FBI Investigates Wolf Admin for Corruption re ME Pipe Permits

(Sacrificial) lamb roasting on a spit

Earlier this week the Associated Press, which sometimes can and sometimes can’t be trusted, broke an exclusive bombshell story in which they claim “sources” have told them the FBI has launched an investigation into the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf administration over how permits came to be issued for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. The focus of the investigation is on whether Wolf and his administration “forced environmental protection staff to approve construction permits” and whether Wolf or his administration received anything in return for those permits. Favors. Corruption. Kickbacks. That’s what’s being implied by the leakers who, of course, spoke only on condition of anonymity.
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Risberg PA-to-OH Pipeline Project Ready to Start Dec. 1

The Risberg Line, a 60-mile pipeline from Crawford County, PA to Erie County, PA, and from there across the border into Ashtabula County, OH, began construction in February (see Construction Begins on “Massive” PA to OH Risberg Pipeline). In October RH energytrans, the builder, said the project would be ready by Dec. 1 (see Risberg PA-to-OH Pipeline Project Almost Done, Ready by Dec. 1). And by golly, it is! Earlier this week RH energytrans asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to start it up by Dec. 1.
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UGI Completes 4th Expansion of NEPA Marcellus Gathering System

UGI Energy Services, the pipeline subsidiary of UGI Corporation (utility company) has just completed the fourth expansion of their northeastern PA pipeline gathering system called the Auburn Gathering System. In May 2018 MDN told you about UGI’s plans to add another two compressor stations and more gathering pipelines to benefit Cabot Oil & Gas (see UGI Expanding NEPA Gathering System to Flow More Cabot Gas).
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Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties

Pittsburgh Business Times ace reporter Paul Gough has done it again–breaking big news related to ExxonMobil and their very active search to locate a site in the Pittsburgh region to build a gigantic ethane cracker plant. This time Paul’s sources are telling him Exxon has widened their search. A few weeks ago we told you Exxon was looking for potential locations in Beaver County, PA, near where Shell is building their $8 billion cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). Paul learned the search has widened to at least two other southwest PA counties.
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Making the Case for Crackers, Other Petchem Plants in SWPA

Speaking of cracker plants and the exciting news that ExxonMobil is very actively searching for a location in the Marcellus/Utica region to build one (see today’s lead story), the fact that Exxon is looking is driving leftist environmental kooks bonkers. They hate the Shell cracker going up in Beaver County, and they want to ensure there are no other such plants built anywhere in the region–or at least in Pennsylvania. The eco-leftists have bullied Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto to join their cause, who recently stated in a speech, “I oppose any additional petrochemical companies coming to western Pennsylvania.” The president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council has responded to Peduto’s inane comments, exposing him for the dunce he is.
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Energy Transfer 3Q – Mariner East Shines, Revolution Back Soon

Energy Transfer (ET), the big pipeline company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, issued its third quarter 2019 update yesterday. ET is the builder of the Rover Pipeline in the Utica Shale, the Mariner East trio of pipelines in the PA Marcellus, and the Revolution gathering system in southwestern PA. With Rover built and fully operational, our interest was in locating information/updates on the ME and Revolution projects. We hit paydirt in yesterday’s update.
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Radical PA Green Group Sues State to Block State Land Drilling

In June 2017, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised from drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land. A divided court ruled that money from royalties (not lease signing bonuses) must be used only for “environmental” purposes. Certain aspects of that case were referred back to the lower Commonwealth Court where it’s still being litigated. Not happy with that victory, the radicals at the PEDF have just filed a new lawsuit that aims to permanently block all drilling on state-owned land by (ab)using the state Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA).
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Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit at PA Supreme Court – Can of Worms?

Yesterday MDN brought you the news the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging whether or not the state Attorney General’s office has the right to use a consumer protection law to prosecute companies like Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko over royalty payment shenanigans (see PA Supremes to Consider Long-Running Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit). The law the AG’s office wants to use has never been used that way before. According to legal experts, drillers are very concerned if the AG’s office wins this one.
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PA Supremes to Consider Long-Running Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit

In December 2015, Pennsylvania’s felony-indicted Attorney General, Kathleen Kane (who later was convicted and did jail time) brought a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko accusing them of royalty fraud (see PA Atty General Sues Chesapeake Energy, Williams for Royalty Fraud). Her successor, Josh Shapiro, has continued the fight.
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PA DEP Fines Equitrans $650K for SWPA Gas Storage Field Violation

Equitrans (nee EQT Midstream) owns a natural gas storage field in Greene County, PA, in the southwest corner of the state, called Swarts Field. Natural gas storage fields are an important, but often overlooked, part of the natgas ecosystem. Last December the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) threatened to shut down Swarts Field because of coal mining in the area, saying Equitrans had not properly mapped old/abandonded conventional gas wells in the area (see PA DEP Threatens to Close Equitrans Gas Storage Field in SWPA). The good news is the DEP threat is now over. The bad news is that Equitrans has to pay a $650,000 fine.
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Northeast PA Rail Yard Expanding to Handle More Miss. Frac Sand

Frac sand

Good news for drillers in the Marcellus/Utica: You’re about to have access to even more frac sand than before. In May 2018 Shale Support Global Holdings signed a deal to become the exclusive provider of frac sand to the Shale Rail terminal located in Wysox (Bradford County), PA (see Shale Support Exclusive Frac Sand Supplier for NEPA Facility). Shale Support and Shale Rail have just signed an extension to keep working together, and Shale Rail announced it’s adding an extra new track in their Wysox rail yard, to increase capacity of incoming shipments.
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Eco-Leftists Try to Stop Global Warming Debate at PA House Hearing

Some of those who attended the hearing and who believe in global warming wore tinfoil hats, which we find apropos

Kudos to Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Chairman of the PA House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, for being the adult in the room at yesterday’s hearing on so-called climate change (i.e. man-made global warming). Metcalfe, who is a “denier” that mankind is catastrophically causing the earth to toast, arranged a hearing on “Pennsylvania CO2 and climate.” He included six witnesses who testified they believe in the fairy tale of man-made global warming, and five witnesses who don’t, to offer their best evidence for/against. That’s about as even as it gets. Yet eco-leftists, like the executive director of PennEnvironment, compared those (of us) who hold an opinion other than his, to Nazis.
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PA Public Utility Commission Gets New Commissioner: Ralph Yanora

Ralph Yanora

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has 522 employees, including attorneys, rate and service analysts, auditors, economists, engineers, motor transit and railroad specialists, communications specialists, safety inspectors and enforcement investigators. The agency is responsible for oversight of public utilities operating in the Commonwealth of PA. Some of that responsibility includes oversight of natural gas pipelines–like the Mariner East trio of pipelines. So the PUC is an important agency for the Marcellus industry. There are five Commissioners who oversee the agency. One left in March and a replacement was just appointed by the state legislature.
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The Real Costs of PA Gov. Wolf’s Carbon Tax by Joining RGGI

Opposition to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to have PA join with northeastern states in the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) continues. Big opposition. Earlier this month Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf went completely off his rocker with a power-grab to force PA into a regional alliance to tax natural gas-fired electric plants out of existence (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). The reaction was swift–on both sides of the issue (see Reaction to Gov. Wolf’s Bonkers Plan to Strangle NatGas Elec Plants). Reaction against the plan continues. The Indiana County, PA Board of Commissioners recently adopted a unanimous resolution against Wolf’s foolish plan, laying out in dollars and cents the very high cost such a plan will have on the county (in lost taxes and lost jobs).
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