natural gas

The pipeline that will bring natural gas to Somerset County got a final license approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works. Delmarva Public Media's Don Rush takes a look at the project and the surrounding environmental controversy.

Geo-Technology Associates

It's called the Del-Mar Energy Pathway. And, the pipeline would bring natural gas to Somerset County. Chesapeake Bay Journal reporter Jeremy Cox tells Delmarva Public  Media's Don Rush that some opposition is beginning to be heard. (Part 2)


A pipeline is in the works to bring natural gas to Somerset County. It's  called the Del-Mar Energy Pathway and is coming closer to fruition. Jeremy Cox, a reporter for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, described for Delmarva Public Media's Don Rush the basic rationale for the pipeline. (Part 1)

Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy has been fined $40-thousand for turning on a bank of natural gas-powered fuel cells before the state of Delaware gave it permission.

In addition the company operated the fuel cells above that which is allowed by state regulators.

The company must also pay the state around $54-hundred in recovery costs.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that this is the first significant sanction against Bloom Energy by state official since the company was provided with hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to bring the manufacturing facility to Delaware.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delmarva Power is asking Delaware utility regulators to approve increases in its electricity and natural gas bills.

The company's request to increase its distribution system improvement charges was to be considered Tuesday by Public Service Commission regulators.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delmarva Power is asking state utility regulators for permission to build a liquefied natural gas storage facility in northern Delaware.

According to a docket filing last week, the facility would be built on property near Red Lion that is already home to a Delmarva Power substation and a Bloom Energy fuel cell generation facility.

Delmarva is proposing to build five 100,000-gallon gas storage tanks, with the possibility of adding five more to meet future customer demands.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware utility regulators are being urged to reject a challenge to a deal under which Delmarva Power customers are forced to pay tens of millions of dollars to a California-based fuel cell manufacturer.

Public Service Commission staff and Delaware's public advocate say the commission has no authority to change the tariff deal between Delmarva Power and Bloom Energy. The commission is scheduled to discuss the matter Tuesday.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Dominion Energy Virginia's latest long-term power forecast calls for an increase in solar generation as well as the construction of at least eight new natural gas-fired power plants.

Virginia's largest utility laid out its plans Tuesday in a regulatory filing called an integrated resource plan. The plan is intended to show how the company will meet customer needs and comply with regulations over a 15-year span.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Rep. Andy Harris says he doesn't support offshore drilling off Maryland's coast.

Harris, the only Republican in Maryland's congressional delegation, was asked about his position at a recent town hall.

Harris says he supports the concept of offshore drilling, but he opposes it where local jurisdictions don't want it. Harris, who represents the Eastern Shore, said: "since Ocean City and the local jurisdictions do oppose it in Maryland, I oppose it off the coast of Maryland."

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Plans for a natural gas pipeline are underway for Somerset and Accomack Counties.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Baltimore-based equity firm H4 Capital Partners have been carrying out engineering work and seeking private interest.

The proposed 180-mile pipeline would connect to a natural gas pipeline in Cecil County.

It would run through Kent, Queen Anne’s and Somerset counties including alongside Route 13 south of Salisbury.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials have set a new date for a meeting on potentially reopening the Virginia coastline to oil and gas drilling.

The Virginian-Pilot reports the meeting is now scheduled for Feb.21. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management put off a meeting in January near Richmond due to a snowstorm.

In January, President Donald Trump's administration announced it'll seek to dramatically expand offshore oil and gas exploration.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said Florida's entire coastline would be removed from the plan. 

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NEWTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A regulatory commission that oversees water quality in the Delaware River and its tributaries has taken an initial step to permanently ban natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The five-member Delaware River Basin Commission on Wednesday approved a measure to begin the lengthy process of enacting a formal ban on drilling and fracking, the technique that's spurred a U.S. production boom in shale gas and oil.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Several environmental groups are suing the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality over part of the permitting process for two proposed natural gas pipelines.

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, Bold Alliance and Preserve Craig Inc. filed suit this week in Richmond Circuit Court. They're challenging an approval DEQ granted in April that allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct the broader of two types of water quality reviews for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Dominion Virginia Power says despite the current uncertainty over Obama-era environmental regulations, it is committed to increasing the amount of electricity it generates from solar power in the coming decades.

Virginia's largest utility laid out its long-range forecast of electricity demand and production Monday in a regulatory filing called an integrated resource plan.

The company says it plans to add at least 5,200 megawatts of new solar generation in the next 25 years.

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HANCOCK, Md. (AP) - Environmental activists are pledging a sustained campaign against a proposed pipeline beneath the Potomac River to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

Scores of demonstrators crowded a TransCanada open house Thursday in the western Maryland town of Hancock about the company's Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project.

Russell Mokhiber of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, told the peaceful protesters they can defeat the pipeline.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello says if elected he'll work to block construction of two proposed natural gas pipelines.

Perriello announced his opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline at a Richmond news conference Wednesday.

The former congressman said the proposed pipelines, which have drawn opposition from environmentalists and property owners, are a bad investment and Virginia should instead focus on energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.

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HANCOCK, Md. (AP) - A Potomac River protection group is organizing a demonstration against plans for a pipeline beneath the river that would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

Brent Walls of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network says demonstrators plan a silent protest Thursday night at an open house that TransCanada officials are holding in Hancock to discuss the plan.

The company says the project would increase supply options and system reliability.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware environmental officials say rebates have been increased for residents and businesses that own or lease battery electric vehicles.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said in a news release Thursday that vehicles which run solely on batteries using no other fuels can get up to $3,500 rebates.

DNREC also says up to $1,500 in rebates is available for plug-in hybrid electric, propane and natural gas vehicles.

The new rebate amounts apply to vehicles and equipment purchased on or after Nov. 1.

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Some 130-thousand homes in New Castle County will be seeing their natural gas bills go up this winter.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that there will be a 6 percent increase or a hike of $6.63 per month on residential customers.

The paper say that means a jump from an average $114 a month to $121.

Delmarva Power says the hike represents the transportation and purchase costs for natural gas.

The company points out that customers have experienced a $48 reduction in their overall gas bills since 2010.

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OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - An advisory panel in far western Maryland is reviewing proposed state's regulations for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

The Garrett County Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Advisory Group meets Tuesday evening in Oakland. The agenda includes a review of proposed regulations the Department of the Environment released for public comment last month.

The advisory panel has been pressing for specific regulations aimed at protecting public health and the environment of Garrett County, where most fracking activity would occur.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland environmental officials are proposing new regulations for the natural gas drilling technique known as fracking.

The Washington Post reports that Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles calls the drilling guidelines proposed Monday "the most stringent and protective regulations in the country."

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) - As authorities investigate the cause of a deadly explosion and apartment fire in an apartment complex outside the nation's capital, they are looking into reports that residents smelled natural gas before the blast.

Two people were killed, others are missing and more than 30 were taken to hospitals for treatment. Police did not release the identities of the dead.

Firefighters used ladders to rescue people from upper floors, and residents tossed children from balconies to safety below.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delmarva Power is asking Delaware regulators to approve higher base rates for the company's electric and natural gas customers.

Under rate proposals unveiled Tuesday, a typical residential customer's electric bill would increase by $10.23 per month, more than 7 percent higher than the existing rate.

The company is also seeking to increase its natural gas rates, which would result in a typical residential customer paying $13.55 more per month, more than 10 percent higher than the current rate.

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The Obama administration has decided against offshore drilling along southeast coastal areas.

And the announcement was hailed by environmentalists as a major victory.

The Assateague Coastal Trust issued a statement in which they said this was the result of a major effort by the coastal communities to speak out against oil and natural gas development.

The Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that the decision would protect the sensitive areas while safely developing the nation’s energy resources.

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Accomack County officials gave a thumbs down to the federal government’s plan for offshore oil and natural gas exploration.

The vote on the Accomack County board of supervisors at the session was unanimous.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that during the meeting it was noted that Maryland and Delaware have both opted out of offshore exploration.

The federal government has included an area 50 miles off the Virginia coast as part of its draft version of the five year plan starting next year.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Seventeen groups in Virginia and West Virginia are seeking a say on a 301-mile natural gas pipeline that would carve a path through both states.

The groups are seeking so-called intervenor status with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its review of the Mountain Valley pipeline.

The groups are opposed to the energy project, contending it would cause irreparable harm to the environment and private property. The groups include the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action, among others.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Hearings are scheduled this week on proposed new rules for oil and gas drilling in Virginia's coastal plain.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has scheduled hearings Monday and Tuesday in the Fredericksburg area and in Richmond.

The hearings will focus on proposed changes in so-called fracking, a drilling process that uses a cocktail of water and chemicals to free natural gas from shale.

Among the changes in proposed rules is the greater disclosure of those chemicals used in hydraulic fracking.

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VERONA, Va. (AP) - Dominion Resources Inc. has revised the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline in Augusta County to avoid a water supply.

The company tells multiple media outlets that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's new route would affect 40 properties.

Dominion says the route will avoid the Lyndhurst Source Water Protection Area, also known as the Lyndhurst Well. It's the county's largest water supply.

County leaders had voiced concerns over possible contamination of the water supply.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service has hundreds of concerns and comments on the prospect of a pipeline carrying natural gas through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.

The comments by Forest Supervisor H. Thomas Speaks Jr. are addressed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in response to filings by the builders of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline would transport fracked natural gas from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina.

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The Delaware legislature slipped $7.5 million into the state’s capital budget to provide a grant for a data center that has drawn some opposition from the residents of Middletown.

Representative Quinn Johnson, who represents the Middletown area, supports the data center and the power plant that goes along with it.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports that Pete Sullivan, a member of Residents Concerned About the Middletown Power Plant, said residents urged Johnson to oppose the measure in the budget.