1,000 Civil Disobedience Arrests Expected if Minnesota Gov. Walz Doesn't Stop Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline
The coming month will be critical for the controversial Enbridge Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline, currently under construction in Northern Minnesota, AP reports.
"Due to the urgency of the climate crisis crisis and the fact that Indigenous leaders have not consented to the Line 3 project," organizers from 300 groups warned President Biden in a letter last week, "large-scale non-violent civil disobedience is now being organized for early June along the Line 3 pipeline route."
Organizers are calling on Biden to halt the pipeline, and will convene a "Treaty People Gathering" June 5th through 8th. Construction on the project to dramatically increase the amount of oil the pipeline can carry is scheduled to resume soon and Gov. Tim Walz (D) is waiting for a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling expected by June 21 — the state Department of Commerce, two tribes, and other opponents argue that the company's demand projections failed to meet the legal requirements.
Organizers did not share details of their plans because police are also preparing for their protests but Winona LaDuke, founder of the Indigenous-based environmental group Honor the Earth, told the AP she expects "over 1,000 people are going to get arrested" if Walz fails to halt the project.
For a deeper dive:
- Climate and Indigenous Protesters Across 4 Continents Pressure ... ›
- Line 3: Stopping the Next Big Climate Threat Crossing the U.S. ... ›
- Indigenous-Led Water Protectors Take Direct Action Against ... ›
- How Enbridge Helped Write Minnesota Pipeline Laws, Aiding Its ... ›
More than 1,600 gallons of oil have spilled in the Inglewood Oil Field — the largest urban oil field in the country, where more than a million people live within five miles of its boundaries, the Sierra Club wrote in a statement on Wednesday.
The spill was caused by a human error when a valve was left open, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was also not the field's first spill. Past spills at the Inglewood Oil Field, located in Culver City and Los Angeles County, have occurred in 2019, 2018, 2010, 2006 and 2005, exposing residents in the area to toxins and carcinogens, the Sierra Club added.
After a history of community organizing, Tuesday's spill arms activists with further momentum to fight against this major public health and environmental crisis in California's largest county.
"Yesterday's oil spill is a deadly reminder that the environmental racism that's shaped and harmed Black, Indigenous, and people of color continues to put our health at risk," Martha Dina Argüello, of the STAND-LA Coalition, an environmental justice coalition, and Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, said in a Sierra Club statement.
Of the people living in the area, 52 percent are Black, which is a much higher percentage than the countywide eight percent, the Sierra Club reported. The oil field is also located alongside homes and schools, putting families at risk for health outcomes from air pollution like lung disease, leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer and asthma. In Baldwin Hills, asthma related ER visits are 4.4 times higher than the Los Angeles County average.
"A pattern of oil spills and the daily and 'authorized' toxic emissions both demonstrate that oil extraction is [an] inherently dangerous practice that has no place in our region. We look forward to working with Los Angeles County to take immediate steps to phase out oil and gas production," Argüello added, according to the Sierra Club.
Last fall, Culver City approved a resolution to take initial steps to phase out oil in the area, the NRDC wrote in a statement. Similar actions are also occurring citywide in Los Angeles.
In December, the Los Angeles City Council's Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee voted unanimously to pass a motion to begin a citywide phase-out of oil drilling, the NRDC wrote in a statement. "We're not over the finish line, but we're closer than ever," Argüello added, according to the Courthouse News Service.
Currently, there are 1,071 active oil wells in the city — 759 of which are located less than 1,500 feet from homes, schools, churches and hospitals, STAND-LA, which has been leading the fight against oil in the city of Los Angeles, wrote.
Although no injuries were reported at the Inglewood oil spill on Tuesday, environmental groups have expressed concerns about toxins released in the air from the spill that could harm nearby communities, the Los Angeles Times reported, adding to the often unknown and unreported health impacts of oil spills.
"What's terrifying about health dangers like this is that the average person living nearby rarely has any way of knowing it even happened," Ethan Senser, Southern California Organizer with Food & Water Watch told the Sierra Club. "This is an ongoing crisis we can't keep sweeping under the rug - it's time that the County commits to partnering with frontline communities and supporting the real solutions they are putting forward."
- Kinder Morgan Pipeline Spills up to 42,000 Gallons of Gasoline Into ... ›
- Chevron Refinery Dumps Oil Into San Francisco Bay - EcoWatch ›
Krill oil has gained a lot of popularity recently as a superior alternative to fish oil. Basically, the claim goes, anything fish oil can do, krill oil does better. Read on to learn what makes krill oil supplements better than fish oil supplements, why you should consider these vitamin supplements, and which brands we recommend.
What is Krill Oil?
Krill oil is made from a tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the ocean and usually serve as whale food. In fact, krill means "whale food" in Norwegian. These tiny organisms actually play an extremely important role in the food chains of marine ecosystems. The krill used to make krill oil are usually found in the waters around Antarctica.
Just like the fish oils found in supplements, krill oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that contain EPA and DHA, two compounds that are proven to have a number of health benefits.
But what makes krill oil better than fish oil?
It's believed that krill oil is better absorbed in the body than fish oil. Both derive most of their benefits through the EPA and DHA that are contained in their fatty acid stores. However, for the same dose, krill oil will result in more fatty acids in the blood than fish oil. A potential explanation for this is that while fish oil's fatty acids come as triglycerides, krill oil's come as phospholipids which are more easily processed by the body.
Additionally, krill oil contains astaxanthin which is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that might have an enhanced positive effect on heart health. Studies have shown that krill oil is more effective than fish oil at lowering blood pressure and lowering bad cholesterol.
Our Picks for the Best Krill Oil Supplements
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus
- Best for Cognitive Health - Onnit Krill Oil
- Best for Heart Health - NOW Neptune Krill Oil
- Best for Joint Health - Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
- Strongest - Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil
How We Chose the Best Krill Oil Supplements
Here are the factors that we considered when comparing the best krill oil brands to create our list of recommended supplements.
Omega-3 Content - We looked to see the amount of omega-3 fatty acids contained in each krill oil softgel or capsule.
Astaxanthin Content - The best krill oil pills contain this naturally-occurring antioxidant.
Third-Party Lab Testing - For any nutritional supplement, we choose brands that guarantee the quality of their product through independent lab testing.
Krill Source - We also compared these supplements for the source of their krill oil, and only recommend brands that use sustainably-harvested krill.
The 5 Best Krill Oil Supplements
Best Overall: Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus
- Omega-3s - 330 mg per 3 softgels
- Astaxanthin - 150 mcg per 3 softgels
- Krill Source - Antarctica
Why buy: We love Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, astaxanthin, and choline to help promote brain, cardiovascular, and joint health, and because it is made with sustainably-harvested Antarctic krill. In fact, Vital Plan uses Superba krill oil, which is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is 100% traceable.
Best for Cognitive Health: Onnit Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 240 mg per 2 softgels
- Astaxanthin - 200 mcg per 2 softgels
- Krill Source - Antarctica
Why buy: Onnit Krill Oil makes it easy to supplement your diet with the essential nutrients found in krill with just two softgels per day. The DHA and EPA fatty acids, plus astaxanthin, contained in these supplements can help support better cognitive, heart, and joint health. Plus, they source their krill from a Friend of the Sea certified supplier.
Best for Heart Health: NOW Neptune Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 250 mg per 2 softgels
- Astaxanthin - 360 mcg per 2 softgels
- Source - Antarctica
Why buy: NOW Neptune Krill Oil supplements use 100% Neptune krill oil, a patented oil derived from Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Two softgels contain 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 360 mcg of astaxanthin that can promote better cardiovascular and joint health. We like NOW Neptune Krill Oil because they also get their krill oil from a Friend of the Sea certified source.
Best for Joint Health: Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 330 mg per 2 capsules
- Astaxanthin - 1.6 mg per 2 capsules
- Source - Antarctica
Why buy: Viva Naturals uses a trademarked Caplique capsulation to avoid any krill oil odor or potential fishy burps. WIth 90 mg of DHA and 165 mg of EPA per 2 capsule serving, this supplement will definitely give you your money's worth, as they pack more DHA and EPA than your average supplement. We like that these capsules contain a higher concentration of the antioxidant astaxanthin, and are designed to eliminate any fishy aftertaste.
Strongest: Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil
- Omega-3s - 240 mg per softgel
- Astaxanthin - 500 mcg per softgel
- Source - Antarctica
Why buy: IKOS certified and made with their proprietary Superba krill oil formula, Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil is an excellent choice if you're looking to enjoy the benefits that quality omega-3 fatty acids can provide. Every softgel capsule contains 1000 mg of krill oil, making it the strongest krill oil supplement on our list. We like that their krill oil is also certified as sustainably sourced by the MSC.
The Research on Krill Oil Supplements
Research has long demonstrated the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in foods like fish, nuts, and certain grains like flax seed. Since krill oil naturally contains higher levels of these beneficial nutrients, it has also been found to provide a number of health benefits.
Numerous studies have linked the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and krill oil to cardiovascular health, finding that those who ingest higher levels of these nutrients are at lower risk for coronary heart disease, potentially lower risk of stroke, and have lower cholesterol levels. Another study found that krill oil supplements offer a safe alternative to fish oil for those seeking cardiovascular benefits in a smaller and more convenient form.
Krill oil supplementation has also been found to help reduce the symptoms of knee and joint pain.
Additionally, researches found that rats given krill oil supplements showed improved cognitive function and benefited from anti-depressant-like effects. However, more research on its effect for human brain development and function is needed.
How to Choose the Right Krill Oil Supplement
When shopping for a krill oil supplement, there are important pieces of information that you should always look for. Here are some tips on how to compare brands and how to read labels.
What to Look For
For any supplement, always check to see if it has undergone third-party lab testing for quality and safety. This is especially important for any fish or krill oil to make sure that it does not contain any harmful compounds like mercury.
Look for the amount of krill oil contained in each capsule and each serving (as these will sometimes differ). You should choose supplements that offer between 200 mg and 350 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving for the best results.
Make it a priority to learn where the brand sources its supply of krill oil. We recommend brands that use sustainably-harvested Antarctic krill oil because the process of harvesting is more tightly regulated by various groups.
This is good advice for all nutritional supplements, but be sure the krill oil you choose does not contain any unwanted or unnecessary ingredients. All of our recommendations contain just the krill oil and the capsule it comes in.
How to Read Labels
When you are comparing krill oil supplements, here are some key things to look for on any label:
- Supplement Facts - This is where you can find information on the amount of krill oil in each capsule, how many capsules make up one serving, and a breakdown of how many omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients are contained in the supplement.
- Other Ingredients - Listed at the bottom of the supplement facts table, this list will tell you what the capsule itself is made of and if there are any additional ingredients present.
- Certifications - Check the label for important certifications and seals of approvals that can tell you if a krill oil is IKOS-certified, third-party lab tested, or sustainably harvest.
How to Use Krill Oil Supplements
Krill oil supplements typically come in capsules that you swallow with water. For most brands, 2 to 3 capsules make up a single serving, and you can take a serving either once or twice per day. Some brands recommend their supplements be taken with food to aid in their digestion and absorption.
Safety & Side Effects
While krill oil supplements are generally considered safe for most adults, it is extremely important to note that you should not take krill oil if you are allergic to shellfish. The potential side effects for krill oil are considered mild and similar to fish oils, including:
- Upset stomach
- Fishy taste
By Brett Wilkins
A pair of Indigenous land defenders locked themselves to equipment at a fossil fuel pumping station in British Columbia on Saturday, vowing to continue resisting a government-owned oil pipeline that is harming the climate, the environment, and First Nations peoples whose unceded lands it traverses.
The pipeline protesters — self-described on social media as "accomplices" of the Braided Warriors and Tiny House Warriors — locked themselves to a crane at Trans Mountain Corporation's Blue River pumping station.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline — which is owned by the Canadian government through subsidiary Trans Mountain Corporation—carries crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the British Columbian coast. It is widely considered the world's dirtiest oil.
In addition to the harm done to the climate and environment, the pipeline has grave social costs. According to First Nations advocates, it desecrates sacred Indigenous land, and transient workers housed in man camps are often perpetrators of crimes against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Murder, rape, human trafficking, and other crimes abound, contributing to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people (MMIWG2S).
Two accomplices of Tiny House Warriors and Braided Warriors are locked down to equipment at TMX pumping station in… https://t.co/kCXQwAfrTj— Braided Warriors (@Braided Warriors)1617459214.0
Secwepemc land defenders have strategically built tiny houses along the route of the 518 km (321 mile) pipeline "to assert Secwepemc law and jurisdiction and block access to this pipeline."
"We have never provided and will never provide our collective free, prior, and informed consent—the minimal international standard—to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project," the Tiny House Warriors website declares. "The Tiny House Warrior movement is the start of re-establishing village sites and asserting our authority over our unceded territories."
Kanahus Manuel, a Secwepemc land defender and Tiny House Warrior, told The Sparrow Project — a nonprofit grassroots public interest newswire focused on amplifying stories from struggles for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice — that Trans Mountain does "not have consent from the Secwepemc and failure to recognize Secwepemc title, land rights, and Indigenous jurisdiction will only result in more conflict, direct actions, blockades, and Indigenous land occupations, which will increase the risks and economic uncertainty for Trans Mountain and its construction deadlines."
The Braided Warriors, an Indigenous organization that promotes First Nations rights and sovereignty in the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Musqueam territories, said on its Instagram page that "we are in solidarity with the Secwepemc people in their fight to stop foreign invasion of their lands and protect their lands, waters, animals, and peoples."
"It is our role to be accomplices to Indigenous land defenders and put ourselves on the line to stop the ongoing colonization of Indigenous territories and peoples," said Braided Warriors. "This pipeline will affect all of us and all future generations, but first and foremost will impact the nations and peoples along this route, including Secwepemc people."
"Today we stand on unceded, unsurrendered, illegally occupied Secwepemc land to show that we will not stop until the pipeline is terminated and the land is returned to the rightful title holders," they added.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
By Tara Lohan
One of President Joe Biden's first acts in office put an end to a decade-long fight over the Keystone XL — a pipeline that would have carried climate-polluting tar sands from Alberta, Canada into the United States.
Biden's Executive Order said the Keystone XL's approval "would undermine U.S. climate leadership" and that instead he would instead "prioritize the development of a clean energy economy."
Tara Houska of Couchiching First Nation hopes the Biden administration makes good on that promise — and its implications beyond Keystone.
Houska, an attorney and Indigenous rights advocate, is the founder of the Giniw Collective, an Indigenous-led resistance against another cross-border tar-sands pipeline — Line 3. Construction has already begun on this 340-mile-long Enbridge pipeline, which would carry nearly a million gallons a day of tar-sands crude across northern Minnesota — crossing 200 water bodies — en route from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.
Environmental organizations have joined Native groups, including the nonprofit Honor the Earth, as well as the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and White Earth Band of Ojibwe in raising legal challenges and joining on-the-ground resistance efforts.
The Revelator spoke with Houska about what's at stake with Line 3, how Standing Rock helped grow a movement, and why we should rethink what direct action means.
How did you get involved in being a water protector?
When I was in law school, I started doing tribal law work and ended up in Washington, D.C. representing tribes all over the country. At the same time there were serious environmental issues coming through D.C. My first internship was at the White House when Obama was reviewing Keystone XL and I saw a lot of breakdowns in the efficacy of the federal system and a lack of movement.
When the Cowboy Indian Alliance staged a protest in 2014 against the Keystone XL pipeline, I went. It was my first protest. After that I kept working on environmental justice issues for tribal nations, and then two years later a group of runners from Standing Rock came out to D.C. [to raise awareness about the Dakota Access Pipeline that would carry Bakken crude across the Plains].
I listened to LaDonna Brave Bull Allard [from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe] on Facebook Live ask for help. I could tell she meant everything she said, so I just packed up my stuff, rented a car and drove out to North Dakota.
I planned on being out there [at the Standing Rock protest camp] for a weekend. I ended up staying six months.
Something was different about this Native tribe saying no. There've been lots of tribes that have said no for hundreds of years, but these guys weren't just saying it, they were putting their bodies in front of the machines and refusing to move. The groundswell of youth, the encampment, the legal fight against the federal government — it all came together in this moment.
I think for a lot of tribal people it felt different. We were very united in the struggle.
It was also eye-opening for a lot of other people around the world. Mostly because I don't think a lot of people are even aware that Native people still exist. And that we're still very much engaged in an ongoing struggle for our land and water against either the United States or these foreign interests.
And now you’re engaged in a similar struggle against another Canadian energy company — Enbridge. What’s at stake with Line 3?
After the ground fight at Dakota Access ended and they bulldozed our camp, I went back to D.C., but I had a hard time coming back to the world as I understood it, because it'd been changed.
So in 2018 I founded the Giniw Collective. It was in response to the Minnesota Public Utility Commission unanimously approving Line 3 after years of work and tens of thousands of comments and engagement against the project by Minnesotans.
I started building and finding others to build with, to create a strong resistance community that was also engaging in traditional foods and establishing foundational relationships with the land.
-30 today on the #StopLine3 frontlines here in Anishinaabe territory...stay warm, stay strong ✊🏽❤️ https://t.co/OgZebBpnMF— tara houska ᔖᐳᐌᑴ (@tara houska ᔖᐳᐌᑴ)1613014157.0
Line 3 is much more personal because it goes through my own people's territory. To me, the critical piece of this is not just the drinking water and the emissions and all those irrevocable harms of expanding the fossil fuel industry — particularly the tar-sands industry — but it's also specifically about the threats to wild rice.
[Northern] wild rice is at the center of our people's culture and connection to the world. This is the only place in the world that it grows. This is where the creator told us to come — to where the food grows on water. And to me, Line 3 is an extension of cultural genocide to put something like that at risk.
Construction has already begun. Where do things stand legally with efforts to stop it?
There's a set of legal opinions due March 23 that are very critical in terms of the feds hearing what we are bringing forward, particularly from the tribal nations that have signed onto these lawsuits and are impacted directly by Line 3.
Then there's also an ongoing lawsuit by the Minnesota Department of Commerce against the Minnesota Public Utility Commission. The state is actually suing itself for not being able to demonstrate that there's a need for this project. The tar sands and oil products that will go through the pipeline are for foreign markets. They're not for Minnesota or the United States.
What about at the federal level?
There's also this huge push on [President Joe] Biden, who canceled Keystone XL on day one and has centered himself as the climate president. We're looking to the administration to intervene on something that's an obvious climate disaster.
How can we say we'll cancel one pipeline but build another? It's the same types of violations and the same types of climate impacts coming out of the Alberta tar sands.
Building Line 3 will have the equivalent emissions of building 50 new coal power plants. That's insane.
We are seeing progress, though. We just secured another meeting with the Council on Environmental Quality. I had a number of meetings with members of the Biden transition team and different agencies. I know [National Climate Advisor] Gina McCarthy was just questioned a couple of weeks ago by Showtime about Dakota Access and Line 3. So the message is getting into their ears. It's just that we need to hear some response.
Where are you finding inspiration now?
The pieces that inspire me the most and give me the most hope are seeing people engaged in resistance during a pandemic to defend the planet and defend life for someone who's not even born yet. That's incredibly powerful to be part of and to see that happen in real time.
To watch someone harvest wild rice for the first time, to watch someone stop destruction of a place in real time for a day — that's really powerful. To see young people finding their voices and using their bodies to try to protect what's supposed to be their world. They are literally fighting for life and their right to a future. That's a really beautiful thing to see, and it's really inspiring and hopeful.
We've trained hundreds of people over the last two and a half years in direct action. I try to push folks to think about direct action not just as being about getting arrested or something like that. To me, it's about standing with the Earth in a real way, putting something at risk and being uncomfortable. I don't think that we're going to solve the climate crisis comfortably. I don't think we're going to solar panel or policy-make our way out of this massive existential threat we're facing.
To take action is to do something in community with the Earth. To think about our own connection to her in everything that we do. I like to remind people that Native people are 5% of the world's population and we're holding 80% of the world's [forest] biodiversity.
That isn't by accident or happenstance. That is because we have a deep connection to the Earth and an understanding that the Earth is a living being, just like we are.
Tara Lohan is deputy editor of The Revelator and has worked for more than a decade as a digital editor and environmental journalist focused on the intersections of energy, water and climate. Her work has been published by The Nation, American Prospect, High Country News, Grist, Pacific Standard and others. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
- Water Protectors Arrested in Minnesota After Chaining Themselves ... ›
- Indigenous and Climate Leaders Outraged Over Minnesota Permits ... ›
- Climate and Indigenous Protesters Across 4 Continents Pressure Banks to #DefundLine3 ›
- 1,000 Civil Disobedience Arrests Expected if Minnesota Gov. Walz Doesn't Stop Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline ›
By Erin Brock Carlson and Martina Angela Caretta
More than 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines run throughout the United States. In Appalachia, they spread like spaghetti across the region.
Many of these lines were built in just the past five years to carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where hydraulic fracturing has boomed. West Virginia alone has seen a fourfold increase in natural gas production in the past decade.
Such fast growth has also brought hundreds of safety and environmental violations, particularly under the Trump administration's reduced oversight and streamlined approvals for pipeline projects. While energy companies promise economic benefits for depressed regions, pipeline projects are upending the lives of people in their paths.
As a technical and professional communication scholar focused on how rural communities deal with complex problems and a geography scholar specializing in human-environment interactions, we teamed up to study the effects of pipeline development in rural Appalachia. In 2020, we surveyed and talked with dozens of people living close to pipelines in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
What we found illuminates the stress and uncertainty that communities experience when natural gas pipelines change their landscape. Residents live with the fear of disasters, the noise of construction and the anxiety of having no control over their own land.
'None of This Is Fair'
Appalachians are no strangers to environmental risk. The region has a long and complicated history with extractive industries, including coal and hydraulic fracturing. However, it's rare to hear firsthand accounts of the long-term effects of industrial infrastructure development in rural communities, especially when it comes to pipelines, since they are the result of more recent energy-sector growth.
For all of the people we talked to, the process of pipeline development was drawn out and often confusing.
Some reported never hearing about a planned pipeline until a "land man" – a gas company representative – knocked on their door offering to buy a slice of their property; others said that they found out through newspaper articles or posts on social media. Every person we spoke with agreed that the burden ultimately fell on them to find out what was happening in their communities.
A map shows U.S. pipelines carrying natural gas and hazardous liquids in 2018. More construction has been underway since then. GAO and U.S. Department of Transportation
One woman in West Virginia said that after finding out about plans for a pipeline feeding a petrochemical complex several miles from her home, she started doing her own research. "I thought to myself, how did this happen? We didn't know anything about it," she said. "It's not fair. None of this is fair. … We are stuck with a polluting company."
'Lawyers Ate Us Up'
If residents do not want pipelines on their land, they can pursue legal action against the energy company rather than taking a settlement. However, this can result in the use of eminent domain.
Eminent domain is a right given by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to companies to access privately held property if the project is considered important for public need. Compensation is decided by the courts, based on assessed land value, not taking into consideration the intangibles tied to the loss of the land surrounding one's home, such as loss of future income.
Through this process, residents can be forced to accept a sum that doesn't take into consideration all effects of pipeline construction on their land, such as the damage heavy equipment will do to surrounding land and access roads.
One man we spoke with has lived on his family's land for decades. In 2018, a company representative approached him for permission to install a new pipeline parallel to one that had been in place since 1962, far away from his house. However, crews ran into problems with the steep terrain and wanted to install it much closer to his home. Unhappy with the new placement, and seeing erosion from pipeline construction on the ridge behind his house causing washouts, he hired a lawyer. After several months of back and forth with the company, he said, "They gave me a choice: Either sign the contract or do the eminent domain. And my lawyer advised me that I didn't want to do eminent domain."
Pipeline construction cuts through a farmer's field. Erin Brock Carlson, CC BY-SA
There was a unanimous sense among the 31 people we interviewed that companies have seemingly endless financial and legal resources, making court battles virtually unwinnable. Nondisclosure agreements can effectively silence landowners. Furthermore, lawyers licensed to work in West Virginia who aren't already working for gas companies can be difficult to find, and legal fees can become too much for residents to pay.
One woman, the primary caretaker of land her family has farmed for 80 years, found herself facing significant legal fees after a dispute with a gas company. "We were the first and last ones to fight them, and then people saw what was going to happen to them, and they just didn't have – it cost us money to get lawyers. Lawyers ate us up," she said.
The pipeline now runs through what were once hayfields. "We haven't had any income off that hay since they took it out in 2016," she said. "It's nothing but a weed patch."
'I Mean, Who Do You Call?'
Twenty-six of the 45 survey respondents reported that they felt that their property value had decreased as a result of pipeline construction, citing the risks of water contamination, explosion and unusable land.
Many of the 31 people we interviewed were worried about the same sort of long-term concerns, as well as gas leaks and air pollution. Hydraulic fracturing and other natural gas processes can affect drinking water resources, especially if there are spills or improper storage procedures. Additionally, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and volatile organic compounds, which can pose health risks, are byproducts of the natural gas supply chain.
Oil spills are a major concern among land owners. Erin Brock Carlson, CC BY-SA
"Forty years removed from this, are they going to be able to keep track and keep up with infrastructure? I mean, I can smell gas as I sit here now," one man told us. His family had watched the natural gas industry move into their part of West Virginia in the mid-2010s. In addition to a 36-inch pipe on his property, there are several smaller wells and lines. "This year the company servicing the smaller lines has had nine leaks... that's what really concerns me," he said.
The top concern mentioned by survey respondents was explosions.
According to data from 2010 to 2018, a pipeline explosion occurred, on average, every 11 days in the U.S. While major pipeline explosions are relatively rare, when they do occur, they can be devastating. In 2012, a 20-inch transmission line exploded in Sissonville, West Virginia, damaging five homes and leaving four lanes of Interstate 77 looking "like a tar pit."
Amplifying these fears is the lack of consistent communication from corporations to residents living along pipelines. Approximately half the people we interviewed reported that they did not have a company contact to call directly in case of a pipeline emergency, such as a spill, leak or explosion. "I mean, who do you call?" one woman asked.
'We Just Keep Doing the Same Thing'
Several people interviewed described a fatalistic attitude toward energy development in their communities.
Energy analysts expect gas production to increase this year after a slowdown in 2020. Pipeline companies expect to keep building. And while the Biden administration is likely to restore some regulations, the president has said he would not ban fracking.
"It's just kind of sad because they think, once again, this will be West Virginia's salvation," one landowner said. "Harvesting the timber was, then digging the coal was our salvation. … And then here's the third one. We just keep doing the same thing."
Erin Brock Carlson is an assistant professor of professional writing and editing at West Virginia University.
Martina Angela Caretta is a senior lecturer in human geography at Lund University.
Disclosure statements: Dr. Carlson has received funding this project from the West Virginia University Humanities Center.
Dr. Caretta has received funding for this project from the Heinz Foundation and the West Virginia University Humanities Center.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
A federal appeals court has struck another blow against the contested Dakota Access Pipeline.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. District Court of Appeals from the D.C. Circuit agreed Tuesday with a lower court ruling that the pipeline's crossing at the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is illegal and requires an in-depth environmental review, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
"We are pleased that the D.C. Circuit affirmed the necessity of a full environmental review, and we look forward to showing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers why this pipeline is too dangerous to operate," Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith said in an Earthjustice press release.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has long opposed the pipeline's crossing under Lake Oahe, a drinking water source for the tribe that is located just off of their reservation, the Grand Forks Herald explained. It became the subject of massive Indigenous-led protests in 2016 and 2017, leading the Obama administration to withhold a key permit for the project.
However, the Trump administration approved the pipeline without a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the Missouri River crossing, a coalition of Sioux tribes explained in a letter to President Joe Biden. The Army Corps of Engineers began an EIS of the crossing in September based on the lower court ruling, the Grand Forks Herald reported. This is expected to take up to 13 months, but the tribes and their allies are calling on the Biden administration to shut the pipeline down entirely.
Biden has promised to focus on the climate crisis in office, and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline on day one of his administration, leading Indigenous and environmental activists to call for a shutdown of all contested fossil fuel pipelines.
"Especially after the Keystone XL decision, the pressure is increasing for the Biden administration to take action here," Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney who represents the Standing Rock Sioux, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, pipeline proponents considered Tuesday's court decision a win because the court did not order the pipeline to shut down while the EIS is completed. A lower court had originally ordered the pipeline to shut down in July, but that has been reversed.
"I think the big point is that the court did not rule that DAPL is not safe," Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, told the Grand Forks Herald.
The Dakota Access pipeline is the main pipeline delivering oil from North Dakota's Bakken field, which is the second-largest shale development in the U.S., according to Reuters. It currently has the capacity to carry 570,000 barrels of oil a day, but both state regulators and pipeline operators want to double that in coming years, the Grand Forks Herald reported. It is owned by Energy Transfer Partners.
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By Jake Johnson
The Biden administration is facing backlash from climate activists and scientists after filing a court brief Wednesday in defense of a major Trump-era Alaska drilling project that's expected to produce up to 160,000 barrels of oil a day over a 30-year period — a plan that runs directly counter to the White House's stated goal of slashing U.S. carbon emissions.
"This is a complete denial of reality," said Jean Flemma, director of the Ocean Defense Initiative and former senior policy adviser for the House Natural Resources Committee. "The project is expected to produce about 590 million barrels of oil. Burning that oil would create nearly 260 million metric tons of CO2 emissions — about the equivalent of what is produced by 66 coal-fired power plants."
Approved by the Trump administration in October of last year, fossil fuel giant ConocoPhillips' multi-billion-dollar Willow Master Development Plan aims to establish several new oil drilling sites in part of Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve and construct hundreds of miles of pipeline.
Environmental groups promptly sued the Trump Bureau of Land Management and Interior Department over the move, charging that the agencies signed off on Willow "despite its harms to Arctic communities, public health, and wildlife, and without a plan to effectively mitigate those harms."
But in a briefing submitted in the U.S. District Court for Alaska on Wednesday, Biden administration lawyers defended the Trump agencies' decision to greenlight Willow against the environmental coalition's legal challenge.
"The agencies took a hard look at the Willow Project's impacts, including impacts from the alternative proposed water crossings and impacts from building gravel roads and other infrastructure," the filing reads. "The analysis did not suffer for lack of specific project information."
[email protected] has to choose a side: the people or fossil fuel CEOs? Keep your climate promise @JoeBiden: Stop approvin… https://t.co/WoUWTlvupb— Ben Goloff (@Ben Goloff)1622093972.0
The Biden administration's filing does not explain how support for the massive drilling project — a top priority of Alaska's Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan — comports with the White House's pledge just last month to cut U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030.
"This is climate denial," author and environmentalist Naomi Klein tweeted in response to the Biden administration's brief, which came just days after the International Energy Agency said nations must immediately stop approving new fossil fuel projects and urgently transition to renewable energy sources if the world is to avoid the worst of the climate emergency.
A federal judge temporarily halted construction of the Willow project in February, arguing environmental groups demonstrated that "there is a strong likelihood of irreparable environmental consequences once blasting operations commence."
But the New York Times reported Wednesday that "oil and gas industry officials and members of Alaska's congressional delegation, some of whom personally appealed to President Biden this week, said they believed the administration's support would help [the drilling project] proceed" despite the legal challenges and dire warnings from climate experts.
In what the Times described as "a paradox worthy of Kafka," ConocoPhillips is aiming to install cooling devices in Alaska's rapidly melting permafrost to keep the ground stable enough to support drilling that is contributing to warming temperatures.
"When someone describes a project with words like 'in a paradox worthy of Kafka,' you can bet it's not what climate action should look like," said Trustees for Alaska, an environmental justice organization. "We'll see the administration in court."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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In Today's Eco Update
- Keystone XL is dead.
- Revived Siberian microorganism.
- The Big Con.
- Record CO2 emissions.
- Dr. Bronner's chocolate.
– summaries below written by Angely Mercado
"The Company will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the Project," the company wrote.
The news was met with jubilation from environmental and Indigenous groups who had spent years battling the project over concerns it would worsen the climate crisis and harm the ecosystems and communities along its route.
24,000-Year-Old Microorganism Revived From Permafrost
Scientists in Russia have revived a bdelloid rotifer — a multicellular microorganism found in wet environments — after the invertebrate spent 24,000 years frozen 11 feet beneath the Siberian permafrost.
According to a study published in Current Biology, research has suggested these tiny creatures can slow their metabolisms down to almost stagnant and survive frozen for up to 10 years. Scientists from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science found that rotifers can survive for much longer. The 24,000-year-old rotifer was able to reproduce and feed after being thawed.
Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry's Deceptive 'Net Zero' Strategy
A new report published by a trio of progressive advocacy groups unveiled the so called "net zero" climate pledges, which are often touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency. The report's authors argued that it's simply a form of greenwashing that should be eschewed in favor of Real Zero policies based on meaningful, near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
The report, The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a "Net Zero" Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny, was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by more than 60 environmental organizations.
CO2 Reaches Its Highest Level in Human History
Last month, EcoWatch reported that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels this year were expected to climb to beyond 2019 levels, despite falling during the pandemic. Two reports released earlier this week detailed that CO2 levels have indeed spiked, and that the annual peak reached 419 parts per million (PPM) in May, the highest level in human history.
Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who published the reports, have tracked atmospheric CO2 for more than 60 years. But using other data, researchers were able to estimate that CO2 levels haven't been this high on Earth in more than 4 million years.
Dr. Bronner's to Launch Vegan, Organic Chocolate Bars
Dr. Bronner's, a popular natural soap brand, is releasing Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate this Aug. 1 and will sell its product online by the fall. The dairy-free chocolate will come in six different flavors: roasted whole hazelnuts, crunchy hazelnut butter, salted whole almonds, salted almond butter, salted dark chocolate and smooth coconut praline. The bars will be made from cocoa grown through regenerative organic practices, and are made with lower-glycemic coconut sugar.
The push to produce chocolate began when Dr. Bronner's learned that the Ghanian farmers who supply its Regenerative Organic Certified Serendipalm also grow cocoa and decided to expand the partnership. The company's farming partners use dynamic agroforestry, a farming method used by Indigenous peoples of Latin America. Dynamic agroforestry creates "forest-like systems with high biomass production," according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
By Kelly Trout
For years, we've seen fossil fuel companies and governments justify their fossil fuel expansion plans – from the TransMountain tar sands pipeline expansion to Arctic oil drilling to the Adani coal mine – on the backs of scenarios from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
This was possible because, until today, the world's most influential energy modeling agency had not produced a scenario actually aligned with the full ambition of the Paris Agreement goals. That's true no longer.
Now, after years of pressure from climate advocates, investors, businesses, and diplomats, the IEA has finally released its first ever fully-fledged energy scenario aligned with the urgent goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C). As with past IEA modeling efforts, this new scenario needs some fixes (more on that below), and we're still analyzing all of its implications. But one conclusion in particular stands out to us at Oil Change International (OCI).
In its Summary for Policymakers, in a bolded headline, the IEA finds that, "There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway."
They add, "Beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development in our pathway, and no new coal mines or mine extensions are required."
This is huge. An agency that has consistently boosted new oil and gas development in its flagship annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) is now backing up the global call to stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction.
The Oil and Gas Industry Has Lost a Powerful Shield
Big Oil and Gas companies and the governments of fossil fuel-producing countries have lost one of their key covers for claiming that developing new oil and gas reserves is fully consistent with their commitments to "net zero" or the Paris Agreement. People around the world who have been demanding that governments, banks, and other financial institutions stop enabling the expansion of oil, gas, and coal extraction can point to the IEA's "authoritative" analysis reaching the same conclusion.
Of course, the IEA is behind the curve. OCI has been analyzing the disconnect between new fossil fuel development and the Paris goals since 2016. We found then that already operating or under construction oil and gas fields and coal mines contain enough fossil fuel reserves to push the world well beyond 1.5 degrees of warming. The implication was as clear then as it is now: The world must stop digging new holes, and focus instead on managing a rapid and equitable wind down of already developed extraction.
With the IEA's fully Paris-aligned scenario now saying the same, companies like Shell and Total can no longer comfortably point to the IEA to defend their plans to expand gas extraction. The UK government, which helped commission this new IEA report, will have a tougher time claiming that its decision to keep the door open to new licenses for offshore exploration and extraction fits with its Paris commitment. In fact, IEA director Dr. Fatih Birol has already today confronted the UK over its continued support for oil, gas, and coal expansion and investment. And major fossil banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citi have a new minimum baseline for "stress testing" their portfolios and the legitimacy of their net zero plans.
A Job Half Done: The IEA Must Put 1.5°C at the Heart of the WEO
The IEA finally embracing a 1.5°C-aligned pathway as "the energy future we all need" is a major milestone. But the IEA must do much more beyond today's report to prove its climate credibility and commitment, particularly given the agency is positioning itself to play an advisory role at COP26.
To guide policies and investments towards a future fully aligned with the Paris goals, the IEA must go beyond developing a 1.5°C-aligned scenario and position it at the heart of the WEO. It is the WEO that decision makers look to year after year to guide trillions in public and private capital, and which the IEA itself calls the "gold standard of energy analysis."
Dr. Birol made a welcome announcement last week, committing that this new 1.5°C-aligned scenario will be "integral" to WEO 2021 and future WEOs. But we don't know yet what that will mean in practice.
In WEO 2019, the IEA dismissed a 1.5°C-aligned energy transformation as "very difficult and very expensive" and spent only seven of 600 plus pages discussing it. WEO 2020 included a short 1.5°C-aligned energy "case" to 2030, the building block of today's report. However, that case was rarely mentioned outside of the chapter devoted to it. The summaries of other chapters still primarily focused on the Stated Energy Policies Scenario (STEPS), a pathway towards catastrophic levels of global warming.
The scenario that the IEA positions as the central scenario in the WEO commonly becomes what governments and investors use as their default for energy decision making, guiding trillions of dollars of investment. The IEA must seize this moment to transform its flagship WEO report, putting a 1.5°C scenario at the center, and focusing each headline, chapter, and graph on the implications of it.
Risky Modeling Choices Must Be Fixed
The IEA also needs to revisit and fix risky and bad choices within its modeling between now and WEO 2021. Below we provide an overview of ways in which the IEA must improve its scenario to drive the world towards the bold and just energy solutions we need, based on initial analysis from OCI and partner groups.
Underestimating wind and solar. While the IEA closing the door on new fossil fuel extraction is a welcome shift, the IEA's new "Net Zero Energy" roadmap continues to underestimate the growth potential and cost declines of solar and wind power, a chronic problem at the IEA. Kingsmill Bond, an energy transition expert at Carbon Tracker Initiative, has noted that the IEA's scenario forecasts rapid solar capacity growth until 2030 (22 percent per year). But that growth drops to 8 percent per year to 2040 and 3 percent per year to 2050. The latest scenario by the Energy Transitions Commission shows solar power providing twice as much energy in 2050 compared to the IEA's new scenario (27-35 terawatts vs 14.5 terawatts).
As a consequence of underselling wind and solar, the IEA makes room for dirty, riskier alternatives to meet energy demand.
Gambling on CCS. The IEA assumes that carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects will wipe out 1.6 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2 pollution as soon as 2030. The IEA admits that CCS projects only have capacity to sequester 0.04 Gt of emissions at present. Most of that capacity is currently devoted to pumping more oil out of the ground. Relying on CCS to grow almost 4,000 percent over the next nine years is wildly optimistic given the technology's poor track record and failure to take off to date. It's also an irresponsible gamble. The IEA's own report acknowledges that, with greater investment in already proven renewable energy technologies, it wouldn't be necessary to expand fossil fuel-based CCS. This alternative "Low CCUS Case" mentioned in the report should be the base assumption.
Clinging to fossil gas. By gambling on a massive scale-up of CCS taking away some of its emissions, the IEA's 1.5°C scenario also makes room for dangerous levels of fossil gas reliance this decade. In the IEA's model, gas does not peak until 2025 and declines by only 6 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. By contrast, the 2020 Production Gap Report, released by the United Nations Environment Programme and a consortium of global research organisations, shows gas declining by a median of 3 percent per year between now and 2030 in 1.5°C-consistent pathways. Moreover, even if the carbon emissions from burning fossil gas to produce electricity or hydrogen are effectively captured, that will not remove the health and pollution impacts communities face where the gas is being extracted.
Projecting dangerous growth in bioenergy. Fossil fuel production and use should be replaced with truly clean energy solutions. Bioenergy does not fit that bill. Yet, the IEA's scenario relies on a 65 percent increase in bioenergy from 2020 to 2050, increasing the total land area devoted to bioenergy production by 25% to 410 million hectares in 2050, an area the size of India and Pakistan combined. Growth in bioenergy production is already linked to land grabs and human rights violations, food insecurity, and loss of biodiversity. As Hannah Mowat, campaigns coordinator with Fern, puts it, "Instead of burning trees for energy, we should focus on cutting fossil fuel use, maximising energy efficiency and increasing renewables such as solar, wind, heat pumps and geothermal."
Higher Ambition Matters
All in all, today's 1.5°C report release is a major step forward for the IEA. Its first effort to model a 1.5-aligned energy future makes a clear case that this transformation is critical and achievable, requires deep emissions cuts by 2030 and a "huge decline" in fossil fuels, and, if done in a just and inclusive way, would improve people's well-being and livelihoods all over the world.
At the same time, we can't grade the IEA only against its past performance. The ultimate measure is whether the agency drives forward solutions that are bold enough to stem the climate crisis and protect the communities on its frontlines, not the polluters responsible for causing it. In this regard, the IEA has more homework to complete.
But now that the head of the IEA is proclaiming that, "The world does not need any new investments in oil, coal or gas," it will be a whole lot harder for governments, oil and gas companies, banks, and insurers to justify their own support for continued expansion. And that is undoubtedly a huge win for the climate.
Reposted with permission from Oil Change International.
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By Jessica Corbett
Five Democratic lawmakers on Friday encouraged President Joe Biden to order an immediate shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week delivered a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by ruling that DAPL is operating illegally.
The three-judge panel upheld a lower court's ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it granted an easement for DAPL to cross a federal reservoir along the Missouri River, less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
The court ordered a full environmental impact statement examining the threats posed by the oil pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as the Democrats' letter to Biden notes, "rightfully fears an oil spill could disproportionately affect their drinking water, as well as hunting and fishing rights."
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith said in a statement that "we are pleased that the D.C. Circuit affirmed the necessity of a full environmental review, and we look forward to showing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers why this pipeline is too dangerous to operate."
Despite mandating the review, the panel did not order DAPL to stop operating. Jan Hasselman, the EarthJustice attorney representing Standing Rock, said after the ruling that "this pipeline is now operating illegally."
"The appeals court put the ball squarely in the court of the Biden administration to take action," Hasselman said. "And I mean shutting the pipeline down until this environmental review is completed."
Five lawmakers are now backing that call: Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) as well as Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Today, @SenJeffMerkley @SenWarren @RepRaulRuizMD @RepRaulGrijalva & I asked @POTUS to put people over polluters & s… https://t.co/hAHRd25RwA— Nanette D. Barragán (@Nanette D. Barragán)1612552725.0
The Democrats note that Biden has taken "bold early actions ... to prioritize climate action and environmental justice," including withdrawing permits for the Keystone XL pipeline.
In addition to urging him to "build on this promising start" by shutting down DAPL during the review, they detail some of the pipeline's history, including the "egregious environmental racism" in 2016, when "North Dakota law enforcement officials violently removed protestors from the path of DAPL, many of them from the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe."
While former President Barack Obama—under whom Biden was vice president — denied DAPL permission to cross beneath Lake Oahe on unceded ancestral tribal lands, former President Donald Trump, the letter notes, "reversed course and granted the easement while ignoring the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe."
Hey @JoeBiden, the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to operate illegally endangering the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.… https://t.co/2RKBVACHl1— Joye Braun (@Joye Braun)1612478334.0
"As you consider how to proceed," the Democrats write, "we encourage you to meet with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other impacted tribes to better understand how the DAPL affects their lands, treaty rights, and environmental priorities."
"By shutting down this illegal pipeline, you can continue to show your administration values the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities more than the profits of outdated fossil fuel industries," the letter adds. "This is a critical step towards righting the wrongs of the past and setting our nation on a path of environmental, climate, and social justice."
Hey @JoeBiden, we still #StandwithStandingRock. It's time to shut down DAPL and #BuildBackFossilFree. DAPL conti… https://t.co/lTsuqLjpws— Indigenous Environmental Network (@Indigenous Environmental Network)1612202160.0
As DeSmog noted Thursday, DAPL is facing more than just legal trouble: Westchester Fire Insurance Co. notified pipeline owner Energy Transfer in early January that it had lost a $250,000 "bond that Iowa, one of the four states it passes through, required the pipeline to maintain."
The 1,172-mile underground pipeline, which began operating in June 2017, transports 570,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, to a terminal in Illinois.
Attorney Carolyn Raffensperger, director of the Science and Health Network, told DeSmog it could be tricky for Energy Transfer to replace the lost insurance coverage, especially given the court-ordered review.
"It will be difficult because the bond holder will require the pipeline to comply with all legal requirements," Raffensperger said. "If it is operating without a permit, any spill would be a big, big legal problem."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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Locals are mistrustful of the company after a 2004 explosion on the same line killed five construction workers and injured four others, the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out. In this case, area residents say they saw Kinder Morgan respond to the spill before they were informed of what was happening.
"They scared quite a few people on this street and no one was saying anything," Matt Dooling told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This happened right where the 2004 explosion happened, so when they say that it's not dangerous, we don't really believe them."
The story began Nov. 20 when company officials first noticed a pressure drop on part of the pipeline that runs between Concord and San Jose, The Mercury News reported. They shut down portions of the pipeline at the time, but then a worker reported the smell and appearance of gas in a drainage canal Dec. 2.
"We immediately shut down the pipeline and isolated the area," Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Melissa Ruiz told The Mercury News.
Dooling told the San Francisco Chronicle that he observed Kinder Morgan workers examining the canal Dec. 2 while walking with his daughter, but that he and other neighbors were not given an explanation until days later.
Officials first thought the two incidents were not connected, but later determined that tree roots had wrapped around the pipeline, causing it to crack and gasoline to leak out. The gasoline had then travelled about a mile and a half downstream to the canal. It moved along a gravel bed beneath the canal's concrete bottom. All told, an estimated 31,500 to 42,000 gallons of gasoline leaked out, CBS SF reported.
The incident has prompted an investigation and cleanup operation involving multiple agencies. There are no reports that wildlife has been harmed, but crews continue to observe local animals.
"If more of the fuel reached the canal, we would have a bigger problem with wildlife potentially being impacted," Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told The Mercury News. "Since a lot of it is still underground, it's not as catastrophic as it would be if it were in open water."
The canal is also designed to control flooding and does not feed into public drinking water.
It is not yet known when the cleanup will be complete, but the pipeline was expected to resume operations Wednesday, Ruiz said.
Kinder Morgan is one of the nation's largest energy companies and manages around 83,000 miles of gas pipeline. It was the owner of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and its planned expansion until the Canadian government purchased both in 2018.
After the 2004 explosion, it was found that Kinder Morgan had failed to mark a bend in its pipeline. This enabled it to be pierced while a water main was being installed, sending a fireball seven stories into the air, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Kinder Morgan was found guilty of six felonies in 2007 and ordered to pay $15 million. It also paid tens of millions of dollars in reparations to victims and other fines.
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The words "Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit" were reportedly listed on a briefing note shared by the Biden transition team with U.S. stakeholders as part of a roundup of Biden's planned day one executive actions. CTV News also reviewed the briefing documents, and a source familiar with Biden's thinking told Reuters that the President-elect is planning to cancel the pipeline as one of his first acts.
"The Biden administration halting the Keystone XL pipeline is a momentous sign that he is listening, taking action and making good on his promises to people and the planet," Kendall Mackey, 350.org Keep It In the Ground campaign manager, said in response to the news. "This decision to halt the Keystone XL pipeline on day one in office sets a precedent that all permitting decisions must pass a climate test and respect Indigenous rights."
The Keystone XL pipeline was first announced in 2005, CBC News reported. The pipeline is being built to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day, stretching about 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska. From there it would connect with the original Keystone pipeline that carries oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
The pipeline has long been opposed by environmental and Indigenous groups, who are concerned about its climate impacts and the potential for leaks to harm wildlife and pollute drinking water, CTV News reported. Protests prompted the Obama administration to rescind the permit in 2015, but President Donald Trump reversed this decision with an executive order in early 2017.
Biden's decision to once again rescind the permit is not surprising. His advisers have said in the past that he would move to block it again, according to HuffPost. Biden's campaign has vocally opposed the pipeline since May, according to CTV News.
The news has sparked opposition in Canada.
"I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a Twitter statement. "Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future."
Kirsten Hillman, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., said the country still stood behind the pipeline and that it fit within Canada's climate plans, CBC News reported.
"The Government of Canada continues to support the Keystone XL project and the benefits that it will bring to both Canada and the United States," Hillman said.
Meanwhile, in a bid to make the project more appealing to Biden, owner TC Energy announced a plan on Sunday to reach zero emissions by 2030, hire union workers, sign Indigenous equity partners and install a $1.7 billion solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline.
However, Canadian environmental groups and parties were pleased with the news.
"This is what true climate leadership looks like," Annamie Paul, leader of the federal Green Party, told CTV News.
Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, urged Canadians to follow suit and move away from the pipeline, which he likened to "beating [a] dead horse," CBC News reported.
"The Biden administration offers us a fresh start on addressing the climate crisis with a willing partner, so let's not blow it by pushing pipelines," Stewart said.
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