natural gas

NJ blocks PennEast Water Permit Again

2 hours ago
Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

New Jersey issued its latest rejection of a water-quality permit for the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline, dealing a new blow to the embattled project. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday the PennEast Pipeline Co. had failed again to submit all the requested information in its application for the permit, which the department first rejected in April on the same grounds. 

REID FRAZIER / THE ALLEGHENY FRONT

Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker in Beaver County could be the first of several large chemical plants in the region, petrochemical industry leaders and observers said at a conference in Pittsburgh Monday. That’s because there’s enough ethane being produced in the region to provide the chemical industry with the raw material without any additional drilling. 

Shell via flickr

Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker in Beaver County could be the first of several large chemical plants in the region, petrochemical industry leaders and observers said at a conference in Pittsburgh Monday. That’s because there’s enough ethane being produced in the region to provide the chemical industry with the raw material without any additional drilling. 

Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Sunoco Pipeline has asked a Huntingdon County judge to order a family protesting the Mariner East 2 pipeline, and their supporters, to refrain from obstructing pipeline construction or face arrest. It’s the latest legal maneuver in a stand-off that has pitted the pipeline company against the Gerhart family. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

More than 100 people turned out in Lancaster County Monday evening to weigh in on the Atlantic Sunrise, a large interstate natural gas line planned to run through 10 counties in Pennsylvania.  

Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania officials approved the latest underground injection well to hold wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations.  The move renews concerns about whether nearby residents will have their drinking water contaminated or if it will increase seismic activity. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Two starkly different versions of reality were on display Wednesday morning at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Inside the building, a joint hearing by Republicans from the Senate Majority Policy Committee and Environmental Resources and Energy Committee examined the economic benefits natural gas production has brought Pennsylvania– withskyrocketing production, tens of thousands of new jobs, and more than a billion dollars in impact fee revenue

Older PA Gas Storage Wells Prone To Methane Leaks

May 24, 2017
SCOTT DETROW, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has hundreds of underground natural gas storage sites that are vulnerable to methane leaks because they were built at least 60 years ago, and were probably never designed to store gas, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday. 

COURTESY OF FRACTRACKER ALLIANCE

Pennsylvania’s shale gas drillers continued to break records for production in 2016, tapping about 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. 

MIDDLETOWN COALITION FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY

Pipeline construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 has caused three separate releases of drilling mud in May, with two incidents resulting in a combined total of 575 gallons of bentonite clay entering Chester Creek in Brookhaven, Delaware County, according to Sunoco Pipeline spokesman Jeff Shields. Bentonite is a non-toxic substance commonly used as a lubricant in horizontal directional drilling. 

PJM

A rush to build power plants fueled by cheap natural gas from the Marcellus Shale will swell power supply in the region coordinated by PJM Interconnection, operator of the largest power grid in North America, driving down prices and forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants over the next four years, according to a new analysis by Moody’s Investors Service. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

President Donald Trump has nominated Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Rob Powelson to fill a vacancy on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees interstate pipeline projects. Powelson, who also serves as the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, recently compared anti-pipeline activists to jihadists, a statement he later walked back

Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Although anti-pipeline activists decry the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the agency that never met a pipeline project it wouldn’t approve, the natural gas industry says the regulatory process led by FERC is facing longer delays. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce heard testimony Wednesday about a proposal to speed-up that process, which currently involves a mix of federal and state permit approvals. 

Emily Cohen, State Impact Pennsylvania

The latest local effort to block the Mariner East 2 pipeline failed late Monday when a zoning panel in Delaware County denied an appeal against three permits that have allowed its construction. Thornbury Township’s Zoning Hearing Board turned down a request by a local homeowners association to withdraw the permits to install a fence, a utility pole and automated pipeline equipment. 

Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

The embattled PennEast natural gas pipeline suffered another blow on Wednesday when New Jersey officials rejected the company’s application for a freshwater wetlands permit, saying its application lacked a long list of information. 

Northeast Needs More Gas Pipelines, Says New Report

Apr 26, 2017
Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

A new report out this week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues the northeastern United States needs more natural gas pipelines. If no new pipelines were built, it could cost the region over 78,000 jobs and $7.6 billion in GDP by the year 2020, the report finds. It is the fifth in a series of reports from the Chamber of Commerce, examining potential impacts of energy policies. 

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Fracking the Marcellus Shale did not pollute groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, but wastewater spills did contaminate surface water, according to a new study from Duke University. The report adds to an increasing body of work pointing to greater risks from fracking wastewater transport and treatment, than from the process itself. 

Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Sunoco’s Mariner East 1 natural gas liquids pipeline leaked about 20 barrels of ethane and propane near Morgantown, Berks County, on April 1, the company said on Thursday. The leak, at 5530 Morgantown Road, Morgantown, Pa., did not reach water sources, according to the US Coastguard’s National Response Center, which records spills of hazardous materials such as oil and chemicals. 

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

A national investigation by utility regulators into ways of increasing natural gas supplies to under-served or un-served areas appears to be ignoring alternative energy sources and may be exposing those communities to high maintenance costs for new pipelines, critics said. 

Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

Standing beneath a tangle of pipes, duct work and grated catwalks at BASF’s massive ethylene plant in Port Arthur, Texas, Andy Miller points to a large metal box a few feet above his head. Inside, a fire burning at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit produces an industrial-scale whine. 

ecopolitologist / Flickr

According to a new report from the group PennEnvironment, only 17 percent of environmental or health violations by fracking companies in Pennsylvania resulted in fines. And when companies did get fined, the penalties were relatively small. In fact, the report found the median fine was just $5,263. 

KATIE COLANERI/STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is suing two rural townships that attempted to block underground disposal wells for oil and gas wastewater. On Monday DEP approved two new injection well permits in Highland Township, Elk County, and Grant Township, Indiana County. In its public announcement, the agency didn’t mention it was filing a lawsuit against the townships the same day. 

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Over a dozen county commissioners from Pennsylvania's northern tier are working to organize around an issue that directly impacts their constituents: natural gas drilling. 

JOE WERTZ / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have approved two new underground injection wells to take in wastewater from the oil and gas industry. Pennsylvania already has six active injection wells, according to Scott Perry, who runs the Office of Oil and Gas Management at the state Department of Environmental Protection. 

KATIE COLANERI/STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

A federal judge dismissed a challenge to the Delaware River Basin Commission’sright to regulate oil and gas development in the region. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Mariani on Thursday threw out a lawsuit by a group of Wayne County landowners who said the commission, an interstate regulator, lacks the authority to review and approve natural gas facilities on land owned by the group. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania officials declined on Wednesday to answer lawmakers’ questions on documents indicating that the state had issued permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline before ensuring that it met all regulatory requirements. A bipartisan group of three lawmakers met with three top officials from the Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg. 

PA PUC

  One of Pennsylvania’s top utility regulators is walking back controversial remarks he made about pipeline opponents at a gas industry conference this week. Speaking at the Upstream PA conference Tuesday, state Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson said people opposing pipeline projects are engaged in a “jihad” to keep natural gas from reaching new markets.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

A federal court has thrown out a case brought by environmentalists that charged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with bias in pipeline cases. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a federal lawsuit last year, alleging FERC favored industry in disputed pipeline cases. 

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

Pennsylvania has launched a new online tool to make it easier for the public to review documents submitted by the unconventional oil and gas industry. The change is part of a broader push from the Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade its technological capabilities

Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

Pennsylvania has the capacity to attract up to four more ethane cracker plants because of its abundant reserves of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and its proximity to major markets for plastics feedstock, a report released by Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said on Tuesday.  

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