Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Racial tensions sour SDPUC KXL hearing

Paul Seamans and Dakota Rural Action testified before the GOP-owned commission where tribes learned that racism is not just happening in Rapid City.
After the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) denied motions by the Yankton Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux tribes on TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL tar-sands crude-oil pipeline, tribal opponents of the project and their allies rallied to be heard at an April 15 hearing. With a May evidentiary hearing looming at the PUC, TransCanada Corp. is seeking to exclude more than half of the 40 interveners the commission accepted to comment on the case. Among those the company would exclude or limit are the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (COUP) and the Yankton Sioux tribe, as well as non-governmental organizations, ranchers whose lands would be used for the pipeline, and other individuals. [Talli Nauman]
As the South Dakota Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club drop out of the permitting process for TransCanada's Keystone pipeline route through South Dakota, President Obama has stopped the climate-killing project...for now.
Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency. The president has said he won't approve Keystone if it's found to significantly increase U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. A State Department analysis found that the tar sands would be developed one way or another, meaning construction of the pipeline wouldn't necessarily affect emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month called for that analysis to be revisited, arguing that a drop in oil prices may have altered the equation. [Associated Press]
TransCanada's permit is up for certification in South Dakota because of inaction for four years.

In a likely lethal blow to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline the US Environmental Protection Agency is urging the State Department to rethink the costs to the climate. The oil patch is seeing some panic as prices fall.
The State Department, which is evaluating the project because the TransCanada Corp pipeline would carry oil from a foreign country, is expected to make a recommendation to Obama soon, after reviewing comments from the EPA and other federal agencies. The EPA also said the State Department's final review showed that until efforts to cut emissions from oil sands production are more widespread, development of the resource "represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions." [Reuters]
Few have doubted that the foreign enterprise proposed to ship diluted bitumen mined on lands leased by the Koch Brothers then shipped to refineries half a continent away would ever leave the drawing board.

Water crossings where ice floes bash moorings and flooding causes scouring of fill from river bottoms are where pipelines become particularly vulnerable to failures.

One company who spilled oil in the Yellowstone River in Montana has removed the offending pipeline.

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