PA DEP Seeks Comment on Draft Radiation Monitoring Regs for Shale

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has drafted up new “technical guidance” on “radioactivity monitoring at solid waste processing and disposal facilities” specifically targeted at the shale industry. Translation: new regulations for how dumps (and drillers) monitor and report on radioactivity levels from incoming loads of drill cuttings. The DEP has posted their proposed new guidance document for public comment, after which they will adopt the new regs.
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Leidy South Compressors Generate $100M Economic Impact, 680 Jobs

Did you know that building just two new compressor stations in Pennsylvania will bring the state an extra $100 million in economic activity and support 680 direct, indirect and induced jobs? We sure didn’t! Last week Williams filed a newly published study with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the economic impact of their proposed Leidy South Expansion Project (full study embedded below). The study makes an irrefutable case for building the new compressor stations in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.
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Philly Pipe Protesters Go to Harrisburg, Picket Gov’s Empty Office

Credit: WITF Harrisburg (click for larger version)

A small group of southeast Pennsylvania pipeline protesters drove themselves to Harrisburg on Wednesday (using fossil fuels to get there) to demand Gov. Tom Wolf put a halt to construction of the legally-permitted Mariner East 2 pipeline, and essentially shut down the operation of the entire Mariner East network (ME1, ME2 and ME2X). Gov. Wolf wasn’t even in his office, so they were picketing and protesting for nothing. Oh well, the wackos get an “A” for effort, right?
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Ignored Pipe Caused Philadelphia Refinery Explosion

In June there was a series of explosions and a massive fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining Complex, the East Coast’s oldest and largest oil refinery (see Massive Explosion, Fire at Philadelphia Refinery). It took fire fighters a full day to extinguish the blaze. The refinery had already been through bankruptcy once. The fire caused it to close down and layoff over 1,000 workers (see Philly Refinery to Close Following Massive Fire – 1,020 Jobs Lost). We now have a good idea of what caused the initial problem: An elbow pipe that had not been inspected in almost 45 years had become paper-thin.
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President Trump Coming to Pittsburgh Shale Insight Event Next Wk

President Donald J. Trump

Look who’s coming to town! President Trump will be the keynote speaker at Shale Insight in Pittsburgh next week. Trump previously addressed Shale Insight attendees in 2016 when he was running for president, and MDN was there (see Highlights from 2016 Shale Insight, Day Two – Trump!). MDN will be there again this time to capture Trump’s comments and share them with you. But President Trump isn’t the only reason to go…
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Allegheny County, PA Proposes O&G Lease-Shaming Registry

Allegheny County, PA (Pittsburgh and surrounding suburbs) is seriously considering a new law that would require landowners to report, via a public registry, land they have leased oil and gas drilling. Specifically land leased for shale wells. The law would require all sorts of private information to be divulged, publicly, including what kind of drilling/fracking will theoretically take place. And what if a landowner doesn’t “register” with the authorities? Here come the fines. The only reason we can divine for such a law is to shame landowners (lease-shaming), to prompt neighbors to hassle them for leasing their land. Or perhaps to alert Big Green groups so they can use paid protesters (as they so often do) to show up and protest in front of someone’s leased property. What has our society become?
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PA Sen. Yaw Intros Bill to Allow 3rd Party Review of Erosion Permits

PA State Sen. Gene Yaw

In the past, shale drillers have waited more than eight months to receive an erosion and sediment control (Chapter 102) permit, used in building roads and shale well pads. Turnaround from the time a permit is requested until it is supposed to be approved is, by DEP’s own statutory standards, 14 days. In 2017 it was taking over 250 days in some areas of the state (see More Pushback on PA Senate Plan to Fix Slow DEP Permit Reviews). Earlier this year DEP’s southwest office said they’ve been able to knock the turnaround time down to 30 days (see PA DEP Southwest Office Says Permit Backlog Down 75%). Better, but still not good enough, and the standard is not even across the state.
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Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant

Leave it to ace reporter Paul Gough from the Pittsburgh Business Times to unearth some earth-shattering news–that ExxonMobil is actively looking at locations in Beaver County, Pennsylvania to potentially build a second multi-billion dollar cracker plant. Shell is already well along in building the region’s first ethane cracker–in Monaca (Beaver County). Will lightning strike twice for the good citizens of Beaver County? Maybe!
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Proposed New PA Pipeline to Connect Rover Pipe to WV Power Plant

Tri-State Corridor Project (click for larger version)

It’s not often a new pipeline project crops up and slips by us. On May 31, Equitrans (formerly EQT Midstream) filed an official request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 16.7-mile pipeline from southwest Pennsylvania into West Virginia in order to feed what will become WV’s very first natural gas-fired electric power plant (see WV NatGas Power Plant Gets Final Permits, Construction Begins Soon). The pipeline will connect to and feed gas from the mighty Rover Pipeline.
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PA DEP Reaches $1.48M Settlement with CNX to Plug Abandoned Wells

Last year the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued administrative orders requiring three oil and gas companies–Alliance Petroleum Corporation (a subsidiary of Diversified Gas & Oil), XTO Energy, and CNX Resources–to plug 1,058 abandoned oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania (see PA DEP Orders CNX, XTO & Diversified to Plug 1,058 Abandoned Wells). All three appealed the DEP’s order to the state Environmental Hearing Board. In March of this year the DEP cut a deal with Diversified (see DEP and Diversified Gas & Oil Compromise on Plugging Old PA Wells). As of last week, the DEP has now cut a deal with CNX, relaxing their earlier edict.
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Conflict-of-Interest Delays Vote on SWPA Beech Hollow Power Plant

What happens when two of three elected town supervisors either have a lease with a pipeline company, or have close family members who have leases with the pipeline company, and they must vote to approve a new power plant project that would use shale gas from that pipeline to power it? It’s called a conflict of interest, and we’re about to find out the answer to that question in Robinson Township (Washington County), PA.
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Risberg PA-to-OH Pipeline Project Almost Done, Ready by Dec. 1

click for larger version

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). We told you in August that Ashtabula is already seeing the benefits of this pipeline, even though it’s not yet done (see As Risberg Pipe Nears Finish, $474M Plant Locates in Ashtabula). Now comes word the project is nearly complete–less than a mile left–and should be 100% done in the next month.
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EdgeMarc Creditors Ask Judge to Change Bankruptcy from Ch 11 to 7

Difference between Chapter 7 & 11 (click for larger version)

EdgeMarc Energy, headquartered in Canonsburg, PA (with 50,000 acres of Marcellus/Utica leases), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, looking to sell all of the company’s assets (see EdgeMarc Energy Files for Bankruptcy, Blames Revolution Pipe). The reason? They can’t move their production to market because their main pipeline partner, Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline, exploded in September 2018 and ET has not been able to get the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection to allow them to fix and restart it.
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PA DEP Shuts Down 2 Marcellus Wells for Not Paying Impact Tax

Xtreme Energy Co., headquartered in Victoria, Texas, has been ordered by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to shut down/stop producing at two Marcellus wells operated by the company located in Somerset County, PA, in the southwestern part of the state. Why? Because, says the DEP, Xtreme has not paid its impact fee (i.e. severance tax) for those wells for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
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Fed Judge Tosses $54M Award to Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Landowner

Here’s a cautionary tale for landowners who think they can go court-shopping on the other side of the country to settle their differences with pipelines that cross their land. Don’t do it. A Pennsylvania landowner in Schuylkill County, PA thought he could force Williams’ (Transco Pipeline) into arbitration to compensate him for allowing the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline crossing his land. Except the landowner filed for arbitration in California! Williams/Transco refused to participate in the arbitration since Cali has NOTHING to do with Pennsylvania when it comes to arbitrating compensation for eminent domain.
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PA Dems Intro Bill to Block New Marcellus-Fired Power Plants

Leftist Democrats in Pennsylvania are still hopping mad that they couldn’t block Invenergy’s 1,480 megawatt, $1 billion Marcellus gas-fired electric plant called the Lackawanna Energy Center, located near Scranton, PA (see Huge Marcellus-Fired Power Plant Near Scranton Now 100% Complete). So they’ve decided to NEVER let it happen again. How? By introducing what they’re trying to pass off as a “reasonable” new law to establish “minimum standards for host community agreements between new power plants and their surrounding communities and school districts as well as a minimum host community fee.” In other words, the new law will micromanage and tax any prospective new gas-fired power project right out of the state.
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