Natural Gas Pipelines: What's Here and What's Coming
Luzerne County is poised to become a central location for Natural Gas Pipelines.
- The 60+year old Williams Company Transco Natural Gas transmission line has seen expansion via gathering lines intersecting it in Dallas, Pennsylvania a short distance from the Dallas School campus.
- Williams Company is seeking to run a 2nd pipeline through Luzerne County called the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (ASP).
- A 3rd pipeline by PennEast Pipeline Company is in the initial proposal stage for Luzerne County.
Bit of History
In 2011, two natural gas corporations proposed metering stations, compressor station and a glycol dehydration plant to be located near the school campus. After residents became aware of the proposed projects and actively objected to it, the major industrial expansion of the Transco and related facilities were scaled back.
Gathering lines were still installed as well as a metering station. The compressor station and glycol dehydration plant (Chapin Station) were moved a short distance over the county line. Since that time there have been numurous incidents with the facilities and the Transco pipeline system itself. Williams Company has repeatedly failed to alert town officials, first responders, the schools and residents of maintenance and other work being done on the pipeline system. The most recent incident occurred in September of 2013 when natural gas smells were detected. Students and residents reported feeling sick and were sent to the auditoriums for their safety. Nearby businesses were evacuated.
Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline and PennEast
The Williams Company is now in the process of receiving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, (FERC), approval for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (ASP) which will connect into the Transco and related midstream facilites at various points, and run parallel to the Transco through Luzerne County and continue in a southwesterly direction. ASP will include the construction of a regulator station in Lehman Township as well as expansion and construction of midstream facilities. Click here for More Info.
In addition the ASP, the PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC is proposing a natural gas pipeline from Luzerne County to Trenton, New Jersey. UGI Energy Services will manage and operate the pipeline under the current proposal.
Click Here for More Information on Pipelines, Eminent Domain and FERC.
What the Pipeline Corporations Won't Tell You
Corporations for both the ASP and PennEast Pipelines claim that jobs will be created and an economic boom to communties along their path. However, they fail to mention these jobs are short term, and there is very little economic benefit to communities. Once a section of pipeline is completed, the construction crews move on to the next area and "jobs" go with it. Communities along the path do not receive any revenue of any kind for having a pipeline traverse its boundries and are left with added expenses of training and responding to incidents and/or clean up of damages.
Residents with pipelines on their property will see a decrease in property values, possible increases for property insurance or bearing the burden of paying for property insurance specifically cover pipelines. The average home owner property insurance policies do not cover damages from pollution.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA), has halted flood assistance for properties with natural gas leases. Under its hazard mitigation assistance program, FEMA pays to acquire properties in flood zones or reduce flood risks by raising or relocating structures. The agency creates these incentives so it doesn’t have to return with disaster dollars after every flood event.
While this currently applies to drilling pads and wells, we need to be aware the halting of FEMA flood assistance could be expanded to include pipelines and midstream facilities even if development is not on the surface of the land.
Many parts of Luzerne County are in flood prone areas and property owners are facing financial difficulties in obtaining flood insurance. If a pipeline is built through their properties, the additional insurance costs will be out of their reach.
American gas For Americans?
Both proposed pipelines will be transporting natural gas to or near coastal areas where export facilities are currently in operation or under construction. Natural Gas prices in Europe and Asian markets are considerably higher than US domestic prices. Exportation of American natural gas to these markets will give corporations a huge profit. Corporate financial interests depend on exportation, not selling natural gas domestically.