FERC Tells Antis “No” for Rehearing Potomac Pipe Decision

Anti-fossil fuelers are on a holy mission to stop a 3.37-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline, from Maryland on one side of the river to West Virginia on the other side, will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project in July 2018. In August 2018 a group of radicalized anti-fossil fuelers filed a request for a “rehearing” (reconsideration of the decision)–the first step on the way to filing a court case against the project. FERC took its sweet time, but last week the agency finally turned down the antis’ request for a rehearing.
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PA Gov Wolf Vetoes Jobs-Creating Petchem Bill – Blames COVID-19

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was less than honest when he vetoed House Bill (HB) 1100–a bill that would generate thousands of new jobs and cause money to pour into the PA economy by granting tax breaks (for a limited time) to companies willing to build *brand new* petrochemical plants ($450 million minimum investment) that use natural gas as the feedstock. In vetoing the bill on Friday, Wolf more or less blamed the coronavirus–even though he had promised to veto this bill in February, a month before the pandemic began in U.S. (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA)!
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Flurry of WV O&G Bills Signed into Law Incl. Petchem Tax Credits

MDN previously told you about two (of a number) of bills working their way through West Virginia’s annual 60-day legislative session that will create new tax credits aimed at luring petrochemical plants to the state (see WV Advances Bills to Attract NGL Hub, Cracker Plant, Downstream). One bill, House Bill (HB) 4421, is meant to attract a natural gas storage hub and an ethane cracker plant to the state. The other, HB 4019, is meant to attract downstream natural gas manufacturing facilities. We’re delighted to tell you that both bills are now law in the Mountain State, part of a package of 13 bills related to oil and gas that Gov. Justice signed into law on Wednesday.
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FERC Denies Rehearing on Mountaineer XPress 2 Yrs After Approval

The final bits of Columbia Gas Transmission’s Mountaineer XPress pipeline project (most of it located in West Virginia) went online just over one year ago (see FERC Says Rest of Mountaineer XPress Pipeline OK to Start Up). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project more than two years ago. At the time FERC approved the project, anti-fossil fuelers challenged the approval, as they do every single square inch of every single new oil or gas pipeline. We have to chuckle because FERC finally responded to antis’ request for a “rehearing”…on Wednesday. FERC turned them down more than two years after their objection was lodged.
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Marcellus Shale Coalition Comes Out Against Oil Tariffs

We’ve brought you several stories about the Saudi-Russian oil price war underway in which both Saudi Arabia and the Russians are pumping oil like crazy and lowering the price they charge for their oil–all in a bid to bankrupt American shale oil companies. A number of ideas have been floated to “encourage” the Saudis to scale back on production, which would raise prices again (the Russians are a lost cause and not worth the effort). We’ve talked about an embargo on foreign oil coming into the country (see U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer Asks Trump to Embargo Saudi/Russian Oil), and our preferred response, a tariff on foreign oil (see It’s Time for a $40/Barrel Tariff on Saudi Oil Coming into U.S.). Not everyone thinks an embargo or tariff is a good idea, including the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC).
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PA DEP Caves to Radicals, Revokes PGE Injection Well Permit

This is truly disappointing. A few weeks ago we told you that Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled a long-running lawsuit involving Grant Township (Indiana County, PA) will continue on through the court system (see Grant Lawsuit Using ERA Threatens PA Injection Wells & Fracking). Grant, a town that passed an ordinance cooked up by the extreme radical Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to try and block a state-approved injection well, is attempting to use the state’s so-called Environmental Rights Act to justify its illegal ordinance. The court gave its blessing to that effort. And because the court is sending the signal it’s OK to invoke the ERA to justify just about anything, the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now going along by revoking a permit issued to Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) to build an injection well in Grant.
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Some, Not All M-U Pipeline Projects, Affected by COVID-19 Virus

We’ve been following the story of whether or not work on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project in Pennsylvania can continue during the current lockdown and order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf to cease all “non-life-sustaining” activity, including construction work on pipelines not yet in service (see Some Mariner East 2 Construction Resumes During Lockdown). Is you is or is you ain’t still building it? It seems *some* ME2 work continues–work to tidy up existing construction sites. However, there are other new pipeline construction projects that serve the Marcellus/Utica being built–both in PA and elsewhere. What about those projects? Are they all shut down? As it turns out, the answer is NO. Some pipeline project work continues even during the coronavirus crisis. Here’s a rundown…
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Green Graft: Dems Block COVID-19 Relief to Push Enviro Programs

Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are the lowest of the lowest. They are blocking COVID-19 aid to suffering American people and businesses, holding the aid package hostage, in a bid to play to their radicalized political base. They are holding up an aid deal in order to, among other things, fund Big Green projects. Green lard. Graft. Corporate welfare that decimates fossil fuels and favors so-called renewables. “Democrats won’t let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the Green New Deal,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a floor speech yesterday. This is tragic. This is despicable. This is UNFORGIVABLE.
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API Asks Trump to Cut Gov’t Red Tape During COVID-19 Crisis

The American Petroleum Institute (API) wrote a letter to both President Trump and the federal Environmental Protection Agency last Friday asking for “non-essential compliance obligations” to be temporarily waived. Such obligations include “record-keeping, training and other non-safety requirements.” The oil and gas industry wants to be able to better and more quickly distribute fuel during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis–using fewer people to do so. Government red tape is enormous. API is simply asking the government to cut some of that red tape on a temporary (not permanent) basis to get the job done during this crisis.
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Rollback of Obama EPA Overregulation in Trouble from COVID-19

Before Lord Obama and the EPA Obamadroids left office, they inflicted a great deal of damage to this country via onerous and outrageous new regulations. When President Trump took office, he immediately began to roll back and rightsize regulations at the EPA (and elsewhere), scaling back overregulation to common-sense regulation. We’re talking about regs like the horrible so-called Clean Power Plan. The Obamadroids and Big Green lobby (one and the same, with gobs of money) have litigated Trump’s efforts to restore sanity to EPA regulations every square centimeter of the way.
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Is ME2 Pipe Construction Stopped Following Wolf COVID-19 Order?

Yesterday Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive edict that all “Non-Life-Sustaining Businesses” will close as of 8 pm last night. Notwithstanding the sleazy attempt by State Sen. Andy Dinniman to shut down construction of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project by using the virus as an excuse (see today’s companion story), there appears to be some confusion as to whether or not ME2 construction is subject to Wolf’s edict to stop construction. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) refuses to tell ME2 to stop building. However, in Wolf’s list of what is “life-sustaining” and what isn’t, all construction, including “Utility Subsection Construction” is in the stop-work category. Is ME2 or isn’t it still actively under construction at this point?
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U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer Asks Trump to Embargo Saudi/Russian Oil

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican from North Dakota, sent President Trump a letter on Wednesday asking the President to take “immediate action” in slapping an embargo on crude oil imported from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC countries. In 2018 (most recent stats) the U.S. imported nearly 1.5 million barrels per day of oil from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Cramer wants the spigot turned off from those countries in order to give our own companies the opportunity to supply oil to ourselves. We personally love the idea–but there are others (whom we respect) who strongly disagree with an embargo or any kind of governmental interference in the free market.
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PA DEP Issues Adelphia Gateway Pipe 401 Water Certificate

Adelphia Gateway is a plan to convert an old/existing 84-mile oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook, into a natural gas pipeline–flowing Marcellus gas to southeast PA. Roughly half of the pipeline was previously converted and already flows natgas. In December the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued final approval for the project (see FERC Issues Final OK for Southeast PA Adelphia Gateway Pipeline). In March 2019 Adelphia filed a request with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection for a federal Clean Water Act 401 permit to cross streams and wetlands. The DEP finally issued the 401 permit this past week.
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Ohio Cancels Forced Pooling Hearings Due to COVID-19 Virus

In Ohio forced pooling is called “unitization.” When a landowner/leaseholder owns 65% of the mineral rights under property in a given location and wants to pool other neighboring properties into an oil or gas drilling unit, that landowner/leaseholder files a request with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. The Division head then schedules a hearing to consider the request. All such hearings scheduled for this week are now canceled and will be rescheduled. Furthermore, the Division will only be able to accept new unitization requests on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they will only return phone calls about unitization on Fridays. All due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
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PA DEP Schedules 3 Hearings on Permit Changes for ME2 Pipe

NOTE: These hearings have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Although the public hearings are canceled, individuals are still encouraged to submit comments about the proposed permit modifications and air plan approvals, as comments submitted for the record to DEP carry equal weight to those delivered in-person. Comments must be received by May 8, 2020, at 11:59 PM. Written comments should be mailed to the Waterways and Wetlands Program, 2 E. Main Street, Norristown, PA, 19401. Comments may also be submitted via email at [email protected] with the subject designating which modification request the comment is intended for.

It’s time to come out and support the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project at a series of three public hearings scheduled by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in April near Philadelphia. That is if the hearings are actually held. DEP has scheduled one hearing in Delaware County (April 14) and two hearings in Chester County (April 15 & 16) on plans to issue the project state Chapter 102 (Erosion) and Chapter 105 (Water Encroachment) permits for construction in those locations.
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Should U.S. Shale Companies Get Gov’t Help to Avoid Bankruptcy?

There is an increasing call from economists to “let the free market” determine who lives and who dies in the oil and gas industry. We won’t lie–we live in dire times. We don’t know what the outcome will eventually be. While the world is gripped in COVID-19 coronavirus panic, the Saudis and Russians have flooded the world markets with oil, forcing the price of oil to collapse. Now our own economists are writing that shale companies already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy should be allowed to go under. Don’t prolong the agony. There were already on the way out. But is that wise?
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