Michigan Anti Fossil Fuelers Oppose DTE Gas-Fired Plant Proposal

(PRNewsfoto/DTE Energy)

Last June DTE Energy filed paperwork in Michigan to build a new “state-of-the-art” natural gas-fired power plant in St. Clair County (see DTE Energy Files to Build New Natgas-Fired Elec Plant in Michigan). The gas-fired plant will produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 850,000 homes. If all goes according to plan, the new $1 billion plant will go online in 2022, helping to offset three coal-fired plants set to be retired by 2023. The process is long to approve and then build such a project, with many hoops to jump through. The first major hurdle, perhaps THE major hurdle, is an approval by Michigan utility regulators. The deadline for that approval is almost here–April 27. With the deadline looming, Big Green, with its ongoing, irrational hatred of all fossil fuels, has ramped up opposition to the project. An approval by regulators is being complicated by the fact that DTE filed two months after new energy laws went into effect, but before the Public Service Commission finalized its guidelines under those new laws, in December. Apparently there’s an issue with the application as it relates to the December guidelines–an issue that would potentially delay the project another year or more…
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Rover Pipe Asks FERC for OK to Open New Segments in OH, MI

Click for larger version

On Friday Energy Transfer Partners asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to start up service along another major chunk of it’s massive Rover Pipeline. ET wants to begin service along a 100-mile segment of Rover in northwest Ohio and in Michigan. ET also asked for permission to start up a segment of Mainline B in Crawford and Wayne counties (OH). The 100-mile segment, called the Market segment, completes the pipeline as it connects to the Vector Pipeline in Livingston County, Michigan. ET says 99% of all pipeline for Rover is now in the ground and done. Some 83% of underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) required to install small portions of the pipeline under creeks, rivers, bridges, roads, etc. is now done. It won’t be long now until Rover is done done. Here’s the latest great news that most of the rest of the pipeline is now ready to begin service…
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Despite Opposition, NEXUS Pipe Will be Done & Running This Year

NEXUS route – click for larger version

NEXUS Pipeline, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline currently under construction running from Ohio through Michigan–eventually with a connection to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. NEXUS got final approval for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last August, the first major pipeline to get approved following a newly restored quorum at FERC (see New FERC Quorum Votes Final Approval for NEXUS Pipeline). However, radical environmental groups have fought the project tooth and nail. CORN (Coalition to ReRoute Nexus, folks we call CORNballs), and the far-left Sierra Club, launched lawsuits and regulatory actions against the pipeline. The City of Green, OH initially blocked construction, but later cut a deal to allow the pipeline through the area ($7.5 million talks, see Antis of Green, OH Finally Face Reality – Will Allow NEXUS Pipe). While a few Green antis are attempting to force a referendum to reverse the deal struck by the city, pretty much all of the other opposition has thrown in the towel. We haven’t read/heard from the CORNballs (or Sierra Club) in months. And now, antis in Michigan are admitting defeat–they admit that NEXUS will get built and become operational this year…
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Lansing, MI Approves Borrowing $500M for Gas-Fired Electric Plant

In December MDN brought you the news that the Lansing, Michigan Board of Water & Light (BWL) wants to build a brand new $500 million natural gas-fired power plant (see Lansing, MI to Build New 250 MW Gas-Fired Electric Plant). The new plant will generate 250 megawatts of electricity, create 1,200 construction jobs, and go online in 2021. It will replace (and retire) two BWL coal-fired plants. Out with old, in with the new. We’re interested in the project because it is a potential new demand source for Marcellus/Utica Shale gas. On Tuesday, BWL voted, unanimously, to approve borrowing up to $500 million to construct the project. They did so over the objections of a group of fossil fuel haters who apparently would rather sit in the dark rather than build a plant that uses a dreaded fossil fuel. BWL board members had to put up with the usual fossil fuel speechifying, and then proceeded to move forward like the adults they are, over the objections of the petulant children present…
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Indeck to Start Building $1B Gas-Powered Electric Plant in Michigan

In October 2016, Indeck Energy announced a plan to build a $1 billion electric generating plant (powered by natural gas) in Niles, Michigan, not far from Chicago (see $1B Electric Plant Planned Near Chicago, M-U Connection?). Although there has been no mention of Marcellus/Utica gas feeding the plant (so far), we have little doubt that our gas will be used to power the plant. A number of pipelines already do, or soon will, serve that region with our gas. The State of Michigan gave its blessing and approval for the project over a year ago (see Indeck Gets Michigan Approval for $1B Gas-Powered Electric Plant). Indeck, at the time, said they planned to begin construction by the end of 2017. Didn’t happen. What’s the holdup? A couple of easements are required from Amtrak (Come on Amtrak! Get with the program!). Indeck now says construction is slated to begin in August of this year, and the plant is due to be up and running in early 2021…
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CPV Proposes New $1B Gas-Fired Elec Plant in Livingston, Mich.

Location of Livingston County, Mich.

Michigan is not within the Marcellus/Utica Shale region, so you may wonder why we would highlight a story about a new natural gas-fired electric plant proposed for Michigan. Although there is no shale drilling in Michigan (at least not yet), we still have an interest in the state. Why? Pipelines from the Marcellus/Utica are right now being built to Michigan (Rover, NEXUS). In addition, Marcellus/Utica gas is already flowing to points in the Midwest via pipelines like the reversed Rockies Express (REX). Once the gas makes its way West, it catches a ride on other pipelines to feed places like Chicago, and (yes) Michigan. In other words, it’s a pretty good bet that the gas that will feed this plant if/when it gets built, will come from our region. Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) is proposing to build a new power plant in Livingston County. So far it’s still only talk. However, the talk is starting to get serious. CPV recently purchased a 7-year option to buy 145 acres of farmland where the plant would be located. In other words, money is now starting to get spent, which is a good sign. Here’s the particulars we could find about this project…
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Lansing, MI to Build New 250 MW Gas-Fired Electric Plant

The Lansing, Michigan Board of Water & Light (BWL) announced yesterday it will build a brand new $500 million natural gas-fired power plant. The new plant will generate 250 megawatts of electricity, create 1,200 construction jobs, and go online in 2021. The plant will be located at the Erickson Power Station facility in Delta Township as part of its Lansing Energy Tomorrow plan, replacing (and retiring) BWL’s coal-fired Eckert plant at that location. Out with old, in with the new. Why report about a new gas-fired power plant in Michigan here on MDN? Because the mighty Rover Pipeline, which is due to be completed and online by the end of March 2018, terminates very close to Lansing (see the map below). While we’ve not spotted any stories indicating where the gas will come from to feed the new Lansing plant, we’d wager a lot of money that at least some–perhaps most/all–of the gas to feed the plant will come from the Utica/Marcellus, gas hitching a ride along the Rover Pipeline. The nuts from the Sierra Club are ecstatic that BWL will close the coal plant, but opposed to building a clean-burning natural gas plant. Some people are never happy…
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NEXUS Pipeline Begins Construction in OH, MI

Last week NEXUS Pipeline notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) they had begun construction on the $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. We purposely held off on sharing this exciting news until we could tell you where construction has begun. Each week NEXUS, like other interstate pipelines answering to FERC, provides a weekly update on construction and other project activities. We have a copy of that report (below). What does it show? Preliminary activities are taking place to move equipment, put up signage, and begin to work in “Spread 1”–meaning somewhere within Columbia, Stark, Summit, and Wayne counties in Ohio. Similar work is happening in “Spread 4”–meaning counties in Michigan. Initial site preparation is already happening at three of the four planned compressor stations. Here’s what we have been able to piece together about the initial construction work done on NEXUS…
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Michigan DEQ Claims Rover Discharged Polluted Water into Wetland

Rover Pipeline has been served a violation from the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality claiming the company discharged polluted water from its drilling operations into a wetland. Which may sound familiar, because Rover was cited for fouling a wetland in Ohio with 2 million gallons of drilling mud back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). However, the Michigan story is completely different. Water coming from the pipeline project in Michigan (Washtenaw County) appears to contain gasoline in it. The water has a “sheen” and smells of petroleum. The DEQ theorizes that Rover’s work in the area has disturbed existing underground pollution from a now-closed gas station. Water that previously seeped into ground and was polluted by the old gas station is now (according to the theory) making its way into an area wetland. The pollution already existed–Rover didn’t cause the pollution. But the DEQ says Rover work caused the pollution to change locations, so Rover is to blame…
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Michigan County Tells FERC NEXUS Won’t Clean Up After Itself

The Washtenaw County (Michigan) Road Commission has written a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), requesting FERC deny a certificate to build the NEXUS Pipeline because (they claim) NEXUS has bullied them. It seems the Road Commission has been working with NEXUS over the past year to prepare for the pipeline. The Road Commission wants NEXUS to jump through all sorts of hoops, do handstands, backflips, and in general, dance to the Road Commission’s tune. And because NEXUS isn’t willing to bend all the over backwards, the Road Commission is miffed. The Road Commission is the lord of their domain, and no outsider is going to do anything without their permission. So the Road Commission has run to mommy (FERC) and started bawling that NEXUS are meanies and they won’t pick up after themselves and they’re just BULLIES. So FERC should just go ahead and shut the whole $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline project down (that will run from Ohio through Michigan)–because of one whiny Road Commission in one county…
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DTE Energy Files to Build New Natgas-Fired Elec Plant in Michigan

Proposed DTE Energy natgas-fired electric plant for Michigan

DTE Energy has just filed paperwork in Michigan to build a new “state-of-the-art” natural gas-fired power plant in St. Clair County. The gas-fired plant would produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 850,000 homes. As with all of these kinds of projects, there are MANY regulatory hoops to jump through. If all goes according to plan, the new plant will go online five years from now–in 2022. The plant will cost nearly $1 billion to build and employ “hundreds” during its construction. It will offset, in part, three coal-fired plants set to be retired by 2023. While DTE makes no mention of the source of natgas that will feed it, two Marcellus/Utica pipelines–Rover and NEXUS–will cross parts of Michigan. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that at least some (perhaps all) of the natural gas that will fire this plant will come from our region…
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Mich. DEQ Rejects Stop Rover Request, Senators Appeal to FERC

Isn’t it interesting how a small-but-mouthy group of anti-fossil fuelers can drive a media narrative? Just two days ago MDN told you about a meeting of 100 (likely far less) anti-fossil fuel protesters in Dexter Township, Michigan, who rallied to protest the impending construction of the Rover Pipeline in that area (see Mich. Rover Protesters Illustrate Irrational Anti-Fossil Fuel Psychosis). Our point in that post was to highlight the sad lack of brainpower in the anti movement. One young speaker said they were there to protest “all extraction industries”–including oil and gas. She is woefully ignorant of just how much her life is tied to extraction industries. At any rate, the small group, and the Big Green groups (with deep pockets) using them as puppets, have had an impact. Earlier this week, an attorney supposedly representing residents from the Silver Lake area (Dexter Township) filed an “URGENT Request for Stop Work Order on wetlands trenching, ET Rover Pipeline” with the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The DEQ politely told him, “No.” And so the small group of antis using Big Green money appealed to their two Democrat U.S. Senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, for help. The two Dem Sens promptly sent a bloviating letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking for a temporary stop work order in the Silver Lake area…
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Mich. Rover Protesters Illustrate Irrational Anti-Fossil Fuel Psychosis

A young, brainwashed 17-year old woman was one of the headline speakers at a recent anti-Rover Pipeline rally in Michigan–apparently because she’s an Indian (i.e. Native American). However, her heritage really has nothing to do with her opposition to the Rover Pipeline. Her opposition is rooted in what we would call a break with reality–a psychosis. At a rally held in Dexter Township, MI near where Rover is scheduled to be built, the teenager said this to the “about 100” assembled: “‘We’re fighting extraction industries all across the country. It’s not just here. It’s not just Standing Rock,’ said…an Ypsilanti resident, urging other protesters to divest from fossil fuel companies and take their money out of big banks and put it in local banks and credit unions so they’re not supporting the extraction industry.” We hate to burst the young protester’s bubble, but “extraction industries” are the reason she even exists. “Extraction industries” not only provide energy (oil, gas coal), but “extraction industries” mine the metals that make up the innards of her expensive cell phone. “Extraction industries” provide the raw materials to produce plastics, which is in just about everything everyone touches these days–including the clothes on her back and the sneakers on her feet. To call for divestment, and to oppose “extraction industries” is a call to crawl back into a cave and die a very young death. It is, in a word, insane…
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Mich. Official Says She’ll Stand in Front of Dozer to Stop Rover

A liberal Democrat County from the Washtenaw County, Mich. Board of Commissioners, someone who obviously ignores the rule of law, has pledged to break the law in her misguided attempt to stop Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline project from coming through her county. Lib Dems often like to pick and choose which laws they will obey and which they’ll ignore, so we’re not surprised by the mouthy reaction from Commissioner Michelle Deatrick, D-Superior Township. She’s like many other radical anti-fossil fuelers. Michelle is an Al Gore fan and has apparently overdosed on trailers for Gore’s forthcoming Inconvenient Truth Part Deux fictional flick, called “Truth to Power,” because that’s the exact phase she used at a recent board meeting. Here’s what mouthy Michelle had to say…
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Michigan AG Schuette Wishy-Washy on Support of NEXUS Pipeline

Bill Schuette

NOTE: MDN corrected the story below. In a previous version we had confused Rover with NEXUS. We regret the mistake. However, the gist of our story was/is correct–that Schuette appears to support NEXUS, but has also filed comments against it with the MPSC.

Last fall MDN speculated Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s (Republican) keynote speech at the Michigan Oil and Gas Association’s Annual Meeting was likely an effort to repair the damage he had done to his reputation in aggressively attempting to shake down Chesapeake Energy over supposed lease collusion (see Michigan Succeeds in Shaking Down Chesapeake for Measly $25M). During his speech, Schuette gave his full support to the NEXUS Pipeline project (see Michigan AG Lends His Full Support to NEXUS Pipeline). Yet Schuette is also on record opposing a key request needed by one of the partners to build the pipeline. One of the partners in NEXUS is DTE Energy. DTE’s electric customers will benefit from NEXUS (cheaper natural gas to power electric plants, giving them cheaper electricity), so DTE Electric will charge those customers a small fee in their electric bill to help build the project. Schuette, at the prompting of Michigan Environmental Council and the Sierra Club, filed a brief with the Michigan Public Service Commission opposing DTE Electric’s plan to begin assessing the charge this year, in 2017. Why? Schuette says with the delays at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) due to lack of a quorum, there’s no way NEXUS will go online this year. NEXUS disagrees and maintains it will be online by November. So essentially Schuette took a swipe at NEXUS, after he had lauded them last fall. And what caused us to investigate and write about all of this is because two days ago MDN (and presumably other media outlets) got a brief statement from Schuette’s office, once again praising and expressing support for the project, admitting it “will be moving forward.” Whaaaat? He loves it, then he sides with antis against at it, then he loves it again. What’s going on?…
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How to Apply for one of the 15K Jobs Building the Rover Pipeline

Last week MDN brought you the news that Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Rover Pipeline needs up to 15,000 workers to build it. They currently have ~4,500 workers. And they want to complete the first stage of the pipeline by July (see Help Wanted: 15,000 Workers Needed for Rover Pipeline, STAT!). MDN’s story went viral. It has, so far, been read over 17,000 times on the MDN website–an all-time high for a story less than a week old. The headline and blurb we posted on Facebook has been seen by nearly 72,000 people! The result was that we were flooded with this simple question: Where do I sign up to work on the pipeline? The answer, unfortunately, is not straightforward. We reached out to Energy Transfer multiple times and got less-than-satisfactory answers. Energy Transfer’s answer to the question is this: If you are a contractor or want to try your hand at becoming a contractor, you can try applying via Rover’s contractor online application process (here). However, most people are not interested in that route. They just want to sign up and begin working. For those folks, Rover responded, “Rover is committed to utilizing Union labor 100% for this project. Laborers looking for work, can contact their local union halls.” No help with identifying those local union halls. It is a sort of “you’re on your own” kind of response. Which strikes us as odd. Does Energy Transfer really want to complete this project on time? Could they at least provide a list of the “local union halls” for folks to contact? Apparently not. So we will…
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