Why We Need the Atlantic Sunrise (and Other Pipelines)

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.



The data supporting the need for the Atlantic Sunrise and other Northeast pipelines is  compelling and easy to find, so why aren’t we constructing them now?

Sometimes a thing is so obvious, so close, our eyes and mind focus on what is beyond without seeing it all. I remember well a meeting I had many years with two sisters who were in business together and clients of mine. Meeting with them on one occasion I misplaced an important document on my desk and couldn’t find it. I asked my secretary for help, she came in and promptly picked it up from a corner of my desk and handed it to me. I sat there in stunned disbelief that it had been right in front of me all along and was about to ask “How did you find that?” when one of the two clients noticed my shock and said “Tom, the only person surprised here is you.”

It was reminder of how easy it is to miss the obvious (for men at least).  Such is the case with the Atlantic Sunrise and other Northeast pipelines, the need for which is so apparent from basic natural gas consumption data as to be undeniable.

Atlantic Sunrise

A typical pipeline that no one notices once built

We spend an awful amount of time studying pipelines. The developers invests mega-bucks in assessing demand and supply, studying routes and making regulatory applications. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) spends many months evaluating environmental impacts as well as need. State agencies are called upon to issue water quality certifications. The process can take several years in total as every party also conducts numerous hearings during their work.

The Pennsylvania DEP, for example, has now scheduled four hearings with respect to its work on the Atlantic Sunrise, all off which are coming up soon. They will provide yet another opportunity for fractivists to put on dog and pony shows having nothing to do with the issues at hand (which is why we need to show up, too), further stretching out an approval process that’s already way too long. It’s unending punishment for providing what is essential infrastructure.

How do we know the pipeline infrastructure is essential? Well, that requires but a quick visit to the Energy information Administration (EIA) data on natural gas consumption. I took about 10 minutes to check out the data and here’s what I found for the six Mid-Atlantic states most impacted by the Atlantic Sunrise and other northeast pipelines being proposed right now:

Atlantic Sunrise

Notice New York State is the largest natural gas user among the six Mid-Atlantic states and grew its gas use by 25% in the 2006-2015 decade, which, of course, is exactly why Williams has proposed the Constitution Pipeline to complement its Atlantic Sunrise project. Both are intended to move Marcellus Shale gas to places where it’s needed in the Northeast.

Then, there’s Pennsylvania itself, home to the Marcellus Shale, that has grown its natural gas consumption by 95% in just 10 years and tiny Delaware which has experienced a 136% increase. New Jersey, where a fractivist head of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel claims there’s no pipeline demand against all the evidence has seen gas use jump 38% and Virginia has added 82% more gas consumption. Even Maryland, where a gutless governor recently signed onto a ludicrous fracking ban to appease a small band of fractivist malcontents, they’ve see an 18% gain.

It’s all nothing less than astounding when you really look at the data, yielding this combined chart indicating a 50% gain in natural gas consumption for these six Mid-Alantic states over the last decade:

Atlantic Sunrise

This simple fact stands in stark contrast to the attitudes of Maryland and New York, the only two states with natural gas that have chosen not to develop it; instead surrendering to the malcontents and opting to have their neighbors produce the gas for them. It also stands against the compelling evidence of need for the Atlantic Sunrise, the Constitution Pipeline and several other pipeline designed to serve the needs of the Mid-Atlantic and the greater Northeast.

The numbers tell a story of compelling story need for more pipeline infrastructure, yet FERC is taking longer than ever, New York is abusing the water quality certification process and even Pennsylvania is piling on by conducting four completely unnecessary hearings on the Atlantic Sunrise. How many public meetings and hearings do we need to suffer as special interests take them over in attempts to kill an industry? Let’s hope FERC’s new appointments speed things up by getting back to the basics. We need these pipelines and we need them now. Twiddling our thumbs and agonizing over what to do with crazy fractivists while gas use grows 50% is unforgivable.


The post Why We Need the Atlantic Sunrise (and Other Pipelines) appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

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