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Updated: 1 hour 29 min ago

How a U.S. Company is Suing Canada for Rejecting Quarry in Endangered Whale Nursery

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 19:29
Right Whales

When a Canadian federal-provincial environmental review panel ruled in 2007 that a proposed quarry would go against community core values and would threaten right whales and other marine life in the Bay of Fundy, groups that had fought against the project believed that was the end of the story.

But, that is not how the system works under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has dispute settlement provisions allowing corporations to sue governments for compensation when they feel the local environmental approvals process has interfered with expected profits.

Tags: NAFTABilconright whalesEcojusticequarryBay of FundyChapter 11
Categories: News

Washington Governor Inslee Rejects Major Oil-by-Rail Project

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 01:27
Vancouver, Washington port

On January 29, Washington Governor Jay Inslee rejected a permit required for Tesoro-Savage to build the Vancouver Energy oil-by-rail facility, the largest such project in the nation, at the Port of Vancouver, along the Washington-Oregon border. The governor explained the basis of his decision, which followed a several year long process, in a letter to the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council:

Tags: Bomb TrainsPort of Vancouveroil by railInsleeVancouver EnergyTesoro-Savage
Categories: News

Study Fills in Missing Data on Homes, Schools, Habitats at Risk from Shell’s Falcon Pipeline

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 22:51
Aerial view of the future site of the Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania

At the end of 2017, Shell ran slightly afoul of Pennsylvania state regulators after filing a pipeline permit application to the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that failed to show sensitive environmental areas in the path of its proposed Falcon ethane pipeline. Now, a concerned nonprofit has pieced together the details Shell should have included (and more), revealing hundreds of homes, schools, streams, and wetlands in the path of the fracking products pipeline.

The 97-mile Falcon Ethane project will carry more than 107,000 barrels a day of a flammable plastics precursor to a small town in Pennsylvania where Shell is building an ethane “cracker” facility. In a region poised to be transformed by petrochemical development, this huge plastics plant will superheat the ethane and “crack” it as it manufactures over a million tons per year of tiny plastic beads of ethylene or polyethylene.

Tags: ethaneplasticspetrochemicalpennsylvaniashellFalconFalcon Ethane PipelineMariner East IIMariner East 2FracTracker
Categories: News

Trump's Piers Morgan Interview Pushes the Same Climate Denial Backed by his Mercer Family Benefactors

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 02:57
Donald Trump and Piers Morgan

President Donald Trump loves to accuse his detractors of producing “fake news” as a way to deflect from his own distortions and misrepresentations.

But in an interview screened in the UK in recent hours, Trump’s tired attack on climate science — itself a demonstrable twisting of the truth — was the epitome of the actual fakery pushed by climate science denial groups and conservative media outlets.

And Trump’s continued disregard for the authoritative positions of climate scientists and scientific institutions and academies across the globe echoed the platforms of groups supported by one of his key financial backers — the Mercer family.

Tags: Donald TrumpPiers Morganclimate change denialCO2 CoalitionKathleen Hartnett White
Categories: News

Macron's Pledge to Wipe out Coal Is Just as Meaningless as Trump's Plan to Revive It

Sat, 01/27/2018 - 14:35
Macron on Davos

By Jay L. Zagorsky, The Ohio State University

In a speech at the 2018 World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to “make France a model in the fight against climate change” and promised to shut all coal-fired power plants by 2021 — two years earlier than the timetable put forward by his predecessor.

While Macron’s move is mainly symbolic since France only generates about 2.2 percent of its power from coal, it signals his government is actively trying to wean itself off fossil fuels in sharp contrast to the current policy of his U.S. counterpart. “We have finally ended the war on coal,” pretty much sums up American policy these days, as President Donald Trump declared in a recent speech.

Tags: Emmanuel MacronDonald TrumpdavosCoal Power Plants
Categories: News

200+ Scientists Want Trump-Backer and Climate Denial Funder Rebekah Mercer Kicked Off Natural History Museum Board

Sat, 01/27/2018 - 01:24
Rebekah and Robert Mercer

By Julia Conley. Cross-posted from Common DreamsCC BY-SA 3.0 US

More than 200 scientists have called on the American Museum of Natural History to cut ties with board member Rebekah Mercer, the billionaire backer of President Donald Trump who has also funded “climate denial” groups in order to protect the fossil fuel industry's pollution-causing extraction of oil and gas.

“We ask the American Museum of Natural History, and all public science museums, to end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation, and to have Rebekah Mercer leave the American Museum of Natural History Board of Trustees,” wrote the group, which includes James Hansen, who first brought climate change to the U.S. government's attention in 1988, and other prominent researchers.

Tags: Robert Mercerrebekah mercerMercer Foundationamerican museum of natural historyclimate science denialDonald Trump
Categories: News

Trump Officials, Energy Execs Speak Together at Conference Sponsored by Climate Denier Groups

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 11:57
 'Denied facts are still facts'

Last December groups promoting climate change denial sponsored a two-day conference which brought together energy executives and lobbyists with Trump administration officials.

According to the conference’s agenda, which DeSmog has obtained exclusively, the participating energy and utility companies included Dominion Energy, General Electric, and Georgia Power. Officials from the Departments of Energy and the Interior were among the panelists.

Tags: State Policy NetworkTrump Administrationdominion energyAmerican Legislative Exchange Council ALECBradley FoundationThomas Jefferson Institute for Public PolicyConsumer Energy AllianceBill Murray
Categories: News

There Are Better Ways to Foster Solar Innovation and Save Jobs Than Trump's Tariffs

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 02:49
Brooklyn rooftop solar panelsBy Edward Barbier, Colorado State University and Terry Iverson, Colorado State University

President Donald Trump’s decision to impose punitive duties on imported solar panels and related equipment is rankling most of the industry.

This was the final step of a process that began when two U.S. subsidiaries of foreign solar panel makers filed a rarely used kind of trade complaint with the International Trade Commission. Trump largely followed the course of action the independent U.S. agency had recommended to protect domestic manufacturers from unfair competition.

Tags: Solar Panelsenergy subsidiesTrump AdministrationChina energy policy
Categories: News

California City Files Lawsuit Against Chevron, Others For Climate Damages

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 19:33
Chevron logo on gas truck

The city of Richmond, California is the home of oil giant Chevron’s domestic headquarters. It also happen to be the ninth city in the United States to file a lawsuit against fossil fuel companies for their contributions to global climate change.

The lawsuit filed by the city lists Chevron as the lead defendant, but 28 other oil, gas, and coal companies are listed in the suit as co-defendants. Richmond joins eight other municipalities in the United States in filing similar climate-related charges against fossil fuel companies. All but one of the communities are in the state of California.

Tags: chevronOil CompanylawsuitliabilityLegalCorporateNewsCurrent EventsrefineryfireTom ButtMayorRichmondcaliforniaclimate changeglobal warmingsea level rise
Categories: News

Rail Workers Acquitted in Trial on Deadly Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Disaster

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 18:51
Aerial view of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, after the oil train explosion and fires

The train engineer and two additional rail workers who faced charges for the deadly July 2013 oil train accident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, were acquitted on Friday after the jury deliberated for nine days. If convicted of all charges, they potentially faced life in prison. 

The end of the trial of these three employees for their role in the Canadian oil train disaster that resulted in 47 deaths and the destruction of much of downtown Lac-Mégantic appears to have brought some closure to residents of the still-recovering town — although most are still waiting for justice.

As the trial began, the BBC reported the sentiments of Lac-Mégantic resident Jean Paradis, who lost three friends in the accident and thought the wrong people were on trial.

Tags: Lac-MeganticBomb TrainsBakkenoil by rail
Categories: News

Congressional Committee Members Pushing LNG Exports Bills Have Deep Financial, Revolving Door Ties

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:21
Revolving doors

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce held a subcommittee hearing on two bills to expedite permitting for exports of natural gas. Domestic production of this fossil fuel has been booming in recent years, mainly thanks to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) opening up vast reserves in shale formations.

Several former and present committee staffers have either taken oil and gas industry-sponsored trips as staffers or spun through the government-industry revolving door between Congress and the lobbying sector. And all of the politicians backing the two bills under consideration have taken tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the oil and gas industry for their 2018 mid-term election campaigns.

Tags: ExxonMobilChesapeake EnergyMaryam Sabbaghian BrownMaryam BrownCameron LNGSempra EnergychevronEOG ResourcesSchlumbergerLNGLNG ExportsHalliburtonKochkoch industriesDavid KochCharles KochEnergy Transfer PartnersFred UptonSteve WinbergSmall Scale LNGCharif SoukiCheniereTellurianUnlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential ActCharlie RiedlLiquefied Natural GasEnsuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access ActANGAAmerica's Natural Gas AllianceAmerican Petroleum InstituteAPICenter for Liquefied Natural GasTom Hassenboehlerfrackinghydraulic fracturingnatural gas
Categories: News

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Faces Mounting Legal Challenges in Louisiana

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 11:07
Dean Wilson of Atchafalaya Basinkeeper next to a Louisiana cypress

Though Energy Transfer Partners has all the permits and permissions it needs to start work on the Bayou Bridge pipeline, the project still faces multiple legal challenges. 

The162-mile pipeline, being built by the same company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, will span southern Louisiana from Lake Charles, near the Texas border, to St. James, about 60 miles west of New Orleans. This route will cut through the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area that contains America’s largest swamp. 

Tags: Bayou Bridge pipelineLouisiana Department of Natural ResourcesEnergy Transfer PartnersAtchafalaya BasinkeeperArmy Corps of Engineers
Categories: News

Environmental Activist Sued for Libel Over Facebook Comment About Oil and Gas Company

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 11:58
Pete Kolbenschlag (center) and anti-fracking activists in Colorado

On November 17, 2016, a Colorado environmental activist named Pete Kolbenschlag used Facebook to leave a comment on a local newspaper article, the kind of thing more than a billion people do every day.

However, most people don’t get sued for libel over their Facebook comments. (Although some do.)

Tags: ColoradoAnti-fracking activismPete KolbenschlagSG Interestslawsuits
Categories: News

Polish Police set to Ban Spontaneous Protests and Secretly Gather Personal Data at UN Climate Talks

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 16:49
Climate emergency sign

Participants of the next UN climate talks in Poland could be banned from taking part in spontaneous demonstrations and have their personal data collected, stored and used by Polish police without their consent if a draft piece of legislation becomes law. 

The proposed measures are going through Poland’s legislative process as the southern city of Katowice — located in the country’s coal heartland — prepares to host the annual UN climate talks this December. 

The draft bill, which sets out specific regulations for this year’s climate talks, known as COP24, was passed by the lower house of the Polish Parliament on 10 January. On Friday, the Senate passed the bill almost unanimously with only three MPs abstaining. 

The text provides a raft of initiatives to “ensure safety and public order”. This includes a ban on all spontaneous gatherings in Katowice between 26 November and 16 December, spanning the entire period of the annual UN climate talks. 

Tags: UN climate talksCOP24Katowice
Categories: News

Climate Denial Group With Trump Admin Ties Is Funding Sea Level Research in Questionable Journals

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 20:51
Nils-Axel Mörner

A climate science denial group with links to President Trump’s administration has been funding work to sow doubt that low-lying islands in the Pacific are at risk from rising sea levels.

The two researchers being funded — one of which is a well-known climate science denier — have targeted little known “open access” journals with dubious quality controls to get their work published, DeSmog has found.Tags: nils axel-mornerpamela matlack kleinCO2 CoalitionWill HapperWilliam HapperKathleen Hartnett-WhiteFiji New Sea Level ProjectPortuguese Sea Level Projectomics internationalcouncil on environmental quality (CEQ)

Categories: News

Signaling More Independence from the US, the World Bank Phases out its Support for Fossil Fuels

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 02:09
Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank and Emmanual Macron of France

By , Elon University

The World Bank, which provides developing countries about US$60 billion a year in financial assistance, is officially phasing out its support for the oil and gas industries.

This move brings its actions more in sync with its overarching commitment to slowing the pace of climate change and keeping the Paris agreement on track. Based on my research regarding international relations, I see this move — which World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced in December — as significant for two reasons.

Tags: World Bankfossil fuel financingTrump AdministrationParis Climate Agreement
Categories: News

Court Orders Nonprofit Law Firm to Pay $52,000 to Oil and Gas Company for Defending Local Fracking Waste Ban

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 00:59
Marcellus Shale gas well in Pennsylvania

In early January, a federal judge ordered the nonprofit law firm Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to pay $52,000 to an oil and gas exploration company for defending a rural Pennsylvania township’s ban on underground injections of frack waste.

This sanction comes at the request of Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, but is part of a growing trend to prevent municipalities across the nation from pushing back against state and federal attempts to overrule them.

Tags: hydraulic fracturingfrackingfracking wastewaterCommunity Environmental Legal Defense Fundpennsylvania
Categories: News

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 18:22
Global map of percent changes in acres burning

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America's electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

But new peer-reviewed research adds to the growing evidence that the shift from coal to gas isn't necessarily good news for the climate.

A team led by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that the oil and gas industry is responsible for the largest share of the world's rising methane emissions, which are a major factor in climate change — and in the process the researchers resolved one of the mysteries that has plagued climate scientists over the past several years.

Tags: methanenatural gasshale gasfrackingclimate changeNASAjet propulsion laboratoryclimate change science
Categories: News

Meet the Money and People Fueling the Contested Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 22:49
Mary Landrieu speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

By Rob Galbraith, Cross-Posted from

From Dakota Access to Keystone XL to Atlantic Coast, there has been no shortage of controversies over major proposed oil and gas pipelines in recent years. We can add the Bayou Bridge pipeline to this list.

Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66’s Bayou Bridge pipeline is a proposed connection to ETP’s Bakken pipeline network that will ship between 280,000 and 480,000 barrels of crude oil per day through southern Louisiana’s bayous and wetlands to petroleum refineries in Lake Charles.

The pipeline is facing committed resistance, both from environmental activists concerned about climate change and the impact of inevitable pipeline leaks and accidents on the environmentally sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, as well as from the communities of people whose homes and ways of life are threatened by the project.

On the other side are the oil and gas corporations that stand to profit from building the pipeline, the banks seeking interest payments on loans to oil and gas companies, and the politicians and academics dependent on oil and gas industry largesse for their careers.

Tags: Bayou BridgeLouisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration AuthorityBlackstone GroupEnergy Transfer EquityBerkshire HathawayDNB CapitalUS BankPhillips 66Public Accountability InitiativeEnergy Transfer PartnersTransCanadaMary LandrieuLouisiana
Categories: News

Government Contractor Monitoring Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge Gas Project Works Extensively for the Company

Sun, 01/14/2018 - 11:00
Enbridge building

A contractor working for the federal government to monitor construction of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge natural gas project works for the company in various other capacities, according to documents DeSmog obtained through an open records request.

Early last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project, which aims to upgrade Enbridge’s natural gas capacity in the Northeast U.S. The Atlantic Bridge project was originally initiated by Spectra Energy, which was purchased by Enbridge last February.

Tags: Enbridgespectra energyfederal energy regulatory commission (FERC)Natural Resource Group (NRG)Atlantic Bridgenatural gas pipelinesEnvironmental Resource Management (ERM)
Categories: News