Waterkeeper Alliance

Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction Amid High Waters, Permit Violations

Read time: 6 mins
Excavators doing construction work for the Bayou Bridge pipeline amid high waters in the Atchafalaya Basin

Since October 2018, the Mississippi River has been running high, thanks in part to heavier-than-usual rainfall across its northern and central stretches.

And when the water flows high on the most powerful river in the U.S., local residents and industries take notice. Fishermen fret the high January waters could mean a poor brown shrimp season ahead. Shippers using barges to haul grain bemoan headaches caused by fast-flowing waters and the river-traffic restrictions that follow. And federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers start inspecting levees daily and barring digging within 1,500 feet of the embankments built to protect river-side residents against flooding.

But in the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin, roughly a million acres of bayous, lakes, and wetlands that span upwards from the Gulf of Mexico for 140 miles into Louisiana, there’s one thing that hasn’t responded as it should to the rising waters: construction of Energy Transfer’s Bayou Bridge pipeline.

For 15 Years, Energy Transfer Partners Pipelines Leaked an Average of Once Every 11 Days: Report

Read time: 6 mins
Bayou Bridge pipeline construction through Louisiana wetland

5,475 days, 527 pipeline spills: that's the math presented in a new report from environmental groups Greenpeace USA and the Waterkeeper Alliance examining pipelines involving Dakota Access builder Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). It's based on public data from 2002 to 2017.

As Trump Names Exxon CEO Tillerson Secretary of State, Waterkeeper Alliance Asks EPA to Tell Company "You're Fired!"

Read time: 4 mins

The Waterkeeper Alliance, represented by Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, submitted a 54-page petition with 358 footnotes and 448 pages containing 43 exhibits to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for an end of all of its federal contracts with ExxonMobil. 

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was recently named U.S. Secretary of State by President-Elect Donald Trump and will likely face a contentious congressional nomination hearing due to his own and his company's ties to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The petition centers around what Exxon knew for decades about climate change, which it studied closely in-house, while funding climate change denial efforts for decades, while also discussing the rest of its environmental track-record. 

Environmental Groups File Lawsuit Objecting to Shortcomings, Loopholes in New Federal Oil Train Safety Standards

Read time: 6 mins

The battle over oil train regulation is heating up, as both the oil and gas industry and a coalition of environmental groups have now filed lawsuits challenging new Department of Transportation regulations this week.

The move to the courtroom comes following a string of oil train explosions in the U.S. and Canada so far this year and in a passenger train wreck in Philadelphia on Tuesday night that killed 8.

Heartbreaking News for Canada’s Water Lovers

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by Mark Mattson, President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Republished with permission from Waterkeeper, original post here

I remember the first time I sat around a kitchen table in a rural community giving environmental law advice. I was speaking with a farmer who was beset by pollution running across his fields and destroying his fish and hunting camp along the Rideau Canal.

The family had asked my law firm what we could do about the landfill leachate from a major Ontario city dump that was destroying habitat. No one from the City, the waste company or government had offered to help them. Now everyone in the room — his wife and mother at the wood stove, his sons and daughters and grandkids around the table — was keenly awaiting what I had to say. 

I asked: Are there any fish in the fields, ditches or nearshore?  The family told me the bay was once the best fishing area around and that fish still spawned in the fields and ditches every spring. 

I asked: Can I get access to the water draining from the dump to sample as it runs onto your land? The family told me the exact locations where the water bubbled up on the dump walls and ran year-round onto their property. 

I answered: I can help.

Bush Administration subjects environment to ‘Texas chainsaw management,’ writer says

Read time: 1 min

The White House has handed more than 100 top environmental posts to representatives of polluting industries, says an article in Vanity Fair, and no president has mounted a more sustained and deliberate assault on America’s environment than George W. Bush, whose administration has promoted and implemented more than 400 measures that eviscerate 30 years of environmental policy.

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