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Natural Gas NOW Picks of the Week – June 30, 2018

natural gas now - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.

Lisa Baker Asks: So, What’s Your Problem, Maya?

Pennsylvania Senator Lisa Baker really knows how to expose the hypocrisy of fractivist policies. We saw that when she forced DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell to all but admit there was is no basis whatsoever for the DRBC fracking ban his boss is pushing. Now, she’s done it again with Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Povertykeeper. Maya is lobbying heavily against Baker’s SB 1189, which would declare the ban a taking and demand compensation for impacted landowners. Lisa has written Maya an important letter. Check it out:

Contrary to the contentions contained in your recent letter to state Senators, the provisions of Senate Bill 1189 are neither “dangerous” nor “uninformed.” It is striking that these accusatory words are used without illustration or substantiation. This proposal is the result of extensive research and consultation, and in my opinion, consistent with recent decisions on questions of eminent domain and with the grants of power to various entities,

As you point out, the focus of Senate Bill 1189 is appropriate and just compensation for landowners. However, I am afraid the ‘lack of correct interpretation” in this matter is on the part of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

To be clear, this is not a debate about whether or not the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) can make decisions impacting land use, water resources and property. Nor is it being suggested that the DRBC lacks the ability to enact regulations according to its established rules and processes.

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Nowhere does this legislation restrict the DRBC’s ability to implement a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing, or to take any action it deems warranted, with respect to water quality and quantity. The bill simply states that a ban is a taking. and appropriate and just compensation must be paid.

It is only fair to make this determination in advance of any final decision. If we wait and allow the courts to decide, the determination of a taking will almost certainly be made later — after a ban is instituted and landowners are harmed. It is the legislature’s right and duty to let citizens and the DRBC know now what the effect of the ban will be

If my legislation does not succeed in the current dispute, litigation will almost surely commence raising the same issues. That will have the certain effect of increasing costs and extending the period of uncertainty. Your organization has every right to assert its interests and express its views. That you do so constantly is highly commendable. But I cannot agree with your assumptions and conclusions about the power and wisdom of the DRBC.

The beauty of this response is simply this; it confronts Maya with the reality that there is a major cost associated with the proposed DRBC fracking ban. Maya wouldn’t opposes compensation, as she is now, unless she thought it was so expensive as to be a threat to the feasibility of enacting a ban. By doing so, and calling basic fairness “dangerous” and “uniformed” she’s now admitted she’s completely at ease with imposing that cost on landowners. Rather than spread the cost across the 15-17 million people she claims would benefit, she proposes to impose it on a few hundred farmers who need the money. Thank you, Lisa Baker, for illustrating what a thief in the night the Delaware Povertykeeper really is.

Powelson Is A Big Loss at FERC – Was It Over Policy?

The disappointing news came out this week that FERC Commissioner, Robert Powelson, who the Pennsylvania gas industry worked so hard to get onto FERC and who has done a great job, is already on his way out. Powelson was an outspoken skeptic of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s ill-advised proposal to prop up nuclear power plants (and coal) with subsidies, a policy undistinguishable from those of Governor Corruptocrat and Phil “the Panderer” Murphy, both of who would, apparently, rather subsidize nuclear than accept any more gas to ensure subsidized renewables don’t destroy our ability to ensure baseload generation capacity (as in California, Germany, et al). Here’s how the Washington Post reports it on one of their blogs:

Powelson out: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Robert Powelson announced Thursday he will be leaving his role at the commission in August to become the chief executive and president of the National Association of Water Companies. Powelson, a Republican, was confirmed by the Senate last August after he was nominated to the commission by Trump in May 2017.

What his departure means: Powelson had spoken out about the Trump administration’s proposed use of emergency actions to bolster coal and nuclear plants. Trump could choose a replacement more amendable to what the Energy Department wants to do to prop more those financially ailing generators.

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But: Environmentalists used the announcement to push for more FERC commissioners who would consider the climate impacts for more natural gas pipelines. “Powelson’s abrupt resignation doesn’t change the fact that FERC itself needs a massive change,” the Sierra Club’s Mary Anne Hitt said.

In the meantime: Powelson’s absence will be harder for FERC to do its day-to-day work with only four commissioners.

Not good. Will a new FERC appointment take as long as last time? Will the new commissioner buy into the same subsidy-ridden stupid energy policies that have so distorted markets already and that Perry seems to think are smart or best corrected by more stupid subsidies? Or, will a new FERC commissioner cave to Sierra Club madness? This a big loss.

On the Other Hand

Given the above story it’s hard to be impressed with Rick Perry. On the other hand, he did say something fascinating the other day about New York, according to the Washington Examiner:

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday warned the leaders of Northeast states who are trying to block natural gas pipelines that they will face a “real reckoning” of higher energy costs and vulnerabilities in their power grid.

“The citizens of New York are paying more for energy,” Perry said during a panel session at the World Gas Conference in Washington. “Their health and well-being is being put in jeopardy. If a polar vortex comes into the northeast part of the country, or a cyberattack, and people literally have to start making decisions on how to keep their family warm or keep the lights on, at that time, the leadership of that state will have a real reckoning. I wouldn’t want to be the governor of that state facing that situation.

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“We have to have conversation as a country, is that a national security issue that outweighs the political concerns in Albany, NY?” Perry added.


Doesn’t Look New Yorkers Will have to Worry About Cynthia Nixon

It’s seldom your enemies you have to worry about, but, rather, your stupid friends:

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Don’t you love it? There’s nothing like a half-asleep endorsement from some has-been con artist to get your campaign going. And, why are Josh and Rick wearing the same glasses?

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