By Megan Darby for Climate Home News
By Steve Horn and Martha Pskowski
The Costa Azul liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal sits on an isolated stretch of the Pacific Coast north of Ensenada, Baja California, in Mexico. When Sempra and its Mexican affiliate IEnova sought to acquire the land in 2002, the site’s remoteness worked in their favor. It was only frequented by fishermen, a few surfers, and a handful of beach-front property owners.
“That was the last stretch of coastline between Tijuana and Ensenada that was pristine and undeveloped,” Bill Powers, a San Diego-based energy engineer and founder of the Border Power Plant Working Group, told DeSmog. “There was just a little fishing village.”
After breaking ground in 2005, the Costa Azul LNG plant opened in 2008. Despite Sempra’s messaging strategy that the U.S. was running out of gas, the terminal has imported limited amounts of natural gas since. Now, San Diego-based Sempra hopes to build an LNG export facility at the same site.
Last year the fracking company Halcón Resources announced a new strategy that was sold as the path to profits for the previously troubled shale oil and gas firm. The company had sold its stake in the Bakken oil fields in order to double down on the Permian shale in Texas. At the time, Reuters touted the deal as a “stunning turnaround” for CEO Floyd Wilson, and the good news immediately drove up the Halcón stock price by 35 percent.
“The sale of our Williston Basin operated assets transforms Halcón into a single-basin company focused on the Delaware Basin where we have more than 41,000 net acres,” Wilson said in a statement. He was making his pitch and investors responded.
However, the move was part of a familiar formula for those in the shale industry, which uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to release oil and gas from shale formations: Borrow lots of money, drill lots of fossil fuels at a loss, flip the company for a profit.
George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera acknowledged this month that his school gave the Charles Koch Foundation “some influence” over hiring and evaluating faculty as it accepted millions of dollars for its free-market research center, the Mercatus Center.
This news rankled the academic world, but it perhaps didn’t come as a surprise. Many scholars saw this as just the latest revelation of strings-attached giving with an ideological slant — another encroachment on the sacrosanct idea that teaching and research at universities, especially public ones like George Mason, must be immune from outside influence.
Ten families from Fiji, Kenya and countries across Europe who are already suffering the effects of climate change filed a case against the EU Wednesday in a bid to force the body to increase its commitments under the Paris agreement, AFP reported.
The “People's Climate Case,” as it is being called, challenges the climate policies of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, saying they will not reduce emissions quickly enough to stop rising temperatures from disrupting the plaintiffs' lives. While an increasing number of communities and individuals have taken fossil fuel companies and governments to court over climate change in recent years, this is the first such case to be brought against the EU as a whole.
Today, residents of St. James, Louisiana, and groups opposing the Bayou Bridge pipeline petitioned a state court to halt construction on the oil pipeline along its final 18 miles. This segment falls in an area known as the coastal zone and requires a special state permit.
The court previously ruled against the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for issuing a permit that did not follow state guidelines and consider if the project had adequate environmental and emergency response plans for the town of St. James in case of a pipeline failure.
Opponents thought the court’s order would bring a stop to construction but that hasn’t been the case. As a result, today’s petition asks for a pause in construction until all the permit’s conditions are met.
Builders of the controversial Atlantic Coast pipeline told federal authorities they will delay construction along 21 miles in West Virginia and 79 miles in Virginia until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issues a revised “incidental take statement,” which limits the number of threatened or endangered species that might be accidentally killed or harmed during development activities.
By Logan Carroll
The Minnesota section of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline accounts for nearly 300 miles of the longest crude oil transport system in the world, and it is failing. The multi-billion-dollar transnational corporation has applied for a permit to replace it. Opposition from tribes in the region and environmental groups is slowing the project, but the process at times appears so tilted in Enbridge’s favor that, watching the court battles and utility commission meetings, it almost feels like Enbridge wrote the rules.
At one point in its application to build the new Line 3, Enbridge listed all the federal and state laws that regulate the permitting and construction of pipelines. Nearly all the Minnesota laws originated in one 1987 Senate bill: S.F. 90.
This bill was accompanied by unprecedented pipeline industry lobbying — led in spending by Enbridge — and included subtle but major handouts to pipeline companies. One such provision imposes a sweeping limit on the public’s ability to oppose new pipelines, including the Line 3 replacement project.
Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) is a hugely influential policy group filled with heavy hitters from politics and the oil industry. While the center's home page describes it as “an independent, interdisciplinary, and nonpartisan platform,” its track record shows that CGEP consistently supports the same policies favored by the fossil fuel industry.
And one of its latest moves — hiring former Trump energy advisor and fossil fuel defender George “David” Banks as an expert on “international climate policy” — shows that trend will continue.
Climate science denial groups from the UK, U.S., and Australia have leapt to support a controversial marine scientist who was fired from his job at an Australian university.
Dr. Peter Ridd, formerly a professor at James Cook University (JCU), was sacked for repeated breaches of his employment’s code of conduct, according to a statement from the university.
Ridd claims that the Great Barrier Reef is “in great shape” and dismisses evidence that human activities including dredging and human-caused global warming have damaged the internationally iconic marine wonder. Back-to-back coral bleaching events linked to record-breaking sea surface temperatures have killed about one third of the reef's corals.