SWPA County Political Leaders Voice Support for Petchem, Shale

In a speech delivered October 31 to the P4 Climate Action Summit in downtown Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto declared his hatred for the petrochemical industry. He doesn’t want any more Shell crackers junking up his regional backyard. The highly negative reaction to Peduto’s idiotic (and pandering) remarks was swift. What petchem company wants to build in a region where the mayor of its largest city is trash talking the industry? In a bid to counter Peduto’s economically damaging remarks, some 20 county officials from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties issued a joint statement on Wednesday to show their support for the petrochemical and shale industries in the region.
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Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties

Pittsburgh Business Times ace reporter Paul Gough has done it again–breaking big news related to ExxonMobil and their very active search to locate a site in the Pittsburgh region to build a gigantic ethane cracker plant. This time Paul’s sources are telling him Exxon has widened their search. A few weeks ago we told you Exxon was looking for potential locations in Beaver County, PA, near where Shell is building their $8 billion cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). Paul learned the search has widened to at least two other southwest PA counties.
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Proposed New PA Pipeline to Connect Rover Pipe to WV Power Plant

Tri-State Corridor Project (click for larger version)

It’s not often a new pipeline project crops up and slips by us. On May 31, Equitrans (formerly EQT Midstream) filed an official request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 16.7-mile pipeline from southwest Pennsylvania into West Virginia in order to feed what will become WV’s very first natural gas-fired electric power plant (see WV NatGas Power Plant Gets Final Permits, Construction Begins Soon). The pipeline will connect to and feed gas from the mighty Rover Pipeline.
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Conflict-of-Interest Delays Vote on SWPA Beech Hollow Power Plant

What happens when two of three elected town supervisors either have a lease with a pipeline company, or have close family members who have leases with the pipeline company, and they must vote to approve a new power plant project that would use shale gas from that pipeline to power it? It’s called a conflict of interest, and we’re about to find out the answer to that question in Robinson Township (Washington County), PA.
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More Reckless Accusations that Shale Causes Cancer in SWPA Kids

Here’s how it works for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “reporters” Don Hopey and David Templeton. A group of fellow travelers who hate the fossil fuel (shale) industry as much as they do gather at a small, pre-announced meeting, preferably at a school, and make wild, unsubstantiated, frankly reckless (actionable?) accusations against the “hated” shale drilling industry. Stenographers Hopey and Templeton are there to record it all and share it with the general public. That’s what happened yesterday at meeting in Washington County, PA.
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PA DEP Hires Private Lawyers to Defend Against Atty General Probe

Really? Is this what it’s now come to? Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is so desperate to make a criminal case against someone, anyone, in the shale industry, he’s even going after state employees–workers at the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). In a bid to raise his visibility among state voters (so he can run for governor), Shapiro launched an investigation in January looking for environmental “crimes” committed by Range Resources and other shale drillers (see PA AG Investigates Shale Drillers for “Enviro Crimes”).
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EQT Looks to Sublease HQ Space – Leaving Downtown Pittsburgh?

EQT Corp. is offering to sublease “more space” at its downtown Pittsburgh headquarters building. Back in April, before the change in leadership at the top, EQT offered up to 46,000 square feet of space to lease at its massive 250,000 square foot building known as EQT Plaza, located at 625 Liberty Ave. (see EQT Looking for New HQ Building in Pittsburgh). At the time the company was rumored to be looking for a new, smaller HQ somewhere in downtown Pittsburgh, which we chalked up to a negotiating tactic. The rumor now is that EQT is looking to lease even more than the original 46K sq ft, and possibly leave downtown Pittsburgh.
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PA Fed Judge Won’t Dismiss Landowner Royalty Case Against Range

Last October MDN brought to your attention a lawsuit filed by a Washington County, PA couple, Robin and Thomas Pflasterer, against Range Resources (see Range Resources Sued by PA Landowner re Post-Production Deductions). The Pflasterers maintain Range deducted post-production expenses not allowed under their lease. Range argued the Pflasterers didn’t have the proper paperwork to back up their claims and asked for the case to be dismissed.
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CNX Resources Lays Off 10% of Total Workforce – More Cuts Coming?

CNX Resources has just laid off (i.e. fired) roughly 50 employees company-wide, most of them at company headquarters in Canonsburg. But not all. We heard from an MDN trust source who said at least nine workers got their walking papers in West Virginia. Given the company employs about 500 people, 50 fired represents 10% of the workforce. Question is, will there be more firings?
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Steel Nation CEO Pushes Back on Post-Gazette Cancer Stories

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues to get a lot of negative reaction to its grossly irresponsible series of stories attempting to connect shale drilling to several cases of childhood cancer in southwestern Pennsylvania (see Response to Pittsburgh Newspaper Smear Campaign re Child Cancer). The founder and CEO of Steel Nation, a company deeply involved in the Marcellus/Utica shale industry, is the latest to push back against the Post-Gazette‘s irresponsible series.
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Response to Pittsburgh Newspaper Smear Campaign re Child Cancer

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper has engaged in a months-long smear campaign to imply the shale industry in southwestern PA is guilty of causing a “cluster” of rare childhood cancers–even though there’s an old uranium dump in the same vicinity as those cancer clusters (see Antis Continue Attempt to Tie Childhood Cancer to SWPA Fracking). It’s apparent the Post-Gazette is trying to sell newspapers. Taking down the shale industry would be a bonus for the lib Dems that run the Post-Gazette.
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PA Landowners Seek Class Action Against EQT re Gas Storage

Last July a group of 100+ southwestern Pennsylvania landowners sued EQT for failure to pay them rental fees for storing natural gas under their properties (see 100+ PA Landowners Sue EQT re Gas Storage Field Payments). That same group has just filed a request in U.S. District Court to upgrade the lawsuit to class action status, potentially including thousands of affected landowners.
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Pipeline Outage Causing Headache for PennEnergy in W PA

We caught a helpful update on PennEnergy Resources from a report on last week’s Hart Energy DUG East Conference in Pittsburgh. PennEnergy CEO Richard Weber told the DUG audience that his company is currently producing an average half a billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, with plans to increase that by 10% this year. One thing holding the company back is the ongoing outage of Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline gathering system.
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Antis Continue Attempt to Tie Childhood Cancer to SWPA Fracking

A group of enviro-Nazis has sunk to a new low in their holy mission to block Marcellus Shale drilling. A group of colluding Big Green groups along with sympathetic (and sycophantic) “reporters” (i.e propagandists) from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are exploiting the pain and suffering of southwestern PA families of children who have cancer in their attempt to stop shale drilling. It’s disgusting and sick.
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MarkWest, Contractor Fined $98K for SWPA Gas Plant Explosion

In mid-December there was an explosion at a MarkWest Energy natural gas processing plant in Chartiers (Washington County), PA, injuring four people (see MarkWest Plant Explosion in Washington Co. Injures 4; 1 Critical). Unfortunately one the workers later died (see Sad Postscript: Man Dies of Injuries from MarkWest SWPA Explosion). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the incident and has just fined MarkWest and a contractor (that employed the workers) a cumulative $98,508.
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PA Court Denies “Standing” for Grandma Fighting Range Well

A grandmother concerned that if Range Resources were to build a well pad three-fourths of a mile from her granddaughter’s school (in Washington County, PA) instead of building it a full mile from the school, tried to gain legal standing to challenge a permit granted to Range by Mount Pleasant Township. Grandma says her granddaughter has a sensitivity to benzene fumes. Yesterday a Commonwealth Court panel ruled she does NOT have legal standing to challenge the permit.
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