FERC Denies Rehearing on Mountaineer XPress 2 Yrs After Approval

The final bits of Columbia Gas Transmission’s Mountaineer XPress pipeline project (most of it located in West Virginia) went online just over one year ago (see FERC Says Rest of Mountaineer XPress Pipeline OK to Start Up). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project more than two years ago. At the time FERC approved the project, anti-fossil fuelers challenged the approval, as they do every single square inch of every single new oil or gas pipeline. We have to chuckle because FERC finally responded to antis’ request for a “rehearing”…on Wednesday. FERC turned them down more than two years after their objection was lodged.
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Columbia Selling Mass. Gas Utility Biz to Competitor Eversource

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) never quite recovered (reputationally) from a series of explosions in September 2018 that occurred with its local delivery pipelines 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 months. Several class action lawsuits were filed against the company, which got settled last summer for $143 million (see Columbia Gas Pays $143M to Settle Lawsuit from Mass. Explosions). We have two big pieces of news about Columbia.
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County Says Proposed Columbia Gas Central OH Pipe Not Long Enough

Proposed Marysville Connector in Union County (click for larger version)

Columbia Gas of Ohio (NiSource) recently announced a new $135 million pipeline project to bring new supplies of Utica-sourced natural gas to homes and businesses located north and west of Columbus, in central Ohio (see Columbia Gas Plans New NatGas Pipeline in Central Ohio). The project, called the Northern Loop Project, includes a 4.78-mile pipeline segment in Union County, called the Marysville Connector. County officials oppose the plan–because (they say), it’s not long enough!
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Columbia Gas Plans New NatGas Pipeline in Central Ohio

Columbia Gas of Ohio (NiSource) recently announced a new $135 million pipeline project to bring new supplies of Utica-sourced natural gas to homes and businesses located north and west of Columbus, in central Ohio. The project, called the Northern Loop Project, will file for regulatory approval with the Ohio Power Siting Board and hopes the OPSB will approve the project in 2020, with construction set to happen in 2022.
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Columbia Gas of Ohio Investing $100M to Flow More M-U Gas

Columbia Gas of Ohio says it can’t build local natural gas delivery pipelines fast enough to meet the demand for new customers. “We’re adding new customers, commercial, industrial, residential, in every quadrant of the region” according to Columbia Gas President Dan Creekmur. And he doesn’t it see it stopping any time soon. So the company is spending big bucks (nine figures) to build new local gas pipelines–this year!
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Columbia Gas Pays $143M to Settle Lawsuit from Mass. Explosions

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) continues to recover (physically and reputationally) from a series of explosions last September in its local delivery pipelines 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 months. Several class action lawsuits were filed against the company. News is breaking today that Columbia has settled all of the class action lawsuits for $143 million.
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Massachusetts Still Trying to Block 2.1 Miles of Local Gas Pipe

There must be something in the water in New England. Today we told you about mass insanity in Bristol, Vermont, and now a story about a small community in nearby Massachusetts that wants to block 2.1 miles of new looping pipeline (buried next to an existing pipeline) in Longmeadow, Mass. All because local fruit loops want to ban new “fossil fuel” infrastructure. Lunacy is breaking out everywhere in New England!
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NTSB: Columbia Gas Unlicensed Engineer Error Led to Mass. Tragedy

Ever see a someone’s name listed on a business card or in a directory, and there’s a “PE” after his or her name? Know what that means? It means Professional Engineer. To get a PE, an engineer must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams and earn a license from their state’s licensure board. The engineer who drafted plans for NiSource Columbia Gas to replace gas mains about 25 miles north of Boston, in Lawrence, MA, didn’t have a PE after his name. And the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says it was his fault that when the gas main was replaced, the old main still had sensors that detected low pressure and kept pressurizing (overpressurizing) the gas system that led to multiple explosions and one person dying, 25 injured, and 8,000 residences and business still without natural gas service some two months later.
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Columbia Gas Moves Date Back to Dec. on Fixes re Boston Tragedy

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) continues to try and recover (physically and reputationally) from a series of explosions in its local delivery pipelines north of Boston in mid-September (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 months. In early October, Columbia said it would replace all ~48 miles of natural gas mains, and all 6,100 affected service lines, by Nov. 19 (see Columbia’s Master Plan to Restore Gas Service in Mass. by Nov 19). While the main lines will be done early, by tomorrow in fact, Columbia, in something of a public relations disaster, is pushing back the date of finishing the service lines by about a month, into December. Meanwhile, the family of the teenager who was killed is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit.
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Columbia Gas Already 80% Done Replacing 48 Miles of Exploded Pipes

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) continues to try and recover from a series of explosions in its local delivery pipelines north of Boston in mid-September (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 months. In early October, Columbia said it would replace all ~48 miles of natural gas mains, and all 6,100 affected service lines, by Nov. 19 (see Columbia’s Master Plan to Restore Gas Service in Mass. by Nov 19). To Columbia’s credit, 80% of the mains are already done, and over half of the service lines.
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NTSB Report: Columbia Gas Bad Work Order Caused Explosions

Click for larger version

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has just released a preliminary report on what caused a series of explosions and fires in a natural gas pipeline system 25 miles northwest of Boston in mid-September (see Local NatGas Pipes Explode Near Boston Killing 1, Injuring 25). The NTSB confirmed that the cause was overpressurized pipes due to workers capping off an old pipeline that contained sensors telling the system to pump more gas than needed. The question becomes, Who’s at fault? NTSB says the fault lies clearly Columbia Gas themselves.
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Antis Want Mass. Residents Affected by Blast to Give Up NatGas

We’ve extensively covered the tragic accident and aftermath of Columbia Gas’ natural gas delivery pipelines exploding near Boston in mid-September. 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 months. Now anti-fossil fuel advocates say those 8,600 households should just forget about natural gas, forever, and instead convert to sky-high electric for their energy needs. They call it a “green new deal”–meaning make Columbia Gas pay to convert your home to all-electric appliances and heat pumps. We call it a “green raw deal.”
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Columbia’s Master Plan to Restore Gas Service in Mass. by Nov 19

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts continues to try and recover from early missteps in how it responded to a series of explosions in its local delivery pipelines north of Boston in mid-September (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 months. Yesterday Columbia released a detailed plan for how they will replace all ~48 miles of pipeline and get everyone back online by Nov. 19.
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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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Columbia Gas Appoints Ret. Navy Captain to Oversee Disaster Recovery

More coverage in our ongoing coverage of the aftermath resulting from a chain-reaction of explosions in local natural gas delivery pipelines 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. Can you imagine not being able to cook meals, or heat your home, because of no natural gas? What will those people do in the meantime? Columbia Gas (part of NiSource), whose pipelines are the ones that exploded, began distributing some 7,000 electric hot plates over the weekend. Gov. Charlie Baker mobilized the Massachusetts National Guard to help. Since Gov. Baker also requested an “outside contractor” to take charge of the situation, Columbia announced they have appointed retired Navy Captain Joe Albanese, founder and CEO of Commodore Builders (a construction management firm) to become the Chief Recovery Officer in attempting to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Assisting Captain Albanese will be retired Rear Admiral Richard Cellon, president of Cellon and Associates. Cellon has loads of experience in construction in the Middle East–helping war-torn areas recover. It’s already getting cold in New England, so beginning this week Columbia has a hoard of electricians, plumbers, and “assessors” working to assess and install some 24,000 space heaters in homes. It’s no small feat. Local fire departments are involved to ensure the space heaters don’t create a fire hazard…
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