Sauce for the Goose: NY Town Considers Moratorium…on Solar!

In June 2014, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, reaffirmed two lower court rulings that empowers townships and municipalities across the state to strip away property owners’ rights to allow drilling and other energy projects (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). NY’s high court ruled in the “Middlefield” and “Dryden” cases that local municipalities have the right to regulate energy development within their jurisdictions–where it can and cannot happen. As we said at the time, “In our opinion it means there will never be any meaningful shale drilling in New York. No driller in his right mind will roll the dice, lock up thousands of acres by spending millions of dollars, just to see it all disappear at the next town board election with a vote by 3 of 5 people.” But what’s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander. The Town of Delaware Town Board in Sullivan County, NY is seriously considering, and about to adopt, a one-year moratorium on solar farms. It seems a company has expressed serious interest in plastering ugly solar farms all over the beautiful countryside, and town regulations are not yet in place to control what may turn into out-of-control solar farm development. So Delaware plans to adopt a moratorium to slam the breaks on–for at least a year. Can anyone say poetic justice? This action by Delaware does not fit Lord Cuomo’s wishes. You see, in NY, only elitist snobs like Cuomo get to choose what kind of energy source we serfs who live under his rule can use. Natural gas is out, solar is in–because Cuomo wants it. Yet the Court of Appeals ruling from 2014 has now risen up to bite Cuomo and his thuggish Big Green cronies on their fat rear-ends. We love it!…
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Time to Support Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

In March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Williams Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project (see Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipe Gets Favorable DEIS). The project is meant to 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, Long Island, 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. This project needs *your* help. Please join MDN in supporting the project by signing this online petition to FERC. A second way you can support the project is by attending and speaking at one of four regional FERC hearings, which begin next week…
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Marcellus Electric Plant Proposed for Meadowlands to Power NYC

The red line shows the border of the proposed power plant in North Bergen. The yellow line is a transmission cable to ConEd’s substation on West 49th St. in New York City. Click for larger version.

A subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi wants to build a huge, new $1.5 billion natural gas-fired electric generating plant in the Meadowlands (New Jersey), just outside of New York City. The North Bergen Liberty Generating Project, at 1,200 megawatts, will help replace the electricity lost when the Indian Point Nuclear plant closes down in 2021. Indian Point provides roughly 25% of NYC’s electricity. Something has to replace that big hole in the power grid. You can’t build solar panels and windmills fast enough (not to mention the sun doesn’t always shine nor does the wind always blow). Natural gas will save the day in NYC–and the North Bergen plant will go a long way toward helping. Of course the plant is being opposed by radicals in the nutty Sierra Club and other Big Green groups who despise all fossil fuels and demand that you and I end our use of fossil fuels because they irrationally hate them. Meanwhile, the adults in the room continue to advance plans to replace Indian Point with projects like this one and the CPV Valley Energy Project in Orange County. No, Marcellus gas is not specifically mentioned as powering North Bergen Project, but since the plant will be hooked up to the mighty Williams Transco Pipeline, a pipeline which flows mostly Marcellus molecules these days, at least in the northeast, it’s a safe bet the plant will be powered almost exclusively by PA fracked Marcellus gas…
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Big Green Begs NY DEC to Revoke Orange Co. Power Plant Permits

As the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) $900 million Valley Energy Center natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY gets ready to begin service THIS MONTH, antis, including Big Green group Riverkeeper, are desperate to stop it from entering service. Since they couldn’t win any lawsuits to stop it, and since they couldn’t convince the federal government (FERC) to stop it, Riverkeeper and some politicians in Riverkeeper’s back pocket (via campaign contributions) have turned their attention to the Andrew Cuomo-corrupted Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), hoping they can convince the corrupt DEC to revoke the permits issued for the plant. On what basis does Riverkeeper and their colluding politicians claim the permits should be revoked? On the basis that a CPV lobbyist paid money to Cuomo’s closest confidante and aide as a bribe to get the project approved. There’s no evidence that the project got approved because of the bribe, but the stench is certainly there, and hey, if corrupt bribes got it approved, maybe corrupt politicians colluding with Big Green can get it unapproved, right?…
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Constitution Pipe Files Brief with Supreme Court, Exposes Cuomo/DEC

In January, the Constitution Pipeline–a $683 million, 124-mile pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY to move Marcellus gas into NY and New England–filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to overrule a lower court decision and allow the pipeline to get built in New York State (see Constitution Pipeline Appeals NY Fight Directly to U.S. Supreme Court). The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) suckered Constitution into refiling an application for a state-issued (but federal) water crossing permit a second time, restarting a one-year clock under which NY could render a decision about the pipeline. Constitution fully cooperated with the DEC, changing plans at the DEC’s request. With four days left on the clock in the second one-year period, DEC, in bad faith, issued a denial of Constitution’s request for the permit (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). In January Constitution filed the lawsuit with the Supreme Court, but earlier this week Constitution filed a “reply brief” in the case. In the brief, Constitution exposes the DEC’s actions as nothing more than a political move orchestrated by Andrew Cuomo himself. It is a devastating brief, laying bare the naked corruption of Cuomo and those who run the DEC…
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NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline Project Near Binghamton is Dead

In March MDN brought you the news that NG Advantage, which had big plans to build a virtual pipeline (gas compression & trucking facility) on the outskirts of Binghamton, NY, appears to have given up on the Town of Fenton location for the planned project (see NG Advantage Looks Beyond Fenton, NY to Build Virtual Pipeline). That impression is now further strengthened by comments coming from the Fenton town attorney at a meeting last week when he said, “My sense is that they [NG Advantage] are abandoning the project.” Abandoning in Fenton, yes. But not outright abandoning the project. Fenton, and indeed perhaps Broome County, is the biggest loser. But rumor has it that NG is looking elsewhere, nearby, for an alternative location. MDN’s sources keep whispering Hancock, NY as a possibility (in Delaware County). We’ve also heard Deposit, NY mentioned (sitting on the border of Broome and Delaware counties, not far from Hancock). MDN remains a top cheerleader to have NG bring their project to MDN’s own neighborhood, truck traffic and all, in the Town of Windsor. Sadly, no word on a Windsor option from our sources. So what did Fenton and surrounding communities achieve with their “victory” in defeating NG’s project in Fenton?…
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NG Advantage Looks Beyond Fenton, NY to Build Virtual Pipeline

In a sad postscript, it appears that NG Advantage, which had once hoped to establish a virtual pipeline operation (compressing natural gas from the Millennium Pipeline) in the Town of Fenton (suburb of Binghamton), has finally given up on building the project in Fenton and is instead looking elsewhere. At least that’s our impression based on a couple of sources. We have no confirmation nor comment from NG–so this is purely our own speculation. However, a local television station in Binghamton recently noticed that NG is loading pipes onto a trailer, moving them out of the former construction site. The Town of Fenton Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) ruled in February that the facility does not qualify as an allowed use under existing zoning regulations (see NG Advantage Loses Zoning Vote for Virtual Pipe Near Binghamton). The Fenton Town Board is in no mood to overrule the ZBA decision, according to Suervisor Dave Hamlin. Case closed–unless NG plans to sue the town to recover costs, or try to force the issue of building the plant–which we don’t see happening. At any rate, MDN has heard scuttlebutt around the virtual water cooler that NG is looking at several other locations–in and out of Broome County. It would be a tremendous loss for Broome if NG locates outside the Greater Binghamton area. Meanwhile, MDN continues to spot XNG trucks (from a virtual pipeline in Susquehanna County, PA) passing through the Vestal, NY area–through densely populated centers–each and every day. They are the very same kind of trucks NG had proposed to use in Fenton. Yet not a peep about the XNG trucks that pass through our community…
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NY DEC Files Response re Constitution Pipe Case @ Supreme Court

There’s a number of threads to the ongoing saga of Constitution Pipeline, a $683 million, 124-mile pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY to move Marcellus gas into New York State and from there, into New England. The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant the pipeline necessary federal stream crossing permits, blocking construction, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Constitution filed an appeal of the DEC’s arbitrary and capricious decision with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, asking the court to overturn DEC’s decision. Unfortunately the Second Circuit refused (see Court Rejects Constitution Pipe’s Case Against NY DEC; Now What?). So Constitution appealed the Second Circuit’s rejection to the U.S. Supreme Court in January (see Constitution Pipeline Appeals NY Fight Directly to U.S. Supreme Court). The Supremes have not yet agreed to accept the case. Hoping to head off a decision to hear the case, the DEC filed a brief last week with the Supreme Court to say Constitution Pipeline has “misread” the Second Circuit’s decision,  claiming the DEC was well within their rights to issue the rejection…
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Antis Use Corruption Trial Verdict to Challenge NY Gas Power Plant

In September 2016, MDN brought you the sad news that the former head of external affairs and government relations for Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), Peter Kelly, was indicted for bribing New York Gov. Cuomo’s long-time top aide Joseph Percoco to get state approvals for CPV’s $900 million Valley Energy Center natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY (see NY NatGas-Fired Electric Plant an Inside Job for Corrupt Cuomo Aide). Both Kelly and Percoco, along with a third person, Todd Howe (lobbyist who used to work for Cuomo) were indicted. The trial was recently held and a few weeks ago the verdicts came in: Both Percoco and Howe, the people close to Cuomo, were convicted. The jury could not decide on CPV’s Kelly–so Kelly skated. While the entire sordid affair is interesting for those of us who smell the foul stench of corruption that surrounds Andrew Cuomo, and while the trial and its result is interesting to MDN because of the gas-fired CPV project in Orange County, the reason we’re bringing it to your attention is because antis are using the Percoco/Howe convictions in the case to try and shut down the now-completed CPV Valley Energy Center project, claiming the plant would have never been approved without bribes and corruption…
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Empire Pipe Plans 2 Compressors in PA & NY to Move Marcellus Gas

Click image for larger version

Empire Pipeline, the midstream (pipeline) subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company (based in Buffalo, NY), earlier this month filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build two new compressor stations along the Empire Pipeline–one in Tioga County, PA, the other in Ontario County, NY. Without building any new pipeline, the addition of these two compressor stations will allow an extra 205,000 dekatherms per day (or 205 million cubic feet/day) of PA Marcellus gas to flow through the Empire Pipeline system. The project, called Empire North Project, will provide much-needed natural gas for Upstate NY and Canada. It will also connect to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, so who knows? Maybe some Marcellus molecules will find their way into New England too. The gajillion dollar questions is, will the Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation try to stop this project as they have just about all other Marcellus-to-NY projects?…
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FERC Grants Limited Rehearing Request for Constitution Pipeline

There’s a number of threads to the ongoing saga of Constitution Pipeline, a $683 million, 124-mile pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY to move Marcellus gas into New York State and from there, into New England. The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant the pipeline necessary federal stream crossing permits, blocking construction, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). There have been a number of court cases and regulatory actions since that time. Williams, the builder of Constitution, asked the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule the 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 decision (see Constitution Pipe Files for FERC Rehearing, Then Back to Court). FERC has 30 days to rule on the rehearing request. If they don’t do anything, it’s considered an automatic rejection. However, on Wednesday (just under the wire), FERC granted a “limited” rehearing request–meaning FERC wants more time to consider the request before making a final decision. It’s not a “yes” that they will reconsider and perhaps overrule the DEC–but it’s also not a “no.” Which is a good thing…
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Court Rejects NY DEC Attempt to Stop Short Power Plant Pipeline

Valley Lateral Pipeline map – click for larger version

The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now out of options in its quest to block a tiny, 7.8-mile pipeline that would connect the Millennium Pipeline to a gas-fired electric generating plant under construction in Orange County, NY. Yesterday the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition by the DEC asking the court to vacate two orders by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allowing the pipeline to continue construction. Which means construction on the pipeline has restarted and will almost certainly be completed within a month. The plant the pipeline will feed, Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center, is wrapping up construction. Recently antis had a cow when they saw steam coming from the plant, part of the commissioning process (see Antis Apoplectic at Sight of Steam Coming from NY Power Plant). Before the new plant can go online, it needs fuel, which is why the Millennium project is so important. Now that the 2nd Circuit has rejected its petition, the DEC says it is still “reviewing its options” with respect to “next steps.” Frankly, there are no options and no next steps. The Cuomo-corrupted DEC has lost…
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Obtuse NY Assemblywoman from Ithaca Proposes “No-Tenancy” Bill

Barbara Lifton

Ithaca, NY is unfortunately saddled with an Assemblywoman who is, charitably, not too bright. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is a virulent anti-fossil fueler, even though she herself uses fossil fuels each and every day of her life. She was dead set against converting a coal burning plant near Ithaca into burning natural gas (see Cayuga Power Plant Stays Open (Burning Coal) – Thx to Fractivists). Thanks (in large part) to Lifton, the residents of Ithaca continue to breathe dirty air. She also tried to stop a federally permitted natgas pipeline from expanding in the region (see NY State Legislator Tries to Derail Dominion New Market Project). And now she’s at it again. Even though there is no shale drilling in New York, apparently Lifton wants to drive the final nail in the coffin of the conventional drilling industry too, driving out all oil and gas activity in the state. Lifton has introduced a bill that we call “no-tenancy.” You’ve been reading about West Virginia’s co-tenancy bill here on MDN, a bill that would allow rights owners in property to sign a lease if 75% or more of the owners agree to lease terms. It corrects a situation where dozens, sometimes hundreds of people who own a fractional share in property can’t be found, or refuse to sign, screwing all of the other owners of the property. Lifton’s bill, A2499, would require 100% of all rights owners to sign leases “for oil, gas or mineral rights, and any modification, extension or renewal thereof.” It is plainly meant to end any future drilling of any kind in the state. That’s the aim. The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York (IOGANY) is pushing back…
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Upstate NY’s Corning Gas Sees More Opportunities with Marcellus

Corning Natural Gas Corporation, a subsidiary of Corning Natural Gas Holding Corporation, is a local distribution company (LDC, or “utility”) with nearly 450 miles of gas pipeline mains transporting natural gas to roughly 15,000 customers. Corning makes natgas deliveries in 23 towns and villages–over 400 square miles–throughout the Southern Tier and central regions of New York State. Corning, as you may know, sits virtually on top of the border of New York and Pennsylvania. On the NY side of the border, a tyrant governor (Andrew Cuomo) rules with an iron fist and blocks fracking and even natural gas pipelines. On the PA side of the border, Marcellus (and increasingly Utica) shale gas is extracted in large quantities, creating a bonanza of economic and (yes) environmental benefits. Fortunately for Corning Gas, they are able to tap into some of that PA Marcellus supply. Corning Gas has a 50% joint venture owner in Leatherstocking Gas Company and Leatherstocking Pipeline Company. Leatherstocking runs gas mains to residents and businesses in small communities, like Montrose, PA (see PA Rural Residents Burn Marcellus Gas, Save Big Bucks on Heating). In a Securities and Exchange Commission 10-Q filing yesterday (10-Q is a comprehensive report of a company’s performance that must be submitted quarterly by all public companies to the SEC), Corning Gas management said one of their “most promising growth opportunities” is by “increasing connections with local gas production sources”–meaning they want to tap more Marcellus gas to sell to their customers. Corning Gas wants/needs more Marcellus gas in order to grow. We like the sound that!…
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Constitution Pipe Files for FERC Rehearing, Then Back to Court

Contrary to stories begin spun by anti-fossil fuel groups, Williams has not given up the fight to build the Constitution Pipeline–a $683 million, 124-mile pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY to move Marcellus gas into New York State and from there, into New England. The pipeline faces stiff odds. In 2016, the Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) abrogated their fiduciary duty by denying the project a federal stream crossing permit (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Williams sued the state in federal court–and lost (see Court Rejects Constitution Pipe’s Case Against NY DEC; Now What?). Williams then asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule DEC’s rejection. Sadly, last month FERC denied that request (see Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). Williams has since launched a multi-pronged legal attack with three potential paths to victory. First, Williams appealed the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court (see Constitution Pipeline Appeals NY Fight Directly to U.S. Supreme Court). The case to the Supremes takes up the issue of whether or not one state, like New York, can deny a federal project that benefits other states, like the New England states. We await word from the Supremes on whether or not they will hear the case. Yesterday Williams launched another legal attack by asking FERC to reconsider their denial from last month. If FERC says yes and overrules the DEC, we have victory. If FERC says no, Williams will then (we are assuming) use the denial as the basis to take the case back to federal court–this time to the D.C. Court of Appeals. The first federal court to consider the matter (ruling against Williams) was the Second Court of Appeals (in NY). Moving the case to the D.C. court stands a better chance. So, three potential paths to victory: U.S. Supreme Court, FERC changes its mind, or the D.C. Court of Appeals. This fight is far from over…
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NFG Quarterly Update: Seneca Could Drill More, if Pipeline Gets Built

Last week National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), headquartered in Western New York State which operates drilling subsidiary Seneca Resources and pipeline subsidiary Empire Pipeline, issued its first quarter 2018 (everyone else’s fourth quarter 2017) update. Via Seneca Resources, NFG drills wells in northcentral and northwestern PA. Via Empire Pipeline, they build and maintain hundreds of miles of pipelines. NFG wants to add to their pipeline portfolio by building the Northern Access Pipeline–a $455 million project with 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern PA up to Erie County, NY. Northern Access would allow Seneca to drill new wells in an area currently pipeline “constrained.” However, Northern Access construction has been blocked by the corrupt NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). NFG CEO Ronald Tanski gave an update for the Northern Access project on an analyst call. Tanski indicated the company engaged in a two-pronged strategy: one is a pending court case, NFG sued the DEC; the other strategy involves a request with FERC to overturn the DEC’s decision. No definitive word on when either/both will happen. In the meantime, Seneca Resources must “focus on drilling and completing wells where we have adequate take away capacity or the ability to lock in firm sales.” Which means Seneca could be drilling a lot more were it not for Cuomo blocking the Northern Access pipeline. Seneca continues to operate 2 drilling rigs. Below are portions of the analyst phone call and the complete quarterly update for NFG…
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