Presbyterians Vote to Divest from Fossil Fuels – Yet Keep Using Them

Liberal Presbyterians in Pittsburgh, along with their comrades from New York, have succeeded in pressuring a once-great denomination, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), into adopting a proposal that forces the denomination to divest from all investments in fossil fuel companies, and instead invest in so-called renewable energy companies. The measure says divestment is “the beginning of a faithful response to the devastating and urgent reality of climate change.” The leaders of the divestment movement within the denomination say investing in fossil fuels is the moral equivalent of investing in tobacco, alcohol and gambling. And yet the very same people and the very same denomination refuse to lead by example. They don’t force their churches to quit using “devastating fossil fuels” to heat and cool their buildings. They don’t demand parishioners quit driving fossil-fuel powered automobiles to church. And they certainly don’t refuse tithes and offerings from those who work at evil fossil fuel companies (nor do they prohibit contributions from fossil fuel companies). Just a tad hypocritical?…
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Antis Convince Chatham County, NC to Extend Frack Moratorium

In 2014, the North Carolina legislature passed a law that specifically says local municipalities can’t regulate oil and gas exploration–it is the sole responsibility of the state to do so. Some municipalities thought there were loopholes they could use. Stokes and Chatham counties enacted moratoriums instead of outright bans, hoping to game the system. In order to plug the loopholes, the NC General Assembly approved a 41-page “technical corrections” bill (literally passed in the middle of the night) in September 2015 (see NC Legislature Makes Local Frack Bans/Moratoria Illegal). The technical corrections bill, signed into law by then-Gov. Pat McCrory, introduced language which closes any perceived loopholes and makes any actions like the ones in Stokes and Chatham illegal. And yet the moratoriums in those counties persist, contravening NC law. On Monday night Chatham County commissioners voted (unanimously) to extend their illegal moratorium until Jan. 31, 2019. How do they get away with it? The obvious answer is that nobody cares about drilling in Chatham County, otherwise there would have been a lawsuit to challenge this blatant violation of the law…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Pressures DRBC to Revoke ME2 Pipe Permit

Here’s the latest strategy in THE Delaware Riverkeeper’s ongoing war against fossil fuels, and against natural gas pipelines in particular: Pressure the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to revoke a permit granted by the agency to the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project on the flimsy basis that ME2 has “violated” the conditions of the permit. Frankly, we didn’t even know the DRBC had issued a permit for ME2. After all, ME2 is a state-permitted project and does not come under federal authority. We doubt the DRBC has legal authority to issue a permit for the project–but if no one challenges them, their authority stands. ME2 probably thought it easier to just get the permit and not squabble over it. According to Big Green mouthpiece PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania, the DRBC is actually considering Riverkeeper’s request. The problem with this latest strategy by Riverkeeper is that DRBC’s executive director, Steve Tambini, is so weak, he may fold like a cheap deck of cards and actually do it. Tambini, who has been a major disappointment since taking over from the ultra-leftist Carol Collier, seems happy to take his marching orders from Riverkeeper. We have to wonder if this latest strategy will bear fruit. A scary proposition. But Riverkeeper isn’t content to try and scuttle ME2 by pressuring the weak DRBC as its only strategy. Last week the DRBC filed a “groundbreaking” lawsuit against the ME2 project in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, meant to stop the project by court order…
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PA PUC Overrules Lib Judge – Mariner East 1 Returns to Service

As MDN predicted, yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted to overturn a previous action by liberal administrative law judge, Elizabeth Barnes, to shut down the Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline (see Antis Get Lib Judge to Shut Down All Mariner East Pipes, Dems Rejoice). ME1 is back up and running. All five PUC members supported returning ME1 back to service. However, three of the five PUC members agreed with Judge Barnes’ decision to temporarily shut down work on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project in West Whiteland Township (Chester County). Two of the five PUC members wanted all of Barnes’ ruling to be overturned. The reporting on this is somewhat confusing. PUC Chairwoman Gladys Brown put forward a motion to (a) turn ME1 back on, and (b) keep ME2 in West Whiteland stopped, for now, pending more information from Sunoco Logistics. The vote was 3-2 in favor of Brown’s motion. The 2 voting against it did so because it didn’t go far enough (they wanted ME2 construction to resume). So although the vote was 3-2, all 5 of the members wanted ME1 back on. That’s the real nub of the news–the subtlety that’s missed in most media reports. The 3-2 “split decision” that’s being reported is the decision to overrule Barnes on ME1, but keep her ruling intact (for now) on ME2. The PUC has ordered Sunoco to provide more information in the next 20 days: inspection and testing protocols, emergency response plans, and copies of safety training curriculum for employees and contractors. The PUC will then reconsider whether or not to allow ME2 work to resume in West Whiteland. But here’s the thing: Work on the rest of the 300+ mile pipeline continues everywhere else in the state–everywhere but West Whiteland. Overall, yesterday’s PUC action was a crushing defeat for PA State Sen. Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman (Democrat) and his Big Green cronies who want to assassinate the entire ME1 & ME2 projects by focusing on one small area…
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Wackos Gather in Harrisburg to Push for 100% Solar/Wind in PA

This past Tuesday, hundreds of Pennsylvanians gathered in Harrisburg to “rally for a new vision for the Commonwealth powered by 100 percent renewable energy.” Among those attending including representatives from businesses, various religious leaders, local mayors, and nurses and doctors to advocate for “bipartisan” legislation to force PA to dump fossil fuels and adopt 100% renewable energy. There is no polite way to say this, but say it we must: This so-called “bipartisan” gathering to push House and Senate bills demanding the state dump the use of fossil fuels (like natural gas) and instead stick solar panels on every rooftop and windmills on every hilltop to power the Keystone state’s electricity (and other) power needs is stark….raving….mad. It’s lunatic. Forcing the state to adopt 100% renewables is not “nice” or a “gentle, blessed future that will arrive someday.” Adopting 100% renewables is a deluded fantasy. To pretend otherwise is unkind. We must call this nuttery out for what it is: irrational hatred of fossil fuels. We have nothing against any form of energy. They all have their pluses and minuses. You like a solar panel on your house–good for you! An ugly windmill with it’s whump whump whump sound nearby? Whatever floats your boat. But ending the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity any time within the next 75-100 years is the end of human life as we know it. What was presented at the rally as some benign gathering of average citizens was nothing of the sort. Big Green (radical) groups, including PennFuture, were behind this flummery…
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Despite Court Ruling, Atlantic Coast Pipeline Continues Construction

In May MDN told you that the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had invalidated (vacated) a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to accidentally kill a few bats and bumble bees (classified as endangered) as it builds the massive $6.5 billion, 600-mile project from West Virginia to North Carolina (see U.S. Fourth Circuit Court Vacates Key Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipe). The Sierra Club and several other radical, far-left groups were behind the court case that led to the decision. However, as it turns out, the decision doesn’t really hurt the project all that much. The vacated permit isn’t so “key” after all. Of the 600 or so miles of pipeline getting built, the vacated permit from Fish and Wildlife only affects about 10 miles of pipeline (see Only 10 Miles of Atlantic Coast Pipeline Affected by Court Ruling). The radicals are back, not happy that only 10 miles of pipeline is idled for now. In a “but, but, but, but, but” request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the antis argue FERC should shut down the whole enchilada–because they don’t like having just 10 miles shut down. Meanwhile, Dominion keeps up steady-and-sure construction of the project. It’s getting built, even as you read this…
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Democrat Natl Committee Bans Contributions from Fossil Fuel Cos.

The Democrat Party has just made it official that they will now openly discriminate against and target natural gas, oil and coal companies–and the people who work for them. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has voted to adopt a policy of not accepting campaign contributions from evil, vile, nasty fossil fuel companies. Irrational, far-left kooks have taken over the Dem party. It is now the official position of Democrats to assassinate the fossil fuel industry. If you work for/in the fossil fuel industry, know this: the Democrat Party is targeting YOUR industry and YOUR job for extinction…
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Nicetown Claims “Environmental Racism” re Gas-Fired Plant

Bet you didn’t know that the environment has become racist. That’s the outrageous claim being made about Nicetown, PA (near Philadelphia). Big Green supporters in Nicetown are opposed to SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) plans to build a Marcellus gas-powered electric plant that would provide electricity to SEPTA’s northern Regional Rail lines and a bus garage (see Antis Plan to Shut Down Philly Transit Meeting re NatGas Powergen). The stated reason for their opposition is because the plant will burn an evil, nasty, vile “fossil fuel.” Yep, fossil fuel hatred syndrome. When the antis weren’t looking, Philadelphia Air Management Services (AMS) went ahead and issued the permit that allows SEPTA to move forward with the proposed natgas power plant, which will get built in Nicetown (see Antis “Shocked” Philly Approved Marcellus Power Plant for SEPTA). Nice. The AMS vote “came as a surprise” to the antis. It was their “last hope” to stop the plant. But they haven’t given up hope. Not yet. Antis are not only litigating to stop the plant, now they’re making wild accusations of “environmental racism.” Because the majority of residents are black, the accusation is that SEPTA is sticking the plant there, where it doesn’t matter if black people get polluted. Which is all nonsense. The reason SEPTA wants the plant in Nicetown is because that’s where they own a large bus garage/facility–the same facility they want to power with electricity from the plant! But “environmental racism” has such a great ring, and looks so good in a headline, it’s just irresistible for sycophantic media…
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Big Green Fail – MVP Permission to Cut Trees in VA Until July 31

Big Green protesters with names like “Ink,” “Sprout,” “Red,” “Nutty,” “Fern” and “Decard” illegally sat in the tops of trees (or on poles) in Virginia as a tactic to prevent Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from cutting trees along the path of the pipeline. Some of them sat up there for a few days, some for a few weeks, and some for months. Eventually they all came down, as of early June (see All MVP Tree-Sitting Protesters have Now Dropped Back to Earth). The protesters had hoped to “run out the clock” for MVP to cut the trees. Because of threatened and endangered species (primarily bats that roost in trees), MVP was supposed to have all of the trees along the pipeline’s path cut by March 31. The protesters thought if they could forestall tree cutting until after that deadline (a deadline that was previously extended), they could stop progress and give their Big Green brethren more time to litigate the pipeline out of existence before the tree cutting window reopens in late fall. We’re more than happy to report the protesters’ effort to stop MVP tree cutting failed. Why? Because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just extended the time frame to cut those trees until July 31. All of that sitting for nothing…
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Columbia Sues WV Landowners for Delaying Mountaineer XPress Work

It’s one thing for a landowner (or Big Green supporter, sometimes one and the same) to oppose a pipeline project by protesting, asking politicians to get involved, writing to regulatory agencies, etc. We have a great American tradition of free speech. Go for it. But it’s quite another thing to “harass, intimidate and interfere” with work crews in an area by screaming at them and shooting your “large caliber gun” near where they’re working. Columbia Gas Transmission is currently building the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline, a $2 billion, 170-mile pipeline that will flow 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of natural gas from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia (see Details on Columbia Pipeline Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Project). At 2.7 Bcf/d, Mountaineer XPress is the second largest (by volume) new pipeline project for the Marcellus/Utica region–second only to Rover’s 3.25 Bcf/d pipeline. It is a big and important project. And yet, a single couple whose land the pipeline does NOT cross can delay the entire project with threats and intimidation and interference. That’s the charge Columbia has made in court. On April 30, Columbia sued a couple in Doddridge County who live near an active construction site for Mountaineer XPress, claiming their hostile actions toward workers have caused a delay for the entire project–and that’s costing Columbia big bucks. Columbia wants to ask a jury to extract some of that lost revenue from the hostile couple as compensation. Lesson: Your (hostile, threatening) actions have consequences, and may cost you money…
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Antis Fight Plan to Convert 2 Class II Injection Wells in OH to Class I

In 2013, Buckeye Brine, a relatively young Ohio-based company, added a second shale wastewater injection well in Coshocton County (see Buckeye Brine Adds Second Injection Well, Business Expands Rapidly). Buckeye later added a third injection well. After an oil or gas well is drilled and fracked, wastewater from fracking flows back out for a week or two. After that, over time (years in most cases) naturally occurring water from deep underground continues to flow. That naturally occurring water contains a lot of dissolved minerals in it, making it much “saltier” than even ocean water–hence the term brine. Buckeye Brine has operated their three Class II (as they are known) injection wells “flawlessly” for the past five years. No earthquakes. No spills. No leaks back to the surface. Nothing. Buckeye now wants to re-designate two of the three wells as Class I wells, which would allow them to accept non-shale wastewater–from industrial equipment operators, soap manufacturers, food processors, power plants, and municipal wastewater treatment plants. The new wastewater sources for a Class I well are considered “nonhazardous.” However, so-called environmental groups are opposing the change from Class II to Class I…
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Antis Rally Near Philly to Permanently Shut Down ME1/ME2 Pipes

PA State Sen. Andy Dinniman

In May, anti-fossil fuel pipeline opponents finally found a single, liberal administrative judge to shut down the Mariner East 1 (ME1) NGL pipeline–a pipeline that’s been operating without any problems for more than a year (see Antis Get Lib Judge to Shut Down All Mariner East Pipes, Dems Rejoice). Sunoco Logistics Partners, the owner of ME1, and the builder of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) Pipeline project, appealed the judge’s decision to the full Public Utility Commission (PUC). A decision about the shutdown (whether to lift is) is due any time. In an attempt to pressure the PUC and Gov. Tom Wolf to *permanently* shut down ME1 and ME2, a group of 150 or so rallied near Philadelphia on Saturday. Something you should know: A total shutdown of ME1 and ME2 is not going to happen. But that doesn’t stop self-deluding nutters from trying. Inevitably the protesters are disappointed. They talk themselves into the fictional fantasy that a pipeline that has been fully permissioned and 98% done (ME2) will simply stop and not be allowed to finish construction and begin operations. They tell themselves they can get a pipeline with a perfect safety record (running for more than a year) permanently shut down. Ain’t gonna happen. But they tell themselves these things, over and over, convincing themselves. People like PA State Sen. Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman, recklessly feeds his kook nutbase these fantasies. Totally irresponsible. So they gather, as they did this past weekend, to protest and “demand” that the PUC shut down these projects. What will happen when the full PUC overturns the liberal judge’s biased decision? How will the protesters handle the defeat?…
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Lebanon County Judge Rules ME1 is Public Utility, Pump Stn OK

This story stretches back four years. In November 2014, MDN told you about anti-drillers in Lebanon County, PA who had succumbed to shiny object syndrome and transferred their irrational hatred of fossil fuels from the Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project to the already-in-the-ground but getting repurposed Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 1 pipeline (see New Target for Lebanon, PA Antis: Mariner East Pipeline). As part of converting ME1 from an oil pipeline to flow natural gas liquids, including propane and ethane, from western PA to the Philadelphia area, some 31 pump and valve stations needed to be built–one of them in West Cornwall in Lebanon County. Three local residents and an anti-drilling group called Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County filed an appeal with the zoning board to force the town to rescind permits they granted to allow the pump station. In May 2015, the West Cornwall Township Zoning Hearing Board declared the appeal “moot”–meaning denied (see Antis’ Zoning Appeal re Mariner East Pump Stn in Lebanon “Moot”). The antis decided to throw good money after bad and appealed the matter to Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas (i.e. county court). Finally, after years, the judge in the case backed ME1 over the antis, delivering his decision earlier this week. The judge ruled that ME1 is exempt from certain local zoning restrictions because it is (yes), a “public utility.” Which should not surprise anyone. Just last week the U.S. Supreme Court said the same thing when it refused to hear an eminent domain case for ME2, a different but closely related pipeline (see U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Eminent Domain for ME2 Pipeline). Like ME2, ME1 is a public utility. So say all the courts…
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Richmond, VA Police Train to Handle Anti-Pipeline Protests

A faux religious group calling itself the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice (IACJ) is mad that this past Tuesday 27 agencies (many of them police departments) from across the Richmond, VA metro region trained together for a large-scale civil unrest opposing pipelines. Which is totally realistic. The IACJ, a Virginia-based nonprofit 501(c)(3), says it was organized for “supporting resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” Community organizers. Anarchists who refuse to follow the rule of law. That the police in the greater Richmond area are preparing to deal with them is smart. IACJ calls it, “American fascism, state violence, late stage capitalism, state repression.” We call the IACJ not only anti-capitalist, but anti-American. They are the fascists, in the truest sense of the word…
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PA Democrats Float Free College – Paid for by Marcellus Tax

PA State Sen. Vincent Hughes

Another mind-blowingly dumb Socialist/Communist plan is being floated by Democrats in PA (what’s new?). PA Dem state legislators yesterday announced new bills that would give families living in PA the right to send their kids to one of PA’s 14 state-run colleges for free–lock, stock and barrel. Free tuition. Free room and board. Free condoms. Free everything. IF the family makes less than $48,000 per year. Families making between $48,000-$110,000 per year get free tuition and fees only (they have to pay for Junior and Missy’s room and board). The “free” plan, according to Philadelphia area State Sen. Vincent Hughes, would cost around $800 million–and he thinks the Marcellus Shale industry should pay for it. That’s Hughes’ answer for everything–just tax the Marcellus industry. But Hughes has a little problem–he’s already promised Marcellus severance tax revenue to Philadelphia teachers’ unions–unions from which he has received $635,000 in campaign contributions (see PA Dem Senator from Philly Intros Bill to Steal Marcellus Money). In the unlikely event a severance tax is enacted in PA, it certainly won’t be enough to fund both K-12 education and pay for “free” college. How about this Sen. Hughes: We think the money for free college should come from taxes on government-paid workers instead. People like YOU. Why don’t we use YOUR money to pay for this “wonderful” plan?…
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Quebec to Ban Utica Shale Drilling, Most Other Drilling Too

It seems the Canadian province of Quebec has decided to ban pretty much all oil and gas drilling, which is a good news/bad news thing. The good news is that Quebec will have to import their hydrocarbons from other places–namely the Marcellus/Utica. The bad news is for Questerre, a Canadian driller who has patiently waited for years to begin drilling on their extensive Utica acreage in the St. Lawrence Lowlands of Quebec. Questerre thought they would begin drilling this year (see Questerre Plans 8 Initial Well Pads in Canadian Utica 2018-2019). Instead, Questerre is now hosed. In addition to a total frack ban, Quebec is instituting a “no drill zone” for conventional (non-shale) drilling of 1 kilometre (.62 miles) from municipalities, 300 metres (984 feet) from private residences, 550 metres (1,804 feet) from schools, hospitals or public buildings, and 200 metres (656 feet) from “ecotourism” sites. In other words, all drilling of any kind will be pretty much banned pretty much everywhere. Quebec is following in the footsteps of New York, where the hydrocarbon industry has been decimated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It’s a sad day for our Canadian cousins in Quebec…
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