Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 03:58 • Justin Mikulka
Oil tank care behind a fence with sign reading 'Think first'

The community of Benicia, [California,] in the crosshairs of history, made one of those decisions that will make a difference for the country. They stood up and said the safety of our communities matters.” 

That was Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor talking to The Sacramento Bee about the vote by the Benicia City Council to deny a new oil-by-rail facility that oil company Valero was seeking.

But that vote would have been meaningless if not for a recent decision on September 20 by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that gave Benicia the legal authority to have some say over what happens within its borders. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 03:58 • Steve Horn
Offshore oil platform.
Offshore oil platform.

As eyes turned to the most viewed presidential debate in U.S. history, the Obama administration meanwhile quietly auctioned off thousands of acres of land for oil and gas drilling in national forests, opened up 119 million acres for offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and delivered a blow to the Endangered Species Act. 

The Endangered Species Act rule change followed a multi-year lobbying campaign by the oil and gas industry and occurred the morning before the debate unfolded.

The leasing decisions came just weeks earlier, with the most recent one taking place as an online rather than in-person drilling lease auction, the product of industry and U.S. government backlash against efforts such as the Keep It In The Ground campaign which aim to block fossil fuel project development.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 14:20 • Sharon Kelly
Rolls of hundred dollar bills.
Rolls of hundred dollar bills.

On September 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in a major challenge to the Clean Power Plan, West Virginia v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — an enormously high-stakes legal battle, that could determine whether Obama's climate plan is ever put into effect.

The stakes are high not only for the environment, but for fossil fuel companies — and those companies have poured enormous sums of money into efforts that would help ensure the Clean Power Plan never goes into effect, according to a report issued this week by four members of Congress.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 03:58 • Graham Readfearn
Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton, right, at first presidential debate.
Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton, right, at first presidential debate.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s energy policy to dig, drill, and frack as much fossil fuel out of the ground as possible only really works by denying two realities.

The first reality denied is that there is no global agreement to move the world away from the fuels that Trump thinks are the future.

The second reality denied, of course, is the existence of decades of scientific evidence linking fossil fuel burning to dangerous climate change.

So with this in mind, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Myron Ebell seems a perfect addition to Trump’s team.

Monday, September 26, 2016 - 17:36 • Guest
Matt Ridley
Matt Ridley

This is a guest post from ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from Daily Kos.

Last week we talked about a group in the UK who tried, but ultimately failed, to use a respected institution as the venue for a denial conference in an effort to drum up headlines.

Now the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is looking to try their luck at the same ploy — booking space at the Royal Society for a lecture from Matt “King Coal” Ridley.

In a statement published on New Scientist, the Royal Society defended its decision to rent out space to the GWPF.

Sunday, September 25, 2016 - 04:58 • Itai Vardi

A private firm that conducted the environmental review for the highly contentious Dakota Access Pipeline was simultaneously working for Energy Transfer, the company behind the project, on a connecting pipeline.

A DeSmog investigation also found that during the review period, the firm — Perennial Environmental Services LLC (“Perennial”) — advocated for opening new regions for oil and gas drilling.

In 2014, Energy Transfer hired Perennial, a Houston-based environmental consultancy, to perform the Environmental Assessment (EA) for its then-proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, a four-state project that will carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region to Illinois.

Yet Perennial was already working at the time for another subsidiary company of Energy Transfer, Trunkline.

Friday, September 23, 2016 - 08:14 • Sharon Kelly
Donald Trump on stage.
Donald Trump on stage.

The shale gas and oil industry gathered in Pittsburgh this week for a major annual East Coast conference, Shale Insight 2016, and to hear the words of presidential candidate Donald Trump, who served as the keynote speaker.

“It's great to be with so many of my friends,” Trump began. “Oh, you will like me so much.”

Then, right out of the gate, Trump botched his facts about the shale industry he was there to address.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 23:08 • Ashley Braun
Anti-coal protests in the Philippines.
Anti-coal protests in the Philippines.

On September 21, 31 countries, including Brazil and Mexico, ratified the Paris climate agreement at a United Nations event in New York City. They joined the U.S., China, and 27 other nations which had previously committed to the agreement, bringing the total to 60 and surpassing the first of two thresholds, requiring 55 nations to ratify it. In addition, their combined greenhouse gas emissions represent 47.76 percent of the needed 55 percent of global emissions for the agreement to enter into force.

But, practically speaking, what did the now 60 countries actually agree to when they said they would limit warming to “well below 2°C” and strive for 1.5°C? 

A new report from Oil Change International calculates that, in order to accomplish those goals, governments need to stop permitting and building all new fossil fuel projects and retire early some existing oil and gas fields and coal mines. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 11:06 • Larry Buhl
Sign in front of Great Lakes protests Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline
Sign in front of Great Lakes protests Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline

Public pressure is mounting to decommission two 63-year-old underwater pipelines that rest in an environmentally sensitive waterway between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

About 540,000 barrels of oil and liquid natural gas flow daily through the 20-inch pipelines, called Line 5, which lie in an exposed trench on the public bottomlands of the Mackinac Straits west of the Mackinac Bridge.

Built in 1953, Line 5 is now owned by the Alberta, Canada-based petroleum company Enbridge, Inc. Many fear the aging pipeline is an accident waiting to happen, with recent modeling showing a single oil spill could impact more than 150 miles of coastline.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 10:57 • Justin Mikulka

The people of Albany, New York, got some good news last Friday about their port's oil-by-rail facilities.

“Global Companies must restart its environmental review process, given the significant new information about the benzene levels in Albany’s South End community and the hazards of crude oil transport,” said Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC will ensure that this process includes a meaningful and thorough opportunity for public engagement.” 

Global Companies and Buckeye Partners are the two companies operating oil-by-rail facilities at the Port of Albany. While the letter last week was addressed to Global, the DEC has announced both will have to restart the environmental review process.

In 2014 DeSmog reported that the “residents of the Ezra Prentice apartments in Albany, N.Y., have been complaining about air quality issues ever since the oil trains showed up in the Port of Albany two years ago.”

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