FERC Approves Birdsboro Pipe Near Philly to Begin Service

Birdsboro Pipeline route (click for larger version)

That was fast! Construction began on a new 14-mile pipeline from the Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) mainline in Rockland Township, to a natural gas-fired power plant under construction in Birdsboro in Berks County, near Philadelphia, in June (see Construction Begins for 14-Mile Pipe to Feed Berks Gas-Fired Plant). DTE Midstream is building the pipeline to feed Marcellus gas to the new, under-construction gas-fired Birdsboro Power plant being built by EmberClear. The pipeline itself was done in November and DTE asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to start it up on Nov. 19. That permission was finally granted on Monday, Dec. 10. But wait! The power plant won’t be done and online until the middle of 2019…so why start up the pipeline now?
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Fed Gov’t Gives $20M Grant to Monroe, OH Shale-to-Rail Project

Long Ridge Energy Terminal (click for larger version)

We suppose if the money we pay in taxes to the federal government is going to be used for corporate welfare, this is the kind of welfare we’d like to see. Mind you, we don’t endorse nor like corporate welfare of any kind (whether it’s money for so-called renewable projects, or money for fossil fuel projects). But corporate welfare is a fact in our screwed up world, so let’s put it to good use by throwing what amounts to a rounding error in our federal budget, $20 million, to the Long Ridge Energy Terminal in Monroe County, OH for “rail and pipeline infrastructure improvements” to move more shale gas, oil and NGLs to market. The Long Ridge Energy Terminal, which used to be called the Center Port Transload Facility, completed an upgrade in July that allows more “unit trains” to be loaded/unloaded at the same time (see Former Ormet Site in OH Handles 3 Frac Sand Unit Trains at a Time). The new grant money will add a pipeline-to-rail transloading facility to the terminal.
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Big Loss for Big Green – PUC Judge Won’t Shut Down ME1 & 2 Pipes

Big Green forces who pinned their hopes of stopping the Mariner East 1 and 2 pipelines on a rogue PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) administrative law judge had those hopes dashed yesterday. In May of this year, Elizabeth Barnes, PUC administration law judge, 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 in Chester County, PA (see Antis Get Lib Judge to Shut Down All Mariner East Pipes, Dems Rejoice). The judge also shut down all operations of the currently operating Mariner East 1 across the entire state. Barnes’ closure of ME1 and ME2 was later overturned by the full PUC (see PA PUC Overrules Lib Judge – Mariner East 1 Returns to Service and PA PUC Allows ME2 Pipeline Work to Restart Near Philly). In early December, a ginned up “emergency relief petition” was aired before Barnes. Same deal. Antis want to shut down ALL of the Mariner East projects–permanently. Barnes was the judge hearing the “testimony” of the antis, along with a vigorous defense by Sunoco. Apparently she learned her lesson. Yesterday Barnes rejected the emergency petition.
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EPA Proposes Revised, Common Sense “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

The days of radical, wild overregulation on the part of the federal Environmental Protection Agency are, thankfully, over. At least while Donald Trump is in office. One of the worst examples of regulatory abuse under the Obama Administration was the EPA’s redefinition of what is called Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Obamadroids redefined WOTUS to mean everything down to mud puddles–and no, we’re not exaggerating (see EPA Power Grab: Redefines Waters of the U.S. to Include Everything). When Trump took office, his EPA tried to rescind the Obama WOTUS damage, but liberal judges in various courts have done their best to protect the swamp (see Fed Judge Revives Obama Waters of US Tragedy in 26 States). We now, finally, have a replacement for WOTUS–a replacement which the courts will have a much harder time blocking. Another brilliant move by Team Trump. Best of all, the new definition is common sense. It still protects the environment without micromanaging every farmer’s mud puddle, and without regulating every square foot of every drill pad.
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Paid Protesters Present DRB Frack Ban Petitions to NY, NJ Govs

A small group of paid protesters from Big Green groups colluded with sycophantic liberal reporters in Albany and Trenton to stage a fake rally where they “delivered” form-generated “petitions,” supposedly with 100,000 signatures (no doubt many of them faked), given to Govenors Cuomo and Murphy, respectively, demanding that the governors support a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin. NY and NJ are two of five members of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a rogue group that has pledged to permanently ban fracking in the Basin based on baseless fears fracking may contaminate New York City and Philadelphia drinking water supplies. Total bogus B.S.–but that’s the fearmongering used by people with no ethics. There’s one teeny tiny problem with the DRBC’s proposed ban: A U.S. District Court is currently considering whether or not the DRBC has the legal authority to ban fracking, even if it wants to (see Major Federal Court Decision Opens Door to Stop DRBC Frack Ban). The evidence strongly suggests the DRBC doesn’t have the legal power to block fracking, no matter what Cuomo and Murphy and the other voting members of the DRBC decide to do.
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PA Gov. Wolf Seriously Considers Marcellus-Killing Cap & Trade

On November 27, a variety of Big Green groups including the Clean Air Council, Widener University Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, eco(n)law LLC and 61 others submitted a “rulemaking petition” (407-page plan) to the Pennsylvania Environment Quality Board requesting the Board and PA Gov. Tom Wolf establish a cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emission reduction program to eliminate carbon emissions from major sources by 2052. It’s a bizarre plan, meant to eliminate fossil fuel production and use, including Marcellus Shale production. The kicker is that Wolf is actually thinking about doing it. Hey PA residents–still glad you reelected Wolf?
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More Lowball Western Canadian Natgas Coming East to M-U

TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal in 2016 to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada from the NEXUS and Rover pipelines (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. Following a couple of open seasons and stiff regulatory hurdles, the plan was adopted and went into service in November 2017 (see TransCanada Pipe Begins Lowball Shipping to Compete with Marc/Utica).
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Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Dec 12, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: EQT postpones conference call to discuss 2019 guidance and updated analyst presentation; A push to make fracking waste water usable in agriculture – even for drinking; Cheniere ships first Corpus Christi LNG commissioning cargo; Sleepless nights for U.S. gas traders as volatility surges; Yamal LNG ramps up to full capacity; Cuadrilla pauses gas fracking at English site after more tremors.
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