McCandless Twp Tries to Block Shale Drilling with New Zoning Law

McCandless, a township in Allegheny County, PA (near Pittsburgh) is attempting to block any and all shale drilling within its borders by getting creative. The town is in the process of adopting changes to its zoning laws that make it illegal to drill a well in land zoned for commercial development. Since towns have to allow drilling in at least one zone, McCandless will allow it only in “institutional districts.” That means drilling will only be allowed on land with schools, hospitals, universities, and parks. Fat chance any drilling will ever happen in those places!
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Plum Injection Well Back On – Boro Ends Legal Fight

In April of this year, MDN told you that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) had finally, after more than two years of evaluation, granted a permit to build a shale wastewater injection well in Plum Boro in Allegheny County (see Miracle! PA DEP Approves Plum (Pittsburgh) Injection Well Permit). The Boro’s mayor and other Boro officials are opposed and have tried their best to stop the project. However, they’ve just thrown in the towel and have admitted the well is going to get built.
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Town Revokes Permit to Drill Shale Well at Pittsburgh Steel Mill

Edgar Thomson Steel Works (credit: Craig Sturge)

In early 2018 MDN told you that Pittsburgh’s oldest still-operating steel mill, U.S. Steel Corp.’s Edgar Thomson steel mill, is looking to drill shale wells on its property in order to supply natgas for the mill (see Marcellus Wells to be Drilled at Pittsburgh’s Oldest Working Steel Mill). Following delays from the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in ironing out permit conditions, the local town zoning board has capriciously revoked a conditional use permit that allows the wells to be drilled.
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Chevron Dumping Pittsburgh Office Space – 90,000 Sq Ft for Lease

Last December Chevron announced it was writing down the value of its Marcellus/Utica assets and putting those assets up for sale (see Chevron Writes Down $5B+ in Marc/Utica Assets, Looks to Sell All). Prior to the pandemic lockdown, Chevron said it would begin cutting 320 jobs in the M-U beginning in early April (see Chevron Cutting 320 Jobs in Marcellus/Utica Beginning April 6th). The cuts continued in May with another 80 employees getting a pink slip (see Chevron Cuts Another 80 Jobs in M-U; Still Looking for Buyer). It shouldn’t come as a surprise with all the layoffs that Chevron is now advertising most of their Pittsburgh HQ office space for sublease.
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PA DEP Accuses ET’s Revolution Pipe of 680 Violations Since Jan 1

This is getting ridiculous. Does anyone really believe that a single pipeline project already built and now getting a redo could possibly have racked up 680 “violations” during construction work over the past five months? We certainly don’t believe it. Yet that’s what the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) alleges. Energy Transfer (ET), the builder and fixer of Revolution, has their own allegation: The DEP itself is “not in compliance with its own guidelines.” Who inspects the inspectors for compliance?
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ET & DEP Still Squabbling over Revolution Pipe, New Violations

Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline runs through Bulter, Beaver, Allegheny, and Washington counties in southwest PA. The 24-inch gathering pipeline shifted and exploded in September 2018, just as it was entering service (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). What happened that led to a landslide and explosion of the pipeline? ET says historic, unprecedented rain caused the problem. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) says ET took shortcuts and performed work without getting permission–work not up to code. The two sides squabbled until January of this year when the DEP levied a record-high $30.6 million fine (see ET Allowed to Fix/Restart Revolution Pipe…After Record $30M Fine).
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Plum, PA Injection Well Questionable Even with Final Permit

Yesterday MDN told you that miracle of miracles, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finally, after more than two years of evaluation, granted a permit to build a wastewater injection well in Plum Boro in Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh (see Miracle! PA DEP Approves Plum (Pittsburgh) Injection Well Permit). Penneco Environmental Solutions, the company that received the permit, now says with the collapse of oil prices and Marcellus/Utica production being questionable, “all bets are off” with respect to the injection well project.
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Miracle! PA DEP Approves Plum (Pittsburgh) Injection Well Permit

In early 2018, the federal EPA approved a new Marcellus wastewater injection well for the Pittsburgh suburb of Plum Boro (see Federal EPA Approves Permit for Plum, PA Wastewater Injection Well). The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) also needs to approve it. They held a public hearing in October 2018 to elicit input, a hearing where every single person who spoke was against the project (see Plum Injection Well Hearing Draws Solid Opposition). Following that hearing a lawsuit challenging the project was filed in March 2019 (see Court Challenge to Plum Zoning Against Injection Well Proceeds). Now, more than two years after the federal EPA approved it, the PA DEP has also given its blessing. It’s a miracle!
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CNX CEO Backs New SWPA Group to Counter “Elites and Extremists”

Credit: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (click for larger version)

Some 500 people from labor unions and industry met in Pittsburgh yesterday to launch an organization called Pittsburgh Works Together, dedicated to fighting back against those who want to end southwest PA industries including steel, natural gas, and petrochemicals. Among those who attended and spoke was CNX Resources CEO Nick Deluliis who said he wants to create a future for everyone, not just “elites and extremists.” Deluliis also said the new Pittsburgh Work Together group “is about one thing in the end, and that’s fighting for the soul of this region.” Nick is on a tear!
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PA, Feds on Witch Hunt to Make Revolution Pipe Accident a Crime

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a leftist Democrat who wants to succeed Tom Wolf as governor, likes to investigate accidents related to the shale industry to see if he can turn them into crimes (see our lengthy list of stories here). Add one more to the list: Since last year Shapiro has been investigating the Revolution Pipeline blast in western PA for potential crimes. He now has company.
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Chevron Cutting 320 Jobs in Marcellus/Utica Beginning April 6th

By the end of this year, Chevron will have eliminated 320 jobs in its Marcellus/Utica operation. Some 288 of those positions will be gone from the company’s regional headquarters in Moon Township (Allegheny County, PA), and another 32 will be gone from the company’s Mount Braddock location (Fayette County, PA). The company says it will try to find new assignments for as many people as possible. The layoffs begin on April 6.
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CNX Files Lawsuit Against Builder of SWPA Compressor Station

CNX Resources is in a spat with Applied Construction Solutions over the construction of a compressor station Applied built for CNX. The spat is about money. CNX says it signed a contract to have its Morris Compressor Station built for $12.4 million. After several renegotiations (change orders) the price was adjusted to $15.2 million. But when CNX got a final bill for $19 million, they balked.
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Danny DeVito is Pro-Shale! Runs for PA State House in SWPA

We almost didn’t run this post, but, well, it was just too funny not to! Danny DeVito is running to become the next representative for the 45th District of the Pennsylvania State House, located in Allegheny County (i.e. Pittsburgh). And he’s running as a Republican on a pro-shale drilling platform! Wait, isn’t Danny DeVito that really short Hollywood actor who’s an uber-liberal and hardened Democrat?! Indeed he is. But we’re not talking about *that* Danny DeVito.
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PA Highlighted in New National Ad Campaign “Energy for Progress”

Yesterday the American Petroleum Institute (API) launched “Energy for Progress,” a nationwide TV and digital ad campaign highlighting the natural gas and oil industry’s leadership in reducing emissions to record low levels and supporting economic and environmental progress in local communities. One of the seven local communities highlighted was Moon Township, in Allegheny County, PA. Local workers and business owners appear in broadcast videos and digital ads.
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ET Allowed to Fix/Restart Revolution Pipe…After Record $30M Fine

click for larger version

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has just issued the largest single fine to any single company in its history–$30.6 million assessed on Energy Transfer for the explosion of the Revolution Pipeline–a gathering pipeline located in southwestern PA. The fine, along with new plans and assurances by ET, means the company can finally, some 17 months after the explosion, fix the damaged pipeline and return it to service.
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SWPA County Political Leaders Voice Support for Petchem, Shale

In a speech delivered October 31 to the P4 Climate Action Summit in downtown Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto declared his hatred for the petrochemical industry. He doesn’t want any more Shell crackers junking up his regional backyard. The highly negative reaction to Peduto’s idiotic (and pandering) remarks was swift. What petchem company wants to build in a region where the mayor of its largest city is trash talking the industry? In a bid to counter Peduto’s economically damaging remarks, some 20 county officials from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties issued a joint statement on Wednesday to show their support for the petrochemical and shale industries in the region.
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