Tag Archives: natural gas

Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas plan pipeline into NC

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas are seeking proposals to build and operate a second major natural gas pipeline into North Carolina.

Duke has increasingly relied on gas as prices fell and coal-fired power plants shut down in the face of looming environmental standards. Piedmont’s customer growth last year was the highest since 2008 and continues to climb.

North Carolina is now served by Transco, a 10,200-mile pipeline owned by Williams Partners L.P. that sends Gulf of Mexico gas from south Texas to New York City. The line runs toward the Northeast in a diagonal route through Western North Carolina, including Mecklenburg County.

Massive new gas supplies are being developed in Pennsylvania and other northeastern states as the drilling technique called fracking taps shale-gas deposits.

Duke and Piedmont offer few details but say they have a “strong preference” for an interstate pipeline with a different route from the Transco line.

“Aside from knowing it’s going to end in North Carolina … the other terminus we won’t know until we get the proposals back,” said Piedmont spokesman David Trusty.

The companies’ solicitation to pipeline builders says they want expanded access to “competitive, secure, diverse and abundant supplies” with increased reliability for future gas deliveries.

It’s not clear who would own a new pipeline. The solicitation says Duke and Piedmont will consider a joint venture, ownership interest, strategic partnership or other financial arrangement.

“We’re leaving it wide open and evaluating a wide range of options,” said Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni.

Edward Jones utilities analyst Andy Smith said Duke and Piedmont might prefer to own at least part of the new pipeline, allowing them to recover their investment through customer rates.

“It seems to make sense on the surface,” Smith said. “Duke has built a bunch of new gas-fired power plants, and they need supply. Piedmont has a growing customer base.”

Charlotte-based Piedmont owns a 24 percent stake in the new Constitution pipeline, now under construction, that will run from northern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling region to northeastern markets.

Florida Power & Light last year chose proposals by Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy to expand gas capacity in that state. A pipeline will run from southwestern Alabama to south Florida by 2017.

Duke and Piedmont want an initial pipeline capacity into North Carolina of up to 900 million cubic feet a day. Transco moves up to 9.8 billion cubic feet a day.

A proposal is expected to be selected by the end of 2014, with completion of the pipeline by late 2018.

The project would need approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates interstate natural gas pipelines, and Carolinas utilities commissions.

Duke has opened five natural gas-fired power plants in the state since 2011 and proposed another in South Carolina. Its latest planning forecast projects a continuing shift to gas, which burns more cleanly than coal.

Piedmont pipes gas to each of those plants, and last June completed a 128-mile line from Iredell County to Duke’s Sutton power plant in Wilmington.

Piedmont, which serves the Carolinas and Tennessee, added 14,200 customers in 2013. Customer growth for the first quarter of this year was 13 percent higher than in the same quarter of 2013.

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Spectra Seeks Approval to Send Gas Pipeline into the Southern Swamps

Posted on the 06 April 2014 by Earth First! Newswire
Cypress tree in the Green Swamp, which includes approx 500,000 acres of public forests. Photo by Mac StoneCypress tree in the Green Swamp, an area threatened to be bisected by the Sabal Trail pipeline. The Green Swamp includes approx 500,000 acres of public forests and wetlands. Photo by Mac Stone

by Panagioti / Earth First! Newswire

What would you do if a corporation got permits to build a time bomb on your land?

Rural communities across Alabama, Georgia and Florida are joining the chorus of people asking this all-too-familiar question.

The issue of oil and gas transport has been forced into the minds of many people these days as the energy empire expands its frenzy for dirty and desperate extraction techniques.

This image is from an explosion in Nov 2013. It was one of several dozen reported, including several in Florida.

This image is from an explosion in Texas, Nov 2013. It was one of dozens reported in the last year along, including several in Florida.

But resistance to proposed fossil fuel pipelines has been growing… almost as frequent as the steady stream of disasters from existing pipelines.

New York, VermontPennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma, MichiganB.C., Ontario… Each of these places could tell pipeline battle stories from the frontlines of the eco-wars, ranging from depressingly tragic to courageously inspiring.

Now the swamp-dwellers of the southeastern US are jumping into the fray, and in a big way—1.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day kind of big.

Last week marked the end of a series of public hearings held by FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to solicit input for preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on three pipeline projects seeking approval under the title Southeast Market Pipeline Project (SMP). The largest of the three is the Sabal Trail Pipeline.

Though the hearings have come to a close for the time being, the scoping period is open until April 20 for comments, questions and rage to be sent to FERC.

A total of thirteen hearings were conducted, starting on March 3 in Albany Georgia and ending in Clermont, FL on March 27. A group calling itself SpectraBusters popped up along the route to coordinate opposition to the permitting of the pipeline and hundreds of people turned out for the hearings, primarily local residents in opposition to having a pipeline through their homes, farms and forests.

This map gives a general sense of the route for Sabal Trail, though it does not include the southern most section in Martin County which are also being considered in the EIS.

Several corporations are tied to the SMP project, but the largest of them are Spectra and FPL—both companies who have faced ongoing scrutiny and full-fledged campaigns against them up and down the east coast.

While the multi-pipeline permitting process is no doubt being conducted in a streamlined fashion at the behest of industry interests, another reality is also surfacing as landowners and environmental groups along the entire route of these pipelines are uniting their opposition and realizing that a failed or stalled EIS for this project could mean victory on several fronts.

The current SMP project covers 650 miles of gas pipeline and nine compressor stations, though these permits are known to expand in “phases,” allowing companies like Spectra to add additional phases without the requirement of a full EIS. (This was done in a previous pipeline partnership between Spectra and FPL called the Gulfstream Pipeline which was heavily contested by Earth First! activists in South Florida in 2008.)

Voices against Sabal Trail

“We own 30 acres in Center Hill and we adamantly oppose the pipeline,” said Diane Cochran, speaking at a hearing in Clermont, FL.

“This big company, wanting to build this pipeline, has turned our dream into a nightmare.” The Cochran’s property would be cut in half by gas transmission line. It would be located only 121 feet from the couple’s water well and less than that from their backyard fire pit. “My family and I will never feel safe on our property, and will never feel safe having our children and grandchildren visit us on our property, and that rocks me to my core.”

“Here we are trying to save our property from a big corporation whose sole intent is to make billions of dollars, while our land is forever destroyed if it’s put there,” Cochran said.

Frank Atkins, age 85, was one of 150 people who attended a hearing in Dunnellon, FL to speak against Spectra’s pipeline on the land of his family’s cemetery. “I don’t want that through there. Enough’s in there by having the electrical line, and now they coming with a gas line.”

The last time an energy company installed its lines across Atkins’ family’s property, grave markers in a family-owned cemetery were displaced. He said that after Florida Power Corp. came through in the 1960s, he could not find the burial plot holding his mother, who died giving birth to him.

Now that a natural gas pipeline is slated to pass through his Citrus County land, Atkins said he’s concerned the one-acre cemetery, where more family members are buried, might be affected again.

The section that could pass through Atkins land is Sabal Trail’s 24-inch-wide, 24-mile-long offshoot, intended to carry fuel to a new Duke Energy power plant that’s expected to be operating by 2018… That is, if the pipeline isn’t stopped.

Another pipeline opponent, Tamara Robbins, noted that maps of the proposed route did not delineate bodies of water or waterways.

“Your experts should have already studied the geology of Florida,” she said. “You should know about the land of a thousand springs. And if you did, I can’t imagine you not recommending denial to the commission on a project that is not needed.”

Indigenous Opposition to the pipeline

Spectra Seeks Approval to Send Gas Pipeline into the Southern Swamps

Bobby C. Billie, Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation, speaks against oil and gas drilling, March, 2014 in Collier County, FL. Photo by Corey Perrine, Naples News

Among opponents who have spoken against the project is Bobby C. Billie, a representative of the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation. Billie, who is a spiritual and clan leader among the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation, spoke of the pipeline fueling greed and further development in lands that were never legitimately owned by the US to begin with. Seminoles did not sign a treaty during the US-lead wars in the mid-1800s which failed in multiple attempts to remove them entirely from Florida, due primarily to a strong, successful resistance effort and the vast swampy terrain that the military was unaccustomed to.

Also in attendance at the Clermont FERC hearing was a representative of the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Big Cypress Reservation. The Seminole Tribe, who exist as a separate entity from the Independent Traditionals, may be taking interest in the pipeline as it relates to their opposition to the construction of a 3,750 megawatt gas-fired FPL power plant in Hendry County, on the border of their reservation lands.

The FPL plant is currently facing legal challenges from the Tribe to the zoning change needed to accommodate it.

Spectra and FPL have not disclosed any plans for this pipeline project to connect directly to the massive Hendry County power plant proposal thus far, but it would appear as the prime candidate for this similarly massive quantity of gas into the region.

Give ‘Em Hell, Preferably Before April 20

FERC representative John Peconom did little to assuage critics when he confirmed that FERC staff had never recommended denial of a pipeline project. Nor did it help influence opponents when he acknowledged that FERC is funded by fees paid by the companies it regulates.

According to data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, there have been about 8,000 “significant incidents” reported since 1986, resulting in more than 500 deaths and more than 2,300 injuries. News from many of these incidents can be found here.

FERC representative say people have until April 20 to submit comments at www.ferc.gov. You can email John Peconom with questions: john.peconom@ferc.gov, or call (202) 502-6352.

You can also file a paper copy by sending mail to: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, FERC, 888 First St NE, Room 1A, Washington DC, 20426.

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Fracktivist Conference in Knoxville, TN Sep. 13-15



The movement to end all forms of extreme energy extraction on this planet, wrest control from multinational corporations, and give the power back to the people is becoming something truly beautiful! It is an honor to be a part of it, as so MANY of us are.  We are rising! Please join us for another opportunity to combine struggles and strengthen our efforts.

The 2013 FRACKTIVIST CONFERENCE, a collaborative regional effort, is being organized by the TN Chapter of the Sierra Club along with a plethora of other awesome organizations (soon to be listed on this website). The conference will be taking place at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from September 13-15. We will also be graciously hosted for most meals and sleeping arrangements by the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

From the frac sand mining impacted communities in WI and MN to the newly affected folks in GA and FL, the many issues related to hydraulic fracturing are affecting people all across this splendid country! We are all connected in this struggle.

Our intention for this conference is to educate folks about the variety of elements regarding this extraction process from frac sand mining to transportation to chemical proppants to drilling & storage to methane migration to burning and beyond. We will also have our victories and strategize about how to become a more effective movement to put an end to fossil foolishness!  We look forward to seeing you in Knoxville in September.

Registration: http://earthroot.net/frackconference/registration/

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University At Buffalo Closes Its Shale Gas Research Institute Amid Accusations Of Undisclosed Industry Ties

From Huffington Post

AP  |  By Posted: 11/20/2012 10:17 am EST

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The University at Buffalo on Monday closed its seven-month-old shale gas research institute, which was under investigation by the State University Board of Trustees after a group of professors accused it of having undisclosed ties to industry.

UB President Satish Tripathi acknowledged that the university’s policies governing disclosure of financial interests had been “inconsistently applied” and the appearance of independence and integrity of the institute’s research impacted.

“Research of such considerable societal importance and impact cannot be effectively conducted with a cloud of uncertainty over its work,” Tripathi said in a letter to the university community announcing the closure. He said the decision followed an internal assessment of the institute. Continue reading

Tapping Into the Land, and Dividing Its People

Rich Addicks for The New York Times

An oil rig on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. More Photos »

BLACKFEET INDIAN RESERVATION, Mont. — The mountains along the eastern edge of Glacier National Park rise from the prairie like dinosaur teeth, their silvery ridges and teardrop fields of snow forming the doorway to one of America’s most pristine places.

Rich Addicks for The New York Times

Oil companies have leased out the drilling rights for a million of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation’s 1.5 million acres, which some see as a boon for the tribe. Continue reading


Protest At the Governor’s Mansion: Tell Her to VETO the Fracking Bill SB820 SB 820, the fracking bill, passed in the general assembly this week, which means now only the governor needs to sign it for fracking to begin in … Continue reading

Massive Natural Gas Spill Ongoing


You wouldn’t know it from the news, but there’s a major fossil-fuel spill ongoing in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. A leak from a gas platform operated by the French energy company Total SA was first detected on March 25 and has been spilling around 7 million cu. ft. (200,000 cu m) of natural gas every day since. Of course gas, unlike oil, doesn’t have a devastating — or visual — effect on the marine environment, which is one reason the Elgin gas field, where the spill is taking place, hasn’t become as infamous as the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico. But the leak is a disaster for the climate all the same; natural gas is mostly made up of methane, a greenhouse gas that has 25 times the warming power of carbon dioxide. Engineers working for Total estimate that it may take half a year to shut the leak, and if all of the methane released in that time reaches the atmosphere, the spill would approximate the annual global warming impact of putting 300,000 new cars on the road. Continue reading

Natural Gas Pipeline Planned to Traverse Nature Preserve in Charlotte through Eminent Domain

From DavidsonNews.net: Plans For Gas Pipeline Through Town Spark Concerns Friday February 17, 2012
gas pipeline proposed location mapPiedmont Natural Gas provided this partial map of the proposed pipeline route to Davidson Lands Conservancy. Click image to download a PDF.

Click to go to DavdisonNews.netDavidson College is protesting plans by Piedmont Natural Gas for a potentially damaging pipeline across land it owns in the northern part of town. In a letter to state regulators on Feb. 13, college officials said they have “significant concerns” about the project. The college also accuses the company of withholding information about the pipeline, which would begin construction in March.

The eight-mile pipeline would be part of a longer regional pipeline Piedmont is constructing to feed Progress Energy’s Sutton power station, in New Hanover County, near Wilmington. The gas company is seeking permits from the state Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as construction approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

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Protest At The Legislature Tonight

For Immediate Release

NC Says No To Drilling: Residents Occupy The General Assembly

Sunday November 27, 2011 –  Raleigh, NC

Tonight dozens of rural and urban citizens of North Carolina are assembling outside of the NC legislature around 7 p.m. to voice their disapproval of the Senate’s  July override of Governor Perdue’s veto of SB 709 the Energy Jobs Act which fast tracks efforts to bring offshore drilling & horizontal drilling (or “fracking”) to North Carolina.  Participants of the local Occupy Wall Street movement will also be present to lend support to the organizing group, Croatan Earth First!    

Since last June, Croatan Earth First! has held free movie screenings of the documentary Gasland, organized protests in downtown Raleigh, hosted coalition meetings with other grassroots groups in Sanford and Durham,  held teach-ins  on fracking at local churches and independent bookstores, and dropped a banner in the House of Representatives reading “Don’t Frack Cackalack!”  Earth First! and a coalition of other advocacy groups plan to oppose horizontal drilling with public events and by organizing for future resistance including nonviolent civil disobedience & direct action.  One protester with Earth First!, stresses that fracking is not a bridge fuel or feasible alternative to oil: “Fracking for natural gas produces methane, which warms the planet faster than CO2, accelerating the process of climate change,” said Josh Slocumb of Hillsborough. 

Activists with the Occupy movement and Earth First! will be holding signs outside the legislature and banners which read “We can’t drink money!” and “No Drill, No Spill! NC Says No To 709,” demanding that the House of Representatives uphold the veto in this session.  It has even been rumored that the Raging Grannies may show up and sing a few songs.  “Over 2 million residents of our state use well water,” says member Michelle Matheson, “it’s horrendous to experiment with that considering the frequent occurrences of fracking wastewater spills nationwide.”  Furthermore, “Since the start of fracking in Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River has become the most polluted waterway in the nation.”  “On the issue of offshore drilling, the horrors of the BP oil spill, and the other countless disasters worldwide, should remind us all this is bad planning for the future of North Carolina and the planet,” says John Ferguson resident of Sanford county.

EPA Finds Fracking Chemical in Wyoming Gas Drilling Town’s Aquifer

Wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical used in fracking.
By Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica
Nov 13, 2011

Drill rig in a natural gas field in Wyoming/Credit: SkyTruth, flickr
As the country awaits results from a nationwide safety study on the natural gas drilling process of fracking, a separate government investigation into contamination in a place where residents have long complained that drilling fouled their water has turned up alarming levels of underground pollution.

A pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, according to new water test results released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The findings are consistent with water samples the EPA has collected from at least 42 homes in the area since 2008, when ProPublica began reporting on foul water and health concerns in Pavillion and the agency started investigating reports of contamination there.

Last year—after warning residents not to drink or cook with the water and to ventilate their homes when they showered—the EPA drilled the monitoring wells to get a more precise picture of the extent of the contamination.

The Pavillion area has been drilled extensively for natural gas over the last two decades and is home to hundreds of gas wells. Residents have alleged for nearly a decade that the drilling—and hydraulic fracturing in particular—has caused their water to turn black and smell like gasoline. Some residents say they suffer neurological impairment, loss of smell, and nerve pain they associate with exposure to pollutants.

The gas industry—led by the Canadian company EnCana, which owns the wells in Pavillion—has denied that its activities are responsible for the contamination. EnCana has, however, supplied drinking water to residents.

The information released yesterday by the EPA was limited to raw sampling data: The agency did not interpret the findings or make any attempt to identify the source of the pollution. From the start of its investigation, the EPA has been careful to consider all possible causes of the contamination and to distance its inquiry from the controversy around hydraulic fracturing.

Still, the chemical compounds the EPA detected are consistent with those produced from drilling processes, including one—a solvent called 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE)—widely used in the process of hydraulic fracturing. The agency said it had not found contaminants such as nitrates and fertilizers that would have signaled that agricultural activities were to blame.

The wells also contained benzene at 50 times the level that is considered safe for people, as well as phenols—another dangerous human carcinogen—acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel.

The EPA said the water samples were saturated with methane gas that matched the deep layers of natural gas being drilled for energy. The gas did not match the shallower methane that the gas industry says is naturally occurring in water, a signal that the contamination was related to drilling and was less likely to have come from drilling waste spilled above ground.

EnCana has recently agreed to sell its wells in the Pavillion area to Texas-based oil and gas company Legacy Reserves for a reported $45 million, but has pledged to continue to cooperate with the EPA’s investigation. EnCana bought many of the wells in 2004, after the first problems with groundwater contamination had been reported.

The EPA’s research in Wyoming is separate from the agency’s ongoing national study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on water supplies, and is being funded through the Superfund cleanup program.

The EPA says it will release a lengthy draft of the Pavillion findings, including a detailed interpretation of them, later this month.