MDN on Vacation Weds, Aug 22 – Fri, Aug 24

MDN editor Jim Willis is taking a rare few days off this week, beginning Wednesday and running through Friday. No new MDN stories will be published on those days.

We will return next Monday, August 27th and catch you up on all the news!

DTE Energy’s Michigan Gas-Fired Plant Breaks Ground Today

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Last June DTE Energy filed paperwork in Michigan to build a new “state-of-the-art” natural gas-fired power plant in St. Clair County (see DTE Energy Files to Build New Natgas-Fired Elec Plant in Michigan). The gas-fired plant will produce 1,150 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 850,000 homes, helping to offset three coal-fired plants set to retire by 2023. Environmental groups launched a campaign to oppose the project (see Michigan Anti Fossil Fuelers Oppose DTE Gas-Fired Plant Proposal), but their efforts were too little too late. In April, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved the project (see List of 6 NatGas-Fired Electric Plants Coming to Michigan). The plant project has a name–the Blue Water Energy Center. Today is the day DTE Energy, the builder, will officially break ground for Blue Water Energy Center. Ahead of schedule! Why our excitement over this project? There is a considerable amount of Utica/Marcellus gas heading into Michigan via the Rover and NEXUS pipelines. Blue Water Energy is a potential (we’d say likely) customer for M-U gas supplies…
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Orange County, NY Gas-Fired Plant Resumes Start-up Tests

MDN brought you the exciting news that last week a New York “Supreme Court” judge (Supreme Court in NY is a lower court, one step up from county court) overruled a last-minute dirty trick by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to block a Marcellus-fired electric plant from starting operations (see NY Judge Overrules DEC, Allows Gas-Fired Plant to Start Up). Competitive Power Ventures built and is days away from starting up the Valley Energy Center, a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY. In a last minute, desperate attempt to block the plant (to boost his gubernatorial reelection campaign), Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the DEC to deny renewing an air permit previously granted by the DEC. The DEC says the plant will need a different (federal) air permit before it can start up, effectively blocking the project. The judge stepped in and overruled the DEC, allowing Valley Energy to restart its tests and begin operations. Testing restarted Sunday morning. According to CPV, these final round of tests will take “two to three weeks” before the plant is fully operational and online…
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Advisory Panel Pressures Va. Gov. to Block 2 “Racist” Pipelines

Here we go again. More talk from desperate liberals who irrationally hate fossil fuels, claiming the location of two pipelines in Virginia is “racist.” You didn’t know that an inert metal tube could be racist, did you? Yeah, it’s stupid and silly and beyond words–but there you have it. Our schools are doing such a poor job of educating our citizens, they grow up to believe in wild fairy tales and declare anyone (or anything) that is not their particular skin color must be racist. In Virginia, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice, is recommending to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam that he should illegally (against federal law) rescind federal Clean Water Act permits that allow both the $6.5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Dominion Energy) and $3.7 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (EQT Midstream) from crossing the state. The Advisory Council’s tortured thinking is that the pipeline runs through a few poor/black communities–so it MUST be racist. No mention of the fact that such pipelines actually benefit communities and individuals economically. Pipelines get no credit for economically benefiting nearby communities–they only get dinged for flowing an evil fossil fuel that supposedly causes man-made global warming…
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Sierra Club Forces Thousands of Pipeline Workers Out of Work

It dawned on us, reading yet another story about how EQT/Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has laid off around half of the MVP workforce, perhaps up to 3,000 people (see FERC Lets MVP Restart Work on 25% of Pipe; MVP Lays off ‘Thousands’), that the headlines/stories have it wrong. We need to view this situation more accurately–for what it is. The Sierra Club and a few other radical Big Green groups who brought the lawsuit against MVP are the ones who bear responsibility for putting ~3,000 pipeline workers out of work. And that’s just for one project! Dads have been forced into the unemployment line. Workers’ children go to bed hungry at night. There is a rise in hopelessness. The Sierra Club is responsible for DESTROYING JOBS. Ever notice that the Sierra Club never actually creates any jobs (except for a handful of high-priced lawyers)? They are a jobs-destroying organization and it’s time for Americans to wake up and understand what’s really going on. Wake up and understand the damage being caused by the Sierra Club–to families, to companies, to entire communities…
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Radicals’ New Strategy to Block Pipelines: State’s Rights

Radical environmentalists who want to “keep it in the ground”–the “it” being fossil fuels–are emboldened by the actions of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo, you may recall, effectively blocked and stopped in its tracks the federally-approved Constitution Pipeline, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Radicals who want to block all fossil fuel pipelines are using Cuomo’s example as their “new” strategy to stop shale drilling. If there are no pipelines, there’s no drilling–it’s that simple. We find liberal antis’ embrace of “states rights” to be highly hypocritical. These radicals, many (most) of whom are socialists, LOVE LOVE LOVE big government. The bigger the better. But when big government (i.e. the feds) doesn’t do what the radicals wants it to do, the radicals then embrace small government–decentralizing regulatory authority and pushing it down the state and local level. Radicals are using the Cuomo strategy of denying Clean Water Act water permits to pressure other governors, like Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown–both extreme Democrat liberals. We spotted an National Public Radio column exploring antis’ new-found love of state’s rights. We have a few more thoughts about this issue…
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Anti-American Sierra Club, NRDC Get Funding from Russia

“Hey Jim, we’re tired of reading your rants about antis. Get off it, will ya? Focus on the good news of where drilling and pipeline work is actually happening.” We sometimes get those kinds of emails. What those folks don’t seem to realize is that we are in a fight to the (economic) death with people who hold a dangerous philosophy. They are people who are, in part, funded by Russia (as you’ll see below), working against America’s best interests. They are, in a word, anti-American. And we’re outing them for who they really are. Exposing them to the light of day. Yes, it is important to beat the drum, frequently, to bring to your attention just how the fight is going and who’s engaged in this fight–so you know why it takes so long to drill a well or build a pipeline. Why landowners don’t see more drilling sooner. Why natural gas and NGLs and oil can’t get to market, or get to markets that pay more. There is a reason, and it’s because of groups like the NRDC and Sierra Club…
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Waters of US Ruling – Glass Half Full?

Last week MDN told you about a George H.W. Bush district court judge in South Carolina who reversed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s order ending the tragedy of Obama’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule (see Fed Judge Revives Obama Waters of US Tragedy in 26 States). WOTUS is important, because when you redefine everything down to a mud puddle (we’re not joking) as a “body of water” under the authority of the Clean Water Act, you effectively put all oil and gas drilling (and agriculture activities) under the thumb of the federal government. We were bummed about the judge’s decision. But we were focusing on the 26 states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, that are now subject to WOTUS overreach. But what if we look at the glass as half-full instead of half-empty? Somehow, due to the vagaries of law, the other 24 states (or 33 states if you are Barack Obama, who once infamously said there are 57 states), are not under the Obama WOTUS rule. In other words, the glass is half-full–in particular for West Virginia which is not under WOTUS. The legal beagles at the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm flip the news around and look at the glass-half-full aspect of WOTUS…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Aug 21, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: New report finds fracking has “dramatically raised up” poor Ohio schools; big pieces of Shell cracker now installed; Trump should tread lightly in power markets; Panama to sign pact to expand regional access to LNG; China backpedals on LNG tariff threat; French Total pulls out of Iran natgas project; and more!
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4th Circuit Rejects Sierra Club Request to Block Atlantic Coast Pipe

In something of a twist, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals elected NOT to officially shut down all construction of the 600+ mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project. You may recall the Sierra Club and several other anti-American Big Green groups convinced the Fourth Circuit to overturn permits granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) granted to ACP to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway (see Federal Court Stops Works on Some (All?) of Atlantic Coast Pipe). The rolled-back permits affect some 100 miles of work. Shortly after the Fourth Circuit decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) told Atlantic Coast to shut down all construction everywhere (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline). FERC’s shut-down is expected to be temporary. Meanwhile, back at the litigation ranch, the Big Green groups asked the Fourth Circuit to shut down all construction on ACP until the lawsuit plays out–over a period of years. It was to that request the court said no…
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Black Baptists Join Yoga Cult to Oppose Atlantic Coast Pipe

Although the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, being built by Dominion Energy, is currently idled with no construction due to a directive from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), some communities along the route of the pipeline are still agitating and protesting against it. In one of the more bizarre cases, a black Baptist pastor is whipping up his congregation against the project in rural Buckingham County, VA. But that’s not all. The black pastor is joining forces with a nearby commune (cult?) in Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville. The Baptist pastor had himself a religious experience when he visited Yogaville, pronouncing their views on religion (opposite of his own) just fine with him–because they both hate the pipeline. Looks like politics comes before God for the good pastor and his congregation…
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PA Cracker Plant Stirs Up More Barging Business Along Ohio River

It’s fun to see all of the many, varied businesses impacted by the shale industry and by “downstream” projects like the mighty $6 billion Shell ethane cracker, currently being constructed in Monaca (Beaver County), PA. One of the reasons for selecting the Monaca site for a cracker is it’s location along the Ohio River, with access to barges. A majority of the components and materials being used to build the cracker are being shipped in by barge. That single project (the Shell cracker) has had and is having a huge economic impact throughout Beaver County and the entire region–especially on the barge industry. After the cracker is complete, output from the plant (plastic pellets) will likely not be shipped by barge, but by rail and truck. However, the cracker will attract a number of new manufacturing facilities to the region, locating there to use the plastic pellets coming from the cracker. Those plants manufacture a variety of products–and many of those products will be shipped by barge. The Pittsburgh region is experiencing a barge shipping renaissance, thanks to the Marcellus/Utica and thanks to the Shell cracker…
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Eco-Nuts File FERC Rehearing Request for Pipe Under Potomac

Anti-fossil fuel nutters are on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas, from Maryland to West Virginia (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion–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). Phase one of the Mountaineer project is done and they’re now working phase two. In July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Columbia’s pipeline-under-the-Potomac project to feed the Mountaineer project (see FERC Approves Pipeline Under the Potomac River from Md. to WV). Antis were enraged. 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. Total BS. Antis have just filed a request with FERC to “rehear” (i.e. reconsider) the decision to approve the pipeline under the river. Once FERC officially denies that request (as they surely will), antis are then free to file a lawsuit challenging the project with the U.S. Court of Appeals…
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Questerre Energy to Challenge Quebec’s Utica Frack Ban in Court

The Utica Shale, which underlies much of the Marcellus Shale, also underlies part of Canada’s Quebec province. From time to time we highlight news concerning the Utica in Canada. There hasn’t been much news to highlight over the years since Quebec has had a moratorium on fracking since 2012. But as we reported in December 2016, something of a minor miracle happened–the Quebec National Assembly voted to pass Bill 106, ostensibly to support Quebec’s “clean power plan” (see Fracking in Canadian Utica Shale Takes Big Step Closer to Reality). The bill includes a section that “lays out a framework for oil and gas development” in Quebec. Then in September 2017, Quebec did the unthinkable (for radical environmentalists)–they published draft Utica drilling regulations (see Quebec Government Publishes Draft Utica Fracking Regulations). Canadian driller Questerre believes Utica drilling can begin this year (see Questerre Plans 8 Initial Well Pads in Canadian Utica 2018-2019). News of new Utica regs caused antis in Canada to go berserk. The pressure got to be too much and the politicians decided in June of this year that they will commit fracking suicide instead (see Quebec to Ban Utica Shale Drilling, Most Other Drilling Too). Questerre isn’t taking it lying down. They have considerable acreage in the Quebec’s Utica. Questerre issued a press release this morning to celebrate Bill 106 (passed in 2016) finally going into effect–and to say as for the frack ban, Questerre will sue the government as soon as it’s implemented, to try and get it overturned…
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The Folly of Divesting Fossil Fuel Stocks – Pension Funds Fall

In some liberal-dominated cities and states in the U.S., sleazy politicians have pushed their public pension funds to divest from fossil fuel companies. Dump the stock they own in those companies. Why? Who knows why. There’s no explaining insanity. Supposedly fossil fuels are evil and so-called renewables are righteous, so these sleazy politicians (like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo) are forcing municipalities and entire states to divest. We told you last week that Gov. Andrew “tinhorn dictator” Cuomo is forcing the state public employee pension fund to divest–and it will cost pensioners a staggering $1 trillion out of their own pockets as a result (see Cuomo Plan to Divest Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels Cost NY $1T). The same thing will happen elsewhere if divestment catches on. Here’s a question: Why stop with divesting from fossil fuels? What about other libnut causes, like Pepsi and Coke–they make sugary drinks that make kids fat. What about divesting from fast food establishments, like McDonalds and Burger King and Wendy’s? What about divesting from Chick-fil-A? After all, Chick-fil-A is run by Christians (yuck!) and they dare to close their restaurants on Sundays. In fact, let’s just divest from everything! Where does this madness stop?…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Aug 20, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: PA Republican legislators urge DEP to reconsider 250% shale permit increase; Shell’s wetland restoration in Washington County done; vision for converting western NY power plant from coal to gas; Cheniere cleared to intro feed gas into Corpus Christi LNG Train 1; US takes top spot in world for reducing CO2–without Kyoto and Paris accords; can US shale stop global oil supply “crisis”?; NAFTA deal with Mexico close, will increase natgas trade; big companies signing LNG deals left and right to lock in prices; and more!
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