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Developers cancel long-delayed, $8B Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Pipeline
(Associated Press) The developers of the long-delayed, $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced the cancellation of the multi-state natural gas project Sunday, citing uncertainties about costs, permitting and litigation.

Despite a victory last month at the United States Supreme Court over a critical permit, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said in a news release that "recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays" for the 600-mile (965-kilometer) project designed to cross West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.

The companies said a recent pair of court rulings that have thrown into question a permitting program used around the nation to approve oil and gas pipelines and other utility work through wetlands and streams presented "new and serious challenges."

"This new information and litigation risk, among other continuing execution risks, make the project too uncertain to justify investing more shareholder capital," the news release said.


PIOGA's detailed response to attorney general's report
In an item below posted last week, we told you about the release of a report by Pennsylvania's attorney general that makes a wide range of allegations against the state departments of Environmental Protection and Health about allegedly lax management of the unconventional natural gas industry.

PIOGA has issued a detailed response to the main conclusions of the politically motivated report. The post in the News section of our website also includes links to a rebuttal by Energy In Depth and a very comprehensive defense of DEP's oil and gas program by former department Secretary Mike Krancer.
PIOGA launches video series
PIOGA is pleased to announce our new video series called PIOGA Points to Ponder. Watch Episode 1 as our President & Executive Director, Dan Weaver, talks about pipelines - history, facts/data about the crucial role pipelines play in moving energy, safety and new innovations.

This and future episodes will be posted on PIOGA's LinkedIn and Facebook pages. 
Shapiro report blasts DEP for allegedly lax oversight of oil and gas industry
As you probably already know, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday released a 243-page grand jury report slamming the Department of Environmental Protection, and to a lesser extent the Department of Health, for allegedly lax oversight of the the shale-gas industry. The report comes in the wake of criminal charges filed against two operators by the attorney general's office.

"When it comes to fracking, Pennsylvania failed. Now it's time to face the facts, and do what we can to protect the people of this commonwealth by encouraging the Department of Environmental Protection to partner with us and by passing the grand jurors' common-sense reforms," Shapiro said in a news release.

The report makes the following recommendations, most of which would require legislative action:
  1. Expand drilling setbacks from the required 500 feet to 2,500 feet.
  2. Require companies to publicly disclose all chemicals used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing before they are used on-site.
  3. Require the regulation of gathering lines.
  4. Add up all sources of air pollution in a given area to accurately assess air quality.
  5. Require safer transport of wastes created from well sites.
  6. Conduct a comprehensive health response to the effects of living near unconventional drilling sites.
  7. Limit the ability of DEP employees to be employed in the private sector immediately after leaving the Department.
  8. Allow the Office of Attorney General original criminal jurisdiction over unconventional oil and gas companies.
The administration quickly issued a statement in response to the report, putting the blame for any shortcomings on Governor Tom Wolf's predecessor, Tom Corbett: "The Wolf administration inherited a flawed ideological approach to regulation of unconventional oil and gas development that was forced on the departments of Environmental Protection and Health by the Corbett Administration, which promoted the rapid expansion of natural gas development and profit above these other priorities."

PIOGA response
The industry and many of its supporters have taken exception to any characterization that Pennsylvania has not vigorously regulated the unconventional industry. Many of the claims made in the grand jury report are unreliable or have been disproven previously. PIOGA issued the following statement:

Pennsylvania's oil and natural gas producers, along with the companies that support their operations, are committed to protecting workers, neighbors, and the natural resources of the communities where they work and live by adhering to the state's extensive regulatory program, which is consistently recognized among peers in the energy production industry as one of the most rigorous in the nation. The state's legislative and executive branches have worked together in recent years to pass legislation and update regulations that ensure the commonwealth remains on the forefront of protecting the environment while also producing the natural gas that meets one-third of our nation's total demand for energy. The thousands of Pennsylvanians responsible for producing that energy will continue to make compliance with those laws and regulations a priority in every aspect of their work.

You can expect to hear more in the coming months about the industry from Shapiro, who many see as the next Democratic candidate for governor. Watch for an email from PIOGA tomorrow rebutting the need for the recommendations above.
Events

7/9/2020
2020 PIOGA Sporting Clays Event

7/21/2020
PIOGATech - FMCSA Safety Compliance Seminar

8/19/2020
2020 PIOGATech Water & Waste Management Training

10/8/2020
2020 Ted Cranmer Memorial Golf Outing & Steak Fry


Transportation safety training is now virtual. The PIOGATech refresher on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations that was postponed earlier in the year is now on for July 21 and will take place via webinar. The two-hour presentation will cover the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, new hours-of-service rules, the Crash Preventability Determination Program and end with Q&A. Continuing education credits are available. Register here by July 17.
 
Register now to attend, sponsor or exhibit at our water and waste management PIOGATech. The annual Water and Waste Management Training hosted by the PIOGA Environmental Committee is the best-attended PIOGATech of the year, and if you want to ensure your spot at the August 19 event in Wexford, you can act now. Our event page has all the details. Presenter opportunities are still available too.  
 
Divot Diggers #23. If you're attending the August 19 PIOGATech in Wexford, why not also take in the 23rd Annual Divot Diggers Golf Outing the very next day?  
 
UGI Save Smart Program. UGI Gas wants PIOGA members to know about an incentive program for commercial customers that can help pay for energy efficiency improvements for new and existing buildings. If your business is served by UGI, learn more about the program here.

PIOGA's COVID-19 Response Page. Be sure to pay frequent visits to the dedicated webpage we have created to help our members safely continue their essential operations during the current pandemic. We are updating this page several times a week with new information and resources for the oil and gas industry as well as for for small and mid-size businesses in general.
 
Does your company offer a product or service aimed at helping address the coronavirus situation? Please let us know so that we can add it to a new section we have created on the PIOGA COVID-19 Response page. To get to the list, use the link in the "Key information" section at the top of the page.

Is your company hosting COVID-19-related webinars? Also let us know if you have webinars scheduled aimed at helping companies address matters related to the coronavirus pandemic. We will gladly share that information with other members via the eWeekly.

How to contact us. Our office is closed in compliance with directives to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, staff members are working from home to continue to provide all regular association services, as well as to help with industry response to the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact us via email or any of the phone numbers below:
PIOGA collectable. As part of PIOGA's celebration of 100 years of working together on behalf of Pennsylvania's crude oil and natural gas industry, we  commissioned a commemorative knife from W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. The limited edition, collector quality knife and wooden display box feature PIOGA's 100th Anniversary logo. It's a great collector's piece and also makes a unique gift for coworkers, industry colleagues and petroleum history enthusiasts. Order yours now!