Sunday, December 16, 2018
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals goes full childish, full infantile, with a ridiculous “speak for the trees” decision against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit (i.e. Circus) Court of Appeals has bungled another decision regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The court has vacated a permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) that allows ACP to cross beneath the Appalachian Trail and 21 miles of national forest land in Virginia and West Virginia.
The Fourth Circuit is apparently a bunch of clowns. How else do you explain the judge quoting from The Lorax, a fictional children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, as part of the decision issued yesterday. The so-called decision is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Bizarre.
What’s next? Will we be treated to Youtube clips from the Captain Planet cartoon in future decisions? This faulty decision is already being appealed by Dominion Energy. It’s pretty easy to predict the decision will get overturned on appeal–by adult, non-clown judges in the next court up.
All work is already stopped for ACP due to the same clown judges overturning a different permit last week issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that allows the pipeline to get built through areas with so-called endangered and threatened species (see 4th Circus Blocks Permit, Stops All Work on Atlantic Coast Pipe).
A “judge” quoting from The Lorax. Ya think maybe there’s a tad bit of judicial bias going on here? Perhaps even judicial incompetence? We call for an immediate investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the judge, to see whether or not the judge donates or belongs to the Sierra Club or any of the other radical Big Green groups that brought the lawsuit in the first place.
Something is really off here. Really smelly. Check out these excerpts from this story in the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
In an opinion made public Thursday, a panel of judges vacated the Forest Service’s Special Use Permit and Record of Decision, both required to construct the pipeline through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests. The panel also said the Forest Service didn’t have the authority to allow construction across the Appalachian Trail.
The 60-page opinion includes a reference to Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax,” a cautionary tale about the perils of corporate greed and environmental harm, told in a children’s book.
“We trust the United States Forest Service to ‘speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,’” the opinion, written by Judge Stephanie Thacker, said. Chief Judge Rogery Gregory and Judge James Wynn joined…
Atlantic Coast Pipeline voluntarily halted construction along the project’s path last week, when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement. It’s one of many permits that have been battled over in federal court.
But Atlantic Coast Pipeline plans to appeal Thursday’s decision, Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for the project, said in a statement. The decision “severely” harms consumers and energy security, he said.
“With this decision, the Fourth Circuit has now undermined the judgment of the dedicated, career professionals at nearly every federal agency that has reviewed this project,” he said.
A spokesman for the Forest Service said the agency was reviewing the decision, but didn’t comment further.
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Saturday, December 15, 2018
University of Colorado Public Health professor Lisa McKenzie’s latest attempt to connect oil and natural gas development to health risks – this time involving precursors to cardiovascular disease – produces the same results as her team’s previous research: a failure to actually link fracking to these issues despite what media reported.
The key finding from this latest McKenzie et al. study is a “possible connection” that volunteer participants who lived near higher “intensity” oil and gas operations had increased levels of pre-indicators of cardiovascular disease. They also conclude that more “robust” research is needed – which appears to be Prof. McKenzie’s M.O. (which we will address in a minute).
How they reached such a conclusion with even a loose correlation, given the scope of limitations acknowledged in the report, is a bit of a mystery. Learn more about the five key things to know about this study on EIDHealth.org.
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.
Fracking is saving an invaluable railroad in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania:
Fracking for Marcellus Shale natural gas deep underground keeps pushing a local railroad to new heights. After setting a new record for freight traffic last year, the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority might just do it again for 2018.
Through Nov. 21, the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, which operates the authority’s tracks, hauled 8,301 carloads of freight this year, just shy of the 8,572-carload in 2017, said Larry Malski, the authority’s longtime executive director.
‘We’re going to blast through that next month,” Malski said. ‘We’ve had a little boom with the Marcellus gas stuff.”
He attributed most of the surge to increases in demand for fracking sand by the Linde Corp., which supplies the sand to drillers out of a railroad yard in Carbondale and also builds gas pipelines.
Nice to see my long-time friends Larry Malski and Linde Corp.doing so well with this. There’s no fracking to speak of in Lackawanna County but look at the benefits!
Some great news from FERC, approving a pipeline infrastructure upgrade in New Jersey:
Williams today reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing the Gateway Expansion Project – an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline designed to create 65,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation capacity for northeastern markets.
The Gateway project helps meet growing natural gas demand by consumers in New Jersey and New York in time for the 2020/2021 winter heating season, providing additional natural gas service to PSEG Power, LLC (PSEG) and UGI Energy Services, LLC…
The project has been designed to minimize community and environmental impacts by maximizing the utilization of existing pipeline infrastructure. Virtually all of the project activities are within Transco’s existing rights of way and/or property boundaries. It includes adding electric horsepower at an existing Transco compressor station in Essex County, N.J., in addition to making modifications to two existing Transco meter stations in Passaic County and Essex County, N.J.
Following the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, Williams anticipates beginning construction on the Gateway Expansion Project in the spring of 2019, with a target in-service date of Nov. 1, 2020.
PSEG supplies its affiliate Public Service Electric & Gas Company, which is New Jersey’s largest provider of electric and gas service – serving 2.2 million electric customers and 1.8 million gas customers. UGI Energy Services supplies and markets natural gas and electricity to 40,000 customers across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S.
For all the New Jersey official hyperbole directed against fracking and pipelines, the state needs our natural gas and that’s why FERC approved this project but not without additional blather from one of the FERC Commissioners about impact on global warming; as if natural gas wasn’t lowering CO2 emissions by providing an alternative to coal. Read MDN‘s take here.
When most people think of modern-day, football, they think about cleats, helmets, shoulder pads, stadium lights, and what each season is sure to hold: tailgating, fantasy football, rivalries, tradition, and the talented players and coaches that make up America’s favorite spectator sport.
What is often overlooked is how the products that have helped make the game safer and more viewer-friendly are due to the numerous products made from oil and natural gas byproducts. From your local high school games to professional football, these products are found everywhere.
Identifying players on the field is made easier thanks to jerseys made from nylon, polyester and spandex. Checking to see if that last run is a first down is possible thanks to the plastic markers used by the referees. The shoulder pads and helmets worn by players are all manufactured from petrochemicals designed to help keep players safe.
Even the playing field benefits from products made from oil and natural gas. Keeping a green, consistent field for games is an important aspect of the sport. Fields with natural grass are closely monitored and upkeep often includes the use of fertilizers to grow a lush field. And fields with artificial grass, often referred to as AstroTurf, are made using nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene. Artificial grass has the added advantage of an underlying layer of rubber which helps lessen the impact when a player hits the ground.
Even the Friday night lights associated with the tradition of watching your hometown football team each fall take on a rival community were brought to you thanks to natural gas. Natural gas provides over 30% of electric generating power in America which brings lights to the stadium and makes sure you can watch your favorite college team from the comfort of your own home.
Oil and natural gas are a big hit at tailgates, too. From powering your grill to cook hot dogs and hamburgers to the coolers keeping your drinks cold to the tents used to help keep your party protected, these products are there to help you have a wonderful time cheering on your favorite team.
This little post demonstrates the pervasive positive impact of oil and gas on our everyday lives, something fractivists pretend not to see.
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Friday, December 14, 2018
The trial lawyers bringing climate liability lawsuits against energy producers in California and New York City may have contributed to those locations topping the list of “judicial hellholes,” according to the American Tort Reform Foundation’s (ATRF) 2018-2019 Judicial Hellhole report. ATRF’s annual report identifies the states, cities, and courts with the most “unfair and unbalanced” laws and procedures in the country. California and New York City were crowned the worst and third worst, respectively, while Florida earned the number two spot, coming amid media reports of Sher Edling LLP and EarthRights International pitching their climate lawsuits to several South Florida communities.
See our highlights from the report at EID Climate.
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
LNG exports are growing along with the capacity to expand them even further down the road. LNG exports are the next exciting phase of the shale revolution.
Today In Energy had a post on Monday that provides yet another example of the power of the shale revolution. It’s all about growing US capacity to do LNG exports. Those LNG exports are the future; helping to lift poorer nations abroad, as well as rural areas at home, out of poverty while cleaning the air.
The story is focused on the growth in LNG exports capacity; the number and size of terminals from which we can ship the gas produced here to countries needing it abroad, not to mention places such as Boston where they’d rather shiver, pay through the nose or buy Russian gas than have a pipeline. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides the basics:
EIA projects that U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity will reach 8.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by the end of 2019, making it the third largest in the world behind Australia and Qatar. Currently, U.S. LNG export capacity stands at 3.6 Bcf/d, and it is expected to end the year at 4.9 Bcf/d as two new liquefaction units (called trains) become operational.
The United States began exporting LNG from the Lower 48 states in February 2016, when the Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal in Louisiana shipped its first cargo. Since then, Sabine Pass expanded from one to four operating liquefaction trains, and the Cove Point LNG export facility began operation in Maryland. Two more trains—Sabine Pass Train 5 and Corpus Christi LNG Train 1—began LNG production this year, several months ahead of schedule, and are expected to ship their first cargos within the next few weeks.
Two more LNG export facilities—Cameron LNG in Louisiana and Freeport LNG in Texas—are currently being commissioned. Commissioning of liquefaction facilities involves introducing natural gas feed into the train and ultimately producing LNG. For liquefaction terminals, which use refrigeration to cool natural gas into liquid form, commissioning also includes getting the equipment and refrigerants down to sufficiently cold temperatures. The first LNG production from these facilities is expected in the first half of 2019. The developers of these projects expect all three trains at Cameron LNG and two trains at Freeport LNG to be placed in service in 2019.
The Elba Island LNG facility near Savannah, Georgia, is also scheduled to become fully operational by the end of 2019. Elba Island LNG consists of 10 small modular liquefaction units with a combined capacity of 0.33 Bcf/d. Project developers expect LNG production from the first train to begin early next year and from the remaining nine trains to commence sequentially through the rest of 2019. The second train at Corpus Christi LNG is scheduled to be placed in service in the second quarter of 2019. The final two trains of the U.S. liquefaction projects currently under construction—Freeport Train 3 and Corpus Christi Train 3—are expected in service in the second quarters of 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Four additional export terminals—Magnolia LNG, Delfin LNG, Lake Charles, Golden Pass—and the sixth train at Sabine Pass have been approved by both the U.S. Federal Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, and they are expected to make final investment decisions in the coming months. These proposed projects represent a combined additional LNG export capacity of 7.6 Bcf/d.
U.S. LNG exports continue to increase with the growing export capacity. EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts U.S. LNG exports to average 2.9 Bcf/d in 2018 and 5.2 Bcf/d in 2019 as the new liquefaction trains are gradually commissioned and ramp up LNG production to operate at full capacity.
Yet again, it’s unstoppable natural gas. We are, in fact, living in the golden age of natural gas.
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