Arrests: Forests Are For Picnics Not For Pipelines

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By the Sugar Shack Alliance. Massachusetts – It was a beautiful day for picnics in Otis State Forest on Saturday, as the non-violent direct action group Sugar Shack Alliance hosted a large public rally at Lower Spectacle Pond in Sandisfield, Massachusetts. As the rally was happening, an entirely different kind of picnic, a well-coordinated act of civil disobedience was unfolding along the construction easement of the $93 million Kinder Morgan Connecticut Expansion pipeline project, culminating in 22 arrests. Despite the temporary police closure of Cold Spring Road, about 80 people gathered at 10:00 a.m. at the glistening Lower Spectacle Pond to reaffirm the need for solidarity against fossil fuel infrastructure across the country. Speakers included Susan Baxter, an affected Sandisfield land-owner; Anthony Melting Tallow and Karyn Redwolf; Martha Klein from the CT Sierra Club; and Ian Jackson of the Green Party.

Pipeline Fights are a Fight for Our Lives

No Resistance Fatigue

By Julie Dermansky for DeSmog Blog. Pastor Harry Joseph of the Mount Triumph Baptist Church in St. James, Louisiana, is taking legal action to prevent the Bayou Bridge pipeline from being built in his community, roughly 50 miles west of New Orleans. He is named as a plaintiff in a case filed by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, petitioning the Parish Court to overturn the coastal permit that the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. The Bayou Bridge pipeline will be the last leg of the Dakota Access, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana. The final stretch of the project, if built, will span 162.5 miles from Lake Charles to St. James, cutting through the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area and the country’s largest wetland. This pipeline will transport crude oil from the oil and gas hub in Nederland, Texas, to a terminal in St. James Parish’s Fifth District, a small, predominately low-income African-American community of fewer than 2,000 in a stretch of land along the Mississippi River known as Cancer Alley.

Three Arrested Blocking Fast-Tracked FERC Commissioner Approvals

Ted Glick remains in DC jail overnight due to additional charges from the nonviolent disruptive direct action today at the #SenateENR confirmation vote for new #FERC commissioners. Please send love to Ted and follow along for updates, get involved with the resistance & abolition of rogue agencies, and please donate to the #ResistFERC campaign legal fund: http://bit.ly/VacateFERC

By Jimmy Betts for Beyond Extreme Energy. The week following Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, three individuals representing a coalition of nearly 170 groups opposing Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) disrupted a committee vote to advance the candidates. Three individuals were arrested during the committee vote. They stood up and spoke out about FERC’s abusive practices and disregard for the environment. Jess Rechtschaffer arrested at Senate hearing protesting FERC appointees June 6, 2017 by BXE. Jess Rechtschaffer arrested at Senate hearing protesting FERC appointees June 6, 2017 by BXE. The coalition, made up of local and national groups focused on various issues, is demanding that senators vote no on Trump’s nominations until the Senate holds investigations into FERC’s the abuses of power and law. The campaign has been building for more than five months and has included call-in’s, letter-writing drives, Twitter storms, lobby days, and civil resistance focused on educating senators and pressuring them to oppose the nominations.

Back-To-Back Oil & Gas Explosions Rattle Colorado Communities

Mountain View Fire Rescue

An Anadarko oil tank battery went up in flames on Thursday, killing one worker and injuring three.

By Alisa Barba and Leigh Paterson for Inside Energy – An Anadarko oil tank battery exploded in flames on Thursday afternoon, killing one worker and injuring three more, just 3.5 miles from the site of a deadly home explosion in Firestone, Colo., that killed two last month. “We felt like a shaking and the dishes shook. I asked my son and he said, ‘Mommy I think it’s thunder.’ Then we walked out to our breezeway and saw smoke,” Tiffany Kampmann, a Firestone resident said of the oil tank explosion. On the same day, state officials confirmed that two pockets of methane gas were discovered in the Oak Meadows community, in Firestone. Todd Hartman, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) noted that the elevated readings on the left side of the image below were likely related to the existence of a tank battery and so not necessarily abnormal. The second pocket of gas was located underneath Oak Meadows Boulevard. According to the DNR, a preliminary investigation indicates that a flowline heading towards that road may have been cut when a sewer was installed there.

Trump’s Budget Delivers Big Oil’s Wish: Reducing Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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By Steve Horn for Desmog – President Donald Trump’s newly proposed budget calls for selling over half of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the 687 million barrels of federally owned oil stockpiled in Texas and Louisiana as an emergency energy supply. While most observers believe the budget will not pass through Congress in its current form, budgets depict an administration’s priorities and vision for the country. Some within the oil industry have lobbied for years to drain the SPR, created in the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis. Leading the way has been ExxonMobil, which lobbied for congressional bills in both 2012 and 2015 calling for SPR oil to be sold on the private sector market. The Trump administration says selling off oil from the national reserve could generate $16.58 billion in revenue for U.S. taxpayers over the next 10 years. But EnergyWire’s Peter Behr reported that the Trump SPR budget proposal would potentially violate U.S. commitments as a member of the International Energy Agency.

Oklahoma’s Largest Earthquake Linked To Oil And Gas Industry Actions 3 Years Earlier

When the oil and gas industry abruptly changes the rate of wastewater injection at a disposal well, the shift in pressure can affect earthquake risk, a new study of the large earthquake that damaged Pawnee, Oklahoma, suggests. Credit: J. Berry Harrison III via News 9 Oklahoma

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – The strongest earthquake in Oklahoma’s history likely was caused by oil and gas operators injecting vastly increased amounts of toxic wastewater underground three years before it struck, a new study suggests. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed injection data from the most active disposal wells in the area where the 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit last September. They found that there had been a sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of wastewater injected in the first half of 2013 at some of the wells. That contributed “a fair amount of stress on the fault and would have accelerated the natural faulting process significantly,” said Andrew Barbour, a USGS geophysicist who led the study. The research was published Tuesday in a special edition of the journal Seismological Research Letters that focused on the earthquake, which struck the town of Pawnee on Sept. 3, damaging dozens of buildings. The findings expand on the growing consensus among scientists that the earthquake spike rattling America’s midsection is linked to the oil and gas drilling boom.

Millions Now At Risk From Oil And Gas-Related Earthquakes

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By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – The new forecast also identified high risk in two other areas where oil and gas wastewater disposal takes place: a small area in northern Kansas, as well as an area called Raton Basin along the Colorado-New Mexico border, which experienced two earthquakes above magnitude 4.0 last year. The researchers identified a new area of risk of man-made quakes, in western Texas, compared to last year. Meanwhile, the risk of damaging events in northern Texas largely disappeared compared to 2016. The USGS scientists said at the recent press conference that they did not know why this was the case and that Texas officials are studying the issue. The threat of man-made earthquakes tied to oil and gas activities extends to states excluded from the forecast. For example, researchers have identified likely man-made earthquakes in multiple areas of oil and gas development in California. And state officials in Pennsylvania last month announced a series of four small earthquakes observed in April 2016 that they say was linked to a nearby fracking pad.

Exxon Adviser Resigns Over Oil Giant’s ‘Targeted Attacks’ On NGOs

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Sarah Labowitz, a co-director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, served on Exxon Mobil’s External Citizenship Advisory Panel since 2014.

By Chris D’Angelo for The Huffington Post – A research scholar at New York University has resigned from Exxon Mobil Corp.’s External Citizenship Advisory Panel, citing what she calls the oil giant’s “targeted attacks” on environmental groups under former CEO Rex Tillerson’s watch. In a letter this week to Exxon Mobil Foundation president Ben Soraci, Sarah Labowitz expressed her disgust with the company’s continued assault on organizations investigating whether Exxon covered up the risks of climate change. Labowitz, a co-founder and co-director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told The Huffington Post that she has studied many companies facing serious public criticism, often in her field of human rights.

New Data Undermine Oil And Gas Industry’s Pipeline Safety Claims

A pipeline warning sign in Louisiana. (Photo by ilouque via Flickr.)

By Sue Sturgis for Facing South – In the debate over construction of new oil and gas pipelines, industry representatives have long argued that pipelines are safer than other methods for moving fossil fuels over long distances. Take for example the recent statement a spokesperson for the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana — a project spearheaded by Energy Transfer Partners, the same Dallas-based company behind the highly contentious Dakota Access Pipeline — made to The Advocate of Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline would carry oil from a terminal in Nederland, Texas, across South Louisiana to refineries and export terminals near New Orleans.

Movement Gears Up To Stop Trump’s DAPL Pipeline

Actress Shailene Woodley, fourth from right to right, Riley Keough the eldest grandchild of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, actress Susan Sarandon and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member Bobbi Jean Three Lakes, right, participate in a rally outside the US District Court in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers to protect their water and land from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders advancing the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) and Dakota Access (DAPL) pipelines, prompting a tsunami of outrage and vows of bold resistance from the Indigenous activists, climate campaigners, and countless others who have fought against these projects. The Associated Press confirmed the orders had been signed after earlier reports citing anonymous officials indicated they were in the works. Many environmental groups who fiercely fought against both projects were quick to condemn the move, declaring, as 350.org did, “We have no alternative but to resist.”Progressive lawmakers and climate groups echoed that promise, issuing a chorus of statements condemning the president for “putting the profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of the planet.”

California City Wins $22 Million Against Shell Oil Over Toxic Drinking Water

The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against the chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. MARK CROSSE Fresno Bee file

By Andrea Castillo for McClatchy DC – The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. The chemical is 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, which is a waste product from making plastic. TCP was in farm fumigants last used in the 1980s, which were injected into the ground to kill tiny worms called nematodes. A jury on Wednesday awarded the city nearly $22 million, finding that Clovis residents were harmed by the design of the fumigant, that Shell did not prove the benefits of its product outweighed the risks, and that those risks were known at the time it was sold.

International Implications Of Trudeau's Kinder Morgan Pipeline Approval

courtesy of Abdallahh on Flickr under creative commons

By Kevin Grandia for Desmog Blog – Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision this week to approve a major expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has negative implications that go well beyond the borders of the Great White North. Canada is currently the largest supplier of oil to the United States. We export more oil to the US than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico combined. We are a secure, stable and reliable trading partner with the US for a product that can make or break their economy. Right now, Canada has almost zero ability to transport its oil to anywhere other than the United States.

How To Fight Big Oil: Join Your Neighbors

By Joe Brusky / Flickr.

By Sarah van Gelder for Yes Magazine – The last few weeks and months have seen major victories for communities resisting oil trains, coal terminals, pipelines, and strip mines. This is big news at a time of an out-of-control climate crisis—this July and August tied as the hottest months ever recorded. Could these stories represent our best shot at taking on the giant corporations and banks that are trying to build new fossil fuel projects at a time when we need to be phasing out carbon-based fuels?

Joining Trend, NY Suspends Review Of Oil Train Terminal Permit

New York regulators have suspended the application of a major oil-by-rail terminal project pending review of potential environmental, health and climate change impacts. Credit: STEEVE DUGUAY/AFP/Getty Images

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – New York environmental regulators have suspended their review of two proposals to renew and expand operations at a Port of Albany oil terminal until Global Partners LP addresses a laundry list of concerns over environmental, public health, safety and climate change. Officials at the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) told the company in a letter on Sept. 16 it has three months to provide plans for the following…

Pipeline Leaks 250,000 Gallons, Causing States Of Emergency In Alabama And Georgia

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By Alejandro Dávila Fragoso for Think Progress – A pipeline leak of at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline in a rural Alabama county is expected to affect fuel prices in the coming days across multiple southern states and the East Coast. The leak already prompted two states of emergency Thursday stemming from fuel shortage concerns. The oil leak was first discovered a week ago in rural Shelby County — just southeast of Birmingham, Alabama.