Northern Access Pipeline 2016 Project

Although a horizontal drilling ban is in effect in New York State, shipments of natural gas across New York by pipeline have not been banned.  In fact, New York is laced with pipelines transporting natural gas from across the state, as well as from Pennsylvania, Ohio and even Ontario, Canada.

The number of natural gas pipelines across New York is about to grow.  National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc., both owned by National Fuel Gas Company, plan to construct a new 24-inch high pressure pipeline running from Sergeant Township, Mckean County, Pennsylvania, where various hydrofracking supply pipelines meet, to the Porterville Compression Station in the Town of Elma, Erie County, New York.

This new pipeline will affect over a hundred landowners.  Because this pipeline comes under FERC jurisdiction, the natural gas companies have a statutory right under Section 7H of the Natural Gas Act to use eminent domain to acquire a right-of-way or easement on a landowner’s property for facilities to transport gas.  Eminent domain, which is also called condemnation, is governed by New York State statutory law.  The gas company must compensate the landowner for the economic value of the easement rights claimed for the pipeline.  If a negotiated price cannot be reached between the landowner and the natural gas company, the natural gas company can bring the eminent domain procedure to force the landowner to give up its rights to the easement area.

Landowners affected by this pipeline should be represented by qualified and experienced counsel.  An attorney can guide the landowner through the negotiation process, and work to prevent unnecessary delays through the court system.  Know your rights!

NEXT IN LINE FOR HYDRAULIC FRACTURING RULES: ILLINOIS

Illinois is the latest US state to issue a comprehensive set of draft regulatory rules governing hydraulic fracturing. On Friday, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released a 150-page report containing the proposed rules, which will be reviewed by an oversight committee. Committee members have 45 days to block, change, or approve the rules as written. The rules will not go into effect until the committee completes its review.

 

The proposed regulations are meant to address numerous concerns about Illinois’ existing hydraulic fracturing regulatory structure. Roughly 30,000 comments were submitted to the DNR in response to the existing regulations. DNR director Marc Miller is quoted as saying that his staff had done “a thorough and thoughtful job” in sifting through those comments and preparing the report for committee approval.

 

The proposed rules contain stricter disclosure requirements with respect to the chemicals contained in fracking fluid. They also address regulations concerning open-pit wastewater storage. Public permit hearings must be held within a certain number of miles of a proposed well site. Permits, under the proposed rules, must be approved or denied within 60 days.

 

Once the rules are approved, drillers could begin applying for permits later this fall. It is believed that southern Illinois contains rich deposits of natural gas. While some anticipate a surge in jobs and a boon to the economy, it’s likely that land prices and environmental opposition will spike, too.