Otsego2000 Snobs Appeal FERC Approval of New Market Pipe Project

There’s a small group of rich snobs who have created a mini-swamp in Cooperstown, NY. They go to each other’s wine tasting parties and pretend they’re Important People. Gentry class. Folks with lots of money who want to keep Upstate as their own private playground. You know…keep the poor folks away from your property, unless they’re mowing the lawn or weeding the garden. God forbid people like disgusting farmers should actually make money on drilling or pipelines. These are the type of people behind a group called Otsego2000. They just can’t accept the reality that their will is not being obeyed in blocking a VERY modest upgrade to an existing pipeline that runs through Upstate–called the New Market Project. Dominion’s New Market Project (currently under construction) consists of building two new compressor plants and upgrading another to help flow more abundant, cheap and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania into the northeast (see Dominion Asks FERC for New Compressors in Upstate NY, WV). The project costs $159 million and will provide 112,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of extra natural gas capacity along ~200 miles of existing Dominion pipeline across Upstate. The pipeline runs through the Horseheads, Ithaca, Syracuse and Albany areas. The snobs of Otsego2000 have just sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in federal court to try and stop the project–even though not one of the compressor stations is located in Otsego County! Otsego2000 is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1981 “to protect the environmental, agricultural, scenic, cultural and historic resources of the Otsego Lake region and northern Otsego County.” As near as we can tell, the New Market Project doesn’t impact Otsego County at all. Yet Otsego2000 is fighting the project, with no legal standing to do so. Go figure…
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Accident: CNG “Virtual Pipeline” Truck Rolls Over in Upstate NY

One of the arguments/concerns used to defeat a facility near Binghamton, NY that would fill trucks transporting CNG to large customers not lucky enough to be located close to a natgas pipeline is that the trucks used to haul the CNG are “bomb trucks.” Just waiting to explode if they should be in an accident. And you know that sooner or later there will be an accident. NG Advantage had big plans to build a virtual pipeline (gas compression & trucking facility) on the outskirts of Binghamton, in the Town of Fenton. The facility would use gas from the Millennium Pipeline to fill trailers outfitted with a series of CNG canisters. We sat through several information sessions where the safety of those trailers was explained. We looked at one of the rigs, up close and personal. We recall one woman from Hillcrest screeching “It’s so BIG!” upon seeing the tractor trailer–which is much shorter than a standard tractor trailer rig. We heard NG explain that if a truck should be so unfortunate to be in an accident, the safety design would automatically release the gas, which dissipates into the atmosphere immediately–making an explosion or fire extremely unlikely. But facts make no difference in a heated, emotional debate. NG isn’t the only company attempting to service businesses in Upstate with CNG, to compensate for Cuomo’s ban on safe pipelines. Another company, Xpress Natural Gas (XNG), has a virtual pipeline operation based just south of Binghamton in Susquehanna County, PA. Things are so much easier in PA (sigh). An XNG truck was traveling through Otsego County, NY, when the truck overturned on a rural roadway. We thought, this is it. Major explosion, right? Scorched earth everywhere. Ball of fire. Driver burned to a cinder. But no, none of that happened. In fact, NOTHING HAPPENED. The truck overturned, and there it sat until it was pulled back upright again. Perfectly safe, as designed. Which illustrates and exposes the lies so often spread about virtual pipeline operations…
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XNG Virtual Pipeline Defends Itself Against Antis in Otsego Co. NY

Earlier this year Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) spent $18.6 million to build a “virtual pipeline” facility in Susquehanna County, PA that employs ~90 people and loads up to 100 compressed natural gas (CNG) tanker trucks each day with PA Marcellus gas, for deliveries to customers across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states (see Major CNG Virtual Pipeline Coming to Susquehanna County, PA). Many of XNG’s trucks (40 per day) head up Interstate 81, catch Interstate 88 in the Binghamton area, and keep on going, eventually arriving in Herkimer County where the trucks unload the gas into the Iroquois Pipeline. Iroquois gets up to 50 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) from XNG’s trucks, using it for resale to customers further on down the pipeline in New York and New England (see XNG Virtual Pipe Delivering 50 MMcf/d of PA NatGas to NY Pipeline ). However, some residents in Upstate NY, in Otsego County (we suspect the same anti-fossil fuel nutters who lobbied to ban fracking and ban new pipelines) are up in arms with XNG’s daily truck trips. In order to shave miles and money from having to use Interstate 90 (NY Thruway with big tolls), XNG instead leaves I-88 and uses several state highways, routing the trucks through small towns. An eyewitness who lives along the route emailed MDN back in September said, “these [XNG drivers] are very considerate to the speed limits in the small towns they go through, I think these drivers are well disciplined…(maybe disciplined is not the right word) and the trucks are very quiet.” However, a group of antis turned up at a meeting last Thursday night in Otsego County to gripe and moan about the truck traffic. They don’t want fracking. They don’t want pipelines. And now they don’t want trucks hauling natural gas coming past their front door. Maybe they should just quit using all fossil fuels themselves and begin living like cavemen again?…
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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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Cooperstown Refuses $20K Grant from Williams for Fire Equipment

Back in March, MDN wrote an article highlighting the practice by Williams and their Constitution Pipeline of handing out grants to worthy causes and organizations, like fire departments, the Boy Scouts and local Chambers of Commerce. Anti-drillers typically call it payola, or greasing the skids to make those communities more accepting of the pipeline when it comes time to build it (see Constitution Pipeline Payments to Groups – Donations or Payola?). To be honest, we struggle with the issue ourselves. We think it’s great to make those payments–but we think it’s probably better to make the payments after the pipeline is fully approved and ready to be built (or already built). For us the issue is one of timing, not about the payments themselves. However, for the dunderheads in the Village of Cooperstown, NY (yes, where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located), officials there refuse to allow the local fire department to apply for a $20,000 matching grant with Williams to purchase new equipment–simply because they’re so opposed to anything to do with natural gas and fossil fuels…
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MDN Calls on NY Towns to Ban Windmills; Boycott Cooperstown

No WindmillsThey’re noisy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They use rare earth minerals in their manufacturing process and endanger Chinese workers who have to mine the toxic metals from the ground. They kill bald eagles and bats and all manner of birds. No one wants to live next to one going whup whup whup 24/7 (drives the neighbors insane). We’re talking of commercial windmills of course. Today MDN kicks off a campaign to get 170 New York townships to ban windmills. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s also have town boards ban big solar farms too…
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Save the Bald Eagles in NY! Next Hurdle for Constitution Pipeline

You’ve heard of save the whales, save the snail darters, and maybe even save the tree bats (see Natgas Jumps Thru Hoops for Bats While Solar Farm Torches Turtles). The latest anti-drilling faux excuse for stopping the already-authorized, permitted and public hearing’d to death Constitution Pipeline in upstate New York is, yes, save the American bald eagle! We learn from the anti-drilling Oneonta Star that bald eagles are rather discriminating. They don’t mind traffic noise from a busy interstate highway less than a half mile from their nests–but if Williams happens to do a little blasting of bedrock so they can lay pipe–that will scare the bald eagles right out of their tail feathers…
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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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Obama Coming to Cooperstown on Thurs – Hold a Pro-Drilling Sign!

Calling all New York pro-drillers! President Obama is visiting Cooperstown, NY this Thursday, May 22nd. The 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) has put out the call for as many of their members as possible to turn up at the Baseball Hall of Fame to hold signs welcoming and informing President Obama that he needs to share some of his energy leadership with the recalcitrant man-child governor of New York: Andy Cuomo. According to the email call to action, the JLCNY says, “…let President Obama know that NY lacks his leadership on energy matters and the rights and benefits being enjoyed throughout the rest of America are STILL being denied to NY citizens!” Here here! We agree 100%.

Here’s the full announcement from the JLCNY issued yesterday:
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The Only Oil Industry Exec Loved by NY’s Anti-Drilling Wackos

There’s a reason why the so-called Elected Officials to Protect New York–a group of numskull politicians in New York State who oppose drilling so they can get more votes–trots out a “retired high-ranking oil executive” who’s already made his millions and doesn’t give a #$%@ about anyone else making money–to declare the miracle of hydraulic fracturing can’t be done safely. The reason? Because they can’t find anyone else from the industry to do it–like someone who has actually actually been in charge of a fracking operation and knows how safe it is (unlike the “retired high-ranking oil executive” who retired before high-volume fracking came around). And so, one rich, old, white guy is the darling of New York’s anti-drillers and gets major play in anti-drilling publications like the Albany Times Union, while thousands of oil company executives that actually oversee fracking are never consulted for their opinion about a subject on which they are expert. Figures.

Anti-drilling politicians trot out the retired executive–who has a summer home in swanky Cooperstown next to other retired, rich, white liberals–to denigrate one of the highest achievements of mankind yet: hydraulic fracturing. He thinks all fracking should be shut down–it ain’t safe, ya know. And the TU, in dictation mode, dutifully “reports” it. Meanwhile, the retired executive sips another martini with his rich, white, liberal neighbors…
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JLCNY Encourages Support of Constitution Pipeline — This Week

MDN has done a fair bit of reporting on a desperately needed new natural gas pipeline due to be built from Susquehanna County, PA all the way to Schoharie County, NY. The Constitution Pipeline will be built by Williams starting later this year, if all goes according to plan (see New Marcellus Constitution Pipeline Announces “Final” Route). Last week MDN told you that both the federal EPA and Dept. of Interior have asked for more time to provide their own comments on the new pipeline (see EPA/DOI Ask for More Time to Review PA-NY Constitution Pipeline). FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has itself told Williams they will need to make a few adjustments to their plans (see FERC: Constitution Pipeline Should Make Changes to Lessen Impacts).

FERC will ultimately decide whether or not to allow Williams to build the pipeline. We doubt there’s much doubt about the plan–it’s almost certain to be built. FERC themselves say it’s really really needed. However, FERC must go through the motions, and one of those motions is to hold public “scoping” hearings where people (often anti-drillers) show up to gripe and moan about the plan. FERC is conducing a series of four hearings this week, starting today. The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York sent the following email (with hearing details) to request members of the JLCNY and all pro-drillers attend a meeting near them, to show support for natural gas in our region…
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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 Pro-Drillers File Final Briefs in Dryden/Middlefield Cases

court gavelAccording to Tom West, lead attorney in the New York “Dryden” court case that seeks to overturn bad lower court decisions that allow towns to completely ban fracking, the “last word” has been now been filed by landowners and (in the case of West’s client), drillers like Norse Energy. West, via his blog site, announced two days ago that the final briefs with counter-arguments have been filed for both the Dryden and Middlefield cases (copies of both final briefs are embedded below). According to West, additional friend-of-the-court briefs (called amicus briefs) will still be filed, but until oral arguments are heard in a few months, this is the final word from our side of the isle. Interestingly, when you read through the two briefs, they each make slightly different arguments–perhaps increasing the odds that something will resonate with the justices.

Here’s what West says via his blog site about the filings:
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Anti-Drillers Want NY Hospital to Burn Oil to Avoid More Fracking

Natural gas burns cleaner than either coal or oil–this is an inarguable fact. Natural gas is also, thanks to shale fracking, now cheaper than either oil and in most cases coal. And yet, anti-fracking activists don’t want a hospital in Oneonta, NY to convert to using natural gas (cleaner, cheaper) because…it may one day lead to more fracking. Huh? Don’t convert, even though it’s better for the air and even though it will cost less than burning oil (as they do now). Yep. That’s the twisted philosophy rampant among New York anti-drillers. It makes no sense, so don’t try and figure it out or you may go crazy too…
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Breaking: NY Court Upholds Local Town Frack Bans

Winston ChurchillIt is a day of disappointment, but also a day of resolve, for landowners in New York State. Yesterday, the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division in a 4-0 decision ruled towns have the right to ban hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling. MDN has previously chronicled the long fight against a simple majority of three town board members unilaterally stripping away the rights of all property owners in a township to allow natural gas drilling. The matter came to a head when lawsuits were filed in two of those cases, the towns of Dryden (Tompkins County, near Ithaca), and Middlefield, (Otsego County, near Cooperstown)–see Town Frack Ban Cases Heard in NY Supreme Court Appellate Division for important background information.

The 77,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, whose lawyer, Scott Kurkoski, represented a JLCNY member in the Middlefield case, has responded to the loss (below) by saying they intend to appeal the decision to the next, and highest, court in New York–the Court of Appeals. MDN has a copy of the court’s decision (embedded below), reaction from the near-orgasmic anti-drilling eco-nuts, and our view of what it all means for the future of drilling in NY…
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WV Group Largest Landowner Coalition in Marcellus/Utica

A group of landowners in Wirt County, WV have just taken the crown as the largest landowner coalition MDN is aware of in the entire Marcellus and Utica Shale. The Wirt County Oil and Gas Group closed the door on new signups as of Monday, and the total acreage represented by the group is an astonishing 227,000 acres—almost 1/4 million acres! The really attractive part for potential drillers? The land is located in the wet gas area of the Marcellus.

The next largest group MDN is aware of is in Upstate New York—the CNY (Central New York) Landowners Coalition—with 194,500 acres. Both the Wirt County and CNY coalitions have representatives in Houston this week for the NAPE Winter Expo, shopping the acreage looking for a lease.

More details on the Wirt County group:

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