Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

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.

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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Pipeline Development Under Old Appalachian Trail

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Pipeline Development Under Old Appalachian Trail

The Supreme Court by a 7-2 majority handed the Old Appalachian Trail, national parks and trails, and their visitors a major setback, ruling yesterday that the Forest Service has the authority to permit a pipeline to be constructed underneath the trail despite the objection of the agency that manages it as a national park “unit,” the National Park Service.

Why This Matters:  Conservatives often make the slippery slope argument opposing parks when they are created — that is exactly what fishers claimed to persuade President Trump to allow fishing inside the NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument last week.

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NY Denies Water Permit to Build Pipeline for Gas, Wants to Build Transmission Line Instead

NY Denies Water Permit to Build Pipeline for Gas, Wants to Build Transmission Line Instead

New York state environmental regulators denied for a third time a permit for a pipeline that would transport fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York City and Long Island for two reasons: water quality in the Long Island Sound and fidelity to the state’s new law that requires the New York to transition its power sector to net-zero emissions by 2040 and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. 

Why This Matters:  This is how the stimulus funding from the federal government should work — it must be used to build cleaner and more efficient new infrastructure that decreases our dependence on fossil fuels.

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New Investigation Shows Pipelines Always Get Their Way With FERC

New Investigation Shows Pipelines Always Get Their Way With FERC

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sides with pipeline companies over private landowners in 99% of the cases when landowners refuse to grant a company permission to bury a pipeline on their land.  

Why This Matters:  The FERC’s stilted process may soon end. In addition to Congressional oversight, a federal appeals court is considering whether to disallow FERC from blocking landowners taking their cases to court right away, before ground is broken.

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Three States Outlaw Pipeline Protests, As Pipeline Operators Request Production Slow Down

Three States Outlaw Pipeline Protests, As Pipeline Operators Request Production Slow Down

Bloomberg News reported last week that U.S. pipeline operators are requesting oil producers to cut back on production — a “clear sign” that the oil market is reaching a breaking point when the amount of crude oil is at capacity in storage tanks and pipelines due to the oil glut caused by the global price war. Meanwhile, the Governors of Kentucky, West Virginia and South Dakota recently signed laws effectively making it a crime to protest a pipeline — imposing stiff fines and penalties for anyone causing “damage, destruction, vandalization, defacing or tampering” to pipelines because they are deemed to be “critical infrastructure.”

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Bloomberg’s Position on Natural Gas Gets Greater Scrutiny

Bloomberg’s Position on Natural Gas Gets Greater Scrutiny

Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s position on natural gas took center stage yesterday with the President tweeting to “Texas & Oklahoma” — two Super Tuesday states — that people should not vote for “Mini Mike” because he will kill “your drilling, fracking, and pipelines.”  However, according to The Washington Post, Bloomberg’s position on natural gas is more complicated.

Why This Matters:  Bloomberg has funded a highly successful campaign to shutter dirty coal plants in the U.S., but overall his position on fossil fuels is the most conservative of the remaining top tier Presidential candidates.

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