Stolen Dynamite from Atlantic Sunrise Site Discovered in Creek

Stolen dynamite looked like this

As we’ve reported daily since the news broke, someone stole a bunch of dynamite and the blasting caps (used to ignite the dynamite) from a locked storage trailer sitting at an Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline construction site in Lancaster County, PA (see Dynamite Stolen from Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Site in Lancaster County, PA). As of last Thursday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had doubled the reward money to $20,000 and upped the estimated amount of explosives and blasting caps stolen (see ATF Doubles Reward re Stolen Dynamite; 40 Agents in Lancaster Co.). Someone walking across a bridge in Riverfront Park (East Donegal Township) last Friday peered into the creek and noticed a lot of something that didn’t look like it belonged–the missing dynamite and blasting caps. Except the amount recovered is only half of the amount the ATF previously said was stolen. A day after the discovery the ATF changed its story and now says it is “increasingly confident” that all of the stolen dynamite has been recovered. The ATF says the contractor botched the paperwork recording how much dynamite was actually in inventory. The ATF has still not awarded the $20,000 reward money–because a suspect has not yet been apprehended. The investigation is ongoing. So has the ATF recovered all of the dynamite, or not?…
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Seneca Resources Wastewater Recycling Plant Largest in PA

A few years ago Seneca Resources (wholly-owned drilling subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company) purchased a wastewater treatment facility at the McKean County Landfill and began using it to recycle Seneca’s brine (wastewater). The operation was renamed Highland Field Services and now handles all of the “sourcing, handling and recycling of fluids associated with the Seneca’s Appalachian development program.” Because of the facility, last year Seneca was able to recycle 100% of it’s brine/wastewater, and because of that, some 75% of all the fluids Seneca used in their 2017 drilling activities came from the Highland facility. Put another way, Seneca had to acquire and use fresh water sources for only 25% of all the water they needed to drill and frack–far less fresh water was needed in Seneca’s operations last year than in previous years. Not only did the Highland facility handle 100% of Seneca’s wastewater, it also handled wastewater for other drillers too–a total of 7.9 million barrels between Seneca and other drillers, making Highland the largest oil and gas wastewater recycling facility in PA…
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ATF Doubles Reward re Stolen Dynamite; 40 Agents in Lancaster Co.

The stolen dynamite looks similar to this picture – click image for larger version

We don’t want to belabor this issue too much, but once again we have more/new information about a serious situation in Lancaster County, PA. As we reported earlier this week, someone(s) has stolen a bunch of dynamite and the blasting caps (needed to detonate the dynamite) from a construction site for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (see Dynamite Stolen from Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Site in Lancaster County, PA and More Dynamite Stolen from PA Pipe Site than Originally Reported). Investigators with the federal ATF–Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives–are “moving with a sense of urgency” to locate the thieves. How urgent? ATF has just doubled the reward money, from $10,000 to $20,000 for information leading to an arrest. They also have “30-40 agents” swarming through Lancaster County working on the case. Make no mistake, they will find out who did it. The ATF also says it appears the contractor storing the dynamite violated federal storage standards, making it easier for someone to steal it…
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Another Look at Aborted Coudersport Wastewater Treatment Plant

MDN previously reported on a promising brine wastewater treatment plant planned for Coudersport, PA by Epiphany Water Solutions. After JKLM Energy walked away from the project, in pretty short order the Coundersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) voted to revoke agreements it had with the project, which recently led us to declare the project dead (see Planned Potter County Frack Wastewater Treatment Facility is Dead). A local newspaper editor penned what is one of the most thoughtful, reasoned editorials we’ve seen in the fracking debate–about the Epiphany project’s demise. The editor says when you clear away the inflammatory verbal clutter surrounding the project, if the technology is sound and produces water from wastewater that is “clean enough to drink,” that’s laudable and “still worth pursuing.” The editor encourages Epiphany to find another location in PA for this much-needed project. Here’s an common sense editorial worth reading…
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Sunoco Says ME1 Ready to Restart, but PUC is Dragging its Feet

Ethane and propane had been flowing through the converted Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline safely for more than year, hauling the two natural gas liquids (NGLs) from southwest PA all the way to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia. However, ME1 was suddenly switched off on March 3 by order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) after a sinkhole opened up under the pipeline in Chester County, exposing some of the bare steel to the open air (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). Sunoco Logistics Partners, the owner of ME1, is building a new set of pipelines called Mariner East 2 (ME2) close to the existing ME1. Construction work in the area on ME2 led to the sinkhole that exposed ME1. The PUC shut down ME1 until further notice, requiring Sunoco to conduct a study of the area and provide the PUC with evidence to reassure them that ME1 is OK and will not leak or explode. Sunoco conducted the study, provided its results, and has told the PUC it’s time to restart ME1. But the PUC is dragging its feet, taking its time to review Sunoco’s work, and in no particular hurry to restart ME1–even though the outage is impacting the drilling program at companies like Range Resources…
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Insane Legislation Requires PA Residents Use 100% Renewable Energy

Right around Earth Day politicians become even nuttier than they usually are. This year is no exception. A truly breathtaking, totally insane pair of bills have just been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature, in observance of Earth Day, that would force all Pennsylvanians to use electricity generated from 100% so-called renewable sources by the year 2050. It’s totally preposterous and lunatic–but there you have it. Actually being in your right mind is no longer a requirement for high office–at least in PA. Democrat Rep. Chris Rabb introduced the bill in the PA House, and Democrat-lite (i.e. RINO) Sen. Charles McIlhinney introduced the bill in the PA Senate. Unsurprisingly they’re both from the Philadelphia area, where living in the real world doesn’t exist. The object of the proposed law is to dump the use of all “fossil fuels” and instead rely on unreliable wind and solar to produce all electricity in the Keystone State. Do you know how much of PA’s electricity is produced by wind and solar today? A piddly 2.8%. Nuclear generation is the #1 source of electric in PA at 41%, followed by coal at 29.6% and natural gas at 25%. Do you really, in your heart of hearts, believe PA can generate 100% of its electricity from wind and solar by 2050? It’s a fantasy, totally unconnected with reality. Yet that’s all we’ll hear and read for the next few days until, blessedly, we get past so-called Earth Day…
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More Dynamite Stolen from PA Pipe Site than Originally Reported

We have an update to a story we first brought you yesterday, that someone(s) has stolen a bunch of dynamite and the blasting caps needed to detonate it from a construction site for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Lancaster County, PA (see Dynamite Stolen from Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Site in Lancaster County, PA). Investigators with the federal ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) are “moving with a sense of urgency” to locate the thieves. Two new bits of information. First, even more dynamite was stolen than previously reported–some 704 pounds (instead of 640) and 450 blasting caps (instead of 400). The second bit of information is that the contractor who was storing the dynamite is being investigated to see if the material was stored properly, according to strict federal guidelines. You don’t leave dynamite in a trailer without the wheels being removed from the trailer and industrial strength locks and lock shields. Here’s the latest on this developing situation…
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Dynamite Stolen from Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Site in Lancaster County, PA

Approximately 640 pounds of dynamite and 400 blasting caps were stolen from a locked trailer at a construction site for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Marietta (Lancaster County), PA this past weekend. Because the theft involved explosives, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been called in to investigate. The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. We sincerely hope the perp(s) are caught and go to jail–for a long time. If you know anything, call the ATF hotline at 888-ATF-BOMB (888-283-2662). Not sure who thought up that phone number for the ATF, but it’s certainly memorable! Here’s the details…
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PA DEP Hunger Games Competition to Distribute $12.6M in ME2 Money

In February Sunoco Logistics Partners agreed to pay a massive (historically high) $12.6 million fine to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for “permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project” (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction). Sunoco’s ME2 construction activities caused a few erosion issues here and some drilling mud leaks there–so-called “harms” to the environment. Surely some of the massive, historically high $12.6 million fine Sunoco is paying will be used to “fix” those problems, right? Wrong. Sunoco has to pay twice–pay to clean up the problems AND pay the fine. The fine was essentially a shakedown–Sunoco had to pay it or they would not be allowed to resume construction work on ME2. Yesterday the DEP announced a new program to distribute the $12.6 million of fine money. In Hunger Games tradition, the DEP is launching a lottery for the 85 municipalities along ME2’s path, allowing those “districts” to submit begging proposals to request some of the money for programs in their district. What kind of programs? “[P]rojects that reduce or minimize pollution and protect clean water.” In other words, just about anything contestants can dream up. They have 45 days, from May 7 to June 21, to make a grab for the cash (i.e. submit a grant application)…
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Southwestern Appeals “Trespass” Case to Entire PA Superior Court

Southwestern Energy has just taken the next very important step in a process that frankly has us holding our breath. Two weeks ago MDN brought you the news that the Pennsylvania Superior Court handed down a decision that has the power to greatly restrict, perhaps even stop, Marcellus drilling in PA (see PA Superior Court Overturns “Rule of Capture” for Marcellus Well and PA “Rule of Capture” Case has Power to Limit Marcellus Drilling). The issue, in brief, is that the Superior Court decision disallows using an age-old principle called the “rule of capture” when it comes to shale drilling and fracking. It opens the door to a myriad of frivolous lawsuits claiming that a fracture, a crack created during fracking, is draining gas from a neighbor’s property without justly compensating the neighbor for the gas. Southwestern successfully argued in a lower court that the odd crack here and there that may slip under a neighbor’s property is permissible. The landowner appealed the case to Superior Court and three judges heard the case. One of the Superior judges authored a decision overturning the lower court, with a second judge “joining” (agreeing with) the decision. The third judge was AWOL (“not participating”). Frankly, the stakes could not be higher for the future of Marcellus drilling in PA. Southwestern has just filed a request with the Superior Court asking that all 20 judges who sit on that court hear and consider the case, which makes sense given the gravity of the case and PA’s economic future…
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Did StateImpact Forum on PA Gas Royalty Issue Resolve Anything?

Perhaps our headline for this article is a tad misleading. Maybe the better question is, Was a meeting held yesterday in Towanda, PA on the topic of gas royalties *meant* to resolve anything? The answer of which is, “Probably not.” PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania organized and hosted a forum yesterday on the topic of PA landowners getting screwed over by energy companies with respect to royalty payments. Both sides were well represented at the forum. We think it’s a cool concept, to get both sides talking about a very important issue. However, StateImpact, funded and controlled by Big Green backers including the William Penn Foundation and Heinz Endowments, is not an impartial, unbiased news organization that wants to honestly explore this important issue. StateImpact is NOT an impartial broker. Their purpose is to play both sides against each other and enjoy the chaos that ensues. Whip up more animosity between both sides. Make no mistake: StateImpact abhors shale drilling and prefers it not happen at all in PA. With that as the proper context to understand the event, some good points did emerge from the discussion, despite StateImpact’s bad intentions…
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Sunoco Requests Change of Drilling Methods for ME2 Near Sinkholes

Underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work done by Sunoco Logisitics Partners in Chester County to install the twin Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipelines has led to the development of three large sinkholes (see 3rd Sinkhole Appears Near ME2 Construction in Chester County, PA). The third sinkhole that developed exposed a portion of the existing Mariner East 1 pipeline, causing ME1 to be closed until further notice (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). In order for ME1 to reopen, the state Public Utility Commission has to be assured further drilling for ME2 won’t further disturb ME1. The problem is that the underground geology in that area of Chester County is known as a karst–analogous to Swiss cheese rock layers underground. Not conducive to HDD work. So Sunoco is changing gears. The company has filed a request with the Dept. of Environmental Protection (which oversees the regulation of the project) to change from using HDD to instead using a couple of alternative methods to get the pipe in the ground–including trenching. Before the DEP gives its OK, they will first hold a public hearing on April 30th in West Chester…
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ME2 Pipeline Cuts Down PA Trees Vacated by Protesters

Bet you didn’t know that if a pipeline company waits until antis leave the treetops where they’ve been perched because of concerns about high winds, and then the pipeline company nips in early in the morning and cuts down those vacated trees (legally), it’s considered a “predawn timbering raid.” That’s the hilarious headline given to yet another anti-pipeline, anti-drilling article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, covering news about cutting down three trees on a property in Huntingdon County, PA. For the past two years the Gerharts have used illegal protest tactics to stall tree cutting on their property. Out-of-state Big Green radicals, along with the Gearharts’ own daughter, have lived on-and-off in the tops of three white pine trees, building magic tree houses so they can lay around and do whatever. The tree occupation has prevented Sunoco Logistics Partners from cutting the trees, which are in the path of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. At daybreak on Sunday, April 8th, after observing the greenie weenies had left the night before scared of impending high winds, Sunoco snuck in and cut down the trees, much to the consternation of the Gerharts who called it a “underhanded and cowardly attack.” We call it funny! And smart. So much for the dedication of antis. They scamper down trees when it gets a tad windy up there–something to keep in mind…
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PA DEP Report – Virtually No Methane Migration from Shale Wells

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released the results of it’s industry-leading program to monitor oil and gas wells for methane (and oil and brine) migration–that is, for anything would impact groundwater. The Mechanical Integrity Assessment Program, as it’s called, is “the most rigorous routine well integrity assessment program to protect groundwater in the United States,” requiring quarterly inspections by operators of their wells. The DEP is in the process of releasing the results of those reports for the past four years–from 2014-2017. They’ve just released results for 2014 (full copy below). What did the DEP find? “[L]ess than 1 percent of operator observations indicated the types of integrity problems, such as gas outside surface casing, that could allow gas to move beyond the well footprint.” In other words, there is virtually no methane migration happening from shale (and conventional) natural gas wells because of good well casings and regular checks. It is hard to overstate how important these findings are. The DEP’s own evidence disproves wild claims that methane is migrating from shale wells everywhere, claims made by anti-fossil fuel radicals and a colluding media (see examples from StateImpact Pennsylvania). Below is the good news that there is virtually no methane migration happening in PA from Marcellus Shale wells…
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PA Supreme Court Takes a Close Look at Strippers…as in Wells

It’s always fun to talk about strippers here on MDN. Uh, stripper wells that is. Background: In 2012 Pennsylvania passed the Act 13 drilling law that includes an impact fee on wells targeting shale layers, including the Marcellus. Snyder Brothers, headquartered in PA, drills mostly conventional (vertical only) wells in southwestern PA. In 2011-2012 they drilled 45 vertical-only wells targeting the Marcellus. All 45 of the vertical-only wells were fracked. Initially those wells produced more than 90 thousand cubic feet per day (Mcf/day), but by December of the year in which they were drilled, the wells produced less than 90 Mcf/day. The way the 2012 Act 13 law is written, if a well produces less than 90 Mcf/day during “any” month it is considered a stripper well and exempt from paying the impact fee. The state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) assessed the fee anyway because for 11 months the wells produced more than 90 Mcf/day, arguing the word “any” is not a get-out-tax-jail-free card. Snyder Bros. sued and after an appeal of the case, Snyder Bros. won the case in March 2017, exempting those wells from paying impact fees (see PA Court Says Snyder Bros Wells are Strippers, No Impact Fees Due). That sent the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) into a tizzy with claims the Act 13 impact fees are now in jeopardy. So the PUC appealed the case to the PA Supreme Court. The Supremes heard arguments in the case last Wednesday…
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Progress for UGI Energy’s LNG Peak Shaver in Bethlehem, PA

UGI LNG’s Temple I installation near Reading, Pa. with 3-million-gallon storage tank.

In February MDN reported that UGI is proposing a new LNG peak shaver for Bethlehem, PA. The project hit some early opposition, so UGI tweaked the design, keeping it alive (see UGI Energy Tweaks LNG Peak Shaver for Bethlehem, PA). An LNG peak shaver is a unit used for storing surplus natural gas, to have extra natgas on hand and ready during times of peak consumption during really hot summers or really cold winters. Sometimes your local gas utility will build and use a peak shaver (small LNG storage facility), so they don’t run out of natgas at a critical time, and to help with keeping prices lower by drawing down from storage if prices spike. Low prices make for happy customers. We’re interested in such facilities because of their potential as a new demand source for our plentiful gas supplies. UGI’s Bethlehem project includes building an 80-foot high LNG tank. Last week the Bethlehem Planning Board voted 3-0 to approve the tank, meaning more progress for the project…
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