Antis Get Lib Judge to Shut Down All Mariner East Pipes, Dems Rejoice

Anti-fossil fuel nutters have finally, after months and years, scored a minor victory. They’ve been shopping to locate an ultra-liberal judge who would ignore the law and instead issue edicts from the bench–to shut down both the Mariner East 1 (ME1) and Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline projects. Yesterday Elizabeth Barnes, an administration law judge for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), unilaterally ordered Sunoco Logistics Partners to “cease and desist all current operation, construction, including drilling activities on the Mariner East 1, 2 and Mariner East 2X pipeline” in West Whiteland Township (Chester County, PA). The judge also moved to shut down all operations of Mariner East 1 across the state, ruling that she is “enjoining Respondent from operating Mariner East 1.” It is a breathtaking display of arrogance and seizure of power that does not belong to her. The ruling runs counter to other decisions regarding these critical pipeline projects–projects that have been thoroughly vetted by numerous regulatory agencies. Construction of ME2 is 94% complete! ME1 has been flowing NGLs for over a year–with ZERO problems! And yet Barnes has shut it all down, with the stroke of a pen. We predict it won’t last long…
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Army Corps Engineers Suspends MVP Permit for River Crossings

The radical Sierra Club is claiming a victory in temporarily stopping construction work of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) at four river crossings in West Virginia. On Tuesday the Sierra Club and a mishmash of other radicalized groups filed a motion asking the Fourth District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to suspend a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that allows MVP to construct the pipeline across streams and rivers in the Mountain State. The Clubbers’ tortured logic is this: When construction of the pipeline across a river, the stated standard is that construction can take no longer than 72 hours. MVP says it will need longer when constructing the pipeline across four rivers–Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier and Meadow. Therefore (say the Clubbers), MVP is in violation of the general permit issued by the Corps and that means ALL (not just those four rivers) construction should be stopped, immediately. The Fourth Circuit has not yet rendered a decision, however, the Corps itself said they had reviewed the standards and have (for now) rescinded the permit as it applies ONLY to those four rivers, NOT to any locations. So it’s a partial, and temporary, victory for the Clubbers…
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MVP “Nutty” Protester Drops Back to Earth – Out of Food

Nutty up a pole in Jefferson National Forest

The Nut has fallen to the ground–or more properly, gently helped to the ground by members of the U.S. Forest Service. On March 28 an off-her-rocker fossil fuel hater who refuses to give her real name, calling herself “Nutty,” climbed up a jury-rigged pole in the middle of a gravel road running through the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. She’s trying to stop construction vehicles working on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from using the road to access their legally-permitted construction sites. Her criminal act of lunacy recently inspired another woman to do the same thing (see “Nutty” is as Nutty Does – 2nd MVP Protester Goes Up a Pole in VA). The Forest Service cut off Nutty’s food and water supply back in April by blocking other nuts from passing her supplies. With no food, she decided it was time to come back to earth. After coming down, Nutty was taken to a hospital to be checked out, and given a citation to appear in court to defend her criminal acts. No doubt the “monopod” (pole with ropes to nearby trees) she occupied is already on the ground, cut up into little pieces…
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Clearfield County Still Looking for Way to Stop Injection Well

It’s been seven long years since Windfall Oil and Gas first floated a plan to drill a shale wastewater injection well near Dubois, in Brady Township (Clearfield County), PA. After all that time, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally approved the project in March of this year (see PA DEP Approves Wastewater Injection Well in Clearfield Count). Residents who live near the proposed injection well have opposed the plan from the beginning. The Clearfield County Board of Commissioners is also opposed. In April, several residents filed an appeal of the DEP decision to approve the project to the Environmental Hearing Board, a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions (see Clearfield County, PA Residents to Appeal Injection Well Approval). The appeal may take up to two years. In the meantime, the well is likely to get built anyway. Recognizing the well is coming, Clearfield Commissioners held a public hearing yesterday to strategize how they might still block the project, and barring that, how they will live with it if the project becomes reality…
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Liberty Utilities Floats Plan for 27-Mile Pipeline in Southern NH

All New England states are in desperate need of more natural gas–for both consumers (residences and businesses that use it to heat and cool) and for power generating plants. Yet each New England state in one fashion or another has actively opposed any new interstate pipelines to bring in more gas. Two major pipeline projects were proposed to help alleviate the situation. Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) was canceled in April 2016 (see NED is Dead – Kinder Morgan Suspends $3.3B New England Pipeline). Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast project has been dormant, although as we reported earlier this week, it may once again have a pulse (see NH Supreme Court Decision Puts New England Pipe Back in Play). A New Hampshire utility company, Liberty Utilities, floated a new plan this week for a teeny tiny new pipeline, called Granite Bridge, that will run underground along Route 101 from Stratham to Manchester. In addition, Liberty proposes building a natgas storage facility in an empty quarry in Epping. We’re not exactly sure where the extra gas will come from that will get stored and then pumped along this new pipeline (Liberty says it’s coming from the “Seacoast”). Our reason for highlighting this story is this: Can ANY state in New England build ANY kind of natural gas pipeline? Even a pipeline project as small and modest as this one? That’s the gajillion dollar question…
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EnerVest & EV Energy Partners on the Rebound with $70+ Oil

Private equity firm EnerVest owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. In addition to investing in land and wells, EnerVest also has its own drilling subsidiary, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), with operations and assets in OH, PA and WV. EVEP is an MLP–a master limited partnership. While EVEP is joined at the hip with EnerVest, they are (on paper) two different companies. EnerVest has vast holdings and is in the top 25 oil & gas companies in the nation. Last July the Wall Street Journal ran a story that said EnerVest was worth nothing on paper. EnerVest pushed back on that story saying it wasn’t true–at least not completely true. EnerVest chief administrative officer, Ron Whitmire, said the company’s vast holdings are structured as more than a dozen companies. Although some of EnerVest’s companies are in trouble, the entire pie, according to Whitmire, is not in danger of bankruptcy. Conversely, Whitmire’s comment also meant that at least one or more of the EnerVest companies were/are in danger of bankruptcy. EVEP was one of them, filing in early April (see EV Energy Partners Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). A new Bloomberg story takes a look at EnerVest and its 72 year-old CEO, John Walker. The article says Walker, “sees redemption ahead as oil prices rise and EnerVest gets its finances in order.” That’s certainly some good news for the company. We might summarize it this way: The current high price of oil has just pulled EV’s bacon out of the fire…
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Once Again Wolf Pushes DCED Sec. to Support Severance Tax

Dennis Davin – Sec. DCED

Secretary of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Dennis Davin, is once again doing what he’s told, in order to keep his job. The DCED’s job is to promote new business to locate in PA, not drive it away. Davin is a bright guy. He knows that higher taxes drive businesses away. But he works for the most liberal governor in America (well, maybe second most, next to Andrew Cuomo). And when Wolf says “Jump!”, Davin has to ask, “How high?” That’s the only explanation we can think of for why Davin continues to support an insane severance tax on top of the existing impact tax–a double tax that would, along with the already-high corporate income tax in PA, force PA into the role of having the highest effective oil and gas taxes in the country. Davin wrote an editorial recently appearing in the leftist Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, supporting his boss’ insane plan for a severance tax. It’s not the first time Davin has had to stoop this low. He did the same thing last year (see PA DCED Sec. Promotes Wolf’s Marcellus-Killing Severance Tax). Poor Dennis…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, May 25, 2018

NOTE: Beginning today, we are trying an experiment. There are a number of stories we notice during our daily trawl of the news that catch our interest for one reason or another. We list them in our “best of the rest” each day. Beginning today we are including a note at the end of each brief we share, [inside brackets like this], to let you know what about the story caught our interest, or why the story is worthy of your attention, or what is important to know about the story. Sometimes the note will add extra details not found in the story as reported. Our note at the end of each entry is our brief explanation for “why you should care” about that particular story.

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: PA Game Commission bans wind turbines on 1.5M acres; JKLM hosts PennState tour in Potter County; ceremonial groundbreaking for Atlantic Coast Pipe in WV; local college programs train o&g workers; NJ regulators approve $1.9B natgas system upgrade; Trump tax cuts become an issue in PA gov race; Trump’s Keystone XL pipe approval has its day in court; electric vehicles for the rich subsidized by all of us; coal goes after natgas; enviro radicals’ new favorite strategy is litigation; LNG bunkering; toxic solar panels; snap – climate scientist claims global warming will lead to extinction of mankind; and more!
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