RCMP officers enforcing a court-ordered injunction arrested three protesters Wednesday at an encampment next to the site of a controversial natural gas project at Fort Ellis, N.S. Police said in a news release that three women were taken into custody for civil contempt of an injunction order after they refused to leave the camp. The Indigenous protesters set up the camp more than two years ago to oppose a plan by the subsidiary of a Calgary-based company to create large underground caverns to store natural gas.
No injuries were reported Thursday after an explosion in a newly installed natural gas line near Moundsville, W.Va., shot flames into the sky that could be seen for miles. “Thank God nobody is hurt. Everything else can be taken care of,” said Larry Newell, 911 director for Marshall County, W.Va. His center was flooded with calls after the TransCanada gas line — on Nixon Ridge in a remote part of the area — exploded at 4:20 a.m. “Within a matter of three minutes, we received 37 911 calls,” he said. TransCanada said in a statement that the cause was unknown and that it had a crew on the scene. The company said there was “an issue” with a pipeline on its Columbia Gas Transmission system in Marshall County. “Our first priority is to protect the public and the environment. Emergency response procedures have been activated and the impacted area of pipeline has been isolated at this time,” the company said.
With second-floor sleeping bunks, shelves stocked with food and a crackling fire in the woodstove, Dale Andrew Poulette’s newly constructed straw bale home is the perfect place to spend the winter. Except for one thing — he’s trespassing. The new structure, at 625 Riverside Rd., just outside of Stewiacke, N.S., on the banks of the Shubenacadie River, sits on land owned by AltaGas, the company behind the Alton Natural Gas Storage project. The building, which was constructed over a one-month period this fall, “is on Alton property,” said company spokesperson Lori MacLean, “and it was built without the company’s permission.” That doesn’t discourage Poulette.
By Joe Romm for Think Progress - The evidence is overwhelming that natural gas has no net climate benefit in any timescale that matters to humanity. In fact, a shocking new study concludes that just the methane emissions escaping from New Mexico’s gas and oil industry are “equivalent to the climate impact of approximately 12 coal-fired power plants.” If the goal is to avoid catastrophic levels of warming, a recent report by U.K. climate researchers finds “categorically no role” to play for new natural gas production. Sadly, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has just published a “Commentary” on “the environmental case for natural gas,” that ignores or downplays key reasons that greater use of natural gas is bad for the climate. In the real world, natural gas is not a “bridge” fuel to a carbon-free economy for two key reasons. First, natural gas is mostly methane (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. That’s why many, many studies find that even a very small leakage rate of methane from the natural gas supply chain (production to delivery to combustion) can have a large climate impact — enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas for a long, long time.
By Brandon Jordan for Waging Nonviolence - It was a hot day in Houston, Texas, on April 26, but that didn’t stop nearly 200 people — representing mainly the oil and gas industry — from filling the luxury hotel known as The Houstonian. While the menu included extravagant meals, such as steak wrapped in bacon with bourbon sauce, the real draw was Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, who had a simple message: “Come invest in Argentina.” Macri, who met with President Trump in Washington, D.C. the following day, is positioning his country as the next potential market for natural gas. Argentina boasts one of the world’s largest shale gas reservations called Vaca Muerta, or Dead Cow. While hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, began in the region in 2013, Macri’s government intends to bring in more investments and expand production. Not everyone in Argentina, however, agrees with the government’s plans. Just a day before the event, the province of Entre Rios, located about 900 miles northeast from Vaca Muerta, became the first province in the country to ban fracking. While the province is not known for any oil exploration, it was hailed as a symbolic victory. “The act was the result of a growth of information [on fracking] that we shared among different sectors of society,” explained Luis Lafferriere...
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog - Researchers at Purdue University and the Environmental Defense Fund have concluded in a recent study that natural gas power plants release 21–120 times more methane than earlier estimates. Published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the study also found that for oil refineries, emission rates were 11–90 times more than initial estimates. Natural gas, long touted as a cleaner and more climate-friendly alternative to burning coal, is obtained in the U.S. mostly via the controversial horizontal drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).
By Steven Norris for Citizen Times - Under its so-called Energy Modernization Plan, Duke Energy Progress wants to build 752 MW of natural gas fueled electric generation in Asheville. Over the next 15 years, Duke Energy wants to build approximately 11,000 Megawatts (MW) of new gas fired power plants in NC. Duke’s “Energy Modernization Plan” is anything but modern: natural gas facilities would wed North Carolina ratepayers to nineteenth- century fossil- fuel infrastructure for decades to come.
By Kate Colwell in Friends of the Earth - Environmental groups filed a groundbreaking legal petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce today seeking an immediate ban on natural gas exports from the United States, which have seen a dramatic surge on the heels of a fracking boom around the country. The U.S. Energy Policy and Conservation Act was passed by Congress in 1975 to conserve domestic energy supplies, specifically natural gas and crude oil, by prohibiting the export of both unless specifically covered by an allowable exemption. Although the Department of Commerce has instituted such a ban on crude oil, it has failed to address natural gas exports despite an exponential increase in such exports over the past decade. “The time is now to end the environmental and economic disaster of natural gas exports,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity and primary author of the petition.
By Brian Palmer in One Earth - Five years ago, in the middle of the night, an oil pipeline operated by Enbridge ruptured outside of Marshall, Michigan. It took more than 17 hours before the Canadian company finally cut off the flow, but by then, more than a million gallons of tar sands crude had oozed into Talmadge Creek. The oil quickly flowed into the Kalamazoo River, forcing dozens of families to evacuate their homes. Oil spills of that magnitude are always disastrous, but the Kalamazoo event was historically damaging. The first challenge was the composition of the oil. Fresh tar sands crude looks more like dirt than conventional crude—it’s far too thick to travel through a pipeline. To get this crumbly mess to flow, producers thin it out with the liquid constituents of natural gas. Diluted bitumen, or dilbit, as it’s called in the tar sands industry, is approximately three parts tar sands crude, one part natural gas liquids.
We’re very fortunate to have abundant and relatively affordable domestic natural gas … But utilizing that gas to meet climate goals require the expansion and construction of gas infrastructure, both pipelines and compressor stations, to get it to where it needs to be to keep the lights on. But while gas is critically important to our climate goals and other environmental goals, it has issues of its own. Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my email inbox seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door closing down First Street so FERC won’t be able to work. We have a situation here.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a positive Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Algonquin Incremental Market project on January 23, 2015. The project includes 37.4 miles of natural gas pipeline in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. In 2013, FERC began evaluating Spectra Energy’s proposal which would increase pipeline capacity to deliver gas to New England markets and include a new crossing of the Hudson River. It would also modify six existing compressors and build three new metering and regulating stations. FERC Commissioners still have to make a final decision, but in recent years the agency has never failed to approve a major infrastructure project.
Police arrested two protesters this morning who chained themselves to a mock ‘bridge to nowhere’ and blocked the driveway to Spectra Energy’s methane gas compressor station in Cromwell. The demonstrators opposed Spectra’s proposed pipeline expansion, which would expand this compressor station, among others. The compressor station, located a quarter-mile from Cromwell Middle School and one-hundred feet away from recreational Watrous Park fields, is a “major source of hazardous air pollutants,” according the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Health impacts from compressor station pollution include kidney and liver damage, lung damage, brain impacts, and leukemia. This action was part of a coordinated “Week of Respect and Resistance” with actions from December 13 – 19 against the pipeline expansion in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
In a reflection of growing national concern about the disposal of oil and gas waste, a Pennsylvania congressman launched an investigation Wednesday into the way his state regulates the discarding of the unwanted, often toxic material. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, a first-term Democrat from eastern Pennsylvania, wants to know more about how the contaminated leftovers from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are regulated. In an email exchange with InsideClimate News, Cartwright said "preliminary reports indicate there are big gaps in protections and oversight that the federal government might have to fill."
RICHMOND, Va. — A proposed $5 billion pipeline that would deliver natural gas to the Southeast is finding pockets of opposition along its planned path in West Virginia and Virginia, where it would carve through two national forests. The 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is also seeing resistance in remote high-elevation sections of Virginia amid concerns it would traverse an environmentally sensitive landscape. Some landowners also object to plans for the pipeline to dissect their property. Some landowners, such as Andrew Gantt, are pushing back. He has refused to let surveyors onto hundreds of acres in Nelson County, midway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, that are devoted to loblolly pines and hardwoods such as maple and oak. The ancestral land dates to the first European settlers.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved energy giant Dominion Resources’ application to build the controversial Cove Point Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant and associated projects in Lusby, Maryland. Environmental and community groups who condemn the decision will protest at FERC headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the Cove Point facility this Friday at 10am. Advocates for green energy expressed “deep disappointment” and say they’ll appeal the decision. They have 30 days to file an appeal with FERC to deny approval of the $3.8 billion project. Dominion’s plan to build the LNG plant at Cove Point sets it in close proximity to the estimated 24,000 residents of Lusby, raising safety concerns of residents and advocacy groups. Over 600 homes and 2,400 residents are located within a mile of the plant. Residents are concerned because they are pinned between a two lane road which borders the plant for ¾ mile, and the Chesapeake Bay, the only exit from Cove Point area. Residents, fear for their safety because they say that if there is a gas release, explosion, or fire, their only recourse would be to evacuate along the road next to the proposed LNG facility.