DEC. REPORT TO CARBON COUNTY STAKEHOLDERS
By SAVE CARBON COUNTY
PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 12/31/2019
Note that PennEast has asked for a two-year extension from FERC. This is an admission of their failure to complete the project on schedule. Thanks to everyone who has worked to make this happen and have a great new year.
Today the PennEast Pipeline asked FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for an “extension of time.” On January 19, 2018, the FERC issued an order authorizing PennEast to construct, own and operate the proposed PennEast Pipeline. Under that order, the project was to be operational by January 19, 2020. Oops. PennEast is asking for an extension until January 19, 2022. Coincidentally, the 2022 date is consistent with the timeline we published last month which was a “best case” estimate for the pipeline.
If they manage to complete the pipeline by 2022, it will be five years behind schedule.
About a year ago, an accident at a gas well in Ohio caused a blowout of methane into the air. The leak went on for 20 days. This accident got very little press but a new study conducted using satellite imaging and published in December shows that the accident released 60,000 tons of methane, which is more methane than is released in an entire year in all European countries except the UK, Germany and Italy. Leaked unburned methane is 80 times more harmful in terms of climate change than burning coal.
Energywire, an oil and gas industry publication, listed the PennEast petition to the Supreme Court as one of eight important energy battles to watch in 2020. The report concludes that.” …the odds are stacked against PennEast. The Supreme Court only agrees to hear 1% of the cases it receives.”
The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is another of the eight energy battles listed by Energywire. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Dist. of Columbia took the rare step of agreeing to rehear a case concerning FERC’s use of “tolling orders” which effectively allows pipeline projects to move forward while denying landowners a hearing before the commission. A hearing before the commission is required before a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit. The tolling order prevents landowners from having their day in court before the pipeline is built. If the appeals court overturns the precedent in the case, the rights of landowners to due process would be affirmed and strengthened. There is a similar case against PennEast concerning the use of tolling orders and due process for landowners.
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.”