Monthly Archives: December 2014

Cove Point Construction Advances

By Sarah Fleischman, Calvert Recorder

In the months since the liquefied natural gas export project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dominion has hit the ground running to have its Lusby export facility operational by late 2017.

An offsite area in Solomons is essentially complete, said Bob McKinley, vice president of Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas construction. The temporary pier built to receive shipments from barges on the Patuxent River, which was approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works, will start operations in the spring.

This area is expected to be returned to its preconstruction condition when barge shipments end in 2016. The offsite area in Solomons has been a focal point for opponents of the export plant, some of whom gained access to the site and climbed high on top of a mound of soil to protest the export project in November. Continue reading Cove Point Construction Advances

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Dominion Leans on Landowners to Survey for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Transmission, Duke Energy and other partners are trying to nail down the route of the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline to transport fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Many landowners have refused to let Dominion onto their land to survey for the pipeline. Sometimes, surveyors have even been caught trespassing without permission. Now, Dominion is playing hardball and taking landowners who won’t cooperate to court to get access to their land:

Dominion Resources is suing more than 40 landowners in Virginia who won’t allow the energy company to survey their properties for a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline.

Dominion filed lawsuits earlier this week in circuit courts against 20 property owners in Nelson County and 27 in Augusta County. That number is expected to double, the company said. Continue reading Dominion Leans on Landowners to Survey for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

New York Agency Seeks Public Comments on Constitution Pipeline

By Sue Heavenrich, The Marcellus Effect

Today the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation announced it is seeking public comments on the Draft State Permit Applications for proposed construction of the Interstate Constitution Pipeline. Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 30, 2015

The public is invited to comment on permit applications the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline and an upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County that is part of the project.

The 30-inch Constitution Pipeline is a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline that would traverse 124 miles though Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties, transporting 650,000 dekatherms of gas per day – enough to serve approximately 3 million homes. Continue reading New York Agency Seeks Public Comments on Constitution Pipeline

Warning: Fracking May Harm Public Health

Rally for fracking moratorium in Annapolis in 2013. Photo courtesy of CCAN.
Rally for fracking moratorium in Annapolis in 2013. Photo courtesy of CCAN.

By Rebecca Rehr, OtherWords

What do public health advocates like me tell people all the time? Get tested. Use protection.

In practice, that means we’re always explaining how everything from cancer screenings to immunizations to bike helmets can save lives.

The same logic ought to apply to natural gas drilling. Take what’s happening in Maryland, my state.

Until now, Maryland has banned the controversial gas-drilling process commonly known as “fracking.” That’s kept a portion of the Marcellus Shale formation — a gas-rich stretch of bedrock that stretches from New York State to Tennessee — off-limits to frackers.

Maryland was the only state to complete a public health study of the impacts of fracking before drilling. The participants found fracking to have a high or moderate likelihood of negative impacts in seven out of eight core areas — including air quality, water quality, occupational health, and earthquakes, among other things.

Before Election Day, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, had supported a moratorium on fracking in the state. After Republican Larry Hogan — who has publicly stated his support for drilling — pulled a surprise win in Maryland’s gubernatorial race, however, O’Malley switched gears.

A few weeks ago, O’Malley announced that he’s going to greenlight fracking before he steps down — as long as he’s satisfied that new regulations will mitigate risks to public health and the environment. Continue reading Warning: Fracking May Harm Public Health

New Study Says US Fracking Boom Will Fade Quickly After 2020

By Yves Smith, naked capitalism

A new study by a team at the University of Texas, published in Nature News, throws cold water on bullish US natural gas production forecasts by the US agency, the Energy Information Administration. Its analysis suggests that the fracking boom will be a relatively short-lived phenomenon, which raises doubts about the attractiveness of investing in shale plays and in liquified natural gas transport facilities, particularly for export. Notice that this big red flag about the size and durability of the natural gas bonanza hasn’t hit the mainstream media yet. For instance, today one of the lead stories in the Financial Times is US oil reserves at highest since 1975: Shale revolution transforms country’s energy supply outlook.

Specifically, the study finds that shale gas output will peak ramp up sharply to 2020, consistent with the EIA’s projections. However, the EIA calls for continued solid growth through 2040.

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Continue reading New Study Says US Fracking Boom Will Fade Quickly After 2020

Even with Ban, New York Can’t Escape Effects of Fracking

By Anne Meador

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo banned fracking in New York, citing public health risks. Fracktivists rejoiced, relieved that their state won’t go the way of neighboring Pennsylvania. Pocked with fracking wells, the mountainous counties of northeast Pennsylvania have suffered from contaminated water supplies, earthquakes, spoiled countryside and thunderous truck traffic. As long as the fracking ban is in place, New Yorkers won’t be threatened by methane emissions and toxic fumes from fracking wells, wastewater pools or the risk of a well blowing up or leaking uncontrollably.

Unfortunately, just because New York banned fracking, and even though more than 150 New York municipalities have banned fracking using local zoning laws, the state won’t escape its effects. In fact, New York is already burdened with the fracking industry’s health and safety problems and threats to the environment because of gas infrastructure.

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Photo by Peter Eliscu

Pipelines

Gas companies are building pipelines to service increasing demand in New York City. In spite of opposition from groups like OccupythePipeline concerned about radon exposure and the risk of explosion, Spectra Energy’s pipeline, which runs under Greenwich Village, went into service in November 2013.

On December 1, gas began to flow through the Northeast Connector Project, which will deliver 647,000 dekatherms daily from York County, PA to 1.8 million natural gas customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The new delivery point will shift from Long Island to the Rockaway Peninsula via the Rockaway Lateral Project, a disputed 26-inch diameter pipeline currently being constructed under popular beaches, a golf course, and a federally protected wildlife refuge. Continue reading Even with Ban, New York Can’t Escape Effects of Fracking

Transco’s Virginia Southside Expansion Now In Service

The Virginia Southside Expansion in red with two new compressor stations.
The Virginia Southside Expansion in red with two new compressor stations.

Gas is now flowing through Transco’s Virginia Southside Expansion. It meets up with the Transcontinental mainline in Pittsylvania County, VA.

The additional 100 miles of pipeline will deliver natural gas originating from fracking wells in northeast Pennsylvania, which routes through connecting pipelines to the Transco mainline.

From Natural Gas Intelligence:

On [December 1,  2014], Transco began partial service of 250,000 Dth/d on its Virginia Southside Expansion. Transco has historically transported about one-quarter of the gas consumed in Virginia and nearly all of the gas consumed in North Carolina. Virginia Southside expands existing facilities in southern Virginia, allowing the pipeline to increase deliveries by 270,000 Dth/d. The project is primarily designed to fuel Dominion Virginia Power’s new 1,300 MW power plant in Brunswick County, VA.

Virginia Southside consists of about 100 miles of new 24-inch diameter pipeline extending from the Transco mainline in Pittsylvania County, VA, and into Halifax, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, and terminating in Brunswick County. The project modifies Transco’s existing mainline to allow for natural gas to flow south rather than north, to provide gas transportation capability from Transco’s pooling point in Mercer County, NJ (see Daily GPI, Nov. 22, 2013).