Williams Breaks Ground on Atlantic Sunrise Pipe, Ahead of Schedule

Earth moving has begun for a compressor station in Columbia County. (Williams Partners)

Well that didn’t take long! Yesterday MDN brought you the fantastic news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had granted Williams a certificate/go-ahead to begin construction on Atlantic Sunrise, a $3 billion, 198-mile natural gas pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County (see FERC Greenlights Construction of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline). FERC issued their permission to begin construction last Friday. Based on a previous Williams statement, we expected construction to begin tomorrow, on Sept. 20th. However, as soon as Williams had the certificate in their hands, they began construction–LAST FRIDAY. Where? Williams fired up bulldozers at two locations–one in Wyoming County, the other in Columbia County (both in northeast PA), to clear land for two new compressor stations they will build as part of the project. Yesterday both Williams AND Cabot Oil & Gas issued the same press release to announce construction has begun. Interesting that Cabot issued the release too, showing just how important this project is to Cabot’s future (and to their stock price)…
Continue reading

Atlantic Sunrise Hearing in Bloomsburg Repeat of Previous Hearings

As we reported yesterday, the first two (of four) public hearings were held on Monday by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to elicit comments on the proposed $3 billion, 198-mile Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, an expansion of Williams’ Transco Pipeline system (see Atlantic Sunrise Supporters Far Outnumber Antis at PA DEP Hearings). Supporters of the pipeline far outnumbered opponents at both hearings, which has left antis spitting and sputtering: “How did we get outmaneuvered?” The third hearing was held last night, in Bloomsburg, PA (Columbia County). How did it go there? Pretty much a repeat of the meetings on Monday night: supporters far outnumbered opponents of the pipeline. Like the other meetings, a somewhat odd alliance between the local Chamber of Commerce and labor unions provided many of the supporters who attended–to talk about the jobs and enormous positive economic impact of the project…
Continue reading

Atlantic Sunrise Files 13 Eminent Domain Cases in 4 Counties

There’s always a few holdouts, no matter how hard you try to be reasonable. We’re talking about landowners who refuse to negotiate in good faith with pipeline companies. Earlier this month amidst a flurry of activity, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) handed Williams a final final final approval for its Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project–a $3 billion, 198-mile pipeline running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC). There have been a committed small number of protesters against the project (what’s new?), including some of the landowners along the pipeline route. Although Williams has been attempting to negotiate with them for the past two years, some (very few) landowners have refused. So now Williams, via its Transco subsidiary, has sued 13 landowners in Columbia, Lebanon, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties using eminent domain. Meanwhile, the only thread antis are left hanging by is a lawsuit against a single landowner who they say illegally signed with Williams…
Continue reading

Eminent Domain Begins for Landowners in Path of Atlantic Sunrise

You beg and plead and beg and plead. You come with your hat in your hand. You try to explain that no, the pipeline isn’t going to avoid your property, Mr. or Ms. Landowner. But some landowners refuse to negotiate. So the last resort option must be exercised. That’s the situation with Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in several counties in Pennsylvania–including Lancaster, Lebanon, Columbia, Northumberland and Schuylkill. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final certificate for Atlantic Sunrise, allowing construction to begin, just two weeks ago today (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC). Although the project is still waiting on an approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Office, Williams expects to begin construction soon. Very soon. Landowners who either oppose the pipeline because they hate fossil fuels, or because they thought they might get a higher offer, or because they thought they could just make it go away by singing, “La la la la, I don’t hear you!”–are now out of time. Atlantic Sunrise is taking recalcitrant landowners to court and will soon have a court order allowing them to proceed with construction…
Continue reading

A Picture of a “Peaceful” Protester “Targeted” by the Evil Gas Industry

Three weeks ago we told you about Wendy Lee, a Marxist professor at Bloomsburg University (Columbia County, PA) who feels like she’s being singled out for scrutiny by law enforcement authorities because of her protest activities against shale gas drilling (see Anti-Drillers Don’t Like Being Considered Suspects in Crimes). A PA State Trooper showed up on her doorstep a year ago to ask her some uncomfortable questions. She’s still spitting and sputtering about it a year later, even though she was never arrested nor even accused of anything. Lee maintains she’s just an aw shucks peaceful protester and the big, evil, nasty drilling industry is trying to silence her with scare tactics. Just one teeny tiny problem with her contention that she’s “just a peaceful protester.” In this case, a picture is truly worth a thousand words…
Continue reading

Lights Out for Marcellus Drilling in Lackawanna/Luzerne Counties

It’s lights out for Marcellus drilling in both Lackawanna and Luzerne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. Lackawanna and Luzerne are otherwise known and Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, respectively. But it’s not because of the two large cities located in those counties that Marcellus drilling will not be done (there are plenty of rural locations in each). It’s because there’s no gas in the shale layer to be had in those counties–at least not in quantities that are commercially profitable. Over the past five years seven different wells have been drilled in both counties (or very close by in neighboring Columbia County). The seventh and final well, drilled by WPX Energy, has just been plugged and abandoned…
Continue reading

FERC Says “No Significant Impact” from Leidy Southeast Pipeline

Williams is one very important step closer to beginning construction–this fall–on their Transco Leidy Southeast Expansion project. Last fall Williams filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to proceed with the project, a $610 million project designed to increase the Transco pipeline’s capacity by 525,000 decatherms per day–enough natural gas to serve 2 million homes (see Williams Takes Next Step with Transco Leidy Pipeline Expansion). The expansion will pipe cheap, abundant NEPA Marcellus Shale gas to points from New York City to the southeastern U.S. The project includes construction of approximately 30 miles of additional pipe segments, called loops, in PA and NJ, in addition to modifying some existing compressor stations and valve sites. Earlier this week FERC reported the proposed changes would have “no significant impact” on the environment. What does that mean?…
Continue reading

Shale Justice Coalition Plans to Gate-Crash John Hanger Appearance

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone…but the Shale Justice Coalition plans to show up en masse at a talk being given by former PA Dept. of Environmental Protection Sec. John Hanger on September 3rd at Bloomsburg University. Hanger is running for the Democrat nomination for governor in PA and the folks at Shale Justice don’t like his views on drilling. Shale Justice doesn’t want anyone other than the anti-drilling faithful to know about their plans to gate-crash Hanger’s talk, so they’ve asked that their secret announcement not be shared on social media or publicly announced. Whoops. Guess we kind of blew that!

Here’s the Shale Justice Coalition email announcement, as passed along to us by an MDN reader…
Continue reading

Marcellus Economics: PA Manufacturer Adds 50 Jobs, $2.4M

Pennsylvania manufacturing company K-Fab is expanding with help from the state, providing an additional 50 new manufacturing jobs in Columbia County. The company manufactures equipment for the Marcellus Shale drilling industry. Their plans call for investing $2.4 million in renovations and improvements.

PA Gov. Tom Corbett’s office issued the following announcement about the latest new jobs and economic expansion thanks to the Marcellus Shale:

Continue reading

The Marcellus “Line of Death” in NE PA

Terry Engelder, Penn State geosciences professor and “father of the Marcellus Shale” once coined the term “line of death” for the point where shale stops being productive. He was specifically talking about the coal region in Pennsylvania where once-upon-many-millennia-ago high temperatures that hardened the anthracite coal also “cooked out” methane natural gas from the shale. Geologists and gas companies know the area around the Lackawanna Syncline—a banana-shaped formation that runs through Luzerne and Lackawanna counties—is likely to be devoid of methane, but what they don’t how is how far from the Syncline the line of death will be found.

We now have another plugged well that helps indicate where shale is unproductive—this one in Sugarloaf Township in neighboring Columbia County:

Continue reading

Drilling in the Utica Shale in PA – Ranges Says Yes, Williams Says No

The Marcellus Shale layer is about a mile down, depending on where you are. Lately, there’s been talk about tapping into the Utica Shale, which sits below the Marcellus, at about two miles down. A recent permit granted to Williams Production Appalachia to drill its exploratory well deeper on Route 487 in Sugarloaf Township, Columbia County in Pennsylvania sparked rumors that Williams was planning to tap into the Utica. But a spokesperson for Williams, Helen Humphreys, says that’s not true:

Continue reading