothpaste and lipstick), it’s no big deal. Unless there’s thousands of gallons of it turning up in a creek where it can smother fish and aquatic life. There’s cracks in the ground near the surface and sometimes the mud leaks out of those cracks. Sunoco must track leaks of down to less than one gallon. Antis look at the numbers and make wild claims that the pipeline has leaked “over 100 times” since drilling began. While technically true, many of those leaks are nothingburgers–not worth tracking or talking about (a few gallons at most). However, some of the leaks are big and yes, those do need talking about. Over the past week or so another four leaks have occurred in Chester County, totaling 8,000 gallons. Fortunately none of it ended up in a creek. Because of the leaks, the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has, once again, shut down any further HDD work in Chester County…
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MarkWest Energy Settles EPA Air Pollution Case for $5.6 Million

NOTE: A previous version of this post reported a total price of $3.2 million, now changed to account for the addition of an extra $2.4M for required SEPs. See below.

Two MarkWest Energy subsidiaries, MarkWest Liberty Midstream Resources and Ohio Gathering Co., have been forced into signing a settlement of claims brought by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection over charges of releasing too much air pollution from facilities they operate throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania in the Utica and Marcellus shale. The agreement signed yesterday by MarkWest calls for the company to spend $2.6 million to install and operate new technologies to minimize VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions at their facilities–19 major, standalone facilities and 273 smaller facilities. The company will also implement three supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) for an additional $2.4 million. In addition, MarkWest will pay the government a $610,000 fine (i.e. shakedown). Total cost to get the government of out their hair: over $5.6 million. The government claimed MarkWest had not applied for nor complied with necessary permits. But the real disaster, the thing that sent government bureaucrats into fits, is that MarkWest failed to file proper paperwork required under the Clean Air Act. However, the settlement didn’t all go the government’s way. In agreeing to the settlement, MarkWest “expressly denies and does not admit any liability to the United States or PADEP arising out of the conduct, transactions or occurrences alleged in the complaint,” which means antis can’t file frivolous lawsuits against MarkWest over air pollution…
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Outrage: Police Send Pizza & Sandwiches Up Tree to Protesters

This is almost beyond words. Earlier this week MDN reported that arrest warrants had been issued for a 61 year-old woman and her daughter sitting 30 feet up in the top of a tree that needs to come down to make way for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (see Arrest Warrant Issued for MVP Tree Sitting “Grandma Red”). Theresa “Red” Terry and her daughter, Theresa Minor Terry (“Jr.”) are illegally trespassing on property (the tree) that now belongs to MVP, via eminent domain. Sometime in the past week or so police began to deny Red’s supporters from passing food and water up the tree. They also have been turning bright lights on the two Theresas during the night, in an effort to deny them sleep and force them down. As the police said: They are meeting the “non-violent protest action” with “non-violent police action.” So what happens when Red and Jr. tell the police they’re hungry and out of food? The police scramble a cop car to the nearest pizza joint and double-time a pizza, and bologna sandwiches, up the tree to the two alleged criminals sitting at the top. To the same two people for which arrest warrants have been issued. We’re confused. Why would the police accommodate two people BREAKING THE LAW BY TRESPASSING? If the police won’t enforce the laws, our country is done. Toast. It will be every man and woman for him/herself–and it won’t be pretty. Selectively enforcing (or not enforcing) the law is not an option. The Roanoke County police guarding the tree should either do their job, or be fired…
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Penn State to Help Create New Biz Opportunities from Shell Cracker

The Penn State campus in Erie County (called Penn State Behrend) has been tapped by the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to be the “lead partner” for developing business and market opportunities for the state related to the mighty $6 billion Shell ethane cracker–currently under construction in Beaver County. Erie County where Behrend is located is certainly not next door to the cracker, not nearly as close as some other Penn State campuses. So why was Behrend selected? In a word, plastics. “The strength of Erie’s plastics industry and the success of Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering, which offers one of only six accredited U.S. plastics undergraduate programs, makes Erie of particular interest to DCED.” According to DCED’s Denise Brinley, senior energy adviser, “Penn State Behrend can provide critical connections to research support, materials testing and a talent pipeline that will add value to this large-scale petrochemical investment and associated growth in the plastics sector.” Penn State is kicking in a $250,000 grant to their Energy University Partnership for oil and gas strategies, to help prime the pump…
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NJ Town Ready to Approve Meadowlands Marcellus-Fired Power Plant

MDN reported two weeks ago that a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi wants to build a huge, new $1.5 billion natural gas-fired electric generating plant in the Meadowlands (New Jersey), just outside of New York City (see Marcellus Electric Plant Proposed for Meadowlands to Power NYC). The North Bergen Liberty Generating Project, at 1,200 megawatts, will help replace some of the electricity lost when the Indian Point Nuclear plant located in New York along the Hudson River closes down in 2021. We suspect that since the mighty Transco pipeline, which flows mostly Marcellus molecules in the northeast, will feed the Meadowlands project, this plant will become an important new market for PA Marcellus production. Of course the plant is being opposed by radicals in the nutty Sierra Club and other Big Green groups who despise all fossil fuels and demand that you and I end our use of fossil fuels to make them feel better about themselves. Fortunately the town where the plant will be located, North Bergen, has rational adults leading it. North Bergen officials are jazzed about the plant and by all indications will soon vote to approve it…
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Central Illinois Gas-Fired Power Plant One Step Closer to Reality

EmberClear Pawnee proposed plant site – click for larger version

Last June MDN reported that EmberClear, based in Houston, TX, wants to build a $1 billion, 1,100 megawatt combined-cycle natural gas-fired plant about 15 miles from Springfield, Illinois, in Pawnee (see NatGas and Coal Go to War in Central Illinois). The City of Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power (CWLP) owns and operates a 550-MW coal-fired generating system. According to the state’s coal industry, a new gas-fired plant would rob CWLP’s plant of business, costing jobs and money. However, it appears the city and CWLP doesn’t view the proposed gas-fired plant as a threat. City alderman have just approved a deal for the new Pawnee plant to purchase “at least” 80,000 gallons of water per day from CWLP for a cool $29,000 per month. The water is a critical component in operating the plant. No water, no plant. This is just the latest indicator that Springfield is on board with the plant. Last May the city approved stretching the boundaries of the Springfield-Sangamon Enterprise Zone, to give the Pawnee project millions in tax savings. Here’s the latest news–that the Pawnee project has just taken another big step closer to the start of construction by striking a deal with CWLP…
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The Miseducation of Our Youth: Global Warming Brain Disorder

As supporters of the fossil fuel industry, we must deal with the issue of catastrophic, man-made global warming head-on. Our kids now grow up believing this lie, and they turn into activists demanding action–sometimes to the point of violence–in support of this lie. We recently read an opinion column by a young woman who appears to be bright, earnest, talented, dedicated–and she believes the lies taught to her about fossil fuels and their role in society. She recently protested in Albany, willing to risk arrest, all in the name of demanding Gov. Cuomo end the use of all fossil fuels in New York State. She’s deathly afraid (we’d call it a phobia) of a common occurrence: the construction and operation of a natural gas-fired power plant in Orange County, NY. What this young woman apparently doesn’t understand is that New York would be plunged back into the Dark Ages if we were to forgo all fossil fuel use–as she is demanding via her protests. Wall Street would move to another state with no electricity to operate its computer networks. Disease and death would be rampant throughout the state. Reliable electricity (used to charge the phone she uses to snap selfies of her protest marches and arrests) would be a thing of the past. It’s really quite sad that this young woman has been completely and incontrovertibly miseducated. Lied to. Education malpractice. The real shame is that she parades her abject ignorance for the world to see. The miseducation of our youth–the intentional lies told to them about man-made global warming, must stop…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Apr 25, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: More pipelines equals less gas price volatility; CenterPoint’s pricey Vectren deal shows allure of natgas; gas plant costs down significantly from 2014; oil frackers say $70 oil is the reward for patience; Halliburton says fracking intensity causing equipment to wear out faster; Trump’s revenge – U.S. oil flooding Europe, dinging OPEC & Russia; China’s natgas crises; and more!
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