State Department to approve permit for Keystone XL

March 24, 2017 by  
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The Trump administration has announced its intention to reverse Barack Obama’s Keystone XL pipeline decision by March 27, according to a report by Politico . Obama blocked construction of the controversial pipeline 16 months ago, a move hailed by environmentalists and slammed by the oil industry. This should come as no surprise, given that one of Donald Trump ’s campaign promises was to push through both Keystone XL and the renewed Dakota Access Pipeline project. The pipeline’s cross-border permit will be signed by Tom Shannon, undersecretary for political affairs. Due to his personal connections with the industry as former CEO of Exxon Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recused himself from the process. This will be the end result of a decade-long fight on the part of developer TransCanada to build the $8 billion project. If construction is completed, the pipeline could potentially result in catastrophic oil spills that could pollute drinking water and destroy ecosystems. But even more worrying is the amount of CO2 the project could produce by triggering development in Alberta’s oil sands . At a time when climate change is accelerating rapidly, the last thing we need is to promote projects that will pump huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Related: The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trump’s administration This isn’t the end of the road for anti-Keystone protesters. Though the project has won cross-border approval, it still needs to receive approval from the state of Nebraska and a small number of landowners who have refused to yield the right of way. The Nebraska decision isn’t expected until September. Via Politico Images via Wikimedia Commons and Maureen/Flickr

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State Department to approve permit for Keystone XL

Rogue national park tweets climate change facts in defiance of Donald Trump

January 25, 2017 by  
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Whoever runs the Twitter account for Badlands National Park is a national hero. After the Trump Administration imposed a social media blackout on the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, Badlands Park fired off a series of tweets that flew in the face of president Donald Trump’s stated beliefs on climate change – only to have those messages removed from the account just hours later. On Tuesday Badlands National Park’s Twitter account was flush with statements such as “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate” and “Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20 lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate” As Time notes, the tweets came in the aftermath of a brief suspension of all National Park accounts. The act required the U.S. Department of the Interior to suspend operations of its Twitter account after the National Park Services official account retweeted two posts that didn’t reflect well on the Trump Administration. According to Recode , the Park Service issued an apology that said the tweets were a mistake, which apparently earned back its Twitter privileges. And while it might have displeased the president, the posts helped the NPS Twitter account jump from 7,000 on Monday to 60,000 on Tuesday. Related: Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline The kerfuffle comes amidst an even bigger one on the same day that saw Trump sign executive orders aimed at advancing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines . Trump told reporters at the Oval Office he planned to “renegotiate some of the terms” on the projects, but that he would seek to “get that pipeline built,” while issuing other executive actions requiring the pipelines be built in the U.S. with U.S. materials. + Badands National Park Twitter Via Time and Recode Images via Stefan Fussan and Recode  

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Endangered orcas under threat from bitumen pipeline planned for Vancouver port

November 17, 2016 by  
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A population of killer whales that live off the coast of Vancouver, Canada is under threat by a planned oil pipeline that could lead to a disruption of their habitat by increased tanker traffic. Texas-based Kinder Morgan is planning to build the $5 billion US Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline project that would transport bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands directly to the edge of the whales’ habitat in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern British Columbia. The Canadian government has already been advised to approve the project, and its fate now lies with the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. According to the Guardian , the proposal to build the massive pipeline project still needs approval from the Canadian federal government, led by Justin Trudeau. But if approved, it would result in a 1,000 km (620 mile) pipeline from northern Alberta to Vancouver, as well as roughly seven times more barge and tanker traffic. Killer whales , or orcas as they’re also known, have already had a rough existence in recent years. The Guardian notes that in the 1960s and early ‘70s, many of them were captured and sold to aquariums and theme parks, while those remaining in the wild were exposed to runoff chemicals from local industries – causing them to become the “world’s most contaminated marine animals.” Conservationists say that an increase in tanker traffic in their habitat could be disastrous for the genetically unique population of orcas – already classified as endangered in both Canada and the US. “The approval of the project is also the approval of the extinction of the population, Ross Dixon of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation told the Guardian. “No one is disputing it. Nobody is saying that’s not accurate. It’s been accepted.” Related: Donald Trump vows to nix Paris climate deal and pave way for Keystone XL pipeline So, will it be approved? As of May, the Canadian energy regulator finished two years of review that recommended the government approve the project, with 157 conditions attached to that approval, including 49 related to the environment. Yet the review panel noted that, conditions or not, the project is likely to have “significant adverse effects” on the killer whale population. The Canadian government has until December 19 to make a decision, and so far, all signs are pointing to approval. Prime Minister Trudeau faces pressure to approve the pipeline from Alberta, where low oil prices have dramatically increased unemployment. Ironically, promises by President Elect Donald Trump to bring back the Keystone XL Pipeline could kill the Trans Mountain project and save the whales. Via the Guardian Images via Matthew_Allen and Mike Charest,  Flickr Creative Commons

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Endangered orcas under threat from bitumen pipeline planned for Vancouver port

The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trumps administration

November 11, 2016 by  
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We’ve already written about how Donald Trump’s incoming administration could spell disaster for the environment. But it could end up being worse than we thought. Just days after the election, TransCanada announced it would attempt to revive its controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which was shot down by President Obama a year ago. Under Obama’s administration, the company spent seven years pursuing a permit from the State Department to build a cross-country crude oil pipeline. Ultimately, the company was denied the permit due to the project’s expected impact on the environment – specifically, its contribution to climate change . The Council of Canadians estimates that running the pipeline could increase the planet’s greenhouse gas levels by a shocking 22 million tons a year. The pipeline would also be bad news for anyone living nearby – farmers and ranchers alike opposed the initial project out of fears that a leak could damage water supplies. This effort is only the latest in a long line of stunts by TransCanada. Earlier this year, they attempted to sue the US government for shooting down the pipeline. The company also made a grab for land using eminent domain in Nebraska, much to the horror of local landowners. Related: What Trump’s victory means for the environment (it’s not good) While Donald Trump hasn’t released a formal statement on the pipeline, it would be trivial for the energy company to approach him for approval – he’s already spoken of his desire to scrap federal environmental regulations. First on the list is the Clean Water Act, one of the key rules barring the Dakota Access Pipeline from moving forward without a fight. With a cabinet full of climate deniers , it’s unlikely the Obama administration’s concerns will be considered at all. If we want to prevent this pipeline from going through, environmentalists are going to need to unite and mobilize to stop it. Why not make a donation to your favorite green charity today to get started? Via The Washington Post Images via Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 )

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California officially becomes the first state to ban plastic bags

November 11, 2016 by  
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California just made history by becoming the first state in the Union to officially ban plastic bags . The California Plastic Bag Veto Referendum (Proposition 67) was approved by voters on Nov. 8 by a narrow margin of 51.97% in favor to 48.03% opposed. The narrow win came despite a $6 million campaign waged by the out-of-state plastic bag industry. “California voters have taken a stand against a deceptive, multi-million dollar campaign by out-of-state plastic bag makers,” said Californians Against Waste (CAW) campaign co-chair, Mark Murray. “This is a significant environmental victory that will mean an immediate elimination of the 25 million plastic bags that are polluted in California every day, threatening wildlife.” Related: California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s First Statewide Plastic Bag Ban The writing was already on the wall for plastic bags in California, as San Francisco banned plastic bags in 2007 – with nearly half the state following suit soon after. The California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 270 in 2014 , which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. But, according to the Sacramento Bee, the American Progressive Bag Alliance led a campaign to repeal the bill, claiming it would kill thousands of jobs in a state and cost residents hundreds of dollars each year in bag fees. Voters soundly defeated Proposition 65, a related measure that proposed an environmental fund created with the proceeds from a 10-cent fee on the sale of cloth and other alternative bags. Via Californians Against Waste and the Sacramento Bee Images via European Parliament and katerha , Flickr Creative Commons

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President Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline citing concerns about climate change

November 6, 2015 by  
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After much ongoing debate, President Barack Obama vetoed legislation to approve further construction on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline .  What makes the announcement particularly exciting is that Obama cited environmental concerns, and particularly concerns about climate change, as his reason for issuing the veto. With the move, the President is proving himself to be a leader when it comes to taking action against global  climate change. Read the rest of President Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline citing concerns about climate change

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No, the Great Pyramids weren’t used as grain silos

November 6, 2015 by  
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It’s hard to believe we have to publish this story, but here goes. You may have heard that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson once claimed Egypt’s Great Pyramids were built to store grain, not dead Pharaohs. A neurosurgeon, Carson made this claim in a speech 17-years-ago, which Buzzfeed recently uncovered. Science Alert , along with other publications, have reacted to Carson’s claim with grade school explanations. First of all, the pyramids are not hollow, so they can’t be used to store grain, plus the Egyptians recorded their history. Not to mention the obvious – the presence of mummies and sarcophagi. Read the rest of No, the Great Pyramids weren’t used as grain silos

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No, the Great Pyramids weren’t used as grain silos

Obama administration rejects TransCanada’s request to pause Keystone XL review

November 5, 2015 by  
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The U.S. State Department has rejected TransCanada’s request to suspend the review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Instead, the administration will move forward with its decision-making process as planned, and could issue a final determination as soon as this week. TransCanada asked for the pause earlier this week in an effort to delay the federal government’s decision until after the company could secure approval in Nebraska and, most likely, until a new presidential administration began. Unless TransCanada withdraws its application entirely, the State Department will continue the review, which is now in its seventh year. Read the rest of Obama administration rejects TransCanada’s request to pause Keystone XL review

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Beautiful green-roofed house blends into its leafy wooded environs

November 5, 2015 by  
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TransCanada asks US govt to suspend application for controversial Keystone XL pipeline

November 3, 2015 by  
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TransCanada, the company pushing to build a massive pipeline through the American Midwest, told the government on Monday to suspend its application, effectively halting the approval process. In this surprising twist, the hopeful builders of the Keystone XL pipeline are seeking to avoid the project’s imminent rejection and buy more time to complete a review in Nebraska, which the company had previously tried to avoid. This is the latest development in a long struggle that has inspired public protest from environmentalists, farmers, indigenous peoples, and others. Read the rest of TransCanada asks US govt to suspend application for controversial Keystone XL pipeline

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