Shale Daily

Briefs -- Impulsora Pipeline, WV Budget, Ohio Dumping Case

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved amendments to authorization it previously granted Impulsora Pipeline LLC (previously Columbia Pipeline LLC) for border crossing natural gas pipeline facilities between the United States and Mexico for a project that would carry gas from the Eagle Ford Shale to markets in Mexico [CP16-70]. Impulsora no longer plans to build one of the previously-authorized parallel pipelines in Texas at the international border between the United States and Mexico, FERC said. The border crossing would be in Webb County, TX, and near Colombia in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The project would be constructed by Impulsora, a unit of San Antonio-based Howard Energy Partners LLC, which provides midstream services mainly in the Eagle Ford. Last year, FERC approved plans for parallel 36-inch and 12-inch diameter pipelines (see Shale Daily,May 15, 2015). The company has determined that it will only need the 36-inch diameter pipeline, FERC said.

After a three-month impasse, the West Virginia Legislature passed a $4.2 billion 2016-2017 budget. The state has long relied on coal and natural gas severance taxes to balance its budget, but the commodities downturn has strained its finances. It has already cut state spending on the falling revenues (see Shale DailyOct. 6, 2015). Lawmakers couldn't agree on tax increases or spending cuts earlier this year, when they gathered for their regular session, forcing Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to call a special session that lasted for 17 days. Ultimately, the legislature agreed on a tax hike on cigarettes to generate $98 million, which was combined with $120 million in spending cuts and one-time funds, along with money from the state's rainy day fund to close a $270 million budget shortfall.

A federal court has sentenced a Monroe County, OH, man to four days in jail, two years of probation, community service and ordered him to pay a $70,000 fine for dumping oilfield waste into a ditch repeatedly. Donald Hercher, owner of legacy producer Hercher Oil Co. was discovered dumping roughly 50 gallons/week of drilling waste into a ditch in Monroe County. The case is reminiscent of another in Northeast Ohio. A federal court sentenced Ben W. Lupo to 28 months in federal prison in 2014 and ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine for his role in directing employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of oilfield waste down a drain that led into a major river (see Shale DailyAug. 6, 2014). Those incidents occurred in Youngstown at the headquarters of former businesses owned by Lupo, including D&L Energy Inc. and Hardrock Excavating LLC.

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