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Spectra Energy Got to Edit Its Air Pollution Permit for Atlantic Bridge Gas Project

By Itai Vardi

Massachusetts environmental officials allowed Spectra Energy to quietly review and edit a draft approval of an air pollution permit the state plans to grant the company for its Atlantic Bridge gas project.

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Ohio City Plans Lawsuit to Stop Nexus Pipeline

The battle over the controversial Nexus pipeline is heating up. Following a city council vote on Tuesday, the city of Green in Ohio will be spending $100,000 to hire an environmental law firm in Cleveland to stop its construction, the Associated Press reports.

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Enbridge's Great Lakes Pipeline Has Spilled 1 Million Gallons Since 1968

Enbridge Energy Partners' aging Line 5 pipeline, which runs through the heart of the Great Lakes, has spilled more than 1 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids in at least 29 incidents since 1968, according to data from the federal Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration obtained by the National Wildlife Federation.

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250 Protestors Demand Enbridge Pipeline Shutdown Over Concerns of Great Lakes Oil Spill

Officials from Enbridge Energy Partners insisted on the structural safety of its 64-year-old pipelines that pass under the Straits of Mackinac even though a company-commissioned study found that the lines' protective coating has deteriorated in some areas.

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Trump Completes Pipeline Trifecta, Rubber Stamps Enbridge-Spectra Merger

The White House completed its pipeline trifecta Thursday by rubber stamping the Enbridge-Spectra merger after approving the Dakota Access Pipeline and reversing the blocked Keystone XL pipeline.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the deal without requiring the merged firm to divest a single inch of its 38,000-mile oil and gas pipeline network. The company will be able to exert market power to reduce output and raise prices on consumers. As with other industries, this mega-merger only benefits company shareholders, not communities.

The Trump administration is quickly fulfilling the fossil fuel industry's wish list. The American people will pay the price for gargantuan gas giveaways—higher prices, a dirtier environment and climate chaos. Approving this deal is a bad omen for future antitrust enforcement. It seems as though the White House has pulled the cops off the antitrust beat entirely, much to Wall Street's delight.

Canada Approves Kinder Morgan, Enbridge Pipelines Despite Fierce Opposition

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the Canadian government would approve two major tar sands pipeline projects, including expansion of the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

"Our duty is to permit infrastructure so Canada's resources get to market in a more environmentally responsible way, creating jobs and a thriving economy," Trudeau said at a press conference.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline has come under fire from activists and aboriginal groups.

"Apparently Justin Trudeau's sunny ways mean dark days ahead for climate action and Indigenous reconciliation in Canada," Greenpeace Canada spokesperson Mike Hudema said.

"In approving this ecosystem-destroying pipeline, Canada's leaders have ignored the threats to the Salish Sea, its marine species, and its 8 million people, including 29 Tribes and First Nations," Marcie Keever, Friends of the Earth's oceans and vessels program director, exclaimed.

Reuters reports that the opposition has "drawn inspiration" from the the current Dakota Access protests and stalled Keystone XL project.

Speaking of Keystone, senior Trump transition adviser Kellyanne Conway will reportedly tour the tar sands region in Alberta a week before the president-elect's inauguration, which may signal that the incoming administration will prioritize the pipeline's approval.

"Today's announcement may as well have said that Canada is pulling out of the Paris climate agreement," Aurore Fauret, tar sands campaign coordinator for 350.org, said. "By approving the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines, there is no way Canada can meet those commitments. Justin Trudeau has broken his promises for real climate leadership, and broken his promise to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples."

Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders rallied last week in Vancouver to oppose the mega-project. Watch here:

For a deeper dive:

Kinder Morgan: Reuters, AP, Bloomberg, CBC News, New York Times, CNBC, Huffington Post, Houston Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Mashable, Climate Home

Conway Visit: Washington Post, Washington Examiner, Grist, Huffington Post, Toronto Star,Calgary Herald

Commentary: Vancouver Sun, Karen Mahon op-ed

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

Oil Giant Pulls Plug on Sandpiper Pipeline

Enbridge and the North Dakota Pipeline Company submitted a Petition Thursday to Withdraw their Public Utilities Commission application for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project. As no party is expected to object, this decision is likely the end for the proposed fracked oil pipeline.

Enbridge and the North Dakota Pipeline Company submitted a Petition to Withdraw their Public Utilities Commision application for the "Sandpiper Pipeline Project."

"The end of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline is a crucial victory for the tens of thousands of Americans who have fought to protect their communities, their health and the climate from the threat of fossil fuel infrastructure expansion," Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels director Lena Moffitt said.

This announcement comes as Enbridge has invested in the Dakota Access pipeline, which has been widely protested by the Standing Rock Sioux, who would see the pipeline cross the Missouri River, less than a mile upstream from the Tribe's drinking water supply. The Standing Rock Sioux have been joined by tribes from around the country, environmental groups and thousands of activists who stand in firm opposition to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.

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"As far too many communities throughout the Great Lakes region can attest to, when it comes to pipelines—especially an Enbridge operated pipeline—it's never a question of if it will spill, but rather a question of when," Moffitt continued. "This is a risk no community should face and thanks to today's announcement, thousands of people will remain safe from the dangers of the Sandpiper pipeline."

Enbridge

"Rather than continuing to expand our reliance on fossil fuels, we must continue to transition to clean, renewable energy and leave dirty fuels in the ground, where they belong," she concluded.

300+ Devoted Activists Rally in Minnesota Against Proposed Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion Project

The sky was gray, the temp was just below freezing, the wind was whistling and sleet was pelting down on Kellogg Park in downtown St. Paul, MN, last week …

… but that wasn’t enough to stop more than 300 of us from across the Midwest who came to rally and march against the proposed expansion of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline. With songs, speeches and buoyant enthusiasm, we gathered to say "No" to tar sands expansion and "Yes" to a future free of carbon emissions and oil spills.

More than 300 hundred people braved cold weather April 3 to rally against the expansion of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline. Photo credit: 350.org

The Alberta Clipper is an existing Enbridge pipeline that runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, WI, across much of northern Minnesota. Built in 2010 to carry tar sands oil, it is currently under consideration for expansion from its present 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 800,000 bpd, which would make it almost as large as Keystone XL. Expanding it would be a similar disaster for the climate and would increase the risk of spills into the Mississippi River and Lake Superior.

We’re opposing the expansion at the state level right now in Minnesota through a contested case hearing process at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which is very much like putting the pipeline on trial: there’s a judge and both sides get to make their arguments. The contested case also ensures there are public hearings where anyone can give testimony. It’s an almost-all-volunteer effort—while we have a lawyer, his funds were raised primarily by volunteers who wanted to make sure we had a voice in the process.

We gathered in St. Paul last Thursday from all across the region so we could show up in force to the final public hearing. We marched through downtown to the Public Utilities Commission, led by a group of drummers and a giant paper maché pipeline, turning heads and bringing officeworkers to windows to look down at us.

The PUC hearing was packed, which was the best and worst part of the day because it made a huge impression and they were so unprepared for the crowd. The official police count was 1,000 people (many of our supporters had gone directly to the hearing so they could sign up and testify early, and there were also some pipeline contractors who came to testify in favor of the expansion). Only about 200 people could fit into the hearing room and official overflow room combined.

We brought our big rally sound system indoors and jury-rigged a set of extension speakers in an empty room so more people could listen, but the crowds were still overflowing. I wish more people had been able to actually be part of the hearing, but it was fabulous to see all the interest. One of the officials at the hearing said she’d never seen anything else like this.

There are only a few days left to submitted a public comment yet against the Alberta Clipper pipeline—the public comment period closes on April 14.

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