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"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
                                           — US Senator Susan Collins, 2012 Jun 21



 

Latest News


2015 May 20

Nova Scotia

N.S. approves Bear Head LNG plant (May 19) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

But construction of LNG plant contingent on company meeting 32 conditions

The approval comes with 32 caveats that the company must agree to before commencing development.

The conditions, released Tuesday afternoon, require Bear Head to produce several management, monitoring and contingency plans for air emissions, greenhouse gases, noise, birds, wildlife (especially species at risk), traffic and water sources.

Moreover, Bear Head will have to operate and consult with a community liaison committee that must include municipal, Mi’kmaq and citizen representatives.

Catherine Abreu, energy co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said Tuesday the inclusion of environmental conditions was missing in the recently approved Goldboro LNG project.

“With Bear Head, we know if built as planned, it will increase provincial emissions by 10 per cent over 2012 levels … a 10 per cent increase from one project is really extreme.”

“The conversation we need to be having is about the overall impact (of LNG projects) to greenhouse gas emissions in Nova Scotia, and the plans that we have to meet the legislated goals that we have.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Nova Scotia approves Bear Head LNG — LNG World News

The NSE [Nova Scotia Department of Environment] approval is the last of the 10 initial federal, provincial and local regulatory approvals needed to construct an LNG export facility on the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia.

Bear Head LNG is now the only LNG project in Eastern Canada with all of the 10 project approvals and permits in place necessary for construction, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Webmaster's comment: Bear Head LNG has not disclosed the source of natural gas it needs for its project. It may require US natural gas, meaning project success would require reversing the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline.

Gulf of Mexico

Freeport LNG requests initiation of Pre-Filing procedures for fourth liquefaction train — LNG Law Blog

Freeport LNG Development, L.P. has filed a request with FERC for initiation of the pre-filing environmental review process for the construction of a fourth gas liquefaction train, with a production capacity of approximately 5.1 million tonnes per annum, at the Freeport LNG Liquefaction Project and LNG export terminal currently under construction on Quintana Island, Texas.

British Columbia

LNG opponents protest Kispiox information meeting — The Interior News, Smithers, BC

The RCMP was onsite at the Kispiox Hall this morning to supervise a protest against an LNG information session being held by the provincial government and the Gitxsan Development Corporation.

Tomorrow's presentation is by Alex Grzybowski from mediation company Pacific Resolutions.

According to its website, Pacific Resolutions specializes in “engaging adversaries in negotiations that overcome apparently intractable and highly conflicted situations, particularly in the areas of land and water use and ownership”.

[Richard Wright] is a spokesperson for the Madii Lii protest camp on the Suskwa Forest Service Road, which blocks access to the Luutkudziiwus House territory where TransCanada's proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline would cross.

Luutkudziiwus was among a group of Gitxsan traditional houses called wilps which took legal action collectively against the Gitxsan Treaty Society, claiming the GTS does not have the authority to speak on behalf of all wilps in its negotiations with the government.

Wright said the protest was to highlight local opposition to the provincial government's approach to negotiating with the Gitxsan First Nation through the GDC and the affiliated Gitxsan Treaty Society.

B.C., Petronas reach deal on LNG project development agreement (May 19) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The B.C. government will announce plans on Wednesday to sign a project development agreement with the Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture led by Malaysia’s Petronas.

Pacific NorthWest LNG has yet to make a final investment decision and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency recently restarted its review of the controversial project. Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq could render a final decision on the LNG project some time between mid-September and early October, depending on whether there are further delays in the lengthy regulatory process.

Lax Kw’alaams members recently overwhelmingly rejected a $1-billion cash offer over 40 years from the LNG venture, declining to give aboriginal consent to plans to build an export terminal on Lelu Island, located next to Flora Bank in northwestern British Columbia. Flora Bank, a sandy reef-like area, contains eelgrass beds crucial to the survival of juvenile salmon in the estuary of the Skeena River, according to the Lax Kw’alaams band.

Some industry analysts say that the combined Shell-BG firm will focus its attention on the Shell-led LNG Canada joint venture in Kitimat, leaving BG’s Ridley Island rights possibly up for grabs, but that could take years to play out. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Oregon

Rally against pipelines (May 19) — Willamette Live, Salem, OR

On May 26 people from all over western Oregon will rally at the Capitol to deliver a message to Governor Brown and other state officials “No LNG; No Pipelines; Protect Oregon Our Home.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. President of the Waterkeeper Alliance will give the keynote speech.

The rally will call attention to two liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals proposed for Oregon, along with energy-intensive liquefaction plants, and hundreds of miles of pipeline carrying fracked natural gas. Both sites, in Coos Bay on the southern Oregon Coast and in Warrenton at the mouth of the Columbia River, are in earthquake and tsunami zones with estuaries prized for fisheries and recreation. A one-hundred-foot wide zone will be taken by eminent domain if necessary and cleared to build pipelines that will cross the Columbia, Umpqua, and Rogue Rivers, 400 streams, farmland, and public land including old growth forest and riparian reserves. Accommodating the massive ships – longer than the Oregon Capitol Building – that will carry LNG overseas requires large parcels of land and dredging bays in Warrenton and Coos Bay.

…Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director says, “Natural gas is not a bridge – it’s a gangplank.” Liquefying, shipping and re-gasifying mean that LNG is even more energy intensive. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

In heavily fracked Ohio County, unsafe levels of toxic pollutants — InsideClimate News

New study finds fracking releases cancer-causing chemicals into the air many times higher than the EPA considers safe.

Emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The researchers took air samples in Carroll County, the home of 480 permitted wells––the most in any of Ohio's 88 counties. The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise people's risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.

"You can't extrapolate to every situation, but the findings in our study might give one pause to want more information on air quality if they were living near these kinds of operations," said Kim Anderson, an environmental chemist with OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The lifetime cancer risk in the study area estimated for maximum residential exposure was 2.9 in 10,000, which is nearly three times the EPA's acceptable risk level of 1 in 10,000, according to the study. Anderson cautioned that the study numbers are worst-case estimates and can't predict the risk to any individual. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Growing U.S. exports to transform global LNG market — Calgary Herald, Calgary, AB

When the first tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from shale fields leaves the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana in December, it will turn consumers into traders with more bargaining power. That will transform a market dominated by long-term contracts into one where spot trading gains prominence, similar to crude oil.

Last week, the Energy Department gave Cheniere Energy Inc. final approval for the nation’s fifth major export terminal at Corpus Christi, Texas, which will ship the fuel from 2018.

Bill passes U.S. House which promotes use of U.S. flag vessels for LNG transport — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1987), which, according to the bill’s co-author Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), among other things, “direct[s] the Secretary of Transportation to develop guidelines to promote the use of U.S. flag ships and U.S. mariners in the imminent export of Liquefied Natural Gas.

World

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF (May 18) — The Guardian, UK

‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments

Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.

Nicholas Stern, an eminent climate economist at the London School of Economics, said: “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There is no justification for these enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, which distort markets and damages economies, particularly in poorer countries.”

The IMF, one of the world’s most respected financial institutions, said that ending subsidies for fossil fuels would cut global carbon emissions by 20%. That would be a giant step towards taming global warming, an issue on which the world has made little progress to date.

Ending the subsidies would also slash the number of premature deaths from outdoor air pollution by 50% – about 1.6 million lives a year.

Reform of the subsidies would increase energy costs but Kim and the IMF both noted that existing fossil fuel subsidies overwhelmingly go to the rich, with the wealthiest 20% of people getting six times as much as the poorest 20% in low and middle-income countries. Gaspar said that with oil and coal prices currently low, there was a “golden opportunity” to phase out subsidies and use the increased tax revenues to reduce poverty through investment and to provide better targeted support. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

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