Sunoco Fined $148K for ME2 Drilling that Fouled PA Water Wells

At various points over the past year or so, Sunoco Logistics, in using underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project, has negatively affected some private water wells. A dozen private wells were affected by ME2 work in West Whiteland Township, in Chester County, last summer (see Sunoco LP’s Generous Deal to Chester Co. Residents with Water Issues). Sunoco made the situation right in West Whiteland, paying to extend a local municipal water line to the affected homes. But West Whiteland wasn’t the only location. There were others, in Berks County and Lebanon County. To the best of our knowledge, all of the water well issues have been corrected. But as always happens with these incidents, companies like Sunoco must pay twice. They pay (handsomely) to fix the issue–as they should. But then they pay a fine to the state. The fine for fouling water wells in three counties related to ME2 work was handed down yesterday by the Dept. of Environmental Protection. Sunoco has to pay $148,000 for violating PA’s Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachment Act…
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Construction Begins for 14-Mile Pipe to Feed Berks Gas-Fired Plant

Birdsboro pipeline route – click for larger version

Ladies and gentlemen–start your bulldozers! It’s time to begin building a 14-mile natural gas pipeline from the Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) mainline in Rockland Township, to a natural gas-fired power plant under construction in Birdsboro (Berks County, near Philadelphia). EmberClear Corp. is a Canadian-based company that builds and operates natural gas-fired electric generation plants in North America. In 2015, EmberClear filed an application to build a new 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro, in Berks County, near Philadelphia (see New NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Coming Near Philadelphia). In April 2017, two different Japanese companies, Sojitz Corporation and Tokyo Gas, each purchased a one-third share ownership of the Birdsboro Power project (see Japanese Now Own 2/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA). We call the Birdsboro Power a “Japanese-owned” project, which it is, but in reality EmberClear is still the company building and operating it. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued permits for the Birdsboro project in March of this year, and the project is now under construction (see PA DEP Issues Permits for Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA). In order to operate, the plant will need gas. It will get its gas from the Tetco pipeline 14 miles away, via a dedicated pipeline. Construction has begun on the pipeline. Or rather, preliminary construction–clearing trees, etc. It will only take a few months to complete the pipeline project…
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PA DEP Issues Permits for Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA

Birdsboro Power concept

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced last Friday it has issued all of the necessary state permits to the Birdsboro Power Marcellus gas-fired electric plant project (in Berks County, PA) for the project to begin construction. Last October the DEP held a hearing on the proposed 488-megawatt natgas-fired electric plant slated for Birdsboro, near Philadelphia (see PA DEP Public Hearing on Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA). Even though the project has the state permits it needs, it still lacks final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before they can begin construction of the new plant…
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PA Chips in $2M to Build NatGas Pipelines in Berks, Centre Counties

In 2016 the Pennsylvania legislature, over the objections of PA Gov. Tom Wolf, voted to shift $24 million away from a boondoggle program called the PA Alternative Energy Investment Act and into a new program called the Pipeline Investment Program, or PIPE (see PA Gov Wolf Launches (Gasp) Pipeline Investment Program). The PIPE program helps fund pipeline construction to manufacturers, hospitals and schools to provide clean-burning, abundant, cheap and home-grown Marcellus Shale gas to those organizations. Since that time a number of PIPE $1 million grants have been doled out. Each time another grant is issued, Gov. Wolf’s publicity team makes a big deal out of it, pretending old Tommy is Santa Claus himself. Nary a word about Wolf’s original objection to the program. Last November Wyoming County got a $1 million grant to help run natgas pipes there (see PA Approves $2.4M Project to Run NatGas Pipes in Wyoming County). On Tuesday, Gov. Santa Claus handed out another two such grants. One $1M grant will go to Berks County (near Philadelphia) to run natgas pipelines to the Hamburg Commerce Park where it will feed 33 businesses and 20 area homes. The other $1M grant will go to Centre County (home of Penn State), where a new natgas pipeline will feed 6 businesses and 89 homes…
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FERC Issues Favorable EA for Power Plant Pipeline Near Philly

In October the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection held a hearing on a proposed 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro, in Berks County, near Philadelphia (see PA DEP Public Hearing on Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA). The project, first proposed in 2015 by Canadian-based EmberClear Corp., is making progress, as evidenced by the DEP hearing. In April of this year, two different Japanese companies, Sojitz Corporation and Tokyo Gas, each purchased a one-third share ownership of the project (see Japanese Now Own 2/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA). You can’t have a Marcellus-fired electric plant without a pipeline to feed it. On May 1st of this year, DTE Midstream filed plans with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build 13.2-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline from the Texas Eastern Transmission Company (TETCO) pipeline in Berks County to the Birdsboro site. On Wednesday, FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA)–telegraphing that a final approval for the pipeline project is on the way soon…
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Oil Pipeline Near Philly to be Converted to Flow Fracked NatGas

Exciting! We have a brand new pipeline project to tell you about–located in the Greater Philadelphia area. Although the project is new, the pipeline is old–already in the ground. Talen Energy, birthed in June 2015 from a combination between PPL Energy Supply and certain assets of Riverstone Holdings, is one of the largest competitive energy and power generation companies in North America. Talen’s core business is building and operating electric generating power plants. One of the assets Talen inherited in the merger is an 84-mile pipeline called the Interstate Energy Company which runs from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook. Talen announced yesterday they’ve sold the Interstate Energy Company (the pipeline) to Adelphia Gateway, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, for $189 million. The northern 34 miles of the pipeline was converted to flow natural gas back in 1996. The southern 50 miles currently flows oil, but Adelphia (NJ Resources) announced yesterday they will convert the oil portion of the pipeline to instead flow natural gas. The bottom line is that a wide swath of Greater Philly is about to get a new source of clean-burning, abundant fracked PA natural gas…
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PA Republican Senate Extends SE PA Drilling Ban in Newark Basin

As MDN has explained in a companion story appearing today (see PA Republican Senate Changes Lease Terms for Landowners), the PA legislature has slipped a number of “environmental riders” into one of the final budget bills. The riders are bits of legislation that have nothing to do with the budget or spending, but tacked on as a way of getting them passed without the mess of voting on them individually. One of those riders affects the potential to drill for oil and gas in southeast PA. Back in 2012, an eleventh hour deal was snuck into the Pennsylvania budget signed into law by then-Gov. Tom Corbett (see Republicans Sneak SE PA Drilling Ban into Budget Deal). An amendment was introduced to the budget that established a moratorium on drilling in southeastern PA in the South Newark Basin, a small area which stretches from New Jersey through Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in PA. Caving to pressure from the libs that elect them, RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) placed an ongoing moratorium on any kind of drilling–test wells or otherwise–in their region. Disgusting. However, Section 1607, as it is called, had this provision: “This section shall expire January 1, 2018.” Senate Republicans have once again screwed the drilling industry by removing the expiration date, but leaving the moratorium in place. There are certain conditions that must be met according to 1607 (see them below), but practically speaking, we doubt those provisions will ever happen, meaning there will never be drilling in southeast PA…
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PA DEP Public Hearing on Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA

EmberClear Corp. (and its parent Ember Partners) is a Canadian-based company that builds and operates natural gas-fired electric generation plants in North America. In 2015, EmberClear filed an application to build a new 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro, in Berks County, near Philadelphia (see New NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Coming Near Philadelphia). In April of this year, two different Japanese companies, Sojitz Corporation and Tokyo Gas, each purchased a one-third share ownership of the project (see Japanese Now Own 2/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA). We call the Birdsboro project a “Japanese-owned” project, which it is, but in reality EmberClear is still the company building and operating it. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has just announced they will hold a public hearing on the project, to consider issuing both a water permit and an erosion/sediment control permit for the project. The hearing will be on Nov. 2 in Birdsboro…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Changes Strategy, Targets Small Pipe Project

A change-up in tactics for Maya van Rossum, THE Delaware Riverkeeper. Until now, Riverkeeper has mostly concentrated it’s efforts on big, federally regulated interstate pipeline projects, like the PennEast Pipeline (see THE Delaware Riverkeeper Plans to Pack DRBC Hearing to Oppose PennEast). However, new marching orders have been delivered from Riverkeeper’s overlords at the William Penn Foundation. Time to go after the small potatoes too. So Riverkeeper (which is funded by William Penn) obeys, and has filed a petition against building a small, 14-mile pipeline near Philadelphia that will feed a proposed Birdsboro Power project, slated for construction in 2018. Birdsboro Power is a proposed 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro (Berks County), to be built by EmberClear with major backing by two Japanese companies (see Japanese Now Own 2/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA). DTE Midstream plans to build a 14-mile pipeline from the nearby Texas Eastern Transmission Company (Tetco) pipeline to feed the plant. Riverkeeper has filed a complaint about the DTE pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), trying to slow or cancel the pipeline project–which would prevent the Birdsboro plant from getting built. Riverkeeper’s aim is to stop the use of fossil fuels, and do so using the excuse of “pipelines harm the environment.” The change in strategy for Riverkeeper is in moving from big pipeline projects to smaller pipeline projects…
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Mariner East 1 Sprang a Small NGL Leak Near Philly, on Apr 1

Mariner East Pipeline Project map – click for larger version

The Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia, on April 1. Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. The entire episode, which happened 20 days ago, is only now coming to light. Sunoco is being criticized by antis for not taking out a major advertising campaign to announce the leak. Sunoco says they alerted the National Response Center (NRC), the proper federal authority (a program of the U.S. Coast Guard). Apparently it is the job of the NRC to alert the public. Although this was a small leak which was quickly contained and with no long-term effects, Sunoco seems to have missed an important life lesson: He who gets there with the bad news first, wins. Sunoco LP should have (in our opinion) been more proactive in publicly announcing the leak and the steps taken to contain and fix it–and to reassure folks that measures will be taken to prevent any such leaks in the future. There would have been a day or two of hit pieces by “mainstream” media, and then the story would have disappeared. Now, the story will linger and be used against the company should any more minor spills happen…
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New NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Coming Near Philadelphia

birdsboro_paThis one somehow slipped by us. Sometime last year EmberClear filed an application to build a new 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro (Berks County), PA–near Philadelphia. The new plant is called Birdsboro Power and requires various approvals before it can be built. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is involved. PJM Interconnection is involved. And the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection is involved. All three have issued various permits and edicts in connection with the project. What caught our attention is that DTE Midstream has just filed an application with FERC to build a 14-mile pipeline to feed the new plant. As part of that application, DTE says EmberClear plans to begin construction in 2018, with an in-service date of June 2019. Here’s what we’ve been able to scrounge up on the project…
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How to Successfully Negotiate a Pipeline Easement & How Not To

This is the story of two landowners in Berks County, PA whose property Sunoco Logistics needs to cross/use for the Mariner 2 set of pipelines. One landowner, on whose property Sunoco not only wants to install the pipeline but also wants to install a big valve in his front yard, successfully negotiated with Sunoco and got his price. The other landowner, who owns a dog park where Sunoco wants to put a pipeline, hasn’t negotiated and is trying to stop the pipeline from coming through his property. Guess which landowner will be the biggest loser? Here’s the story of how to craft a pipeline deal, and how not to, if you are a landowner faced with the threat of eminent domain…
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Canadian EmberClear Aborts Plan to Build $1B GTL Plant Near Philly

Nearly a year ago MDN told you about another plan to build a gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Berks County, near Philadelphia (see Another New Gas-to-Liquids Plant Coming in PA – Near Philly). GTL plants convert natural gas into other products, like diesel fuel. Canadian company EmberClear planned to sink $1 billion into the project, but almost immediately the wacko anti-drillers came crawling out of the woodwork (see 0.0024 of Berks County Population Opposes New $1B GTL Plant). Even though fairly small in number, they are mouthy and they are dedicated. So much so that EmberClear has just announced they’re giving up on the project, partially (mostly?) because of the wackos who oppose it…
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0.0024 of Berks County Population Opposes New $1B GTL Plant

Over the past several years MDN has told you about a number of gas-to-liquids (GTL) projects trying to get underway in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. GTL converts cheap, abundant natural gas into motor oils and diesel fuel. Kind of like spinning gold from hay. One of those projects is a proposal by Canadian company EmberClear Corp. that wants to build such a plant in Berks County, PA–near Philadelphia. EmberClear proposes to spend upward of an eye-popping $1 billion to build a plant that will create 100 permanent jobs when it’s completed–to say nothing of the hundreds of temporary jobs needed to build it (see Another New Gas-to-Liquids Plant Coming in PA – Near Philly).

As soon as you announce such a project, wacko anti-drillers pop up (like a game of Whack-a-Mole) to oppose it. Such a group has formed in Berks County. Called the South Heidelberg Community Association, the group has gotten 1,000 people to sign a petition against this $1 billion economic miracle that would exist in their area. Let’s see, 1,000 people of the Berks County population of 411,442–or 2/10ths of one percent. Will this infinitesimally small number of people ruin it for everyone?…
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Another New Gas-to-Liquids Plant Coming in PA – Near Philly

Not frequently, but every now and again MDN has highlighted stories about the intriguing technology that converts natural gas into other hydrocarbons–like diesel fuel and petrochemicals. The technology is called gas-to-liquids (or GTL). We’ve told you about several such facilities on the board or being built in PA and in OH (see Gas-to-Liquids Trend Picks Up Steam in Northeast).

You can add one more such facility to the list, coming in Berks County, PA (near Philadelphia). Canadian EmberClear Corp. NGI’s Shale Daily is reporting that EmberClear is seeking approval on a new $1 billion GTL plant that will employ 100 people in Berks County, and (amazingly) it seems the township where they want to build it, wants it…
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Berks County, PA Hosts Pipeline “Education” Forum – LOL

A supposedly non-partisan “pipeline education forum” was held yesterday in Berks County, PA (near Philadelphia)–payed for with taxpayer money and hosted/organized by the Berks County League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters. To their credit, the League had two pro-drillers on the panel: someone from utility giant UGI and someone from Spectra Energy. But the rest of the panel was packed with anti-drillers, like a rep from the rabidly anti-drilling Delaware Riverkeeper and the anti-drilling director of the so-called Pipeline Safety Coalition, based in neighboring Chester County. They were there to scare the *&@# out of attendees.

Such is “fair and balanced” from the “non-partisan-doesn’t-take-a-position” League. Excuse us as we pick ourselves up off the ground from laughing so hard…
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