JUNE REPORT TO CARBON COUNTY STAKEHOLDERS
By SAVE CARBON COUNTY
PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 7/1/2019
When we started our efforts to defeat PennEast, we hoped that delays in the project would provide time for the market for gas to plunge. That seems to be happening. According to the New York Times, two factors seem to be driving gas and oil prices down. The first is an oversupply of oil and gas on a worldwide scale. Even as the U.S.A. has become the largest producer of oil and gas, the value of oil and gas shares as a percentage of the S&P 500 has dropped about 4.6%. The United States is now the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, and that huge increase in production has created a glut on the market and simultaneously reduced the clout of organizations like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC once kept prices high by controlling production but the U.S. doesn’t participate in OPEC and doesn’t regulate supply. A second factor in the downturn in fossil fuel values has been the growing concern over climate change. Investors are concerned about oil and gas companies spending money on something that will be in decline. Industry analysts are now predicting consolidation of fossil fuel companies as fewer companies are able to generate enough revenue to sustain their business. My fingers are crossed.
Explosions ripped through a South Philadelphia refinery on June 21st triggering a major fire and injuring five. The refinery was the site of a smaller fire on June 10th that was quickly contained. The refinery is the oldest on the East Coast and emerged from bankruptcy last year but continues to struggle under heavy debt. A University of Pennsylvania report in September warned that the refinery complex may be shut down in the next few years and that the city should be prepared to deal with a 1,300-acre industrial property fouled by more than a century of fuel production. Similar challenges are apt to affect many municipalities and states if the continued decline in oil and gas prices lead to the abandonment of assets like refineries and pipelines.
In advance of a decision by the Delaware River Basin Commission and the State of New Jersey permitting the PennEast Pipeline, a new report finds that gas pipelines and their associated infrastructure (including the Kidder Compressor Station) can result in significant costs. The report states that the cost to the Delaware River Basin could be as much as $2.4 billion for two pipelines alone. The report was prepared by Cadmus Group LLC, an independent technical consultancy and commissioned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. The report focused on the proposed PennEast pipeline and the existing Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X pipelines– two of the numerous pipelines planned for the basin. Quantifiable costs include loss of ecosystem services, greenhouse gas emissions, lost recreation days resulting from pipeline construction and lost investment in lands protected by public acquisition or conservation easements. Tom Gilbert, Director of the Foundation stated, “No one has ever put these numbers in one place and doing so tells a powerful story of the magnitude of harm that our region faces from pipelines.” Very real, important costs that could not be monetized include water quality degradation or procurement of new sources, stream quality and aquatic habitat degradation, loss of property value, and construction impacts such as noise and aesthetics.
Save Carbon County is a member of a regional and two-state effort to stop the PennEast/UGI pipeline. Local information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop the Fracking Pipeline.” Regional Information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop PennEast Pipeline.”