Sunday, June 28, 2015

LEAKED: High level strategy analysis of FERC Pipelines

This seems important -- BH

The following leaked document seem to have been prepared by DC Think-tank Washington Analysis Corp for a major bank with investments in the Marcellus Shale. I have not attempted to verify this information.

by Rob Rains [202-756-4431  and Tim VandenBerg [202-756-7714 ] --  Recent public demonstrations before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) underscore the ongoing tension between the Commission and state-level reviews necessary to advance new natural gas pipelines.  We believe that recent delays in approvals for pipelines that have largely completed the FERC review process constitutes a new normal of sorts for pipeline permitting, which ultimately means longer review times but should not necessarily lead to projects being denied.  Adjustments by the Commission to placate pipeline opponents have and will likely continue to manifest themselves through more opportunities for input from potentially affected landowners, and more detailed analyses of potential effects from the projects that, in sum, add time to reviews.
Therefore, while we maintain that limited state-level review processes remain a key linchpin for advancing pipelines and LNG terminals, we also note that the Administration's overall energy and environmental agenda supports a continued buildout of natural gas infrastructure, albeit perhaps at a slower pace.      
Consider the following:
·         Congressional Review Rescue For FERC Unlikely.   Proposed measures by GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate to accelerate pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) reviews by time-limiting them are unlikely to become law, and, even in the low-probability event that such measures should advance, we view a veto as likely in light of opposition by FERC staff and the White House. Comprehensive energy legislation that may seek to address this issue has been discussed at length by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) but appears out of reach due to a dwindling legislative clock and a looming presidential election.    
·         Protestors Flooding FERC, Disruptions Effective? Disruptions during monthly Commission meetings by protestors at FERC have become almost as routine as reciting the pledge of allegiance, and although the Commission has reacted with hostility to these overtures, we note that procedural matters reflect a small degree of success for disruptors.  Specifically, pipeline and liquefied natural gas reviews are being inundated with comments and demands for more thorough reviews, that, on the margin, are lengthening review times by a matter of months, but not affecting approvals by FERC.  On this basis, we expect a similar level of hostility for projects like Kinder Morgan's (KMI-$40) Northeast Energy Direct, PennEast [owned by AGL Resources (GAS-$48), New Jersey Resources (NJR-$28), PSEG (PEG-$41), South Jersey Industries (SJI-$26), Spectra Energy Partners (SEP-$49), and UGI Energy Services (UGI-$36)], and  potentially Atlantic Coast [owned by Dominion (D-$68), Duke (DUK-$73), Piedmont (PNY-$37), and AGL Resources (GAS-$48)].    
·         State Watch.  Although state pressure points for pipeline reviews remain limited, it is hard to overstate their importance because states control a handful of permits that must be obtained prior to FERC construction authorization.  Illustrative of this point, we have observed three pipeline projects (Williams' (WMB-$60) Leidy Southeast expansion, Constitution Pipeline and Spectra's (SE-$31) Algonquin Incremental Market expansion) that have successfully completed their FERC review only to be held up by outstanding state-level approvals.
·         Despite Potential For Delays, Administration's Agenda Positive For Pipelines.  FERC still appears inclined to support these projects, and we note the White House's remaining energy agenda reflects a net positive outlook for the space despite some likely headwinds at the state level.  Yes, the White House is seeking to modify FERC reviews to include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis, but FERC had begun to introduce this information in reviews anyway, and we hardly expect this to impact final approvals.  Furthermore, the Administration's recently released Quadrennial Energy Review and its forthcoming final regulations for GHGs from existing and future coal plants clearly anoint natural gas as the electric fuel winner.  
Finally, we wish to highlight the progress of the following pipeline projects under review now at FERC, including any potential procedural hurdles.
FERC Docket
Dominion (D), Duke (DUK), Piedmont (PNY), and AGL (AGL) Atlantic Coast 1.5 Bcf/d PF15-6 FERC approval 2017 . FERC issued its intent to prepare draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on February 27. Expected to file formal application with FERC this August. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe supports the project, but is term limited and we expect this to become a campaign issue in the 2017 gubernatorial election. The project crosses several national forests (the Monongahela and George Washington) and we expect environmentalists to focus on this fact to slow down its review.
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP-$54)
ET Rover
3.25 Bcf/d
FERC Approval Q2 2016 . Formal application was filed with FERC February 20. We expect FERC to issue the draft environmental statement by fall. Recently reconfigured proposed route to bypass pockets of opposition within Michigan and will now partially flow through Vector pipeline [DTE Energy (DTE) and Enbridge (ENB)].  Opposition in Michigan but state officials have not indicated an interest in delaying the project.
EQT Midstream Partners (EQM-$84), NextEra (NEP-$43), WGL Midstream (WGL-$56), and Vega Energy (private). Mountain Valley Pipeline 2 Bcf/d PF15-3 FERC approval YE 2016 or Q1 2017 .  FERC is currently preparing a draft EIS that we expect to be issued by YE 2015. Concern has centered around the route crossing two national forests, but the National Forest Service recently issued a 1-year special use permit for scoping purposes that will likely need to be renewed before construction can begin.  
Spectra, Enbridge (ENB-$48), DTE (DTE-$75)
1.5 Bcf/d
FERC approval 2017 . FERC is now accepting input from citizens and stakeholders to prepare an environmental impact study. Pockets of opposition exist in northern Ohio, but this is unlikely to affect review at this time.  
Spectra Atlantic Bridge 153 Mcf/d PF15-12 FERC approval 1H 2017.   FERC has begun preparing an environmental assessment (EA) for the project. Pockets of opposition due to placement of new compressor stations along the Algonquin system within Massachusetts.    
Kinder Morgan (KMI)
Northeast Energy Direct
2.2 Bcf/d
FERC approval
early-2017. Route has been adjusted to use existing rights of way through New Hampshire to avoid some irate Massachusetts landowners. Intends to file formal application with FERC in October.
AGL Resources, NJR Pipeline Company, PSEG Power LLC, South Jersey Industries, Spectra Energy Partners, UGI PennEast 1 Bcf/d PF15-1 FERC approval 2H 2016 . Expected to file formal application with FERC later this summer. FERC issued its intent to prepare draft EIS on January 13. Strong opposition in New Jersey and pockets of Pennsylvania.
Spectra Access Northeast 1 Bcf/d N/A FERC approval mid-2017. Will pre-file with FERC later 2015.  FERC may opt for a full EIS, not an EA. Compared to Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct, far less opposition within Massachusetts, but potentially dependent upon rate reform by the Department of Public Utilities that is unlikely near term.  



May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How Many HBEs(*) is that? (* Hiroshima Bomb Equivalent)

I've been looking into the strange eruption at the Indian Hills Golf Course in Lambton County, Ontario, and discovered it might be connected to the Union Gas Dawn Storage field. It's a massive facility, the largest in North America: 157 BCF.

I decided to update my Hiroshima Bomb energy equivalent calculations for various natural gas, LPG, and LNG pipelines and storage projects. It ain't pretty.

Feel free to check my math. It's a simple conversion from e.g., gas volume into Joules. The 16kt Hiroshima bomb was ~6.69E+013 Joules. Here's the spreadsheet with the calculations.

Now keep in mind a catastrophic failure of a methane pipeline or LPG storage tank is not completely like the detonation of a nuclear bomb. For example, there is no similar release of radiation. However, we might expect the thermal radiation, and/or the shockwave from an explosion (which could happen if the conditions are right) to be about the same.

Ross Horowitz from Ithaca independently calculated the "LPG storage @ Seneca Lake" and got 129! Very close to my number. A letter in the Press and Sun Bulletin 4/16/2015 by Satanta Satank of Richford verified my calculation for the methane storage at Seneca Lake . She calculated 28, which is very close to my number (32). This gives me confidence that my calculations are accurate.

Project: Capacity HBEs
Constitution Pipeline, per day:
Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline HBE/day:
Williams Transco Atlantic Sunrise HBE/d
Crestwood Methane storage @ Seneca Lake:
Kinder-Morgan NED Market Path HBE/d:
LNG tanker (typical):
Q-Max LNG tanker :
Crestwood LPG @ Seneca Lake:
Cove Point LNG storage:
Union Gas Dawn Storage Ontario:
650k dth/d
1.5 BCF/d
1.7 BCF/d
2  BCF
2.2 BCF/d
2.82 BCF
5.64 BCF
88.2 M gal
14.6 BCF
156 BCF
NOTE: this chart does not render correctly on all portable devices.
Check Here if something doesn't look right.

More info on Units

Estimated Thermal Blast Zone of Catastrophic Event at Cove Point LNG

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rescheduled Energy Planning Board Meeting THURSDAY!

WHAT: Rescheduled NY Energy Planning Board Meeting
WHEN: THURSDAY June 25th. 1pm.
WHERE: NYSERDA,17 Columbia Circle, Albany NY 12203
WHY: First meeting was abruptly cancelled.

ORIGINAL BLURB, from Keith Schue:

Dear friends,

We recently learned that the New York Energy Planning Board is holding a public meeting on NEW DATE: THURSDAY, June 25th, 1:00pm at the NYSERDA office in Albany (17 Columbia Circle) to discuss the New York State Energy Plan which will soon be released. This is the first meeting of the board since January 2014 when the draft plan was issued for public comment.

I strongly encourage everyone who is interested in the future of energy in our state to attend.

I believe--and I know you do too--that the threat of climate catastrophe to the world that our children will inherit creates a moral obligation for us to do everything in our power to rapidly move away from the continued burning of fossil fuels. I also know that, despite the anticipated ban on high-volume fracking, many of you have not had a moment's rest because you are fighting day in and day out against an overwhelming and ACCELERATING onslaught of gas infrastructure projects across New York including pipelines, compressor stations, power plants, and gas storage facilities. Those projects not only threaten our communities and public health; they collectively contribute to the demise of our state, our nation, and our planet.

It is important to recognize that the soon-to-be-adopted NYS Energy Plan is the official blueprint for our state's energy future as mandated in statute. It is intended to drive state policies and programs, as well as permitting decisions by state agencies. This makes the plan of pivotal importance to all of us. The bottom line is if that blueprint predicts the need for more gas pipelines and power plants, then that is what we are likely to get.

Many of us rightfully criticized the draft energy plan last year because that is precisely what it did. Despite deceptively pretty pictures of solar panels and wind farms in Volume 1 of the plan and ambiguous goals about "clean" energy, the draft predicted a growing need for gas, advocated the massive expansion of gas infrastructure, and offered only vague lackluster support for renewables or improvements in energy efficiency. For example, in 2012 only 20% of our state's electricity came from renewables, almost all of that being hydropower. Shocking, the draft plan projected that the percentage of our electricity in 2030 will STILL only be 20%. Furthermore, the "plan" predicted that fracked gas would need to comprise a much LARGER percentage of our energy portfolio than it does today (and a whole lot more if a nuclear power plant closes). This paints a terrible, defeatist picture for the future of our state, which many of us insisted must be dramatically altered. And disturbingly, the draft plan has already been used by industry to justify more gas infrastructure.

We know there is a better way...

The message that many of us delivered in comments and at hearings was that instead of passively reacting to business-as usual forecasts of greater dependency on fossil fuels, New York must aggressively set forth a REAL PLAN that charts a very different course with SPECIFIC and SIZABLE targets for renewables and energy efficiency, coupled with a well-defined strategy for HOW we are going to get there.

So what I will be looking for on THURSDAY is whether or not the revised energy plan actually does that. If it does not, then it is not worth the paper it is written on. By the way, the target that many of our organizations called for was 50% renewables by 2025. 

Similarly the draft energy plan gave only lip-service to a goal set by former Governor Paterson of reducing total greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 from all sources, while offering no plan for getting there. The only pseudo-target mentioned was a economically-adjusted 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, which ignored methane completely. Again, this conveniently supports a gas agenda, locking us into a future where there will be no possible way of actually achieving total GHG reduction goals. What we need to see is a plan that includes scheduled benchmarks for reductions in all GHG emissions (account for the full life-cycle of methane, using credible estimates of leakage, and applying the most current IPCC 20-year global warming potential).

Needless to say, as with the draft version of the plan, we should all know that the devil is in the details and it is far too late in the day for us to take comfort in pleasantly crafted, but damningly vague verbage about "clean and green".

Little information has emerged from NYSERDA about Thursday's meeting, however what we do know is that a presentation on the revised plan will be made. Prior meetings of the board have been carefully controlled and polished without opportunity for formal public comment, so that could be the case Thursday too. It is also unlikely that we will be given a copy of the document in advance so that we can see those important details, or lack thereof. Nonetheless, we can fill the room and make ourselves seen and heard--forcefully but respectfully-- in all the ways that we know how.

The Energy Planning Board consists of the head representatives for almost every state agency. So in my view, this is an opportunity not to be missed for all of us fighting gas infrastructure across New York to bear witness, talk directly to the agencies that are making decisions about our future, show them that we see the big picture, and insist on real change that requires a real plan for the future.

I hope to see you there.

In solidarity,

Keith Schue

p.s. The following link contains comments that Otsego 2000 submitted on the draft energy plan last year. Section 4 relating to fracking on NY soil may be outdated, however all of the other 14 sections relating to the future of energy use, climate change, the negative impacts of gas infrastructure, and the morally destitute policy of "frack your neighbor" are more applicable than ever.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

REVISED: Ontario Gas Eruption -- Lambton County Alert

REVISED STATEMENT, by Bill Huston: 6/29/2015:

Over the past 2 weeks since this event was first reported, I have been consulting with several technical experts.  I am issuing this revised statement:

The erupting geyser at the Indian Hills Golf Course in Lambton Shores, southern Ontario should be considered a major emergency. There are several possible scenarios, and not universal consensus as to the cause..   The is a small chance that this could be related to a structural failure of one or more wells in the Union Gas Dawn Storage Field, which could portend a disaster of immense proportion, due to the massive storage capacity there.

 URGENT WARNING for people living in Lambton County, Ontario Canada: 

Be on high alert for possible exposure to DEADLY H2S (Hydrogen Sulfide / "sour gas") being released from gas venting from underground sources.

Also be on high alert for possible gas migration into homes and other habitable structures which could form an explosion hazard.

Report any smells of sulfur, odorized gas (mercaptin), or "rotten egg" type smells, or unusual gas venting or bubbles in groundwater to Canadian Authorities.

Any gas seen bubbling in ground water, or gas venting coming out of the ground, or any "rotten eggs" type sulfur smells should be considered extremely dangerous. 

H2S exposure can be deadly. If you think you are smelling H2S you should immediately leave the area. If you are smelling this inside a structure there may be a high risk of a gas explosion. Leave immediately. Avoid using electrical equipment, cell phones, or other possible ignition sources.

They are reporting the a natural "gas pocket" under the golf course.
Coverup by the Canadian News Media?
Canadian News Media are reporting this is "natural" and "localized". 
Howeverthis conclusion is suspect, as it was made just a few days after the event happened, which seems too early for them to have been able to (e.g.) get test results back looking for markers in the gas, thermogenic vs. biogenic, H2S vs Mercaptin, etc.  How can they be so sure?

The report of possible Mercaptin smell would mean this is odorized gas, which means this is definitely a man-made event, and not natural. However, this could also be H2S, as this area is known to have sour-gas, which could be released due to many reasons, such as if there are active oil or gas exploration in the area, or an injection well, or solutions mining (salt).

Also, the pressures involved seem to indicate a human-caused event. 

Some possible scenarios:
  • Oil and/or gas related activity seems likely.
  • Could be a pipeline incident? Reports: none in the area
  • Suspected active unconventional O&G (both) exploration in Ontario now.
  • Enhanced oil recovery and/or Horizontal hydro-fracking or acid-fracking?
  • New wells? or restimulating older wells?
  • Surface communication via orphaned / abandoned wells? many in Lambton Co.
  • There appears to be active solutions mining in the area. Could this cavern have become pressurized from some underground source?
  • Possible Injection wells in the area? (This could pressurize natural methane deposits)
  • This area is known for karst geology, which is rather unstable.
  • Area is known for Sour Gas / H2s
  • H2S is technically a thiol, and can be mistaken for mercaptin odorants
    (in concentrations small enough not to kill you)
The worst case scenario, which some experts I've spoken to believe to be of low probability would be a failure of some kind of the structural integrity of one or more wells in the Union Gas Dawn Storage Field.

This site is ~20 miles from the nearest well. 

Leaks from natural gas storage has been known to migrate up to 7 miles away, as what happened in Hutchinson Kansas explosions.
Dawn is a methane storage field in depleted gas wells,
which have generally been drilled into "Pinnacle Reefs".   
It is the biggest methane storage field in Canada and possibly in North America. 
DAWN Field is a stagering 157 billion cubic feet of storage!

Compare: Existing Seneca Lake => 2 BCF
Crestwood's entire storage at 5 fields in 2 states = 80 BCF. 

157 BCF = energy equavilent of 2,458 Hiroshima Bombs. 

Check my math:
DAWN Storage is related to the proposed
ET Rover Pipeline, crossing Ohio and Michigan to the West,
and also to the massive expansion of the Empire / National Fuel 
system in New York from the east.  

There is are two existing transmission lines in the area,
a Union Gas pipeline which runs through S. Ontario approximately east and west,
and also Enbridge Line 9-- being reversed.  They run rather close to the same path.
The Blue Line indicates the Union Gas pipeline system.

Red Star = Indian Hills Golf Club, Lambton Shores, ON, CA
Outer Black Circle indicates WATCH ZONE

including all of Lambton County, Ontario and norther parts of the Detroit Metro area

for possible gas migration into homes, buildings, and other habitable structures. 
PLEASE REPORT any "rotten egg" or sulfur-type gas odors, or visible gas venting to Canadian authorities, as this could indicate a risk of explosion or fire. WARNING: H2S (Hydrogen Sulfide "sour gas") is extremely toxic. If you think you smell it, get out of this area quickly. 

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Correct: NYSERDA vs Energy Planning Board

So sorry for my confusion between the
NY Energy Board and NYSERDA.

Here is correct information:

1: NYSERDA is a NY "public benefit corporation"
formed in 1975.
This is a special kind of Not For Profit
corporation which has closer ties to the government, than
an ordinary charity.

Examples are corporations established to operate
bridges, port authoritys, toll roads, municipal power
generation, and local development corporations,
and public housing authorities.

NYSERDA's charter is "aimed at helping New Yorkers increase
energy efficiency, save money,  use renewable energy,
and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels"

2: The NY Energy Board
was appointed by Governor Cuomo

3:  The head of NYSERDA is chair of the Energy Board.

The recent meeting just happened to be held at
NYSERDA's offices in Albany.

I sent out something previously about the
NYSERDA No-Show. This is innaccurate.

It was really the NY Energy Planning Board No-Show.

I have a corrected link to send around for the
video playlist of the press conference on Monday.
Again, sorry for sending out bogus info.

Despite rumors that I am a purveyor of
"hysterical misinformation",
I really strive to get the facts right.


On Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 8:42 AM, William Huston <> wrote:
Thanks, this is great!

I also created this handy, easy to remember link
for sharing on social media:

On Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 8:15 AM, Mark Ohe <> wrote:

Video clips from Monday's NYSERDA Press Conference in Albany now uploaded to YouTube by Heriberto (Eddie) Rodriguez.  
Terrific work from Eddie as usual.  

Have a look when you get a chance. 

The speakers in these video clips detail why NYSERDA's Energy Plan is a big deal regarding the future of frack gas infrastructure in NY State and beyond, as well as how these decision will shape New York State's energy future.


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May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Don't forget to sign the
Pledge to Resist
the Constitution Pipeline:

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Don't forget to sign the
Pledge to Resist
the Constitution Pipeline:

Aug 8 Event to UNIFY pipeline fighters nationwide: HANDS ACROSS OUR LAND

Please feel free to share this on ALL PIPLEINE lists,
on the east coast, and nationwide!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ann Nau <>
Date: Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 11:05 PM
Subject: Aug 8 Event

Hi, everyone.
Free Nelson (one of the many fantastic groups fighting Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline) is coordinating an event for August called Hands Across Our Land: August 18 at 10:00am

From the event page: 

Join us as we take a stand to protect our land and communities from the unnecessary and unwanted onslaught of new natural gas infrastructure.

We are citizens, small business owners, and farmers from every walk of life standing up for our heritage and culture in rural West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

We are united in our goal to stop the industrialization
of our properties and communities by energy companies
who seek to profit by stealing our land,
through the misuse of eminent domain!

Dominion, Duke, Piedmont Natural Gas, AGL Resources, NextEra, EQT, and others would build their pipelines within feet of our homes, destroy thousands of acres of forested land, pollute our water supply, degrade our national treasures by crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and the pristine George Washington and Monongahela National Forests...

all in the name of profit for the few on the backs of thousands of private property owners. Stand with us as we hold Hands Across Our Land to protect our way of life!"
According to their event organizer, Sharon: 
"The event was originally organized as a joint Mountain Valley/ACP event, but it has been suggested we make it national, or at least on the East Coast.  It's a simple idea where folks hold an action in their local communities. 

They gather to hold hands symbolically creating a blockade, signifying we are protecting our land, water, and forests.

The community gets to choose the location and time of the event sometime on Tuesday, August 18.  We suggest actions take place at a landmark or somewhere along the proposed route, like a river, that will be harmed. Of course, media coverage is crucial and I've prepared a press release, and an overview of the action, which I email out to each group who participates.  We also have a graphic in color and b/w everyone can use in promoting the event.
We would love to have you join us!"
So if you think you might be interested or know other who might be, check out the event page or contact:

 Sharon Ponton
Free Nelson Organizer
(434) 420-1874
Ann Nau
Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Monday, June 15, 2015

UPDATE on Cuero TX pipeline failure

I just got an email from Vicki Granado, who does PR for Energy Transfer Partners.

This pipeline was a 42" natural gas (rich/wet gas) gathering line, which explains why it is not on NPMS.

Here are her responses following my questions:

> Also, can you tell me

> 1: the MAOP of the pipeline which failed,


> 2: the operating pressure at the time of the failure


> 3: confirm the diameter 42"


> 4: confirm the product being transported –

natural gas

> 5: the age of the pipeline which failed?

Don't have that at this time

--- END ---


May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

UPDATE: Cuero TX explosion was a 42" Natural Gas Gathering Line

UPDATE #2: This pipeline was indeed a 42" Natural Gas line, but a *gathering* line.
This explains why it was not on NPMS.

I just got an email from Vicki Granado, who does PR for Energy Transfer Partners.

This pipeline was a 42" natural gas (rich/wet gas) gathering line, which explains why it is not on NPMS.
Here are her responses following my questions:

> Also, can you tell me

> 1: the MAOP of the pipeline which failed,


> 2: the operating pressure at the time of the failure


> 3: confirm the diameter 42"


> 4: confirm the product being transported –

natural gas

> 5: the age of the pipeline which failed?

Don't have that at this time



See attached.


On Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 1:08 PM, William Huston <> wrote:
As some of you know, I've been studying large gas pipeline failures, examining the blast impact radius, trying to improve the federal PIR formula, which underestimates actual impact radius in every case I've examined, sometimes off by a factor of 100%. (the predicted PIR is only 50% of the actual impact radius).

One problem has been the lack of data for very large high pressure pipelines. Many 42" pipelines are being proposed now (Spectra AIM, Kinder Morgan NED, Dominion Atlantic Coast, etc) and sometimes these are being proposed through or dangerously near residential areas.

FYI I urge people to multiply the federal PIR formula by 2x to get a better sense of the potential impact radius for pipelines up to 36", and for a 42" pipeline, use a factor of 4x. This is because there has been a lack of data on 42" failures.

Until now:

I am seeking any info, especially aerial photos of the Cuero, TX failure, as well as MAOP if anyone can find this. Please send to me directly:

If you send to this list, please CC:me , because not everything sent to this list gets distributed.



Environmental Leaders Call for Bold Action and Accountability in NYS Energy Plan

Monday, June 15, 2015
Environmental Leaders Call for Bold Action and Accountability in New York State's Energy Plan
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Citizens' Environmental Coalition, Green Education and Legal Fund, Sane Energy Project, Sustainable Otsego, Capital District, and others
Location:        NYSERDA, 17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY
Contact:         Barbara Warren 845-648-8802
                        Keith Schue 407-470-9433
Albany— Today the New York State Energy Planning Board will hold its first meeting in over a year to discuss the state's much-awaited Energy Plan. Required by statute, the New York State Energy Plan lays the foundation for policies and programs, investments in energy infrastructure, and permitting decisions that affect how New York will meet its energy needs in the future. Last year, a draft of the plan was widely criticized by the public for its vague goals, lack of renewable targets, promotion of natural gas, and failure to tackle climate change. A final document is expected shortly, so concerned citizens and organizations are attending today's meeting to make sure state agencies know we are watching. 

The revised NYS Energy Plan will require careful review when it becomes available. Once that happens, we intend to issue a report card detailing how it compares to last year's failed draft. Essential criteria for our review will be on display at today's meeting. (See below.)

Heidi Gogins of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy said, "2015 is a critical year because this is when New York was supposed to achieve a previous target of meeting 30% of its electricity needs with renewables. "We failed to do that. It's time for a real plan with a real strategy for moving us away from fossil fuels."
Only about 22% of New York's electricity comes from renewables today, most of that being traditional large-scale hydropower. With a strong Energy Plan, New York could meet 50% of its electricity needs with renewables by 2025 and 100% by mid-century.
"Revolutionary advances have occurred in solar power and energy storage in recent years," said Kim Fraczek of Sane Energy Project. "We have the technology. What we need now is leadership."
Yet despite boasting colorful pictures of solar panels and wind farms, the 2014 draft Energy Plan predicted virtually no growth in renewables through 2030 and proposed burning even more fossil fuels in the future--specifically natural gas produced from fracking.
"That's a fundamental problem which must be fixed," said Keith Schue with Sustainable Otsego. "Let's hope that in the wake of Governor Cuomo's promise to ban high volume fracking in New York, the planning board will see the moral conflict in welcoming more gas from other states where people are suffering the ill-effects of fracking."

Furthermore, despite the anticipated ban of fracking, New York has experienced an explosion of gas-related infrastructure proposals since release of the draft plan last year, including power plants, pipelines, compressor stations, and gas storage facilities.
"We are under siege," said Pramilla Malick of Minisink, NY who fought a compressor station that has made children in her community sick and is now waging a battle against a related power plant. "New York needs an Energy Plan that rejects the fiction of 'clean' natural gas."
Other major projects under review by state agencies include the Constitution Pipeline, Northeast Energy Direct (NED) Pipeline, Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, Dominion New Market project, and a Crestwood Energy proposal to store liquefied petroleum gas and methane at Seneca Lake.

"It's time to put the brakes on any more fossil fuel infrastructure," said Susan Rubin of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE). If built, these projects will be with us for decades, polluting our air and water, harming our communities, and threatening our climate."
Regarding climate change, the 2014 draft failed to explain how it would meet the state's goal of achieving an 80% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, instead proposing an interim target that ignores methane. The main ingredient of natural gas, methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a driver of climate change over twenty years.
"Show us the math. It's impossible for climate goals to be met if New York's energy portfolio is dominated for decades by gas," said Mark Dunlea of the Green Education and Legal Fund. "Damage from climate change could cost New Yorkers ten billion dollars a year. Immediate action is needed to reduce ALL greenhouse gas emissions."
The Energy Plan should also explain how it intends to deal with New York's aging fleet of nuclear reactors. The 2014 draft supported closure of just one nuclear facility, Indian Point, and proposed additional gas-fired power generation to replace lost capacity.
"That's a zero sum game," said Barbara Warren, with Citizens' Environmental Coalition. "With bold investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, we can have a truly clean, Carbon Free / Nuclear Free future."

Never has there been so much at stake for the future of energy planning in New York than at this moment. It is imperative that we make the most of this opportunity by charting a bold course for a sustainable energy future.
# # #

Does the plan commit to a sustainable energy future with robust targets for renewables (50% by 2025, 100% by 2050) and energy efficiency, measurable benchmarks, and a strategy for rapid implementation? 

Does the plan protect successful programs and create bold new ones with investment levels needed to achieve targets of the plan? 


Does the plan discourage the use of fossil fuels, and curtail new energy infrastructure like power plants, pipelines and gas storage facilities that perpetuate reliance on fossil fuels? 


Does the plan include a credible strategy for meeting total greenhouse gas reduction goals (80% by 2050) with measurable benchmarks for all emissions, including methane? 


Does the plan provide for the responsible decommissioning of aging nuclear reactors without increasing New York's dependency on fossil fuels? 


Is the plan transparent and understandable, defining terms like "clean" energy and ensuring that money from its "Clean Energy Fund" will not subsidize fossil fuels or nuclear power?


Does the plan offer the opportunity for all New Yorkers to participate in a sustainable energy future and provide equal protection to all communities?

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Don't forget to sign the
Pledge to Resist
the Constitution Pipeline:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Cuomo administration’s pipeline challenge

Hmm... Timely.
In case you haven't seen this:

The Cuomo administration's pipeline challenge

cuomo-administrations-pipeline-challengeCuomo lays out his budget plan in Syracuse. (Office of the Governor of New York) Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

By Scott Waldman 10:22 a.m. | Jun. 11, 2015 1 follow this reporter

In the last six months, the Cuomo administration has come down firmly on the side of environmentalists on a number of controversial issues.

There was, most famously, the governor's decision in late 2014 to ban fracking in New York. There was also the decision in May to conduct a thorough environmental probe of a proposed crude oil facility that could turn the Hudson River into a major tar sands transportation route. And there was the recent declaration by a top energy official that the administration is actively working to close the Indian Point nuclear facility.

Now, the administration has the power to block, or substantially delay, a few natural gas pipelines that are opposed by some environmental groups, and which are awaiting final sign off.

Pipelines are generally overseen and approved by federal regulators not likely to fret over the political fallout of running a natural gas line through a forest or through rural communities. But states do have some authority over the pipelines, through the issuing of water-quality permits.

The state's decision-making process may yet take a while—this administration in particular tends to move excruciatingly slowly in revealing its position on controversial energy projects.

But in the end, the state's decision on pipelines is less likely than the others to go the objectors' way.

One reason is simply that the legal grounds for blocking the pipelines would be shaky—the state would have to show that they have an adverse impact on bodies of water—and a decision to do so could actually get overturned in court.

Perhaps more significantly, blocking the pipelines would greatly complicate the administration's energy policy, which has, among other things, made New York much more reliant on natural gas, which in turn necessitates the construction of more pipelines.

The future of energy in New York involves miles and miles of pipelines carrying natural gas from other states, a notion that has been reinforced both by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the governors of New England states that are also pushing for more pipeline infrastructure. New York and New England are increasingly powered by natural gas, thanks to the nation's fracking boom and ever-increasing pressure to shut down coal- and oil-fired power plants.

This movement toward natural gas isn't the stuff of blaring political press releases. Gas isn't renewable or emissions-free, and represents incremental progress, at best, toward New York's ambitious goals for reducing carbon output and reliance on fossil fuels.

But gas is cleaner than most fossil fuel sources and, for the moment, cheaper, with prices in the New York region expected to stay low for a generation due to booming production from the natural gas fields of Pennsylvania.

Under Cuomo, coal-burning power plants have been converted to natural gas, and the administration's plan to replace the potential loss of Indian Point's 2,000 megawatts of power involves new or repowered plants with natural gas.

In a region where capacity is already strained, that means more pipelines.

The "lights will go out" if significant resources are not invested in natural gas pipelines and transmission lines, said Stephen Whitley, president of the New York Independent System Operator, the state's grid operator.

Whitley, who was speaking to reporters last month at a conference hosted by the state's power producers, said proposed federal air pollution rules will place even more pressure on the state to bring in natural gas, which is cleaner than other fossil fuels.

"To make that happen reliably, we're going to have to have a lot of infrastructure built — transmission lines and gas pipelines," Whitley said. "It can be done. It's going to be very expensive. It's going to take a lot of time."

The chairwoman of the state Public Service Commission, which regulates the state's energy industry, also said recently that New York needs pipelines.

The chairwoman, Audrey Zibelman, said at a State Senate energy committee hearing in May that New York's economy will be buoyed by more pipelines.

"We certainly think that, from the economic perspective, additional pipeline capacity into the state will be useful," she said. "Right now, the state has pipeline capacity that gives us an advantage of low-cost natural gas, and as we increase, really demand for natural gas as a resource that's necessarily going to give us an opportunity to look at investments and there are pending investments now in front of the D.E.C.."

There are right now at least three major proposed pipelines that would cross New York. The Algonquin project includes 37.4 miles of pipeline in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, most of which would be within or adjacent to existing pipelines. The 124-mile Constitution pipeline will cross through Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties. It also calls for the upgrading of an existing compressor station. The Northeast Energy Direct would run Pennsylvania to New England.

Williams Company has all of the necessary pipeline for the Constitution pipeline already in place, spokesman Chris Stockton said.

He also said the company "remains optimistic" the state will act soon.

"Right now we are just waiting," he said. "We're cooperating with them. We provided them with what they need. They're in control of the timetable. We can't do anything until we receive that authorization."

The state has not issued water quality certificates for any of the major pipelines that have been in the works for years. The Department of Environmental Conservation repeatedly extended public comments, as it did with other controversial projects on which the administration sought additional time before making a decision.

A D.E.C. spokesman did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

In the meantime, pipeline opponents are organizing.

Fracking opponents, buoyed by their unexpected victory in winning a state ban, are increasingly turning to pipelines, bringing together small grassroots efforts in pipeline-affected communities with each other, and with activists in other states.

Becky Meier and her group Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline have held meetings at schools, churches and community centers to build up interest. She said hundreds of local residents have shown up, and most walk away to spread the word that pipelines endanger the communities' health and property values.

"The process is so complicated, it's almost possible to know where the next decision gets made and where you go to," she said. "There's FERC, there's the Department of Transportation, the D.E.C. One of our goals is to see if the process can be streamlined so people can make meaning out of it."

This article appeared in the June edition of Capital magazine.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)