Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
In response to the President’s move to sidestep the judicial order on Keystone XL, the Indigenous Environmental Network immediately filed suit on Friday with the same federal court in Montana, claiming that President Trump lacks the authority to issue pipeline permits as Congress administers federal lands.
The Keystone pipeline would cut through historical tribal lands in Montana and South Dakota, and the same judge had rejected the pipeline’s earlier permit because the Interior Department allegedly did not assess the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases and the risk of oil spills.
White House officials maintain that President Trump’s permits are not subject to court review. The order the President will sign tomorrow comes at a time when pipeline safety is an increasing concern after several high profile pipeline explosions, including a deadly one last year in South Lawrence, Massachusetts. Members of Congress from Massachusetts plan to introduce a bill this week called the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, named after the 18-year old victim of the explosion, which is intended to strengthen pipeline safety by closing regulatory loopholes and increasing safety standards.
Why This Matters: The Trump Administration seems determined to help the oil and gas industry build more pipelines regardless of whether it puts more human lives or precious ancestral lands at risk. The pipeline industry’s safety record is poor. At an oversight hearing yesterday, Congressman Daniel Lipinski noted that from 1999 to 2018, “the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reported 11,992 pipeline incidents that resulted in 317 deaths, 1,302 injuries, and more than $8.1 billion in damages. Incidents increased nearly twofold from 1999 to 2018.” And in 2018 alone, 8 people were killed and 92 injured in 633 pipeline incidents.
Pipeline explosion in South Lawrence, MA last year Photo: AP
President Trump trumpeted his trade deal with China, but so far it has been a bust, according to The Wall Street Journal — the Chinese have not purchased nearly the amount of energy (in terms of total dollars) as they promised — only $2B in oil and gas purchases against a commitment of $25B for this year.
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.