These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Natural Gas Pipeline

Construction of a natural gas pipeline, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Niteshift, CC BY-SA 3.0.

  • Pennsylvania property owners are fighting back against a pipeline operator looking to use eminent domain to build a pipeline project expected to cross 2,700 properties statewide. Judge Linda Carpenter has indicated that the project may by outside the jurisdiction of the Public Utility Commission that granted Sunoco the public utility status needed to use eminent domain.
  • The largest oil producer in North Dakota is suspending its well completion operations and is cutting spending by 80% because of the low cost of crude oil. Whiting Petroleum Corp. announced that its drilled wells won’t undergo fracking until oil prices rebound.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that methane emissions across the country are higher than originally believed. The government has claimed that proposed rules to reduce methane emissions could increase the oil and gas industry’s profits by $115 million to $188 million per year if the recovered methane is sold.
  • It’s official: the 112-day Aliso Canyon methane leak in California was the largest methane release ever in the United States.
  • Because the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is capped at 10,000 visas per year, including family members, only about 3,500 investor applicants are granted visas each year. This has created a backlog of more than 19,000 EB-5 investor applications waiting for approval, and some analysts fear that investors will seek investment immigration opportunities elsewhere if the EB-5 visa cap is not raised.