A federal appeals court has ordered a halt to construction of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, finding that restrictions against harming wildlife are inadequate for the controversial 600-mile natural gas project.
Three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said in a ruling issued late Tuesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to set clear limits for impact on threatened or endangered species.
The judges said that “the limits set by the agency are so indeterminate that they undermine . . . the enforcement and monitoring function under the Endangered Species Act.”
The case was brought against the pipeline by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and the Virginia Wilderness Committee.
“Like other agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service rushed this pipeline approval through under intense political pressure to meet developers’ timelines,” SELC attorney D.J. Gerken said via email. “It’s foolish and shortsighted to risk losing rare species for an unnecessary and costly pipeline boondoggle.”
Most will be sharing pictures of Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. Instead, I thought I'd share this. #MargotKidder, handcuffed and smiling, being arrested at the White House for peacefully sitting against the potential environmental destruction of the Keystone pipeline. pic.twitter.com/CUFdHb9u9O
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) May 14, 2018
As the sun sets on a remote peak along the West Virginia-Virginia border, a tense standoff unfolds between an armed squadron of U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers and a band of campers. Generators are flicked on and prison-style floodlights blast the campers, as well as the protester they are guarding, a young woman in a tree who goes by “Nutty.”
On March 28th, “Nutty” planted herself atop a fifty-foot pole – the timber of a tulip poplar tree – in Virginia’s Jefferson National Forest to block the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline. She has now been living in a makeshift tent rigged to the pole for an astonishing 49 days, surviving on an assortment of initial supplies, catching her drinking water straight from the clouds and going to the bathroom in a bucket. To give her food or water, the U.S. Forest Service has determined, is illegal. At least three people have been arrested trying to do so, including one man that, according to Outsideonline.com was “handcuffed and put in leg shackles.” Last Saturday, when two Charlottesville physicians hiked the steep two-mile path to a support camp that had been established near Nutty’s “monopole” to perform a wellness check they were denied access. “It was shocking,” says pediatrician Paige Periello, one of the two physicians. “That just doesn’t seem like the way we want to treat people in Virginia, or anywhere in this country.”
The most authoritative study of its kind reveals how fracking is contaminating the air and water – and imperiling the health of millions of Americans
Direct actions against oil and gas pipelines are rippling across Appalachia. Nutty has positioned herself at a particularly strategic location – it’s here that a pipeline backed by Con Ed and Pittsburg-based EQT, among other partners, and carrying fracked gas 300 miles from an especially gas-rich quadrant of the Marcellus Shale in northwestern West Virginia, will bore six-hundred feet beneath the Appalachian Trail.
Across the ridge, in Monroe County, West Virginia, a man named Deckard is living in a tree-sit that has been occupied since February 26th. About 80 miles east, in Franklin County, Virginia, a three-person tree-sit was established in April to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline. On Bent Mountain, outside of Roanoke, Theresa “Red” Terry and her daughter “Minor,” who own a 1,700-acre rural homestead that was partially snatched by pipeline companies using eminent domain, gained national attention for camping out in trees on their own land for 34 days before court-imposed-fines and the threat of forced removal brought them down. In central Pennsylvania, 62-year-old Ellen Gerhart faces six months in prison for her part in establishing a series of tree sits to block the Mariner East 2 and 2X pipelines from crossing part of her family farm. A resistance camp known as the Three Sisters Camp has sprung up on a plot of lush woods adjacent to the James River, in Central Virginia, to block the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In North Carolina, where an arm of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline ends, farmer Tom Clark recently told a local paper that, if pipeline construction commences, he will climb a deer stand and stay for, “as far as I can go.”
#BREAKING: Court halts construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline through W. Virginia, VA, N. Carolina. This is 1 of pipelines I covered on road last week. STUNNING 2 see big oil was approved 2 put MASSIVE compressor station next 2 historic black church where SLAVES ARE BURIED pic.twitter.com/kp0eRA87E6
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) May 16, 2018
enewable energy is getting a boost as grassroot campaigns to stop pipelines and other fossil fuel developments are springing up organically all over the world. Terry and Minor Red, who are mother and daughter, were able to hold up a EQT Midstream Partners pipeline for at least 34 days. The mother-daughter combo only gave up after being found in contempt of court and were facing a DAILY $1000 dollar fine. They may have lost the battle, but this war is far from over.
Subsequent to the protest, they were later charged with trespassing on their own property, among other charges.
This is the type of brilliant story that the majority of corporate media routinely ignore as they tell us the 33rd new development of the Stormy Daniels case. Look, I get it that the Stormy Daniels could potentially lead to some type of Watergate moment, but with a 24-hour news cycle, maybe the media could spare an hour for this type of heroic story.
Of course, telling this story would jeopardize losing their fat check from the American Petroleum Institute and other fossil fuel groups that advertise for seemingly no apparent reason other than an implicit bribe to not cover environmental stories that matter. According to Huffpost, in at least one week in March, CNN gave more ad time to these fossil fuel public relations groups than it spent covering climate change.
— 350 Canada (@350Canada) May 10, 2018
Protesters took over the City Council chamber Tuesday evening — shutting down a subcommittee meeting and yelling at National Grid officials to “leave and never come back.”
Police were called from next door as the protesters sat in the center of the chamber, hung up signs on TVs that read “No Platform For Fossil Fuels,” and shouted from the balcony.
“Shut this pipeline down,” protesters chanted.
“We did what we wanted to do,” said Marisa Shea, a protester who was sitting on the chamber floor with a sign reading, “Water is Life.”
Chair Karen Cirillo hit the gavel several times, but that did not stop the protesters. The subcommittee members left the floor.
Cirillo said the protest was unexpected. She called it “inappropriate” and “disruptive.”
— AquaHacking (@AquaHacking) May 10, 2018
A decade ago, Mobley was like any of the tiny communities spread across rural Wetzel County, marked by a half-dozen mailboxes clustered at the main crossroads and a smattering of houses and trailers around them.
As in so many other communities in the rocky hills where West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania come together over the intersection of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, the area around Mobley turned out to be rich with shale gas. The first wells were drilled nearly a decade ago, and the three states now pump more natural gas than Texas.
That production surge has been followed with a build-out of pipelines and other infrastructure. Trucks have taken over the narrow two-lane roads as production companies and pipelines have moved in.
Faced with an unprecedented workload, the local, state and federal agencies that oversee pipeline construction in the region are already struggling to keep up. Critics say the regulators in charge of policing pipelines’ environmental and public safety aspects are understaffed and unfocused.
Some residents are already frustrated by what they see as state laws that are slanted to favor the gas industry, and they are worried about the current wave of pipeline work.
Lee Martin, who lives on 104 acres with her husband, Chuck, said her young grandchildren used to have free rein of the fields near the house. Now, heavy trucks rumble up the rural driveway throughout the day en route to a well pad up the hill from the house; she keeps the kids inside or under close watch.
The Martins had limited input on the placement of a well pad on their property thanks to the severance more than 100 years ago of the plot’s mineral rights, which they said are now owned by a lawyer in town. The installation also includes a 1,025-foot run of pipeline that required clearing a 50-foot-wide swath through their back woods.
— Calgary Herald (@calgaryherald) May 14, 2018
Al Gore has thrown his support behind opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project and condemned the planned expansion as federal officials in Canada scramble to ensure it goes ahead.
“The Kinder Morgan pipeline carrying dirty tar sands oil would be a step backward in our efforts to solve the climate crisis,” Gore tweeted on Thursday.
He went on to say that he stands with John Horgan, the premier of British Columbia and Gregor Robertson, the mayor of Vancouver, as well as, “all of the Canadians – including the First Nations – who are fighting to stop this destructive pipeline.”
For months, Alberta and British Columbia have been locked in a standoff over plans, spearheaded by Texas-based Kinder Morgan, to expand an existing pipeline and lay nearly 1,000km of new pipe from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific coast.
The $7.4bn project, which still needs to obtain numerous local permits and approvals, would nearly triple the flow of Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to the west coast.
It has been bitterly opposed by some in British Columbia, who point to the impact that a dramatic rise in tanker traffic could have on the region’s southern resident killer whales, a population already on the knife-edge of extinction, as well as the province’s multibillion dollar tourism industry.
Others point to the existing pipeline’s track record; since 1961, the Trans Mountain pipeline has reported approximately 82 spills, with around 30% of those spills occurring along the pipeline’s route.
Here is a map of the oil spills in only the last 5 years. its no wonder people don't want one over their water supply: https://t.co/iCRILZ490i
— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) May 14, 2018
Raw crude oil spewed from a ruptured Sunoco pipeline in Oklahoma on Thursday.
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.
Officials briefly closed off a section of road on Pennsylvania Avenue and denied access to some homes in the neighborhood north of the release. The neighborhood was not evacuated.
“This is all taken care of now,” the fire department tweeted later that afternoon. Cleanup efforts are underway.
News 4 reported that the leak from Sunoco’s pipeline occurred in the area of a natural gas booster plant operated by Colorado-based DCP Midstream.
The release occurred in a well-populated area, with many houses surrounding the facility. Some residents expressed dismay after their property was coated in oil.
— Mike Schueler (@mikeschueler) May 10, 2018
It’s a familiar scenario: Locals fight back against a pipeline permitting process that they say ignores their health and right to a clean environment. The courts intervene, throwing the future of the community and the pipeline into question.
In this case, Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline, wants to finish building a pipeline from Louisiana to the Gulf Coast. The company owns a majority stake in the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a 162-mile addition to the oil infrastructure it’s building across the nation.
Currently there are two major cases challenging the pipeline. Late last month, a local judge found that a permit didn’t evaluate potential negative impacts of the pipeline on coastal residents. Another legal battle surrounds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit to allow the pipeline to go through the Atchafalaya Basin, where crawfishermen say a spill could destroy their livelihoods.
In the April decision, Judge Alvin Turner Jr. found the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources broke state law*. Among other offenses, the permit proposal didn’t have an emergency response plan in the case of an accident, according to the decision.
The pipeline is set to go through St. James Parish, an area with a mostly African-American community that’s part of “Cancer Alley,” a highly industrialized area stretching between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. There, residents worry about high rates of cancer due to rampant pollution. In one town in the area, Desmog reports that the wealthy have sold property to industry, leaving mostly lower-income black residents behind to deal with cancer and respiratory illnesses.
Oh, look: Here's “Darlene” of Burnaby saying Indigenous protectors aren’t acting "in a civilized manner”, and have “many violent tendencies”.
— The reconciliation is a lie (@pazuzumycete) May 16, 2018
No NEXUS Oberlin demonstrators weathered Monday morning rain to protest construction of the NEXUS pipeline.
With members dressed as angels and signs reading “haunt NEXUS” and “people over profit,” the group, made up of about 20 Oberlin College students, stood near a NEXUS construction site in the 7000 block of Wooster Pike.
“We are connected with communities in Medina who are affected by the pipeline, and we have been organizing for several years against the NEXUS pipeline,” student Alex Chuang, 20, said.
Chuang said the reason behind members dressing as angels was to “defend the sacred and invoke the sacred” while campaigning against construction of the natural gas pipeline.
Chuang said Medina County residents who live near the compressor station being built in neighboring Guilford Township shouldn’t feel that their situation is hopeless.
“We believe that the more you fight, the more you stand up. And seeing all of the amazing, beautiful, powerful, emotional, spiritual resistance happening globally, I think we are personally really connected to that,” Chuang said. “I don’t think it’s hopeless at all.”
PRESS RELEASE: 120 personalities and organizations in Quebec call for an emergency mobilization against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline https://t.co/gmGEAtcCpR #StopKM #cdnpoli #qcpoli #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/A9BcDSPZjO
— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) May 15, 2018
Greenpeace USA and activists from the Seattle group Mosquito Fleet blocked a barge from entering Kinder Morgan’s Seattle facility by locking themselves to the pier. Local kayaktivists also deployed a 9.75 x 22.55 metre banner on the water next to the facility that reads “NOT THEN” with a Shell oil logo, and “NOT NOW,” with the Trans Mountain logo. This week also marks the three year anniversary of the Paddle in Seattle protests against Shell’s oil drilling in the Arctic.
“Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline tramples on Indigenous rights, threatens communities and their access to clean water and the increased traffic from the pipeline could decimate marine wildlife including the 76 remaining Southern Resident orcas. Taking action today is my ancestral responsibility so that the next generations know what an orca looks like. We have to stand up to these companies and say enough is enough,” said Greenpeace USA activist and Seattle resident Samantha Suarez.
“We’re taking action today to protect our waters, our communities and our climate from Kinder Morgan,” said Mosquito Fleet kayaktivist and local resident Kara Sweidel. “This is just the beginning. As long as they pursue this pipeline, Kinder Morgan has nowhere to hide. We’re here to show investors and policy makers alike that this project is toxic, and it will be met with increasing resistance on both sides of the colonial border.”
If Kinder Morgan expands the Trans Mountain pipeline as planned, waters in Washington state will see a seven-fold increase in oil tar sands shipments, resulting in a tanker superhighway down the US west coast. This increased tanker traffic threatens the endangered Southern Resident orca and could push the remaining 76 to extinction.
3 years ago this week, we said #ShellNo at the Paddle in Seattle. Today, we're taking action again to make it clear: we will protect the pacific — NOT THEN, NOT NOW! #StopKM #StopPipelines #cdnpoli #bcpoli #waterislife pic.twitter.com/OIsscFsEYg
— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) May 15, 2018
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