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Author Topic: Re: Fossil Fuel Skulldugggery  (Read 1134 times)

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Re: Re: Fossil Fuel Skulldugggery
« Reply #120 on: February 26, 2018, 06:18:35 pm »
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Courts Questioning Trump’s 🦀 Pipeline Policies as Protesters 🕊 Face Fossil Fueled 🦖 Front Groups

As we hold on for dear life at the start of the second year of the Trump administration, the crazy wave of national news that breaks each week can feel overwhelming. But a few key pieces of pipeline news from last week are worth a revisit.

On Wednesday the 21st, a US District Court Judge ruled that the Trump administration needed to turn over documents explaining its decision to reverse course and approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or explain why that reasoning should be kept secret. The Obama administration spent years studying the pipeline’s impacts, and ultimately that body of evidence justified blocking the pipeline. But upon assuming office, President Trump almost immediately decided the opposite. Given that such decisions are required to be based on facts, what new evidence did the government suddenly find to change its mind so quickly?

As we’ve said before, according to the Administrative Procedures Act, federal decisions need to be based on science and facts. If not, they can be struck down in court for being “arbitrary and capricious,” a fancy way of saying something is done for political reasons that aren’t supported by the evidence.

For example, on Thursday, Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled that the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had to start enforcing a rule to limit methane waste from oil and gas operations on federal land. Judge Orrick allowed the lawsuit defending the waste prevention rule to proceed because BLM “relied on opinions untethered to evidence,” didn’t show their work to justify the decision, “and it is therefore arbitrary and capricious within the meaning of the APA.”

Though Trump is in the process of deciding what to do about the rule, the judge’s order means the administration can’t keep procrastinating and must enforce the rule while they figure out what’s next. (In case you’re wondering what methane emissions might look like, the emissions from various facilities have been captured by Earthworks on infrared camera.

These are encouraging decisions, particularly in light of the fact that pipeline fights are still raging across the country with significant battles being played out locally. News broke last week per HuffPo’s Itai Vardi that a front group for natural gas and gas-heavy utility companies is masquerading as a “sustainable energy” organization. In a letter to Massachusetts Governor Baker, the Mass Coalition for Sustainable Energy argues for more natural gas pipelines as part of a climate solutions. It’s signed by the presidents of various mundane sounding business groups, like Boston and Springfield Chambers of Commerce. Not signing on, however, are some of the groups other funders, like Canadian pipeline company Enbridge, or the utilities Eversource and National Grid.

These companies are actively seeking new pipelines through Massachusetts. They’re funding the PR effort to get more pipelines. Why oh why wouldn’t they want their name on the coalition’s website, and on the letter to the governor? Surely a great mystery, that.  

Another totally unsolvable mystery? Why ALEC and pro-pipeline politicians are trying to get the Department of Justice to prosecute pipeline protesters as terrorists. Alex Kaufman at HuffPo explored last week how the “valve turners” who shut down a pipeline as an act of protest against climate change are being equated by the lawyers prosecuting them to the 9/11 hijackers and the Unabomber.

Who are these apparently terrifying terrorists the pipeline profiteers so gravely fear? Well, there’s Chief Avrol Looking Horse, who penned an op-ed last week about how the Standing Rock pipeline protests have gone global. He’s a Native American chief whose peaceful religious ceremonies are apparently a 9/11-scale threat.

Then there’s Danielle Pierre, a 16 year old whose op-ed last week on New Jersey’s pipeline fights is hardly the Unabomber’s manifesto.

But as we’re seeing with the #NeverAgain movement for gun control, maybe the oil and gas industry’s terror at the thought of a high school protester isn’t so arbitrary or capricious.
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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