By Sharon Kelly
Former Trump administration Energy Sec. Rick Perry, who resigned from his cabinet-level post effective last month, has joined the board of directors of the general partner of Energy Transfer LP, according to a filing made today with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Energy Transfer.
The Revolving Door Spins<p>The Trump administration has come under fire over revolving door concerns before — often involving the hiring of former corporate lobbyists for government roles. "At the halfway mark of President Donald Trump's first term, his administration has hired a lobbyist for every 14 political appointments made, welcoming a total of <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/trump-town/staffers/category/lobbyists" target="_blank">281 lobbyists</a> on board, a ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations analysis shows," ProPublica reported in <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/we-found-a-staggering-281-lobbyists-whove-worked-in-the-trump-administration" target="_blank">October</a>.</p><p>Other former high-level Trump officials have also come under fire for accepting roles in industries previously under their purview, including former Interior Secretary <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/ryan-zinke" target="_blank">Ryan Zinke</a>. In July last year, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-23/former-interior-chief-zinke-now-enlisting-energy-mining-clients" target="_blank">Bloomberg reported</a> that Zinke began working as a consultant for oil and mining firms after leaving the Interior Department, drawing criticism from good governance watchdogs. Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/john-kelly-new-role-will-profit-from-child-separation-policy-2019-5" target="_blank">similarly drew condemnation</a> when he joined the board of Caliburn International, operator of the largest U.S. center for housing migrant children, after playing a role in policy debates over the separation of migrant children from their families. And former Environmental Protection Agency chief <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/scott-pruitt" target="_blank">Scott Pruitt</a> was reportedly in talks in September 2019 to work as a consultant for a Kentucky coal mining executive, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/12/climate/pruitt-coal-consulting.html" target="_blank">according to</a> The New York Times.</p><p>A January 28, 2017 executive order issued by President Trump requires executive branch appointees to pledge that they will not lobby agencies where they previously worked for five years.</p>
'Historic' Fine for Energy Transfer Announced in Pennsylvania, Permitting Bar Lifted<p>Perry joins a company with a troubled track record when it comes to the law.</p><p>On the same day as the SEC filing announcing Perry's new role, Pennsylvania <a href="http://files.dep.state.pa.us/ProgramIntegration/PA%20Pipeline%20Portal/RevolutionPipeline/Consent_Order_and_Agreement_01-03-2020.pdf" target="_blank">announced</a> that it had reached an agreement with ETC Northeast Pipeline, LLC, an Energy Transfer <a href="https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1276187/000127618719000011/et-12312018xex211.htm" target="_blank">subsidiary</a>, over the 2018 explosion of the Revolution pipeline, part of the state's expanding network connecting the shale gas industry and the plastics and petrochemical industry.</p><p>The agreement includes a $30.6 million fine, one of the largest in commonwealth history — dwarfing the <a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/2019/12/04/pennsylvania-prosecutor-accuses-energy-transfer-of-buy-a-badge-security-scheme/" target="_blank">$13 million</a> in prior fines <a href="https://www.naturalgasintel.com/articles/119459-pennsylvania-again-fines-me-2-total-penalties-exceed-13m?v=preview" target="_blank">issued as of September</a> last year by state regulators for environmental violations during Mariner East pipeline construction. It also lifts a permit bar that <a href="https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-issues-statement-dep-pipeline-permit-bar/" target="_blank">blocked</a> Energy Transfer from obtaining new permits for its pipeline construction projects, including an ongoing expansion of its Mariner East pipeline system.</p><p>"The settlement announced Friday means the company can also begin the process of repairing the Revolution pipeline, which links shale wells in Beaver and Butler counties to an Energy Transfer gas processing plant in Washington County," the Pittsburgh Post Gazette <a href="https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2020/01/03/Energy-Transfer-30M-penalty-pipeline-explosion-permit-ban-Revolution-Mariner-East/stories/202001030137" target="_blank">reports</a>.</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.
Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, has missed its 2018 deadline to plant tens of thousands of trees along the pipeline's route, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The company was supposed to plant 20,000 trees along the pipeline's 359-mile route through North Dakota by the end of 2018, as per the terms of a September 2017 settlement with North Dakota's Public Service Commission. So far, it has planted only around 8,800.
By Sharon Kelly
Roughly four years ago, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) filed a federal application to build a 1,172 mile oil pipeline from North Dakota's Bakken shale across the U.S. to Illinois at a projected cost of $3.8 billion.
Before that application was filed, on Sept. 30, 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe met with ETP to express concerns about the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) and fears of water contamination. Though the company, now known as Energy Transfer, had re-routed a river crossing to protect the state capital of Bismarck against oil spills, it apparently turned a deaf ear to the Tribe's objections.
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A damning new report has highlighted the spotty incident record of Energy Transfer, which owns tens of thousands of miles of pipelines across America, including the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Texas-based energy company and its subsidiary Sunoco have amassed more than 800 federal and state permit violations and millions of dollars in fines while building its two newest natural gas pipelines, the Rover and Mariner East 2, respectively, Reuters reporters Scott DiSavino and Stephanie Kelly revealed Wednesday.
A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.
The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.
A pipeline exploded in Beaver County, Pennsylvania at approximately 5 a.m. Monday morning, causing a large fire and prompting the evacuation of dozens of homes in the area.
Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered a passionate wedding sermon to royal newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, also gave a powerful message about two years ago to Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at Standing Rock, North Dakota.
On Sept. 24, 2016 at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the reverend offered the Episcopal Church's solidarity with the water protectors, noting that, "Water is a gift of the Creator. We must protect it. We must conserve it. We must care for it."
The Oklahoma City Fire Department and hazmat crews responded to the situation after receiving reports of a "yellow liquid" shooting into the air near an oil and gas well site in Edmond, a suburb outside of Oklahoma City.
The permit was issued for the last 18-mile stretch of the fracked oil pipeline that would have run through the riverside town of St. James Parish, where dozens of refineries and industrial facilities are already fueling a public health crisis in the mostly African-American community.