Coal Export Industry's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

This is a guest post by Clark Williams-Derry, crossposted from Sightline.

What a week! The bad financial news for coal export prospects in Washington, Oregon, and BC has come almost too quickly to track. So for those of you who don’t follow the coal press as religiously as I do, here’s a brief summary of all of the goings-on in Northwest coal export finance over the last week or so…

EPA Moves to Require Gas Processing Plants, for First Time, to Make Hazardous Emissions Public

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to require natural gas processing plants to start complying with federal toxic chemical disclosure laws, in response to a lawsuit and petition filed by a collection of environmental and transparency advocates.

A record-setting 19 trillion cubic feet of gas was processed by these plants — over 550 of which dot the country — last year, representing a rise in volume of 32 percent over the past decade, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The EPA now estimates that over half of these plants release more than 10,000 pounds of toxic chemicals each year, making their pollution substantial enough to require federal attention.

Why Wasn't Climate a Defining Canadian Election Issue?

This article originally appeared on Climate Access.

Those who work on climate change were both chuffed and chagrined by its role in Canada’s federal election campaign, which peaked last week with the victory of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and defeat of Conservative incumbent Stephen Harper.

The environment” — a catch-all concept that often encompasses concern about climate change — consistently ranked close to economy and healthcare on voters' list of top priorities. Oilsands and climate change issues took up nearly a quarter of the first leaders debate, commanding more than twice the airtime they did in 2011. Several media outlets ran editorials calling on all parties to take a strong stance on reducing GHG emissions or put a price on carbon.

To quote professor and commentator George Hoberg, “energy and environmental issues have become central to Canadian electoral politics.”

Despite all of this, climate change didn’t have a significant impact on the election’s outcome. Fundamentally this was a campaign about values where action on global warming was bundled into a broader set of aspirations and ideas that Canadians said yes to on October 19th. 

Iowa County Attorney Blames Victim, Won't Press Charges in Dakota Access Pipeline-for-Prostitute Scandal

An attorney in Lee County, Iowa has decided not to press charges against a right-of-way contracting company working on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the controversial proposed Dakota Access pipeline. The company, Contract Land Staff, had an employee who offered Lee County landowner Hughie Tweedy a couple of 19-year-old prostitutes in exchange for the right-of-way to use his land for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Dakota Access is slated to bring oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota's Bakken Shale diagonally across Iowa and into Patoka, Illinois. 

Meet the Climate Change Activists Inside Matt Ridley’s Conscience

They slipped into place under the cover of darkness. With bicycle D-locks around their necks chained to diggers in the middle of the UK’s largest open-cast coal mine, and arms sealed inside concrete-laden, red-sequined tubes at the site’s entrance, this was Matt Ridley’s Conscience calling for the end of coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel of them all.

By dawn, mine workers and lorry drivers, unable to enter the site, turned away. After eight and a half hours of peaceful protest and nine arrests, victory was declared Monday afternoon for having successfully closed operations for the day.

This is what happens when a group of concerned individuals come together to act on climate change. But who exactly are these individuals and why are they calling themselves ‘Matt Ridley’s Conscience’?


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