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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FERC Approves Millennium Pipe’s Eastern System Upgrade in NY

The Millennium Pipeline stretches ~244 miles from Independence in Steuben County, NY to Buena Vista in Rockland County, NY. The Millennium, which is supplied by local production and storage fields and interconnecting upstream pipelines, serves customers along its route in New York’s Southern Tier region and helps meet the energy needs of northeast markets. In August 2016, the Millennium 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 late March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable environmental assessment for the project (see FERC Favorable EA for Millennium Pipeline Eastern System Upgrade). In what can only be described as completely out of character, the corrupt New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) also approved the project, in early September (see NY DEC Grants Permit for Millennium Pipe Eastern System Upgrade). Yesterday FERC gave Millennium permission to begin construction on essentially all of the project, with one tiny exception…
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Constitution Pipeline Doles Out Another $50K in Grants, Despite NY

money-bag.jpgSince announcing the project in 2012, the Constitution Pipeline has handed out more than $2 million in community grants to fire departments, police departments and a variety of nonprofit organizations that benefit the community. Recently New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided to block the Constitution Pipeline to placate his radical left supporters (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Williams and its partners in the project have taken NY to court to overrule their blockage (see Williams Sues NY Over Constitution Pipe – DEC May Lose Authority). Even though Cuomo’s dastardly action has thrown the project’s future into some doubt, Williams and the Constitution are expressing no doubts. They’ve just handed out another $50,000 in grants (the eighth time they’ve done it) to worthy organizations along the pipeline’s proposed route. Here’s who got the money, and how much…
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Constitution Pipe Denial May Destroy 2K Existing Upstate NY Jobs

Raymond forkliftNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s action to stop progress on the Constitution Pipeline has very real, tangible negative effects on jobs in Upstate New York. This is the true story of two large regional employers in New York’s Southern Tier that would benefit from cheap, abundant, and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from northeastern Pennsylvania. Wait. You believed the anti’s lie that all of the gas traveling through the Constitution would be transported to other areas, with much of it exported, and would not in any way benefit local residents? Yeah, that’s a lie. Another 100% lie pedaled by irrational fossil fuel haters. As the Constitution crosses places like Broome, Chenango and Delaware counties in the Southern Tier of New York State (i.e. “Upstate”), the pipeline will be tapped in several locations by Leatherstocking Gas Co.–a small but important local utility company. Leatherstocking will then provide gas to area communities and to two large businesses. One of those businesses is the Amphenol Aerospace plant in Sidney, NY. Amphenol is the largest employer in Delaware County with some 1,100 employees. Amphenol needs cheap Marcellus Shale gas from the Constitution to stay competitive and to keep the plant open. The second business is located in the small Chenango County village of Greene–Raymond Corporation. You know those bright red-colored forklifts you see in warehouses and factories? They’re all built at Raymond, which ships them worldwide. The facility is now owned by Toyota. Raymond also needs natural gas from the Constitution Pipeline. With over 800 1,600 employees at Raymond, it is the third largest employer in Chenango County. Does Gov. Cuomo really want to play Russian roulette with nearly 2,000 upstate jobs? Here’s the sad story of a corrupt governor bowing to political pressure and screwing his own constituents in Upstate…
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Kinder Files with FERC, NED Pipeline Changes Path in NY & MA

MDN has chronicled the sad state of Massachusetts and its obtuse opposition to the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project, a pipeline that would make both their natural gas and electricity costs a lot cheaper. We told you Kinder planned to change the path of the pipeline to avoid about half of Massachusetts on its way from New York to the Boston area (see Kinder Morgan Changes Route for Pipeline from MA to NH). What you may not know is that MA doesn’t have sole ownership of obtuseness. New York wants in on some of that action too. NIMBYs in Columbia County, NY have been kicking up a fuss over the pipeline, so when Kinder filed their new preferred route yesterday (see updated map below), they altered the course and shifted it north from Columbia County to Rensselaer County, following an existing right-of-way owned by National Grid…
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NY Landowners Get Eminent Domain Threat from Constitution Pipeline

As we reported last week, it’s great news that the Constitution Pipeline has now received its final green light and construction is about to begin (see FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY). Some of the hardest work now lies ahead. Unfortunately, some landowners refuse to negotiate a right-of-way and so, just a few days after FERC gave the go-ahead, those landowners have received a “sign now or else” letter threatening the use of eminent domain, from Williams…
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FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY

We’ve been writing about the Constitution Pipeline for, like, forever! The Constitution is planned to run 124 miles from Susquehanna County, PA up into New York State, all the way to Schoharie County where it will connect to both the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline. It will flow some 650,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day (enough natural gas to serve approximately 3 million homes), most of it produced by Cabot Oil & Gas, one of the owners of the pipeline. In October, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final environmental approval (see Constitution Pipeline Gets FERC Final Environmental Approval). Yesterday, FERC issued its final approval for the project–meaning the shovels will now hit the ground and construction will now begin. Horray!…
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Final EIS for Constitution Pipeline Delayed Another 2 Months, Ugh

The Constitution Pipeline, which MDN has covered for more than two years, is a $683 million Williams pipeline project with backing from Cabot Oil & Gas that will run from Cabot’s gas fields in Susquehanna County, PA all the way to Schoharie County, NY. It’s an important project for Cabot Oil & Gas since it will move an additional half billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for the company. A month ago MDN told you the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was due “any day” (see Constitution Pipeline Update from Cabot – Final EIS Due Any Day). The EIS was already delayed, and now we learn that it’s delayed yet again. According to top energy blogger and analyst Richard Zeits, the EIS for the Constitution is now delayed until the end of October–another two months…
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KM Announces Marcellus Pipeline Parallel to Williams Constitution

A “this is pretty interesting” story recently crossed our radar. MDN has reported, for several years now, about the Williams Constitution Pipeline being built from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY where it will connect to both the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) and the Iroquois pipeline (see New Marcellus Constitution Pipeline Announces “Final” Route). We even took you along for an inside look at one of the public comment sessions, called a scoping hearing (see Vicariously Attend FERC Scoping Hearing on Constitution Pipeline). The Constitution will begin construction very soon. Now comes word from Kinder Morgan that they want to build a second pipeline from the Marcellus Shale gas fields of Susquehanna County to their TGP, taking virtually the same route…
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Leatherstocking to Tap Constitution Pipeline for Local Deliveries

Rural residents (and an aerospace manufacturer) located in New York’s Southern Tier and Central New York areas have a lot to be thankful for with the upcoming Constitution Pipeline–a natural gas pipeline that will deliver natural gas from the Marcellus Shale gas fields of Susquehanna County, PA all the way to two major interstate pipelines near Schoharie, NY (see New Marcellus Constitution Pipeline Announces “Final” Route). Williams is building the 124-mile pipeline with backing from Cabot Oil & Gas, whose gas will flow through it.

However, a regional gas pipeline company (think gas utility) founded just a few years, Leatherstocking Gas, will tap into the Constitution at (so far) four different locations along the pipeline so they can deliver that homegrown Marcellus gas to rural customers who are not being served by the big utilities like New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG, owned by Iberdrola). Yesterday Williams and Leatherstocking announced the deal to tap into the Constitution Pipeline in four locations…
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NY Judge Tosses Out Sidney Moratorium Law for Procedural Issues

sort-of-smile faceIt was a good day for New York landowners and pro-drillers yesterday. MDN told you on Monday that we had confirmed a decision had been made in the lawsuit brought by landowners in Delaware County against the Town of Sidney, NY for passing a moratorium on fracking (see Breaking: NY Court Decisions in Binghamton & Sidney Cases). We knew there had been a decision by Supreme Court Judge John F. Lambert–we just didn’t know what the decision was.

MDN received a copy of the decision yesterday (full copy embedded below) and it’s good news for landowners. The moratorium law was ruled “invalid”–but not because it was a moratorium. The law was tossed out because of the way it was enacted–for procedural issues. In fact, Judge Lambert was careful in his decision to point out that, “…the court has not addressed the moratorium issue.” So although this was a good decision and a reason to be happy, it wasn’t a jump-up-and-down-let’s-celebrate decision that seals of the fate of fracking moratoriums in NY. It occupies the middle ground on the happy face scale for us…
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Breaking: NY Court Decisions in Binghamton & Sidney Cases

exclusiveAn important development in two New York court cases that potentially impacts shale drilling in the state–and no, neither is (directly) about the Dryden or Middlefield town ban cases currently before New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. The two cases we’re referring to are (1) the City of Binghamton and their ill-fated “moratorium” thrown out by a lower court judge in 2012 and subsequently appealed, and (2) a similar moratorium in the Town of Sidney, NY.

In the Binghamton case, the appeal of the tossed-out fracking moratorium authored by anti-drilling husband and wife team of David and Helen Slottje has been withdrawn–so that case is now officially ended and the moratorium remains tossed and unenforceable. This is big news with big implications. In the case of Sidney, the judge in that case (different judge from the Binghamton case) issued a decision yesterday, but as of the time we wrote and posted this story, we still do not have a copy of the decision. We’ll post it as soon as we get it. Let’s dive deeper into both cases…

(Important update at the end of this article)
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Minor Incident in with Millennium Pipeline NY Compressor Station

The Millennium Pipeline was supposed to have completed a new compressor station near Hancock (Delaware County), NY in November. They’re getting close to being done, but not quite there yet. The new 15,900 horsepower compressor facility will add an additional 107.5 million cubic feet per day of capacity to the Millennium Pipeline, allowing them to pump more Marcellus Shale gas to the Algonquin Gas Transmission interconnect at Ramapo, NY.

Whether it was part of normal work to get the facility ready or there was a “problem” with bringing the compressor online, last Thursday Millennium personnel knocked on the door of the only residence living close to the facility and requested the family either stay inside for the next several hours, or immediately evacuate for a few hours while Millennium vented natural gas from the facility. The family (wisely) decided to evacuate for several hours…
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When Do/Don’t Municipal Frack Bans Violate the U.S. Constitution?

When do (and when don’t) municipal bans on natural gas drilling violate the U.S. Constitution? It’s a sticky question and it takes an ace legal mind to tackle this broad and complex topic. An ace attorney has done just that. MDN friend and litigator Ken Kamlet from the Binghamton law firm Hinman, Howard & Kattell (HHK) does a deep dive on the topic of when town bans violate the Constitution. This is not a theoretical exercise for Kamlet. The lawyers at HHK are currently suing (on behalf of landowners) the village of Sidney, NY (Delaware County) over a ban they passed in February 2013 (Exclusive: Sidney, NY Sued by Landowners over Fracking Moratorium).

HHK is also the law firm that sued the City of Binghamton, NY over their illegal frack moratorium and won (see NY Judge Throws Out Binghamton Fracking Moratorium). HHK knows the law, knows the Constitution, and is well-equipped to write about when bans do, and do not, violate the Constitution…
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Millennium Pipeline Gets FERC Approval for Hancock, NY Compressor

The Millennium Pipeline is a major northeastern natural gas transmission pipeline that starts in Steuben County, NY, runs along the center/bottom of the state (an area called New York’s Southern Tier) and angles down through the Catskill Mountains toward New York City, ending in Rockland County, NY. If you know anything about the geography of New York, it roughly parallels State Route 17 (in parts now called Interstate 86). The Millennium runs close to where MDN sits, not far from Binghamton. It handles an increasing amount of Marcellus Shale gas and is one of the important ways Marcellus gas gets to market.

Just down the road about 33 miles from MDN is a little town called Hancock, NY–in Delaware County. The Millennium runs by Hancock. The company previously filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a new compressor plant near Hancock, at a location called Hungry Hill. The Millennium wants to install a single 15,900 horsepower compressor engine to increase pressure and throughput of gas in the pipeline as it flows through Delaware County. A compressor at Hungry Hill would add 107,500 thousand cubic feet per day of additional capacity to the pipeline. FERC has just green lighted the project…
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Exclusive: Sidney, NY Sued by Landowners over Fracking Moratorium

exclusiveThree town board members in the Town of Sidney (Delaware County), NY should be concerned–very concerned. They voted February 13th to enact a one-year moratorium against shale drilling and fracking. Two other board members voted against the moratorium, so it passed. Now, all residents of the Town of Sidney will have to shuck out more money in taxes to defend that vote–on Wednesday they were sued by a group of local landowners whose property rights have been violated by the ban.

The worrisome part for Sidney is who is doing the suing on behalf of the landowers–Hinman, Howard & Kattell (HHK)–the same law firm that successfully sued Binghamton over their moratorium. Binghamton’s moratorium was found illegal and tossed last year (see NY Judge Throws Out Binghamton Fracking Moratorium). Below is a summary of the lawsuit against Sidney, as provided to MDN by HHK:

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