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Climate activists Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein shut down Enbridge's tar sands pipelines 4 and 67 in Minnesota on Oct. 11, 2016. Climate Direct Action

Activists May Argue Pipeline Shutdown Was Necessary Due to Climate Change, Court Rules

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday that four climate activists facing criminal charges may use an unusual "necessity defense" over their efforts to shut down a pair of tar sands pipelines owned by Enbridge Energy.

"Valve turners" Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein were charged after shutting off the emergency valves on the two pipelines in October 2016. Johnston and Klapstein, and the two defendants who filmed them, argue their actions to stop the flow of the polluting bitumen were justified due to the threat of climate change.

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Trump Watch
Polar Bear sow and two cubs in the Arctic Refuge's 1002 area targeted for oil drilling. Wikimedia Commons

Trump Admin Begins Process to Open Pristine Arctic Refuge for Drilling

The Interior Department has launched the process of holding lease sales for oil and gas drilling in the 1.6-million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Despite decades of fierce resistance from Democrats and conservation groups, pro-drilling Republicans were able to realize their goal of opening the refuge after quietly including the measure in last year's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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Energy
lauwen66 / Flickr

New Zealand Bans New Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

New Zealand will no longer offer new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday.

"The whole world is going in this direction," Ardern said. "We all signed up to the Paris agreement that said we're moving towards carbon-neutrality, and now we need to act on it."

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Energy
Release area of Amherst incident. TransCanada

Keystone Pipeline Spilled 407K Gallons in South Dakota, Double Previous Estimate

TransCanada's Keystone crude oil pipeline leaked 9,700 barrels (407,400 gallons) on rural farmland near the city of Amherst last year—nearly twice the original estimate of 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons), a company spokeswoman told the Aberdeen American News.

The Nov. 16 incident was already considered the largest spill in South Dakota, but its new estimate makes it the seventh largest inland spill in the whole U.S. since 2010, the South Dakota publication noted.

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Energy

Cracked Undersea Pipeline Caused Deadly Oil Spill in Indonesia

A burst undersea pipeline owned by Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation Pertamina caused a deadly oil spill on Saturday that left Balikpapan Bay in Borneo "like a gas station."

The company initially said the disaster had nothing to do with its nearby refinery or undersea pipelines that run across the bay, noting that its own tests on oil spill samples found marine fuel oil used for ships, not crude oil.

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Energy

Deadly Oil Spill Leaves Indonesian Bay 'Like a Gas Station'

Indonesia has declared a state of emergency after a large oil spill ignited and killed at least four people in the port city of Balikpapan off the island of Borneo over the weekend.

The blaze is now under control but the oil continues to spread. According to BBC News, the slick currently covers an area of seven square miles and threatens to further pollute the waters.

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Animals
Miles of waterways contaminated by the oil spill in Santander, Colombia. El Tiempo / YouTube

More Than 2,400 Animals Killed by Oil Spill in Colombia

An oil spill of approximately 550 barrels (23,100 gallons) has killed more than 2,400 fish, birds and reptiles near the city of Barrancabermeja, Colombia, RCN Radio reported.

Oil started spilling from the Lizama 158 oil field in early March and spread down 15 miles of the Lizama river and 12.4 miles of the Sogamoso river.

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Energy
A massive sinkhole in Winkler County, Texas. Google Earth

Large Swath of Texas Oil Patch Rapidly Sinking and Uplifting, Study Finds

West Texas is already home to two giant sinkholes near the town of Wink caused by intensive oil and gas operations. Now, according to an unprecedented study, the "Wink Sinks" might not remain the last in the region.

Geophysicists at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas have found rapid rates of ground movement at various locations across a 4,000-square-mile swath around the two sinkholes. This area is known for processing extractions from the oil-rich Permian Basin.

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Energy
Protest against Arctic oil at Statoil commissioned rig in Norway. Greenpeace

'Kayaktivists' Board Rig Set to Drill Arctic

Peaceful "kayaktivists" from Greenpeace Norway boarded a Statoil-contracted rig set to drill two Arctic wells this year.

Two people boarded the rig at the Skipavik yard on Norway's west coast Thursday morning and have requested a meeting with the rig's captain.

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