Enbridge's Line 3 Approval Gets Reconfirmation

Minnesota regulators have reconfirmed their support for Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement that crosses northern Minnesota.

The company is looking to replace its aging crude oil pipeline, but is faced with fierce opposition.

The Public Utilities Commission on Monday rejected a motion by opponents to reconsider its previous decision to grant a certificate of need for the project.

The commissioners agreed that Enbridge met several additional conditions imposed in June, including requirements for insurance coverage against spills and financial assurance for covering costs of removing pipeline after the end of its life.

Environmental and tribal groups upsettingly walked out of the hearing and marched to the office of Gov. Elect Tim Walz after the decision was made.

CBS Minnesota - WCCO


Enbridge Line 3 Trespassers Convicted by Jury, Face Jail Time

Two individuals have been convicted by a jury for disorderly conduct and obstruction of an officer after a protest at Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 construction site in Wisconsin late last summer.

The 24-year-old male and 26-year-old female were found guilty of trespassing on the site where Enbridge was working to replace a 12.5-mile segment of their pipeline, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

According to investigations, the 24-year-old secured himself to an excavator at the site as the other person involved streamed the event on social media on August 29, 2017. Both refused requests from sheriffs to leave the site.

The individual who streamed the trespassing was sentenced to 20 days in jail and ordered to pay fines. The judge emphasized that “this type of behavior will not be tolerated” and commented on how these actions endanger all those involved.

The 24-year-old who secured himself to an excavator has still not been sentenced.

Rapid City Journal

Enbridge Not Hiring Private Security Ahead of Line 3 Pipeline Construction

Enbridge has decided to not hire private security during the construction phase of Line 3, a senior Enbridge official said on Friday.

The decision comes as a result of violence that erupted last year between protestors and security during construction of Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline, something Enbridge seeks to avoid.

Protestors have vowed to stop the project even if that means they will need to put their body on the line, according to them. The tension compares to the late 2016-early 2017 DAPL protests in North Dakota that started peacefully but became increasingly violent between both parties.

“We’re here to make sure that nobody gets hurt,” Enbridge's Executive Vice President said. “If you employ your own security to do (law enforcement), you’re broadening your responsibilities to an area where we don’t believe we should go.”

Executive director of the Honor the Earth activist group said that she is “pretty skeptical” that Enbridge will leave security to police. 


Three Protestors Arrested After Locking Themselves to Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction Equipment

Three protestors from Massachusetts were arrested after locking themselves to pipeline construction equipment in West Virginia in attempt to stop or delay the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline.

The three bound themselves to tunnel and earth-moving machinery on Monday, according to state police. They were arrested on charges of trespassing, obstructing an officer, and resisting arrest.

It took authorities nearly two hours to set 18-year-old Sydney Patricia White, 21-year-old Evin Tyler Uger, and 25-year-old Maxwell Harry Shaw free from the machinery, according to state police.

Each person was released on $1,500 bond.

The Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline has seen many other acts of protest such as legal challenges and tree-sit protests, but nothing has terminated construction of the 300-mile line that is projected to run from West Virginia into North Carolina, crossing through several counties in Virginia.

Houston Chronicle

More Protestors Settle in Aerial Blockades to Protest Mountain Valley Pipeline

In a series of aerial blockades against the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, another protestor has perched herself in a tree in Giles County, Virginia after being inspired by others who have done the same.

Fern MacDougal is one of at least five who are posted on platforms anchored to trees or poles along the Mountain Valley Pipeline route in Virginia and West Virginia in attempt to delay or halt construction of the project. Others have preceded them but came down from their posts to avoid having to pay fines or face legal action.

MacDougal told reporters from her cellphone that she thinks the protests are catching on and hopes enough protest will stop the pipeline. She said she has a reserve of food and water on her four-by-eight-foot platform that sits 30 feet in the air, but is not sure how long she will stay in the tree.

MacDougal said she was inspired to protest by a woman called Nutty who has been occupying a blockade anchored from a 50-foot pole since March 28.

Mountain Valley officials have said the protests are not yet affecting the timing of construction for the 303-mile pipeline project, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

The Roanoke Times

Pipeline Protestors Perched in Trees for Five Weeks Come Down after Judge Threatens to Levy Fines

Two protestors who were perched high in trees in West Virginia for five weeks to protest the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline came down after a federal judge threatened to levy heavy daily fines and give the money to the pipeline builders.

The mother and daughter pair camped nearly 60 feet above ground in trees since April 2 and endured subfreezing temperatures, high winds, snow, and rain to delay and possibly stop construction work related to the 303-mile pipeline.

The two came down after a federal judge last Friday said she would impose a $1,000 fine against each woman for every day they continued to defy the court's order to come down from the trees by 11:59 PM Saturday.

The two came down after learning the money would go to the pipeline builders, which angered them. They said they would not give up the fight and would continue the protest in other ways.

The Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline is being built by several companies led by EQT Midstream Partners and is designed to move gas from West Virginia to southwest Virginia.

The Washington Post

Doctors Seeking to Assist Pipeline Protestors in Trees Turned Away by Authorities

Two Virginia doctors were turned away by authorities on Saturday when seeking to assist a 61-year-old woman who has spent four weeks in a tree in attempt to stop construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

One of the doctors spoke to the woman from behind police tape away from the tree on Bent Mountain in attempt to learn about her current medical state and provide medical advice. He determined she was medically fine but encouraged her to stand up and take the tarp off the roof to get sunlight.

Her husband also attempted to bring her vitamins and skin cream, but Roanoke County police refused those as well.

The doctors are concerned about the risks of remaining overly sedentary in the tree stands as well as the continuous exposure to damp conditions.

The woman, Theresa Terry, and her daughter have been protesting the 300-mile Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline that is designed to run from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Construction workers cannot tear down trees in the area while the two women are perched in trees along the route.

A spokesperson for Roanoke County says the two women are in violation of a federal court order that warrants their arrest. If they come down from the trees, they will be arrested.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Mountain Valley NatGas Pipeline Receives Key Step Forward from Virginia Regulators

The Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline has been granted another key step forward by Virginia environmental regulators, allowing for full-scale construction in the state.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said Monday that it approved erosion, sediment, and stormwater control plans for the 300-mile pipeline project.

Trees have already been cut in the state to clear the way for the pipeline that will travel from West Virginia through southwest Virginia, and now full-scale construction can begin.

Opponents of the pipeline say digging trenches along steep mountain slopes will contaminate water supply.

The pipeline is also facing protestors in West Virginia who are camping dozens of feet up in trees along the route in an attempt to at least delay, if not stop, pipeline construction.

The News Tribune

Tree-Sit Protest Against Mountain Valley NatGas Pipeline Gains Traction

As the tree-sitting protests against the Mountain Valley Pipeline continue in West Virginia, the U.S. Forest Service has established the Caldwell Fields Campground in the Jefferson National Forest as a safe spot for protest supporters to gather.

The campground is located miles from where two tree-sitters are located atop Peters Mountain in the state.

The tree-sit protest started February 26 as an attempt to at least delay the proposed 300-mile Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline that is designed to run through both West Virginia and Virginia, and the protestors' efforts are gaining attention quickly via social media.

The pipeline developer said it is entitled to build the pipeline after receiving approval from the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.

The Forest Service has the right to force the removal of the protestors from what is technically a no-trespassing area, but authorities have not come to a conclusion on what is the safest way to remove the protestors that are perched in two trees 60 feet above the ground next to where the pipeline would cross the Appalachian Trail.

The Roanoke Times

Maryland Issues Permit for Columbia Gas Pipeline Extension

Maryland on Friday issued a state permit for the proposed Columbia Gas natural gas pipeline extension in western Maryland, subject to nearly two dozen environmental conditions that the state added to the project.

The project would involve construction of about 3 miles of natural gas pipeline in Maryland as part of a section that would connect a TransCanada pipeline in Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Gas line in West Virginia.

The pipeline has brought protestors to the state capital to argue that the project would affect drinking water for millions.

Maryland said the pipeline cannot be built through the state unless the applicant complies with each requirement made by the state on top of the requirements already issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the project.

The Washington Post

Restraining Order Hits NatGas Pipeline Protestors Perched in Trees

Protestors sitting in trees along the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline route have been hit with a restraining order by a Monroe County Circuit Court Judge, as requested by the pipeline company.

The restraining order was sought by the builders of the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline who argue that the protestors are preventing them from being able to cut trees along the pipeline's path in time to meet a March 31 deadline imposed by federal wildlife protections.

Two opponents of the natural gas pipeline have been perched about 60 feet above the ground in trees on Peters Mountain in West Virginia for more than a week in hopes to at least delay construction on the project that they believe will damage land and waters.

The restraining order does not give authorities instructions on how to remove the protestors from the trees, which is being contemplated by law officials.

Mountain Valley Pipeline has requested for a preliminary injunction that could last longer than the restraining order, which is only effective for 10 days. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Roanoke Times

Thousands March in British Columbia to Protest Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Indigenous leaders on Saturday led a march of thousands of demonstrators in Burnaby, British Columbia to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would nearly triple the flow of oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Pacific Coast.

Opponents argue that increasing the flow of oil sent by the Kinder Morgan pipeline and boosting the number of ships to transport it would increase the risks of oil spills and potential negative impacts to fish and other wildlife.

Despite ongoing opposition to the project, Kinder Morgan said it is moving ahead with prep work at two terminals in Burnaby but is still awaiting several local permits and federal condition approvals to begin construction.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the expansion in late 2016, saying the project is in Canada's interest because it will help meet emissions targets in the Paris Climate Accord as well as help the country receive better prices on oil as it exports Alberta tar sands outside of the U.S.

The Washington Post

Protestors Sit in Trees Along Mountain Valley Pipeline Route in Attempt to Halt Project

Protestors are sitting in trees along the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline route in an attempt to delay and ultimately halt construction on the project.

Two opponents of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline have been perched about 60 feet above the ground in trees on Peters Mountain in West Virginia since Monday in hopes to at least delay construction on the project.

Mountain Valley has already begun cutting down trees in preparation for construction in Giles County, located right across the state line of West Virginia where the tree sit is taking place.

Mountain Valley has received approval from FERC to cut down trees in certain areas along the 303-mile route, including Giles County, but still awaits approval from FERC and the Forest Service to cut down trees on national forestland where the protestors are sitting.

Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline argue the project would destroy water, mountains, forests, and family farms throughout Virginia and West Virginia.

The $3.7 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, designed to travel from West Virginia to Virginia, is owned by EQT Midstream Partners with partners NextEra, Con Edison Transmission, WGL Midstream, and RGC Midstream.

The Roanoke Times
Mountain Valley Pipeline

Energy Builders Launches Database to Track Attacks on Pipelines, Energy Infrastructure

Energy Builders launched a database called the Energy Infrastructure Incident Reporting Center that tracks criminal attacks on energy infrastructure across the country. The database comes after more than 80 members of Congress expressed concern to Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the recent rise in attacks on critical energy infrastructure.

Toby Mack, president and CEO of the Energy Infrastructure Incident Reporting Center, said he was pleased to see Congress working to end unlawful and violent attacks on energy infrastructure and people involved in the energy industry.

"Incidents of eco-terrorism, sabotage, arson, vandalism, and violence are on the rise as criminal tactics have become a regular feature of pipeline protests, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars and potentially endangering lives, the environment, and our national security," he said.

The database lists several high-profile energy infrastructure attacks over the last year, including a rash of arsons along the Dakota Access Pipeline site that caused more than $2,000,000 of damages to bulldozers and earth-moving equipment.


Several Protestors Arrested at Atlantic Sunrise NatGas Pipeline Construction Site

Six protestors were arrested this week for trying to block the construction of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania, adding to the dozens of people who have been arrested at the same site earlier this month.

Police arrested the six protestors after warning them to leave the entrance to the construction site. When the protestors did not comply, they were arrested and now face criminal trespass charges.

This month 29 protestors have been arrested in Pennsylvania in their attempts to stop construction of William's Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline.

Williams is building the $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise pipeline to carry gas from the Marcellus Shale in northern Pennsylvania to southern states.

Williams says the pipeline is scheduled to be placed into full service by mid-2018.


Monument from DAPL Protest to be Displayed at Smithsonian

A 12-foot mile-marker constructed by protestors during their months-long fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline will be on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in D.C.

The structure was made as a centerpiece of the protest camp in southern North Dakota that began its sprawl in August of 2016 until it was forced to disband in February this year. It showed the distances that protestors traveled from around the globe, ranging from homes 50 yards to some 4,000 miles away.

A total of more than 12,000 activists protested the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which is now in operation, saying it violated Native rights and would ruin water supply.

The camp was forced to disband in February for safety reasons as the spring flooding season was on its way after an incredibly harsh winter.

The mile-marker post will be the final piece of an exhibit in the Smithsonian called "Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations." It will be on display through 2021.

Washington Post

Minnesota Judge to Allow "Necessity Defense" in Enbridge Pipeline Case

A Minnesota judge is allowing a group of protestors to use a "necessity defense," which will allow them to present evidence showing that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands is so imminent that they were justified in attempting to shut down two Enbridge oil pipelines last year.

Two members of the activist group Climate Direct Action attempted to turn the emergency shut-off valves of two pipelines in Minnesota last October as part of a coordinated action to shut down five pipelines that carry Canadian tar sands into the U.S.

These two protestors claim this is the first time a judge has allowed a full necessity defense on a climate change issue. They plan to cite recent natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires in the U.S. as evidence that climate change is making natural disasters worse.

A defendant who uses a necessity defense must show that the harm that would result from obeying the law would have been significantly worse than the harm caused by actually breaking the law. The defendant much also show that there were no alternatives to breaking the law, that the defendant was in physical danger, and that there was a direct causal connection between breaking the law and preventing the harm.

Enbridge last year condemned the protest, saying it was "dangerous and reckless," and had temporarily shut down the pipelines as a precaution.

Houston Chronicle

Judge Grants Williams Possession of Final Holdout Properties for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the builders of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline can immediately possess five holdout properties resisting its project, which is the last obstacle for the pipeline project's construction.

Williams' $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is designed to link natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to markets along the eastern seaboard. It is an expansion of Williams' existing Transco natural gas pipeline.

Opposition groups have been protesting the project since it was first announced in 2014. One opposition group called The Adorers of the Blood of Christ attracted global media when it built a chapel in the path of the pipeline's right-of-way as a way to keep the pipeline off of land the group claims is sacred.

Williams said the nuns will not have to remove the chapel immediately and will be fairly compensated. The company also said that the easements will only give the company limited right to install and operate the pipeline and that the use of the land will remain the same before construction under "certain limitations."

State Impact Pennsylvania


Nebraska Regulators to Prohibit Certain Testimony Against Keystone XL in Upcoming Hearings

Nebraska's Public Service Commission, which is determining the fate of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL, ruled that opponents of the project cannot use certain arguments against it next week during final hearings, including the argument that America does not need more oil.

The commission is holding final hearings August 7-11 before deciding whether to approve the project's route through the state, which is the final hurdle for the delayed project.

Testimony is welcome at the hearings, but the commission last week notified a group of landowners along the proposed route that it would not use some of their pre-written testimony against the line that argues that there is a limited market for the oil.

The commission says that argument is beyond the scope of its consideration and will instead be able to weigh matters related to the public interests of Nebraskans, like jobs, revenues, and other issues that impact the local economy.

The commission also said it cannot consider environmental issues because the pipeline already has an environmental permit.

TransCanada announced last month, however, that it has not yet decided if the pipeline will be built and is waiting until it makes an assessment of commercial support.


Iowan Groups Still Vow to Stop Fully-Operational Dakota Access Pipeline

Groups in Iowa are still vowing to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline even though the $3.8 billion project is in full operation as of last Thursday.

Appeals are still pending with the Iowa Supreme Court, which is keeping opponents of Dakota Access hopeful that they can still shut the pipeline and have it removed. The appeals involve concern about the environment, property rights, and other issues.

The Sierra Club of Iowa is also appealing to the state's high court over the Iowa Utilities Board's permit approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Iowan groups against the pipeline said they will not concede defeat even if winning is a long shot.

"If any of these court rulings go our way, things could change," said former state legislator Ed Fallon who heads activist group Bold Iowa.

The controversial pipeline began commercially shipping oil last Thursday and has the capacity to ship about 520,000 barrels of oil per day. No spills have been reported in Iowa, and pipeline operator Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, continues to file weekly construction reports with the Iowa Utilities Board that indicate restoration of farmland and other cleanup work.

USA Today