Proposed OH, WV Laws Clamp Down on Illegal Pipeline Protests

Bills aimed at clamping down on illegal pipeline protests (which pretending to be free speech but aren’t) have been introduced in both the Ohio and West Virginia legislatures. In WV, House Bill (HB) 4615 passed the House last week and is now under active consideration in the WV Senate. In Ohio, Senate Bill (SB) 133 was passed last May. The bill was recently reported out of a House committee and likely to see a full House vote soon. It’s obvious that regular folks are tired of radicals and their illegal attempts to block pipeline projects.
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Bottom Drops Out: Feb Natural Gas Price Lowest in 20 Years

More obsessing and hand-wringing over the low price of natural gas (we can’t help it!). Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published a post on Friday that points out the NYMEX price of natural gas has hit its lowest level for a February day in the past 20 years, closing at $1.77/MMBtu on Feb. 10 (up slightly since then). EIA also points out these are the lowest absolute prices (for any day in any month) we’ve seen in the past four years–since the price crash of 2016. Again, the price crash is happening in February! Yuck.
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When (Not ‘If’) NatGas Use in US Will End Debated at NARUC Mtg

In the space of a little over 10 years natural gas has gone from “climate hero” to “climate villain.” In no small part the change has come due to huge amounts of money spent by disgusting Big Green groups like the Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, NRDC, EDF and others. We’d guess if you were to ask most Americans, they would say fossil fuels (like natural gas) will be replaced “soon” by electricity–not knowing natgas is the single largest source of generating electricity! At the Winter Policy Summit of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) last week, a standing-room-only crowd filled a session moderated by former FERC Commissioner Cherly LaFleur on the topic of how soon the electric sector (along with other sectors) will “wean off gas” here in the United States.
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Jail Time 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 plead guilty (see Man Pleads Guilty to Bypassing Emissions Controls on Marc. Trucks). The wheels of justice grind sloooooowly. The first of the six to receive his sentence happened on Wednesday.
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PA DEP Releases Proposed Plan to Join RGGI Carbon Tax Scheme

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a draft of its proposed rules for PA’s participation in what is called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It’s a tax on carbon aimed at coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants, with an eye to driving them out of business. PA Gov. Tom Wolf is attempting to force PA to participate in RGGI, a collection of blue northeastern states (New England, NY and NJ) in an attempt to bolster his credibility with environmentalist wackos–to ingratiate himself with the wackos so he is more appealing as a Vice Presidential candidate.
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Will a Brooklyn, NY Mob Stop Completion of National Grid Pipeline?

Mob rule is the opposite of the rule of law. Mob rule is what’s being advocated under the guise of “protest” in Brooklyn, NY where a mob of anti-fossil fuelers are attempting to block the final few feet of construction for a 6.8-mile natural gas pipeline stretching from Brownsville to North Brooklyn. Utility company National Grid, responsible for flowing more natural gas to *meet demand* (and not run out) is working to complete a new gas main pipeline–and a mob in Greenpoint is hell-bent on stopping it. Why? Because they believe in “global warming” and have an irrational hatred of fossil fuels, including natural gas.
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Gov’t Study Finds Marcellus Drilling Does NOT Affect PA Streams

A brand new study (full copy below) published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) looked at 25 small watersheds over the course of 2 years in northeastern Pennsylvania, looking for any possible correlation between fracking and local streams. Know what they found? There is NO impact from fracking on local streams. NONE. Those who worked on the study include researchers from the US Geological Survey, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
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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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MVP Update: USFWS Needs More Time; Antis Pester DEQ

Last Friday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFSW) filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for an extra 45 days to revise an Endangered Species Act (ESA) review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. Also from last week: anti-fossil fuelers (Big Green groups) virulently opposed to MVP (which is 90% built) continued to hound the project by pestering the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over minor violations the DEQ found in construction activities from September to December. Big Green wants to know what the DEQ is going to “do” about the violations.
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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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Time to Finish Mariner East 2 Pipeline Says SEPA Former Senator

In January the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally, after more than a year, agreed to lift a moratorium on new construction work for several Energy Transfer pipeline projects in the state, including the Mariner East 2 and 2X projects (see PA DEP Clears Way for ET to Complete Mariner East Pipelines). A few weeks later the DEP assessed a $1.95 million fine on the Mariner East 2 project (see PA DEP Slaps Energy Transfer Again – $2M Fine re Mariner East 2). Fine paid, permission granted…At least ET can restart work on ME2 now, right? Wrong.
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Anti-Fossil Fuel Judge Sells Philly Refinery to Chicago Developer

The fix is in. A bankruptcy judge in Delaware yesterday announced he is awarding the sale of the closed Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery to a Chicago developer that has plans to demolish the East Coast’s largest and oldest refinery–and replace it with big, smelly, noisy warehouses with trucks coming and going day and night. The judge’s remarks are telling, citing as one of his main reasons for dumping the refinery is the facility’s “numerous and repeated problems.”
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Explainer Video – The Case Against PA Joining Northeast RGGI

Our friend Mark Mathis from the Clear Energy Alliance has just hit another home run with his newest video explaining the battle in Pennsylvania to try and force the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). PA Gov. Tom Wolf, in a naked power-grab, intends to force PA to join RGGI, a group of northeastern states attempting to assassinate coal and gas-fired power generation by taxing it to death with an insane carbon tax (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). Mark explains it all in this short, 4-minute video…
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OH Supreme Court Rules REX Pipe Owes $2M in Excise Tax

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Ohio tax commissioner correctly charged Tallgrass Energy’s Rockie Express (REX) pipeline $2 million in excise tax (based on $699 million of income), for gas transported from and to (within) Ohio. REX claimed it did not owe the tax because the same law that exempts gas transported out of state applies to gas sales in-state. But the tax commission, and now the Supremes, say that the portion of gas transported through REX that stays in Ohio is not exempt and can be taxed. So pay up.
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Milford, CT Approves Iroquois Cooling Upgrade at Compressor Stn

Last week MDN told you that because of Andrew Cuomo’s blockade of new pipelines from Pennsylvania, the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline which crosses the state continues to import much of the gas flowing through it from Canada (see Due to Cuomo Pipeline Ban, Iroquois Imports Canadian Gas for NY). We spotted another article about Iroquois that caught our attention. The Milford, Connecticut Planning and Zoning Board has unanimously approved a plan by Iroquois to upgrade the Milford compressor station with a new cooling system. Who knew *any* New England municipality would allow *any* new “fossil fuel” work to get done?!
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