By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a report titled, “Potential Domestic Terrorist Threats to Multi-State Diamond Pipeline Construction Project,” dated April 7 and first published by The Washington Examiner. The DHS field analysis report points to lessons from policing the Dakota Access pipeline, saying they can be applied to the ongoing controversy over the Diamond pipeline, which, when complete, will stretch from Cushing, Oklahoma to Memphis, Tennessee. While lacking “credible information” of such a potential threat, DHS concluded that “the most likely potential domestic terrorist threat to the Diamond Pipeline … is from environmental rights extremists motivated by resentment over perceived environmental destruction.” The Washington Examiner is owned by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, a former American Petroleum Institute board member. His company, Anschutz Exploration Corporation, is a major oil and gas driller involved in the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in states such as Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
By Maggie Henry for Beyond Extreme Energy. Fracking has destroyed my business and laid to waste everything my husband and I have worked our entire lives to build, our children’s inheritances, keep the farm going yet another generation? All destroyed! In the fall of 2014 I traveled to DC to take part in a week-long nonviolent blockade of FERC. I was one of about 80 people arrested that week, and I’ve continued to be active ever since. BXE has been a lifeline for me. Being associated with like-minded individuals around direct action nonviolent protest is just incredible! The support is emotionally healing in a way I find difficult to describe. I’m planning to be in DC again in a couple of weeks to take part in BXE’s April 26-29 convergence and actions.
By Melissa A. Troutman for Public Herald – As an elected official, it is Stacy Long’s sworn duty to protect her constituents. As a resident, and now as a supervisor of Grant Township in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, she and her fellow citizens have taken bold steps to fight against government and industry who want to force oil and gas waste into their rural community. “This isn’t a game. We’re being threatened by a corporation with a history of permit violations, and that corporation wants to dump toxic frack wastewater into our Township,” Long told Public Herald last year. In 2015, Grant Township adopted the nation’s first municipal charter establishing a local bill of rights with help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).
By Staff of Beyond Extreme Energy – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a proven rubber stamp for fracked gas pipelines. In 30 years the FERC Commissioners have only rejected one pipeline project. Right now, FERC is operating without a Quorum – it only has 2 Commissioners, not the needed 3. Until a new FERC Commissioner is approved by the Senate, the agency cannot issue the Certificates needed to approve fracked gas pipelines, compressors or LNG exports subject to its jurisdiction. This means communities are in a rare moment of protection. We need Congress to keep FERC in this power vacuum until steps are taken to replace it with an agency that’s about a just transition off fossil fuels. Any time now, President Trump will nominate new commissioners for Senate consideration and confirmation. Help us call on Congress to stop or delay Trump’s nominations, and to push for what we really need—a new agency dedicated to facilitating a just transition to an exploitation-free energy system based on locally controlled and distributed renewable sources.
By Staff of Energy Justice – U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson threw out the award and ordered a new trial unless the parties can come to a settlement.(Scranton, Pa.) – A federal judge has set aside a 2016 jury verdict and $4.24 million jury award to two couples from Dimock, Pennsylvania after the jury unanimously found Cabot Oil and Gas negligent for contaminating their well water during drilling for natural gas. The plaintiffs in the case are Nolen “Scott” Ely and his family, and Ray Hubert and his family who live next to the Elys. The Ely family has lived in Dimock since the 1800’s. Scott Ely said “The judge heard the same case that the jury heard and the jury was unanimous. How can he take it upon himself to set aside their verdict? It’s outrageous.” The Dimock federal civil litigation, which began under the caption Norma Fiorentino, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation and Gassearch Drilling Services, Inc. in 2009, and concludes under the caption, Nolen Scott Ely, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, had its final verdict in United States District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, located in Scranton, PA.
By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Annapolis, MD–The Maryland Senate voted 35-10 for a state-wide fracking ban late Monday. The state legislation marks a turning point against oil and gas industry plans to build fracking wells and feeder pipelines across Maryland. The vote came ten days after Republican Governor Larry Hogan came out opposed to the fossil energy extraction process. The Maryland Legislature had enacted a three-year moratorium on fracking in 2014. But tonight’s vote enshrined the ban as a permanent major environmental victory. Maryland is the first state to legislatively ban the process. It joins New York which banned fracking by executive order in 2015, and Vermont which banned it in 2012.
BY Lauren Macauley for Commondreams. Colorado – A group of Colorado teenagers scored a “huge” victory against the state’s fracking industry on Thursday when a three-judge panel ruled that the health of citizens and environment takes precedence over oil and gas interests. The decision, handed down by the Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday, requires that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) consider a petition from six youth plaintiffs, which asks the board to suspend the issuance of fracking permits “until it can be done without adversely impacting human health and safety and without impairing Colorado’s atmospheric resource and climate system, water, soil, wildlife, and other biological resources.” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 16-year-old plaintiff and youth director of the Boulder-based Earth Guardians, declared after the ruling: “Our movement to fight for the rights of people and our environment is evolving.
By Becca Tucker for Dirt – Not if you live across the Hudson River. As Indian Point prepares to power down in affluent Westchester County, NY, protesters are marching weekly at the site of a brand new power plant under construction 30 miles to the northwest, in working class Orange County, NY. The CPV Valley Energy Center, if it goes online, will burn fracked gas piped in from Pennsylvania, releasing emissions that pose many of the same health risks that fracking does. “You can’t trade poisons and trade victims and call it an environmental victory,” said Pramilla Malick, a mother and neighbor of the power plant, whose arrest for blocking the CPV construction site launched her into politics.
By Nicholas Kusnetz for Inside Climate News – The nation’s regulation of oil and gas development is a mish-mash of disjointed state oversight that makes it difficult to quantify the environmental impacts of drilling. A new study highlights just how inconsistent spill reporting is, showing that the range in requirements makes it impossible to compare states or come up with a comprehensive national picture. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, pulled together some of the disparate data and found there have been about 5 spills each year for every 100 wells that have been hydraulically fractured. Of the states examined, North Dakota had the highest rate of spills while Colorado companies reported just 11 spills per 1,000 wells annually. But some or all of that difference may be due to the huge differences in what the states ask oil companies to report. North Dakota requires operators to report any spill of 42 gallons or more, while Colorado and New Mexico generally don’t ask for anything smaller than 210 gallons. Texas, the nation’s top oil and gas producing state, wasn’t even included in the study because detailed data was not easily accessible.
By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – The anti-Trump resistance isn’t just about marching on Capitol Hill; it’s about organizing and showing up for your community, every day. “If you want to figure out what democracy is, if you want to figure out what America, it’s this in a room like this,” documentary filmmaker Josh Fox explained from the Delaware River Basin Commission Public Hearing in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. “Two hundred and fifty people at a hearing in the middle of the day, took off from work, and they decided that [they're] going to stand up and fight against the oil industry.” Governors from four states, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, head the Delaware River Basin Commission. Over 15 million people depend on the agency’s regulation of their water supply. The meeting was held in response to President Trump’s gutting of environmental regulations that would expose regions such as northeastern Pennsylvania to drilling and fracking.
By Staff of Catskill Citizens – President Donald Trump has already made it clear that he intends to trash climate change agreements and give the fossil fuel industry exactly what it wants. But the pipeline projects being pushed by the Trump Administration cannot move forward unless they are first approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—and FERC can’t operate without a quorum. The five-member commission has been operating with only three members, and today it lost another one. With just two members left, it won’t be able to approve any more infrastructure projects until at least one new commissioner is seated—and the Senate has the ability to block Trump’s FERC appointments. The inability of FERC to do business actually counts as a step forward because for years the commission has been little more than a captive agency of the oil and gas industry, routinely greenlighting infrastructure projects with little regard for public safety.
By Fossil Free Rhode Island for IR Future – , D.C.—At the status hearing today in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, three of the FERC4, Peter Nightingale of Kingston RI, Claude Guillemard of Baltimore, MD, Ellen Taylor of Washington, D.C., and Donald Weightman of Philadelphia, PA, committed to representing themselves at their criminal trial, scheduled for June 21, 2017. The FERC4 were arrested with three other activists during a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in May, 2016. The action was part of the Rubber Stamp Rebellion, a demonstration led by the activist group Beyond Extreme Energy. The FERC4 have been charged with “unlawful entry,” Attorney Mark Goldstone will advise the FERC4 and represent Ellen Taylor, who stated: “We need to show the world that FERC is on trial.”
By Lorne Stockman for Oil Change International – Long before Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway took the phrase ‘alternative facts’ mainstream, a rogue federal agency with authority to ram giant gas pipelines through people’s property against their will has for years pioneered the Trumpian version of reality when assessing the climate impact of natural gas infrastructure. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an “independent” agency that regulates the interstate transmission of gas and electricity, has permitted nearly 200 interstate gas pipeline projects stretching over 6,000 miles since 2009, and rejected only a single application. For each of these permitted projects an environmental impact statement was conducted. Where climate was assessed in these studies, the conclusion has always been the same – “no significant impact”.
By Staff of Oil Change International – Two studies released today find that if built, the controversial Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants — some 158 million metric tons a year. The studies, released by Oil Change International, build upon a new methodology, also released today, for calculating the climate impacts of natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian Basin based on the evolving science of methane leakage and its impact on our climate. The studies show that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is out of date on measuring climate impacts, and is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country. “Our analysis shows that both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are climate disasters.
By the Society of Native Nations. The Society of Native Nations (SNN) has been asked by the Big Bend Defense Coalition of Alpine, TX and the surrounding communities in West Texas to help stop the Trans Pecos Pipeline. SNN has committed to help by starting a camp, which will be open on Dec 30, 2016 to receive Water Protectors. The camp has been named “Two Rivers Camp”, known as “La Junta de los Rios” by the local native communities such as the Jumano, Apache and Conchos People. The Trans Pecos Pipeline (TPPL) is owned by Kelcy Warren, billionaire and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the same company that owns the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The TPPL is a fracked gas pipeline that is being built through west Texas. It will go under The Rio Grande River into Mexico where the gas will be exported to various foreign countries.