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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Spectra’s TEAM 2014 Pipeline Loops Coming to Berks County, PA

Spectra Energy is in the midst of a multi-year $500 million project to expand its Texas Eastern pipeline in the northeast to boost capacity to bring Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to markets in the northeast, Midwest and south. The project, called the Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market Expansion 2014 (or “TEAM 2014”) involves upgrading existing compressor plants and building new “loops” of pipeline next to existing pipeline in southeastern Pennsylvania.

One of the counties where Spectra plans to build new looping pipeline is Berks County, where residents have until mid-October to make comments on (and support!) Spectra’s proposed TEAM 2014 plans…
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PA Anti-Drillers Beat a Dead Horse with New Anti-Pipeline Report

Recipe for the perfect anti-drilling, anti-pipeline “meatless” report: Start with anti-drilling politicians in six southeastern Pennsylvania towns who hypocritically use fossil fuels themselves but demand others not use them; add in a few environmental-sounding names from surrounding areas like “Big Woods” and “French Creek”; talk about the breeding habits of bog turtles; use a lot of pretty pictures of wilderness landscapes, flowers, plants and even a few predatory animals; throw in some pictures of humans walking in said pristine landscapes; and sprinkle phrases like “exceptional value” or “high quality” throughout. The result? A so-called report titled “Important Resources of the Hopewell Big Woods and the Potential Impacts of Pipeline Development on the Landscape” (full copy embedded below).

The report is so devoid of any real analysis and science one of the (obviously carnivorous) anti-drillers who commissioned it said it was too light on substance and he wants to see a report “with some meat on it”…
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Berks County Officials Think Commonwealth Pipeline Will Rise Again

The Commonwealth Pipeline, a joint venture between Inergy, UGI and WGL Holdings, was suspended indefinitely just a few weeks ago (see PA’s Commonwealth Pipeline Project Suspended – Indefinitely). However, officials from Berks County, PA, in the southeastern part of the state and a county through which the Commonwealth Pipeline was slated to pass through, don’t buy it. They believe the project will come back to life and pass through their county, eventually…
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Hitchhiking Poet Chronicles Life in the Marcellus Shale

We don’t know why we find this story fascinating, but we do. The Berks County (Philly suburbs) Poet Laureate, Craig Czury, has been hanging out in Susquehanna and Wyoming counties lately—hitchhiking. Czury sticks his thumb out, repeatedly, and hitchhikes between Montrose, PA (in Susquehanna County), and Tunkhannock (in Wyoming County), going back and forth along State Route 29. Why? To listen to people’s stories about Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

Czury is working on a series of poems to document his conversations with the people he rides with. He finds that people who pick up a hitchhiker will often open up and talk freely.

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Republicans Sneak SE PA Drilling Ban into Budget Deal

11th hourAn eleventh hour deal was snuck into the Pennsylvania budget signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett late Saturday night. On Friday, an amendment was introduced to the budget that would establish a moratorium on drilling in southeastern Pennsylvania in the South Newark Basin, a small area which stretches from New Jersey through Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in PA.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed an evaluation of the South Newark Basin, which contains both shale and coal bed methane deposits, along with four other East Coast basins and issued a report showing how much natural gas each basin contains (a copy is embedded below). The report says the South Newark Basin contains a minimum of 363 billion cubic feet of natural gas deposits, and their best guess is it contains around 876 billion cubic feet. It’s much smaller than the Marcellus, but certainly nothing to sneeze at.

With all of the gas drilling in the rest of the state, and with new drilling laws now in place, why place a temporary moratorium that expires in 2018 on the southeast region of the state? That’s where politics rears its ugly head—and this time it’s the Republicans who are to blame.

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