CELDF Continues to Agitate Against Indiana, PA Injection Well

November 15, 2017 1 Comment 

We previously reported on the story of two Pennsylvania towns that were either hoodwinked, or perhaps willing led astray, by the radical Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) into passing (now overturned) bans on fracking and injection wells in their towns–Highland Twp (Elk County) and Grant Twp (Indiana County). The two townships thought they would do an end-run around the state’s authority to issue permits for two injection wells, one in each township, by re-incorporating under so-called home rule charters. The towns essentially declared themselves independent of the state for a variety of matters, including oil and gas permits, which the PA state constitution clearly says is a function of ONLY the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. In March, the DEP issued final permits to each town, and at the same time sued each town to get those portions of their home rule charters, dealing with oil and gas, overturned (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). The towns agreed to “stand down” and, during their lawsuits, not oppose the DEP’s permits for the injection wells (see 2 PA Townships Won’t Enforce “Home Rule” Against Injection Wells). We thought that would be the end of it. But no, it seems in Grant Township the so-called leaders of the town continue to be brainwashed by the CELDF. In May, Grant’s attorneys filed a counter-claim against PA asking Commonwealth Court to recognize a sort-of extra-judicial set of rights the town can exercise over top of, or in addition to, state laws (instead of their previous position of trying to replace state laws). Unfortunately the judge is willing to give them some rope. Here’s an update on the CELDF anarchist-backed challenge happening in Grant–a threat to our very Constitutional form of self-government…
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WV DEP Secretary Issues Letter Explaining MV Pipeline Decision

November 15, 2017 1 Comment 

In March, the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) issued a federal water crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)–a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA (see WV DEP Grants Mountain Valley Pipeline Water Crossing Permit). In June, a group of profoundly radical “environmental” organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit against the WVDEP for doing their job issuing the permit (see Radicals File Lawsuit Against WV DEP for Approving MV Pipeline). Because of the pressure of that lawsuit, WVDEP caved and reversed their decision in September, rescinding (called “vacating”) the permit for MVP (see Trouble for Mountain Valley Pipe: WV DEP Withdraws Water Permit). The WVDEP said they would “re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state’s certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.” The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld WVDEP’s decision and granted the agency’s motion to invalidate the previous certificate they granted the project (see Court Backs WVDEP Move to Cancel Permits for Mountain Valley Pipe). Then earlier this month, in yet another 180 degree about face, WVDEP announced it has “lifted the suspension” of the MVP stormwater permit–and that the agency has decided to waive the permit, MVP has no need to get it before beginning construction (see WVDEP Reverses, Waives Water Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline). Since that time WVDEP has faced withering criticism from antis, accusing the agency of abandoning their oversight of the project. On Monday, WVDEP Secretary Austin Caperton issued a letter to agency staffers (and to the public) to explain the agency hasn’t given up anything–that instead they have opted for a different type of oversight of the MVP project. We have to confess, it’s a very good letter and explains a lot. Bottom line: WVDEP is still very much large and in charge when it comes to overseeing impacts from the project on WV’s streams and rivers…
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PA House Speaker Mike Turzai, Friend of O&G, Running for Governor

November 15, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Mike Turzai – PA House Speaker

It’s certainly past time to end the miserable failure that is the Tom Wolf Administration. Republicans are lining up to run against him. But first will come a primary. One prominent state figure, PA House Speaker Mike Turzai, has kept his intentions about running close to the vest. But yesterday Turzai announced he would throw his hat in the ring, to run in the Republican primary in 2018 for the right to face off against failure Tom Wolf in November. We think it’s a no-brainer. Turzai has been a steadfast friend of the Marcellus industry over the years. It has been Turzai’s opposition that has held the line against a Marcellus-killing severance tax. He’s conservative. He’s pro-gas. And he’s anti-tax. Turzai is the leader PA needs to recover from the bumbling Tom Wolf…
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PA Approves $2.4M Project to Run NatGas Pipes in Wyoming County

November 15, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Although we consider Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to be a failure, every now and again (rare as hen’s teeth), he swerves into doing something good. Or perhaps we should say he takes credit for doing something good, whether or not he actually had anything to do with it at all. Yesterday Gov. Wolf’s office issued a press release to announce that the state will spend $2.35 million via the Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) to install natural gas lines in Tunkhannock Township (Wyoming County), which will provide clean-burning, locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas to 102 residential homes, 13 businesses and several civic buildings. The project will create something like 200 temporary construction jobs. Kudos to Wolf for not screwing this one up…
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Sierra Club Files Federal Lawsuit to Stop NEXUS Pipeline

November 15, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Honestly, the Sierra Club launches so many petitions with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), and so many lawsuits against FERC regarding pipelines, it’s hard to keep them all straight. One of the northeast pipelines the Clubbers oppose is NEXUS, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. NEXUS got final approval for the project from FERC in August, the first major pipeline to get approved following a newly restored quorum at FERC (see New FERC Quorum Votes Final Approval for NEXUS Pipeline). The Ohio EPA granted a water permit for the project in September (see Ohio EPA Grants Water Permit to NEXUS Pipe, “Learned” from Rover). Seeing the NEXUS freight train moving on down the tracks, the Clubbers filed a request for “rehearing” with FERC in September (see CORNballs, Sierra Club Continue to Fight NEXUS Pipeline in Court). Before anyone can sue to stop a federal pipeline project, the first step is to request a rehearing. If FERC delays or rejects a rehearing request, the supposedly aggrieved party can then launch a lawsuit in federal Appeals Court. And that’s what the Sierra Club did earlier this week. They filed a lawsuit against NEXUS in the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, asking the court to force FERC to conduct a new review of the project, and in the meantime, shut it all down. The Sierra Club is rather good at shutting down pipelines and destroying jobs, as they recently did in PA (see Sierra Club Pipeline Lawsuit Throws 2,500 in PA Out of Work). Fortunately the PA episode was short-lived (just two days and work resumed). The question now is, will the lib judges in DC put up with yet another lame lawsuit from the Clubbers and shut down NEXUS construction?…
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Richmond County, VA Commits Fracking Suicide with Vote to Ban

November 15, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Sadly, the “leaders” of Richmond County, VA have just voted to commit fracking suicide–a total ban on fracking in the county. They’re not the first. Last year King George County did the same thing, banning it in most of the county (see King George County, VA Commits Fracking Suicide with Vote to Ban). Augusta County was the first Virginia county to ban fracking throughout the entire county, which they did in February of this year. Richmond is the second to ban it countywide. No, there is no Marcellus Shale underlying the county, but there is the Taylorsville shale layer–and there is interest in drilling there, someday. The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, F. Lee Sanders, said they are “just trying to set an example for other people.” Apparently the real motivation for the ban is not that there would be any actual drilling since only a sliver of Richmond contains Taylorsville shale. No, the real reason for the ban is worry over what other people think. Each year a group of radical leftists called American Rivers (Big Green group) puts together a sham list the call “America’s Most Endangered Rivers.” The Rappahannock River (in Richmond County) is on this year’s list in the #5 spot, because of the “threat fracking poses to clean drinking water.” The entire list is bogus–but the dolts in Richmond County fell for it anyway. They worry that lefties will say mean things about them if they allow fracking. So they banned it. And just like that, more citizens of this country have lost their hard-earned freedoms and property rights…
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DOJ Pledges to Vigorously Prosecute Pipeline Eco-terrorists

November 15, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Members of Congress, indeed members of the public, are sick and tired of eco-terrorists targeting our pipeline infrastructure. In October we told you that 84 Members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Dept. of Justice to step up its enforcement of existing laws against these sick terrorists (see 84 Members of Congress ask DOJ to Pursue Domestic Eco-Terrorists). Illegally shutting down a pipeline or damaging pipeline infrastructure, specifically petrochemical pipelines, puts lives at risk. Our nation needs hydrocarbons for transportation, electricity generation, to heat our homes, and to produce thousands of household products. Pipelines provide a safe and economical way to transport that energy. Eco-terrorists put all that in jeopardy. We’re happy to report that last Friday the AG Sessions and the DOJ responded to the good Congresspeople to say the Department will vigorously prosecute those who damage “critical energy infrastructure in violation of federal law.” Good! It’s about time. We’ve had enough of the inmates running the asylum. Back to law and order. Thank you Jeff Sessions and thank you Donald Trump…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Nov 15, 2017

November 15, 2017 Leave a Comment 

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA Act 13 impact fees fund $15.7M of enviro projects; 2 permits issued in Columbiana County, OH; conservancies are for conservation, not politics; Alaskan LNG made possible by China; American shale gas the “silver bullet” to take out Vlad Putin; electric grid watchdog says natgas is reliable enough without nukes, coal; bullish market for shale oil exports; U.S. energy independence finally in sight; continuous disruption the “new normal” in o&g; LNG oversupply has fundamentally changed the market; China natgas demand will triple by 2040; and more!
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Out with the Old: Rice Energy Sign Comes Down Day of EQT Merger

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Yesterday the Marcellus/Utica experienced a fracking earthquake of historic proportions. That is, a fracking earthquake metaphorically speaking. Yesterday Rice Energy was merged into EQT, creating the largest onshore natural gas producing company in these United States. The $8.2 billion deal was first announced back in June (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). There was plenty of drama along the way–primarily opposition to the deal by evil corporate raider Jana Partners, in collusion with Atlas Energy (see Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal). Shame on both of them. Fortunately their effort to stop the deal didn’t gain traction. Yesterday was the day when the two companies became one. Two Rice Energy board members, Dan Rice IV and Bobby Vagt, joined the EQT board. Another two independent (outside either firm) board members were also added–Thomas Karam, founder and Chairman of Karbon Partners, and Norman Szydlowski, former president and CEO of SemGroup Corporation. Standing by the virtual water cooler, MDN has overheard that many Rice personnel were nervous about what yesterday would bring. You know the routine: Two rooms–one for those staying, and one for those getting the heave-ho. Everyone waiting to get “the call” to whichever room they’re assigned. We’ve been there. It sucks. But that’s the reality in today’s corporate world. One thing we found interesting is that the huge Rice Energy sign on the company’s (former) HQ building was taken down yesterday–the very day the two merged. An MDN friend caught some of it on a smartphone video (below). EQT isn’t wasting any time making a statement: In with the new, out with the old…
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3 Old Ladies Cause 3 Hr Delay in Atlantic Sunrise Construction

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

When did little old ladies become climate jihadists? That’s what happened yesterday in Lancaster County when three old ladies, obviously radicalized at some point (maybe they’re old hippies who have always been radicalized?), tied themselves together with a plastic pipe device that needed to be cut away so they could be removed from the spot where they were blocking Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline construction equipment. The entire episode took three hours. When asked nicely by the police to remove the plastic device and unhook themselves, the old ladies refused. So the police had to carefully operate to cut them apart. We figure their stunt easily cost $3,000 in delays–so we sincerely hope Williams sends each of them a bill of $1K to cover the downtime. Plus the old ladies will need to compensate the police and court system for handling their unnecessary case. These three added to the 29 previously arrested in two other episodes now make 32 arrested opposing Atlantic Sunrise–out the “thousands” the clattering Clatterbucks (Mark and Malinda, the radicals spearheading these actions) claim said would rise up to illegally block construction. So much for the big boasts of radical antis…
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How Soon Will WV See Chinese Money? “Immediately” Says Official

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Last week’s big news that China committed to invest $83.7 billion in shale and petrochemical projects in West Virginia continues to reverberate (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). Almost as soon as the deal was announced, so-called experts came out of the swamp to say, “Won’t ever happen, ain’t a big deal, move along, nothing to see here.” Such was how Bloomberg reported it (see Why $84 Billion From China Can’t Buy a U.S. East Gas Hub), and how the sometimes-swamp dwelling Wall Street Journal reported it (see A U.S. Natural-Gas Bonanza in China Isn’t a Done Deal). Such is the irrational hatred of Donald Trump and anyone who supports him, like WV Gov. Jim Justice. This is a time for celebration. The Chinese are sending money HERE, instead of the other way around, as it has been under Lord Obama and presidents going back for decades. Yet the swamp dwellers attempt to throw excrement on the good news. Let them. They expose themselves for the shallow, leftist shills they are. Here’s an important question on everyone’s mind: When will Chinese money begin to flow for some of these projects? The answer, according to WV Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher, is “immediately”–meaning within the next six months when ground will be broken on one, possibly two, natural gas-fired electric plants in the state. Below are insights into when the state will see the money, how the money will get distributed, and how this deal actually came together in the first place…
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EIA Nov ’17 Drilling Report: Record-Breaking Year-End on the Way

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

History will have been made this year in America’s shale plays. That’s according to our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Yesterday the EIA issued our favorite monthly report, the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. Last month was a record-breaker when total shale gas output blew by 60 billion cubic feet per day (see EIA Oct Drilling Report: NatGas Production Flies by 60 Bcf/d). EIA says in December production will fly by 61 Bcf/d! A new record. Not only that, EIA predicts that Appalachia (the Marcellus/Utica shale region) will increase its output by 394 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). Put another way, M-U output will go up close to another 1/2 Bcf/d–all by itself. Incredible. Finally, as almost every news story about the DPR is pointing out, December will be the 12th month in a row that shale output has gone up. Welcome to the miracle of American shale energy…
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Penn Twp Ninny Nannies File Lawsuit to Block Apex, H&H Wells

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

A group of ninny nannies calling themselves Protect PT (Penn Township, Westmoreland County), backed with money and legal help from Big Green group PennFuture, filed a lawsuit to try and stop Apex Energy and Huntley & Huntley (H&H) from drilling wells in the township. We first alerted you to the lawsuit in October, when we were only aware of Apex being in the group’s sights (see Judge to Rule on Apex Energy Well Drilling in Westmoreland County). Since then, we’ve learned that the partial injunction blocking well drilling not only bars Apex drilling wells, but H&H as well. Gillian Graber, Executive Director of Protect PT, fibbed when she said, “We’re not saying don’t frack in Penn Township or ban fracking. We never took that position. We disagreed with where [the drilling companies] put it.” We think that’s BS–Barbara Streisand. They want all drilling stopped period. That’s the aim of the lawsuit. Below is a somewhat biased article, but useful nonetheless, with insight into the legal tactics (bastardizations) being used by Protect PT’s PennFuture lawyers, hoping to overturn settled Act 13 law. We also have a copy of a brief filed by H&H, pushing back against this latest assault on Marcellus drilling in southwestern PA…
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“Health Experts” Meet in Pitt. to Demonize Shale, Shell Cracker

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

A group of so-called “health experts” pontificated at an event yesterday hosted by the League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters in Pittsburgh. They were supposedly there to discuss shale and public health. One of the gripe sessions took aim against Shell’s now-under construction ethane cracker facility. Speakers tried hard not to come right out and curse shale and the cracker–but they couldn’t help themselves. In the end they made untrue statements that imply the cracker will poison the community and make it unlivable. One speaker’s solution? “Don’t build it.” Typical. All you need to know about yesterday’s meeting is that one of the panelists is the staff attorney for the radical enviro organization Earthjustice. Truth was the main casualty at yesterday’s meeting…
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Little Green Takes 1st Step in Suing to Block Atlantic Coast Pipe

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

No doubt being advised and funded by national Big Green groups, a group of backbencher local green groups (Little Green) have taken the first step in what will no doubt turn into a lawsuit to try and stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project from getting built. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Atlantic Coast, a $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, in October (see FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects). A group of 21 backbencher local green groups located in VA and NC filed a petition with FERC on Monday, asking the agency to “rehear” (reconsider) it’s approval of the project. Among the claims made by the backbenchers: “Federal regulators cut corners, ignored environmental injustice and climate destruction, and usurped state authority in approving construction,” according to NC Warn, one of the backbenchers. Of course all of this is political theater. Grandstanding. Showboating. They don’t really believe FERC will change it’s mind. What happens next is FERC will tell the backbenchers they’re full of beans and to go away, and then the backbenchers can legally file a lawsuit with the Federal Court of Appeals (preferably with the liberal DC Circuit). Filing a petition for a rehearing with FERC is Step #1. Federal lawsuit is Step #2. Below is news about the petition, a copy of the 40-page petition, and a press release from one of the backbencher groups…
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Longer Laterals Major Trend in 2017 Marcellus-Utica Drilling

November 14, 2017 Leave a Comment 

Yesterday MDN updated you on Eclipse Resources’ program of drilling looooong laterals–the horizontal part of shale wells (see Eclipse Res. 3Q17: Super-Laterals Proving to be Super Productive). Eclipse is the reigning champ, having drilled the three longest onshore horizontal wells–in the WORLD. Upward of 3.5 miles underground! All three of Eclipse’s record-breakers are Utica wells. However, Eclipse isn’t the only driller hopping on the long lateral bandwagon. In June, Range Resources reported drilling the longest Marcellus lateral well (see Range Resources Drills Longest Marcellus Well Ever – in Washington Co.). If you compare the lateral length of Range’s wells from 3Q17 with 3Q16, they are drilling laterals 90% longer than they were just one year ago! EQT and Antero Resources are also experimenting with longer laterals. All of which leads us to christen 2017, “the year of the longer lateral”…
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