FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA

The radical Sierra Club can claim a new temporary victory in its war to stop a major natural gas pipeline. We previously told you the Clubbers, who use money from donors to weaponize our own court system against us, convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to overturn permits issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that allows EQT Midstream’s 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross 3.5 miles of Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia (see Court Cancels Permits for Mountain Valley Pipe on Fed Land). The court says USFS and BLM didn’t come to the right conclusion about sedimentation and erosion impacts of MVP. The judges (who don’t know a thing about these issues) say USFS and BLM’s contention that impacts can be adequately mitigated is in error. Because the project is stopped at that one tiny 3.5-mile location, on Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a stop work order for the entire project. At least for now. In the stop work order, FERC indicates they think the USFS and BLM will soon reissue the permits overturned by the Fourth Circuit, and when that happens, work on the rest of the project will resume. But FERC can’t predict when that will happen, so in the meantime, all work (except to stabilize certain areas to protect against erosion) must stop. What gripes us is that Sierra Club radicals were able to shut down an entire project by concentrating on a technicality at one, small point. What a disgusting, anti-American organization. MVP issued a statement this morning to say the the pipeline will get built, and will likely keep its schedule of going online in the first quarter of 2019…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Snitches Now Have Nothing to Do

Our lead story today is that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has temporarily shut down all work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, in both Virginia and West Virginia (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). A shame. We spotted another story about a group of landowners and outside radical anti-fossil fuelers who call themselves Mountain Valley Watch. The group, adamantly opposed to MVP, flies drones over work areas to see if they can spot the least little “violation” by workers (Look! That guy just dropped a Snickers bar wrapper on the ground!). The members and fawning media try to label them as “citizen-scientists,” which is laughable. They’re snitches. They run around spying on their neighbors (i.e. workers) hoping to catch them in violation of some obscure code–all in the name of “being an extra set of eyes.” That’s why there’s environmental agencies with trained regulators and inspectors–to do that kind of work. But it’s just so much fun flying drones around, being a virtual peeping Tom. Trouble is, now that MVP construction is stopped, what will the pipeline snitches do with their time? Their neighbors might want to keep an eye out for drones buzzing overhead…
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FERC Approves Spire St. Louis Pipeline to Flow M-U Gas

Spire STL Pipeline route – click for larger version

In February 2016, MDN told you about an exciting new market for Marcellus and Utica Shale gas that may open up one day in the Midwest (see New Midwest Pipeline to Tap REX’s Marcellus/Utica Gas). Laclede Group, a St. Louis-based natural gas utility, said they want to build a ~65-mile pipeline from St. Louis through southwest Illinois and connect to the Rockies Express (REX) and Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. The new pipeline would bring low-cost Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from REX to the utility–not only for resale to gas customers, but also potentially for new natgas-powered electric plants planned to replace retiring coal-fired plants. A year later (February 2017) Laclede was renamed Spire and the Spire STL Pipeline filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the 24-inch diameter pipe that would flow 400 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day of yummy Marcellus/Utica gas from REX to St. Louis (see Spire Files Plan with FERC to Flow Marcellus/Utica Gas to St. Louis). The original timeline showed Spire thought FERC would approve the project in December 2017. Never happened. Then Spire said FERC approval should come along in “early 2018” (see Spire Expects Early 2018 FERC Approval for M-U Gas to St. Louis Pipe). That never happened either. Finally, last Friday, before FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson slips out the door in another week or so to leave behind him a hopelessly deadlocked 2-2 FERC (thanks Rob), the agency finally issued a full, final approval for the Spire STL project. The new “in-service” date has been recalculated to be “late 2019″…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline 99% Done, Online in ~2 Months

With all of the negative news stories from mainstream media in Pennsylvania regarding the Mariner East 2 (ME2) Pipeline project, and the seemingly endless challenges by Philadelphia politicians in bed with Big Green groups to try and block the project, here’s a couple of facts to warm your heart, and give antis heartburn: (1) ME2 is now 99% done; (2) ME2 will most likely go online in the next two months–by the end of 3Q18. There will still be a few small areas where ME2 proper is not online in two months–locations near Philadelphia where there have been sinkhole problems. But Sunoco Logistics Partners (aka Energy Transfer), the builder, has a workaround–repurposing an out-of-service pipeline for a few months…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Protester Sentenced 2-6 Months in Jail

Huntingdon County, PA landowner Ellen Gerhart, adamantly opposed to the Mariner East 2 pipeline being constructed across her land, had her day in court on Friday. Gerhart, as we recently reported, was accused of violating a 2017 court order preventing her from interfering with ME2 construction on her property. It was alleged that she continued to do so anyway, against a judge’s order, and on Friday, July 27 she was arrested and jailed (see Central PA Landowner Arrested, Jailed for Violating ME2 Court Order). A week later, on Friday, Aug. 3, Gerhart stood before the judge as evidence was presented (videos and testimony from pipeline workers) that showed Gerhart had indeed violated the order. So the judge sentenced her from two to six months in prison, plus a $2,000 fine. Which is sad, but necessary. We (still, so far) live in a society where flagrant violation of the law is punished. The judge said she caused a hazard for pipeline workers…
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Drilling Mud Co. Opens in Monroe County, OH, 40 New Jobs

American Mud Works held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to officially open up a new regional headquarters in Monroe County, OH. The company specializes in mixing drilling mud–the stuff used to cool drill bits as they chew away at solid rock some 1-2 miles below the surface. They also recycle used drilling mud and wastewater/brine. The company’s main headquarters is in Texas. They’re locating a branch operation in Monroe to service the Utica and Marcellus industries in our region. In the short-term, the new office, due to be fully operational in about four weeks, will staff up by hiring 30-40 people. However, American Mud has bigger goals in view. They aim to add more service lines and expand their operations down the road. The number of employees will likely go much higher as they expand. Let’s welcome American Mud and another 40 jobs to Appalachia!…
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Oilfield Serv. Co. Relocating Office & 200 People from WV to PA

In early 2017, Baker Hughes (prior to GE buying them) spun off its North American shale fracking business (“pressure pumping”) into a new, standalone company called BJ Services (see 3 Parents Give Birth to New Fracking Co: BJ Services). The “new” company involved investments and assets contributed from both Goldman Sachs and CSL Capital Management, in addition to BH. BJ Services used to exist as a standalone company before it was purchased by, and merged into, Baker Hughes in 2009–for $5.5 billion. BJ remained its own separate division within BH, but then got spun out again, back into its own company. We know, a bit confusing. Here’s what you need to know. In March 2016, BH closed its BJ operation in Mill Hall (Clinton County), PA and moved it to Clarksburg (Harrison County), WV. Now the reverse is happening. BJ, the standalone company, announced it is closing the Clarksburg operation and relocating it back to Mill Hall, along with some 200 people…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Aug 6, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Virtual pipeline trucks face backlash from antis in Otsego County, NY; Luzerne County gets 2 new CNG buses; unions bash NYC Mayor de Blasio over fossil fuel divestment; 7 people injured in pipeline explosion in Texas; natgas price spike predicted yet again; Energy Transfer CEO says a “monkey” can make money in pipeline biz; China slaps US LNG imports with 25% tariff; despite “trade war,” US LNG exports boom to new record highs; and more!
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