Court Of Appeals Upholds NY’s Denial Of Water Quality Certification For Constitution Pipeline

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By Eric Schneiderman for EcoWatch – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York State’s denial of a water quality certification for the Constitution Pipeline Friday, a critical win for the Attorney General’s office and the state’s authority to take necessary action to protect its waters and natural resources. The appeals court noted that the state is entitled to “conduct its own review of the Constitution Project’s likely effects on New York waterbodies and whether those effects would comply with the state’s water quality standards.” New York must be able to do what’s necessary to protect our environment—and we’re glad that the court agreed. It would be unacceptable for a pipeline—or any project—to pollute our waters and undermine New Yorkers’ health and water resources. Today’s decision marks a major win for New Yorkers, and for the state’s right to take the actions necessary to protect the public and our environment. My office stands ready to continue to vigorously defend New Yorkers’ right to a safe and healthy environment from all who may harm it.

From Charlottesville With Resolve + Indigenous Youth Paddle To Protect

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy – This week on Act Out!, a special episode to discuss what happened last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Note: we will not show the video. Next, we take a look at an old decaying pipeline, a brand new one and the company that craves more land and water for the sake of black gold. We talk with two indigenous youth activists standing up to the company and taking to the water to raise awareness and build resistance: Stop Line 3 and Paddle to Protect. From tweets to marching in the streets, this is Act Out!

Court Lets Exxon Off Hook For Pipeline Spill In Arkansas Neighborhood

A break in Exxon's Pegasus Pipeline sent more than 200,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil spilling into a neighborhood of Mayflower, Arkansas, in 2013. Credit: U.S. EPA

By Georgina Gustin for Inside Climate News – A federal appeals court has let ExxonMobil largely off the hook for a 2013 pipeline spill that deluged a neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas, with more than 200,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil, sickening residents and forcing them from their homes. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned federal findings of violations and the better part of a $2.6 million fine imposed on Exxon’s pipeline unit in 2015 by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The regulator had accused the company of failing to maintain the decades-old Pegasus Pipeline and to prioritize testing of a segment of older, high-risk pipe where a 22-foot gash eventually opened along a metal seam. Exxon challenged the violation and fine, arguing there was no proof its actions contributed to the spill and saying it had conducted adequate testing of the pipeline as required by law. The appeals court agreed, saying the company met its legal obligation when it “conducted a lengthy, repeated and in-depth analysis” of the pipeline and its risks.

Anti-Pipeline Paddlers Insist On Protection Of Potomac Waters

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By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Greedy pipeline companies in league with complicit government officials are the driving force behind two gas pipelines intended to deliver Pennsylvania gas to the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, opponents contend. On August 11, environmental advocacy group Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) hosted a press conference on the Potomac River’s banks in Sharpsburg, Md., to highlight the adverse consequences of constructing two interconnected gas projects affecting western Maryland the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. TransCanada’s Potomac Pipeline (formally the Eastern Panhandle Expansion) and Mountaineer Gas’s distribution line would transport fracked gas from Fulton Co., Pa., to Morgan Co., W.Va. For most of the summer, opponents of the pipelines and communities affected by them have been holding weekend camp-outs and events along the Potomac to raise awareness about them. They believe TransCanada’s plan to drill under the Potomac River poses grave risks in case of accidents. They displayed their message to protect the water on the river itself: a flotilla of about a dozen kayaks paddled downstream toward the gathering at Taylor’s Landing, holding aloft banners reading, “Keep Our Water Clean,” and “Hogan: Stop the Potomac Pipeline.”

Standing Rock Spawned A Generation Of Water Protectors. Now They’re On The Move.

Water protectors holding a ceremony on the banks of the Cannon Ball River were met by riot police who shot rubber bullets at point-blank range on Nov. 2, 2016. Photo by Robert Wilson

By Joseph Bullington for In These Times – BISMARCK, N.D.—Forty miles north of where the Standing Rock resistance camps once stood, Matt Lone Bear and Carter Gunderson crouch on the curb, changing the brakes on a Chevy Blazer. As they wrestle a worn rotor off the axle, they discuss their plans. They’ll stick around until their court dates later in June, then hit the road for a tour of the Standing Rock diaspora—camps that have sprung up across the country to oppose fossil fuel projects, living on after the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). To the east, in Huntingdon County, Penn., the Gerhart family and their supporters have formed Camp White Pine on family property, which lies in the path of the Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline. The pipeline’s owner, Energy Transfer Partners—the same company behind DAPL—hasinvoked eminent domain to cross the property, but construction faces resistance in the form of tree sits and other direct actions. Farther east, in Mahwah, N.J., the Native-led Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp stands in the way of the Pilgrim pipeline. The camp’s Facebook page declares “solidarity with Standing Rock & all who resist the black snake worldwide.”

Low Prices, Tar Sands Pull Out Could Kill KXL Pipeline

Nebraska landowners have been pushing back against TransCanada's construction plan and any use of eminent domain to secure land for the route. Credit: Guillaume Meyer/AFP/Getty Images

By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – It will be close to three years, at least, before oil could possibly be moving through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline—if the pipeline is completed at all. Company officials now concede that after battling protests and regulatory hurdles for nearly a decade, market forces could scuttle the project. Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada first proposed the 1,700-mile project in 2008 to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The half-built project was halted by President Obama in 2015 only to be revived through an executive order signed by President Trump soon after he took office. The company has spent $3 billion on the project, mostly for pipe but also for land rights and other costs of lobbying for its proposal. During the prolonged dispute, the price of oil fell from more than $130 a barrel to roughly $45 a barrel today, undercutting the prospects for production growth in the Canadian tar sands, which were used to justify the Keystone XL project at its outset. Along with changing market conditions, the emergence of competing pipelines scattered TransCanada’s customer base. Now it’s uncertain whether the company can sign enough new commitments from Alberta’s beleaguered oil patch to move forward.

TransCanada Pipelines Protested With Drumming And Dance At Washington, DC Headquarters

Water protectors flooded 13th St. between the offices of TransCanada and Wells Fargo. Photo: John Zangas

By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Washington, DC — More than a hundred protesters and “water protectors” held a rally at TransCanada’s corporate office on Tuesday followed by a Native American round dance in the middle of 13th St., stopping some late rush-hour traffic. Familiar Keystone XL pipeline signs and banners were deployed once again, some even going back to the Forward on Climate March in 2014. Protests against the proposed northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline continue to flare as Nebraska regulators hold hearings to determine whether they will permit the route through the state. After pipeline company TransCanada finally gained in April the federal approval it sought for nine years, focus has shifted from the nation’s capital back to the plains states. Yet environmental groups in Washington, DC are still waging battle against Keystone XL, even as they gear up for a fight against a TransCanada pipeline closer to home. At Tuesday evening’s protest, it was apparent that those affected by pipelines and their allies view battles against oil and gas drilling and associated infrastructure projects as a collective struggle against energy companies and their stranglehold over the political process.

Tribes Want Dakota Pipeline Shut, But Offer Fallback Plan

From www.AP.org

By Blake Nicholson for AP News – BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — American Indian tribes fighting the Dakota Access oil pipeline are asking a judge to shut down the line while more environmental review is conducted, but they’ve also presented a fallback plan should the judge disagree. The “alternative relief” that Standing Rock Sioux attorney Jan Hasselmen “reluctantly” proposed in court documents filed Monday includes increased public reporting of pipeline issues such as repairs, and implementation of a spill response plan — including equipment staging — at the Lake Oahe reservoir on the Missouri River, from which the tribe draws its water. “Neither the Corps (of Engineers) nor DAPL has ever communicated with the tribes about spill response planning,” Hasselman wrote. The $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners began moving oil from western North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois on June 1, after President Donald Trump earlier this year pushed through its completion. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg later in June ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers largely complied with environmental law when permitting the pipeline but didn’t adequately consider how an oil spill under Lake Oahe might affect the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Sugar Shack Protesters Block Construction For Public Safety

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By the Sugar Shack Alliance. Massachusetts – In an early morning action carried out yesterday at the site of the Kinder Morgan/TGP Connecticut Expansion Pipeline Project, 21 members of the Sugar Shack Alliance successfully blocked construction traffic for almost 3 hours in 2 directions on Cold Spring Road in Sandisfield MA, hindering access to work zones for employees, and, for a short time, disrupting ongoing pipeline construction. The day’s action—undertaken by Sugar Shack Alliance members in the interest of public safety—resulted in the arrest of 10 activists. One major safety concern for the Sugar Shack Alliance and their allies is the apparent lack of an evacuation plan in the event of a potentially catastrophic accident. In 1981, as many Sandisfield residents may recall, during construction of a second of two pipelines, workers accidentally ruptured an existing “live” pipeline, resulting in a serious threat of a gas leak and requiring the evacuation of many townspeople.

Hundreds Protest & Comment On Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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By Jonathan Sokolow for Blue Virginia – In a massive show of force, more than 500 Virginians packed a standing-room-only hearing in Harrisonburg on Monday night, August 7, to protest Dominion Energy’s planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Farmers, landowners, mothers and community members from areas in the path of the proposed pipeline joined concerned citizens from as far away as Fairfax, Loudoun and Albemarle counties, as well as Southwest Virginia, to demand that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board do a site by site review of the impact of construction and operation of the proposed pipeline, as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The hearing was the first of three public hearings on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline scheduled this week, in addition to two other hearings planned for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. More than 130 people signed up to speak at the hearing, which lasted over four hours. At 10 pm, with more than 25 speakers still lined up to speak, Water Board member Heather Wood abruptly terminated the hearing, despite vocal protests. Wood stated that “we don’t have any more time,” an ironic end to a hearing at which virtually every speaker demanded that DEQ not rush the review process through but instead do what state law requires it to do…

Keystone XL: Low Oil Prices, Tar Sands Pullout Could Kill Pipeline Plan

Nebraska landowners have been pushing back against TransCanada's construction plan and any use of eminent domain to secure land for the route. Credit: Guillaume Meyer/AFP/Getty Images

By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – It will be close to three years, at least, before oil could possibly be moving through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline—if the pipeline is completed at all. Company officials now concede that after battling protests and regulatory hurdles for nearly a decade, market forces could scuttle the project. Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada first proposed the 1,700-mile project in 2008 to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The half-built project was halted by President Obama in 2015 only to be revived through an executive order signed by President Trump soon after he took office. The company has spent $3 billion on the project, mostly for pipe but also for land rights and other costs of lobbying for its proposal. During the prolonged dispute, the price of oil fell from more than $130 a barrel to roughly $45 a barrel today, undercutting the prospects for production growth in the Canadian tar sands, which were used to justify the Keystone XL project at its outset. Along with changing market conditions, the emergence of competing pipelines scattered TransCanada’s customer base. Now it’s uncertain whether the company can sign enough new commitments from Alberta’s beleaguered oil patch to move forward.

22 Arrested By Massachusetts State Police At Protest Of Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Pipeline demonstrators walking onto restricted land at the Otis State Forest in Sandisfield on May 6, 2017. (Submitted photo)

By Lucas Ropek for Mass Live – SANDISFIELD – Twenty two people were arrested at a staged protest of the construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline extension in Sandisfield Saturday morning, police said. The “Connecticut Expansion,” an extension of an already extant Kinder Morgan pipeline that will stretch four miles through Berkshire County’s Otis state forest, has been the site of repeated protests during recent months, including a recent incident involving the arrest of 98-year-old Northampton peace activist Frances Crowe. Massachusetts State Troopers took the demonstrators into custody Saturday after they refused police orders to leave a restricted area of the construction, police said in a statement. The protesters were charged with trespassing, police said. Arrests have been a common occurrence during recent protests, with activists commonly trespassing onto pipeline property as an act of protest. Many protesters are members of the Sugar Shack Alliance, a Western Massachusetts affiliation of activists that pledges non-violent resistance to the fossil fuel industry. Police noted that the arrests were made “peacefully and without resistance,” similar to other trespassing arrests that have occurred in the vicinity of the pipeline project during recent weeks.

Fossil Fuel Corruption Shown In ‘Vote’ To Restore FERC Quorum

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By Drew Hudson and the Beyond Extreme Energy crew. Standing alone in the Well of the Senate on Thursday night, just after 6pm and moments before the Senate adjourned for August recess, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski committed a deft coup d’etat on behalf of the oil and gas industry. The vote to confirm Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was anything but un-controversial, and was a serious breach of regular order. Just hours earlier, seven activists were arrested in front of Senator Chuck Schumer’s office. They had refused to leave until the Minority Leader spoke out about the dangers of FERC nominees and an energy bill that would dramatically expand FERC’s powers. The activists, including several of Schumer’s constituents, had delivered a letter backed by more than 30,000 comments of support asking him to vote no on FERC nominees and no on the energy bill. Hours later, Schumer and every member of the Democratic Caucus, including 3 senators who had previously voted against the nominees in committee, stood silent as Murkowski rammed through the nominations on a voice vote with no other members present, no accountability, and no opportunity for citizens to call or contact their senators to voice concerns.

Two Arrested After Shutting Down Kinder Morgan Terminal In Escalating Protests

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By Staff of Rising Tide North America – “Our First Nations relatives are not going to allow the Trans Mountain pipeline to go through their territories in Canada,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay. “Investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure is foolish. We all know that we must transition off of fossil fuels in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. Why waste so many resources on a losing proposition?” The growing Bay Area resistance to this Kinder Morgan pipeline stands with over 140 tribes comprising The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The groundbreaking alliance of Indigenous nations formally opposes all tar sands pipelines crossing their traditional lands and waters. The recently elected government of British Columbia also opposes the project. “Thanks to California’s brand new cap and trade climate bill AB 398, it’s now extremely likely that this very terminal we are blocking today will be a destination point for the tar sands oil that would be piped in by Trans Mountain,” said Andres Soto of Communities for a Better Environment. “AB 398 is an abomination and a threat to environmental justice worldwide.”

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.