PA Awards 4 More Grants to Extend NatGas Pipelines – $2.3M

Pennsylvania’s Pipeline Investment Program (or PIPE) grants cover part of the cost for building new natural gas pipelines to connect homes and businesses in rural parts of the state to homegrown Marcellus Shale gas supplies. We’ve written about many of the more-than-a-dozen (so far) PIPE grant projects in the past (see our PIPE stories here). Another four such grants, totaling $2.3 million, have just been awarded–in Chester, Monroe and Northampton counties. The big news with this latest round of grants is that they will create 575 *permanent* new jobs in the Commonwealth. Some 500 of those jobs will be at a mushroom farm!
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Talen Energy Sells PA Pipeline to Adelphia Gateway for $155M

In December the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the Adelphia Gateway pipeline project (see FERC Issues Final OK for Southeast PA Adelphia Gateway Pipeline). Adelphia is a plan to convert an old/existing oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook, into a natural gas pipeline. To flow Marcellus gas to southeast PA. The builder lacked one key ingredient–the pipeline!
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PA Prof Says O&G Cos, Deniers Guilty of “Crimes Against Humanity”

If you send your kids to Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA) and they take political science classes, you might want to consider another school. One of their professors has just penned what is one of the most outrageous op-eds we’ve ever read. He claims those who operate “fossil fuel” companies–oil and gas companies–and those (of us) who “deny” that there is such as thing as catastrophic man-made global warming caused by burning fossil fuels, are guilty of “crimes against humanity.”
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PA Town Passes Ordinance Blocking Pipelines Near Appalachian Trail

Nice try, but no cigar for Plainfield Township in Northampton County. The Plainfield Board of Supervisors last week passed a new zoning ordinance that prevents pipelines (and cell phone towers, and solar farms, and wind mills, and and and) from being built near or under the 1.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail as it passes through their township. Thing is, when it comes to pipelines (like PennEast Pipeline) that are federally regulated, Plainfield can’t stop it. Their ordinance isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
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Cement Plant Near Allentown Converting from Coal to Marcellus Gas

A new Pennsylvania PIPE (Pipeline Investment Program) grant for $320,950 will help extend a natural gas delivery pipeline to the Keystone Cement Co. near Allentown, PA, which will allow the plant to replace coal with natural gas, used to manufacture cement. Total cost of the new pipeline project is over $2 million. The grant helps. According to the engineer working on the plan, it takes truck traffic off the roads and lowers costs to the plant.
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PA DEP Signals Approval for Adelphia Gateway Pipe Near Philly

Adelphia Gateway map (click for larger version)

In January the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable environmental assessment for New Jersey Resources’ Adelphia Gateway pipeline project in the Philadelphia area (see Adelphia Gateway Pipe Enviro Assessment Approved by FERC). On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) indicated it will soon issue a federal “401” Clean Water Act stream crossing permit for the project.
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Trout Unlimited Launches Spy/Snitch Program for PennEast Pipeline

Let’s be right up front about how we feel about the innocent-sounding Trout Unlimited (TU). Four years ago the organization was outed as a radical, far-left environmentalist group–hellbent on opposing fossil fuels (see Trout Unlimited, Other Groups Outted as Radical Green Groups). We have zero respect for the organization. Yes, there are some well-meaning (hoodwinked, misguided) people who belong to it. Good people. But tricked into supporting an anti-American, anti-fossil fuel agenda. (You need to get out!) TU has just announced a new spy/snitch training program to keep an eye on the PennEast Pipeline–when it actually starts to get built. TU will soon begin training for a so-called “water monitoring” program in PA counties where PennEast will run–Luzerne, Carbon, Northampton and Bucks counties. To which we say, knock yourselves out. PennEast has nothing to hide. The pipeline won’t negatively impact waterways–not in any meaningful, long-term way. So if you want to spy and snitch, go right ahead. There won’t be anything to snitch about…
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Progress for UGI Energy’s LNG Peak Shaver in Bethlehem, PA

UGI LNG’s Temple I installation near Reading, Pa. with 3-million-gallon storage tank.

In February MDN reported that UGI is proposing a new LNG peak shaver for Bethlehem, PA. The project hit some early opposition, so UGI tweaked the design, keeping it alive (see UGI Energy Tweaks LNG Peak Shaver for Bethlehem, PA). An LNG peak shaver is a unit used for storing surplus natural gas, to have extra natgas on hand and ready during times of peak consumption during really hot summers or really cold winters. Sometimes your local gas utility will build and use a peak shaver (small LNG storage facility), so they don’t run out of natgas at a critical time, and to help with keeping prices lower by drawing down from storage if prices spike. Low prices make for happy customers. We’re interested in such facilities because of their potential as a new demand source for our plentiful gas supplies. UGI’s Bethlehem project includes building an 80-foot high LNG tank. Last week the Bethlehem Planning Board voted 3-0 to approve the tank, meaning more progress for the project…
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Northampton County Wants Jury Trial re PennEast Eminent Domain

Click for larger version

PennEast Pipeline, a 120-mile pipeline from near Wilkes-Barre, PA to near Trenton, NJ., is in the unenviable position of having to sue a few holdout landowners who refuse to negotiate in good faith to allow the federally-approved pipeline from crossing their property. Northampton County, PA is one of those landowners. PennEast Pipeline will traverse Northampton-owed conservation easements along its route. Northampton wouldn’t negotiate, so PennEast sued. Northampton wants a jury trial, supposedly to stop PennEast–but we think it’s really because they want more money for the conservation easements, something they appear to admit in a recent article…
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PennEast Pipeline Cuts $1.7M Deal with Bethlehem Water Authority

In a sure sign that the $1.1 billion, 120-mile PennEast Pipeline will get built, the Bethlehem Authority, which manages watershed land in the Pocono Mountains that supplies drinking water for the City of Bethlehem, has signed a $1.7 million deal to allow PennEast to traverse four miles of Authority land. Rather than challenge PennEast and potentially lose an eminent domain case, Bethlehem Authority officials said they brokered the deal–not only for the money it will bring in, but also to ensure there are certain protections in place during construction. The State of New Jersey is trying its best to stop the PennEast project (see NJ Continues to Hassle PennEast Pipe with Refusals & Rejections). However, this deal with Bethlehem Authority is yet another sign of the inevitability of the project. NJ is fighting an uphill battle they will lose. Wiser heads in Bethlehem realize that fact and took the right action to get the best deal possible…
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Converted Oil Pipeline Near Philly Extends Open Season for NatGas

Earlier this month we shared the exciting news that an old oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook had been purchased by a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources will get converted to flow more Marcellus natural gas to the greater Philadelphia region (see Oil Pipeline Near Philly to be Converted to Flow Fracked NatGas). The project/pipeline has been named the Adelphia Gateway. On Nov. 2nd the project began an “open season”–a period of time when shippers can reserve capacity along the pipeline. Such contracts typically run for 10-20 years and guarantee the pipeline (which will invest millions) can recoup its investment and make a profit. The open season was scheduled to expire on Nov. 20th, but Adelphia has extended the open season to Dec. 8th. Adelphia says the extension was to allow for the Thanksgiving holiday. Typically such an extension means the project hasn’t secured enough business to be profitable. We don’t have a feel one way or the other for this project. Perhaps a number of people did take off for the Thanksgiving holiday and this will give Adelphia a chance to button up previously expressed interest. Signing on the dotted line means an office full of lawyers will need to review it first–and lawyers like their vacations…
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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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Explosion, Fire Shut Down PA NatGas Electric Power Plant

talen-energy-fire2There was an explosion, followed by a fire, at a natural gas-fired electric generating plant last night at Talen Energy’s Lower Mount Bethel power plant along Depues Ferry Road in Lower Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, PA (Lehigh Valley area). Near as anyone can tell, the explosion and fire had nothing to do with natural gas or the plant itself. The explosion and fire were in an electrical transformer on the outside of the building that houses the machinery producing electricity. The entire plant is currently shut down, not producing electricity, to fix the transformer and to understand what happened to prevent it from happening again. Nobody was injured. The entire thing is pretty much a non-event. We mention it because of the breathless way it’s being reported–with headlines trumpeting a fire at a natgas power plant. Every year (month? week?) transformers blow up around the country outside of other types of buildings, including nuclear plants (see this one from Sept. 4 in Florida, and this one from Aug. 30 in Tennessee). Because natural gas is connected to the story in Northampton County, it’s a major headline. Again, natgas had nothing to do with explosion and subsequent fire…Continue reading

FERC Alters PennEast Hearing Process to Reduce Antis’ Bleating

goat bleatingWe’ve sat through our fair share of public hearings and open houses for pipelines–from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearings to state agency hearings to open houses sponsored by midstream companies (see Vicariously Attend FERC Scoping Hearing on Constitution Pipeline). The script is always the same. Anti-fossil fuel freaks show up and perform before the cameras and microphones. That’s what they are there to do–engage in a circus act. When they are denied such an opportunity, they complain (see Williams’ Smart Open House in Lebanon County Confounds Antis). FERC hearings are always the same–show up and sign up to speak, with 3 or 4-minute allotments for each speaker. And speakers are taken in the order in which they signed in. Those in the audience who are for or against typically applaud or issue boos and insults. We have often said FERC personnel should get hazard pay for sitting through 4-hour marathons of this nonsense. FERC has wised up. They held a public hearing last night in the Bethlehem, PA area for the proposed PennEast Pipeline project. Instead of a public forum, FERC set two private rooms with a stenographer in each. FERC recorded comments two-at-a-time, in private. And they saved themselves all of the theatrics by anti-drilling trolls. And of course, that didn’t sit well with the antis. Most of the antis who spoke were reading from cue cards prepared for them by THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum. The antis are so dumb they can’t even form their own thoughts about why they are against the project! Too funny…
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PA’s Schizophrenic Anti-Drillers: Go Slow, Hurry Up

I'm a PunkAnti-drillers are an interesting (and hypocritical, perhaps schizophrenic) bunch, as we’ve pointed out many times. They eschew “dirty” fossil fuels, yet they use fossil fuels every day, from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed (and even while they’re sleeping). Take the anti-drillers in Pennsylvania. A story mainstream media refused to report was the fact that the PA State Democrat Party–the home of anti-drillers in the Keystone State–passed an official plank in their platform in June 2013 ahead of the election for governor that would place an ongoing moratorium on all new Marcellus Shale drilling in the state (see PA Democrat Party Votes to End Marcellus Shale Drilling Statewide). Their reasoning? We need more data. We need to slow it down. We don’t have enough facts. We need to deliberate. Contrast that with anti-drilling Supervisor Andy Donello from Upper Nazareth Township in southeast PA (and others like him) with respect to the PennEast Pipeline…
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