Grim day for pipelines shows they’re almost impossible to build

by Rachel Adams-Heard and Ellen M. Gilmer, Bloomberg


  • Giant pipeline projects such as the Datoka Access Pipeline and the Atlantic Pipeline are being shut down as the fight against fossil fuel infrastructure grows
  • Energy companies Dominion Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. canceled the Atlantic Coast gas pipeline after years of delays and major costs increase from $5 billion to $8 billion
  • Dominion sold nearly all of its gas pipelines and storage business to Berkshire Hathaway and is pursuing net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • The closure of the long-contested Dakota Access pipeline will take place by early August, making it the first in-service line to be shut down for environmental concerns
  • Environmentalists have started focusing on blocking pipeline permits instead of oil wells and are seeing success
  • Other large scale pipeline projects are facing cancelation as more environmentalists help block the permits and construction 

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.

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U.S. states have spent the past 5 years trying to criminalize protest

by Naveena Sadasivam, Grist


Minnesota has recently been the site of continued protests focused on racial equality and police brutality. The state has also seen many protests concerning the building of new fossil fuel infrastructure such as large pipeline projects. Over the past four years, state lawmakers have introduced ten bills criminalizing protests that include jail time and heavy fines.

  • Various bills were introduced after the murder of Philando Castile by police in 2016 when protesters shut down a major highway. Other bills concerned protests that were against a planned replacement of a pipeline that ran through Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin  
  • Some bills would have allowed protesters to be jailed for up to a year, fined offenders up to $3,000 each, and allowed cities to sue protesters for the cost of police response
  • There are two bills proposed this year:  One would make trespassing on property with oil and gas facilities punishable by up to three years in prison with a fine of $5,000
  • A report by PEN America says that 116 anti-protest bills were proposed in state legislatures between 2015 and 2020 and 23 bills in 15 states became law
  • Minnesota state senator Paul Utke sponsored a bill that would have made training, hiring, or counseling those who end up trespassing on property with a pipeline a felony punishable with up to ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine after the Dakota Access Pipeline protests

The Climate Center’s urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that lower-income communities and communities of color get climate justice.

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How Amazon is bringing the Keystone XL Pipeline online

by Steve Horn, OneZero


  • TC Energy, a Canadian pipeline corporation that owns the Keystone XL pipeline, has partnered with Amazon Web Services 
  • The Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Alberta to Nebraska but its permit was recently vacated by a federal judge
  • This announcement comes after Google declared it would not help create artificial intelligence for oil extraction companies
  • Amazon tech employees called on Jeff Bezos to adopt company-wide climate policy which resulted in a climate pledge. However, employee demands for Amazon to cancel its contracts with oil and gas companies went ignored
  • After President Barack Obama denied permitting access to the company for the pipeline, TC Energy faced a financial loss and continues to do so as the price of oil drops significantly
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently gave the company a $4.2 billion loan to help Keystone XL 
  • Amazon’s technology promises to make pipeline flow operations more efficient and profitable

The failure to consider consumption-based emissions such as the delivery of online purchasing ignores a significant portion of the greenhouse gases we emit out of the boundaries of the area being measured.

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Last stand in the swamp: Activists fight final stretch of Dakota pipeline

by Lauren Zanolli, The Guardian

As the flat-bottom fishing boat speeds through waterways deep inside Louisiana’s Atchafalaya basin, the largest river swamp in the US, the landscape suddenly shifts from high banks of sediment and oil pipeline markers on either side to an open grove of cypress trees towering above the water. Flocks of white ibis appear, seemingly out of nowhere, to nest and hunt amid the moss-dripped, century-old wetland forest.

“This is what the entire basin is supposed to look like,” explained Jody Meche, president of a local crawfishermen alliance and a lifelong resident with a thick Cajun accent.

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New York rejects a natural gas pipeline, and federal regulators say that’s OK

by Phil Mckenna, InsideClimate News

In a setback for the fossil fuel industry, federal energy regulators rejected a petition from the Constitution Pipeline Company to overturn New York State’s denial of a water permit for a proposed natural gas pipeline. Without the permit, the pipeline can’t be built.

In a decision on Jan. 11, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the request from the company to revive the proposed 125-mile Constitution Pipeline from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to Upstate New York.

The decision comes during one of the largest expansions of natural gas infrastructure in U.S. history, a buildout that critics say is driven more by the financial interests of gas and electric companies than market demand.

Officials with New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rejected the water quality permit for the pipeline in April 2016 stating, in part, that it failed to meet the state’s water quality standards. Constitution challenged the decision on the grounds that the state agency did not act within a reasonable time.

The federal commission, in rejecting the company’s challenge, wrote: “The record does not show that New York DEC in any instance failed to act on an application that was before it for more than the outer time limit of one year.”

The company first filed for a water quality permit with New York DEC in August 2013, then withdrew and resubmitted its application in 2014 and again in 2015 at the DEC’s request.

“States and project sponsors that engage in repeated withdrawal and refiling of applications for water quality certifications are acting, in many cases, contrary to the public interest and to the spirit of the Clean Water Act by failing to provide reasonably expeditious state decisions,” the federal commission wrote. “Even so, we do not conclude that the practice violates the letter of the statute.”

In September, FERC overruled New York’s decision to deny a water quality permit for a different natural gas pipeline. In that case, the federal commission—whose makeup has since changed, with two new members appointed by President Donald Trump—ruled that the state, which took nearly two years to make a decision, had not acted in a reasonable amount of time.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised FERC’s latest decision.

“No corporation should be allowed to endanger our natural resources, and the Constitution Pipeline represented a threat to our water quality and our environment,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I commend the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for ruling in favor of New York’s efforts to prevent this project from moving forward.”
Williams Companies, one of the companies behind the pipeline project, said it will appeal FERC’s decision.

“We are planning to seek rehearing and, if necessary, appeal of this decision in order to continue to develop this much-needed infrastructure project,” Chris Stockton, a spokesman for the company said in a statement. The companies behind the Constitution Pipeline had also sued over the water permit, but a federal appeals court panel sided with the state in August.