FirstEnergy Credit Rating Lowered to ‘Junk’ re Nuke Scandal

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FirstEnergy continues to get battered over its alleged role in a $60 million bribery scandal in Ohio. The latest blow comes from the country’s three main ratings agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and S&P, which have all downgraded FirstEnergy’s credit rating to ‘junk’ status.
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FirstEnergy Nuke Bribery Scandal Deepens – OH Regulator Resigns

The plot thickens in the $60 million FirstEnergy nuclear subsidy bribery scandal. Last week MDN brought you the news that Ohio’s Attorney General, David Yost, had filed a second lawsuit to stop the collection of money from ratepayers that funds $150 million annual payments to FirstEnergy provided for under the law known as House Bill 6 (see OH AG Files 2nd Lawsuit to Block FirstEnergy $150M Nuke Payments). We also told you, in the same post, about a potential sixth person being investigated for involvement in the scandal. We have breaking news about the sixth person…
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Judge Orders Tree-Sitting Wackos to Stop Blocking MVP or $500/Day

Believe it or not, there are still two environmentalist wackos living up a tree in Montgomery County, Virginia, preventing work crews for Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from cutting trees to clear a path for the pipeline. This has been going on for years and frankly, everyone is tired of it. A county judge has found the two cowards not willing to reveal their names (known as Tree-sitter 1 and Tree-sitter 2) in contempt of court. Starting today if they don’t come down, they are both on the hook for a $500 per day fine.
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2 Defendants Plead Guilty in $60M FirstEnergy Nuclear Bribery Case

In July, now-former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four of his associates were indicted for felonies related to an alleged $60 million bribery scandal in passing the hugely unpopular House Bill 6 (see FirstEnergy Involved in Bribery Scheme to Pass $1B Nuke Bailout Law). HB 6 gives Energy Harbor, a FirstEnergy subsidiary, $150 million per year for seven years ($1.1 billion) in ratepayer funds to prop up the company’s uneconomic nuclear power plants.
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Judge Refuses to Block New FirstEnergy Bribes to Ohio Politicians

This is extremely frustrating. FirstEnergy subsidiary Energy Harbor is accused of bribing former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and several of his associates to pass (and stay passed) a $1.1 billion bailout bill that funnels electric ratepayer (i.e. taxpayer) money into the hands of FirstEnergy, to prop up two uneconomic and failing nuclear power plants (see FirstEnergy Involved in Bribery Scheme to Pass $1B Nuke Bailout Law). It’s happening all over again.
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Co. Fined $2M for Bypassing Emissions Controls on Marcellus Trucks

In September 2018, MDN brought you the news that six men had been charged with conspiring to illegally alter emissions systems on 30+ trucks with heavy-duty diesel engines, trucks used to haul water and wastewater to and from Marcellus Shale wells (see 6 Charged with Bypassing Emissions Controls on Marcellus Trucks). All six eventually pleaded guilty (see Man Pleads Guilty to Bypassing Emissions Controls on Marc. Trucks). The company involved, Rockwater, has now pleaded guilty and will pay a $2 million fine.
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Not Guilty Pleas in FirstEnergy Nuke Bailout Bribery Scandal

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

FirstEnergy Solutions (now called Energy Harbor) allegedly paid $60 million in bribes to (now former) Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four of his associates to gain their assistance in passing the hugely unpopular House Bill 6 (see FirstEnergy Involved in Bribery Scheme to Pass $1B Nuke Bailout Law). HB 6, which became law, gives Energy Harbor $1.1 billion in ratepayer funds to prop up the company’s uneconomic nuclear power plants (disadvantaging other energy sources, like gas-fired power plants). Four of the five defendants have just entered pleas–all of them “not guilty.”
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Fed Grand Jury Indicts Owner of Co. Dumping M-U Frack Waste in KY

In March 2016, MDN reported that 47 dumpsters full of concentrated frack waste from OH, PA and WV was illegally dumped in a Kentucky landfill in Estill County, KY (see Marcellus/Utica Frack Waste Illegally Dumped in Kentucky Landfill). The cuttings were buried between July and November in 2015, near as anyone can tell. Earlier this week a federal grand jury in Kentucky indicted the former owner of the company doing the dumping on five counts of mail fraud and 22 counts of violating the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
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FirstEnergy Involved in Bribery Scheme to Pass $1B Nuke Bailout Law

We told you that the law passed in Ohio (House Bill 6) granting FirstEnergy (now called Energy Harbor) $1 billion in corporate welfare from ratepayers, destroying the fair playing field for natgas-fired electric plants in the bargain, stunk to high heaven. We told you that the entire thing was corrupt (see OH Nuclear Bailout Corruption: Gas Sacrificed for Nuke Investors). We didn’t realize just how right we were! Yesterday the Republican Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder (along with several associates) was arrested on racketeering charges for taking $60 million in bribes from FirstEnergy for promoting and pushing (against the will of the people, we might add), HB 6. FirstEnergy has been served with a subpoena related to the case, although they have not (yet) been indicted. This is the largest bribery scheme in Ohio’s history!
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ME2 Pipe Inspector Admits Falsifying Welding Records 77 Times

In March a worker hired to x-ray welds on sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southwestern Pennsylvania was charged with falsifying records–that he falsely claimed to have performed work when he didn’t (see ME2 Pipeline Worker Charged with Falsifying Welding Records). Yesterday the worker, via a video hearing, plead guilty to 77 counts of falsifying documents.
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Pa. AG Forces Inflection Energy to Pay Big Green $40K re Accident

We won’t lie, this news turns us red hot with anger. The sleazy Pennsylvania Attorney General, Democrat Josh Shapiro (who wants to ingratiate himself with wacko leftists because he’s running for governor) has just forced Inflection Energy to pay $40,000 to three Big Green groups as penance for an accident that allowed frack wastewater to escape into an unnamed creek. Inflection had to cop to committing a crime and pay money to groups seeking to destroy the company. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!
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WV Outlaws Anti Protesters Who Try to Block Pipeline Construction

Last week MDN told you about a flurry of oil and gas bills passed by the West Virginia legislature signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice (see Flurry of WV O&G Bills Signed into Law Incl. Petchem Tax Credits). At the time we focused on a couple of petrochemical tax credit bills, but there’s another important bill in the batch we’d like to call your attention to today: House Bill (HB) 4615, a bill (now law) that clamps down on anti-fossil fuel protesters who like to take the law into their own hands.
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ME2 Pipeline Worker Charged with Falsifying Welding Records

A worker hired to x-ray welds on sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southwestern Pennsylvania has been charged falsifying records, indicating that he performed the work when he didn’t. That’s a felony. According to one news account the worker, from Westmoreland County, PA, is expected to plead guilty and faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The good news is that Energy Transfer, the builder, discovered the deception and immediately reported it. ET reinspected all of the welds supposedly inspected by this worker.
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PA, Feds on Witch Hunt to Make Revolution Pipe Accident a Crime

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a leftist Democrat who wants to succeed Tom Wolf as governor, likes to investigate accidents related to the shale industry to see if he can turn them into crimes (see our lengthy list of stories here). Add one more to the list: Since last year Shapiro has been investigating the Revolution Pipeline blast in western PA for potential crimes. He now has company.
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More on Natural Gas Compressor Station Shut Down by Cyber Attack

Last week MDN told you about a U.S.-based compressor station facility that had to shut down operations for two days after sustaining a cyber attack that prevented personnel from receiving crucial real-time operational data from control and communication equipment (see Natural Gas Compressor Station Shut Down by Cyber Attack). While the specific facility that sustained the attack has still not been identified, the chatter is that the episode happened in December and the facility is regulated by (under the control of?) the U.S. Coast Guard. We have a few more details about the attack…
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Chester DA Abused Power by Charging ME Pipe Guards with Crimes

The former Chester County District Attorney, Tom Hogan, is guilty of politicizing his office (we’d call it legal malpractice) by charging a couple of off-duty constables (peace officers) with a crime–just because they moonlighted by working as security guards to protect anti-pipeline nuts from hurting themselves at Mariner East 2 pipeline construction sites (see SEPA DA Charges Off-Duty Police w/Crime for Providing Pipe Security). Hogan says the off-duty officers used their official badges (and carried weapons) as they moonlighted and that constitutes a “criminal” offense. We spotted a letter-to-the-editor that exposes Hogan’s action for the political, sleazy outrage it is…
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