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Yaqui community gathering. Andrea Arzaba / CC BY-SA 4.0

Mexico's Standing Rock? Sempra, TransCanada Face Indigenous Pipeline Resistance South of Border

By Steve Horn

Since Mexico privatized its oil and gas resources in 2013, border-crossing pipelines including those owned by Sempra Energy and TransCanada have come under intense scrutiny and legal challenges, particularly from Indigenous peoples.

Opening up the spigot for U.S. companies to sell oil and gas into Mexico was a top priority for the Obama State Department under Hillary Clinton.

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2017 Year in Review

As we look back on the most noteworthy environmental stories of 2017, one cannot help but start with the extreme weather that has caused so much destruction to so many around the globe. And with that, the year brought heightened concern for protecting our planet with focused attention on issues like renewable energy, electric vehicles and plastic pollution. And while 2017 was also marked by challenges with the U.S. pulling out of the Paris agreement and making other questionable environmental policy changes, we all enter a new year with the ability to make positive change.

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The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation tweeted: "The #KeystoneXL must be stopped: commit to peaceful resistance on the route http://nokxlpromise.org/ #NoKXL #KeystoneXLPipeline #KeystoneSpill"

Why Pipeline Opponents Cheered Monday's Keystone XL Approval

Yes, it's true that the Nebraska Public Service Commission voted Monday to approve the long-gestating Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. But don't score it as a win for TransCanada—or as a "boost for Trump"—just yet.

That's because the commission approved the "mainline alternative route," and that's not the route that the pipeline operator wants.

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Energy

Will You 'Promise to Protect'? Coalition Urges New Wave of Resistance to Stop KXL

By Jake Johnson

Shortly following the Nebraska Public Service Commission's "shortsighted and dangerous" vote to green-light TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, a coalition comprised of Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers living along the oil project's proposed route published a letter on Monday urging the public to join them in protecting sacred land from corporate exploitation.

Endorsed by Native tribes, green groups and high-profile environmentalists, the "Promise to Protect" call to action argues that making "a concerted stand" against TransCanada's $8 billion dirty energy project "will make other fossil fuel companies think that much harder about their own expansion plans."

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tarsandsaction / Flickr

Massive Oil Spill Not Expected to Influence Nebraska's Decision on Keystone XL

UPDATE: The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve the mainline alternative route for the Keystone XL pipeline through the state. The commission rejected TransCanada's preferred route.

In her dissent, commission member Chrystal Rhoades said she was against the pipeline regardless of the route.

The Washington Post reported:

She said that the pipeline was not in the state's public interest, that jobs would not go to Nebraskans, that it would create "significant burdens" on landowners whose use of the pipeline corridor would be limited, and that she was still worried about the environmental impact.

"All human-made infrastructure degrades and fails over time," she wrote. "No infrastructure ever designed has lasted for eternity and there is no reason to believe this pipeline will be an exception." Rhoades acknowledged that the commission was not supposed to weigh the risks of spills, but she said the state's Department of Environmental Quality had included it in the record.

Pipeline opponents will likely challenge the decision in court.

Nebraska regulators will announce Monday whether pipeline operator TransCanada can build its proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline across the state. The decision is the last regulatory hurdle for the highly contested $8 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission will not factor in Thursday's 210,000-gallon spill from Transcanada's Keystone Pipeline, which leaked thousands of gallons of highly polluting tar sands oil on South Dakota farmland. That's because pipeline safety is a federal responsibility. Under a 2011 state law, the Public Service Commission is not allowed to factor in pipeline safety or spill risks. Rather, the five-member commission will decide on whether the pipeline's route is in the interests of the state of Nebraska.

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Lorie Shaull / Flickr

Massive Pipeline Leak Shows Why Nebraska Should Reject Keystone XL

About 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of oil leaked Thursday from TransCanada's Keystone oil pipeline near Amherst, South Dakota, drawing fierce outcry from pipeline opponents.

The leak, the largest spill to date in South Dakota, comes just days before Nebraska regulators decide on whether its controversial sister project—the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline—will go forward.

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Politics

7 Reasons Why Jeff Flake Is Awful on Climate Change and Energy Justice

This week, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) made national headlines by dramatically announcing his retirement on the U.S. Senate floor. Flake focused his speech on the erratic behavior of President Donald Trump and the nationalistic, anti-immigration turn taken by some Republican Party politicians in recent years.

"I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles," said Flake. "To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019."

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Photo by Tami Heilemann, Interior

Pruitt, Zinke and Perry Target Clean Air and Water Rules to Curb 'Burdens' on Energy Sector

At a speech in North Dakota last month, President Trump boasted that his administration is refocusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to its "core mission: clean air and clean water."

"That's what I want—clean air," he continued. "Think of it. We talk about the—I want beautiful clean air, and I want crystal-clean water, right? That's what we want."

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Massive pipelines would transport millions of barrels of oil per day from the Athabasca tar sands mines. howlcollective / Flickr, CC BY

The Energy East Pipeline Is Dead, but Three Tar Sands Pipeline Projects Remain

By Ron Johnson

Last week, energy company TransCanada pulled the plug on its 2,800-mile Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline projects, which would have shipped 1.1 million barrels of crude oil from the Athabasca tar sands to refineries in eastern Canada. The move was celebrated as a victory by environmentalists and Indigenous people pushing for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

"This is a tremendous battle victory in the greater fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground and for climate justice for Indigenous nations," Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network's Keep It In The Ground project, said in a statement.

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