Atlantic Coast Pipeline had Very Good Day in US Supreme Court

Yesterday the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) had its day in U.S. Supreme Court–and by all appearances, it was a very good day indeed. The right of the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail is the issue under consideration. In a case brought by environmentalist wackos, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled a permit granted by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is invalid because the U.S. Park Service manages the trail and according to law, USFS does not have jurisdiction over “lands” owned/managed by the Park Service. In practice such a ruling, if upheld, creates a thousand-mile long barrier across which no pipeline can cross. All of the articles we read about yesterday’s oral arguments before the Supremes indicate a likely decision in favor of the pipeline and against the wackos.
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Atlantic Coast Pipe Oral Arguments Today in U.S. Supreme Court

Oral arguments will be heard this morning beginning at 10 am at the U.S. Supreme Court on a case to decide whether or not the Appalachian Trail will, from now on, block all future pipelines from being installed under it. The case, U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, will determine whether or not Big Green wins the right to block Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project from crossing under the Appalachian Trail.
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PA Court Turns Down Chester Co. Request to Block ME Construction

Score another victory for the Mariner East Pipeline project in southeast Pennsylvania. On Tuesday Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled against Chester County Commissioners and their attempt to obtain an injunction to stop construction of the Mariner East pipeline project. The petition fought to curtail open trench construction rather than horizontal directional drilling on two easements the county gave to the pipeline. Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics wants to change from using underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to instead use conventional bore or open trench technology on those easements, which would avoid more problems with HDD already experienced during construction.
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FERC Defends Pipeline Tolling Orders, Pledges to Use Less Often

Big Green continues its fight to strip away the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) right to use tolling orders when considering requests to “rehear” decisions to approve pipelines (see PA Big Green Supports Lawsuit to Gut FERC re Pipe Approvals). In an update on a court case Big Green is using to challenge FERC, a case involving Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (in the PA Marcellus), FERC has told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that (a) it properly used a tolling order in the case of Atlantic Sunrise, but (b) it promises not to use them so much in the future. Big Green is not, of course, is not happy (they never are).
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Fed Court Nixes Landowner Compensation Claims re UGI PA Pipeline

UGI Corp. has just won a case on appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that overturns an order by a lower court ordering UGI to pay more than $380,000 combined to two sets of property owners for taking their land as part of the Sunbury Pipeline in Snyder County, PA. The landowners who sued used a so-called expert whose testimony was, according to the judges, “speculation and conjecture” and “not good science.” Therefore the lower court award was overturned.

2/14/20 Update: We spotted a second article that does a good job of reviewing this case and the rebuke the Third Circuit handed a lower court judge. Click to read it below.
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Snyder Bros Off the Hook for Penalties & Interest re Strippers

In December 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that so-called “stripper wells” (low-producing wells) can be taxed under the 2012 Act 13 law, slapped with an impact tax assessment if those wells produce more than 90 thousand cubic feet per day (Mcf/d) of gas in a single month, any month (see PA Supreme Court Rules Strippers Not Exempt from Impact Fee). Snyder Brothers, the driller whose stripper wells were the target of the lawsuit, asked the Supremes to reconsider their decision. They did, kicking elements of the case down to a lower court (Commonwealth Court). Synder still owes the impact tax, that’s not in question. But Snyder argued they shouldn’t also have to pay interest and late-payment penalties just because they challenged the original assessment.
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Range Fights DEP Order to Fix Methane Problem They Didn’t Cause

A longtime dispute between the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Range Resources reemerged in January when the DEP ordered Range to fix a well in Lycoming County the DEP alleges is leaking methane into the surrounding ground and water supplies. The DEP says faulty cement casing allows methane to leak. Range maintains the methane was already in the ground/water supply long before it drilled the well. Range is appealing the DEP’s order to “fix it” to a special environmental court.
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Legal Effort to Overturn FirstEnergy $1B Ohio Nuke Bailout Dead

The Ohio Supreme Court, on Christmas Eve, threw a lifeline to an effort to overturn an Ohio law that provides corporate welfare in the form of $1 billion of ratepayer (taxpayer) money to FirstEnergy, which recently changed its name to Energy Harbor (see OH Supreme Court Keeps Door Open to Reverse $1B Nuke Bailout). Last week the Supremes snatched the lifeline away and the current effort to block the $1 billion bailout is officially dead.
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CNX Files Lawsuit Against Builder of SWPA Compressor Station

CNX Resources is in a spat with Applied Construction Solutions over the construction of a compressor station Applied built for CNX. The spat is about money. CNX says it signed a contract to have its Morris Compressor Station built for $12.4 million. After several renegotiations (change orders) the price was adjusted to $15.2 million. But when CNX got a final bill for $19 million, they balked.
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Township, Big Green Groups Appeal Adelphia Pipe Compressor Permit

West Rockhill Township in Bucks County, PA (near Philadelphia) waged a legal battle to prevent a natural gas compressor station from being built as part of the Adelphia Gateway project, a plan to convert an old oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook. West Rockhill appealed a decision by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) authorizing construction of the compressor station to a special court called the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). Last October the EHB ruled against West Rockhill (see Township Loses Appeal to Block Adelphia Gateway Compressor Stn). The town, along with help from its Big Green friends, is making one last “Hail Mary” attempt to block the compressor.
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FERC Delays Action on PennEast Pipe Eminent Domain Ruling

There have been a number of twists and turns for the PennEast Pipeline project, a $1.2 billion new greenfield pipeline project from Luzerne County, PA to Mercer County, NJ. The project has not yet moved one shovel of dirt due to ongoing delays from lawsuits by (disgusting) Big Green groups and their colluders, mainly the Democrats who now run the state of New Jersey. Here’s one more twist–the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delayed weighing in on a request by PennEast for help regarding clarification on the use of eminent domain.
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HUGE NEWS: PA Supreme Court Keeps ‘Rule of Capture’ for Fracking

There is one court case in Pennsylvania that we’ve been concerned about since April 2018. The Briggs v Southwestern Energy case had the power to block most new Marcellus Shale drilling in the state. The case, revolving around the oil and gas “rule of capture” principle, was appealed by Southwestern all the way to the PA Supreme Court. We are elated to report that yesterday the Supremes ruled supreme and found in favor of Southwestern–retaining the rule of capture in the Keystone State. This is seriously good news for both drillers and leased landowners. Below we explain what the rule of capture is, the background of the case, and what the Supremes said in yesterday’s important ruling.
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PA AG Josh Shapiro Bashes Marcellus with Anti-Pipe Lawsuit Support

PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is no friend of the Marcellus industry, and frankly, he’s no friend to PA landowners either. At every turn, Shapiro investigates and attempts to block the Marcellus industry in the state. The latest evidence: Shapiro has used the full weight of the entire state in signing on to an amicus (friend of the court) brief in a federal court case that challenges the approval of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline–a Williams PA pipeline that’s been in the ground and operating since 2018.
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PA Big Green Supports Lawsuit to Gut FERC re Pipe Approvals

The sleaziest of Pennsylvania’s Big Green groups–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and PennFuture–have filed a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief in a federal lawsuit hoping they can help gut the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by denying FERC the only way the agency has of combating these sleazy groups–something called a tolling order.
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