Proposed Penn-East pipeline project would disturb farmland

New Jersey Denies Permits for Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline

From an Article by Mike Catalini, NBC News 10 (Philadelphia), October 12, 2019

This is the latest setback for the years-old proposed Penn-East Pipeline project that would run from northeastern Pennsylvania and terminate near Trenton, NJ.

New Jersey has denied the permits for a $1.1 billion, roughly 120-mile long pipeline that would bring Marcellus Shale natural gas to New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday.

“We are committed to transitioning New Jersey to 100% clean energy by 2050,” Murphy said in a tweet that included the Department of Environmental Protection’s rejection letter to PennEast Pipeline Company for permits.

It’s the latest setback for the years-old proposed project that would run from northeastern Pennsylvania and terminate near Trenton, though the company indicated in a statement it’s not finished fighting for the pipeline.

“PennEast member companies remain fully committed to the PennEast Pipeline Project and the affordable, reliable service it will bring to the region,” spokeswoman Pat Kornick said in an email.

New Jersey’s DEP said it denied the permits in light of last month’s ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said PennEast couldn’t use eminent domain to acquire dozens of properties owned by the state and preserved for farmland and open space. The Department said that because of the ruling the company no longer had the authority to carry out necessary requirements inline with New Jersey law.

PennEast has argued the pipeline would bring jobs and needed low-cost natural gas to homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, but Environmental groups worry the project will cut a scar across the landscape and harm wildlife.

PennEast’s application with federal regulators goes back to 2015.

The company, which is made up of five different energy companies, has won federal and Pennsylvania permitting approvals including a key Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certificate that could allow the firm to use eminent domain to acquire land. But the appeals court short-circuited that ability in part with its September ruling.

{ 0 comments }

Fires, floods, and frequent weather extremes NOW

Fire, Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived — The most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes.

From an Article by Justin Gillis, New York Times, October 13, 2019

Image — Firefighters battling the Saddleridge fire in Sylmar, Calif., on Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO — Now we suffer the consequences.

In Northern California, power was cut to more than a million people this week. Near Houston, houses that flooded only two years ago just succumbed again. The South endured record-shattering fall heat waves. In Miami, salt water bubbled through street drains yet again as the rising ocean mounted a fresh assault.

All of it was predicted, in general outline, decades ago. We did not listen. Ideologues and paid shills cajoled us to ignore the warnings. Politicians cashed their checks from the fossil fuel lobbyists and slithered away.

Today, we act surprised as the climate emergency descends upon us in all its ferocity. The scientists knew long ago, and told us, that the sea would invade the coasts. They knew a hotter atmosphere would send heavier rains to inundate our cities and farms. They knew the landscape of California, which always becomes desiccated in the late summer and early fall, would dry out more in a hotter climate.

But even the scientists did not quite foresee the way that bone-dry vegetation would turn into a firebomb waiting for a spark. California is the state that has done the most to battle the climate crisis, but that has not saved it from recent fires so ferocious they burned people alive.

In high winds, ill-maintained power lines strung across aging poles are often the source of the spark. The largest utility in the state, Pacific Gas & Electric, has already been propelled into bankruptcy by fire liabilities it calculates at $30 billion. Now PG&E, far behind in basic tasks meant to make its system safer, is pre-emptively shutting down power lines on windy days to try to prevent more death and destruction.

If there is any fix for the fire situation, it will not be cheap or easy. True, the people who were running the power company deserve some blame — but not all of it. We now know that power rates in California, high as they may have seemed, were a false economy. The public was not paying enough to harden the electric grid against rising climate risks.

Nationwide, you can say the same about the fossil fuels we burned so heedlessly these last decades. They seemed cheap and convenient at the time. Only now are we learning the true cost.

As tempting as it is to blame the politicians and the fossil fuel executives for the fix we find ourselves in, that is too easy. At any time in these last three decades, we could have woken up. We could have heeded the warnings of scientists like James E. Hansen of NASA, who told Congress in 1988 that the planet was warming sharply and would continue to do so if we persisted in burning fossil fuels. We could have voted James Inhofe, the climate-denying senator from Oklahoma, out of office. Had we been aroused and angry, we could have wielded our democratic power to bring the fossil fuel companies to heel.

I remember sitting with Dr. Hansen in his NASA office the week he retired, in 2013, wondering along with him when the public revolt over the climate crisis would finally begin.

Now we have our answer. Under the unlikely leadership of a brave 16-year-old schoolgirl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, we are marching in the streets now by the millions. We are making demands. We are angry, and should be, but let’s spare a moment to be angry at ourselves for waiting so long.

Image — Greta Thunberg protesting outside Sweden’s Parliament in 2018.

People keep asking: Is it too late?

Yes, in some sense it is. What the events in California and Miami and Houston tell us is that we are living through the risks of an altered climate now, not a hundred years from now. Expect the situation to keep getting worse for the rest of your life. The ocean will keep rising for centuries, probably much faster than today. We will lose our great coastal cities.

But here is the thing people must understand: The crisis is still manageable, barely. If we do not move far more aggressively, it could spiral entirely out of control. At a global scale, we have yet to turn the corner and start cutting emissions. If we let them keep rising, today’s wildfires and floods will seem like child’s play soon enough. In a world of ever-rising temperatures, mass starvation is but one of the risks.

The most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes.

The climate troglodytes must be thrown out of office, starting with Donald J. Trump. We need laws with teeth to propel the clean energy transition: hard targets, bans, taxes, mandates. We cannot stand back for another presidential election in which the Republican Party lies about this issue while the Democratic Party hides from it.

Granted, “Curtail future damage!” is not an inspiring battle cry. “To the Bastille!” it is not. Yet millions of young people have begun to understand the stakes, their fears given voice by that young lady from Sweden, with her moral intelligence and her capacity to wield the truth like a rapier.

Look again at that picture of her, a lone student picketing Sweden’s Parliament with a homemade sign, and let yourself marvel at the birth of a global movement. Older people forced the youth into this situation by our dereliction, and now we must not let them carry the battle alone.

We can sit back, citizens, and watch the fires and the floods and the heat waves with a rising sense of doom. Or we can be as brave as a schoolgirl and decide that now is the time to stand up and fight.

>>> Justin Gillis, a former Times editor and environmental reporter, has been a contributor to the Opinion section since January 2018. He is working on a book about energy policy.

{ 0 comments }

We Cannot Say “Not in My Backward” About Climate Change, It’s Already Here

October 12, 2019

Climate Change Has Come Home to Roost This Fall From the Editorial of the Morgantown Dominion Post, October 6, 2019 Perpetual heat waves and severe drought are a big issue. Unlike some issues, fear of climate change is as real as the threat it poses. The enormity of climate change demands a sense of urgency [...]

Read the full article →

The World’s Largest White Oak Tree on Mingo-Logan County Line in WV

October 11, 2019

The Famous Mingo White Oak Tree of West Virginia Article by Robert Beanblossom, Last Revised on October 20, 2010 The Mingo Oak stood near the head of Trace Fork of Pigeon Creek near the Logan-Mingo county line. A monarch of the mountains, the tree was reported to be the largest white oak in the world. [...]

Read the full article →

Ewing Sarcoma and Other Ailments More Common than Known to Penna. Aurhorities

October 10, 2019

Washington County family members tell Penna. state to ‘fix’ their cancer study From an Article by Reid Frazier, StateImpact Penna., October 8, 2019 The families of several people diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in one Washington County School District told state health officials to update their data at a public hearing Monday [...]

Read the full article →

UPDATE: Advice from WV Surface Owners Rights Organization

October 9, 2019

IF YOU GET AN EQT CLASS ACTION BENEFIT NOTICE, DO NOT SIGN FOR THE “OPTIONAL POOLING BENEFITS!” West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, October 7, 2019 Some 9500 people are getting a “Tawney [Non-]Compliant Flat Rate Claim Form and Benefit Notice” regarding the settlement of the royalty class action case of Kay Co., v. EQT [...]

Read the full article →

Pipeline Projects Retain Right of ‘eminent domain’ Despite Reasonable Efforts to Overturn It

October 8, 2019

Supreme Court denies appeal of eminent domain for Mountain Valley Pipeline From an Article by Laurence Hammack, Roanoke Times, October 7, 2019 The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear an appeal from a group of Southwest Virginia landowners whose property was taken, before they were paid, for a controversial natural gas pipeline. [...]

Read the full article →

US Supreme Court Consolidates Two Cases for Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)

October 7, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline case From an Article by Sarah Vogelsong, Mercury News, October 4, 2019 The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will review a decision by a federal court of appeals that threw up a major barrier to construction of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline being [...]

Read the full article →

Penna. Attorney General Investigating PA-DEP over Marcellus Fracking Regulation

October 6, 2019

PA-DEP “lawyers-up” as grand jury investigation into shale gas moves forward From an Article by Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 2, 2019 The Pennsylvania state Department of Environmental Protection has hired outside legal counsel to deal with the state attorney general’s criminal investigations of “environmental crimes” involving the shale gas industry in southwestern Pennsylvania. [...]

Read the full article →

WV Attorney General Leading Effort to Influence US Supreme Court in Fracked Gas Pipeline Case

October 5, 2019

Dominion buys pipeline support at Supreme Court through GOP Attorneys General From an Article by Kelly Roache, Energy & Policy Institute, October 3, 2019 With the US Supreme Court poised to decide this month whether it will review a ruling key to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s future, majority-owner of the project Dominion Energy has received [...]

Read the full article →