Cuomo Pipe Policies Put Thousands of Union Members Out of Work

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3303). Two weeks ago we told you about S. 3303, a bill that will “fix” the issue of states like New York using Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to have a say in where interstate pipeline routes can pass through a state, from abusing that authority to block pipeline projects (see US Senate Bill Fixes States Blocking Pipelines via Water Permits). One of the people testifying at yesterday’s hearing was Brent Booker, the secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions. Brent represents some 3 million (!) union workers. He spoke passionately about the damage that has been done by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo in blocking new pipeline projects. Because of Cuomo’s actions, literally thousands of union workers (Democrat voters) are now out of work–people who could have been working all along but aren’t because Cuomo is abusing the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 401 to politically block new fossil fuel pipelines…
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Caithness Energy Sues PSEG for Blocking Long Island Gas-Fired Plant

Caithness Energy, a privately held company that specializes in buying or building (and operating) renewable energy and natural gas-fired power plants, owns a 350 megawatt natgas-fired power plant in Yaphank, NY–on Long Island. For more than four years Caithness has had a plan to build a second natgas-fired plant next to their first plant. The original plan was for a 750 MW plant, later scaled back to 600 MW. Local leaders in Brookhaven Town in which the existing and proposed power plant projects sit have been against the plan for a new power plant, passing restrictions in 2015 that tied the hands of Caithness, making the project impossible to build. But in July, the board reversed course and voted to repeal the 2015 restriction that limits the type of equipment Caithness can use in building the plant, clearing the way for the project (see Long Island Town Votes to Allow New Gas-Fired Elec Plant). However, the path is still not cleared. Newark, NJ-based PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group), which provides electricity to Long Island, told the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) that the Caithness plant is not needed. It’s a case of one competitor unfairly trying to block another–according to Caithness, which has just filed a lawsuit against PSEG saying it has suffered “hundreds of millions of dollars of harm” because of PSEG’s actions to block the project. Looks like this one is going to get NY nasty…
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NY Judge Overrules DEC, Allows Gas-Fired Plant to Start Up

A new hope has emerged for Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center, a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY. Last week MDN told you that at the last minute, four days before the plant was set to start up, the Andrew Cuomo-corrupted Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) pulled the ultimate dirty trick and refused to renew an air permit for the plant they previously issued five years earlier (see Cuomo Strikes Again: Blocks Completed Gas-Fired Plant from Starting). The DEC now says the plant will need a different (federal) air permit before it can start up, effectively blocking it. As we told you in a followup article, the DEC’s dirty trick left CPV with three options (see 3 Options for Blocked NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant). Option #2 in our list was to ask a judge to overturn the DEC’s decision (our preferred option). CPV exercised that option and yesterday the judge agreed and shut down DEC’s ability to stop the plant from starting up, which will now happen this week or early next week. Great news! However, the judge’s order is temporary, while a larger lawsuit works its way through the court system. In the meantime, CPV will start the plant, a victory for the good guys. The best part? PA Marcellus fracked gas will feed it…
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Antis Still Can’t Come to Terms They Lost NY AIM Pipe Case

Big Green antis thought they could stop the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project–an expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the project. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project near the Indian Point nuclear plant (which will shut down in a few years anyway), AIM finally went online in late 2016. In what has become a typical pattern, Big Green groups asked FERC to rehear their decision to approve AIM, FERC refused, and Big Green then filed a lawsuit in federal court. But two weeks ago the federal court told the antis “no,” crushing their efforts to roll back the expanded pipeline (see DC Circuit Court Denies Anti Request to Rehear AIM Pipe Approval). That should be the end of the matter. There’s no place left to go, court-wise, except maybe (one in a million odds) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet the antis, still disbelieving they’ve lost, are threatening to pursue it legally. Some unstable people just can’t let go…
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Cuomo Plan to Divest Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels Cost NY $1T

Andrew Cuomo – tinhorn dictator of NY

Sorry to harp yet again on the tinhorn dictator Andrew Cuomo, so-called governor of New York, but his actions are so egregious, so outside the mainstream, we can’t keep silent. Cuomo is bragging that he’s not only shut down fracking in the state, he’s also blocking natural gas pipelines and blocking new gas-fired electric generating plants. He’s clinically off his rocker. And now Cuomo is pushing NY’s public employee pension fund to completely divest any stock holdings in fossil fuel companies. University of Chicago Law School Prof. Daniel Fischel and Compass Lexecon economists Christopher Fiore and Todd Kendall have analyzed the risks associated with fossil fuel divestment by both New York and Colorado’s retirement funds. They found that over the next 50 years, divesting NY’s retirement fund will cost NY pensioners $1 TRILLION of value they otherwise would have had in their pockets. Will anyone have the guts to stop the Cuomo train wreck before it’s too late?…
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Anti Fossil Fuel Zealots in Oneonta, NY Oppose CNG Terminal

A boatload of anti fossil fuel zealots from Cooperstown put down their wine glasses long enough to pack an auditorium in nearby Oneonta to bloviate against a sensible plan to build a CNG “decompressor” facility to accept trucks loaded with CNG during wintertime and summertime when area supplies of natgas get dangerously low. We wrote about the proposed facility, described as “a decompression station for compressed natural gas deliveries by truck to supplement resources” two weeks ago (see Oneonta, NY Wants to Build NatGas Decompressor for Short Supplies). In brief, here’s the issue: On really cold and really hot days there’s not enough natural gas in the region, and some large users of gas, like the local hospital and state university, actually have to stop using gas and switch to burning oil as a backup. It’s nuts. To overcome lack of clean-burning gas supplies, the local econ development people are trying to chase down grants to build a decompression station which would be used for maybe two weeks out of the entire year. Wednesday night the Oneonta Town Board held a hearing to get more details about the project. The loons from Cooperstown (i.e., Otsego 2000) turned out in force, some 100 of them, to protest the plan. Why? Because it’s a “fossil fuel.” What did the loons offer as an alternative to this sensible plan to truck in CNG only on days when it’s needed? They recommend “retrofitting old buildings to save energy” (i.e. throw on extra sweaters and turn the thermostat down), or switch to renewables. You know, solar and wind nirvana. What about when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? Just do without. It’d only be for a few days at a time…
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3 Options for Blocked NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant

Two days ago MDN told you that New York’s tinhorn dictator, Andrew Cuomo, pulled the rug out from under a fully-permitted and permissioned Marcellus-fired electric plant by directing his corrupt Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to withhold renewing an air permit previously granted (see Cuomo Strikes Again: Blocks Completed Gas-Fired Plant from Starting). We’ve since learned that the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center, a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY, was just four days away from throwing the switch and beginning operations. The DEC’s previous delays of the project have already cost the CPV $40 million in missed revenue. How much more pain will Cuomo and his corrupt DEC inflict on the plant? And, what can CPV do now, to overcome Cuomo’s blockage of the project? It appears there are three options: (1) contest the decision via an administrative appeals process; (2) seek a court injunction against the DEC; (3) apply for an EPA permit, which is what the DEC is telling them to do. All three options will take time. Seems to us that option #2 will take the least amount of time. CPV is right now mulling their next steps…
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Big News: FERC Overrules NY DEC to Approve Northern Access Pipe

Finally, a New York pipeline story with a happy ending. On Feb. 3, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a long-delayed project–National Fuel Gas Company’s (NFG) Northern Access 2016 pipeline project (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval). The $500 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton. Although FERC granted permission to build it, the State of New York, specifically the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), arbitrarily and capriciously tried to block it (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). We’ve seen this movie before. NFG, in no mood to screw around with the Cuomo-corrupted DEC, filed a motion asking FERC for a “reconsideration and clarification” on the role of the DEC in reviewing the project (see Gutsy: NFG Asks FERC to Cut NY DEC Out of Pipeline Approval). On Monday, FERC ruled on that request, ruling in NFG’s favor and against NY DEC. FERC said the DEC took longer than the one year they have under law to issue their rejection, therefore, FERC itself is issuing the water permits. In other words, FERC just struck a blow against corruption in New York State…
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Cuomo Strikes Again: Blocks Completed Gas-Fired Plant from Starting

Andrew Cuomo is a tinhorn dictator who must be stopped (politically). NOW. Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center is a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY (near the Hudson River). The plant is fully built, and the Millennium pipeline now flows Marcellus gas to it (see Millennium Lateral Pipe to NY Gas-Fired Elec Plant Begins Service). Valley Energy Center is tested, vetted, and ready to start producing electricity. But at the last minute, Cuomo pulled strings with his lapdog head of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Basil Seggos, and the DEC has rejected renewing an air permit for the facility. The DEC, using trickery and doublespeak, now says the project must file for a different kind of air permit, called a Title V Clean Air Act permit, which requires additional mountains of paperwork and (most importantly for Big Green radicals), more time for “public input”–including at least 45 days for review by the U.S. EPA. Why didn’t the DEC require that permit from the start? Why sandbag the project and wait until they’re ready to flip the switch, and then tell them “wrong permit”? This is an underhanded, dirty trick. It is corrupt. And it is Andrew Cuomo at the center of it…
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Oneonta, NY Wants to Build NatGas Decompressor for Short Supplies

The main economic development agency in Otsego County, NY, known as Otsego Now, is working on a plan to build a “decompressor” in the Oneonta area to help with natural gas supplies. The proposed facility is described as “a decompression station for compressed natural gas deliveries by truck to supplement resources.” Here’s the problem. On really cold and really hot days, there’s not enough natural gas in the region, and some large users of gas (they get gas from local utility NYSEG), actually have to stop using gas and switch to oil as a backup. It’s nuts. Apparently NYSEG (New York State Electric & Gas, owned by Spainish-based Iberdrola) isn’t in the mood to upgrade a local pipeline that brings gas to the area. So to overcome lack of gas, the local econ development people are trying to chase down grants to build a decompression station, to accept CNG from a virtual pipeline (trucked in CNG), converting the compressed gas back to normal pressure so it can flow through NYSEG’s less-than-adequate pipelines in the area to large gas users that need it…
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FERC Rejects Riverkeeper re Millennium Eastern System Upgrade

In August 2016, Millennium Pipeline, which stretches from Corning, NY to just outside New York City, filed an application for what it calls its Eastern System Upgrade (see Millennium Pipe Asks FERC to Approve Eastern System Upgrade in NY). The ESU would add 7.8 miles of extra looped pipeline in Orange County, upgrade a compressor station in Delaware County, build a new compressor in Sullivan County and make some minor tweaks to metering stations in Rockland County. In something of a miracle, the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation granted permits for the project (see NY DEC Grants Permit for Millennium Pipe Eastern System Upgrade). Predictably, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, hater of all things fossil fuel, moved for a “stay” to block construction and filed a request for rehearing with FERC, and at the same time filed a lawsuit against the DEC’s water permit approval. In March FERC rejected Riverkeeper’s request for a stay, but not the rehearing (see FERC Rejects Riverkeeper Request to Stop Millennium Eastern Upgrade). The other shoe dropped last week when FERC rejected the request by Riverkeeper (and an anti from Orange County) for a rehearing. But not without some drama. In what has become a repeating pattern, the two Democrat members of FERC wanted a rehearing to consider mythical man-made global warming impacts from the project. It’s total horse manure, but there you go. This is how it’s going to be from here on out. The Democrats have politicized everything, even non-controversial pipeline projects like this one…
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Williams to Appeal FERC’s Constitution Pipe Decision to Fed Court

Last Friday MDN brought you the sad news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Williams’ request to rehear an earlier decision to not overrule the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) decision to block the Constitution Pipeline (see FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time). We personally don’t see many (really any) pathways where the Constitution now gets built. But to their credit, Williams is not giving up. After FERC’s decision last week, the company announced it will appeal that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the judges to overrule the DEC (bypassing FERC). Williams has filed in various courts, including the Supreme Court, to hear the Constitution case. Why not try the D.C. Circuit Court? There’s really nothing to lose. The project is currently as dead as a doornail anyway. So, hats off to Williams for giving it one last try…
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FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time

One more thread has broken that holds together hope that Williams’ Constitution Pipeline will ever get built. Perhaps the final thread. Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling denying a rehearing request on the project–the second time they have done so. The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant the pipeline project necessary federal stream crossing permits, blocking construction, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Williams asked the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule DEC and allow construction to begin. In January of this year, FERC denied that request (see Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). In February of this year, Williams asked FERC to reconsider their denial. FERC’s response yesterday: No. Meanwhile, Williams had filed a lawsuit in federal court that eventually was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In April, the Supremes refused to hear the case, shutting down that avenue (see Supreme Court Rejects Constitution Pipe Request to Overrule NY). As we’ve previously written, we now see only two remaining threads of hope–and they are very thin threads at that: (1) NY elects Cuomo’s Republican rival as governor and he reverses course and permits the project (about a snowball’s chance in Hades that Republican Marc Molinaro will win), and (2) President Trump signs an executive order overruling NY. That second thread is about the best chance Constitution now has. And even if Trump were to issue an executive order, we expect NY would go to court to try and stop it, dragging it out for years. As sad as we are to say this, for all intents and purposes, Constitution is dead…
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Dunkirk, NY Desperate to Restart Shuttered Electric Plant

This is a truly sad story. Because of delays from lawsuits and regulators, power generator NRG said last week it has officially given up on restarting a shuttered coal-fired electric plant near Buffalo, in the Town of Dunkirk. There had been plans to convert the plant to burn natural gas, but due to delays, it didn’t happen. NRG closed the coal-fired plant in 2016, which was an economic nuclear bomb for Dunkirk–they get 40% of their tax revenue from that one plant. New York State “generously” shucked out $5.5 million so Dunkirk wouldn’t collapse economically. But doing that year after year will get old quick. Dunkirk needs that plant. Because of delays due to a lawsuit by a competitor (now dropped), NRG needs to restart the project from scratch, which means reconnecting the plant to the electricity grid. Estimated reconnect costs go as high as $115 million! The cost of “transmission upgrades,” according to the NY grid operator. The cost to reconnect would be almost as much as the project cost itself (see Looks Like WNY Coal-Fired Plant Will Never Convert to Gas/Reopen). As we predicted last month, NRG is walking away from the project. They said so, officially, last week. And that has Dunkirk leaders and residents in a panic, desperate to find someone else to take over the project and get it going. Don’t hold your breath. If NRG can’t make the numbers work, what makes Dunkirk think another company can?…
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Broome County, NY Substitutes Solar Crumbs for NatGas Feast

We have nothing against solar energy–honestly. Yes, in one sense solar competes with natural gas, but hey, let the best energy source win! Truth be told, we need all energy sources, not just one. So please understand this is not a “bash solar” story. However, we do have a problem when politicians and anti-fossil fuel zealots insist we MUST use one source of energy over another. That’s just not American. And it doesn’t make economic sense either. You may hear that solar is cheap and getting cheaper. Some claim solar now produces electricity at a lower cost than natural gas. Not true. Here’s a comparison. Earlier this week Broome County celebrated the startup of a “large” solar farm on 20 acres of county-owned land in Conklin, NY. The official ribbon cutting was a big affair with the county executive claiming the county will save $140,000 a year with the facility–a facility that’s a year-and-a-half late going online. Fair enough. Who doesn’t want to save $140K a year, right? Not that a single taxpayer in Broome County will notice the 10 cents per tax bill they end up saving. Meanwhile, over the past ten years in Susquehanna County, PA (just south of Broome County, shares a border with Broome), natural gas drilling has been going great guns. In Susquehanna County, a single driller, Cabot Oil & Gas, has put $1.5 billion into the pockets of private landowners through signing bonuses and royalties, and has spent another $3.5 billion on drilling (over $5 billion total spent)–all in Susquehanna County. It is an economic miracle. Tax revenues in the county have gone through the roof! Millions have poured into tax coffers because of the gas industry. Cabot, a single driller, is providing 2.5% of all the natural gas produced in the U.S.–from Susquehanna County. And that’s just one driller! There are more drillers in Susquehanna. We’d estimate that at least $7-$8 billion has flowed into the county over the past 10 years. Mind blowing. And yet, here in the Binghamton area, local media has a blackout and refuses to report on Susquehanna County’s economic miracle. Meanwhile, Broome residents are told to get all excited about saving $140K a year. We’re being asked to jump up and down and feel good about a few economic cracker crumbs when 15 miles away everyone eats economic filet mignon. And now a group of antis masquerading as a solar group is trying to snow even more Broome residents into thinking solar is our energy savior. They’re selling a bill of goods…
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Federal Judge Tosses NYC Climate Change Lawsuit Against Oil Cos.

New York City, in its attempt to (a) take every last dime out of the pockets of five big oil companies, and (b) shut down all fossil fuel extraction in the future–has struck out. Rather magnificently. In January, New York City’s insane mayor, Bill de Blasio, used city resources to sue five oil companies, blaming them for “climate change”–the hoax that mankind is causing the earth to warm at an apocalyptic rate (see NYC Commits Fossil Fuel Suicide – Sues Big Oil, Ending Investments). The theory behind global warming is that burning fossil fuels (extracted by the five companies) releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere where the CO2 then acts like a canopy over the earth, trapping in heat from the sun, causing the earth to warm. And, as the theory goes, Mom Earth is warming up to such a degree that it will “soon” (any year now) kill plants, animals, mankind–all living things. All sorts of ills are laid at the feet of so-called global warming, now called “climate change,” including earthquakes, major storms, hurricanes, pestilence, racism. No, we’re not exaggerating. EVERYTHING is blamed on global warming. Even the record cold temperatures that we experienced in the northeast last winter are blamed on global warming! Wait–how can that be? How can a canopy effect trapping heat cause COLDER temps? Obviously it can’t, but these people will believe anything. At its root, de Blasio’s move is not *really* about global warming and preserving the planet–it’s about an avowed socialist (de Blasio admits his perverse political leanings) attempting to steal money from those who earn it, in order to redistribute it to people who don’t earn it, people who will keep voting de Blasio into office in response to his political bribery. The gig is up. The judge in the case tossed it out yesterday, saying court is not the place for these kinds of charades…
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