Orange County, NY Electric Plant to Start Up in June

As the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY gets ready to begin service, some of the neighbors are not happy with noises coming from the plant. They hope local town officials can meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and convince him to lean on the Dept. of Environmental Conservation to revoke permits for the plant that CPV just spent almost a billion dollars to build. We told you a month ago the only sliver of a hope antis have to prevent the plant from starting up is to convince the DEC to block it (see Big Green Begs NY DEC to Revoke Orange Co. Power Plant Permits). It’s not beyond the realm of possibility, but also not likely that the DEC will step in now. At a Wawayanda Town Board meeting last Thursday residents and town leaders discussed the noise issue and what to do about it, which is the focus of the article below. However, one tiny reference in the article is what caught our attention. The plant is waiting for a pipeline “lateral” from the Millennium Pipeline to be completed to flow natgas to the plant, which is what will fire the plant. You may recall the DEC tried to block that pipeline and was overruled by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The DEC took FERC to court and the DEC lost (see Court Rejects NY DEC Attempt to Stop Short Power Plant Pipeline). The short 7.8-mile “Valley Lateral” pipeline is now almost complete. According to the article below (and the thing that caught our attention) is that CPV expects the pipeline to be done and flowing natural gas to the plant in June. When it does, the plant will start up…
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Univ of Cincinnati Utica Groundwater Study Finally Published!

From January 2012 to February 2015, researchers from the University of Cincinnati collected 180 groundwater samples in Eastern Ohio, from water wells located close to Utica Shale drilling activity. In early 2016, the lead researcher shared some high level results from the study. The preliminary results showed that fracking in areas where there are water wells doesn’t affect those wells (see Antis Not Happy with Results of OH Fracking Study They Funded). Two anti-drilling groups were the primary funders of the study–Deer Creek Foundation in St. Louis and the Alice Weston foundation from Cincinnati. The two groups immediately cut their funding when they heard results they believe they didn’t pay for (see Anti Groups Abruptly Cut Funding for OH Fracking Study). Since that time, no more of the study’s results have been released, for over two years! That is, until now. The full peer-reviewed study, titled “Monitoring concentration and isotopic composition of methane in groundwater in the Utica Shale hydraulic fracturing region of Ohio,” was published last week in the scientific journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Summing up the results of the full study in the words of the researchers themselves: “We found no relationship between CH4 [methane] concentration or source in groundwater and proximity to active gas well sites.” And, “…our data do not indicate any intrusion of high conductivity fracking fluids as the number of fracking wells increased in the region.” Finally! An honest study using Big Green money, that Big Green tried to cover up and silence, is now available for the whole world to see…
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Mountain Valley Pipe Continues to Get FERC Approval for Construction

Despite all of the media attention on a handful of protesters who sit in the tops of trees or on top of a poll in order to block construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), the pipeline nonetheless continues to receive regular new permissions from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct the actual pipeline and (yes), even to cut trees past the March 31 deadline. The good news is that MVP is on track to be completely built and flowing Marcellus/Utica gas by the end of THIS YEAR! Despite the best efforts of radical protesters and multiple lawsuits by Big Green groups. Recent FERC permissions for MVP include: (1) allow MVP to cut trees in Jefferson National Forest past the March 31 deadline; (2) build parts of the pipeline in Roanoke and Franklin Counties, VA; (3) work 24/7 on building a compressor station in Wetzel County, WV; and (4) build pipeline in Jefferson National Forest, on both the VA and WV sides…
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The Different Ways Range and CNX Dealt with ME1 Pipeline Outage

Now that the Mariner East 1 (ME1) NGL (natural gas liquid) pipeline is back up and running, Marcellus/Utica producers are breathing a sigh of relief–at least, Range Resources, the primary customer for the pipeline, is. Following sinkholes that developed while Sunoco Logistics Partners was drilling for the Mariner East 2 (ME2) project, a portion of ME1 was exposed to open air in Chester County, PA, which prompted the state Public Utility Commission to shut down ME1 in early March (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). Range sends 20,000 barrels a day of ethane and propane through ME1. The closure sent them scrambling for alternatives (see Range, CNX Look for Alternatives to ME1 Pipe Following Shutdown). CNX Resources is also a customer using ME1, but much less so than Range. It took two months, but the PUC finally allowed ME1 to restart last week (see Sunoco’s ME1 Pipe Restarts, ME2 Pipe Pays Another $355K in Fines). Range and CNX coped with the ME1 closure in very different ways…
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Anti Group Stirs Up Pittsburghers Against Fracking, (Ab)Uses Kids

We always find it deeply disturbing when a group of anti-fossil fueulers, like the innocent-sounding (but very radical) Moms Clean Air Force, pushes little kids in front of the cameras, getting them to hold protest signs in a sleazy attempt to play on people’s sympathy. That’s what happened yesterday in the Pittsburgh suburb of Indiana Township (Allegheny County). Hey, knock yourself out if you want to show up and protest and make some noise. But don’t bring the kids along. Don’t put your guilt trip on the kids, making them protest something they frankly don’t even understand. Don’t implant them with your irrational fears. We find it disgusting…
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Unease Over PA Rule of Capture Case Spreads Nationwide

This much is clear: The “Briggs” court decision in Pennsylvania cannot stand as it is without threatening to end the shale miracle, certainly in Pennsylvania, and perhaps across the country. Some believe we’re making too much of the Briggs decision recently handed down by two judges sitting on PA’s Superior Court (see PA Superior Court Overturns “Rule of Capture” for Marcellus Well and PA “Rule of Capture” Case has Power to Limit Marcellus Drilling). The issue, in brief, is that the Superior Court decision disallows using an age-old principle called the “rule of capture” when it comes to shale drilling and fracking. It opens the door to a myriad of frivolous lawsuits claiming that a fracture, a crack created during fracking, is draining gas from a neighbor’s property without justly compensating the neighbor for the gas. Southwestern successfully argued in a lower court that the odd crack here and there that may slip under a neighbor’s property is permissible. The landowner appealed to Superior Court and three judges heard the case. Two of them voted to overturn the lower court decision in favor of Southwestern and sent the case back to a lower court where the landowners (the Briggs) now have to prove Southwestern trespassed and work out how much gas they believe was “taken.” Southwestern has asked the full Superior Court–all 20 judges–to hear the case again. No word yet on whether that will happen. We have, from the beginning, considered the Briggs decision to be an existential threat to the Marcellus industry in PA. In a recent Bloomberg article, some experts believe the threat has the potential to spread beyond PA. Below we explain how might happen, and provide some historical perspective on the rule of capture…
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EPA Launches Study to Dispose Frack Wastewater in Lakes, Rivers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week announced it has launched a study into the possibility of treating oil and gas wastewater and (gasp) releasing the cleaned-up wastewater into lakes and rivers, instead of injecting it back down holes in the ground. The EPA is seeking “input” from everyone–the industry and Big Green–to help guide their research efforts. The truth is wastewater from oil and gas wells is far less toxic than the stuff leaching out of landfills and the waste from chemical plants. But you never hear that said out loud by Big Green supporters. We’ve personally spoken with people at several companies that recycle and clean shale wastewater who say such cleanup is easy compared to cleaning up other types of wastewater. Why shouldn’t the EPA look to at least study it–and perhaps even encourage it?…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, May 9, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: As NEXUS gets close to Bowling Green, residents express concerns; Grandma Red turns up at radical anti-pipeline rally in Charlottesville; new name for Fairmount Santrol is Covia; proposed gas-fired electric plant in Palatka, FL gets key approval; Exxon loses a high profile enemy; what Trump’s Iran nuke deal pullout means for oil; we don’t need wind and solar to save the climate, which is a good thing; and more!
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