Take Me Home Country Roads

Anthropology / Sociology lesson: ‘Cultural attachment’ woven into review of Mountain Valley pipeline

By Sean Sullivan, Savings N Loan Business, SNL.com, August 17, 2015

When U.S. Forest Service officials visit FERC with a long list of concerns surrounding the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC natural gas project and others slated to cross national forests in Virginia and West Virginia, the issue of “cultural attachment” is sure to come up.

The concept, loosely defined as the bond between people and their community, has been introduced by citizens groups, and Mountain Valley Pipeline, FERC and the U.S. EPA have all recognized it as an issue. Pipeline industry observers and opponents have warned that such cultural issues could complicate gas infrastructure permitting, and that may come to pass for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, or MVP, project.

“Stop ignoring social impacts and get on with a proper analysis of cultural attachment,” Tammy Belinsky, counsel for Preserve Craig Inc., told FERC in comments filed earlier in August.

The Craig County VA group was part of an organized collection of MVP opponents that asked FERC staff to make the issue part of the project’s environmental impact statement, or EIS. Other community organizations, the Border Conservancy and Save Monroe Inc., submitted to the FERC docket a landowner impact report that included a survey of 210 people on cultural attachment and other topics. According to James Kent Associates, as cited by the two organizations, “cultural attachment is the cumulative effect over time of a collection of traditions, attitudes, practices, and stories that tie a person to the land, to physical place, and to kinship patterns.”

Mountain Valley Pipeline is a joint venture of affiliates of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc. EQT Midstream Partners LP would operate the pipeline and own a majority interest in the joint venture.

According to notes from an Aug. 4 conference call on the MVP project, Forest Service representatives will visit FERC’s Washington, D.C., office in late August to meet with commission staff “to discuss various projects crossing national forest lands in West Virginia and Virginia.” The notes said the Forest Service may have additional comments on top of the ones it has already filed, and the agency would send them directly to Mountain Valley. Mountain Valley Pipeline officials will meet with staff in early September to discuss the project, now in the FERC pre-filing process, “and efforts to perfect their future application.”

Notes from an earlier call in July said “FERC clarified that at this point, assessment of ‘cultural attachment’ will apply only to U.S. Forest Service lands,” adding, “Research is continuing into that topic.”

Belinsky was not happy with the boundaries on the assessment. “Limiting an analysis of cultural attachment to just the Forest Service lands makes no sense in terms of the science of cultural attachment, particularly in the context of an enormously destructive linear construction project like the MVP pipeline,” she said.

The U.S. EPA, which is a cooperating agency on the project review along with the Forest Service, raised cultural attachment as one of many issues it would like FERC and Mountain Valley Pipeline to address. The EPA, the Forest Service and other agencies raised the issues in comments on draft resource reports, and the FERC Office of Energy Projects packaged the concerns in a to-do list of a couple of hundred data requests, contained in an Aug. 11 letter, that must be filled out by Mountain Valley Pipeline.

FERC staff asked Mountain Valley Pipeline to “include a detailed discussion of ‘cultural attachment’ along the proposed pipeline route crossing the Jefferson National Forest” and said this should be carried out “by a qualified professional cultural anthropologist.”

The EPA raised the issue even as it noted that “MVP continues to work with local stakeholders to site the project in a way that would minimize effects to stakeholders’ cultural attachment.”

Other data requests focused on cultural resources; socioeconomics; pipeline alternatives; pipeline safety; geology; water resources; fisheries; wildlife; vegetation; and land use and recreation, including the Appalachian Trail.

The large number of concerns raised by the Forest Service made it into several media stories, including one by The Associated Press that described “335 questions, comments and corrections” submitted in late July by Forest Supervisor H. Thomas Speaks Jr.

Not all FERC commenters are against the project. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce urged the commission to approve it. “This important infrastructure project will support jobs and economic development throughout the commonwealth of Virginia,” the chamber wrote.

The MVP project would run about 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. It would connect the Equitrans LP transmission system in West Virginia to Williams Partners LP‘s Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC system in Zone 5 at compressor station 165 in Virginia. The pipeline would provide at least 2 Bcf/d of firm transportation capacity between the Marcellus and Utica shales upstream and downstream markets in Appalachia, the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast. The pipeline capacity could be increased before Mountain Valley Pipeline files a full application with FERC. (PF15-3).

See: “Almost Heaven West Virginia

See also: www.FrackCheckWV.net

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Wastewater Evaporators

Antero Announces 60,000 Barrel per Day Advanced Wastewater Treatment Complex

Press Release from Antero Resources Corp., Denver, CO, PRNewswire, August 19, 2015

Antero Resources Corporation announced today that it has signed an agreement with Veolia Water Technologies Inc. and Veolia North America to design and build a state-of-the-art advanced wastewater treatment complex in Doddridge County, West Virginia.

This complex includes an initially designed 60,000 barrel per day facility that will allow Antero to treat and reuse flowback and produced water rather than permanently dispose of the water in injection wells. Antero will own the treatment assets including any ancillary facilities.

The complex will be centrally located in Antero’s footprint in the southwestern core of the Marcellus Shale play with the ability to serve the Company’s development in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.

Announcement Highlights:

>> Veolia will design, build, operate and maintain a 60,000 barrel per day advanced wastewater treatment facility under a turnkey contract for Antero in Doddridge County, West Virginia

>> Antero will own the $275 million treatment complex, which is expected to take two years to build, and generate on a standalone basis $55 million to $65 million of EBITDA at full utilization three years following the in service date

>> Complex will allow Antero to treat and reuse flowback and produced water rather than permanently dispose of the water in injection wells

>> Treatment facility will save Antero approximately $150,000 per well on future completion costs

>> Combined with Antero’s existing freshwater pipeline distribution system, the advanced wastewater treatment complex places Antero at the forefront of environmentally conscious water management in U.S. shale plays

>> The complex will be an integral part of Antero’s water business and is subject to Antero Midstream’s option to purchase the business

Advanced Wastewater Treatment Complex

The Antero advanced wastewater treatment facility will incorporate Veolia’s proprietary AnoxKaldnes™ MBBR biological treatment and its CoLD Process®, an advanced evaporation and crystallization technology, to treat a full range of water qualities including Antero’s completion flowback and produced water.

This same technology has been successfully utilized in dozens of facilities around the world. The 60,000 barrel per day facility will produce fresh water that meets stringent fresh water quality specifications, resulting in the treated water being delivered back into Antero’s existing fresh water distribution system and reused for ongoing completions and development.

In addition to reusable fresh water, the facility is expected to produce marketable byproducts with commercial value including salt and other brine products currently used by oil and gas operators for drilling and completion activities.

Veolia has agreed to build the complex under a turnkey contract and will operate it under a 10-year agreement. The contract contains performance guarantees including uptime availability, which considerably de-risks the project economics and reliability. The treatment facility is expected to be in service by the end of 2017, pending finalization of project logistics including regulatory permitting and construction.

Estimated Capital Expenditures for Advanced Wastewater Treatment Complex

Capital investment for the advanced wastewater treatment complex is estimated to be $275 million, which includes site preparation and construction, byproducts processing equipment and five miles of water pipeline that will connect the Antero treatment facility to its existing fresh water distribution system.

Potential Water Business Drop Down to Antero Midstream

On July 9th, 2015, Antero Midstream Partners LP notified Antero of its intent to exercise its option to purchase Antero’s water business and transaction negotiations between the parties are ongoing. If Antero Midstream purchases Antero’s water business, it is expected to enter into a 20-year water services agreement covering all of Antero’s areas of operations in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as well as any future areas of operation. The existing water services agreement with Antero would be included in the expected drop down of the water business. The water business will include the advanced wastewater treatment complex.

>>> See also the Article in the PowerSource section of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette titled “Winners and losers in Antero’s $275 million announcement


Citizens’ Climate Lobby: “Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee & Dividend”

August 24, 2015

Climate change and the oil and gas industry Letter by Jim Probst to State Journal, Charleston, WV, August 20, 2015 I am writing today in support of an approach to addressing greenhouse gas emissions that you may be surprised to learn is also supported by ExxonMobil.  That proposal is for a fee to be placed [...]

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Carbon Tax Center: “Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act”

August 23, 2015

Bipartisan Plaudits for Rep. Delaney’s “Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act” From an Article by James Handley, Carbon Tax Center, August 12, 2015 If any climate legislation could garner at least nominal bipartisan support, it might be Rep. John Delaney’s Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act. Delaney is in his second term representing Maryland’s 6th CD, which [...]

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Interfaith Power & Light: Why Be Concerned About Methane

August 22, 2015

Greetings from Susan Stephenson, Interfaith Power & Light, August 20, 2015 The Obama Administration and the EPA have announced first-ever regulations to control methane emissions from oil and gas sites around the nation. Our IPL urged the EPA to take action on methane last year. Industrial leaks from oil and gas infrastructure are like an [...]

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Active Planning for Natural Gas Compressors & Dehydrators

August 21, 2015

WV-DEP: Notice of Intent to Approve Class II General Permit G35-C for Natural Gas Compressor and/or Dehydration Facilities ============================================== WV-DEP,  Proposed Class II General Permit G35-C, August 20, 2015 ============================================== The WV Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Air  Quality (DAQ), is providing notice to the general public of its intent to issue  a Class [...]

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History of Dunkard Creek and the Mason-Dixon Line

August 20, 2015

Preserving & Promoting Mason-Dixon History and Culture Friday, August 21st, 7 pm to 9 pm – Native American flute music blended with other musical instruments.  Cody BlackBird Band, Mason-Dixon Historical Park, 79 Buckeye Road, Core, WV 26541.  $10 adults, children free under 12. This location is on Dunkard Creek, Monongalia County, WV at Brown’s Hill [...]

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“Guilty As Charged”– Fossil Fuels Should Rest in Peace

August 19, 2015

The Hydrocarbon Rap Sheet:  Fossil Fuels Have Been Indicted & Found Guilty From S. Tom Bond, Retired Professor of Chemistry & Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV A “rap sheet” is a police list of a person’s convictions. Coal, oil (petroleum) and natural gas, are powerful figures in today’s world. But they have been “indicted” of [...]

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Open Letter to FERC: Limit Inter-State Pipelines & No “Eminent Domain for Private Gain”

August 18, 2015

Open Letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) TO: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20426 RE:  Limit Interstate Pipelines for Natural Gas & NGL from Fracked Horizontal Gas Wells We assert to you a responsibility to apply the following principles to your consideration of the PIPELINES and COMPRESSOR STATIONS [...]

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US Forest Service Concerned About Damages by Interstate Pipelines

August 17, 2015

US Forest Service concerned about proposed pipelines through forests in West Virginia & Virginia, but is FERC listening? From an Article by Steve Szkotak, Associate Press, August 5, 2015 Richmond, VA — The U.S. Forest Service has raised hundreds of concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would carve a 30-mile swath through national [...]

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