FERC to Rehear Decision re Columbia Gas Pipeline Under Potomac

Anti-fossil fuelers are on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline, from Maryland on one side of the river to West Virginia on the other side, will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion. The Mountaineer project is a pipeline to deliver Marcellus/Utica natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer began building their project in March (see Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline). Here’s the inconvenient truth that mainstream news organizations fail to report: This tiny 3.5-mile pipeline will be Columbia’s 13th pipeline under the Potomac! Yet antis insist THIS is the one pipeline that will explode and contaminate the Potomac and make the water flowing down the muddy Potomac undrinkable for millions. In July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Columbia’s under-the-river pipeline project (see FERC Approves Pipeline Under the Potomac River from Md. to WV). At the time, Democrat Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur voted to approve it–but she did so grudgingly and made sure to express it. Democrat Commissioner Dick Glick voted to “dissent, in part,” meaning he sort of approved it, but he sort of didn’t (and would really rather it not get built). Antis immediately filed a request for “rehearing”–to have FERC revisit their decision to approve the project (something FERC rarely does). Sadly, FERC has agreed to rehear their decision on the project–two months after approving it. Now that FERC is down by one Republican member, it’s all too likely the Dem members will take the opportunity to vote no on the project a second time, creating a 2-2 split that will further delay the project…
Continue reading

FERC Approves Pipeline Under the Potomac River from Md. to WV

Anti-fossil fuel nutters are on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas, from Maryland to West Virginia (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion–a pipeline to deliver Marcellus/Utica natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer began building their project in March (see Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline). We also reported that in March the Maryland Dept. of the Environment had approved the “Potomac pipeline” project, as it’s called by antis. Here’s the inconvenient truth that mainstream news organizations fail to report: This tiny 3.5-mile pipeline will be Columbia’s 13th pipeline under the Potomac! Yet antis insist THIS is the one pipeline that will explode and contaminate the Potomac and make the water flowing down the muddy Potomac undrinkable for millions. Total BS. Here’s the new (and good) news about the Potomac pipeline: Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved it, so it’s now a done deal and will definitely get built. But FERC was split in its approval, with the Democrats (predictably) citing mythical man-made global warming as a reason to deny it…
Continue reading

Mountaineer Plans Pipe Expansions in WV Panhandle “Every Year”

Eastern Panhandle Expansion – click for larger version

In 2017, Mountaineer Gas launched its Eastern Panhandle Expansion pipeline project–a project to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer’s pipeline expansion will be fed by a 3.5-mile Columbia Gas pipeline due to run under the Potomac–which is being fought vigorously by anti fossil-fuelers. There are three phases to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project: Phase One runs a 22.5-mile, 10-inch-diameter steel pipeline from Morgan County to Martinsburg; Phase Two includes a loop to Charles Town (Jefferson County); and Phase Three will build a four mile segment of pipeline into Martinsburg. The West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection approved the Eastern Panhandle Expansion in February (see WV DEP Issues Permit for Mountaineer Gas Pipeline in Eastern WV), and work on Phase One began in March (see Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline). According to an article just published, work on Phase One was initially delayed because of heavy rainfall in April/May (but is now going well), and Phase Two is planned to begin in the first or second quarter of 2019. The interesting thing (for us) is a comment from Mountaineer VP Thomas Westfall, who said this: “Over the next 20 years, we will have a lot of additional interest [in gas service in the Tri-State area], and we will be proposing expansion projects in this area every year.” Meaning Phases One, Two, and Three are only the beginning, which is sure to drive the antis bonkers…
Continue reading

Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline

Anti-fossil fuel nutters have been on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being installed under the Potomac River (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). They are trying to pressure the pusillanimous RINO governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, to block the project–a project from Columbia Gas Transmission (now part of TransCanada). Don’t tell the antis, but the pipeline system Columbia’s proposed 3.5-mile pipeline will feed is now under construction in West Virginia, just on the other side of the Potomac. In 2017, Mountaineer Gas launched the Eastern Panhandle Expansion pipeline project–a project to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer’s pipeline expansion will be fed by the 3.5-mile Columbia Gas pipeline under the Potomac. There are three phases to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project: Phase One runs a 22.5-mile, 10-inch-diameter steel pipeline from Morgan County to Martinsburg; Phase Two includes a loop to Charles Town; and Phase Three will build a four mile segment of pipeline into Martinsburg. The West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection approved the Eastern Panhandle Expansion in February (see WV DEP Issues Permit for Mountaineer Gas Pipeline in Eastern WV). As of last week, work on Phase One has begun, on both ends of the 22.5-mile pipeline…
Continue reading

WV DEP Issues Permit for Mountaineer Gas Pipeline in Eastern WV

In 2017 Mountaineer Gas launched the Eastern Panhandle Expansion pipeline project–a project to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. There are three phases to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project: Phase One runs a 22.5-mile, 10-inch-diameter steel pipeline from Morgan County to Martinsburg; Phase Two includes a loop to Charles Town; and Phase Three will build a four mile segment of pipeline into Martinsburg. The West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection held a hearing on Phase One in January, at the Berkeley Springs High School (see Old Hippies Turn Out at WV DEP Hearing to Oppose Mountaineer Pipe). All of the people who spoke at the hearing, some 33 of the 80 people present, spoke against the project. Even though local residents object, on Wednesday the WV DEP issued a permit for the project…
Continue reading

Mountaineer Gas Files App to Build $45M Pipeline Expansion in WV

Mountaineer GasWest Virginia’s largest natural gas LDC (local distribution company) is Mountaineer Gas–with 220,000 customers, 450 employees and servicing 49 of WV’s 55 counties. Mountaineer Gas maintains close to 6,000 miles of pipeline. They’d like to add another 56 miles of pipelines to that number. Mountaineer has filed an application with the WV Public Service Commission to build a $45 million expansion of their distribution network in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties (the eastern panhandle of WV). Why? To deliver more Marcellus Shale gas to industrial customers who want to build manufacturing plants in the region. There is some natural gas in the area now–but not nearly enough. The new lines, which are not high pressure transmission lines but low pressure distribution lines, would bump up the volume of gas and deliver it to locations where new plants want to build. Local economic development people are excited as this provides a foundation for long-term growth in the region. Below are the details of Mountaineer’s application, along with a copy of the official paperwork they’ve filed with the WV PSC…
Continue reading

WV Residents Express Concerns over Drill Cuttings in Landfills

Drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling wells) sometimes contains low levels of naturally occurring radiation–that’s a fact. The typical way of disposing drill cuttings is via landfill. Loads are tested for radiation to be sure it doesn’t exceed safe limits, but any time you use the “r” word folks understandably get a little bit antsy. Visions of nuclear waste dumps run through their heads. Recently a rash of media-manufactured stories have appeared that West Virginia has a “loophole” that allows dumping of “radioactive shale waste” in local landfills. That’s not happening, and as stated, when/if there’s radioactivity in the cuttings, it’s usually so low it’s below that of medical waste that goes to the landfill.

But the media has now done it’s job and people are in a dither about this issue. So it’s no surprise that in an area of WV where there is no shale drilling–the eastern panhandle–folks turned out in large numbers to express concern over drilling in general and landfilling of cuttings in particular that may (or may not) be happening in their area…
Continue reading

Intelligence to be Sacrificed at WV Stop the Kaboom Festival

The crazies are at it again. Radical anti-fossil fuel activists, calling fracking “extreme resource extraction” that is “destroying the planet,” are organizing a hippie-fest in Hedgesville (Berkeley County), WV this Friday through Sunday to raise money to agitate against fossil fuels–the very same fossil fuels the people organizing and attending use every day of their lives. The so-called “Stop the Kaboom Music and Arts Festival” (bring your own pot) is now in its third year and hopes to be bigger and better than ever…
Continue reading