July 11, 2020

 
 
 
 
NATIONAL PIPELINE NEWS

Judge Orders Dakota Access Pipeline to
Shut Down Pending Full Environmental Review


By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch
July 7, 2020


A federal judge ruled Monday that the controversial Dakota Access pipeline must be shut down and drained of oil until a full environmental review of the project is completed.

The decision is a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Indian Country Today reported. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fears the pipeline will pollute their drinking water and sacred lands if it leaks from where it flows beneath the Missouri River, and the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation sits adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux and the river.

"Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline," Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith said in a press release from Earthjustice, the group that litigated the case. "This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning."

» Read article
» Read the Earthjustice press release

In Yet Another Blow to Keystone XL:
Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Revive Key Water Crossing Permit Court Rejects Push from Trump Admin to Allow Construction of KXL Through Waterways Amid Appeal


By Sierra Club
July 6, 2020


Today, the United States Supreme Court declined a request from TC Energy and the Trump administration to allow Keystone XL to proceed under Nationwide Permit 12, a key water crossing permit for pipelines that a district court found unlawful. The court also issued a partial stay of the district court’s decision as it applies to other pipelines while a full appeal of the decision moves forward.

» Read article
Duke, Dominion cancel $8B Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Local environmental advocates welcomed the cancellation announcement

By Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive
July 6, 2020


"The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was never needed, and the facts have never been more clear: fracked gas has no role in our energy future," Tom Cormons, Appalachian Voices executive director, said in a statement.
The head of the U.S. Department of Energy bemoaned the loss of new jobs and investment in natural gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio from the potential 600-mile project.

"The well-funded, obstructionist environmental lobby has successfully killed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would have lowered energy costs for consumers in North Carolina and Virginia by providing them with an affordable, abundant, and reliable natural gas supply from the Appalachian region," DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a statement. "As Secretary, I will continue to fight for expanded energy infrastructure in this country."

» Read article
Is This the End of New Pipelines? Defeats at three projects reflect increasingly sophisticated legal challenges, shifting economics and growing demands by states to fight climate change

By Hiroko Tabuchi and Brad Plumer
July 8, 2020


They are among the nation’s most significant infrastructure projects: More than 9,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in the United States are currently being built or expanded, and another 12,500 miles have been approved or announced — together, almost enough to circle the Earth.

Now, however, pipeline projects like these are being challenged as never before as protests spread, economics shift, environmentalists mount increasingly sophisticated legal attacks and more states seek to reduce their use of fossil fuels to address climate change.

“You cannot build anything big in energy infrastructure in the United States outside of specific areas like Texas and Louisiana, and you’re not even safe in those jurisdictions,” said Brandon Barnes, a senior litigation analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.

The growing opposition represents a break from the past decade, when energy companies laid down tens of thousands of miles of new pipelines to transport oil and gas from newly accessible shale formations in North Dakota, Texas and the Appalachian region.

Strong grass roots coalitions, including many Indigenous groups, that understand both the legal landscape and the intricacies of the pipeline projects have led the pushback. And the Trump administration has moved some of the projects forward on shaky legal ground, making challenging them slightly easier, said Jared M. Margolis, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

In the meantime, the entire energy industry is wrestling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused demand for oil and gas to drop worldwide. Falling energy prices further complicate the financial case for new pipelines.

» Read article

DC Circuit pipeline ruling could prompt
dramatic shift in FERC power sector actions


By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive
July 8, 2020

A recent ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that prevents federal regulators from delaying decisions on whether to build out gas infrastructure indefinitely leaves many unanswered questions for the power sector, attorneys say.

Last week, the court ruled 10-1 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission does not have the authority to postpone decisions on requests for rehearing indefinitely. The Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC en banc hearing concerned the commission's practice of delaying landowners' requests for rehearing on pipeline development, while developers could move forward with construction under the Natural Gas Act.

But the D.C. Circuit's response was much broader than anticipated, according to industry lawyers, and as a result could lead to a dramatic shift in legal processes before FERC.

» Read article


As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe Bet
Atlantic Coast and Dakota Access pipeline woes underscore trends pushing utilities toward clean power as a less risky business


By Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media
July 6, 2020


The Atlantic Coast Pipeline's cancelation marks the natural-gas market’s “third high-profile victim in the last six months,” [director of the North American gas team at Wood Mackenzie, Dulles Wang] wrote in a Monday note. The others include Williams Co.’s Northeast Supply Enhancement and Constitution Pipeline projects, which were withdrawn after facing permitting denials and public opposition from New York state.

“The setbacks speak to the difficulties of building new pipeline projects in the northeast U.S., even when there is actual consumer demand that supports these projects,” Wang said.

The legal victories for environmental groups on technical permitting issues are part of a broader fight against the global warming impacts of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has so far denied challenges based on the greenhouse gas impacts of pipeline projects, but groups including The Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund continue attacking those decisions in court.

For utilities and energy companies, the mounting challenges to pipeline projects may serve as an incentive to shift from plans to rely on natural gas as a bridge fuel, and toward a less risky role building ratepayer-financed electric infrastructure to serve an increasingly renewable-powered grid, analysts say.

» Read article          

LOCAL PIPELINE / COMPRESSOR FIGHTS

In the meantime, construction on the Enbridge compressor station in Weymouth, and Tennessee Gas compressor station and pipeline in Agawam continue despite concerns  voiced by Massachusetts residents and pending court action against FERC by Food & Water Watch and No Fracked Gas in Mass' parent organization Berkshire Environmental Action Team, and Eversource has filed with the DPU to purchase Columbia Gas' Massachusetts local distribution operations.

Stay tuned for word from FRRACS regarding the ongoing situation in Weymouth, especially since the Air Quality permit was recently vacated. Aside from the usual legal and regulatory battles, there are releases of gas during construction that are currently going unmonitored by officials.

Follow FRRACS on Facebook and Twitter for latest developments.


"Prof. Phillips will be back with us chasing methane plumes as Enbridge dumps more into our air here in the Basin. While some will tell you that this has been happening for the
20 years that the metering and regulating station has been around--and that is true--we are all more keenly aware of the environmental damage that it has done and is doing.
Not just to our air but to our lungs and our overall health.
Stay tuned, Campers, for more information!"

Be sure to check the No Fracked Gas in Mass Weekly News Check-In for these stories and more. If you haven't subscribed yet, look for the Subscribe option at the bottom of each week's post to get the news right in your inbox.

For news on various pipelines, FERC and the industry, climate and more, check out the Latest News Tab on our site.



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