Monthly Archives: January 2015

NTSB tells PHMSA to fix its horrible pipeline safety methods

Tired of reporting on explosions unprevented by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). just issued a damning set of recommendations to PHMSA, plus to an alphabet soup of other organizations to ride herd on PHMSA to try to get some improvement. How about instead we stop building new pipelines and get on with solar power?

NTSB said its motivation was three recent explosions it reported: the 2009 Palm City, Florida flying pipeline that almost hit a high school, the 2010 San Bruno, California PG&E Pipeline Rupture and Fire, and the 2012 Sissonville, West Virginia I-75 house destruction, about which NTSB said:

These three accidents resulted in 8 fatalities, over 50 injuries, and 41 homes destroyed with many more damaged.

And NTSB reporting on PHMSA’s failures goes back way farther than that, Continue reading NTSB tells PHMSA to fix its horrible pipeline safety methods

New England doesn’t need more gas pipelines: stockpile instead

Still more evidence that new natural gas pipelines are an unneeded boondoggle.

Kathryn R. Eiseman, Commonwealth Magazine, 20 January 2015, New gas pipelines can be avoided: Back-up fuel incentives are the way to go,

LAST WINTER’S NATURAL gas price spikes, and resultant electric rate hikes, continue to be used to justify the push for massive expansion of gas infrastructure. Yet a successful program to incentivize New England’s power generators to contract for back-up fuel for this winter undermines the argument for more pipelines. This winter’s lower wholesale gas and electric prices indicate that the rate hikes themselves could have been avoided had such measures been more fully implemented for the 2013-2014 winter.

Measures like contracting to buy gas from peak load plants that sometimes sat idle last winter. And measures like storing gas when it’s cheap to use in the winter.

In fact, ISO-NE intentionally excluded LNG storage incentives from last winter’s winter reliability program, telling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that gas-market-related solutions “would lower gas prices and send the wrong signal about the relative scarcity of natural gas. These lower prices would also be reflected in the electricity market.” In other words, allowing prices to rise would help convince the public Continue reading New England doesn’t need more gas pipelines: stockpile instead

Radar saw fracked methane pipeline explode near reservoir, Jackson, MS

If a pipeline explodes and only trees are burnt, does anybody care? This one was picked up by National Weather Service radar. Have you ever heard of solar panels exploding?

Josh and Toni Hardy, MSNewsNow, 14 January 2015, Pipeline fire burns out; leaves behind scorched patch of forest, Continue reading Radar saw fracked methane pipeline explode near reservoir, Jackson, MS

Oil pipeline leak into Yellowstone River, upstream from Little Missouri National Park, Williston, and Bismark

300x144 Google Map, in Bridger Pipeline leak into Yellowstone River, by John S. Quarterman, for, 18 January 2015 The oil may never reach Bismark because it will pollute Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River first. Or it could go all the way down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and join BP’s oil. Pipelines leak. Let’s stop building more of them. Solar power is faster, cheaper, and far safer.

Jessica Summers, Bloomberg news, 18 January 2015, Oil Spills Into Yellowstone River After Montana Crude Pipe Leak,

Oil pumped in the Bakken leaked from a pipeline into the Yellowstone River near Glendive in Montana on Saturday.

Continue reading Oil pipeline leak into Yellowstone River, upstream from Little Missouri National Park, Williston, and Bismark

Spectra stock cut to hold; can CEO Greg Ebel explain 5 Feb 2015?

300x226 Spectra Energy (SE) and Spectra Energy Partners (SEP), in SE and SEP stock price for one year, by John S. Quarterman, for, 16 January 2015 Maybe fossil fuel pipelines aren’t such a lucrative business after all? Funny how this Spectra downgrade comes right after the big announcement about EPA proposed methane rules. Can Spectra Energy CEO Greg Ebel explain this away to investors three weeks from now? How about OPEC driving the price of gas down and energy deals among U.S., China, and Russia tanking the U.S. LNG export market? Ebel’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Faye Duncan wrote for Dakota Financial News 16 January 2015, Spectra Energy Corp. Cut to “Hold” at Tudor Pickering, Continue reading Spectra stock cut to hold; can CEO Greg Ebel explain 5 Feb 2015?

Columbia County, FL steps towards anti-fracking ordinance

And of course our own Laura gave her usual valuable insights! An excellent presentation by OSFR well attended except by Suwannee County citizens. Columbia County voted to have their attorney consult with Alachua County to draft a resolution or ordinance against fracking and related issues. Thank you Merrillee, Jim and all the members of OSFR and other groups for a concise and excellent presentation. Now for the rest of North Florida counties… Like Suwannee County

Our Santa Fe River, 15 January 2015, Columbia Commissioners Take First Step,

And a giant step it was. The far-sighted and open-minded commissioners listened attentively and with interest to the detailed, informative and professionally delivered Power Point presentation by OSFR president Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson giving the many reasons for adopting an ordinance banning fracking in Continue reading Columbia County, FL steps towards anti-fracking ordinance

Obama to move to cut methane emissions

EPA regulations are not just for coal anymore, emphasizing that fracked methane pipelines are not the answer: how about we go straight to sun and wind power? Today we’ll see how serious president Obama is about methane emissions. Meanwhile, there’s already an opportunity to comment on an EPA methane rule proposed in December.

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 13 January 2015, Barack Obama moves to cut methane emissions by almost half: Environmental Protection Agency will cut oil and gas industry methane emissions as president seeks to bolster climate legacy,

The new methane rules “ which will be formally unveiled on Wednesday—are the last big chance for Obama to fight climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency is aiming to cut methane emissions by up to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025, White House officials told campaigners during a briefing call.

But it was not clear whether the new rules would apply to existing oil and gas installations, in addition to future sources of carbon pollution, which could Continue reading Obama to move to cut methane emissions

EPA natural gas greenhouse gas reporting proposed rule 2014-12-09

There’s still time to comment on one methane rule proposed by the EPA, which was partly prompted by outside comment to start with. So far, the only comments are by fossil fuel industry consortiums. Why should they have all the fun? Here’s how to post your own comments. And there may be another rule announced today.

Posted by the EPA, 9 December 2014, Greenhouse Gas Reporting: 2015 Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems,

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing revisions and confidentiality determinations for the petroleum and natural gas systems source category of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. In particular, the EPA is proposing to add calculation methods and reporting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions from gathering and boosting facilities, completions and workovers of oil wells with hydraulic fracturing, and blowdowns of natural gas transmission pipelines between compressor stations. The EPA is also proposing well identification reporting requirements to improve the EPA’s ability to verify reported data and enhance transparency. This action also proposes confidentiality determinations for new data elements contained in these proposed amendments.

Pipelines between compressor stations would affect the compressor stations proposed for the Sabal Trail pipeline. The proposed rule also spells out in numerous places that it’s about distribution pipelines, too. And the proposed rule was partly motivated by requests from concerned parties: Continue reading EPA natural gas greenhouse gas reporting proposed rule 2014-12-09

Sabal Trail is an insurgent invader; pipeline opponents are environmental patriots

The pipeline companies are invading insurgents, acting against the stated directions of local elected governments. Pipeline opponents, fighting for their land, water, air, safety, and children, are patriots.

Merriam Webster defines insurgent as:

a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government

Five Six counties and two cities in Georgia and Florida have so far passed resolutions against the Sabal Trail pipeline, and four state representatives have complained to FERC about it: here’s a list. That’s in addition to the other state and federal agencies that have complained to FERC. And in addition to the hundreds of individuals who have spoken at Sabal Trail’s Open Houses and FERC’s Scoping Meetings, overwhelmingly opposing the pipeline. And in addition to the numerous landowner, environmental, and political organizations that have passed resolutions, filed with FERC, and in many cases intervened with FERC against Sabal Trail’s application for a permit.

So if you see the people willing to put their time, money, and in many cases their freedom on the line; when you see the media call them insurgents, you know it’s a lie. Like Americans against invading redcoats, pipeline opponents are patriots.

One of many lies deliberately promoted by the fossil fuel industry. Eamon Javers wrote for CNBC 8 November 2011 Oil Executive: Military-Style ‘Psy Ops’ Experience Applied, Continue reading Sabal Trail is an insurgent invader; pipeline opponents are environmental patriots

No eminent domain for water-threatening unnecessary Sabal Trail pipeline –GA Rep. Dexter Sharper District 177

The state representative for Valdosta and parts of Lowndes County cited their two resolutions and enumerated lack of need for a pipeline, threatening letters from Sabal Trail, alternative routes next to a school, ill effects on business including on forestry and agriculture and private property valuations, potential sinkholes due to drilling under the Withlacoochee River, including on the preferred route, or anywhere in the fragile karst limestone containing the Floridan Aquifer, plus Spectra Energy’s own SEC filings say it doesn’t have insurance to cover the kinds of safety problems in Spectra’s own history nor those pointed out by Southern Natural Gas Company. Dexter Sharper noted local evidence that solar power is cheaper and safer, and echoed the Lowndes County Democratic Party in writing:

“…we have a moral obligation to leave our children and grandchildren with an earth as safe, beautiful, and majestic as the one bequeathed to us by our parents and grandparents.”

For all these reasons, on behalf of my constituents and the citizens of Lowndes County and the state of Georgia, I oppose the Sabal Trail pipeline anywhere in the County of Lowndes or the State of Georgia.

I urge that FERC reject any permit for the Sabal Trail pipeline, or at the very least move it entirely out of the State of Georgia.

Filed 7 January 2015 with FERC as Accession Number: 20150107-5100, “Comment of Dexter Sharper, Georgia State Representative, District 177, under CP15-17.” Continue reading No eminent domain for water-threatening unnecessary Sabal Trail pipeline –GA Rep. Dexter Sharper District 177