natural gas

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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.

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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.

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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.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline through Virginia are pressing Gov. Terry McAuliffe to join forces with them.

They delivered more than 5,000 signatures to the governor Tuesday demanding that he rescind his support of the $5 billion project.

McAuliffe supports the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline and has called it a "game changer" that would bring deliver cheap natural gas and jobs. Opponents say the pipeline will hurt the environment and property values.

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OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - Real-estate brokers in far western Maryland are supporting a proposal in the Maryland General Assembly for an eight-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas pending further study.

The Garrett County Board of Realtors expressed concern Tuesday about the possible impact of fracking on public health. They say fears of health problems from well-water contamination can reduce home values by at least 20 percent.

Garrett County contains most of Maryland's share of the gas-rich Marcellus shale.

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Maryland and Delaware will not be participating in oil exploration off the Atlantic Coast.

But the state of Virginia will.

The Obama Administration recently announced that it is opening up the Atlantic Coast for off shore drilling – something that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley came out against in a New York Times Op-Ed.

He said that the lessons of oil spills like the BP incident in the Gulf have been forgotten.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Another Virginia county is opposing a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline.

Media outlets report that the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution opposing the Mountain Valley Pipeline on Tuesday.

Supervisors say they're concerned about the pipeline's route, which would take it near the Spring Hollow Reservoir. They also say they haven't had adequate input on the project.

Montgomery County supervisors approved a resolution opposing the pipeline's route in November.

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The town of Hurlock may turn to natural gas to cut its heating bills.

The Hurlock Citizens and Seniors Association would like to tap into a natural gas pipeline that runs through the town.

The group told WBOC that the pipeline has been sitting unused along the railroad line since 1860.

Chesapeake Utilities says two industrial companies have been using natural gas from the pipeline but believes that extending it to the rest of the town would be more difficult than installing it in newer developments.

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (AP) - Dominion Resources is seeking permission to survey properties along the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline.

The News-Virginian reports that Dominion has sent letters to the owners of 3,331 tracts in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The letters ask permission for Dominion employees to survey the properties.

So far, 72 percent of owners have given the company permission to survey. About 12 percent have declined.

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (AP) - Dominion Resources is seeking permission to survey properties along the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline.

The News-Virginian reports that Dominion has sent letters to the owners of 3,331 tracts in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The letters ask permission for Dominion employees to survey the properties.

So far, 72 percent of owners have given the company permission to survey. About 12 percent have declined.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe has made energy a key component of his administration, promoting natural gas through the state and encouraging efficiency in response to climate change.

Wednesday, the Democrat is expected to outline his energy vision in great detail when he releases his energy plan for the state. Like his predecessor, McAuliffe has promoted an "all of the above" approach to energy development.

In June, McAuliffe established the Virginia Energy Council to develop recommendations for the plan, which is submitted to the General Assembly.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - More than two dozen activists have been arrested following a protest against plans to build a facility in Maryland to liquefy and export natural gas.

The protesters oppose the plans by Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Resources to build the plant in Lusby, Maryland. They fear the plant will prove a boon to drillers who are using relatively new technology, commonly called fracking, to extract vast quantities of previously inaccessible fuel.

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FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) - A state panel developing recommendations for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in western Maryland is making progress toward a final report this fall.

The agenda for Friday's meeting in Frostburg includes a discussion of loose ends to be tied up before the panel completes its work.

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An underground pipeline running along Route 13 down to the town of Accomac could be carrying natural gas.

No vote has been taken on a franchise agreement between Somerset Utilities and Accomack County but several members of the Board of Supervisors say they like the idea.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that LVI Power would oversee the operation and manage the financial part of the business. 

Somerset County has already signed off on a similar agreement.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of Delaware's congressional delegation are joining state officials in celebrating the conversion of a coal-fired power plant in Dover to cleaner-burning natural gas.

Officials planned to gather Friday at the NRG Energy Center in Dover to tout the facility's conversion to a high-efficiency combined-cycle natural gas facility.

Officials say NRG worked for a year on the conversion, which they say will reduce air emissions while providing clean, reliable and cost-effective power.