|Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee|
I will show you.
|CYNOG Compressor, PA|
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee
Now, the recently former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary is leading the legal team who is working to win Sunoco LP some special utility status, thereby stripping Pennsylvania landowners of their local zoning protections. If this seems ethically challenged to you, maybe it’s because Krancer is now profiting directly from the free-wheeling gas drilling permit policies he enacted while in public office little more than a year ago. Again, it’s sneaky, but it’s not illegal.
If Williams gets Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for the 176-mile line through six Pennsylvania counties, it will begin negotiations to buy roughly 55-foot-wide land easements from property owners along its preferred path. If property owners object, Williams will seek the easements through eminent domain in the courts. (Natural Gas Archives |)In other words, if you don't sign over your land to the landman when he arrives at your door, he's going to try to take it from you anyways, and another word for that "taking" is theft. Why? Because, as I argued in the first installment in this series, the Atlantic Sunrise is not intended for the public good; it is intended for global export (THE WRENCH: When Sunrise for the Global Gas Markets is Sunset for Pennsylvania: Williams Partner's "Atlantic Sunrise" Expansion of the TRANSCO). So all that hype about "American,""energy security," and "cheap" is just that--hype to get you to sign away your property to a multinational company masquerading as a good neighbor in a plaid shirt and jeans.
He's not. He is, in fact, a thief who is poised to steal from you through the sheer force of a FERC permit approval what he can't extort from you through your signature. And given what we can readily surmise about FERC, not one iota of what he's going to tell you about safety, environment, property value is something FERC is in any position to give a tinker's damn about.
Still, if you're not entirely convinced by these facts that you don't want to sign a contract for that easement or right-of way, consider the wise words of Michael Faherty, attorney representing landowners in eminent domain cases against the gas industry “Landowners need to be wary about these companies that come looking to acquire land, they don’t have an obligation to be telling the truth,” Faherty said. “They need to be wary of land agents.”
(Natural Gas Archives |).
No obligation to tell the truth--that is the understatement of the year--so far.
Here's just a snippet (we'll get to this in letter three) of what they don't tell you:
1. More pipeline means more unconventional drilling--fracking--and more drilling means--just for example:
In a 2013 survey of 550 people conducted by business researchers at the University of Denver, a strong majority said they would decline to buy a home near a drilling site. The study, published in the Journal of Real Estate Literature, also showed that people bidding on homes near fracking locations reduced their offers by up to 25 percent.If you think that there's a big difference in having a pipeline going through your property is really that different than having an active frack pad, think again.
An economic analysis by the Headwaters Institute undermines the idea that oil and gas developments fatten the bank accounts of communities and leave them better off than before drilling started. While there may be short-term windfalls, the study of six western states found that over the long-term “oil and gas specialization is observed to have negative effects on change in per capita income, crime rate and education rate.” (How Fracking Destroys the American Dream | EcoWatch)
Now maybe you're thinking that so long as you don't have a drilling operation right in your back yard, a pipeline is OK--and truth is, the likelihood of a pipeline explosion is fairly small. But, where's there's pipeline, there's compressors, and where there's compressors, the potential for exposure to volatile organic compounds, and to other fugitive emissions accelerates. Here's a little light reading until letter three:
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee
The Williams plant feeds into the Opal Hub, a crossroads for five pipelines that connect to California, Oregon and Canada and head east across the Rocky Mountains. Gas at the Opal Hub for Thursday delivery rose 6 cents to $4.63 per million British thermal units.
Wyoming and U.S. regulators were not available to comment or say if gas flows at the Hub would be affected. Utilities used a record amount of gas this past winter to meet heating needs during unusual cold snaps that caused volatile prices and left stockpiles at their lowest level since 2003. A string of accidents involving the country's overburdened pipeline and rail infrastructure has prompted new safety concerns as U.S. output of oil and gas surges during an unprecedented boom. On March 31, a pipeline within its liquefied natural gas facility in Washington exploded and shrapnel from the blast caused a leak in one of two liquefied natural gas tanks, prompting evacuation orders near the plant outside the rural town of Plymouth.
On April 7, a Williams unit said that a gas gathering pipeline in West Virginia caught fire.
Williams operates two natural gas processing plants in Wyoming which remove liquids and other impurities from natural gas to allow it to be transported in large pipelines.
Gas comes to the processing plants from the Williams gathering system, a network of 3,500 miles of pipelines which collect gas produced in the region.
- safety record is shoddy,
- who's willing to use the power of eminent domain condemnation to get what they want,
- whose product is extracted and processed at the immense expense of the health and environments of the people who must live forever in its shadow,
- and whose singular aim is to export its product to insure its availability to the highest bidder?
|TRANSCO, Picture Rocks, PA|
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee
When the WPZ landman, and his plaid shirt and jeans, knocks on your door, be polite, but tell him no. And when he says he'll be back, wait for him to leave and go talk to your neighbors.
Or better--go talk to your neighbors right now.