Industry Shadows the PA Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce (PITF) – Part 3

shadow-3Industry Shadows the PA Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce (PITF) – Part 1

Industry Shadows the PA Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce (PITF) – Part 2

Click here for the Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce Spreadsheet (PITF) created by Frackorporation

In Part 3 of this series we will be looking at the overall sector alignments of PITF and drill a bit deeper into a few interesting connections.

National Public Radio’s StateImpact article of July 22, 2015 covered the first meeting of the Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce’s (PITF) on July 21, 2015.   Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley[1]:

Quigley told StateImpact after the 90-minute meeting in Harrisburg that he expects the industry to add 20-25,000 miles of gathering lines, smaller pipelines that connect gas wells to processing plants or main transmission lines. He said an additional 4,000 to 5,000 miles of interstate pipelines will be built over the next 20 years.

Quigley said Pennsylvania has an opportunity to establish national leadership by bringing together stakeholders including communities, industries and regulators to set standards for pipeline development that will seek to meet demands including economic development, environmental protection, and community self-determination.

The aforementioned article and others regarding PITF place an emphasis on stakeholders. Just what is meant by “stakeholders”?   To those who only read the headlines or perhaps just a couple paragraphs it is plausible they would assume property owners, home owners in the path of pipelines and related midstream infrastructure would have a many seats at the table, or at the very least be represented by organizations on the side of property and home owners.

If you note in the StateImpact article, stake holders are listed as including communities, industries and regulators. The industry presence is there as will be shown; communities via local and county government officials are there, and yes a couple of “regulators” too. However, Quigley said the task force is not intended to produce more regulation on the gas industry[2]. Then why have regulators on the task force? For show?

It’s apparent from the StateImpact article, the purpose of the task force is NOT to regulate, make safe, or otherwise impede the industry’s projects and profits. It is expected the industry will add 20,000-25,000 miles of gathering lines, smaller pipelines that connect gas wells to processing plants or main transmission lines and 4,000 to 5,000 miles of interstate pipelines will be built over the next 20 years. PITF’s purpose is to make that happen.

The Original 48

When first announced PITF listed 48 members[3], however there are an additional 110 members[4] for a grand total of 158 members. Members are broken out into 12 workgroups[5]:

  • Agriculture
  • Conservation and Natural Resources
  • County Government
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Environmental Protection
  • Historical/Cultural/Tribal
  • Local Government
  • Natural Gas End Use
  • Pipeline Safety and Integrity
  • Public Participation
  • Siting and Routing
  • Workforce and Economic Development

The original 48 list has these members divided into sector aligned categories, which at first glance appears to be heavily weighted with PA state government officials, and a fairly even mix of everyone else (except for home and property owners).   If you ignore the PITF sector alignment categories and drill down deeper it is not that fair of a mix. The devil is in the details.

Note: The following and remainder of charts were created using the information compiled from Frackorporation’s research and assembled on Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce Spreadsheet (PITF)[6] Frackorporation combined Local and County officials into one sector alignment.

PITF3-01

The industry category includes drillers, pipeline companies, law firms representing the industry and various other supporting industry interests.

Given Quigley’s statements about the taskforce purpose is NOT TO REGULATE, and the overall desire to “establish national leadership”, it is not surprising 35 out of 48 members are comprised of industry and state government. The remaining 13 members of the original 48 have little impact one way or the other.

The Whole PITF

If you think the entire membership of 148 may balance things out more, you would be wrong.

The industry holds 56 seats and combined with state government there are 77 seats dedicated to establishing Pennsylvania pipelines as national leader. If you go to Frackorporation’s Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce Spreadsheet (PITF) you can scroll through the information and decide for yourself who supports or leans in favor of pipelines and who would oppose pipelines or lean more towards protecting people instead of profits.

PITF3-02

Four corporations hold multiple PITF seats:

  • Penn Northwest Development Corporation
    • County Government Workgroup: Gary Dovey, Vice President of Business Development
    • Workforce & Economic Development Workgroup: Randy Seiz, Chiief Executive Office and Board Director
  • Rice Energy
    • Siting & Routing Workgroup: Justin Trettel, Vice President of Midstream Operations & Engineering
    • County Government Workgroup: Tonya Winkler, Midstream Permitting & Compliance Manager
  • UGI Energy Services / Spectra: While technically these two corporations are separate, they share a common interest with the PennEast pipeline project. The PennEast Pipeline is currently facing fierce opposition from individual homeowners, local grassroots organizations and others.
    • Public Participation Workgroup: Alisa Harris, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs
    • Siting & Routing Workgroup: John Sheridan, Director of Government Relations
  • Williams Corporation/Partners: Williams merged with Access Midstream Partners in February 2015.[7] Access Midstream Partners was originally known as Chesapeake Midstream Partners and a Chesapeake Energy subsidiary before spinning off as an independent corporation and changing its name in 2012[8].
      • Local Government: Clayton Anderson, Senior Land Agent
      • Pipeline Safety and Integrity Workgroup: Anthony DeCeraris, Manager of Asset Integrity
      • Public Participation Workgroup: Cindy Ivey, Public Outreach Manger
      • Environmental Protection Workgroup: William “Will” Ratcliffe, Manager of Regulatory Affairs.

More recently, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) confirmed making a merger proposal to Williams[9]. The proposal seems to have been rejected by Williams, however there also seems to be indications that the merger is still on the table. ETP’s merger proposal is mentioned here because Joseph McGinn, Senior Manager of Public Affairs is from Sunoco Logistic Partners LP, which is a subsidiary of ETP.   McGinn is on the Natural Gas End Use Workgroup.

ETP via Sunoco Logistic Partners is repurposing the Marcus hook refinery in Philadelphia, PA to refine natural gas liquids (NGL) and build pipelines for exportation of NGLs to Canada[10].

Both Williams and ETP are facing opposition from individual homeowners, local grassroots organizations and others for their various pipeline projects.

Public Participation Workgroup

In parts 1 & 2 of this series we explored the Consumer Energy Alliance, America’s National Gas Alliance and a couple other connections to trade and front groups.

In subsequent parts to this series we will look at the other workgroups, for now let’s look at the Public Participation Workgroup.

One of the common complaints about the pipeline permitting process is the sparse or lack of public participations. If a few individual homeowners and property owners were allowed on PITF, you would expect to see them on the Public Participation Workgroup.

PITF3-03

There is one “private stakeholder”, Raul Chiesa of Becket Run Woodlands[11], who might be considered a regular person and coincidently uses American Tree Farm System standards to commercialize natural gas development and has a pipeline through their property.

As previously mentioned, UGI and Williams are facing opposition to their pipeline projects. Their attempts to reach out and make nice with the public are not going well.

Cindy Ivey, the Public Outreach Manger for Williams is the Chair of the Public Participation Workgroup. Alisa Harris is listed as VP of Government and Public Affairs for UGI Energy services. In various other articles, Harris is cited as being a spokesperson for the PennnEast Pipeline Project.

According to Ivey’s LinkedIn profile[12] this is her first job out of college. One of her current challenges is with the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (ASP) project. The residents of Lancaster and Lebanon, PA areas are fighting ASP.

Per 2014 Lancaster Online article[13]:

Steady stream of Lancaster County residents decry “assault on land” at gas pipeline meeting – Because it already has three pipelines in place, Lancaster County was a “prime place” for the pipeline to be placed. Ivey said the pipeline routing currently being explored could change, perhaps even to different townships. But, she said, “I don’t see it moving into a different county as this point.”

Alisa Harris has more experience with the energy industry and took a trip through the government revolving door[14]:

  • Exelon Generation-Former Environmental Policy Manager
  • PA DEP-Former Special Deputy Secretary for External Affairs
  • PA DEP Former Director of the Office of Environmental Advocacy
  • PA Department of Environmental Protection Former Special Deputy Secretary
  • PA Water Management and Regional Community Relations Former Executive Assistant
  • PennEast Pipeline Company LLC Government and Public Affairs
  • UGI Energy Services Vice President – Government and Public Affairs

PITF does plan on holding public hearings, what format these hearing will take, how often and where is unknown. Given past experiences with DEP, pipeline corporation sponsored and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearings public comments will be limited to 3-5 minutes per person, and may be further limited to “invite only” sessions. This will probably be the extent of real public participation.

From the organization area is Raynold Wilson Jr. coordinator for the Wyoming County Landowners group.   They represent natural gas leaseholders’ interests and are involved with fighting battles over royalty payments.   One of the common excuses by drillers for lack of or delays in sending out royalty checks is the absence of pipelines to get the gas to market. Leaseholders are also upset by drillers deducting post production costs to cover such things as marketing, pipelines and related infrastructure construction and operation.

Per 2013 Times-Tribune article[15]:

Opposition to gas lease settlement lawsuit grows – Raynold W. Wilson, coordinator for Wyoming County Landowners, a nonprofit group formed to represent leaseholders’ interests, said the group has serious concerns about the settlement, which they believe is woefully inadequate, as well as the process by which the agreement was reached. Wilson claims the settlement is slanted in favor of Chesapeake, in that it relies upon the company to provide information that will be used to calculate the amount leaseholders are owed. Other terms of the deal will also hinder the ability of potentially thousands of leaseholders to seek adequate compensation, he said.

The money issue is not just limited to royalties or impact fees vs. severance taxes. In Pennsylvania, pipelines and related infrastructure are considered to be equipment and therefore it is not taxed. Towns which have and will have pipelines going through them receive no monetary compensation.

Senator Andrew Dinniman (D) joins the Public Participation workgroup with a solution to the no-pipeline tax problem.   His solution is to allow local taxation of Natural Gas Pipelines. Senate Bill 905 calls for amending Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to allow local governments and school districts to impose a real estate tax on natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines[16].

When you consider the industry opposition to a severance tax, the likelihood of taxing pipelines will be met with equal opposition.

John Hanger, former DEP Secretary under former Governor Ed Rendel. After leaving DEP he returned to private law practice at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot [17] as a special counsel in the areas of energy, utility and environment, with a focus in alternative energy, clean transportation infrastructure, energy efficiency, competitive energy markets and smartgrid.

Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott is a member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA). One area of expertise is in the energy sector including natural gas[18].  

Hanger had an unsuccessful run for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination in 2014, losing out to the now Governor Tom Wolf. Hanger’s position on natural gas during his campaign settled on calling natural gas one of those “ugly choices”.   Read: Hanger and the Ugly Choices[19].

Hanger was selected by Gov. Tom Wolf to his Secretary of Planning and Policy[20]. Hanger says he will help the governor develop and implement his policy agenda, which includes plans for a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drilling and reinstating a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing in state parks and forests.

Eileen Juico, Project Manager of the West Pikeland Technical Assistance Grant, Chester County – 2009[21]:

“Our voices will not be muffled by the loud ring of the moneyed natural gas companies,” is the battle cry of Eileen Juico, member of the Chester County Pipeline Task Force. Chester County, Pennsylvania, is the site of extensive natural gas pipeline activity.

Her battle cry is to the point as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (October 7) that the deputy chief of staff for Governor Rendell is stepping down to join Range Resources Corporation as VP of government relations and regulatory affairs for the Texas-based company that has “a major drilling stake in Pennsylvania,” according to the Inquirer.

In the meantime, Ms. Juico and Task Force members are mobilizing property owners to contact key members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate to urge them to oppose a budget amendment that would permit leasing additional state forest lands for gas drilling.

Sunoco Logistics (subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners) Mariner East Pipeline project is headed for Chester County. The Mariner East pipeline will bring natural gas liquids — propane and ethane — being pulled out of the the Marcellus Shale in western Pennsylvania to the revamped Marcus Hook industrial complex on the Delaware River. Current plans involve exporting much of the ethane to Europe[22].

“We have all this propane that’s essentially under our feet in other parts of the Commonwealth,” said Joe McGinn who manages government affairs for Sunoco Logistics. “If we can get that in a pipeline to the southeast and then distribute it trough local businesses… they can supply local markets.”

Sunoco Logistics has filed petitions with the Public Utility Commission to be recognized as a “public utility corporation,” allowing them to bypass local zoning laws to build pump and valve stations in 31 towns along the pipeline’s nearly 300-mile route — including West Goshen.

That has raised the ire of two state senators, Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) and John Rafferty Jr. (R-Montgomery), who wrote a letter arguing Sunoco Logistics is ignoring the state Supreme Court’s ruling on Act 13, which “affirm[ed] local governments’ right to regulate pipelines, affiliated pumping and valve stations, and other oil and gas operations.”

Gerald Powers, Chairman and Supervisor for Montour Township said at special meeting in 2014:

“…the township needs to act immediately on a gas line ordinance.  The lines are coming through the township.”

Headed for Montour township is the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. Williams filed an official application with FERC in early 2015 for the project.

The last member of the Public Participation Workgroup comes from FERC.   David Hanobic serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC or Commission) Office of Energy Projects, Division of Gas – Environment and Engineering (DG2E)[23]. DG2E is responsible for the environmental review of interstate natural gas certificate applications for the construction and operation of facilities under Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and applications for import and export authorization under Section 3 of the NGA, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facilities.

Real people have had several complaints and problems navigating the FERC website and obtaining information, so having a FERC person on the Public Participation Workgroup may be a good thing, right?

Don’t cheer so fast. While FERC recognizes opposition to pipeline has reached to unprecedented levels, its response is to pucker up, tighten security at its public meetings and even try last minute scheduling changes to avoid protests[24].

FERC held a hearing in Nelson County, Virginia regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project by Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources which will flow from West Virginia, through Virginia and down to North Carolina.   Joanna Salidis, President of Friends of Nelson, a group working to oppose Dominion’s pipeline had this to say about her interaction with David Hanobic[25]: (emphasis added)

“I told a FERC representative that night, David Hanobic, that FERC needed to provide a second public meeting for those who wished to speak,” Salidis continued. “He said that we were lucky to get a public meeting at all since the National Environmental Policy Act that governs the scoping process does not mandate public meetings and some government agencies don’t offer them. When I responded that those agencies don’t have the extraordinary power of eminent domain, he claimed that FERC didn’t either – rather they just gave that authority to transmission companies like Dominion.”

FRACKORPORATION Score for Public Participation Workgroup

Frackorporation scoring on the workgroups is subjective and based on our assessment of the information at hand. We do not consider it scientific and is entirely opinion based.  A 100% rating means all a given workgroup members oppose or at the least would support protecting people over profits.

Our breakdown for the Public Participation Workgroup:

For the People:

  • Eileen Juico
  • Gerald Powers

For the Profits:

  • Cindy Ivey
  • Alisa Harris
  • John Hanger
  • Andrew Dinniman
  • David Hanobic
  • Raul Chiesa
  • Raynold Wilson, Jr.

With 2 out of 9 for the people we give it a sad score of 22%. So much for public participation.

© 2015 by Dory Hippauf

——————————————

[1] New task force seeks to manage ‘massive’ buildout of pipelines | by Jon Hurdle | NPR-State Impact | July 22, 2015 | https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2015/07/22/new-task-force-seeks-to-manage-massive-buildout-of-pipelines/

[2] New task force seeks to manage ‘massive’ buildout of pipelines | by Jon Hurdle | NPR-State Impact | July 22, 2015 | https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2015/07/22/new-task-force-seeks-to-manage-massive-buildout-of-pipelines/

[3] Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force | Membership | http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pipeline_infrastructure_task_force/22066/membership/2072883

[4] Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Workgroup Members | http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pipeline_infrastructure_task_force/22066/workgroups/2072884

[5] Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Workgroup Assignments | http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pipeline_infrastructure_task_force/22066/workgroup_assignments/2086322

[6] PITF Spreadsheet | Frackorporation | Dory Hippauf | July 2015 | https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WCL5cH2g1tkTkMapFCkXuQ2TpvJsYx4X6_ERPBM_2hA/edit?usp=sharing

[7] Williams | Access Midtream | http://co.williams.com/accessmidstream/

[8] Chesapeake Midstream changes name, ticker | AP | July 24, 2012 | http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chesapeake-midstream-changes-name-ticker-124424088.html

[9] Energy Transfer Equity Confirms Proposal to Merge with Williams | June 22, 2015 | http://ir.energytransfer.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=106094&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2061168

[10] Energy Transfer Equity | Sunoco Logistics | NGL Projects | http://www.sunocologistics.com/Customers/Business-Lines/Natural-Gas-Liquids-NGLs/NGL-Projects/208/

[11] Regional Tree Farmers of the Year: Raul Chiesa and Janet Sredy of Beckets Run Woodlands PA | American Tree Farm System | https://www.treefarmsystem.org/regional-tree-farmers-of-the-year–raul-chiesa-and-janet-sredy-of-beckets-run-woodlands-pa

[12] Cindy Ivey | LinkedIn | https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=79582035&authType=name&authToken=feBn

[13] Steady stream of Lancaster County residents decry “assault on land” at gas pipeline meeting | by Ad Crable | Lancaster Online | May 1, 2014 | http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/steady-stream-of-lancaster-county-residents-decry-assault-on-land/article_4f1906c2-cfc4-11e3-a839-0017a43b2370.html

[14] Alissa Harris: Exelon Generation-Former Environmental Policy Manager | http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=18992&SubjectID …. | PA DEP-Former Special Deputy Secretary for External Affairs http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=18992&SubjectID …. | PA DEP Former Director of the Office of Environmental Advocacy. http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?newsletterArticleID=18992&SubjectID …. | PA Department of Environmental Protection Former Special Deputy Secretary https://www.linkedin.com/pub/alisa-harris/94/308/556 …. | PA Water Management and Regional Community Relations Former Executive Assistant http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=18992&SubjectID …. | PennEast Pipeline Company LLC Government and Public Affairs http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/Local/williams-twp-holds-1st-and-last-municipal-meeting-on-pipeline/29025990 …. | UGI Energy Services Vice President – Government and Public Affairs | https://www.linkedin.com/pub/alisa-harris/94/308/556

[15] Opposition to gas lease settlement lawsuit grows | by Terrie Morgan-Besecker | Times-Tribune | December 7, 2013 | http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/opposition-to-gas-lease-settlement-lawsuit-grows-1.1597211

[16] Dinniman Bill to Allow Local Taxation of Natural Gas Pipelines | Senator Dinniman | June 19, 2015 | http://www.senatordinniman.com/dinniman-bill-to-allow-local-taxation-of-natural-gas-pipelines

[17] Former DEP Secretary Hanger to Join Eckert Seamans | By Nicole Houck | PoliticsPA | http://www.politicspa.com/former-dep-secretary-hanger-to-join-eckert-seamans/21085/

[18] Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott | Energy | http://www.eckertseamans.com/industries.aspx?IndustryID=34

[19] Hanger and the Ugly Choices | No Fracking Way | by Dory Hippauf | September 4, 2013 | http://www.nofrackingway.us/2013/09/04/hanger-and-the-ugly-choices/

[20] Wolf taps former DEP secretary for policy chief | NPR StateImpact | December 10, 2014 | https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/12/10/wolf-taps-former-dep-secretary-for-policy-chief/

[21] Revolving Door Between Government & Energy Industry | SpectraWatch | October 2009| http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?m=200910

[22] Tension grows over Sunoco’s natural gas liquids pipeline to Marcus Hook | by Katie Colaneri | NPR StateImpact | April 25, 2014 | https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/04/25/tension-grows-over-sunocos-natural-gas-liquids-pipeline-to-marcus-hook/

[23] Dave Hanobic | Bio | https://sga.eventsential.org/Speakers/Details/63765

[24] FERC adjusts meeting schedule to avoid protests | by Robert Walton | Utility Dive | May 11, 2015 | http://www.utilitydive.com/news/ferc-adjusts-meeting-schedule-to-avoid-protests/396112/

[25] Regulators fail to protect public interest in pipeline process | Augusta FreePress | March 27, 2015 | http://augustafreepress.com/regulators-fail-to-protect-public-interest-in-pipeline-process/

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