Group Demands Environmental Compliance Records for Rover Pipeline Construction
The Center for Biological Diversity filed four public records requests Wednesday to state and federal agencies demanding disclosure of environmental compliance documents relating to the Rover Pipeline in Ohio. The natural gas pipeline is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Earlier this month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission halted construction of unbuilt pipeline sections and required a doubling of environmental inspectors after 18 spills were reported. One of the spills released about 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into a pristine wetland along the Tuscarawas River south of Akron.
"Wildlife, including endangered species, can't afford more spills and environmental disasters," said Taylor McKinnon, with the Center for Biological Diversity.
"We rely on state and federal agencies to protect us from these kinds of incidents, but clearly that didn't happen with the Rover Pipeline."
Wednesday's requests target records relating to Endangered Species Act compliance in connection with all phases of the Rover Pipeline construction and operation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 30 species protected under the federal Endangered Species Act live in Ohio, many of which are dependent on streams, rivers and wetlands that could be harmed by the pipeline or associated fracking spills.
In the face of new information showing that a project may affect endangered species in a way not previously considered, or if a proposed development is modified in a way that may affect those species in ways not previously considered, the Endangered Species Act requires that projects be halted pending completion of new formal consultations between proponent agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Rover Pipeline will carry fracked gas through four states, crossing three major rivers that feed Lake Erie: the Maumee, Sandusky and Portage. It also crosses the proclamation boundary of Ohio's only national forest, the Wayne National Forest, in southeast Ohio, from where it could transport fracked gas in the future.
Conservation groups sued the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management earlier this month over plans to open parts of the Wayne for high-volume hydraulic fracturing that threatens people, endangered species and the Ohio River.
In less than one week, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke will submit his final recommendations to President Trump on whether 27 national monuments around the country should be downsized, eliminated, transferred to state control or left alone.
But as Aaron Weiss, the media director of the conservation group Center for Western Priorities, pointed out: "Rather than spending his final week hearing from local communities who have worked tirelessly to protect their natural and cultural heritage as national monuments, Secretary Zinke is on vacation in the Mediterranean. His wife, Lola Zinke, tweeted a picture early this morning of herself and Secretary Zinke enjoying a sunrise on the Bosphorus Strait."
Energy Transfer Partners' controversial $4.3 billion Rover pipeline has more negative inspection reports than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline built in the last two years, according to a new Bloomberg analysis.
The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, has been stalled from numerous environmental violations, including a 2 million gallon drilling fluid spill into an Ohio wetland in April.
'A Major Win for New Yorkers': Court of Appeals Upholds State's Denial of Water Quality Certification for Constitution Pipeline
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.
By Anne Bolen
On Aug. 21, for the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. from coast to coast. Along the path of totality, the moon will completely block out the sun, turning day to twilight for nearly three minutes. While a partial eclipse will be visible throughout the U.S., millions will be flocking to spots along the path of totality, which begins in Salem on Oregon's coast about 10:15 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and exits the nation at Charleston, South Carolina, where maximum coverage will occur about 2:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Perhaps no other natural event will inspire so many people to go outdoors.
The Trump administration released an environmental review Thursday of Hilcorp Alaska's Arctic offshore drilling development. Hilcorp plans to build a 9-acre artificial island and 5.6-mile pipeline in the Beaufort Sea for its offshore drilling project. The Trump administration's draft environmental impact statement proposes to greenlight the dangerous drilling plan, which would be a first for federal waters in the Arctic.
The incident was detailed in several Facebook posts from Equinac, a Spanish marine wildlife conservation group.
The National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday that it has rescinded the 2011 "Water Bottle Ban" that allowed parks to prohibit the sale of disposable plastic water bottles. That same day, news emerged that the Trump administration removed a nine-slot Capital Bikeshare station at the White House that was requested and installed during the Obama years and used by staffers.
By Catherine Collentine
This week, a federal court ruled that the Obama administration over-penalized Exxon for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of a pollutant onto the streets of Mayflower and threw out a number of safety violations levied against Exxon on the basis that the company met its legal obligations to consider the risks associated with the pipeline.