EPA Rejects Connecticut Request to Shut Down Pa. Power Plant

Brunner Island Power Plant

Brunner Island Power Plant is located in York County, PA, straddling Lancaster County. It is a huge, 1,490 megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant, and has been the target of environmentalists for years. In February 2017, MDN told you that the new owner of the plant, Talen Energy, invested $100 million to retrofit the plant so it can, at least part of the time, burn Marcellus Shale gas (see York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel). Talen said it “plans to burn little or no coal until 2019 as part of a ‘site evaluation.’” Meaning almost all (perhaps all) of the fuel powering the plant at this point is Marcellus Shale gas. Which is why we’re interested in the plant and what happens to it. However, it appears they still burn at least some coal from time to time. In February Talen signed an agreement to settle a lawsuit brought by the odious Sierra Club (see York, PA Electric Plant to Drop Coal, Burn Only Marcellus Gas). The terms of the settlement say Talen will burn only Marcellus gas at Burnner Island during “peak ozone season”–from May 1 through Sept. 30–starting in 2023. Talen will phase out coal completely by 2028. But all of that isn’t good enough for the state of Connecticut, which asked the federal EPA to shut down Brunner Island, permanently, claiming “computer models” show the plant is causing smog in CT. The EPA told CT to stuff it…
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York, PA Gas-Fired Electric Plant Fined $25K for 2-Day Shut Down

Brunner Island Power Plant

Brunner Island Power Plant is located in York County, PA, straddling Lancaster County. It is a huge, 1,490 megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant, and has been the target of environmentalists for years. In February 2017, MDN told you that the new owner of the plant (Talen Energy) is investing $100 million to retrofit the plant so it can, at least part of the time, burn Marcellus Shale gas (see York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel). The plant recently signed an agreement with the state to burn only Marcellus gas during “peak ozone season”–from May 1 through Sept. 30–starting in 2023 (see York, PA Electric Plant to Drop Coal, Burn Only Marcellus Gas). Talen will phase out coal completely by 2028. Until 2023, the plant burns Marcellus gas at various times–hence our interest. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has just levied a $25,000 fine against the plant for shutting down for two days in the dead in the winter. Why is that a problem? Don’t these plants sometimes need to shut down?…
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York, PA Electric Plant to Drop Coal, Burn Only Marcellus Gas

Something momentous has just happened. The loons at the Sierra Club, who once loved natural gas until they began irrationally hating it, have just admitted to the world that burning natural gas to produce electricity is A.O.K. with them. Brunner Island Power Plant is located in York County, PA, straddling Lancaster County. It is a huge, 1,490 megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant, and has been the target of environmentalists for years. In February 2017, MDN told you that the new owner of the plant is investing $100 million to retrofit the plant so it can, at least part of the time, burn Marcellus Shale gas (see York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel). Talen Energy (the new owner) said it “plans to burn little or no coal until 2019 as part of a ‘site evaluation.’” Meaning almost all (perhaps all) of the fuel powering the plant at this point is Marcellus Shale gas. Which is why we’re interested in the plant and what happens to it. However, it appears they still burn coal from time to time. Talen has just signed to settle a lawsuit brought by the odious Sierra Club. The terms of the settlement say they will burn only Marcellus gas during “peak ozone season”–from May 1 through Sept. 30–starting in 2023. Talen will phase out coal completely by 2028. In other words, the Sierra Club, contrary to its own “end natural gas” campaign, has just signed a settlement admitting they think natural gas is far better for the environment than coal. Actions speak louder than words…
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PA DEP Issues 4th Draft Wastewater Permit for York Electric Plant

The Brunner Island Power Plant is located in York County, PA, but straddles Lancaster County. It is a huge 1,490 megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant, and has been the target of environmentalists for years. In February 2017, MDN told you that the new owners of the plant are investing $100 million to retrofit the plant so it can, at least part of the time, burn Marcellus Shale gas (see York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel). The plant was issued a draft permit by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in April allowing the plant to discharge pollutants (into the atmosphere) and heated water into the Susquehanna River. It was the third such draft permit issued since 2011 when the last official permit expired. The DEP held a public hearing on the draft permit in July (see York, PA Elec Plant Dropping Coal for Now, Burning Marcellus Gas). At that time Talen Energy (the new owner) said it “plans to burn little or no coal until 2019 as part of a ‘site evaluation.’” Meaning almost all (perhaps all) of the fuel powering the plant is Marcellus Shale gas. Which is why we’re interested in the plant and what happens to it. Last Friday the DEP announced it has updated and issued a fourth draft permit and is accepting comments through February 20th. The DEP hopes the fourth time is the charm…
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York, PA Elec Plant Dropping Coal for Now, Burning Marcellus Gas

Brunner Island Power Plant

The Brunner Island Power Plant is located in York County, PA, but straddles Lancaster County. It is a huge 1,490 megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant, and has been the target of environmentalists for years. In February, MDN told you that the new owners of the plant are investing $100 million to retrofit the plant so it can, at least part of the time, burn Marcellus Shale gas (see York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel). The plant was issued a draft permit by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in April allowing the plant to discharge pollutants (into the atmosphere) and heated water into the Susquehanna River. The DEP is holding a public hearing on the draft permit, on July 24 in Manchester, PA. All of which sounds rather mundane. However, in coverage of the upcoming hearing, we read that Talen Energy (the new owner) “plans to burn little or no coal until 2019 as part of a ‘site evaluation.'” Now that is interesting. If true, that means either right now, or very soon, almost all (perhaps all) of the fuel powering the plant is Marcellus Shale gas…
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York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel

Brunner Island Power Plant – click for larger image

We first reported in August 2015 on plans for a mammoth coal-fired electric plant in York County, PA (straddling Lancaster County) would invest $100 million to begin using Marcellus Shale gas to help power the plant (see Lancaster Coal Burning Electric Plant Adding Marcellus NatGas). The Brunner Island facility, as it’s called, has been in environmentalists sights for years, with complaints about emissions from the plant. Brunner Island has a relatively new owner–Talen Energy (of Allentown, PA). Beginning to use natgas at the Brunner Island facility is an experiment for Talen–they intend to continue using coal as well (for now). Good news: Brunner Island has begun using natgas, ahead of schedule…
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PA Paper Manufacturer Converting Coal to NatGas Boilers

GlatfelterIt’s not only power generating plants that are converting from burning coal to burning natural gas. York, PA paper manufacturer Glatfelter is working on a $63 million conversion project from coal-fired boilers to Marcellus Shale gas-fired boilers. Glatfelter considered other alternatives, like scrubbers for the current coal-fired boilers and using biomass boilers. In the end, Glatfelter said Marcellus Shale gas has “lower emissions, increased efficiency, lower variable costs” and supports “a resource critical to the state’s economic health.” Wise choice. The Glatfelter decision to convert to Marcellus Shale gas was highlighted yesterday at an economic forum in southcentral PA…
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Anti-Fracker Ejected from PA Gov-Elect Wolf Victory Celebration

That was fast. We find it amusing that Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s hometown newspaper, the York Daily Record (YDR), is already lowering expectations for their favorite son and what he’ll be able to accomplish as a Democrat governor in a state with an even larger majority of Republicans in the House and Senate than it had under current Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. The YDR says Wolf may not walk on water after all (although they’re not sure, he may), and that those nasty Republicans may, well, not just roll over and play dead like they’re s’posed to. Not only does Wolf have to fend off the nasty Republicans, he has a hard time keeping his own “supporters” somewhere in the realm of planet Earth. During Wolf’s victory celebration Tuesday night in York, when he mentioned shale drilling, some of the rabidly wacko anti-drillers in the audience went into hysterics–one of whom was physically removed from the premises…
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York County Park Getting $150K Upgrade Courtesy Marcellus $

Even though there is no Marcellus Shale drilling in York County, PA, residents of the county will get $150,000 of improvements to a county park courtesy of Marcellus Shale drilling. MDN sees at least two or three of these kinds of stories–every week. We ignore most of them, but every now and again we bring you one of them to remind you of what the state is about to lose thanks to the “selfish seven” townships that sued the state to gut the Act 13 Marcellus drilling law–a law that provides for an impact fee that raises over $200 million per year that is distributed throughout the state–some of it in places like York County.

Here’s the story of the $150,000 upgrade coming to a York County park courtesy the drillers and landowners out of whose pockets the money comes…
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PA Researcher: Breakthrough Fracking Technique Reduces Water Need

Paul Krumrine, a PA-based researcher for SiGNa Chemistry, is working on a new technique for extracting shale gas. It appears he’s on the verge of a breakthrough. The new technique has progressed to the point it’s now patented and SiGNa is shopping it around to drillers for field tests. The technique developed by Krumrine uses sodium silicide (SiGNa specializes in uses of sodium silicide) in a chemical reaction to create incredible amounts of pressure and lower the amount of water needed to hydraulically fracture a well. It also dramatically reduces the concentrations of certain materials in flowback water that returns to the surface.

A bit more about this intriguing new innovation:
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Newfield Exploration Set to Drill 10 Wells in Wayne County, PA This Summer

Drilling is coming to Wayne County, Pennsylvania this summer according to officials with Newfield Exploration. They are waiting for approvals from regulators to begin drilling up to 10 exploration wells. If those wells show promising results, they will likely be turned into full production wells.

A Houston-based natural gas production company is laying the groundwork to fulfill its promise to drill up to 10 exploration wells in northern Wayne County this summer, with permits now trickling into the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Newfield Exploration Co., which partnered with international oil and gas production firm Hess Corp. to develop a 140,000-acre leasehold in Wayne and Susquehanna counties, recently filed for its first four natural gas drilling permits in Damascus and Manchester Twps.

The company has three pending drilling permits in Damascus Twp. [Wayne County] and one pending permit in Manchester Twp. [York County], according to state environmental regulator records. These permits, filed in late February and March, are on track to be approved by late April or May.*

*The Scranton Times Tribune (Mar 24) – Gas driller seeks permits for Wayne County wells