FERC to Rehear Decision re Columbia Gas Pipeline Under Potomac

Anti-fossil fuelers are on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline, from Maryland on one side of the river to West Virginia on the other side, will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion. The Mountaineer project is a pipeline to deliver Marcellus/Utica natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer began building their project in March (see Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline). Here’s the inconvenient truth that mainstream news organizations fail to report: This tiny 3.5-mile pipeline will be Columbia’s 13th pipeline under the Potomac! Yet antis insist THIS is the one pipeline that will explode and contaminate the Potomac and make the water flowing down the muddy Potomac undrinkable for millions. In July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Columbia’s under-the-river pipeline project (see FERC Approves Pipeline Under the Potomac River from Md. to WV). At the time, Democrat Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur voted to approve it–but she did so grudgingly and made sure to express it. Democrat Commissioner Dick Glick voted to “dissent, in part,” meaning he sort of approved it, but he sort of didn’t (and would really rather it not get built). Antis immediately filed a request for “rehearing”–to have FERC revisit their decision to approve the project (something FERC rarely does). Sadly, FERC has agreed to rehear their decision on the project–two months after approving it. Now that FERC is down by one Republican member, it’s all too likely the Dem members will take the opportunity to vote no on the project a second time, creating a 2-2 split that will further delay the project…
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FERC OKs Atlantic Bridge to Begin Service in Connecticut

In January 2017 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the $452 million Atlantic Bridge expansion project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). The Spectra Energy/Enbridge project beefs up capacity along the Algonquin Pipeline, along with more capacity for Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas into New England and (eventually) all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. Much of the project is now done–except in Massachusetts where a critical compressor station planned for Weymouth is stalled (see Massachusetts Blocking Atlantic Bridge Pipeline from Completion). Some good news to report on the project in neighboring Connecticut: FERC has given the green light for the Connecticut portion of the project to be placed into service…
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Shell PA Cracker Already Attracting New Factories…to Ohio

Stark County, OH

The Stark County (OH) Economic Development Board has landed what is hopefully the first (of many) tenants from the plastics manufacturing industry. IML Containers was looking for a spot to locate a new plant near one of their big customers, Land O’Lakes (has a facility in Cleveland). Stark County offered a small tax break, and the big advantage of being close to the under-construction Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA. It’s also close to a likely second cracker plant in Belmont County, OH. IML makes plastic shipping containers for Land O’Lakes, and plans to set up “research and development, die cutting, molding, production and warehousing for packaging use with a variety of food products” at their Stark facility. IML is beginning now, at a temporary location (70 new jobs!) and will build a new plant in the next two years. In addition to a cheap source of plastics from the crackers, another advantage is being located within a six-hour drive of most of IML’s North American customers…
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Marcellus/Utica Gas Heads South to the Sunshine State

Marcellus/Utica gas is powering natural gas-fired plants in Southeast Florida?! Yep. How? Through a series of pipelines. First the gas goes south from our region by hitching a ride through the mighty Williams Transcontinental Gas Pipeline (Transco)–all the way to Alabama. Then, the Sabal Trail Pipeline, a 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) pipeline, runs more than 500 miles from an interconnect with Transco in west-central Alabama to the Orlando, FL-area gas hub. Finally, a pipeline related to Sabal Trail called the Florida Southeast Connection delivers gas from the Orlando hub into South Florida. It’s a beautiful thing to behold. Our gas going all the way to the Sunshine State. The experts at RBN Energy do a deep dive to connect the dots and identify the gas-fired plants using our gas…
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Columbia Appoints Chief Restoration Officer After Boston Disaster

Pablo Vegas, NiSource’s new Chief Restoration Officer

Today we have another chapter in the unfolding story of the chain-reaction of explosions in local natural gas delivery pipelines owned by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) which happened about 25 miles north of Boston (see Local NatGas Pipes Explode Near Boston Killing 1, Injuring 25). The explosions and resulting fires tragically killed one teenager and injured 25 others. It left some 8,600 households and businesses without natural gas–for up to two months. Earlier this week MDN reported that Columbia/NiSource has appointed an outside-the-company “Chief Recovery Officer” at the prompting of Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (see Columbia Gas Appoints Ret. Navy Captain to Oversee Disaster Recovery). Retired Navy Captain Joe Albanese, founder and CEO of Commodore Builders (construction management firm) is the new CRO attempting to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Assisting Captain Albanese is retired Rear Admiral Richard Cellon, president of Cellon and Associates. Columbia announced yesterday the creation of a new inside-the-company position called Chief Restoration Officer. Pablo Vegas will serve in the Chief Restoration Officer role. Vegas will “support the work” of CRO Albanese, and will be accountable “for executing the restoration program, including pipeline replacement, customer mitigation and house readiness” as well as “community and customer support efforts in the region.” Perhaps NiSource needs fewer “chiefs” and more Indians?…
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VA Anti Goes for 600-Mile Horseback Joy Ride to Protest Pipeline

What would happen if your faithful editor took to horseback to ride along the entire 600-mile route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline as it travels from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina–in a campaign to *promote* the project? We’ll tell you what would happen in the media: Crickets. Nothing. No mentions. But when a young anti sets off to do just that, it’s heralded as a quest. Something akin to the Lord of the Rings–Frodo Baggins leaving on a mission to vanquish an evil foe, against all odds. Such is the case with Sarah Murphy, who left on horseback this week from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Television cameras were there to document her departure. Murphy says she is trying to call attention to the Atlantic Coast project, to whip up protesters to oppose it. She says the project will “corrupt” the mountains through which it passes. Perhaps like the Blue Ridge Parkway “corrupts” those same mountains? Here’s the story of a young lady and her horsey, off to rally faithful environuts…
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MDN Milestone: Over 17,000 Posts!

It’s not often we toot our own horn here at MDN. We recently hit a milestone and thought you may want to know about it. A few weeks ago MDN passed the 17,000 mark, as in there are now more than 17,000 posts here on the MDN website. Whew. That’s a lot of writing! We’d like to take a moment to thank YOU, our faithful readers. It is by your ongoing support that we are able to continue the MDN blog/news service.

How do you access all those articles? Two ways: (1) You can search our article database by enter keywords in the search box on the upper right. (2) Visit the Article Index page. Every time we post a new article, we tag it with one or more category names, to make it easy to locate articles on that particular topic (or geography). We have tags for each county we write about. We have tags for each main issue we write about. We even have a tag for stories that contain royalty and lease bonus payment details! It’s a long page, scroll all the way down, and locate a topic you’re interested in.

Again, our humble thanks, and please celebrate this milestone with us! You’re a part of it.

Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Sep 28, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: A pipeline construction moratorium would make Pa. less safe; Three Circuit Courts set up CWA application to groundwater for Supreme Court test; Searching for ‘data,’ anti-Exxon researcher taps blog that bragged about suppressing climate dissent; NYMEX Nov natural gas futures soar to $3.057/MMBtu on first day of trading on bullish injection; Scientific Drilling International introduces HALO rotary steerable system; Meet the machine that drives the environmental movement: Big Green, Inc.; Analysis: Europe set for tight winter in natural gas, power markets; China’s natural gas production has quietly surged; B.C. carbon tax now costs more than natural gas it is charged on.
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