Fake Grassroots Group Launched by Natural Gas Industry to Counter Pipeline Protests
The American Gas Association, a major trade group representing some of the nation's largest natural gas companies and utilities, has launched a new front-group called Your Energy America aimed at promoting natural gas and pipeline infrastructure, all while casting fossil fuel opponents as "anti-energy extremists."
"As the name implies, Your Energy paints itself as a grassroots organization, something akin to the Sierra Club or the American Civil Liberties Union, but for folks who support natural gas," Huffington Post reporter Alexander C. Kaufman writes.
The organization's about section states: "Your Energy was created to speak out against a misguided movement that assaults our way of life. This movement is based on the simplistic belief that keeping our natural resources in the ground is the only solution to climate change. This isn't just false—it's dangerous to our quality of life, economy and energy security."
Notably, the group's Virginia chapter quietly debuted last month ahead of the state's governor's race, which is considered by local publications as a "pipeline referendum" over the highly contested Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.
Environmental groups worry about the proposed paths of the two fracked-gas pipelines, which would cross through pristine areas of Virginia, taking private property by use of eminent domain, removing mountaintops and threatening valuable drinking water resources.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in particular, is owned by utility Dominion Energy, the state's largest energy company and the largest corporate donor to state candidates.
Dominion has been a member of the American Gas Association since at least 2009. The American Gas Association declined HuffPost's request to describe what role the utility may be playing in Your Energy, and a spokesman for Dominion did not return the website's call for comment.
Besides Virginia, Your Energy already has an active website for Connecticut and registered domain names for Ohio and New Jersey.
American Gas Association president and chief executive Dave McCurdy said the effort will expand to more states, including the West Coast.
"The whole principle behind Your Energy is that we reject the false choice of an opposition movement that believes keeping natural resources in the ground is the only solution to climate change," McCurdy explained to HuffPost. "That's not just a false choice; it's a dangerous choice."
But Jesse Coleman, a researcher on fracking politics for Greenpeace USA, criticized the rhetoric coming from Your Energy.
"It's crucial for the companies behind these front groups to portray normal community activism as somehow abhorrent or portray it as something other than what it is," Coleman told HuffPost. "You can't really win when your opposition just wants to keep their kids healthy, so you have to make them into some sort of bogeyman."
In less than one week, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke will submit his final recommendations to President Trump on whether 27 national monuments around the country should be downsized, eliminated, transferred to state control or left alone.
But as Aaron Weiss, the media director of the conservation group Center for Western Priorities, pointed out: "Rather than spending his final week hearing from local communities who have worked tirelessly to protect their natural and cultural heritage as national monuments, Secretary Zinke is on vacation in the Mediterranean. His wife, Lola Zinke, tweeted a picture early this morning of herself and Secretary Zinke enjoying a sunrise on the Bosphorus Strait."
Energy Transfer Partners' controversial $4.3 billion Rover pipeline has more negative inspection reports than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline built in the last two years, according to a new Bloomberg analysis.
The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, has been stalled from numerous environmental violations, including a 2 million gallon drilling fluid spill into an Ohio wetland in April.
'A Major Win for New Yorkers': Court of Appeals Upholds State's Denial of Water Quality Certification for Constitution Pipeline
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York State's denial of a water quality certification for the Constitution Pipeline Friday, a critical win for the Attorney General's office and the state's authority to take necessary action to protect its waters and natural resources. The appeals court noted that the state is entitled to "conduct its own review of the Constitution Project's likely effects on New York waterbodies and whether those effects would comply with the state's water quality standards."
New York must be able to do what's necessary to protect our environment—and we're glad that the court agreed.
By Anne Bolen
On Aug. 21, for the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. from coast to coast. Along the path of totality, the moon will completely block out the sun, turning day to twilight for nearly three minutes. While a partial eclipse will be visible throughout the U.S., millions will be flocking to spots along the path of totality, which begins in Salem on Oregon's coast about 10:15 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and exits the nation at Charleston, South Carolina, where maximum coverage will occur about 2:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Perhaps no other natural event will inspire so many people to go outdoors.
The Trump administration released an environmental review Thursday of Hilcorp Alaska's Arctic offshore drilling development. Hilcorp plans to build a 9-acre artificial island and 5.6-mile pipeline in the Beaufort Sea for its offshore drilling project. The Trump administration's draft environmental impact statement proposes to greenlight the dangerous drilling plan, which would be a first for federal waters in the Arctic.
The incident was detailed in several Facebook posts from Equinac, a Spanish marine wildlife conservation group.
The National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday that it has rescinded the 2011 "Water Bottle Ban" that allowed parks to prohibit the sale of disposable plastic water bottles. That same day, news emerged that the Trump administration removed a nine-slot Capital Bikeshare station at the White House that was requested and installed during the Obama years and used by staffers.
By Catherine Collentine
This week, a federal court ruled that the Obama administration over-penalized Exxon for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of a pollutant onto the streets of Mayflower and threw out a number of safety violations levied against Exxon on the basis that the company met its legal obligations to consider the risks associated with the pipeline.