Blue Light Report - Jan / Feb 2017

Get the most up to date information about what Local 798 is doing to support pipeline projects and communities across the country. The Blue Light Report reviews the great work pipeliners are doing to advocate with a collective voice for pipeline infrastructure and the next steps that can be taken to connect energy resources to those communities that need it most.

I am writing this report after hearing of the rejection of a river crossing by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Dakota Access Pipeline. This project is 1,172 miles of 30” pipe designed to send American Bakken crude to an American refinery in Patoka, Illinois. It is all but complete except 1,100 ft. under Lake Oahe. This crossing was permitted in July and then was reviewed by not just one Federal judge, but also by a three-member panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after suit was brought by environmentalists. The four judges all agreed the permit was good, but before the ink was dry on the decision our current Administration bowed to pressure from a small group of radicals who have terrorized not only our workers, but the regulating process itself.

I wish I could tell you how this will pan out, but I’m still scratching my head as to why our government agencies are allowing themselves to be held hostage and cannot seem to hold to their original regulatory decision. Nobody wants to contaminate the water or desecrate burial sites. That is why the regulations and permitting processes are in place and are adhered to. Private investments in energy transportation is critical to our economy and security. Those investments will shut down if our government cannot be counted on with certainty when it comes to final permitting. Going forward, this indecision will have devastating effects on when and how clients in the pipeline industry make decisions about future projects to be built. The only silver lining that I see from this miscarriage of process is that the clients will need more structured advocacy for their projects, and who better than organized labor to fulfill that role. As I stated in my last report, we are moving forward utilizing social media to help advocate for not just our jobs, but our livelihood and our clients. Whether you believe in Keeping America Great or Let’s Make America Great Again, I think we could all agree that for our country to remain the undisputable leader of the free world, it will have to include a balanced energy policy that will involve the building up and maintenance of the pipeline infrastructure of this country. We are at a crucial crossroads in this world when we let the ideologies of a few dictate the future of America’s energy policies and our security.

The votes have been counted and your voice has been heard. I would like to thank all the candidates that ran for all the various boards for their participation. There was a robust number of qualified candidates, and I would like to congratulate the winners. Thanks again for your support of Wade and myself, along with the offices of President, Vice-President and Recording Secretary, with a no opposition, white ticket. I look forward to working with each of the new board members.

The work outlook continues to be very strong with man-hours finishing out around 6.5 million for 2016. The following information will clearly explain what an energy revolution we are involved in. In 1999, before the widespread production of shale gas in the U.S., the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimate was that the U.S. had just eight years of natural gas reserves left. Today, thanks to new natural gas discoveries, many experts agree the U.S. has a 100-year supply of natural gas. According to the EIA, the Marcellus natural gas shale formation, primarily in Pennsylvania, is one of the largest natural gas supply areas in the country. In 2015 it was producing about 17 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day, accounting for about 18 percent of total U.S. wellhead production – up from just three percent in 2010. By 2020, Wood Mackenzie forecasts the Marcellus will account for 31 percent of total U.S. production.

The modern natural gas boom has given the U.S. a chance to achieve genuine energy independence and seriously cut down on carbon emissions. Because of its environmental advantages, natural gas fuels one-third of electric power generation and heats half of all U.S. homes – and those numbers continue to climb. Although the price of natural gas has fallen to historic lows in some regions of the U.S., a lack of sufficient underground pipeline infrastructure has prevented most consumers from fully realizing the advantages of this abundant, economic resource. Currently we are anxiously awaiting the start of many large and small projects including: the Nexus with 250 miles of 36”/42”; the Rover with 711 miles of 42”; the Atlantic Coast with 580 miles of 20”- 42”; the Atlantic Sunrise with 57 miles of 30” and 126 miles of 42”; the Mountaineer Xpress with 150 miles of 36”; the Mountain Valley with 300 miles of 42”; the Mariner East II with 360 miles of 20”; and the Pilgrim Pipeline with  178 miles of 16” and 178 miles of 20”. These are just a few of the projects that are awaiting permits. Steward School is just around the corner on April 12-14, 2017. Please make arrangements to attend now.

We have started the negotiations for our National Pipeline Agreement. If you have any thoughts on this matter, please drop me a line. As always, I am proud to say, “I work for you the greatest pipeliners in the world.” 

Daniel C. Hendrix, Business Manager 

MORE 798 STORIES

  • Bluelight Northeast - Mar/Apr 2017
    I am writing this Blue Light report after returning from the 2017 Marcellus-Utica Conference. This year’s conference had a more positive atmosphere due to expected deregulation of the current permitting process. During the conference I listened to gas company CEOs speak about how great the demand is for Northeast Marcellus gas. When there is demand, you need supply, and that is where 798 steps in. The pipelines we build supply the gas needed as our country continues to grow and inevitably demands more energy. There are quite a few projects scheduled for this year, and in 2018 that will help with the supply vs. demand issue that we currently face.
  • Bluelight Southwest - Mar/Apr 2017
    I am writing my report from my office in Colorado where we have had a hard winter this year. Spring is starting to try to peak through, and we are all ready to get the year started off right by attending the Local Union 798 Steward School in Tulsa, OK.
  • Bluelight Midwest - Mar/Apr 2017
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, President Trump has been busy his first week on the job. Just as he promised on the campaign trail, he has pushed for the construction to finish on the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL. I’m not sure when we might see the KXL, but I feel fairly confident that the DAPL will be tied-in at the river before long. Many people, including myself, are wondering about the future pipeline permits now that FERC has only two commissioners. This board usually requires three members for a quorum to make decisions, so moving forward this board needs at least one appointment to fulfill its obligation. Even if an appointment is made, that person would have to be vetted through the Senate, which could take weeks or months. Who knows? At least six major projects totaling more than 10 billion dollars hang in the balance. This includes the Nexus, 250 miles of 36”/42”; PennEast,120 miles of 36”; and Northern Access Pipeline, 97 miles of 24”. Ten billion dollars worth of work is the exact reason we must continue to reach out through our Action Page to advocate for this infrastructure.
  • Bluelight Texas - Mar/Apr 2017
    Brothers and Sisters, I am writing this report from West Texas while checking on non-union jobs. The work out here is still slow, but a few smaller jobs are going on. It seems the drilling is starting to pick up in this area so that’s always a good sign for us. As usual, when the work slows the non-union waste no time slashing wages and good conditions are nonexistent. Many are working for contract wages with no overtime, furnishing consumables or liability insurance.