Planning for a new pipeline across Pennsylvania has evolved into a statewide string of deals and disputes that runs right past the treehouse in Ron Rock's Cumru Township front yard and the dog parks in Brecknock Township that help generate a living for Pat Emmett.
Rock has made a deal. Emmett has been taken to court.
In both cases, the other party is Sunoco Pipeline L.P., which hopes to build one or perhaps two new underground pipelines across much of the state, largely following the same path as other pipelines installed decades ago. As the company tries to get access to more land from property owners, there have been court clashes all the way from Washington County on the Ohio border to the Philadelphia region.
Sunoco Pipeline has filed eminent domain proceedings in Berks County Court against Emmett and the owners of 14 other properties. The company is owned by Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and logged more than $5.7 billion in revenue in the first six months of the year.
Emmett, owner of Godfrey's Welcome to Dogdom in Brecknock, said the project will disrupt his business.
"This thing will go right through our parking lot," he said. "People aren't going to come and let the dogs run while all the equipment is in there."
In a Washington County case, a judge on Dec. 17 issued a ruling that found Sunoco was a public utility with the power of eminent domain. Emmett said his own attorney, Michael Faherty, still believes Sunoco does not have the legal right to take property.
Attempts to reach Faherty were unsuccessful.
But Chester County attorney Tony Verwey, who represents eight property owners taken to court by Sunoco, said he has advised them to seek the best deal possible but not fight the company's use of eminent domain.
"My view is they could spend a great deal of money with little likelihood of success," he said.
Many property owners have decided that a stressful and resource-draining fight with a multibillion-dollar company is not worth it.
Sunoco Pipeline has started eminent domain proceedings against 15 owners of properties in Berks County along the route for the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline project. It would parallel an existing pipeline.
Reaching a deal
For Rock, the bargaining started about a year ago.
The scenic front yard of his rural property, with its rail fence and treehouse, slopes down from his home toward a winding road. The pipeline company already had access to a strip of Rock's land above two pipelines that had been in the ground for years.
A stranger visited Rock's home on behalf of Sunoco and offered what Rock considered to be a small amount of money in exchange for access to a wider strip of land, he said.
"It didn't seem quite right to me," Rock said.
He consulted with an attorney. Another person came to his house, offering slightly more money. The language in the associated paper work left Rock uncertain exactly what the company wanted to do on his property.
Ultimately, a third person visited Rock., who learned that an above-ground shutoff valve - a big steering wheel-type thing - would be installed in his front yard, surrounded by an 8-foot chain-link fence, in addition to the new pipeline.
The man representing the pipeline company, Rock said, asked if Rock had a number in mind.
"I said, 'You know, what we are talking about is my front yard and my trees and my seclusion,'" Rock recalled.
The pipeline company approved his offer. Rock and his wife have started using the money on renovations to their house they believe will offset the loss in property value created by the valve in their front yard.
Rock declined to disclose the amount of his settlement.
He laughed when asked about the original offer. It was, he said, "A lot less."
Sunoco's Mariner East 2 project is a result of the decade-long boom in extracting natural gas and other fuels from layers of shale beneath Pennsylvania and nearby states.
While pipeline projects have been popping up across the state, the Sunoco project is one of only two major ones that have affected Berks recently, according to Berks County Planning Commission staffer Cheryl Auchenbach. The other was Texas Eastern Transmission's installation of 5.6 miles of pipeline in Ruscombmanor, Bern, Ontelaunee, Muhlenberg and Alsace townships.
Sunoco spokesman Jeffrey Shields said the new pipeline or pipelines are expected to convey butane, propane, ethane and other materials in liquid form, but not natural gas.
The company, he said, prefers to avoid eminent domain proceedings.
"We don't think it is the best way to resolve things," he said. "We try to negotiate with landowners in good faith."
Many times, negotiations succeed and money flows.
Brecknock homeowner Christine Hertneky said she signed a deal.
"Most of the landowners near me have come to an acceptable agreement," she said. "At the end of the day, the project is going to proceed. There is nothing you can really do to stop the project."
Retired general contractor Russell Miller Jr., who has lived on his Cumru property for more than 40 years, said Sunoco took care of all the concerns he had before he signed an agreement.
And Rock said payment came quickly, for him.
"As soon as I signed the papers, they handed me a check," said Rock, who lives with his wife and son in Cumru Township. "That day."
Craig Barrett said he plans to fight Sunoco in as many courts as necessary.
The potential path of the pipeline across his Brecknock property could disturb existing pipes that feed water to his pond and 18th century springhouse, he said.
He and his family, he said, have not been treated fairly by Sunoco.
"Their lowball offer is just ridiculous," he said. "It is just crazy."
Emmett - who along with his wife, Barb, donated the 25-foot Christmas tree that stands in downtown Reading this holiday season - said Sunoco's plans will require taking down a large spruce tree, tearing up his driveway and running through the dog parks that people rent by the hour.
Representatives of the company have not told him or his attorney how long they will need access to the property. Hence, Emmett said, he has no idea how much customer income he will lose.
Emmett questions the judicial findings that Sunoco is a public utility.
He said, "They are putting it in to make money."
Contact Ford Turner: 610-371-5037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 28, 2015
Another Pennsylvania court has handed Sunoco Logistics Partners LP a victory as it pushes forward with development of the Mariner East pipeline project to transport natural gas liquids (NGL).
The Washington County Court of Common Pleas ruled this month that the Mariner East 2 pipeline meets the criteria of a public utility with eminent domain rights. The ruling would allow the company to condemn property it needs for easements to connect the pipeline with a gas processing facility in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Washington County complaint was filed by a group of landowners that had argued the project is an interstate pipeline that falls under federal jurisdiction and not state laws governing eminent domain. In October, the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas ruled against six landowners that had made a similar argument (see Shale Daily, Oct. 6). The Cumberland County court's ruling was the first to recognize the pipeline as an intrastate system with public utility status and eminent domain power.
A previous ruling in York County found that the pipeline was an interstate system with no eminent domain power, but other cases against the project are still pending in Washington and Westmoreland counties.
December 28, 2015
December 27, 2015 12:00 AM
By Leo W. Gerard and Bobby McAuliffe
Made in America by union workers” has long been the rallying cry of the United Steelworkers and thousands of other union tradesmen and women. Many responsible companies have adopted this philosophy in helping to create family-sustaining jobs. It is with great pride that we thank Sunoco Logistics for making a commitment to use American steel and to support the men and women who make it with the construction of the company’s Mariner East 1 and 2 pipeline projects.
As the steel industry continues to navigate its way through consolidation and compete against cheap foreign steel imports, the industry has seen new hope with the shale-gas boom, particularly in Pennsylvania. Key to fueling a resurgence in American manufacturing is low-cost, abundant energy, and the natural-gas and oil boom is providing it. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania still lacks the pipeline infrastructure to move the products to where they’re needed.
Sunoco Logistics is one of many energy companies undertaking an unprecedented build-out of pipelines. These build-outs require steel — lots of it. While other companies focus on traditional natural-gas (methane) pipelines, Sunoco is investing $3 billion in Pennsylvania to transport natural-gas liquids such as propane, ethane and butane, which also come out of the ground in the natural-gas extraction process.
Sunoco’s Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2 pipeline projects — built to move natural gas liquids from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in southeast Pennsylvania — include at least 400 miles of new steel pipe.
Sunoco Logistics has been doing it the right way from the very start in Pennsylvania, its home state.
For Mariner East 1, the company used manufacturers based in Pennsylvania. For instance, the U.S. Steel McKeesport facility will produce the pipe and nearby Dura-Bond in Duquesne will add protective coating. This project is a prime example of one Pennsylvania company sharing supply-chain opportunities with other Pennsylvania businesses.
Sunoco also engaged with our union brothers and sisters in the Laborers International Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Union of Operating Engineers for Mariner East 1. By relying on local trades, the company ensured that the best-trained professionals were deployed to build the pipeline to meet or exceed federal safety requirements. Safety is of utmost importance to pipeline companies and to the people building them — after all, we live where we work.
The good news for the steel industry continues with Mariner East 2: All of its 350 miles of new pipe will be bought and rolled from American steel plants across the country, a majority of which are USW-represented. That’s more than 75,000 tons of steel for this project alone.
Overall, the Mariner East pipeline projects will support 30,000 jobs along their routes during construction. Once both lines are operational, they will generate $100 million to $150 million in annual economic impact and support 300 to 400 full-time jobs.
In addition to wages that support families, the projects provide critical apprenticeship-training opportunities. And the payroll taxes on those workers will generate tax revenue for communities along the route.
Additionally, easy access to an abundant supply of affordable energy will encourage more companies to do business in our region, spurring even more jobs and new economic activity for existing businesses.
Thanks to the investment of companies like Sunoco Logistics in our nation’s energy infrastructure and in American-made and union-affiliated steel and related labor, we can turn the state’s and nation’s manufacturing rebirth into a long-term, sustainable way of life.
Leo W. Gerard is international president of the United Steelworkers and Bobby McAuliffe is director of USW District 10, which encompasses all locals in Pennsylvania.
December 28, 2015
During last month's OPEC meeting, Saudi Arabia again declined to cut oil production despite the world being awash with oil. The great unanswered question for Saudi Arabia is: How low can prices go, and for how long?
Saudi Arabia's refusal to reduce oil output shows no sign of abating, but its determination to drive out US shale producers is taking a toll on the kingdom's economy, recent data suggests. And with the expectation of Iran's return to global oil markets already undermining fragile prices, Riyadh's strategy looks increasingly like it might be a gamble with declining odds.
Although the kingdom has substantial reserves, it appears to be burning through its financial war chest at an alarming rate. According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, foreign exchange reserves fell to $648bn at the end of October from $742bn a year earlier.
Oil prices and OPEC
If OPEC does not compensate for the increase in Iran's oil exports by cutting oil production, the International Monetary Fund says oil prices could fall between five and 10 percent in the medium term. Energy giant BP estimates that Iran has the fourth-largest proven oil reserves in the world after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada, as well as the second-largest gas reserves, according to the IMF.
How quickly Iran can ramp up production is up for debate, but a consensus appears to be emerging. Jaap Kalkman, managing partner of Arthur D Little's global energy and utilities practice, believes that Iran will add between 0.5 to one million barrels a day within a year, while the IMF forecasts an increase of around 0.6 million barrels a day in 2016.
Bijan Zangeneh, Iran's oil minister, is considerably more bullish about the country's ability to bolster output but, whatever the figure, it is expected to increase pressure on Saudi's economy, in which about 90 percent of government revenues are derived from hydrocarbons.
Khalid al-Dakhil, an assistant professor of political sociology at King Saud University, told Al Jazeera that he did not expect Iran's output to have a dramatic effect.
"Politically, I do not see any impact of Iran's return to the oil market on Saudi Arabia," he said. "This return could [cause] oil prices to go further down - but remember, Iran is much more than Saudi Arabia in dire need to improve prices, because it is coming out of political and economic isolation."
At the same time, there are signs that the Saudi campaign against US shale is having an impact. There is mounting evidence that shale production in the United States is beginning to wane, while energy consumption in advanced economies is rising. Elsewhere in the world, major energy companies have shelved a number of projects - a move that will support of prices in the medium term.
Even so, the IMF predicts that the gross domestic product in Saudi Arabia will grow by only 2.2 percent in 2016, compared with 4.4 percent in Iran.
Eduard Gracia, a principal at the AT Kearney consulting firm, says Saudi Arabia's decision not to cut production is due in part to the supply-demand dynamics of the global market.
"It only makes sense to cut production if the supply situation is such that a small output reduction results in a substantial price increase," Gracia told Al Jazeera. "In a situation of global oversupply this may not be the case, so the appeal of a production-cutting strategy is not clear."
By the end of this year, Saudi Arabia's budget deficit will reach 20 percent of GDP, according to a December report from Capital Economics. The situation has prompted the IMF to warn that Saudi could exhaust its reserves within five years if policies remain unchanged. Riyadh has responded with cutbacks in spending, and is under intense pressure to reduce expensive energy subsidies.
The IMF estimates that these implicit subsidies cost the government $83bn in 2014, one of the highest totals in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, second only to Bahrain. Attention is now turning to Saudi's 2016 budget. It is expected to be one of mostly heavily scrutinised budgets in years, as investors seek reassurance that the kingdom's finances are under control.
According to press reports, leaked memos from King Salman to the Ministry of Finance in October ordered government entities to stop new infrastructure projects and to postpone purchases of new cars and furniture. Mounting economic uncertainty led Standard & Poor's to downgrade Saudi's rating from AA-/A-1+ to A /A-1 in October, with a warning of a possible further downgrades.
The downgrade pushes up the costs of borrowing at a time when government revenues have fallen sharply. There has also been speculation in financial markets about how this could affect the Saudi riyal, with the spread between forward and spot rates recently widening to the highest level since 2003.
However, according to Capital Economics, that scenario would be the last resort, and Saudi has other options that could include tapping into the international bond markets early in 2016 - something it has never done before. Authorities are currently issuing around SAR 20bn ($5bn) of debt per month to local banks, reducing the amount local banks have left to lend to the private sector, according to an estimate from Capital Economics.source
December 28, 2015
Bankruptcies in the oil and gas sector in the US have reached levels last seen in the Great Recession.
The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank put out a report on December 23 noting that at least nine US oil and gas companies with $2 billion in debt have defaulted in the fourth quarter.
"If bankruptcies continue at this rate, more may follow in 2016," the report said.
Upstream capital spending has plummeted, according to the note, down 51% from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015.
US oil and gas employment has fallen 14.5% year-over-year from the peak in October 2014, according to the report, equivalent to 70,000 job losses.
"Job losses and falling energy prices portend continued distress for the oil and gas sector in 2016," the report said.
OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, predicts oil won't price above $100 a barrel for more than 20 years.
"Expectations have shifted toward a weaker price outlook because sanctions against Iran are likely to be lifted in early 2016, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has scrapped any pretense of a production ceiling, and US production declines have slowed," the Dallas Fed said in its report.
Related: Oil won't be worth $100 a barrel until after 2040
December 24, 2015
— If you've been in touch with Sunoco and live near 352 & Boot Road, please contact us (link) —R
ecently we became aware of a recent newsletter circulating in East Goshen concerning Sunoco's easements. What's interesting is the location - apparently Boot Road & Rt 325. We're still looking for information, so please enlighten us. If you've been contacted by Sunoco, please get in touch with us. We're especially interested in parties that own property on (or near) Boot Road between approximately Phoenixville Pike and as far south as Paoli Pike.
The passage of interest:
Did you catch this part? This is underground tunnelling, underneath or properties.
We hope this is a typo:
16 feet diameter?
(Unrelated) Looks like some local townships have been swapping newsletter templates. Someone forgot to clean up up the header information after East Goshen borrowed it from West Rockhill Township.
December 15, 2015
The Issue: A private company is using eminent domain to seize land for a pipeline.
Our Opinion: That legal maneuver should be reserved for government agencies acting for the good of the public.
Some property owners in western and southern Berks County are gearing up for a fight with Sunoco Pipeline, which has begun using eminent domain proceedings to secure easements for a new conduit the company is planning to build from Ohio to its Marcus Hook facility in Delaware County.
But there is a question as to whether the company actually has the right to use eminent domain, a legal maneuver the use of which usually is restricted to public agencies, such as a municipality or state. It allows the taking of private property for public use.
In Berks County, perhaps the biggest example of the use of eminent domain occurred 39 years ago when dozens of homes in the Hyde Park section of Muhlenberg Township were taken to facilitate the extension of the Warren Street Bypass from the Fifth Street Highway to Pricetown Road.
But Sunoco Pipeline is not a municipality, and the proposed pipeline would benefit the company's bottom line far more than it would the public good. Indeed such arguments were made before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission after Sunoco petitioned the PUC for a special determination.
"In doing so," Burnett and Kostelnik wrote in a posting on the firm's website, "the PUC overruled the jurisdictional challenge, concluding that Sunoco's petition set forth a sufficient basis for the PUC to exercise jurisdiction over Sunoco as a public utility."
Although Burnett and Kostelnik called the ruling a temporary victory for Sunoco and said the matter is far from over, the company has been using the PUC vote as the basis for its eminent domain proceedings on numerous properties in Berks County and beyond.
One of the attorneys representing some of the property owners, however, noted that since this is a pipeline that crosses state lines, the Natural Gas Act gives authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, not the PUC.
This conflict undoubtedly is headed for the courts, where it could be tied up for years. Until the matter is settled, however, Sunoco is proceeding as if it is a done deal.
It is not difficult to understand why. Development in the Marcellus shale formation and elsewhere has grown much faster than the infrastructure needed to handle the natural gas that is being produced. Sunoco wants to move as quickly as possible to take advantage of the boom.
But there should be a limit, especially when a big corporation is up against individuals who own property in the path of the proposed pipeline.
Designating Sunoco Pipeline as a public utility could open Pennsylvania for perhaps dozens of other pipelines, which could be forced upon property owners under the threat of an eminent domain proceeding.
The use of eminent domain should be restricted to the federal, state, county and local governments and school districts for projects that truly benefit the public, not the bottom line of a big corporation.
Dec 2, 2015
Sunoco Pipeline will be allowed to use eminent domain to take property in Cumberland County for its Mariner East 2 pipeline project, a state court has ruled.
The decision in In re Condemnation by Sunoco Pipeline LP overruled preliminary objections from the Martins.
In a footnote in Guido's two-page order, the judge said the pipeline will provide both loading and off-loading of ethane, propane, liquid petroleum gas and other petroleum products. The footnote also clarified several disputes between the parties, primarily noting the Mariner East 2 project provides intrastate service, and Sunoco is subject to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regulations.
"Sunoco Pipeline LP is a 'public utility corporation' as defined at 15 Pa. CSA Section 1103," Guido said. "Pennsylvania public utility corporations possess the power of eminent domain."
Jeff Shields, a spokesman for Sunoco, said that, although the decision was consistent with case law, the company did not view the need to resort to eminent domain as a positive.
Along with disputing whether the project should be considered interstate or intrastate, and therefore primarily regulated by either the PUC or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the parties also disputed several recent cases involving condemnation for pipelines, and the adequacy of the $12,000 bond Sunoco put up for the property.
According to the declaration of taking filed in July, Sunoco contended it operated a public utility that provides and transports petroleum products. The company argued it had been regulated since 2002 by the PUC.
In 2012, Sunoco announced the Mariner East project, which is aimed at relieving the "oversupply of natural gas liquids in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins and to alleviate supply-side shortages of propane in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States," said the declaration of taking, filed by Dana W. Chilson of McNees Wallace & Nurick.
Although the first phase of the project initially prioritized interstate pipeline transportation, Sunoco's business plan for the Mariner East project as a whole focused on intrastate transportation of propane for delivery to customers in Pennsylvania, the declaration said. The declaration also noted the increased shipping demands for propane during the 2013-14 winter, and the resultant price spikes.
"In reaction to the unfolding market conditions and shipper interest, Sunoco Pipeline accelerated its business plans to provide intrastate shipments of propane within the commonwealth, in addition to interstate shipments of propane and ethane," the declaration said.
In their preliminary objections, the Martins contended Sunoco does not have the power or the right to take the land. The filing argued the legislature chose not to provide eminent domain power for natural gas liquids, and said courts have repeatedly rejected Sunoco's attempts to exercise eminent domain powers.
"The assertion of state eminent domain power is entirely inapplicable to this interstate pipeline," said the preliminary objections, filed by Hershey attorney Michael F. Faherty. "Sunoco has repeatedly tried and failed to obtain the requested eminent domain power."
The Martins cited the 2014 decision in Loper v. Sunoco, and said York County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh "flatly and forcefully rejected this exact attempt." The Martins also said Washington County Court of Common Pleas Judge Katherine B. Emery "scoffed at the ploy" in the consolidated cases in Cox v. Sunoco.
"Sunoco has now sunken to the effort of false representation of mischaracterizing Mariner East 2 from an interstate to an intrastate pipeline. Sunoco seeks eminent domain power to defeat constitutional law and simply reduce property costs. This honorable court should not be fooled," the filing said.
The preliminary objections also contended the Mariner East 2 project crosses state lines, and is only regulated by FERC.
In its response filed in September by Kandice Kerwin Hull, also of McNees Wallace, Sunoco contended the Martins mischaracterized the arguments and the case.
The project, Sunoco argued, is not an interstate project and it is not regulated by FERC. Sunoco further contended the pipeline will transport products that are substantially different from natural gas.
Sunoco additionally argued it has never been denied eminent domain authority, and the references to the Loper case were misleading, as the case dealt with interstate shipments.
Emery also never rendered a decision in the Cox cases, Sunoco argued, because the parties negotiated an agreement of easement.
"To include these cases among the alleged 'repeated failures' of Sunoco Pipeline to obtain eminent domain power when no decision was even rendered by the court stretches the limits of zealous advocacy and comes perilously close to outright misrepresentation," the filing said.
Faherty did not return a call for comment.
Dec 02, 2015
If you haven't been following oil prices, they're at an all-time low. It's very possible the oil companies simply ran out of funding for any new work. On Nov 15, oil hit $40 per barrel. Click on any chart below for details. Time spans: October 2014-present (left), 2015 to date (center), November 2015 (right).
And by the looks of things, not a moment too soon. Apparently Sunoco's been playing the eminent domain card (details). Excerpt:
November 25, 2015
For those advanced in life enough to remember the Cold War, it was full of symbols that represented ideology. And many ideologies represented a tangible threat, Communism and terrorism in particular. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) shortly after. The U.S.S.R. flag is now a relic of an empire that collapsed under the weight of its own armor. The pins, coins, badges and other communist swag frequently appear on ebay.
The German National Socialist ("Nazi") flag and now the flag of the Northern Virginia Army ("Confederate" Flag) are regarded as symbols of oppression, but the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seems to have slipped under the radar.
While there certainly isn't any shortage of islamic psycho inspiration, ISIL has taken crazy to depths seen only in old-school Hollywood. Here's the set-up, according to the islamic state caliphate: in the end times, the final battle between good (islam) and evil (infidels, that would be us) takes place in modern day Syria. As the battle intensifies, more countries become involved. As it turns into an Armageddon-like scenario, Mahdi, or “the rightly guided one” appears and leads the final battles. In some versions, Jesus also reappears and provides assistance to Mahdi. Since the end-of-times is their primary recruitment tool, it shouldn't come as a shock that it's also their final plan. It also sounds like one of the lesser-credible movie plots from Hollywood, except it isn't fiction. ISIL has waded into the Syrian civil war, and has also pulled in the U.S., Russia, France and Iran. If ISIL truly wishes to trigger the final war of humanity, they're making breathtaking progress.
Russia sometimes exhibits behavior similar to the classic playground bully: aggressive, frequently violent, boorish but unable to withstand the slightest humiliation or slight. In short, they can dish it out, but can't take it. A good Star Trek analogy would be combining the worst parts of the Klingons & Romulans, add a few tons of paranoia, then subtract the goodwill, cheer and culture.
Yesterday, Turkey shot down a Russian military jet violating Turkey's airspace, despite Turkey's warnings. Russia's reaction was predictable: outrage followed by threats. Should Russia choose to punish Turkey, it will have far-reaching implications, as Turkey is a NATO member. Turkey had previously warned Russia about airspace violations by Russia's aircraft, which apparently Russia ignored. It now looks like Russia sent air-defense missiles to Syria. Downing a Turkish aircraft could easily lead to escalation.
We're still protected by 3000 miles of ocean, however September 11 taught us that small, covert coordinated attacks can still be executed (example). ISIL took the next step — they recruit people already in place. The recent attacks in Paris are a prime example. ISIL's social media campaign can't be ignored; the recent influx of recruits (many are young girls, apparently unaware of Sharia law) attest to ISIL recruiters ability to assimilate into young groups, resonate, evangelize and then, radicalize.
3000 miles of ocean are no longer enough to defend our eastern border. Gone are the days when we're threatened by large standing armies. Today's style of fighting takes place on the information superhighway, and occasionally high-profile attacks with Paris being the most recent example.
Gone are the World War II style large armies slugging it out on sprawling battlefields, particularly on this side of the globe. If there were a large scale attack, they probably won't have our ethical standards, women & minorities in particular. If large enough, think of the amendments to the Constitution. Gone, along with the Constitution itself. Most folks we contact can't recite more than two or three of them (the first 10 were ratified with the constitution in 1791, the remaining 17 were enacted in the following years for a total of 27 amendments as of November 2015).
Terrorists attack soft targets of opportunity, enhanced casualties and shock are their goals. Poorly guarded high pressure pipes carrying a explosive product must be an attractive option.
Current threat analysis: Most modern terror attacks are small, fast, fluid and without warning. The perpetrators are always disguised as civilians. The first responders are those already in place, usually taken by surprise. However, there are cases where the intended victims succeeded in fighting back, or at least thwarting the attack. That outlines two important details: First, there aren't any non-combatants, everyone is fair game. Second, you are your own first line of defense.
At this time, there aren't any credible terrorist attacks thought to be in the works (details). Your best best is to stay vigilant. Avoid excess by distraction listening to your iPod/iPad/mp3 player, iPhone, etc. Stay confident & maintain situational awareness. If you need a confidence booster, consider any of the following: learn martial arts, learn a new language, study some of the tactics of the terrorist hunters, take up archery, hiking, camping or other activity that involves exercise and enhances your ability to stay outdoors for a longerperiod of time. Also for your consideration: volunteer for your local EMS/fire department. Learn a skill useful in the 21st century, such as computer forensics.
As the mantra goes: if you see something, say something.
November 24, 2015
(Editor note-This is a repeat from last year's Thanksgiving message, by request)
We live in the most advanced, affluent society on the planet. We can certainly justify taking time to be thankful and enjoy the fruits of our labors. It's easy to become socially isolated, even in plain view of our neighbors.
The Rockwellian picture of the family feast is a recent development, around 1827 a certain Sarah Josepha Hale penned:
As the holiday season approaches, try to take extra time to enjoy the season, the scenery and the smaller details. It's possible that for some of us, our thanksgivings in West Goshen are numbered.
For your consideration:
November 23, 2014
Election results are below, current as of 6 AM .
November 4, 2015
Jen from Uwchlan Township writes:
September 24, 2015
We had a rare opportunity to learn firsthand what Sunoco’s pondering. Recently, two management types from Sonoco were discussing plans. Here’s the summary of what was said:
September 11, 2015
PECO appears to be almost finished. Here are two new images.
urnout appeared to be light. For those that attended the open house hosted by Sunoco on the 29th, you probably noticed a significant change in their tone. It’s clear they’re making more of an effort to win the hearts & minds of the residents. They had several stations with various presentations: a slide show & narration, similar to the presentation at East1, another station with maps specific to each neighborhood2, food & drink and even gave out bags with Sunoco swag3.
The majority of the presentation concerned horizontal drilling (ostensibly having minimal environmental impact), and other visual representations of infrastructure (pumping stations, valves, etc). Several police officers were present.
If Sunoco doesn't intend to take property (versus seeking easement), they could have done a better job pointing that detail out.
It appears Sunoco held a similar presentation in Media on July 1st.
1 - East High School, April 22 2014 — click here for images
By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: June 06, 2015
Sunoco Logistics Partners disclosed Thursday that it plans to build an additional pipeline to deliver Marcellus Shale products to Marcus Hook, reflecting a growing market for liquid fuels derived from the region's shale drilling.
The Philadelphia company said it now intends to build two pipelines simultaneously as part of its Mariner East 2 project. The project, announced in November, is the second phase of a plan to move materials including propane, butane, and ethane from Appalachian shale-gas fields to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex southwest of Philadelphia.
The new twin pipelines would largely follow the route of Sunoco's first Mariner East project, an 84-year-old repurposed fuel pipeline crossing Pennsylvania that went into service in December.
Sunoco Logistics recently began securing easements on the 350-mile Mariner East 2 route that provide for construction of two pipelines.
Jeffrey Shields, a Sunoco Logistics spokesman, said building both pipelines at the same time would reduce disruptions to property owners and "also makes business sense" because it would cut construction costs.
Sunoco last year secured commitments from shippers for the first new pipeline, but the capacity on a second new pipeline is tentative. The company needs to hold an "open season" to sign up shippers before putting the pipe into the ground.
"We can't say it's a done deal," Shields said.
Sunoco Logistics' growing ambitions for the Mariner East project reflects a bullish outlook on the Marcellus and the Utica Shale formations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Both formations produce liquids such as ethane, propane and butane, which are used as building blocks by the petrochemical industry.
Several competitors to Sunoco Logistics are scrambling to expand capacity to transport natural gas liquids (NGLs) to Gulf Coast outlets in Louisiana and Texas.
Sunoco's efforts to expand the Mariner East pipeline has received support from the industry and some political leaders, who point to the massive industrial redevelopment in Marcus Hook as solid local downstream development from the Marcellus Shale boom.
But much opposition from environmental groups and landowners has formed to the plethora of new pipelines.
About 100 property owners in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, met Wednesday night to organize a strategy after getting letters or visits from Sunoco Logistics about the Mariner East 2.
"Landowners I have been in touch with are not interested in having their neighborhood turned into an industrial highway for Sunoco's profit," said Jeff Kern, a landowner who organized the meeting. Landowners are concerned about the safety of the pipelines, and their effect on property values.
Pipeline opponents point to the explosion in January of a one-year-old NGL pipeline in West Virginia that burned about 5 acres of woodlands and scorched a house about 2,000 feet away. Federal investigators said the ATEX Pipeline failed near a weld.
Rich Raiders, a pipeline lawyer who negotiates easements for landowners, said it was difficult to stop a pipeline that has been approved by regulators. He suggested it may be better to try to negotiate a more attractive agreement.
"I often get the question, 'Can I just chase these people off my property?' " said Raiders, whose practice is based in Gordon, Pa. "That's extremely unlikely."
Many of the NGLs being delivered to Marcus Hook would be loaded onto vessels and shipped to European buyers.
But Sunoco Logistics says it is also building new local markets. It is developing plans to construct a propane dehydrogenation plant in Marcus Hook that would convert propane into propylene. A buyer for that material might be Braskem SA, the Brazilian petrochemical maker with U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia and operations in Marcus Hook.
Shields said Sunoco had not estimated the cost of building a second Mariner 2 pipeline. Construction of the first pipeline was initially projected to cost $2.5 billion.
The two new pipelines would dramatically increase the volumes of NGLs being delivered to Marcus Hook.
The Mariner East pipeline will deliver 70,000 barrels of NGLs a day when it is fully operating later this year.
By comparison, the new 20-inch Mariner East 2 project proposed last year would deliver 275,000 barrels when it comes online at the end of 2016.
Shields said the second new pipeline, 16 inches in diameter, would deliver 225,000 barrels per day.
Oil prices bottomed out in January at $45 per barrel, the current price is $53.09 per barrel.
July 3, 2015
Road closure notice:
Please see source document for full text.
June 27, 2015
Where: Sykes Union Building, 110 W Rosedale Avenue, West Chester University
When: Monday, June 29, 2015 5:30pm - 8:30 pm
RSVP for attendance requested - 800-836-1560 or email@example.com
Please see flyer (image above, link to pdf copy here for details)
Source - submitted by local resident
June 25, 2015
Last night West Goshen Supervisors unanimously approved the settlement with Sunoco. As we understand it, this effectively ends the fight for West Goshen. Links to various reports are below.
May 14, 2015
Associated Press By SCOTT SMITH and OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ 10 hours ago
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A natural gas pipeline explosion at a California sheriff's gun range shot flames well over 100 feet into the air, left 11 people injured and brought traffic on a busy highway to a halt, authorities and witnesses said.
The explosion on a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pipe happened at the Fresno County Sheriff's gun range while an equipment operator was using a front-loader to build a dirt berm to confine gunfire to the range, the sheriff's department said. A group of county jail inmates were doing cleanup work nearby and most were injured in the blast.
Traffic heading north and south on Highway 99 in Fresno was halted by the explosion at about 2:30 p.m. as flames towered over the roadway, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Freelance photographer Kevin Ling, 42, was driving by shortly after the blast when he saw fire flying into the sky.
"As I got closer, the flames were just bigger and bigger," he said. "It was shooting up to 200 feet or more, and a fireball maybe 10 to 15 feet in diameter. It was like out of a movie."
"My window was up and my AC was on and it still felt like a furnace inside my car," he added.
The 12-inch diameter pipeline involved in the fire belongs to PG&E, said Pete Martinez of the Fresno Fire Department. It's unclear if the front-loader was being used to dig at the time of the explosion, he said.
The driver of the front-loader was a county public works employee who had been working at the shooting range all day, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said. Ten inmates and the operator were hospitalized, she said.
Four patients were being treated at Community Regional Medical Center's burn and trauma unit, spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell said. Three of them were in critical condition and one was in serious condition, she said.
The other seven injured were taken to two other hospitals.
Mims noted PG&E had, some time ago, marked the location of gas lines in the construction zones. Asked whether the driver was scraping or digging the earth when the gas exploded, the sheriff said her office is investigating.
"Hopefully we'll be able to speak to the worker to see what action he was taking at the time," she said.
PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said the pipeline was damaged by a vehicle and that the line was buried but he didn't know how deeply. The flame from the pipe was extinguished about an hour and a half after the blast, he said.
Highway 99 was reopened about three hours after the blast, the California Highway Patrol said.
A nearby rail line was also halted out of concern that a passing train could spark leaking gas, Martinez said.
The California Public Utilities Commission said in a statement that it is investigating the explosion in cooperation with the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
PG&E's natural-gas operations have been under scrutiny following a fiery 2010 PG&E pipeline blast that killed eight people in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno. National Transportation Safety Board investigators blamed faulty safety practices by PG&E, and lax oversight by state regulators, for the 2010 blast.
April 18, 2015
— Strong opposition from residents —
It seems as though the West Goshen Board of Supervisors is politically overdrawn; about this time last year the Board stated they would fight Sunoco, to the appellate level if it went that far. Based on the comments by West Goshen’s Special Counsel last night, the utility status, safety and eminent domain aren't winnable fights.
The Board now faces a tough choice:
Supervisor Halvorsen alluded to Board members losing their positions as a consequence of this issue:
While it’s unfortunate the Board wrote political checks the Township couldn’t cash, the true responsibility lies in Harrisburg. The turning point for this issue was sometime in 2012, when the Public Utility Commission granted Sunoco, et al utility status. Few heard about it, and even fewer outside of Sunoco grasped the significance of this.
The Sunoco settlement, summarized as we understand it:
"...the laws just don't support the average citizens in these kinds of situations. They are built by corporations...and the businesses that have the influence."
The upshot for the Board: With all of the East Boot Road residences gone between Greenhill Road and Wilson Drive, they’ll be free to widen East Boot Road without much opposition. This will almost certainly come as good news to QVC, UPS and the (dormant) Traditions Development project.
Related news articles:
Also see WG BOS Minutes dated March 11, 2015: "Mr. Walker Tompkins asked if the Board of Supervisors were going to support residents in cases of eminent domain. The Board responded no, that is a private property issue between residents and Sunoco." - link to source.
April 15, 2015
— Eminent Domain, East Boot residences not discussed —L
ooks like Sunoco's getting their pumping station on Kirkland Hill. Most of the discussion has been over the pumping station, land use and technical details regarding the pumping station. It also appears this was mostly a conversation between Sunoco and Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township, and CCWGT's safety concerns. What's interesting is what's missing: no one except CCWGT and West Goshen were party to this, and no detailed discussion of Mariner II.
— Mariner East 2 "in the planning phase" —
Discussion of Mariner II seems to be general agreements about reporting and safety.
What you need to know as a Boot Road resident:
The original files:
MARINER EAST I
PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN WEST GOSHEN TOWNSHP, SUNOCO PIPELINE, LP AND THE CONCERNED CITIZENS OF WEST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP
Township special counsel recommend that the West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors approve the settlement that has been negotiated with Sunoco Pipeline, LP and the Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township and conclude the litigation pending before the Public Utility Commission. The settlement has significant benefits for the residents of the Township that cannot be obtained by litigation, and therefore should be approved.
Why do we recommend this settlement?
The points summarized above are presented with more detail as follows.
Procedural Posture of the Public Utility Commission Proceeding: Petition of Sunoco Pipeline, L.P., for a Finding that the Situation of Structures to Shelter Pump Stations and Valve Control Stations is Reasonably Necessary for the Convenience or Welfare of the Public, Docket No. P- 2014-2411966.
Two years ago, Sunoco Pipeline LP launched Mariner East, a project to repurpose part of its oil pipeline network in Pennsylvania. Instead of carrying refinery products from its Marcus Hook refinery located in Pennsylvania and Delaware westward, the system would carry propane, ethane and other natural gas liquids derived from the Marcellus Shale region eastward to Marcus Hook.
In March 2014, in furtherance of its Mariner East 1 project, Sunoco Pipeline LP petitioned the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC” or “Commission”) to exempt eighteen new or expanded pump stations and a number of valve stations from local zoning and land development regulations. The petition contemplated the construction and operation of a new pump station on land acquired by Sunoco Logistics, LP, located adjacent to its existing Boot Road pump station.
The project as proposed by Sunoco Pipeline, LP in March 2014, was limited to interstate transportation. Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township (“Concerned Citizens”) and other parties to the proceeding filed preliminary objections on the grounds that an interstate oil pipeline is not a “public utility” under Pennsylvania law, and thus does not qualify for a PUC ruling to override local zoning, land development and building regulations. West Goshen Township and other parties intervened.
In May 2014, Sunoco Pipeline, LP filed an amended petition stating that Sunoco Pipeline, LP plans to offer both intrastate and interstate service on Mariner East. Concerned Citizens and others renewed their preliminary objections.
On July 30, 2014, the Administrative Law Judges recommended dismissing Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s petition. Sunoco Pipeline, LP filed exceptions, and in response, the Township joined Concerned Citizens and others in reasserting the defects in Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s claims for the Mariner East project.
While the exceptions were pending, in a separate proceeding, Sunoco Pipeline, LP received a certificate from the Commission to begin eastbound transportation of propane and butane in portions of the system in western Pennsylvania. Sunoco Pipeline, LP applied for certificate rights in one township which the Commission approved. Sunoco Pipeline, LP also filed a rate schedule for intrastate service which the Commission approved.
By Opinion and Order dated October 29, 2014, the Commission overruled the preliminary objections rejecting each of the arguments raised by the Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township, the Township and other party interveners.
The Township proceeded with written discovery directed to Sunoco Pipeline, LP in July 2014. The interrogatories and document production requests explored all evidence Sunoco Pipeline, LP might have to support its claim that it has a valid certificate granting applicable service rights as a public utility, as well as all information regarding the service to be offered through Mariner East. Sunoco provided answers and produced documents, subject to a confidentiality agreement and protective order, which special counsel has studied carefully.
On behalf of the Township, special counsel retained Accufacts, Inc. and in particular Richard Kuprewicz, its President, to review the safety aspects of the Mariner East 1 project. Mr. Kuprewicz is a nationally recognized expert in gas and liquid pipeline investigation, risk management, operations, maintenance, emergency response and safety. Mr. Kuprewicz currently serves as a member representing the public on the federal Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (“THLPSSC”), a technical committee established by Congress to advise the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on pipeline safety regulations. The THLPSCC members are appointed by the Secretary of Transportation. Mr. Kuprewicz is often called in to analyze pipeline safety problems, working for both industry and public bodies.
Mr. Kuprewicz was retained to advise on the safety of the Mariner East 1 project, Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s integrity management program, and its compliance with federal law and regulations. The Township conferred with him regarding key safety concerns such as the age of the pipeline, the proposed plan to reverse the flow and repurpose the pipeline to move propane and ethane, testing protocols, and all aspects of Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s integrity management program.
After considering the Commission’s Order dated October 29, 2014, preliminary information from Mr. Kuprewicz, and the interrogatory answers and documents secured at that time from Sunoco Pipeline, LP, the Township’s special counsel recommended initiating settlement discussions. Counsel contacted Sunoco Pipeline, LP and proceeded with additional confidential discovery focused on safety and Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s public utility status.
Safety Inquiry and Conclusions
Meetings and conference calls were held over period of four months between Mr. Kuprewicz and Sunoco Pipeline, LP engineers, including Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s Vice-President of Engineering and others. Sunoco supplied extensive data, including detailed information about the existing pipeline for the parts of the Mariner East 1 project that had the potential to impact residents of West Goshen Township. Sunoco provided details as to the proposed design of the Boot Road pump station and the vapor combustion unit (a/k/a “flare”) to be placed there. Sunoco provided the details of the safety practices in its operation, the implementation of pressure tests prior to utilizing the pipeline, and other detailed information. All questions posed by Mr. Kuprewicz were answered by Sunoco Pipeline, LP in detail.
In March 2015, special counsel for the Township received Mr. Kuprewicz’s initial report on the safety of the Mariner East 1 project. His report recommended certain design and operating changes and clarifications in the repurposing and management of the pipeline. He has opined that the safety precautions being taken, with his recommended changes, meet or exceed federal safety regulations.
The safety program, with his recommendations, also exceed the Integrity Management guidelines recently developed by PHMSA, the federal pipeline safety agency, that are not yet officially required.
Mr. Kuprewicz concludes:
Is Sunoco a Public Utility?
The legal authority and process by which the Public Utility Commission can override local zoning, land development and building codes applies to pubic utility facilities. In order to be a public utility, an oil pipeline must offer intrastate service subject to Public Utility Commission jurisdiction.
In 2002, Sunoco succeeded to the certificate rights granted by the Commission to its predecessors, primarily Sun Oil and Atlantic Refining. Those rights related to the transportation of refinery products from Marcus Hook to markets. Sunoco Pipeline, LP established to special counsel for the Township in discovery that it is now offering intrastate service for transportation of ethane and propane from points west and north to the Marcus Hook refinery.
The entity also must have a tariff on file that a proposed customer can utilize. Sunoco Pipeline, LP has placed an intrastate tariff on file with the Commission, which tariff was approved on August 21, 2014.
Arguments were made that Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s certificate rights do not cover transporting propane or ethane derived from natural gas. Arguments also were presented that its certificates authorize only transportation west from the Marcus Hook Refinery, not east to the refinery. These arguments were rejected by the Commission in its Order entered on October 29, 2014. Sunoco Pipeline, LP filed for service rights in one township in western Pennsylvania. The Commission promptly granted the request, pointing up the futility of these arguments and confirming Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s public utility status.
On studying the Commission’s lengthy Order of October 29, 2014 discussing Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s project and its claim to public utility status, Township special counsel concluded that (l) arguments against public utility status for Mariner East are unlikely to succeed, and (2) even if some technical flaw in Sunoco’s authorizations are shown, Sunoco Pipeline, LP would quickly file an application proceeding to cure it which would be approved by the Commission.
Settlement Agreement Primary Terms:
Alongside the safety discussions, special counsel for the Township engaged Sunoco Pipeline, LP’s lawyers in detailed negotiations for a possible settlement of the cases involving the Township and the Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township. The product is a proposed settlement agreement with the following essential terms and conditions:
This Agreement is made by, between, and among Sunoco Pipeline, LP., a limited partnership organized under the laws of the State of Texas (“SPLP”) West Goshen Township, a Township of the Second Class located in Chester County, Pennsylvania (“WGT); and, Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township, an ad hoc association of individual persons each of whom owns and resides on property adjacent to or within approximately 1.000 feet of the properties owned by SPLP near Boot Road in WGT (“CCWGT”), hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Parties”.
II. Pertinent Information Provided by SPLP
III. WGT’s Safety Review.
IV. The Parties’ Promises, Covenants and Agreements
V. General Provisions
1 - Settlement excerpt downloaded from http://www.westgoshen.org/News/Sunoco.cfm
April 4, 2015
The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing, because you think you can do only a little. (Sydney Smith)
April 3, 2015
— The company says it will withdraw all of the 31 petitions it had initially submitted to be exempt from such laws, including the one in West Goshen. —
WEST GOSHEN >> Residents at a township meeting Wednesday heard news about the proposed Sunoco Logistics pipeline project here, but will have to wait for other shoes to drop before deciding whether it is good or bad as officials continue negotiating with the company.
Last week, Sunoco Logistics told the state’s Public Utility Commission that it would drop plans surrounding its proposed new pump station in West Goshen. The plan had drawn criticism from local residents not only because of its scope and location, but because the company had said it intended to divert away from local zoning ordinances to build it.
The company says it will withdraw all of the 31 petitions it had initially submitted to be exempt from such laws, including the one in West Goshen.
West Goshen supervisors had said the township would take the company to court if the permit exemption was granted.
Board Vice Chairman Theodore J. Murphy said in an interview Thursday that the PUC had yet to make a final determination on the Sunoco withdrawal.
At Wednesday’s meeting, officials told the residents in attendance that the township continued to negotiate with the company over its plans at Boot Road, plans that apparently no longer include a new pump station for the 299-mile natural gas pipeline, but instead involved reworking the existing station there.
The township has hired an attorney, David Brooman, to deal with Public Utility Commission matters involving safety concerns at the pipeline pump station. He said Wednesday that he could not discuss the ongoing negotiations. Brooman, however, added that an agreement could be reached in the next 60 days.
“In my opinion, it is too early to tell whether (Sunoco’s announcement) is good news or bad,” Murphy said. “But the current and past board members, every single one of us, are concerned with the safety of our residents.”
March 12, 2015
MARCUS HOOK >> An accident on-site at Sunoco Logistics resulted in the death of a contractor this afternoon, company spokesman Joseph McGinn said.
McGinn did not release the individual’s name or employer because the next of kin have not yet been notified.
“We are saddened to report that at approximately 2:30 p.m. today a contractor working at our Marcus Hook Industrial Complex was fatally injured on the job,” McGinn stated in a brief press release. “No words can express the sorrow and pain that come when such a tragic event happens. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the individual who died. They have suffered a devastating loss.”
March 30, 2015
March 17, 2015
What's missing? West Goshen. The fight continues.
March 7, 2015
March 7, 2015
With our sincerest apologies to the scriptwriters of the Fight Club
For our readers following oil prices:
March 7, 2015
Remains of Exxon refinery in Torrance California
February 18, 2015
Like all cartels, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is designed to ensure stable and above-market crude prices. But those high prices encourage cheating, as cartel members exceed their quotas. For the cartel to function, its leader -- in this case, Saudi Arabia -- must accommodate the cheaters by cutting its own output to keep prices from falling. But the Saudis have seen their past cutbacks result in market-share losses.
February 18, 2015
Enjoy a little schadenfreude pleasure:
January 30, 2015
It looks like easement negotiations are underway in western Pennsylvania.
None of us asked for this. As Pericles said: "Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you". What we can learn from their experience: expect low ball offers from Sunoco representatives. And don't expect verbal promises to appear in the printed document. All that matters is what's in print, and enforced.
* Looks like Mr. Shields may have discovered a cure for insomnia. Otherwise, how *does* he sleep at night?
Oil prices may have leveled off at $46 per barrel. Where it goes from here is speculation, but unrest is already forming in the oil industry:
If the present price levels remain unchanged or continue to drop, expect to to see early signs of corporate death: layoffs, bankruptcies and smaller oil firms bought out by larger companies until only a few large firms remain ("restructuring", in Wall Street parlance).
Area gasoline and oil prices over the past few weeks:
The benefit to our economy is already showing.
Certificate of service to Interrogatories from West Goshen to Sunoco on Jan 16th - details. As we understand it, this means West Goshen's lawyers are making inquiries to Sunoco that Sunoco can't ignore.
H.R. 351 LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (PDF)
Key point: no more disingenuous statements about where the LNG is destined.
Keystone XL Pipeline Act (PDF)
H.R. 161 Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (PDF)
A new angle on motives - financial pressure on Russia?
What follows is an environmental article, but might provide a partial explanation: Not only profit, but heavy financial pressure on Russia for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Feb 3, 2015
Catch up on the latest documents at the PUC.
Flashback to 1913: 73 innocent people, children killed to discourage strike
While our issue doesn't involve a strike, it's still in impediment to Sunoco's business operation. We don't expect violence from Sunoco, but their past actions demonstrate they aren't beneath intimidation and deceit.
The laws have changed a great deal in the past 100 years, however there are some good object lessons from this:
1 - http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/remember-italian-hall-where-73-died-on-christmas-eve-1674600923
Layoffs underway at Shell, BP, others
News excerpts from around the nation:
ConocoPhillips (COP) became the first major U.S. oil company on Monday to reveal that it is slashing spending for 2015. There are expectations that more energy companies will follow.1
Oil driller Transocean (RIG) plummeted 10%. So did oil services giants Schlumberger (SLB) and Halliburton (HAL). Energy prices have been on a slip and slide ride for the past few months due to concerns about sluggish demand out of Europe and an economic slowdown in China. But the supply part of the equation is also a bit out of whack lately. The United States has boosted its output of oil thanks to the shale gas boom in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states. ...Still, investors and consumers need to be careful about what they wish for. If energy prices keep falling, that could hurt the U.S. economy if it leads to an end of the shale bonanza.
...Other oil companies to follow: Good, the Morningstar analyst, expects Chevron (CVX), ExxonMobil (XOM) and other major U.S. oil producers to announce "some marginal spending cuts" in the coming months, though not as deep as Conoco.
...That's because Chevron and Exxon are bigger players with more financial flexibility. Last week, Exxon signaled it could survive oil as low as $40 per barrel, at least for some time.2
The price of oil continues to drop, and that now means mass layoffs for oil workers in Bakersfield, California. The Employment Development Department showed 700 people to be laid off by Ensign Energy Services, but that bad news came very suddenly for families, even with the threat of low oil prices looming overhead for months.
Those in the oil industry generally know what they're signing up for.3
Click to enlarge.
How low can you go? Unlike many OPEC nations that are continuing to sell oil at prices below what they've budgeted for, U.S. shale companies can keep making money even if oil falls further.
According to a report by the International Energy Agency last month, most producers in North Dakota's Bakken formation, an area that's been a key contributor to the shale revolution, can remain profitable even if oil falls to $42 per barrel (it's currently at $68).
"U.S. shale producers are surprising resilient. They will drill as long as they have cash flow from their operations," said Per Magnus Nysveen of Rystad Energy. 4
1 - http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/28/investing/oil-stocks-plunge-opec/?iid=EL
Jan 1, 2015
|Oil prices continue to plummet||Unbridled greed in business||Shots fired|
|Events of January 2015||Cheap oil hurting oil industry||Get ready for $10 oil|
|Southern California refinery explosion||Brent Crude Prices||Sunoco's Protection Order Request Granted|
|Sunoco withdraws 22 petitions, West Goshen Isn't One of Them.||Latest filing: Sunoco's Petition for Extension of Time||Contractor Working at Sunoco Logistics Dies in Accident|
|West Goshen Gives Pipeline Update||Today's Fortune Cookie Quote||PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT|
|Settlement Under Consideration||Settlement Proposal Discussed||Gas-line blast at California range injures 11|
|West Goshen Approves Settlement with Sunoco||Sunoco to Host Public Open House for Mariner 2||PECO to Close Boot Road|
|Oil Prices||Sunoco Logistics plans additional pipeline...to Marcus Hook||Sunoco's Open House - Field Report|
|Road Construction at Boot Rd. & Windsor Dr||Overheard: Pipeline Details||A Reader Responds|
|Congratulations to Chris Pielli, our newest Supervisor||Thanksgiving||Misplaced Symbolism|
|Low Oil Prices — Karma or Our New Friend?||Judge Rules Sunoco Has Eminent Domain...||Sunoco Premature in Claiming it Has Public Utility...|
|Did Sunoco quietly tunnel underneath WG?||Financial Woes in the Petroleum Industry||The oil price, Iran and Saudi's economy|
|A new job pipeline for steelworkers||Mariner East Wins Another...Court Battle||Pipeline planning fuels deals, disputes|
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