Enbridge Suspends Access Northeast Natural Gas Pipeline Plan

Access Northeast would serve natural gas generators in New England through an expansion of the Algonquin pipeline system. (Enbridge)

By Mary C. Serreze for Mass Live – For lack of policies that support project financing, another New England natural gas pipeline proposal has been put on ice. The Houston-based Enbridge on Thursday suspended federal permitting for its $3.2 billion Access Northeast, which would upgrade 125 miles of the Algonquin pipeline system to serve around 60 percent of the New England power sector. Enbridge had partnered with Eversource Energy and National Grid to advance the project through Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC. It is “no longer in the interest of stakeholders” to continue federal review of the project, a lawyer for Algonquin told public officials in a June 29 email. Inconsistent energy policies across the Northeast states are to blame, wrote Atty. Jon N. Bonsall of the Boston-based Keegan Werlin. Natural gas pipeline developers have been seeking a mechanism for cost recovery in the New England states, such as a tariff on ratepayers. While an increasing number of power generators burn natural gas, they are reluctant to commit to binding contracts for the fuel, in the way that local gas distributors do. An alternative finance mechanism where electric ratepayers would foot the bill for pipeline capacity on behalf of power generators was shot down last year by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Dozens Return To Rally At State House For Safety Study

Kayactivists on land and water protest Dominion at Solomon's Island in Cove Point community, by Jimmy Betts.

By Staff of We Are Cove Point – On Monday July 3, 2017, a few dozen people gathered again outside the State House in Annapolis to urge Governor Hogan not to turn his back on the people of Southern Maryland. A week and a half ago, Governor Hogan’s office finally responded to our request for a safety study, known formally as a Quantitative Risk Assessment or QRA, for the gas refinery, power plant and export terminal being built by Virginia-based Dominion Energy in the neighborhood of Cove Point with a resounding, “No.” The news has been a great disappointment to say the least, but We Are Cove Point and allies are not giving up the fight. Given the gas explosion yesterday in Lancaster, PA that shredded an entire house beyond recognition, killing one man and injuring three people, anxiety levels ran high at the rally today. If one small gas pipe can destroy a house, damage surrounding homes and be felt miles away, the thought of what a 410,000 gallon tank of propane and other large tanks of chemicals to be stored in Cove Point could do is terrifying. A group of five, including Jeff Dixon who lives close to the facility, Craig Stevens, an anti-fracking activist from Pennsylvania and Dr. Margaret Flowers of Baltimore, a resident of Annapolis and a resident of North Beach, went into the State House to deliver a letter to the Governor asking that he reconsider his refusal to order a safety study.

Dakota Pipeline Builder Rebuffed By Feds In Bid To Restart Work On Troubled Ohio Gas Project

Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, drew federal regulators’ attention after a series of violations in Ohio at its Rover pipeline project. Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – The builder of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline was told by federal regulators Thursday that it cannot resume construction on new sections of its other major project, the troubled Rover gas pipeline in Ohio, following a massive spill and a series of violations. In mid-April, Energy Transfer Partners spilled several million gallons of thick construction mud into some of Ohio’s highest-quality wetlands, smothering vegetation and aquatic wildlife in an area that helps filter water between farmland and nearby waterways. New data reveals the amount of mud released may be more than double the initial estimate of about 2 million gallons. Fully restoring the wetlands could take decades, Ohio environmental officials have said. Officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered Energy Transfer Partners to halt construction there on May 10. At the time, FERC told the company it could continue work at the rest of its construction sites, but it could not start new operations. The order identified eight future work locations to be temporarily off limits.

Fearing More Pipeline Spills, 114 Groups Demand Halt To Ohio Gas Project

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By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – More than 100 local and environmental groups are demanding federal regulators immediately halt all construction on Energy Transfer Partners’ Rover gas pipeline after a series of environmental violations, including a massive spill that fouled sensitive wetlands in Ohio with several million gallons of construction mud. The groups’ concerns go beyond the Rover pipeline. They also urged federal officials to “initiate an immediate review of horizontal drilling plans and procedures on all open pipeline dockets.” “We think that FERC’s review process has been delinquent so far and not thorough enough, both on this issue with respect to the horizontal drilling practices and other construction processes, but also on broader environmental issues, as well such as the climate impacts of the pipelines like Rover,” said David Turnbull, campaigns director for the research and advocacy group Oil Change International, one of 114 groups that signed a letter sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday. FERC last week ordered Energy Transfer Partners to not start construction at any new sites along the pipeline route following the spill

Utility Survey: Trump Will Not Stop the Clean Energy Transition

Power Lines

By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative. The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States. But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables. That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.

Trump, Putin & The Pipelines To Nowhere

High-carbon industries have no future (credit: Pixabay)

By Alex Steffen for Medium. It is not hyperbole to say that swelling the Carbon Bubble is not only not in the interests of the United States, it increases threats to our economy and national security, puts Americans at risk, undermines our prosperity and weakens our nation. It’s hard to call defending high carbon interests anything but unpatriotic. People who are looking to understand what the Trump gang is up to would do well to consider his gang’s actions through the lens of the Carbon Bubble. Understand that the amounts of money at stake are vast, nearly inconceivable to most of us, and highly concentrated in the hands of the people in Trump’s cabinet and their close friends and business allies. We need to focus: The most serious political fight on the planet — the need to end use of coal, oil and gas — is at the center of America’s current political crisis.

Gas Industry Execs Get A Very Bumpy Tour Of Cove Point

From wearecovepoint.org. Locked to the side mirror of the tour bus

By Staff of We Are Cove Point – Activists made an impact on both sides of a tour of Dominion’s export terminal at Cove Point this morning, with a lockdown onto the tour bus as it tried to leave Washington, DC, and local residents greeting it with a large banner as it came into Cove Point, Maryland. Kiewit, the lead contractor in the construction of Dominion’s $3,8 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at Cove Point, scheduled a tour of the Cove Point facility as the closing activity of the North American Gas Forum in Washington, DC.

A Plea From Pennsylvania: Don’t Accept Our Fracked Gas

Protesters march against fracking. (Photo: Garry Knight/flickr/cc)

By Staff of Broad Alliance – As one of the so-called “dragon ships” arrives in Grangemouth (September 27, 2016) carrying fracked gas from the United States, the great and the good of Scotland have been invited to a ritzy celebration at INEOS’ shiny new HQ. But the Broad Alliance sees nothing to celebrate. Instead we share this plea from a community affected by this dirty business

26 Pipeline Fighters Arrested In West Roxbury

Roxbuy pipeline protest by Kelsey Erickson

By Nancy Wilson for Resist the Pipeline & Stop the West Roxbury Lateral. Twenty-six people were arrested for disrupting cement pouring at the construction site of the controversial West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. The West Roxbury Lateral is part of Spectra Energy’s massive pipeline expansion project, which aims to transport gas from the shalefields of Pennsylvania through the Northeastern United States to Canada, where several large Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals are being built. This project has been met with massive public dissidence from local residents of West Roxbury and their many allies. In addition to the 26 arrestees, at least 100 sang, chanted, held banners and stood in solidarity with them as they were handcuffed and driven away in police wagons. Organizers are expecting upwards of 125 people to risk arrest over the course of the week and hundreds more to rally in support of this week of actions, which they are calling, “Escalation Summer”.

EPA Official Covered Up Methane Leakage Problems

Touché Howard, the author of a new paper, says a device measuring methane leaks could be providing readings that are too low. Credit Alex Boerner for The New York Times

By Jim Warren for NC Warn – Durham, NC – A watchdog group today charged that a high-ranking federal official connected to the fossil fuel industry committed scientific fraud and possibly criminal misconduct in a case with sweeping ramifications for global climate change and the safety of workers and neighbors of natural gas sites across much of the United States. The group called for an expedited investigation due to the urgent climate and safety implications of the EPA’s failure to curb widespread methane emissions.

Spectra-Funded Group Lobbied For FERC Commissioner's Reappointment

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By Itai Vardi for Desmog – A business advocacy group lobbied for the reappointment of a federal energy commissioner while one of its own members sought approval for several projects from the same federal regulator, a DeSmog investigation has found. In the past three years, natural gas infrastructure giant Spectra Energy has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval for a number of projects in the US Northeast.

Climate Resistance Breaks Free From Fossil Fuels

Albany NY block oil train

From Rising Tide of North America. Below is a live blog of tweets reporting on the Break Free protests. For the past week, across the world people have been standing up to power of the fossil fuel industry. Rising Tide North America will be sharing live updates from Break Free actions through the weekend. Tweet from the United States, Canada, Germany and Ecuador. People came on land and on the water. The protested refineries, coal, coal trains and carbon infrastructure. People used banners, processions, sit-ins and tripods — and more. The global uprising across the world called for humanity to break fee from fossil fuels.

Newsletter - End The Political Charade

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This week, on Earth Day, representatives from 130 countries gathered at the United Nations in New York City to sign the climate treaty agreed upon in Paris last December. As they smiled for the camera and promised to do their best to hold the temperature down, climate activists posted an open letter stating that it is too late, the climate emergency is already here. Leading up to the signing of the Paris Treaty this week were actions to stop the advance of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Many events to mark the one year anniversary are taking place this week and the next in Baltimore to remember the uprising. Erica Chenoweth, the author of “How Civil Resistance Works”, writes that elections both locally and globally are being shaped by nonviolent resistance. In the US, no matter who is elected president in the November election, it will be critical for those who have been activated to continue to organize and visibly protest.

FERC Postpones Decisions On Two Gas Pipeline Projects

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By Elizabeth Skrapits for Citizens Voice – Two natural gas pipeline companies will have to wait longer than they wanted for potential approval by the federal agency that authorizes and regulates pipeline projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission postponed a decision on the PennEast pipeline to January 2017, seven months later than the company requested. FERC’s decision on another proposed project, Williams Companies’ Transcontinental Pipeline Co., LLC’s $2.59 billion Atlantic Sunrise expansion of the Transco interstate pipeline, is also delayed, by 10 months.

Could Climate-Change Warnings On Gasoline Pumps Work?

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By Heather Smith for Grist – Later this year, someone stopping to fuel up in North Vancouver will be the first customer to see the controversial warning labels. They’ll be wrapped around the gas pump handles. The exact wording isn’t settled yet, but here’s the gist of it: Every time you pump gas, you’re contributing to air pollution and climate change. What will they look like? We don’t know that, either, but here’s one candidate considered by the city council that voted in the new warning-label law: