Empty Victory for Antis: PA PUC Blocks ME2 Valve Stn in W Goshen

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) blocked Sunoco Logistics Partners from building a valve station for the Mariner East 2 (ME2) project in West Goshen Township, Chester County where it wanted to build it. The PUC voted to accept a “Recommended Decision” issued by Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes that blocks construction of the valve station. Barnes has a history of ruling against ME2 going all the way back to 2014. Fortunately, most of her rulings have been overturned by the PUC. In this case it was not. But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because Sunoco said last December they’ve changed their plans and won’t build the valve station in West Goshen at all (see PA PUC Votes to Let ME2 Pipe Restart Construction in West Goshen). As a way of attempting to block the pipeline through their community, West Goshen objected to Sunoco building a new valve station for ME2 across the street from a valve station for Mariner East 1. West Goshen wanted the valve station built next to the existing ME1 valve station, but Sunoco wanted to build the new station across the street, citing safety concerns. West Goshen appealed to the state Public Utility Commission (PUC). In July 2017, Judge Barnes agreed with West Goshen (no surprise there), stopping not only construction of the valve station, but also construction of the ME2 pipeline itself through the township. The portion of the decision blocking pipeline construction was overturned. In December 2017, Sunoco gave up the fight to build the West Goshen valve station, period. Of course the antis who run West Goshen like a private fiefdom still objected! They said Sunoco hasn’t said what the alternative to building the valve station (a safety feature) would be. Hey, West Goshen’s “leaders” were the ones who didn’t want the valve station in the first place. West Goshen’s “leaders” are the ones who have made the pipeline through their community “less safe” because they didn’t want the valve station. Now they get to live with their actions. So reading that the PUC has, nine months later, ratified Barnes’ decision to block the valve station is somewhat strange. There’s no “there” there anymore. Sunoco dropped the valve station plan long ago. We hope West Goshen antis enjoy their empty victory…
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NEXUS Pipeline Asks FERC for Sept 28 Startup to Flow 967 MMcf/d

At the end of July NEXUS Pipeline was 80% complete and made big boasts that it would be ready to flow during the third quarter of this year (see NEXUS Pipeline Update – Now 80% Complete, on Schedule for 3Q18). By golly, they are true to their word. Earlier this week NEXUS told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) they are ready to go, and asked permission to begin service by September 28, flowing 967 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) along the pipeline that will eventually carry 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). The NEXUS Pipeline project is owned by DTE Energy and Spectra Energy (Enbridge). It is a $2 billion, 258-mile interstate pipeline that runs from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio across Ohio to an interconnection with DTE Gas in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Eventually, via the Vector Pipeline, gas from NEXUS will flow to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. Radical environmental groups fought the project tooth and nail. CORN (Coalition to ReRoute Nexus), and the far-left Sierra Club, launched multiple lawsuits and regulatory actions against the pipeline. We’re happy to report they lost. And now NEXUS is ready to flow…
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Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Now Ready to Open Valves and Let it Flow

It’s been a years-long wait, but the week/day/minute Atlantic Sunrise will open the valves and begin to flow natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania is finally here! Yesterday Williams, the company building the 200-mile greenfield pipeline in northeastern and southeastern PA, filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to open up the valves and let it flow. No response yet, but we expect within a day or two FERC will give the high-five to Williams. It’s been a loooong time in coming–overcoming multiple lawsuits by radical leftists who pretend to care about the environment. The startup date was delayed from August to the week of Sept. 10 (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Slightly Delayed, Ready by Sept 10), and then delayed again to the week of Sept. 17 (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Delayed Another Week, Now Sept 17). It’s now the week of Sept. 17. and Williams told FERC in a letter yesterday (copy below) that the project is “mechanically complete” and ready. And as soon as FERC gives the OK, Williams will turn the valves and let it flow…
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Victory! FERC Lifts Stop Work Order for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Once again, the forces of good have overcome the forces of evil–evil being the Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and their mission to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from getting built. Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) lifted a previously issued stop-work order that had idled work along the entire 600+ mile ACP. The stop-work order came in early August after a federal court pulled permits for approximately 100 miles of ACP in response to a lawsuit filed by the anti-American Sierra Club and a few other groups, including the SELC (see Federal Court Stops Works on Some (All?) of Atlantic Coast Pipe). The Clubbers and their cohorts convinced the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn permits granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Park Service, granted to ACP to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway. The court, in rolling back ACP’s permits, told FERC they should shut down work on the entire project until this matter is resolved. A few days later, on August 10, FERC did just that (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline). Work has now been stopped for over a month, but yesterday FERC reversed its decision and told ACP they can resume work because last week both the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service revised and reissued the permits previously overturned by the court. Therefore, we’re all good now. Dominion (the builder) said construction will resume “immediately,” weather permitting…
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Is Certification Needed for Shale Producers? IES Says it Helps

Last week MDN told you that Southwestern Energy is participating in a program to get their gas “certified” (see Southwestern Sells 1st Certified “Responsible Gas” to NJ Resources). What is certified gas? Is that like “certified organic” fruits and vegetables? Actually, it is kind of like that. The Independent Energy Standards Corporation (IES) has launched what they call their TrustWell™ Responsible Gas Program certification program to certify that natural gas bearing that label is “responsibly developed.” Such a designation is meant to imply the company doing the extracting (Southwestern in this case) has followed certain guidelines and procedures to safeguard the environment. Certification is a marketing/public relations tactic to be sure. The question is, is it worth it? How much does it cost to become certified? What do you have to do to become certified? And ultimately, will such certification actually help you sell more of your gas? One thing is for certain, nutty antis won’t care–so if you’re trying to appease them with certification, you can forget it. Won’t work. But, there are others (more reasonable people) who may put stock in such a certification. Is it a trend? The next “big thing?” We don’t know. What we do know (or have) is an interview with Jory Caulkins, CEO of IES, talking about his organization’s new certification and what it can mean for drillers…
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7 Green Groups Attack Shell Ethane Pipeline “Exemptions”

Seven radical green groups–Sierra Club, Clean Air Council (CAC), FracTracker Alliance, Earthworks, PennFuture, Breathe Project, Environmental Integrity Project–sent a protest letter last week to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection objecting to a request by Shell that its 97-mile Falcon Ethane Pipeline be granted certain air permit exemptions. Shell is asking the DEP to determine whether or not (hopefully not) any emissions coming from the pipeline would be “minor sources,” exempting the pipeline from certain permits. The rads are telling the DEP to deny that request, in an attempt to slow or even stop the project. With no ethane, Shell’s $6 billion cracker plant, currently under construction, can’t begin operation. Will the DEP do the right thing and ignore these nutters?…
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PA Harms Drillers, Pipelines with Over-Strict Methane Rules

Fugitive Methane

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Administration fiddled with regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from drilling and pipelines for years. The regulations are known as General Permit 5 (GP-5) and General Permit 5A (GP-5A). GP-5 applies to pipelines and compressor stations, while GP-5A applies to well pads and drilling. The new regs went into effect in August–but only for new, not existing sources of methane emissions. Have no fear, Wolf has a plan to apply the same onerous regulations to existing sources starting next year (see Other Shoe Drops: PA Methane Emissions Regs for Existing Sources). Here’s the thing, PA’s standards are worse (far tighter) than federal regulations from the Obama EPA. Earlier this week the Trump Administration proposed to right-size the Obama EPA’s overly-harsh methane regulations for oil and gas (see Trump EPA Releases Less Onerous Methane Regs for Oil & Gas). Yet Pennsylvania refuses to follow suit and relax their new, over-the-top regulations. Which means they are intentionally harming the shale industry in PA, putting it at a disadvantage to the shale industry in other states by making it harder (and much more costly) to do business in PA…
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17 Governors Disadvantage Their States to Appease Global Warmists

While we’re not a climate science web site, this misguided notion that mankind is causing the earth to catastrophically warm up is at the heart of irrational fossil fuel hatred–and motivates otherwise smart people into becoming bumbling fools, willing to do extraordinarily stupid things. Take, for example, the governors of 17 states–14 Democrats and three Democrat-lites (RINOs)–who recently signed a declaration to severely disadvantage their own states with so-called environmental measures that will supposedly save Mom Earth (and defeat Donald Trump, of course). These are all people who have drunk deeply from the Obama Kool Aid. Trump can’t do a single, solitary thing to revise, change, tweak or relax the massive over-regulation done by Obama, or “It’s the end of the world. We’re killing mankind. It’s an emergency. We must save the world from The Donald.” It’s freaking bizarre to watch. These states, already on the decline, will further decline economically while watching their neighbors do better. These states, all 17 of them, are being disadvantaged by the actions of their chief executives. We have the list below…
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Revolution Pipeline Explosion in W PA – What We Know So Far

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is taking the lead in investigating the Energy Transfer Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire that happened in Beaver County early Monday morning (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). The PUC issued an update yesterday outlining what they know so far about the incident. PUC Chairman Gladys Brown cautioned that it’s still too early to draw any conclusions, although the working theory is that there was a landslide in the area due to continuous heavy rain for weeks. Brown said the engineers and investigators need time to investigate. No instant answers. Continuing bad weather in the area has hindered the investigation. PUC pipeline safety engineers have, however, confirmed a few facts about the incident…
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Bumbling DRBC Doesn’t Know Who to Contact at FERC to Block PennEast

Talk about a dysfunctional mess…The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a governmental organization remote-controlled by Big Green special interests, doesn’t even know how to communicate with another governmental organization–the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Earlier this year, at the prompting of radical groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, DRBC sent a request to FERC asking the agency to block any tree felling ahead of a final approval by DRBC for the PennEast Pipeline–even though FERC and NOT the DRBC is the authorizing agency for PennEast. FERC doesn’t have to wait for anybody for any of its decisions. Regardless, FERC does listen, especially to fellow governmental organizations. FERC gets a LOT of mail, email, etc. from complainers like the DRBC, so they have strict protocols in place for how other agencies and parties talk to it. DRBC should have sent their request to FERC Secretary Kimberly Bose (she’s held that position and has been the point person since 2007), but DRBC didn’t follow protocol. Instead, they just fired off their huffy demand to someone else in a different department, so their huffy demand never got considered. Totally blown off. Funny! And now DRBC is scrambling, attempting to cover up the fact they’re so dysfunctional they don’t their know their heads from their…we’ll just leave it at that…
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Trump EPA Releases Less Onerous Methane Regs for Oil & Gas

Barack Hussein Obama’s EPA wildly over-regulated during his tenure in office. They hurried to enact egregious standards for many things, but focused primarily on punishing fossil fuels. One of the obscene regulations they enacted was to limit methane emissions in oil and gas operations on the theory that methane is causing catastrophic man-made global warming (don’t get us started on that particular fairy tale). Look, the oil and gas industry sells methane, so it’s in their best interest to capture every last molecule they can capture in order to make a profit. But at a certain point it becomes uneconomical to try and capture a few stray molecules of methane here and there. Not for Big Green and its acolytes in the Obama operation. Their real mission is not to stop so-called fugitive methane, but to put the oil and gas (and coal) industries out of business by making it uneconomic. Using obscene regulations is their preferred method. With Donald Trump in office, the EPA is beginning to correct some of the wild over-regulating that happened under Obama, including methane regulations. Earlier this week the EPA floated tweaks to methane emissions regs, and the Obamadroids are screaming like babies who have soiled themselves. Yes, according to antis, Donald Trump is an ax murderer and relaxing an Obama over-regulation on methane, even slightly, will kill the entire planet…
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Williams Donates $100,000 to Cuomo/Democrats? Say It Ain’t So!

It’s just coming to light (for us anyway) that earlier this year Williams donated $100,000 to the Democratic Governors Association–a group that is devoted to electing more Democrats as governors, and a group that heavily supports Andrew Cuomo in his reelection bid here in the Empire State. Shame on Williams. Are they insane? Cuomo, who is CORRUPT, has blocked Williams project after Williams project in New York. But apparently he has not blocked all Williams projects. Less than three months after the Williams “donation,” the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which ONLY does the bidding of Cuomo, denied “without prejudice” a water quality permit for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, allowing Williams to submit a new application (i.e. keeping it alive). Oh, and Cuomo hired the lobbyist who was working on that same pipeline project…to run his reelection campaign. Sniff sniff. Do you smell something? We’re not accusing anybody of anything–least of all Williams, which has to do what they have to do in a state that’s run like a third world dictatorship. However, you have to admit the situation raises questions. And we still can’t get over the fact that Williams donated a hundred grand to the other side. That boggles the mind…
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FERC Delays Enviro Review of Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just slowed the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project. In March 2017, Williams filed a full, official application for NESE (see Williams Files with FERC to Expand Transco Pipeline to NYC, NE). The project will increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets. In particular, Transco wants to provide more Marcellus natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There are a number of components to the project, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco offshore. Much of the Raritan Bay pipeline is located in New York territorial waters, meaning the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which is controlled by anti-everything Andrew Cuomo, must sign off. So far the DEC has issued two “application incomplete” notices to Williams, the most recent in July (see NY DEC Tells Williams NE Supply Water Permit App is “Incomplete”). Which is not a bad thing as it keeps the project alive, allowing Williams to resubmit the application again. In other words, although the project is delayed because of NY, it’s not dead like some of the other Williams projects in NY. FERC issued a favorable draft environment impact statement (DEIS) in March of this year (see Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipe Gets Favorable DEIS). FERC was due to issue the final environmental impact statement this month, on Sept. 17, but last week FERC told Williams they’re delaying. Now the final EIS is due by Jan. 25, 2019. Is this bad news for the project?…
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Cracker Boost: FERC Approves Shell Falcon Ethane Pipeline Rates

Getting permission to build a new pipeline from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is one thing. An important thing. But beyond permission to build, you also need permission to charge a particular rate for those using the pipeline. Shell is currently building a $6 billion ethane cracker in Monaca, PA, near Pittsburgh, to chemically “crack” ethane from shale wells into ethylene–the raw building material of plastics. Shell is also building a 97-mile, two-legged pipeline system called the Falcon Ethane Pipeline (see Exclusive: Shell Leasing Land for 2 Pipelines to PA Cracker Plant). Shell ran an “open season” to lock up shippers–drillers who will provide ethane to the plant via the pipeline–in October 2016 (see Shell Launches Open Season for PA-WV-OH Falcon Ethane Pipeline). The open season worked. Of course it worked! Shell wouldn’t be spending $6 billion to build a plant that can’t get cheap ethane to it!! However, the whole project took another (important) step forward last week when FERC approved the rate structures for using the Falcon Pipeline…
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PA Court Upholds $1.1M Fine on EQT re Wastewater Impoundment

Yesterday Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court upheld a PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fine levied on EQT for $1.1 million related to a leaky wastewater impoundment in 2012. The case dates back to 2014 when the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) slapped EQT with a $4.53 million fine for a leaky wastewater impoundment in Tioga County, something that happened two years earlier (see PA DEP Levies Biggest Fine Ever, $4.5M Against EQT). EQT never said there wasn’t a problem with leaks at the site, but they did say the way the DEP calculated the fine was unreasonable and arbitrary. EQT appealed the fine and the case all the way to the PA Supreme Court, and in April of this year, the Supremes ruled in favor of EQT, saying that the DEP’s levied fine was excessive and that the DEP misinterpreted language in the 1937 Clean Streams Law (see PA Supreme Court Axes DEP $4.5M Fine in EQT Tioga Wastewater Leak). We thought that was the end of the case. But it wasn’t. The Supremes ruled on “water to water” contamination in the case, but not on “ground to water” contamination. PA law allows for companies to be on the hook for each day a contaminant enters the water table. In May the court heard oral arguments over how to prove whether contaminants in the soil have moved into groundwater (see EQT Continues to Fight PA DEP Fine re Wastewater Impoundment). What lawyers argued was whether or not, and how, the DEP can prove contaminants in the ground, there because of EQT’s leak, can be proven to have leached into the water on any given day. DEP claimed to have a formula and calculated a revised $1.1 million fine based on assumptions about how many days the contaminants leaked out of the ground. Yesterday, Commonwealth Court agreed with DEP and upheld the fine…
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Center for Responsible Shale Development has NOT Folded Its Tent

Correction: MDN received the following statement on 9/11/18 from CRSD board member Chevron Appalachia to let us know that the organization is still alive and exploring a path forward for the future: “CRSD remains focused on its core mission of collaborating with a diverse group of stakeholders to drive continuous environmental performance improvement in shale gas operations throughout the Appalachian Basin. As was announced in a statement earlier this year, CRSD retained the services of the Meridian Institute to help it develop a long-range strategic plan that would enable the organization to build on the successes achieved in its first five years. The Board of CRSD is continuing its work with Meridian to finalize its long-term plan and will have more to announce once that effort is complete.” – Trip Oliver, Chevron Appalachia

It appears that the Center for Responsible Shale Development (CRSD) is, for all intents and purposes, no more. CRSD began life as the CSSD, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, back in March 2013 (see Important: Drillers & Enviros Form New Group, Launch Cert Program). The original CSSD was a closely guarded secret until it was unveiled. The organization was the creation of a few hand-picked people from both industry and the environmental movement working together to see if there is any common ground on which both sides can agree that shale development would be safe, sustainable AND affordable. The members worked hard for over a year and finally hammered out a set of 15 standards that if a driller (or midstream company or contractor) would meet, they would get a stamp of approval from both the industry and environmental groups as being a good goobie–a safe and “responsible” driller. We were somewhat skeptical from the start, but later relaxed our skepticism. One of the participants helping to birth the group was Bobby Vagt, at that time president of the Heniz Endowments. Because of his involvement, Mamma Teresa Heinz Kerry fired him (see Bobby Vagt Out as Pres of Heinz Endowments – Fracking Connection?). There’s zero tolerance for reaching across the isle for Big Green radicals like Mamma Teresa. Other enviros who dared to participate were blackballed by the radical environmental movement. The CSSD soldiered on, despite several enviros leaving the fold, and awarded its first-ever certification in September 2014 to Chevron (see CSSD Bestows First Certification for Sustainable Drilling: Chevron). In the end, another three companies sought and received certification: Shell, CONSOL Energy (now CNX Resources) and EQT. It looks like you can’t fund a certification program with just four applicants. In April of this year, the renamed CRSD lost its executive director, Susan LeGros. The CRSD website has since removed the staff page and according to an industry source, the organization has folded its tent and is no longer in operation. Which we think is a shame…
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