PA Fines Atlantic Sunrise Pipe $836K for Years-Old Violations

Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, a 200-mile greenfield pipeline from northeastern to southeastern PA where it joins the Transco Pipeline, went online in October 2018 (see FERC Approves Atlantic Sunrise for Startup! Pipe Opens Sat. Oct. 6). Shippers on Atlantic Sunrise include Cabot Oil & Gas, Seneca Resources, and Range Resources. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it is (two years after it went online) assessing fines for violations that happened during construction of the pipeline 2-3 years ago.
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DC Circuit Skeptical of FERC Tolling Orders re Atlantic Sunrise

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC Circuit) heard oral arguments yesterday in a case of major importance to the future of all federally-approved pipeline projects. The case revolves around the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) use of something called a tolling order in approving Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (in the PA Marcellus). Big Green groups launched the lawsuit in an effort to strip away FERC’s right to use tolling orders when considering requests to “rehear” decisions to approve pipelines.
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DC Court to Rehear Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Eminent Domain Decision

Lawsuit aims to castrate FERC

Here we go again. In August a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had the right to approve Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, including the right to use eminent domain to build it before details are finalized over compensation to landowners (see DC Court Upholds FERC Authority in Approving Atlantic Sunrise Pipe). The Sierra Club and other Big Green groups, with endless mountains of money from people like Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, kept pushing and finally convinced the entire DC Circuit (all of the judges, call “en banc”) to rehear and reconsider the case already decided by three of their number.
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Fed Judge Tosses $54M Award to Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Landowner

Here’s a cautionary tale for landowners who think they can go court-shopping on the other side of the country to settle their differences with pipelines that cross their land. Don’t do it. A Pennsylvania landowner in Schuylkill County, PA thought he could force Williams’ (Transco Pipeline) into arbitration to compensate him for allowing the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline crossing his land. Except the landowner filed for arbitration in California! Williams/Transco refused to participate in the arbitration since Cali has NOTHING to do with Pennsylvania when it comes to arbitrating compensation for eminent domain.
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Cabot Pockets $89 Million Profit on Sale of Atlantic Sunrise Pipe

On Monday MDN brought you the news that NextEra Energy, largely a renewables company, has made the bold move of buying 39% of the Central Penn Line, otherwise known as Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project (see NextEra Energy Buys 39% Stake in Atlantic Sunrise Pipe for $1.37B). There is another aspect of that story worth mentioning–an aspect that involves Cabot Oil & Gas and a tidy profit.
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NextEra Energy Buys 39% Stake in Atlantic Sunrise Pipe for $1.37B

Penn Central Line in red (click for larger version)

Some big news to share. NextEra Energy Partners, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy which owns and operates solar and wind projects, as well as natural gas pipelines, announced early this morning they have cut a deal to buy Meade Pipeline Co LLC for $1.37 billion. Meade Pipeline is the name for a joint venture between several companies that own 39.2% of what is called the Central Penn Line pipeline system, otherwise known as Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline–a major new pipeline that has single-handedly lifted the price drillers (and consequently landowners) receive for northeastern PA Marcellus gas.
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Fed Court Shoots Down Riverkeeper’s Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Case

THE Delaware Riverkeeper has lost yet another frivolous lawsuit that attempted to overturn Williams’ now long-completed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. We’ve lost count of how many lawsuits Riverkeeper (and other anti groups) have lost against Atlantic Sunrise. Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection’s decision to issue a federal Clean Water Act “Section 401” water permit for the project.
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DC Court Upholds FERC Authority in Approving Atlantic Sunrise Pipe

In March 2017, radical green groups, including the Sierra Club, Lancaster Against Pipelines, Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, Allegheny Defense Project, Clean Air Council, Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County, and Heartwood, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in an attempt to block construction of the $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project in Pennsylvania (see Radical Green Groups File Fed Court Case to Stop Atlantic Sunrise).
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US Supreme Court Rejects Landowner Case Against Atlantic Sunrise

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected hearing a case appealed from a lower court by a group of Lancaster County landowners who claim Williams and their Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project abused eminent domain authority by building the pipeline before litigating (for years) how much money landowners should receive–landowners who refused to negotiate in good faith in the first place.
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Welded Constr. Sues Williams for $71M re Atlantic Sunrise Pipe

Welded Construction, the main contractor that built Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project in Pennsylvania, is suing Williams for $71 million, claiming there were cost overruns that Williams never properly compensated the company for. This is a messy situation that we’ve written about before. Welded suing Williams is a new wrinkle in a saga that began last October (see Williams Withholds Payment Forcing Pipeline Builder into Bankruptcy).
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US Supremes Reject Dela. Riverkeeper Lawsuit re Atlantic Sunrise

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, along with a couple of radicals from Lancaster County flying under the name Lancaster Against Pipelines (the Clatterbucks), hoped they could convince the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case that a series of lower courts dismissed–a case that would shut down the now-operating Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (see Riverkeeper Appeals Atlantic Sunrise Lawsuit to US Supreme Court). Miss Maya and the Clatterbucks have stuck out. On Monday, the Supremes told them they don’t have a case.
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Williams Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Toss Atlantic Sunrise Case

In March a group of Pennsylvania landowners from Lancaster County asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case in which they say they’ve been screwed over by Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, that the pipeline should not have had the right to use eminent domain to build the pipeline before the matter of compensation was fully adjudicated (see PA Landowners Beg US Supreme Court to Hear Atlantic Sunrise Case). Williams, via their Transco subsidiary, has just responded and asked the Supremes to toss the case entirely.
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End of the Road for Sisters of the Corn re Atlantic Sunrise Pipe

The Sisters of the Corn (our name for the a group of leftist nuns in Lancaster County, PA) asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case in which they claim their religious freedom has been trampled by Williams running a pipeline (Atlantic Sunrise) across their property. The case came up for consideration with the Supremes and they declined to hear it, meaning it’s the end of the road for the Sisters and the green group backing them.
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PA Businesses Still Not Paid for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Work

NOTE: See our follow-up post on this, with important new information: New Details on Williams and Unpaid Pipe Contractors in Lancaster.

Hey Williams, get off your rear-ends and start paying the bills owed for work done on YOUR pipeline! At least 77 local businesses in and around Lancaster County, PA are caught in the crosshairs of a dispute between Williams and one of its main contractors, Welded Construction (see Williams Withholds Payment Forcing Pipeline Builder into Bankruptcy).
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