Sunday, October 27, 2013

Battleground Dimock Owners Barred from Property

No one will ever live at 1101 Carter Road in Dimock again.
The 3.6-acre property is one of 18 in the Susquehanna County village where state environmental regulators in 2009 traced methane contamination in the water supplies back to faulty natural gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.
The last residents, Craig and Julie Sautner, were once outspoken critics of natural gas development. As part of a confidential settlement that ended their part in a bitter lawsuit against the company, the Sautners sold their property to Susquehanna Real Estate I Corp., a Cabot subsidiary, for $167,500 in August 2012 and moved out of the state. 
Last month, Cabot had the home demolished, leaving the lot largely empty save for a yard sign for Dimock Proud, a community group that supports natural gas drilling and promotes a positive image of the township’s environment.
Now, Cabot has sold the property, minus the oil and gas rights, to a neighboring family for $4,000. The deed stipulates that a home can never be built on the parcel: No building, according to the deed’s careful conditions, “shall be erected as or for or used or occupied as a residence or dwelling for human habitation.” The restriction applies “forever.”  Read more...

The Bluegrass NGL Pipeline Raises Concerns - By Tom "Fitz" Fitzgerald

The “Bluegrass Pipeline” is a joint venture of Williams Co. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, intended to transport mixed “Natural Gas Liquids” (NGLs) from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, to the Gulf region for further processing and use.

The project would construct a new 24-inch pipeline to interconnect with Boardwalk's Texas Gas pipeline in Hardinsburg, Ky., which would be “repurposed” to ship the NGLs to the Gulf Coast.
While the mixture of hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, pentane (natural gasoline), butane,
isobutane and benzene that are described as “natural gas liquids” have economic value to
the producers and consumers, the production, transportation, and separation of the various
hydrocarbons through fractionation of these NGLs impose risks and burdens on the communities
where the raw natural gas is extracted from shale through hydraulic fracturing, those through
which the NGLs are transported by rail or pipeline, and those hosting facilities where the NGLs are
separated and processed for use.

Among those burdens on communities through which pipelines are routed are limitations on
the use and value of property of individual landowners; impacts on roads, and land and water
resources of local communities, and impacts on local governments whose capacity for emergency
response, including fire, police, EMT, public health and environmental response services, must
plan for a new hazard of low probability but catastrophic consequence potential – the leaks and
releases, fires and explosions associated with a pressurized NGL pipeline with the capacity of
200,000 barrels of liquids per day...expandable to 400,000.

There are two issues of concern that the 2014 General Assembly will be called on to address - the
lack of any advance federal or state review of the routing of this pipeline and the need to more
clearly define and limit the power of eminent domain.

Unlike natural gas pipelines regulated as to the need for the pipeline by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC), there is no "certificate of public convenience and necessity”
required for a NGL pipeline and no comprehensive oversight of the routing of the pipeline. FERC’s role with respect to NGL pipelines is limited to tariffing (rates and terms) of NGL pipelines after
construction and before use.

There is a need for advance scrutiny of new and repurposed NGL pipelines, and for that reason,
a number of Fiscal Courts, several legislators, and a significant number of landowners across the
Commonwealth have called for the General Assembly to create a state siting review process to
assure that risks to built and natural communities, public and private property, and surface and
groundwater resources are avoided, minimized, and mitigated.

The risk of leaks causing damage to land and water resources is not theoretical. While proponents
note that the frequency of pipeline-related incidents is less than rail, they don’t mention that the
volume spilled from railroad incidents was 1% of what spilled from pipeline accidents from 2002-
2012. Contamination from leaks is a concern, due to both the difficulty of detecting such leaks (as
was shown in the Parachute, Colorado leak) and the vulnerable karst terrain over which much of
the Kentucky portion of the pipeline would be built.

The issue of eminent domain is a second concern. NGL pipelines have no federal power of
condemnation, and while Kentucky law does not appear to allow the Bluegrass Pipeline Partners
the power of condemnation, the company has said they believe they do have that right under
state law. Kentucky landowners are at risk of having to defend lawsuits seeking to condemn their
land, unless the General Assembly acts promptly in the 2014 session to limit the power of eminent
domain to regulated public utilities, not pipelines such as the Bluegrass Pipeline that are not
regulated by the state.

Tom FitzGerald is Director of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Project on Government Oversight Reports Private Companies Profiting from Exploitation of Public Lands

Every year, trillions of dollars are generated worldwide by the industries that extract natural resources through mining or drilling. This often happens on public land—but how much from the sale of those natural resources benefits the public and how much enriches corporate coffers?  The public has a right to know exactly who profits and how much money these companies are making at public expense.

An international initiative is helping answer that important question. The good news is that the U.S. wants to be the 40th country to participate.

It’s called the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, or EITI. In short, EITI makes it easier to track the money industries make from the sale of the public’s natural resources, such as oil, coal, natural gas and hard rock minerals.

The initiative has made a big difference in the 39 countries that are already taking part, and I’m excited about the potential for greater transparency that it offers us here in the U.S. For the past 10 months, I’ve served on a federal advisory committee that has been working on a draft of the U.S. application. We need your input and encouragement.

This is an opportunity for the U.S. to showcase its commitment to transparency. Click the link below and let the Interior Department know that you think the public deserves 100 percent transparency on where the revenue from the public’s natural resources goes.

Bluegrass Pipeline Run for the Hills T-Shirts Available

Watchdog Report Finds Pipeline Regulators Spent More Time With Industry Than On Oil Spills

The Transportation Department office charged with overseeing the 2.6 million miles of pipelines in the United States is spending more time at oil and gas industry conferences than it is addressing spills and other incidents, a watchdog group contends in a new report.
Between 2007 and 2012, staff from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration spent 2,807 days at conferences, meetings and other events sponsored by the oil, gas and pipeline industries, according to the report from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). That's nearly three times as many as the 970 days the staffers spent responding to spills, explosions and other significant incidents on the pipelines they regulate. 

Pipeline Meeting Rejected

The Anderson County Fiscal Court rejected an offer from Bluegrass Pipeline officials to answer questions about the controversial project during a meeting last Tuesday night.
Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway said the company made the offer, but recommended that the fiscal court turn it down.

Magistrate David Ruggles quickly agreed, saying he has been to similar meetings and company officials simply do not answer questions.

“I went to meeting [in Frankfort] and they didn’t answer anything there,” said Ruggles. “I asked the CEO how many states they operate in, and he said he didn’t know. The whole day was that way. They just talk in circles.

“If they come here they are not going to tell us anything … I guarantee that. I vote no.”
When notified of the decision, pipeline officials said it didn’t come as a surprise given how well they are doing in Anderson County.  Read more....

Williams Company -Would-Be Builders of the Proposed Bluegrass Pipeline RENTS Federal Lands - Doesn't OWN Easements

In 2007, according to a Bureau of Land Management record of decision regarding William's Overland Pass NGL pipeline, Williams pays fair market RENTAL for the pipeline's use and occupancy of federal lands. Rather than being permanent, the right-of-way was granted for a 30-year term. 

More Than 15 Million Americans Live within One Mile of a Fracking Well - Do You Want To Join Them?

The natural gas boom has led to an “unprecedented industrialization” of many Americans’ backyards, an analysis from the Wall Street Journal has found.
If pipeline infrastructure such as the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline continues to be built, fracking will increase in Kentucky as well as other states along the route.  Call your representatives and let them know you oppose the Bluegrass Pipeline.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just How Effective Are the Pipeline Industry's "State-of-the-Art" Leak Detection Systems?

The New York Times reports a 2012 Leak Detection Study found that emergency responders or members of the public were more likely to detect hazardous liquid pipeline spills than pipeline companies themselves.  These findings appear to confirm concerns raised by the public and give rise to further questions: 

  • If the industry is required to self-report leaks and spills, why is it not consistently doing so?
  • If the industry's "state of the art" leak detection technology is adequate, is it detecting these leaks and spills?
  • If there is more profitable to allow a leak to continue rather than to shut down a pipeline to make repairs, what incentive does a company have to fix the leak?
  • When fines of mere thousands or a few million dollars are levied against multi-billion dollar companies, aren't they making more money by taking chances, making shortcuts, and paying the fines than by fixing the leaks and developing better preventive technologies?
  • What are the reasons for continued leaks and spills?
    • Is there such thing as adequate technology to safely engage in fracking and pipeline transport of these products?
    • Is the industry taking dangerous safety and infrastructure short-cuts to increase profit margins?
    • Is competent, objective, and independent oversight lacking?
    • Does the industry have too much financial influence over government officials?
  • Why isn't the industry required to spend as much or more on spill and leak cleanup than on public relations, political contributions, and lobbying?
  • Why is this process largely lacking in transparency?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is 64% of West Virginia's Fracking Waste Water Being Stored in Kentucky?

The West Virginia Gazette reports that a  2011 law has provided new information about what natural gas companies are doing with the huge amounts of waste generated by West Virginia's drilling boom, but major data gaps remain, a legislative committee heard Tuesday.   The state requires drilling operators to report what they do with only about 38 percent of the waste they produce.

"We have no idea what happens to the other roughly 62 percent of waste that's being generated at the wells in West Virginia," Hansen told the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources.

There have long been rumors that fracking waste water from West Virginia is being stored in abandoned coal mines in Kentucky.  We have no official confirmation of this, but in light of recent findings that fracking waste water contains largely undisclosed chemicals and can contain dangerous levels of radiation, this is a matter the Environmental Protection Agency could and should investigate.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Media Misses the Mark - United We Stand Against the Bluegrass Pipeline

CN2 Pure Politics has been sporadically covering the Bluegrass Pipeline saga.  They say that landowners in the path of a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline are divided over the use of their land.  We politely disagree.  The majority of us are firmly united against this pipeline.  It is unfortunate that a few folks along the path have given in.  We feel that it is likely that these individuals likely did not do their homework through independent sources and relied on the company to give them their information.  It is also possible that some are agreeing to this because they need the money that an easement would bring.  Check out the story on CN2 and read our response below.

Essentials on the Bluegrass Pipeline: What You Need to Know

1. This private multi-billion dollar company (which is not a utility) is threatening to use eminent domain against hard-working, tax-paying citizens to take away their land rights.

2. This company plans to export a large amount of these materials, which will NOT lead to energy independence and will keep prices higher for US citizens.

3. The Wiliams Company, which will be building the pipeline, has an record of leaks, explosions, fines, and violations.

4. This is not your grandpa’s natural gas. These are toxic, highly explosive NGLs, by-products of fracking. They are primarily used for plastics manufacturing—not fuel. Propane is one component that could be used for fuel. However, if the company wanted to serve the interests of this country, it would be providing propane to people near where it is being extracted rather than exporting it.

5. The pipeline will not create jobs in the long run. It will cause job losses over time. There will be a temporary increase in construction jobs followed by a substantial loss of jobs in the river, rail, and trucking transport industries.

Quick, do the math…How many pipeline builders do you know in your area? Now, how many truckers, railroad workers, and river barge workers do you know?

6. They say pipelines are the safest way to transport these NGLs. Pipeline leaks and spills and drilling accidents happen every single day. When a pipeline breaks, a substantially higher amount of toxic fluids are released, contaminating soil and water that cannot be replaced. In some cases, there are catastrophic explosions. By contrast, if a train derails or a truck has an accident, the amount spilled is limited to the amount being carried by the vehicle. The bottom line is that neither method of transport could be considered “completely safe.”

7. Every citizen in this country should be concerned about the precedent that would be set if a private company is allowed to use eminent domain against families. It is bad enough when the government does it. If private companies do it, our homes and land will never be truly ours. It would be like communism, but instead of the government controlling everything, it would be corporations.

8. The company claims there will be millions of dollars pumped into our economy through taxes of the pipeline. First, let’s be clear. Because much of this pipeline already exists, we are already receiving tax money off these lines. The only NEW revenue will come from NEWLY CONSTRUCTED pipelines, which is not a lot. Further, the figure the company keeps putting out there represents the total amount of taxes over a ten-year period—not an annual amount, and remember that we’re already getting the majority of this anyway from existing lines.

9. Now, about those existing lines…The company plans to “repurpose” existing natural gas lines. Think about that for a minute. When those lines were built, they were for public use and were allowed to use eminent domain to condemn families’ homes and land for that purpose because they were a utility, and the government used a process to determine the need for them. Follow me here….In order to “repurpose” those lines and take them out of public service, the company needs the government’s permission to do so. They have to show that there is no longer a public need. If there are more people living along those lines, how can anyone justify taking them out of public service? We know of at least one power plant in Indiana that has protested this “repurposing” because they use the current natural gas lines to generate electricity. If the lines are “repurposed,” their customers will lose service.

10. What is wrong with repurposing?

A. The existing lines are old. They’re 40-50 years old. They were engineered and built for natural gas, which is an entirely different product than the mix of NGLs that will go through them if they are “repurposed.”

B. The word “repurposing” is misleading. It implies there would be some sort of process to convert the lines so they can accommodate the demands of high pressure NGLs. That is not the case.
I asked a pipeline “expert” at an open house presented by the company exactly what repurposing entailed. He said they would run a “smart pig” down the line to identify any problems and that the lines would be pressure-tested before being placed into NGL service. I asked about the engineering of the pipes and the differences between the chemical properties of natural gas vs NGLs and how that might impact the lines themselves. I was quickly directed to another table. At the next table, I asked the same question. The gentleman there politely smiled and did not answer.

C. The fact is, natural gas and NGLs are different substances. NGLs are a mixture of various fracking byproducts. We already know that older natural gas lines, many of which are iron, already leak, and they’re more likely to have corrosion. Independent engineers should be evaluating the safety of this so-called repurposing.

D. The people who originally allowed the existing lines to go through their yards did so believing they would carry natural gas. They may or may not be told about the change, and they may have no power to stop this change from occurring, depending on the language of their easement agreement.

11. The company claims it will use high safety standards, and yet it refuses to commit to building the new lines to the same or better standards that it was REQUIRED to use when crossing federal lands. Another problem is that they will be using pipe that is formed from sheets of steel bent into cylinders and welded down the length of the pipe rather than using molded pipe that had no seam along the length. The reason they’re doing this is that the welded pipe is cheaper.

However, every weld in this pipeline presents a weakness that can and will be compromised. When asked what the company would do in the event of a leak, a representative stated that they would decide how to handle it. If it is a small leak (no definition of small leak) they would increase the pressure on the lines to maintain the stability of the line. Think about that for a minute. If your garden hose springs a leak, what happens if you turn the spigot to allow more water to go through the hose? You are still able to spray your garden, but the amount coming out the leak also increases.

What they seem to be saying is that they will be making about 1.5 million dollars a day off this line, and they will decide if it is more profitable to shut down the line to fix the leak, or let it go until they can’t ignore it anymore (e.g. there’s an environmental disaster discovered by the public or an explosion that can’t be hidden.)

12.  The company keeps saying that Kentucky companies can "tap into" this line and use the products from it.  This too is misleading.  Again, the products are mixed NGLs.  That means there will be multiple chemical substances in the pipe.  Before anyone can use them, a petrochemical plant would have to be built to separate these substances.  They would then have to be transported to companies that would process them into products that would be used by Kentucky companies.  No one, not even Toyota, whose name keeps being tossed about, could "tap" into this line and use the raw products.

To fully grasp this, one has to think in global terms and to think like an investor.  Forget any deeply ingrained illusions of patriotism.  This is like a huge, intercontinental chess game.

Because of the exporting initiatives being actively pursued by the company (which naturally wants to get the most bang for its buck) US based companies will be in direct competition with foreign companies for these NGLs.  In essence, they will be forced to pay more to use our own country's natural resources to compete with foreign countries.  How, exactly does this increase jobs in the US when other countries have lower labor costs and can consequently afford to pay more for their feedstock and other raw materials?  It will be more profitable to export these products.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pipeline in Ohio Would Connect to the Proposed Bluegrass Line; Needs Land Rights from 200+ Valley Property Owners

COLUMBIANA, Ohio -Energy companies planning a pipeline are seeking land rights from more than 200 Valley property owners.

On Monday, The Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce invited residents to attend an informational meeting to learn more about the oil and gas industry and related projects.

"Many wells are drilled in this area around here and just sitting vacant right now, but the pipeline have to be installed, that's the routing system for taking things to the market place," said Terry McCoy with the Chamber. [editorial comment - The pipeline would increase fracking in these areas.]  Read more, on the progress...or lack of progress...on this venture in Ohio.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Corrosion may have led to North Dakota pipeline leak, regulators say

Recent news about leaks and explosions lead us to ask if the oil and gas industry really has the technology to operate safely, and if they do, then why aren't they using it?  The fact is, pipeline and drilling accidents and violations happen daily according to reports from despite the industry's safety claims.  Many are not "significant" enough to be picked up by the media.  Because the industry is responsible for reporting its own incidents, we wonder if many others go unreported altogether.

Most recently, initial investigations following a 20,600-barrel leak on a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in North Dakota point to corrosion on the 20-year-old pipeline, state regulators said Friday.

In an unimaginably horrific twist reminiscent of the Williams Company's fiasco in Parachute, Colorado, this particular incident was discovered by accident by a farmer who reported it--not the company, and not our government. 

The 6-inch pipeline was carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale play to the Stampede rail facility outside Columbus, N.D., when a farmer discovered oil spouting from it Sept. 29.

It is the state's largest oil spill since it became a major U.S. producer. It is also the biggest oil leak on U.S. land since March, when an Exxon Mobil pipeline spilled 5,000 to 7,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Mayflower, Ark.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Concerned About the Bluegrass Pipeline?

Here Are Two Important Things That You Can Do!

1.  Write a letter addressed to both James Townsend, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, P.O. Box 59, Louisville, KY 40201 and Ms. Kimberly Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, D.C. 20426, and urge them to:

· Require a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement on new and repurposed portions of the Bluegrass NGL Pipeline Project.”

· Collaborate to conduct a full environmental analysis of the need, alternative routes and alternatives to the pipeline, and the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the project

· Advise the project proponents that no actions that would commit resources to a particular project route, including easement acquisition, so be allowed pending the completion of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement.

Include personal details of how the Bluegrass Pipeline could affect your land and your quality of life.

2.  Contact your state Senator and Representative, and ask them to “co-sponsor  BR 129 (in the Senate) and BR 198 (in the House) to limit condemnation powers for oil and gas pipelines to utilities regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.” Senator Higdon and Representative Floyd are the lead sponsors. You can contact your state Senator and Representative by linking to or by calling them at 502-564-8100 (this is not a toll-free call).

Wendell Berry on Bill Moyers & Company

In case you missed it (or if you want to watch it again) Wendell Berry gave a wonderful and wise testimony to common sense on Bill Moyers & Company.  Aptly situated in a church, Berry spoke with reverence for the land and the tragedy of society's abuse of it.  The interview featured a clip of Kentucky farmer, Arthur Young, one of the New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future from Washington County.  He spoke of the negative impact of fertilizers on the land and his efforts to heal the soil and restore it to its naturally productive state.  The segment also included references to environmental activist Bill McKibben's work to protect Kentucky's resources and the plight of the honeybee.

Land Owners Speak Out Against Williams Company Ethane Pipeline

PORT ARTHUR — Williams Field Services wants to install a liquid ethane pipeline within the Port Arthur city limits, but that may be just a pipe dream if the company does not make more of an effort to work with property owners along the pipeline corridor.

Port Arthur residents voiced their concerns about the possible construction of an ethane pipeline along their property lines at the Port Arthur City Council meeting Tuesday morning. Residents and council members worried that land along the proposed pipeline would be seized through eminent domain litigation instead of fair negotiations with property owners and the Williams Co., the parent company of Williams Field Services.

“They’re willing to work with us, but I believe this is the lady [attorney] suing me for condemnation of my property. I can’t fight them,” Dan Hardin, a Port Arthur resident, said during the public hearing at the meeting. “Once they put that pipeline on my property, I’ll never be able to sell it to nobody.”

“They’re not playing fair.” 

Representatives from the Tulsa-based energy infrastructure company responded to residents’ and council members’ concerns at the meeting. The company’s attorney, Jill McCarthy Arntz, said that the Williams Co. did not want to resort to seizing the land through eminent domain.

But if negotiations between property owners and the company cannot come to a pass, the two entities may have to go to court to see if Williams has a right to the land. The court would have to determine whether the liquid ethane pipeline constitutes a public use. If so and Williams secures the land, then all property owners would be justly compensated under the eminent domain clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - See more at:  Representatives from the Tulsa-based energy infrastructure company responded to residents’ and council members’ concerns at the meeting. The company’s attorney, Jill McCarthy Arntz, said that the Williams Co. did not want to resort to seizing the land through eminent domain.

But if negotiations between property owners and the company cannot come to a pass, the two entities may have to go to court to see if Williams has a right to the land. The court would have to determine whether the liquid ethane pipeline constitutes a public use. If so and Williams secures the land, then all property owners would be justly compensated under the eminent domain clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

- See more at:

Williams and Chevron Among Drillers Facing Gas Wells Nuisance Lawsuit

Chevron Corp. (CVX), Williams Cos. and WPX Energy Inc. (WPX-which proposes to build the Bluegrass Pipeline) face a lawsuit by six Pennsylvania families who claim nearby gas wells are a nuisance that have diminished their ability to make use of their property.

The families say the companies’ activities have ruined the “quiet use and enjoyment” of their homes and caused emotional damages including anxiety and fear. The homeowners seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for the effects of toxic chemicals, noise and odor from nearby gas wells, according to a copy of a complaint provided by the families’ lawyers.

A Farmer's Fight with Williams Company

Joe Bezjak and Laurel Mountain Midstream of Williams LLC have been in court on a number of occasions since April, which is when Bezjak said the trouble with the permanent fence separating his livestock began.

Can You Silence a Child? Inside the Hallowich Case

We're sure by now you've heard about the now infamous court proceeding that resulted in a gag order being placed on children.  What you may not have known is that the Williams Company and MarkWest, both of which propose to transport fracked NGLs through Kentucky, were involved.

For anyone who lives near a natural gas shale, the story of the Hallowich family of Washington County, Pennsylvania, is a familiar one. It begins with a knock on the door from a representative from a multi-billion dollar natural gas company offering an enticing sum of money in exchange for the mineral rights to the land. Then comes the drilling, followed by reports of headaches, or nosebleeds, or worse. Then the legal fees. Then silence.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Breaking News - Company Reps Actively Seeking Easement Agreements

As we tried to convince Steve Beshear, the Bluegrass Pipeline representatives are aggressively approaching landowners and seeking easements across central Kentucky.  Landowners and citizens are reporting the following allegations and activities:
Company reps are saying they have the right of eminent domain. (Which is not accurate.)
  • Reps are offering bonuses of $20,000.00 if landowners sign within two weeks of being presented with an offer.
  • Reps are repeatedly going onto individuals' property despite being told not to.
  • Reps are repeatedly asking land owners to talk with them despite being turned away.
  • Surveyors are placing markers beside properties of individuals who have declined permission to survey.
  • The company is attempting to go "over the heads" of the Kentucky State University president and the manager of Kincaid Lake State Park to get easements directly from the state.
Landowners are strongly advised to consult with their own attorneys before agreeing to anything or signing anything.  We understand that some landowners may be in favor of the pipeline, and we respect their opinions.  However, we would like to suggest that they read our recommendations on specific things they should consider writing into any easement before signing.  Those who may wish to rescind permission, may do so.  Instructions for rescinding permission can also be found on this link.

At minimum, anyone who signs an agreement owes it to him or herself to get the best deal they can for their property.  We do not recommend relying on the company's easement agreement to ensure that your rights, property values, and safety are protected.

We also hear that the pipeline company is already accepting grant applications, which in our opinion, is a clear attempt to sway public opinion in their favor.  Honestly, to force this pipeline upon Kentuckians and then make them "apply" for grants for money to acquire important resources to protect us in the event of a disaster is adding insult to injury.  The grants cannot and will not replace human life, restore our property, or purify our contaminated water supplies if and when a disaster occurs.  The company is not posting bonds to compensate land owners in the event of a leak.

"Image courtesy of Chris Roll /".

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Phone Calls Anyone?

Like many of you, I've worried and agonized over this new disinformation campaign being mounted by the Bluegrass Pipeline "team."  About a week ago, we received a post card notifying they would be calling us.  I got one at work and one at home.  It asks tauntingly, "What will the Bluegrass Pipeline mean for 'our' community?"  Like it is a done deal.  Like they think they already own "our" community.  I wanted to pick up the phone, call them, or write a letter giving them a piece of my mind.  Then I noticed there was no return phone number....

We saw through this right away.  This "Telephone Town Hall" was another attempt to divide citizens and prevent them with hearing the concerns of their neighbors, friends, and other families who will be severely impacted if this pipeline goes through.  They had the audacity to say they would call to remind us and set a time and date for us to sit at home and wait.  I felt violated.  I wanted to stop them from calling, but obviously, they are not interested in actual communication.  Otherwise, they would have included a phone or return address.

They stated they wanted to talk about the "benefits" of the pipeline.  They must truly think we can't read.  They simply will never meaningfully address the issues that are truly important like safety (or the lack thereof), deflated property values, a few temporary jobs that may or may not go to Kentuckians, and that this pipeline is NOT natural gas.  They won't talk about the fact that the ad valorem tax will be minimal and will probably be offset by the loss in property taxes because of decreased land and home values.

They won't talk about the increased homeowner's insurance rates, the inability to sell your property if you want to get away from the danger, and the fact that the company is aggressively seeking approval to export  NGLs from the Bluegrass Pipeline through a Louisiana terminal. Further, the industry is also planning to export liquified natural gas through terminals in the northeast.  And yet, they spout off BS about US energy independence.  Exporting our natural resources will not make the US energy independent.  It will drive up prices by decreasing supply and increasing competition among consumers worldwide.

I agonized over this phone call that was supposed to happen tonight.  I still had not made up my mind whether I would answer it or unplug my phone.  But then a strange thing happened.  Seven o'clock came and went, and the phone did not ring.  I wondered if anyone else got a call.  So tonight, instead of having a fiery conversation with some clueless telemarketer working from a prepared script, I'm sitting here writing this blog post.  The only thing I hear is the sounds of a crisp fall evening in the country--just the way I like it.

Groundbreaking Report Calculates Damage Done by Fracking

As federal policy makers decide on rules for fracking on public lands, a new report calculates the toll of this dirty drilling on our environment, including 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater generated by fracking in 2012—enough to flood all of Washington, DC, in a 22-foot deep toxic lagoon. The Environment America Research & Policy Center report, Fracking by the Numbers, is the first to measure the damaging footprint of fracking to date.

“The numbers don’t lie—fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America. “If this dirty drilling continues unchecked, these numbers will only get worse.”  Read the full report.

Radioactive Water Streaming Out of Pennsylvania Fracking Waste Site

Waste-water from a hydraulic fracturing site in Pennsylvania that is treated and released into local streams has caused high levels of toxic contamination, including elevated levels of radioactive materials, a report released Wednesday exposes.
"We were surprised by the magnitude of radioactivity" downstream from the plant, said co-author Avner Vengosh, geochemistry professor at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "It's unusual to find this level," he told USA Today, adding that other sites should be investigated.
The Guardian reports:
The Duke University study, published on Wednesday, examined the water discharged from Josephine Brine Treatment Facility into Blacklick Creek, which feeds into a water source for western Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh. Scientists took samples upstream and downstream from the treatment facility over a two-year period, with the last sample taken in June this year.
Elevated levels of chloride and bromide, combined with strontium, radium, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic compositions, are present in the Marcellus shale waste waters, the study found.
Read the full story.... 

Bluegrass Pipeline Planning to Export NGLs

TULSA, OKLA.- Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and the Williams Co., which announced the construction of the Bluegrass Pipeline in March, said Tuesday that they have entered further agreements to continue developing a liquefied petroleum-gas export facility. 

That facility would be in Louisiana. It would help natural-gas liquids traveling through the Bluegrass line from Western Pennsylvania, through Ohio and down to the Gulf Coast to be exported.
The export terminal would provide Marcellus and Utica producers in Pennsylvania and Ohio with greater access to international markets. If the facility meets regulatory, board and other conditional approvals, it could be operational by 2015.

So much for the "energy independence" myth....

State Cites Bargath LLC Over NGL Leak in Parachute, Co

In an unbelievably minor slap on the wrist, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division found Bargath LLC in violation for releasing hazardous materials to the environment without a permit, but ordered no fines.   The Williams Company, which ants to build the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline was notified ofviolations in March, 2013.

Colorado regulators have reached an agreement with a pipeline company over violations of Colorado law and rules in a natural gas liquids leak near Parachute, while complaints against another company are still pending.  Officials believe the leak occurred from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3. They estimate about 50,000 gallons of hydrocarbons leaked, with most of that vaporizing, but about 10,000 gallons reached the ground. 

Last week, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director Matt Lepore wrote to WPX that a notice of alleged violation it brought against the energy company in March, when that agency first began investigating the case, has been closed. The agency determined it didn’t have jurisdiction over the matter because it didn’t involve exploration and production waste, so it passed it on to the health department. 

The consent order includes no fines against Bargath, although that doesn’t bar other state agencies from pursuing fines in the case. Division officials said the lack of a fine is based on the non-willful nature of the leak. 

The agreement calls for a payment of $8,400 to reimburse division staff for its time working on the matter to date, and to pay for future expenses, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Thursday. 

The focus of the compliance order is on establishing requirements and schedules for continuing cleanup of the leak, which could last a couple of years, followed by a long period of monitoring, Walker said.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pendleton County Meeting

Public Forum scheduled for PENDLETON COUNTY on October 21, 2013 at 6:30pm in the upstairs of the old courthouse 233 Main St, Falmouth.  The Fiscal Court will be moderating the discussion between pipeline representatives and residents. PLEASE make plans to attend.

One more Piece of Evidence that US Pipelines Aren't about Energy Independence

Williams, Boardwalk Partners eye proposed LPG export terminal 4:54 PM
  • Williams Cos (WMB) and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (BWP) say they've signed joint venture agreements to develop a proposed liquefied petroleum gas export terminal near Lake Charles, La.
  • The terminal would be designed to store 900K barrels of fully refrigerated propane and butane with a load-rate of 25K bbl/hour.
  • WMB and BWP say they are working with a number of parties to reserve off-take capacity at the terminal.

TULSA, Okla. and HOUSTON, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Williams (NYSE: WMB) and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP (NYSE: BWP) today announced they have executed joint venture agreements to continue developing a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) export facility in the Lake Charles, La. area. The proposed Moss Lake LPG Terminal would be located on the Calcasieu River and serve tanker ships transporting LPG to Asian, Latin American and European markets.

The terminal is being designed to store 900,000 barrels of fully refrigerated propane and butane with a load-rate of 25,000 barrels per hour.  Williams and Boardwalk are currently working with a number of parties to reserve off-take capacity at the terminal.   
If completed, the terminal would facilitate the export of a portion of the propane and butane components of the natural gas liquids (NGLs) transported on the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline and separated at the Moss Lake Fractionation plant, both of which are also being developed by a joint venture between Williams and Boardwalk.
Based on current market conditions, producers should benefit from the option to export propane and butane, which constitute approximately 30 percent of the liquids in an average NGL barrel. The other  NGL components – ethane, isobutane and natural gasoline –are expected to serve demand among U.S. industries, manufacturers and refineries.
The proposed Moss Lake LPG Terminal, Moss Lake Fractionation Plant and Bluegrass Pipeline represent critical infrastructure designed to support the ability of producers to economically develop the resources in the Marcellus and Utica shale-gas areas. The Bluegrass Pipeline would transport the NGLs associated with natural-gas production from Marcellus and Utica producing areas to the petrochemical complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast and markets at points in between. The Moss Lake Fractionation Plant near Lake Charles, La. would consist of storage facilities and a new, large-scale fractionation plant to separate NGLs into component products. 
"In addition to the variety of domestic markets that would be served by the Bluegrass Pipeline and Moss Lake Fractionation projects, Moss Lake LPG would offer our customers access to attractive global markets for propane and butane, which in turn allows for continued production of natural gas, crude oil and other products that are integral to helping the U.S. gain its energy independence," said Stan Horton, president and chief executive officer of Boardwalk. "Taken together, these critical infrastructure projects allow for the efficient movement of NGLs to domestic and global markets and support the development of the United States' own energy resources and the renaissance in America's job-producing manufacturing complex."
"Formalizing the joint venture agreements for the Moss Lake LPG Terminal further demonstrates Boardwalk's and Williams' commitment to meeting the needs of producers by providing multiple markets for the prolific NGL supplies in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays," said Jim Scheel, senior vice president of corporate strategic development at Williams. "In addition to the many domestic markets that our Bluegrass Pipeline and Moss Lake Fractionation projects would offer to U.S. producers of NGLs, we are pleased to offer an export option so our customers would have access to the highest-value markets for all of the components of the NGL barrel."
Sanctioning and completion of this project, including the Bluegrass Pipeline, Moss Lake Fractionation project and Moss Lake LPG, is subject to, among other conditions, execution of customer contracts sufficient to support the project and the parties' receipt of all necessary approvals, including board and regulatory approvals. In addition, each of the parties has the right, under certain circumstances, to withdraw from the project or from portions of the project, in which case the project may be terminated, only portions of the project may be completed, or the parties respective ownership interests in the project may change. Williams and Boardwalk cannot give assurances that this project will be completed, in whole or in part. However, if all conditions are satisfied and the parties elect to construct the facilities described above, the project could be placed into service in late 2015.
About Boardwalk
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP (NYSE: BWP) is a midstream master limited partnership that provides transportation, storage, gathering and processing of natural gas and liquids for its customers. Boardwalk and its subsidiaries own and operate approximately 14,410 miles of natural gas and liquids pipelines and underground storage caverns with an aggregate working gas capacity of approximately 201 billion cubic feet and liquids capacity of approximately 18 million barrels. Boardwalk is a subsidiary of Loews Corporation (NYSE: L), which holds 53% of Boardwalk's equity, excluding incentive distribution rights. Additional information about the Partnership can be found on its website at
About Williams
Williams (NYSE: WMB) is one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America. It owns interests in or operates 15,000 miles of interstate gas pipelines, 1,000 miles of NGL transportation pipelines, and more than 10,000 miles of oil and gas gathering pipelines. The company's facilities have daily gas processing capacity of 6.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas, NGL production of more than 200,000 barrels per day and domestic olefins production capacity of 1.35 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of propylene per year. Williams owns approximately 64 percent of Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ), one of the largest diversified energy master limited partnerships. Williams Partners owns most of Williams' interstate gas pipeline and domestic midstream assets. Williams also owns Canadian operations and certain domestic olefins pipelines assets, as well as a significant investment in Access Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ACMP), a midstream natural gas services provider. The company's headquarters is in Tulsa, Okla. For more information, visit, where the company routinely posts important information.

We're Baaaack!

We won't definitively say we were hacked, but we have our suspicions....However, we are back, and hopefully there will be no more interruptions in our service.  Despite the fact that we were unable to update the site for several days, we are pleased to report we had some of the highest numbers of readers we've ever had!  Also, I just wanted to give a shout out to the fine folks in the Ukraine.  Seems we're quite popular there too!