Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 03:58 • Julie Dermansky

The US government agency responsible for interstate pipelines recorded a catalog of problems with the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline and the Cushing Extension, a DeSmog investigation has found.
 
Inspectors at the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) observed TransCanada’s contractors violating construction design codes established to ensure a pipeline’s safety, according to inspection reports released to DeSmog under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
 
Evan Vokes, former TransCanada materials engineer-turned-whistleblower, told DeSmog the problems uncovered in the reports show issues that could lead to future pipeline failures and might also explain some of the failures the pipeline had already suffered.
 
Vokes claimed PHMSA was negligent in failing to use its powers to shut down construction of the pipeline when inspectors found contractors doing work incorrectly. “You cannot have a safe pipeline without code compliance,” Vokes said.

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Friday, May 6, 2016 - 00:01 • Kyla Mandel

The UK’s highest profile climate science denying group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), has quietly launched an American fundraising subsidiary.

As the GWPF’s latest accounts show, the think tank registered the American Friends of the GWPF in April 2015 so as to “enable supporters in the USA to enjoy tax relief on donations.”

This comes as donations to the GWPF dropped significantly last year from £377,979 ($547,219) in 2014 to £207,019 ($299,711) in 2015.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 05:58 • Farron Cousins

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia has always been at odds with the majority of his fellow Democrats in terms of environmental protection, but his statements a few weeks ago show that he might have actually become an enemy to the environment.
 
In early April, Manchin told The Wall Street Journal that while Republicans have plenty of “deniers” on their side who refuse to admit that climate change is real, the Democratic Party has plenty of “deniers”, too. According to Manchin, those “deniers” are the ones who believe that the United States can move to a fossil fuel-free society.
 
In his own words:  “Even worse than that, we have deniers that believe we’re going to run this country or run this world without fossil…That’s a worse denier, thinking they’re just going to just shift it and everything’s going to be hunky-dory.”

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Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 03:58 • Sharon Kelly

The Bakken shale oilfield is single-handedly responsible for most of a mysterious global rise in atmospheric ethane — a pollutant that can harm human health and heat the atmosphere further — peer-reviewed research published last week reveals.

The Bakken, which stretches from North Dakota and Montana into Canada, has made headlines over the past decade for its sudden drilling boom (and an equally sudden job market bust as oil prices have plunged over the past year).

But while the drilling boom made North Dakota the nation's second largest oil-producing state, the amount of hydrocarbons leaking and being deliberately vented from the oil field may have been enough to alter the composition of the Earth's atmosphere slightly, reversing a long-running decline in ethane levels worldwide.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 09:44 • David Suzuki

If people keep rapidly extracting and burning fossil fuels, there’s no hope of meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement climate change commitments. To ensure a healthy, hopeful future for humanity, governments must stick to their pledge to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 C above pre-industrial levels by 2050. Many experts agree that to meet that goal, up to 80 per cent of oil, coal and gas reserves must stay in the ground. That makes fossil fuels a bad investment — what analysts call “stranded assets.”

Putting money toward things that benefit humanity, whether investing in clean energy portfolios or implementing energy-saving measures in your home or business, is better for the planet and the bottom line than sinking it into outdated industries that endanger humanity.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 09:29 • Farron Cousins

The biggest criticism lobbed at President Obama from the environmental movement is that he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. While he has always accepted that climate change is real and needs to be addressed, his proposals have always been countered by some sort of gift to the fossil fuel industry — leasing new lands for offshore drilling, expanding coal leases, increasing domestic oil exploration, lifting the crude oil export ban, etc.
 
So last November, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she would do away with the coal industry if elected president, environmentally conscious voters applauded her actions. Her proposal was broad, ambitious, and would have made a serious impact on the amount of carbon that the United States was producing while at the same time protecting both the economy and the environment.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 17:50 • Sharon Kelly

In a striking victory for grassroots environmental and community groups, New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation announced on April 22 that it had denied a key permit for a pipeline that would have carried fracked gas from Pennsylvania to planned natural gas export facilities in New York state.

The Constitution Pipeline, planned to stretch 125 feet wide and 124 miles long starting near Dimock, PA and crossing over 275 streams and waterways, would have required the cutting of as many as 700,000 trees in Pennsylvania and New York, part of a build-out project estimated to cost investors as much as $1 billion.

But in recent months, the project faced escalating opposition, not only from larger environmental nonprofits, but also from a coalition of local landowners and activists who adopted tactics ranging from collecting over 15,000 public comments for New York state's review of the project to civil disobedience at federal hearings.

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Monday, May 2, 2016 - 12:39 • Itai Vardi
A small group of powerful and well-connected investors, lobbyists, and politicians are behind a $3.7 billion plan to build a facility to make more than 30,000 barrels of liquid fuel every day from natural gas – a Desmog investigation reveals.
 
The Arkansas facility could be the first full-scale gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant of its kind in the US, with ambitions to scale up daily production to convert gas into 100,000 barrels of diesel and jet fuel.
 
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Friday, April 29, 2016 - 18:20 • Graham Readfearn

So here’s a few quotes Marc Morano likely won’t be including on posters to promote his climate science denying “documentary” Climate Hustle.
 
“It’s not in the same class as Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.”
 
“This is a very amateurish film.”
 
“Not very watchable.”
 
“Not good film making.”
 
All these quotes come from Los Angeles-based filmmaker, author and communications consultant Randy Olson — one of the few people to have seen the film who doesn’t think climate change science is a global scam.

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Friday, April 29, 2016 - 11:56 • Guest

This is a guest post by Our Children's Trust originally published on EcoWatch

Today, in a surprise ruling from the bench in the critical climate case brought by youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session.

Judge Hill also ordered the Department of Ecology to consult with the youth petitioners in advance of that recommendation. The youths were forced back to court after the Department of Ecology unexpectedly withdrew the very rulemaking efforts to reduce carbon emissions the agency told the judge it had underway. This case is one of several similar state, federal and international cases, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.

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