natural gas pipelines

Critics Say "Trickery" Used to Seize Land, Build Trans-Pecos Pipeline to Mexico without Full Environmental Review

Sections of the Trans-Pecos pipeline

Beneath the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, a 42-inch diameter pipeline will snake from Northern Pecos County to the U.S.-Mexico boundary near the border town of Presidio, Texas. There, the Trans-Pecos pipeline (TPP) will deliver natural gas derived by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to Mexico.

The goal, as the consortium building it publicly states, is to “serve Mexico’s energy grid.” 

Yet that purpose has environmentalists and a coalition of Texans asking the following: Why was the consortium able to seize ranchlands in its path and avoid a stringent environmental review for a pipeline that critics claim offers more risks than benefits for the Lone Star State?

Senators Keep Heat on FERC, Raise New Concerns Over Conflicts of Interest in Spectra Gas Pipeline Project

Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren

In a January 5 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey demanded more answers on a possible conflict of interest in the environmental review of a Spectra Energy natural gas project.

This latest inquiry, the third in the past several months, was prompted by exclusive revelations by DeSmog that the contractor assisting FERC in the review was working for Spectra on a related project.

FERC Suggests Spectra Energy Gas Facility Would Not Pose Cancer Risk, Based on Study by Spectra Consultant

FERC office

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded in an environmental assessment that a proposed Spectra Energy gas compressor station in a residential Massachusetts neighborhood would not increase the risk of cancer in nearby residents. 

However, it came to this conclusion via a questionable route — by citing a study done by a firm simultaneously working for Spectra.

Critics Say Florida Utilities Are Building ‘Unnecessary’ Gas Infrastructure For Profit While Customers Foot Bill

Power line pylon

On an August 2015 earnings call, Kelcy Warren, CEO of natural gas company Energy Transfer Partners, acknowledged that “the pipeline business will overbuild until the end of time.”

Critics of Florida’s utilities say they believe Warren. They point to state regulators allowing Florida Power and Light (FPL) to build not only new power plants using fracked gas from as far away as Pennsylvania and Texas but also natural gas infrastructure that includes the $3 billion Sabal Trail Pipeline.

And Florida residents are footing the bill for these efforts. 

Sabal Trail Opponents Say Pipeline Is Part of Florida’s 'Overbuilt' Gas Infrastructure

Map of proposed Sabal Trail pipeline through the Southeast U.S.

The shale boom and low prices for natural gas have encouraged a pipeline bonanza in the U.S. Fourteen new pipelines — carrying both oil and natural gas — are either on the drawing board or are nearing completion, adding to the existing 2.5 million miles of energy pipelines in the nation. 

Like many of these pipelines, the Sabal Trail pipeline crosses major watersheds, environmentally sensitive areas, and residential neighborhoods, where property is being seized by eminent domain. 

"People’s Hearing" Demands Oversight of FERC for Allegedly Rubber-stamping Pipeline and Gas Projects

Maya van Rossum at the People's Hearing on FERC

Since 1977, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been quietly reviewing and authorizing liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals, interstate natural gas pipelines, and non-federal hydropower projects. It’s been approving far too many projects with too little scrutiny, said participants at the so-called “People’s Hearing” in Washington, D.C. on December 2. 

At the day-long event, more than 100 people representing 65 communities from across the country gathered at the National Press Club to denounce what they call FERC’s “rubber stamp” review and approval process that favors natural gas pipelines over the rights of homeowners and communities. 

Critics Call $3 Billion Sabal Trail Pipeline Florida’s Dakota Access Pipeline

Protesters demonstrate against the Sabal Trail pipeline in Florida

As opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline swells at home and abroad, another pipeline project at the other end of the U.S. is quietly being installed as fast as possible, critics say, displacing residents, threatening water supplies, and racking up alleged construction violations.

And most people in the region — even those in the pipeline’s path — haven’t even heard about it. 

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, known as Sabal Trail, is using $3 billion of Florida Power and Light (FPL) ratepayer money to build a 515-mile pipeline to transport natural gas obtained via fracking from eastern Alabama to central Florida.

Exposed: Spectra-Funded Group Lobbied for FERC Commissioner's Reappointment, Then FERC Approved Spectra’s Gas Pipelines

A business advocacy group lobbied for the reappointment of a federal energy commissioner while one of its own members sought approval for several projects from the same federal regulator, a DeSmog investigation has found.

In the past three years, natural gas infrastructure giant Spectra Energy has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval for a number of projects in the US Northeast.

During this time, regional pro-business lobbying group the New England Council, of which Houston-based Spectra Energy is a member, lobbied President Barack Obama and the US Senate for the reappointment of FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to a second term.

A DeSmog investigation has found other instances suggesting an ongoing and exclusive relationship between LaFleur, NEC, and lobbyists working for Spectra Energy.

Open for Business: First Major Deal Since Energy Reforms Will Bring Fracked Gas to Mexico

For the first time in 76 years, a piece of Mexico’s oil and gas infrastructure has been sold to a foreign investor, and the deal will help bring fracked gas from Texas’s Eagle Ford shale region into Mexico. In this first major deal since the country’s landmark energy reforms, Pemex—the state-owned oil company that had kept domain over the country’s vast petroleum and natural gas reserves since they were nationalized back in 1938—sold a 45-percent stake of a prospective natural gas pipeline project to the United States-based investment funds BlackRock and First Reserve.

EOG Resources: The Gas Corporation That Does It All From Cradle to Grave

DeSmogBlog, on multiple occasions, has reported that the damage caused by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in the unconventional oil and gas industry goes far beyond water contamination, put in the spotlight by the documentary film “Gasland.” The multi-pronged harms were tackled in a comprehensive manner in our report, “Fracking the Future.”

One corporation in particular, EOG Resources, epitomizes the shale gas lifecycle from cradle to grave and the damage it is causing in communities worldwide. 

Who is EOG? The Artist Formerly Known as Enron

EOG Resources – owned by CEO Mark Papa – is the born again sibling of the now disgraced corporation, Enron Oil and Gas, hence “EOG.” It is headquarted in Houston, TX.

Former President and Chief Opearing Officer of Enron, Richard Kinder, recently referred to by The Wall Street Journal as “The Luckiest Ex-Enron Employee,” now co-owns oil and gas industry pipeline giant, Kinder Morgan

After the fall of Enron, Kinder Morgan purchased Enron's pipeline assets and built up the Kinder Morgan behemoth into what it is today, the corporation with the most extensive array of pipelines in North America.

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