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

How To Contact 17 Banks Funding Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion (Including Keystone XL)

Individual divestment has moved more than $80 million from banks financing DAPL, and organizers would like to see similar effort directed at the tar sands financiers. Photo by Lori Panico.

By James Trimarco for Yes! Magazine – Of the more than 60 banks helping to finance the expansion of tar sands infrastructure, the indigenous-led environmental campaign Mazaska Talks has identified 17 as worst offenders. These banks have either financed all four currently proposed tar sands pipelines or they’ve headed up major multi-bank loans to the companies building them. The proposed pipelines are the Keystone XL, Energy East, Trans Mountain, and Enbridge’s Line 3. All four begin in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. “Our thought is to be proactive and stop the construction of Keystone now.” Back in November 2015, then-President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, saying it would create only a few dozen permanent jobs, would have no significant effect on U.S. energy security, and would damage America’s leadership role on climate change. President Donald Trump reversed that decision in March. The indigenous-led Mazaska Talks campaign to stop the tar sands expansion is focusing on the financing of the pipelines.

US Bank To Stop Funding Pipelines As Divestment Movement Expands Worldwide

A child takes part in a Global Divestment Mobilisation (GDM) action in Davao, Philippines. (Photo: 350.org/flickr/cc)

By Nika Knight for Common Dreams – As a nearly ten-days-long global mobilization calling for divestment from fossil fuels comes to an end, climate campaigners are celebrating a major victory stateside: U.S. Bank has announced that it will no longer finance fossil fuel pipeline construction. “Move to a green economy and a future that does not profit off the destruction of Mother Earth and our communities.” —Tara Houska, Honor the EarthThe announcement came during the company’s April shareholder meeting, reported MN350, a state arm of international climate justice group 350.org, on Monday. As a result of the new policy, MN350 observes that the bank will no longer provide “project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines,” and will also apply “enhanced due diligence processes” to oil and gas industry clients. “U.S. Bank’s new policy is an important step in protecting the environment and moving towards a fossil free future,” said Wichahpi Otto, a MN350 volunteer, who attended the shareholder meeting in Nashville. “We applaud them for responding to the community and contributing to worldwide efforts to address climate change.”

Dakota Pipeline Builder Under Fire For Ohio Spill: 8 Violations In 7 Weeks

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By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – U.S. regulators halted construction at new sites on an Ohio pipeline after several million gallons of drilling mud coated important state wetlands. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, is under fire from federal and state regulators after triggering a massive spill, and seven other violations, during the first seven weeks of construction of a major gas pipeline in Ohio. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Rover pipeline operator ordering it to not start construction on any new locations, as well as to stop construction at the site of the major wetlands spill and to hire an independent contractor to dig into what went wrong there. “Staff has serious concerns regarding the magnitude of the incident (which was several orders of magnitude greater than other documented [horizontal directional drilling] inadvertent returns for this project), its environmental impacts, the lack of clarity regarding the underlying reasons for its occurrence, and the possibility of future problems,” federal regulators wrote. The phrase “inadvertent returns” is industry speak for a certain type of spill or release of construction material.

Sugar Shack Alliance Desperate To Save State Forest

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By Katy Eiseman. SANDISFIELD, MA — Eighteen protesters were arrested this morning at the Otis State Forest after blocking an access road to a pipeline construction site, according to Massachusetts State Police. SANDISFIELD, MA — Eighteen protesters were arrested this morning at the Otis State Forest after blocking an access road to a pipeline construction site, according to Massachusetts State Police. IMG_7104 Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline has started cutting trees within the forest, owned by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, for a natural gas pipeline project. Tennessee hopes to complete the project by November 1 to serve three natural gas utility customers in Connecticut. A leading anti-pipeline strategist who is not associated with the Sugar Shack Alliance — and did not take part in their action on Tuesday — had sharp words for Gov. Charlie Baker. “The real tragedy in all of this is that no state actors have been willing to stand firmly and say that Connecticut does not need this pipeline,” said Kathryn Eiseman, director of Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network.

Judge Grants Sunoco Authority To Arrest Landowners

A tree sitter on the Gerhart's property in Huntingdon County hoping to deter construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. Sunoco has obtained a court order that allows the company to order an arrest of the Gerharts and charge them with trespass on their own property. Photo by Elyse Gerhart.

By Susan Phillios for State Impact-NPR. Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania residents protesting the construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline across their land now face arrest on their own property due to a rarely imposed court order known as a “writ of possession.” Common Pleas Court judge George Zanic signed the order last week, which Sunoco had sought as an “emergency measure” in response to the landowners tree-sitting on their property. Ellen and Stephen Gerhart in Huntingdon, Pa., along with their daughter Elyse, have become outspoken critics of the pipeline and the use of eminent domain by the company to take possession of land along the 350 mile route. Elyse Gerhart says the tree-sitting began in early February, after Sunoco secured the permits from the Department of Environmental Protection to begin construction. She would not say how many people were participating in the protest, but said she herself had been up in the trees. Although the Gerharts’ challenge to the eminent domain takings are making their way through the appeals courts, the company can begin building. Recent efforts to seek a stay in construction failed. “We’re seriously looking at going to jail,” said Elyse Gerhart.

Pipeline Protest Serves Half Ton Of Sweet Potatoes

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By Anne Meador of DC Media Group. What could be better for breakfast than sweet potato pie? Employees of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission got a free piece of sweet potato pie on their way to work this morning when a group of activists tried to make a point about a pipeline’s potential impact on the North Carolina sweet potato crop. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a project of Dominion Transmission and Duke Energy, is currently under review by FERC. The activists say the ACP, which would traverse 550 miles from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina, would, among other things, harm agricultural producers, such as sweet potato farmers in eastern North Carolina.

PennEast Pipeline Emissions Equals 14 Coal Plants/10 Million Vehicles

"We will fight back through through the courts, protests, and any means available and necessary," says Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chippewayan First Nation. (Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/flickr/cc)

By Lorne Stockman for Oil Change International – A study released today finds that, if built, the controversial PennEast Pipeline for fracked gas could contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 14 coal-fired power plants or 10 million passenger vehicles — some 49 million metric tons per year. The analysis, conducted by Oil Change International, shows that federal regulators are poised to rubber-stamp the PennEast Pipeline based on a woefully inadequate climate review that ignores the significant impact of methane leaks and wrongly assumes that gas supplied by the project will replace coal. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is facing a growing backlash across the country over its routine approval of gas pipeline projects that endanger communities and the climate. Today’s study comes on the heels of a federal court hearing in which a judge slammed FERC’s shallow and dismissive review of the climate impact of the Sabal Trail gas pipeline in the Southeast. The new analysis counters FERC’s final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the PennEast project released in early April. It applies a methodology recently developed by Oil Change International to calculate the climate impact of gas pipelines from the Appalachian Basin.

Dakota Access Pipeline Now Has Oil Beneath Missouri River

Native American protesters and their supporters are confronted by security during a demonstration against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, September 3, 2016. Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

By Staff of NBC News – The Dakota Access pipeline developer said Monday that it has placed oil in the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and that it’s preparing to put the pipeline into service. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement in a brief court filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The announcement marks a significant development in the long battle over the project that will move North Dakota oil 2,000 miles through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline is three months behind schedule due to large protests and the objections of two American Indian tribes who say it threatens their water supply and cultural sites. ETP’s filing did not say when the company expected the pipeline to be completely operating, and a spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking additional details. “Oil has been placed in the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath Lake Oahe. Dakota Access is currently commissioning the full pipeline and is preparing to place the pipeline into service,” the filing stated. Despite the announcement, the battle isn’t over. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes still have an unresolved lawsuit that seeks to stop the project.

Newspaper Owned By Fracking Billionaire Leaks Memo Calling Pipeline Opponents Potential “Terrorists”

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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.

Sweet Potatoes, Not Pipelines

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By Lee Stewart for Beyond Extreme Energy. On the day before the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice, Beyond Extreme Energy is taking close to half a ton of sweet potatoes to the headquarters of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 1st St NW in DC. We will be speaking out about our passionate opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and all new proposed fossil fuel infrastructure. FERC is a rubber-stamp agency for the gas industry! We will be distributing these sweet potatoes in small bags free to FERC employees and passers-by, with a leaflet explaining why we are taking action at FERC. Sweet potatoes are grown in eastern North Carolina, site of Duke Energy and Dominion Resources’ proposed ACP, which would run 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Tribal Members In Oklahoma Defeat Natural Gas Pipeline Company

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By Kristi Eaton for Nation of Change – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma has ordered a natural gas pipeline operator to cease operations and remove the pipeline located on original Kiowa Indian lands Anadarko. The ruling in Davilla v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., issued at the end of March, found that Enable Midstream was continuing to trespass on the land and ordered the company to remove the pipeline within six months. The plaintiffs are 38 enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma. Additionally, the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma has an interest in the land. The interests vary from nearly 30 percent to less than 9/10th of a percent. David Klaassen, a spokesman for Enable, said the company doesn’t comment on active legal issues. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved an easement across the land in 1980 for Enable’s predecessor, Producer’s Gas Company, to construct and install a natural gas pipeline. The original easement expired in 2000, according to court documents. By 2002, the company had changed to Enogex, Inc., and had submitted a right-of-way offer to the BIA and the plaintiffs for another 20 years. The majority of the landowners rejected the offer.

Not News: Politicians Take Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars From Pipeline Companies

"We will fight back through through the courts, protests, and any means available and necessary," says Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chippewayan First Nation. (Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/flickr/cc)

By Lorne Stockman for Oil Change International – Legislators in Virginia got 75% of the money as the state has lax campaign finance rules, with unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals. But every signatory has received something from one of these two companies over their electoral career; even those in West Virginia where contribution limits are the tightest. The proposed 600-mile pipeline, which would carry fracked gas from West Virginia over the Allegheny highlands through Virginia to North Carolina, has become a hotly contested project. Opposition along the pipeline route has flared up around the threat to mountains, rivers, local water sources, public safety, environmental justice, climate change and use of eminent domain for private gain. It’s even become an issue in Virginia’s upcoming gubernatorial race. Tom Perriello, who emerged earlier this year as a challenger to Democratic establishment favorite Ralph Northam, has distinguished himself in large part by his opposition to both the ACP and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

Another One Bites The Dust: Northern Access Pipeline Defeated In NY

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

By Skyler Simmons for Earth First! News Wire – Communities in upstate New York are celebrating the recent announcement from the Department of Environmental Conservation that the Northern Access Pipeline will not receive the necessary permits for construction. The $500 million pipeline, proposed by National Fuel Gas, would have brought fracked gas from Pennsylvania to upstate NY. An announcement from the DEC on April 7 stated, “After an in-depth review of the proposed Northern Access Pipeline project and following three public hearings and the consideration of over 5,700 comments, DEC has denied the permit due to the project’s failure to avoid adverse impacts to wetlands, streams and fish and other wildlife habitat.

Senators Bombshell: DAPL Pipeline Did Not Have Key Permits

The DAPL opposition message is clear: Stop the pipeline. (Erich Longie / Facebook

By Rob Capriccioso for Indian Country Today. Top Senate Democrats are questioning whether the builder and manager of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) had a permit to construct a controversial stretch of the project near tribal land and water sources. In a letter dated April 3, Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Tom Carper (D-DE), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which on February 8 granted an easement to Energy Transfer Partners to build the pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, to task on several fronts. They argued that the Corps has provided “virtually no information to Congress regarding its oversight of the project” and that the Corps’ actions have left real questions over whether it made “efforts to make sure that Energy Transfer Partners complies with even the most fundamental environmental, safety and mitigation conditions of its easement and permits.”