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

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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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SEPA Towns Manipulated by Big Enviro Groups to Oppose PennEast

You might think, in casually reading the local newspaper in southeast Pennsylvania, that all of your neighbors have spontaneously risen up to oppose an evil, nasty, money-grubbing pipeline called the PennEast. Your neighbors are concerned about safety–and YOU should be too! There’s just one teeny tiny problem–national anti-drilling groups are behind this “spontaneous” uprising. Groups like the Sierra Clubbers, and the odious and misnamed Food & Water Watch (FWW), which is not an impartial group that’s “advocating for clean water and safe food.” FWW are virulent anti-drillers who oppose fossil fuels of any kind and are well-organized and flush with Big Enviro money. FWW descends on small towns–places like Lower Saucon Township in Northampton County, PA (population 9,884)–and they hoodwink local political leaders into believing that the pipeline is evil. So a resolution gets passed by the town board opposing it. Voila, “everyone” is against it. Orgasmic joy sweeps over Food & Water Watch HQ. On to the next town…
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MDN Encourages Counter-Protest at SE PA Compressor Plant on Jan 24

In December the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally, after a nearly two-year process, approved Columbia Gas Transmissions East Side Expansion project which will add 19 miles of new pipeline in southeastern PA and NJ to help fire a natural gas-fired electricity generating plant with cheap Marcellus Shale gas (see FERC Approves Columbia East Side Project in SE PA). All along there’s been opposition to a compressor station expansion Forks Township, Northampton County (see Columbia Hits Resistance to Compressor Upgrade in SE PA). As we’ve pointed out, it’s not much opposition–look at the picture of the so-called “packed auditorium” of people turning up to oppose it (see picture below). However, the anti-pipeline faithful don’t give up easily. There’s always one more Viet Nam, er, a, pipeline protest left in ’em. Even though the East Side Expansion (and compressor station expansion) is close to being a done deal, a group of anti-drilling/anti-pipeline folks will turn up on Sat., Jan. 24 at noon at the plant to protest. We think pro-drilling folks need to turn up as well. It’s time to fight this nonsense…
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FERC Approves Columbia East Side Project in SE PA

In March 2013, Columbia Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of Nisource, applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to add then-16 miles (now 19 miles) of new pipeline in southeastern PA and NJ to help fire a natural gas-fired electricity generating plant with cheap Marcellus Shale gas (see Columbia’s SE PA Pipeline Project Includes Compressor Upgrade). The project, called the East Side Expansion, faced some stiff opposition–especially with upgrades to a compressor station in Forks Township, Northampton County (see Columbia Hits Resistance to Compressor Upgrade in SE PA). Last Friday, Columbia announced FERC has approved the project and construction will now begin…
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Columbia Hits Resistance to Compressor Upgrade in SE PA

A year and a half ago MDN told you that Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of NiSource, was planning to upgrade a compressor station in Forks Township (Northampton County), PA (see Columbia’s SE PA Pipeline Project Includes Compressor Upgrade). The upgrade is part of Columbia’s East Side Expansion project, a project that includes 16 miles of new pipelines to carry cheap Marcellus Shale gas to a natural gas-powered electric generating plant (and other customers) across the border in New Jersey. Last year we reported that the neighbors of the project were just fine with the upgrade. Today, that’s changed, although how much opposition is yet to be fully determined…
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PennEast Pipeline Plan Sprouts an Off-Shoot to Lehigh Valley

The 100+ mile PennEast Pipeline, proposed by six joint-venture partners including utility company UGI and pipeline company Spectra Energy (see Spectra Energy Becomes 6th Partner in PennEast Pipeline Project), is slated to run from Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania through southeastern PA and into New Jersey, near Trenton. The planned route is still being worked out. However, the PennEast Pipeline has just sprouted an extra off-shoot or “lateral” off from the main pipeline. This new 2-mile section will connect the main PennEast Pipeline to a UGI Gas interconnection facility in the Hellertown (Northampton County) area–delivering cheap Marcellus Shale gas to the Lower Saucon and Bethlehem areas, otherwise known as the Lehigh Valley…
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Dela. Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Hold Stop PennEast Pipeline Mtg

THE Delaware Riverkeeper herself, Maya van Rossum, has apparently been called back from outside the orbit of the Delaware River Basin (see Martian Chronicles: Delaware River Basin Shifts to Western PA?). What urgent matters would draw Ms. van Rossum from trying to stop evil shale well drilling in western PA all the way back to the Delaware River Basin in eastern PA? Why, a pipeline, of course. She, along with a contingent of Sierra Clubbers, held a “stop the PennEast Pipeline Project” meeting at Northampton Community College last night. There were lots of words like “dangerous” and “devastation” bandied about, in an attempt to fire up ~125 of the faithful who attended…
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Update on PennEast Pipeline–Its Physical & Emotional Path

The anti-drilling nutters at the Sierra Club (we call them Sierra Clubbers, you know, people who like to go “clubbing“?) have apparently polled a new phrase that they think is a winner. They’ve found when you say magic words, like “pipeline x will leave a nasty, ugly scar that’s irreversible” on Old Mother Nature, that gets low information people really fired up. So that’s the new phrase they toss around for projects like the recently announced PennEast Pipeline (see 3rd New NEPA Marcellus Pipeline Proposed, Connects to Trenton, NJ). PennEast will run from Wilkes-Barre, PA all the way to a spot near Trenton, NJ. Communities along the proposed route have been organizing meetings with the express purpose of castigating and ridiculing the proposed $1 billion project. “Not in my back yard!” they yell. The Sierra Clubbers helpfully sprinkle magic words like “scar the earth” which whips them up into even more of frenzy. So UGI and the four other partners in the project have abruptly stopped attending those meetings and will, instead, host their own meetings in an attempt to keep anti-drillers from trying to manipulate people’s emotions. Good for them…
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