Appeals Court Comes to Unanimous Decision to Cancel MVP Permit

An appeals court sided with environmental groups on Friday, canceling permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cut through federal land.

The three-judge panel came to a unanimous decision and accused the agencies of ignoring environmental regulations and acquiescing to justifications offered by the pipeline company on the project’s environmental impact.

Construction of the pipeline prompted protests earlier this year, including people climbing into trees in the pipeline's path as well as chaining themselves to construction equipment.

The appeals court decision comes after EQT decided to delay the Mountain Valley pipeline completion target to next year.

The estimated costs for the project also changed, increasing from $3.5 billion to $3.7 billion.

Source:
Seeking Alpha
Star Tribute

Protestors Rally Outside Governor's Mansion After Enbridge Given Line 3 Permission

Protesters rallied outside the Minnesota governor’s mansion in St. Paul three days after a state regulator gave Enbridge permission to replace its 50-year-old Line 3 oil pipeline.

The pipeline will follow an existing path from Canada to Wisconsin, going through Minnesota before bypassing the Leech Lake reservation. Enbridge’s decision to replace the aging pipeline is said to double oil transportation as well as create jobs and generate revenue. Critics believe that the company chose money over the environment despite Enbridge's efforts to minimize any chance of enviornmental damage.

Passionate protesters have said that they won’t make it easy to build the pipeline, vowing to create physical blocks if legal ones fail.

Enbridge plans to finish the new pipeline within a year but is required to remove any parts of the old line that are not being used as well as guarantee cleanup of any environmental damage.

Source: 
Kare11

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.

Source:
The Roanoke Times

Mountain Valley Pipeline Developers Request Federal Action Against Pipeline Protestors in Trees

Developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline are asking a federal judge to find a family of protestors in western Virginia in contempt of court and to remove them from the tree stands where they are protesting to keep the pipeline out of their land.

Mountain Valley Pipeline developers said last week that members of the Terry family are violating a court order that prohibits them from interfering with easements granted to the pipeline developers for the 300-mile natural gas pipeline.

Two Terry family members have been protesting in two separate trees for weeks by occupying tree stands within the easements, which is preventing construction crews from working in the area.

Local authorities issued arrest warrants last week for the two protestors, but no one has yet tried to remove the protestors by force.

Source:
Washington Post

Judge Lifts Restraining Order Against Mountain Valley NatGas Pipeline Protestors

Monroe County Circuit Judge Robert Irons has lifted a restraining order against protestors sitting in trees along the proposed Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline route in West Virginia.

Judge Irons' ruling comes less than two weeks after he granted Mountain Valley Pipeline's request for a temporary restraining order against protestors who the pipeline company argues are preventing construction crews from cutting trees along the pipeline's path in time to meet a March 31 deadline.

In his ruling to lift the restraining order, Judge Irons highlighted concerns about the pipeline map's accuracy as well as questioned the urgency to reach a decision over two trees along the 300-mile pipeline route.

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

Source:
Houston Chronicle

New Jersey Environmental Commission Approves Controversial NatGas Pipeline

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission on Friday approved a controversial pipeline project by South Jersey Gas to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve.

The highly anticipated vote sparked large upheaval as environmentalists and pipeline supporters clashed during the hearing when the 15-member commission voted 9 in favor for the pipeline.

Environmentalists have been vigorously fighting the 22-mile pipeline project saying it would harm the fragile Pinelands and potentially cause a loss of habitat as well as increase runoff and erosion in an area that holds some of the country's purest water.

South Jersey Gas says the pipeline would run alongside or under existing roads and that there are already 1,400 miles of gas mains and 133 miles of elevated pressure lines within the Pinelands that it safely operates without harming the environment.

The company also said the vote shows the energy challenges facing New Jersey and that the pipeline will offer a balanced solution to those challenges by addressing the energy demands of 142,000 customers as well as create and protect jobs.

Opponents of the pipeline told the commission after the vote that they would challenge the decision in court.

Source:
PennEnergy

Dakota Pipeline Protestors Set Structures Ablaze Amid Camp Evacuation Deadline

Perhaps as a last act of defiance, some protestors remaining at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp set ablaze a few remaining structures on Wednesday, the last day protestors were given to evacuate the camp before authorities would force them to leave.

The protestors are calling it a "ceremonial act" as they set structures on fire on their last day to be at the camp before being potentially arrested for trespassing.

February 22 was the set deadline ordered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum for remaining few-hundred protestors to evacuate the federally-owned Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota, where thousands of protestors have camped over the last few months to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The evacuation was ordered as a way to protect the protestors from coming spring floods as well as an effort to prevent possible environmental damage that could result from eroded waste and debris left at the campsite.

Chase Iron Eyes, member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said he expects protestors to stay put all the way until the 2 p.m. (GMT) deadline and subject themselves to arrests.

North Dakota officials set up a travel assistance center to help evacuate remaining protestors. Food, water, health check-ups, and one night's voucher to a nearby hotel are being accommodated to remaining protestors, as well as a bus ticket home.

According to court documents filed Tuesday, the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline will be ready for oil between March 6 and April 1.

Source:
Reuters
NBC News

Sioux Tribe: We are Running Out of Options to Fight Dakota Access

After several months of a relentless fight, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said it is beginning to run out of legal options to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was granted legal approval Wednesday to finish construction under the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock reservation.

The tribe is not the only group that thinks the odds are against the pipeline fighters as legal experts have also agreed that any court at this point in the grueling process would not likely halt the 1,172-mile oil pipeline headed by Energy Transfer Partners.

Although the options are running low for the tribe, chairman of Standing Rock Sioux David Archambault II told Reuters reporters that they are "still going to continue to look at all legal options available" to them as the fight is still not over.

The U.S. Army on Wednesday granted the final permit for the 1.5-mile section remaining of the pipeline weeks after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that required the Army to expedite its review and approval process of the oil pipeline.

The tribe and other pipeline opponents saw a short victory in December when the crossing permit was denied under the Obama administration. Following the construction halt, the U.S. Army said it would conduct a full environmental impact review of the pipeline route as well as consider alternate routes.

That victory was reversed, however, when President Trump prompted the restart of construction by signing an executive order on January 24 to approve the pipeline.

Some pipeline protestors have told reporters that, although frustrated with the outcome, they are happy to see a resolve. Other fighters have said they will continue to stand against construction until the "black snake" is destroyed.

Source:
Reuters

Sioux Tribe: "Rogue" Protestors Hurting Cause to Fight Dakota Access Pipeline

Since the predicted revival of the Dakota Access Pipeline, protests against the project have reignited around the country, but not all are aiding the cause of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe which has been standing strongly against the oil pipeline since the summer of 2016.

On Wednesday a "rogue" group of about 70 protesters was arrested near the main protest camp in North Dakota after the protestors attempted to create an illegal camp on private property, against the request of the tribe and other district leaders.

Officials requested several times that the group dismantle the camp and leave immediately, but the group showed no signs of these instructions. They were subsequently arrested by the Morton County Sheriff department.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said this defiant act by the "rogue" group has put their cause at risk.

Both the Sioux tribe and other environmentalists are prepared to fight in court should the easement be granted for Energy Transfer Partners to finish construction of the pipeline underneath Lake Oahe, which is a half-mile upstream from the tribe's reservation.

President Trump signed an executive order last week that calls for the Army Corps to expedite its environmental review and approval process of the pipeline.

Source:
CNN

 

 

 

 

Keystone XL, Dakota Access Pipelines Face Obstacles Despite Trump's Executive Approval

Despite President Donald Trump's recent action to move forward both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, both projects sit behind major hurdles that they must push past in order to be completed.

Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL project was given the green light by President Trump to reapply for a permit to the U.S. Department of State for approval, which the company did on Thursday. Trump said a permitting decision must be reached within a swift 60 days.

The project is then expected to see arduous resistance against the same groups it did when it was first being considered, and ultimately rejected, under the Obama administration. TransCanada sat in multiple court battles against land owners who sued over the selection of the pipeline's route, and those same land owners have said they are prepared to fight again.

If built, the $8 billion Keystone XL would carry 800,000 barrels of heavy crude per day from Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Dakota Access Pipeline

Analysts say the Dakota Access Pipeline may not have as many hurdles to jump as Keystone XL in order to be completed, but unfinished court cases still remain on the project.

Pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are in the middle of a court battle regarding a permit needed to build under a reservoir of the Missouri River. The Army Corps, as directed under the Obama administration, has launched a full environmental review on the pipeline route to consider alternate paths.

Trump indicated in his signed memo on Tuesday that the new Secretary of the Army, once appointed, will likely reverse the environmental review currently underway for the pipeline route. A possible injunction by the Sioux tribe is likely but will also likely get rejected, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Brandon Barnes. Energy Transfer Partners, then, would be able to complete construction on the line while both parties continue litigating the case.

If completed, the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline would carry oil from the Bakken shale oil fields in North Dakota to an oil tank farm in Patoka, Illinois.

Protestors Ready

Pipeline opponents said they expected this move from President Trump once he took office and are therefore ready to counteract what lies before them.

"We were prepared for Donald Trump to make this move. It doesn't catch us off guard," said Jane Kleeb, president of environmentalist group Bold Alliance, which was prominent in fighting the Keystone XL the first time around.

Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline also sparked again in cities around the nation after Trump's executive order on the pipeline projects. The leader for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asked Trump in a letter on Wednesday to reconsider his push for completion of the oil pipeline.

Source:
Bloomberg
ABC News
Penn Energy

Opponents of Southern Louisiana Pipeline Expect Large Crowds at Public Hearing

Supporters and opponents of the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline are preparing for a second round of hearings in Louisiana that will discuss a permit needed from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in order for the pipeline to cross near the state's coast.

A public hearing for the 163-mile oil pipeline that would run through southern Louisiana occurred last week where groups from all sides discussed a required U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the pipeline. The hearing drew more than 400 supporters and opponents.

A second hearing discussing the DNR permit is scheduled for February 8, and many expect there to be an even larger showing of voices either for or against the pipeline.

"I expect we will have a bigger turnout because people are fired up," said Anne Rolfes, the director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade environmental group.

Supporters for the pipeline argue the $750 million project would help the state economy and serve as a safer option to transport oil. Opponents believe the pipeline would threaten several wetlands and waterbodies.

The proposed pipeline is being pursued by subsidiaries of Phillips 66, Sunoco Logistics, and Energy Transfer Partners. There is not a definite timeline on a decision for the Corps permit or the DNR permit.

Source:
ABC News
 

Federal Corps Deny Easement for Dakota Access Pipeline, Protestors Celebrate Win for Now

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday that it will not grant the easement needed to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota, an announcement that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other protestors found was a cause for celebration after protesting the oil pipeline for months.

A decision on the easement under the Missouri River reservoir had been delayed in November as the Corps spent more time to consult the tribe and study the route that would travel near Standing Rock reservation and underneath the tribe’s water supply.

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in the statement Sunday that the decision to deny the easement came after many discussions with the tribe and with the company building the pipeline, after which the Corps decided that the best way to complete the project was to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.

Protestors have responded victoriously to the decision but are aware that the fight is not over. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners may fight the decision as it said in recent weeks that it would not reroute the pipeline, and president-elect Trump who has vowed to support pipelines like the Dakota Access Pipeline will take office in just over a month.

Energy Transfer Partners responded to the decision saying it was one made where laws were abandoned in order to rule in favor of a “narrow and extreme political constituency.”

The Corps said the best way to consider alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline would be to conduct a thorough environmental impact with full public input. This process could take several months, and Energy Transfer recently stated the company would lose approximately $84 million for every month the pipeline is delayed after the start of the year.

Construction on the 1,172-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline is complete except for the approximate mile that would have traveled underneath Lake Oahe.

Source:
Washington Post
Dallas News

U.S. Corps Delays Dakota Access Pipeline Construction Again, Wants More Information on Route

September 16, 2016 - Drummers and other Indigenous activists march in solidarity with the people of the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. By John Duffy [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

September 16, 2016 - Drummers and other Indigenous activists march in solidarity with the people of the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. By John Duffy [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday it needs more information and tribal input before allowing Energy Transfer’s Dakota Access pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

The delayed easement means the Dakota Access pipeline protests are succeeding, according to the Standing Rock Sioux chairman. However, the developer of the pipeline denounced the delay in a statement Tuesday saying the decision is being motivated by politics “at the expense of a company that has done nothing but play by the rules.”

After finishing its review of the route, the Corps said more study was warranted and discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were needed to decide if possible changes to the route were necessary to reduce the risk of an oil spill.

The current route for the Dakota Access pipeline travels underneath the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation located in southern North Dakota. Members of the tribe believe the pipeline could contaminate their water supply.

Source:
NPR
Houston Chronicle

Protestors Demand Leader of Dakota Access Pipeline to Leave Environmental Commission

Stephen F. Austin State Park, Texas © Collin Hile

Stephen F. Austin State Park, Texas © Collin Hile

Protestors want the president and chief executive of the pipeline company leading the Dakota Access oil pipeline to resign effective immediately from his position as a commissioner for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Protestors met in Austin, Texas on Thursday during a meeting of the Parks and Wildlife commission waving banners and demanding that Energy Transfer Partners’ Kelcy Warren step down from his position with the Texas parks and wildlife.

Energy Transfer Partners is building the Dakota Access pipeline, a roughly 1,200-mile, $3.8 billion oil pipeline that will travel from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa, and end in Illinois. The pipeline has been under severe scrutiny since July as Native Americans and other environmentalists have joined together along the pipeline route in efforts to stop its construction.

Kelcy Warren was appointed last year to the commission of Texas Parks and Wildlife by Governor Greg Abbott.

Source:
PennEnergy

Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors Attempt to Cross Creek to Reach Private Land Despite Warnings from Law Enforcement

The red marker indicates the location of Cantapeta Creek where protestors attempted to cross the water Wednesday in order to reach Cannon Ball Ranch to continue their protest. The land is privately owned, and law enforcement warned that those who crossed would be arrested for criminal trespass. (  Google Maps  )

The red marker indicates the location of Cantapeta Creek where protestors attempted to cross the water Wednesday in order to reach Cannon Ball Ranch to continue their protest. The land is privately owned, and law enforcement warned that those who crossed would be arrested for criminal trespass. (Google Maps)

Protestors of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday attempted to construct a bridge across Cantapeta Creek near the Missouri River in order to gain access to the private land of Cannon Ball Ranch, where they would continue to protest the pipeline.

State officers saw protestors building the bridge to cross the creek early Wednesday, according to a news release from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. The department was then ordered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove the bridge and arrest any protestors trying to cross it with criminal trespass.

Officers removed the bridge and told protestors that if they attempted to cross the river, they would be arrested. Despite the warning, several protestors began swimming across the creek to reach the private land. Some protestors were also in canoes or boats. Several protestors who reached the other side of the creek were pushed back by officers guarding the private property, and some were sprayed with pepper spray.

After several hours of back-and-forth between officers and protestors, the protestors left and returned back to their main camp.

Media reports state that pipeline owner Energy Transfer purchased 6,000 acres of land on Cannon Ball Ranch through which the pipeline is supposed to run. Protestors believe the pipeline will destroy ancient artifacts and burial sites as well as contaminate water supply. Some protestors also worry about greenhouse gas emissions.

Views of the clash at Cantapeta Creek on Wednesday ranged according to protestors and law officers. Some protestors claim they were there to share love toward the officers and explain their reason for being there. In contrast, Sheriff Paul Laney from North Dakota said he had never seen “such an absolute disregard for the law or other people’s rights because of someone else’s ideology” in his 27 years of being in law enforcement.

Source:
CNN
NPR

Protestors in North Dakota Divided over Tactics to Stop Oil Pipeline

Groups among the protestors against the Dakota Access pipeline see division over how to stop the pipeline, with younger groups seeking more aggression and older groups seeking peaceful tactics.

After increasingly violent protests, including one that involved fire and gunshots on private land in North Dakota last week, members among the protest group are requesting that children be removed from the camp.

The growing protest camp known as Seven Council Fires camp is located on federal land owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The large camp is made up of smaller protest groups from around the U.S., older and younger crowds alike.

Although the main reason for protest among all groups is to protect the environment, water supply, and sacred sites from the Dakota Access oil pipeline, several protesters believe in different tactics for stopping the pipeline, from peaceful prayer to violence.

Cody Hall, a former spokesman for one of the encampment’s factions, said the camp must stay united in order to successfully fight the pipeline, which is almost complete.

Source:
PennEnergy

Law Enforcement Forces Pipeline Protestors Off Private Land in North Dakota

Law enforcement on Thursday evicted protestors on private land in North Dakota, a site for the Dakota Access pipeline, after dozens of protestors moved to the company-owned property that will be used for a portion of the Dakota Access pipeline route.

The evacuation took nearly six hours as hundreds of armed police officers and members of the National Guard moved onto the land on foot and in military vehicles firing bean bags and pepper spraying protestors after they refused to leave voluntarily.

At least 117 protestors were arrested during the eviction. Protestors set four large pieces of construction equipment on fire, and two other cars were also seen burning. No injuries were reported.

Hundreds of protestors had set up camp on the private land last week, placing their encampment directly in the pipeline’s pathway for the first time. Pipeline developer Energy Transfer released a statement soon after stating the protestors were trespassing and should, by law, move immediately.

Energy Transfer recently purchased the private land on Cannonball Ranch, but Native Americans and other protestors claim the land belongs to Native Americans under a more than century-old treaty.

The 1,170-mile, four-state oil pipeline is almost complete, and Energy Transfer aims to finish it by the end of the year.

Source:
PennEnergy

Energy Transfer Asks Pipeline Protestors to Leave North Dakota Land

Dakota Access pipeline developer Energy Transfer said in a statement Tuesday that the protestors camped on the company-owned land in North Dakota are trespassing and must vacate the property immediately.

“Alternatively and in coordination with local law enforcement and county/state officials, all trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from the land,” the company wrote in the statement.

Energy Transfer recently purchased the private land in southern North Dakota, but protestors claim the land belongs to Native Americans under a treaty signed over a century ago.

Dozens of protestors on Monday moved their encampment to the private land, placing their camp directly in the pipeline’s path for the first time.

“We never ceded this land,” said protest organizer Joye Braun in a statement Monday.

The private land is located just a mile from the Missouri River. Pipeline crews have done preparation on the land, but no pipeline has been built there yet.

Source:
PennEnergy

Federal Officials Investigate Iowa Fires Along Bakken Pipeline Route

Federal officials are investigating several fires seen Saturday night along the Bakken Pipeline construction site in Jasper County, Iowa.

Suspected to be arson, fires engulfed construction equipment, including a backhoe and two bulldozers.

Although the scene is still under investigation, fire chiefs suspect that pipeline protestors started the fires.

The fire follows another that occurred in August, where protestors set construction equipment on fire in Jasper County, causing $1 million worth in damages.

According to officials, no one was injured in the fires found Saturday. The investigation is ongoing.

Source:
KCCI Des Moines

Activists Arrested after Attempting to Shut Flow of Five Major Canada-U.S. Oil Pipelines

Activist members of the group Climate Direct Action (  Shut it Down Today  )

Activist members of the group Climate Direct Action (Shut it Down Today)

Nine members of the self-proclaimed Climate Direct Action group were arrested Tuesday for attempting to shut down five major pipelines that carry oil from Canada into the U.S.

In an effort to show support for the national protest happening against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, the group aimed to turn off oil flow of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, Spectra Energy’s Express Pipeline, and Enbridge’s Line 4 and 67 pipelines.

The environmental group members recorded themselves Tuesday morning simultaneously breaking into the different valve stations by cutting chains and padlocks to access the valves and turn them off, an action the group said they studied for months to learn how to do safely.

The group’s action triggered several responses from officials and pipeline companies who unanimously agreed the group’s stunt was dangerous and could have caused severe environmental damage as well as harm to themselves. Further, the spontaneous shutdowns could have caused ruptures or leaks due to pressure build-up.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the environmental group said the event was a call-to-action, requesting that President Obama continue to keep all lines shut and move away from fossil fuels.

Some of the companies who operate the targeted pipelines, including Spectra Energy and Enbridge, have temporarily shut down the lines out of precaution and are conducting inspections to ensure the pipeline systems’ integrity.

The Climate Direct Action group’s stunt comes right after an arrest of 27 protestors on Monday who trespassed at a Dakota Access pipeline construction site in North Dakota.

Source:
Reuters
Fuel Fix