Please read to or skip to the end for the punchline.
An article in the New York Times shows that the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline is far from over. It’s been so long since South Dakota authorized the pipeline through its territory that it now must re-authorize it, and it’s running into major opposition from the Lakota Sioux nation – a spokesperson said they were blind-sided by the first approval, carried out before they could mobilize against it. Some white ranchers are making common cause with them, similar to the Cowboy and Indian Alliance that’s been fighting KXL in Nebraska.
And this week, the New Democratic Movement in Canada ousted the conservative and very pro-fossil fuel party that’s ruled Alberta for 44 years. This article from Grist (which quotes from the Wall Street Journal) says the party leader, Rachel Notley, wants to diversify the province’s energy mix, raise royalties on earnings from tar sands (the source of what would flow into the KXL) and is opposed to the KXL and the Northern Gateway tar sands projects, though she supports two other tar sands pipeline projects. Alberta is also the core of support for the national government led by Stephen Harper, who faces his own election campaign this fall, so the Alberta election could have wider ramifications.
And, on the coal front, Bank of America announced at its annual meeting this week that it’s ending funding for coal extraction projects globally, although it will continue supporting technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS), and would work with clients, including mining companies, "that are diversifying to other fuel sources." Although that seems like a pretty big loophole, this still looks like a huge victory for the anti-coal efforts of many groups, especially Rainforest Action Network. The bank has been one of the biggest funders of coal mining over the years, and my friend Steve Norris notes that he was arrested three times protesting the Charlotte-based bank, which had been dubbed “Bank of Coal.”
On the good news-bad news front, a new study in the NYT is headlined, Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water. Of course, that’s bad news, but it’s good news if it shines a light on the health consequences of fracking. And how about the fact that now even the Republican governor in Oklahoma has acknowledged that wells drilled to hold fracking waste is causing the hundreds of earthquakes in the state every year.
Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) is heading back to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in D.C. later this month to Stop the FERCus – the agency’s rubber-stamping of fracked gas projects that endanger the health and quality of life of millions in communities confronting this infrastructure, such as pipelines, compressor stations, and export terminals – and the lives of everyone on the planet due to more burning of fossil fuels like “natural” gas. We just learned that the FERC commissioners have moved their regularly scheduled May 21 meeting up a week because they heard we were coming in big numbers to protest – just one more example of shutting out the voices of the people. Of course, we’ll be there on the 14th instead, and again for a whole week of action May 22-29. Please join us. Check out the website for all the details.
Click here and scroll down to May 5 for a 20-minute interview I did on the Maryland-based Hal Ginsberg Morning Show about our past and future efforts (where I was the interviewee for a change, not the interviewer).