Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal - FERC recently approved Dominion Resources' plan to convert its existing LNG import facility on Chesapeake Bay to an export facility. The primary reason Dominion is converting its LNG facility to allow exports is because of the fracking boom in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. This is the first LNG export facility approved on the east coast of the United States and more export facilities are in the planning stages. Once the gas industry connects Marcellus and Utica shale gas to markets overseas, it will certainly induce even more drilling and fracking in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Allegheny Defense Project teamed up with Wild Virginia to oppose Dominion's plans and recently filed a joint request that FERC reconsider its decision to approve this project.
Niagara Expansion and Northern Access 2015 Projects - These projects are a joint proposal by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company and National Fuel Gas Corporation to send fracked shale gas from Pennsylvania to northern New York and Canadian markets. National Fuel's Northern Access 2015 Project proposes to send fracked shale gas from its production subsidiary, Seneca Resources, to Tennessee Gas Pipeline's 200 Line. Since Seneca Resources controls hundreds of thousands of acres of mineral rights in the Allegheny National Forest and surrounding region, approval of the project is likely to increase fracking on our public lands. Tennessee Gas Pipeline's Niagara Expansion Project would expand the capacity of its 200 Line by adding over 3 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline loop, which would parallel the existing pipeline. The project involves boring under French Creek, one of the most biologically diverse streams in the eastern United States. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently added several species of freshwater mussels to the Endangered Species List, some of which have populations in French Creek. One of the reasons the USFWS cited for adding these species to the Endangered Species List is the shale gas drilling and fracking boom in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. As shale gas drilling increases, more roads, well sites, pipelines and other infrastructure are constructed on the landscape, which increases the amount of erosion and sedimentation that reaches waterbodies. As sedimentation in streams and rivers increases, it can bury mussels and suffocate them. Although there are at least five threatened and endangered mussel species in French Creek, FERC ignored three of the mussel species entirely while only giving a cursory review of the two other species. FERC also ignored the likelihood of future fracking in the French Creek watershed, which poses a substantial threat to the survival of these species. We have requested that FERC redo its environmental analysis of the proposed pipeline expansion and consider the effects that increased fracking will have on threatened and endangered species in the French Creek watershed.
Northern Access 2016 Project - This is another project by National Fuel proposing 97 miles of new pipeline construction in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. The project is designed to provide an outlet for National Fuel's production subsidiary, Seneca Resources, to markets in the northeastern U.S. and Canada.
Tuscarora Lateral Project - This is another project proposed by National Fuel (and its subsidiary, Empire Pipeline) and involves approximately 17 miles of new pipeline construction from Steuben County, NY to Tioga County, PA. This pipeline construction project is one of several recent and pending projects in this region, which is just north of Pine Creek Gorge (aka, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon) in Tioga State Forest. This is one of the most beautiful areas and premier recreation destination in all of Pennsylvania. Fracking, however, is rapidly changing that and more pipelines all but guarantees more fracking, further degrading what makes this region of Pennsylvania so special. FERC recently published its "environmental assessment" for the the Tuscarora Lateral Project and is accepting comments until December 1, 2014. Contact FERC and tell them to consider all pending pipeline projects in this region of norther Pennsylvania and southern New York in a single "environmental impact statement" and to consider the indirect and cumulative effects of fracking on wildlife habitat, water quality, air quality, and recreation opportunities. (NOTE: the "docket number" for the Tuscarora Lateral Project is "CP14-112." You will need this to submit comments through FERC's "eComment" system).
Atlantic Sunrise Project - This is a major new pipeline project by Williams' subsidiary Transcontinental Pipe Line Company (Transco). Transco is proposing 178 miles of new pipeline construction to connect Marcellus and Utica shale gas in north-central Pennsylvania to the southeastern United States. The project also includes 12 miles of pipeline loops, two new compressor stations in Pennsylvania, and other additions/modifications in five states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina). The project is so controversial that Governor Tom Corbett, who has been a staunch supporter of fracking, called on FERC to take a closer look at this project to determine whether pipeline companies are causing too many impacts to our environment and to landowners. This project is still in the preliminary stage and we will keep you updated as the environmental review process proceeds.
Constitution Pipeline Project - This is a major new pipeline project by Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas, and WGL Holdings. According to Cabot Oil & Gas, the project was "specifically designed" to transport its Marcellus shale gas production to markets in New York and New England. (See page 4 of Cabot's 2012 Annual Report). In other words, Cabot makes clear the connection between its shale gas drilling activities and the pipeline construction under FERC's jurisdiction. Despite this connection, FERC recently issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Constitution Pipeline without any consideration of the indirect and cumulative effects of shale gas drilling. It is likely that FERC will issue an order authorizing construction of the pipeline any day now. When it does, we will be filing a request for rehearing to persuade FERC to reconsider its refusal to analyze and disclose to the public the environmental impacts of shale gas drilling activities related to the pipeline.