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Judges back state in standoff with SoCalGas; Energy Transfer to pay $30.6M fine


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Judges back state in standoff with SoCalGas; Energy Transfer to pay $30.6M fine

Judges rule in state's favor in standoff with SoCalGas over Aliso Canyon

California utility commission lawyers can question Southern California Gas Co. about its allegations against the state's lead investigator in the review of the massive 2015 natural gas leak at the company's Aliso Canyon storage facility, two adjudicators said. Administrative Law Judges Timothy Kenney and Marcelo Poirier on Dec. 30, 2019, upheld a subpoena from the California Public Utilities Commission's Safety and Enforcement Division that compelled SoCalGas to produce the person most knowledgeable of the company's allegations that Kenneth Bruno may have improperly influenced an earlier report on the accident. SoCalGas sought to quash the subpoena, but the judges determined the company's arguments were "unpersuasive" and said the safety division's questioning could lead to admissible evidence.

Pennsylvania levies record $30.6M fine on Energy Transfer

A subsidiary of midstream developer and operator Energy Transfer LP will pay $30.6 million for failing to promptly correct environmental violations discovered after the Revolution natural gas pipeline exploded in September 2018 after heavy rains and a landslide in Beaver County, Pa. The size of the fine, one of the largest civil penalties in the state, was due to failures by Energy Transfer subsidiary ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said.

New Yorkers mull lawsuits over National Grid gas moratorium despite settlement

National Grid USA's settlement with the New York utility regulator may not be sufficient to compensate customers impacted by a 2019 natural gas moratorium, which could lead the customers to pursue lawsuits against the company, according to consumer and building construction groups. National Grid on Nov. 25, 2019, agreed to pay up to $7 million to address financial hardships among residents and businesses denied gas service during the six-month moratorium on new hookups. However, some consumer and business advocates believe that the total cost to customers will easily surpass that figure.

Updated greenhouse gas emissions study supports LNG exports, US DOE says

An update to a U.S. Department of Energy study of greenhouse gas emissions associated with U.S. LNG exports still supports shipping natural gas to world markets. The update to the DOE study did not change any of the top-line conclusions that support LNG exports. The DOE found that the update is "fundamentally sound and supports the proposition that exports of LNG from the Lower 48 states will not be inconsistent with the public interest," according to a formal response published Jan. 2 in the Federal Register that addressed public comments.