Five more oil and gas pipelines targeted by green activists

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Environmental activists are targeting at least five major oil and gas pipelines after celebrating the death of Keystone XL this week.

Over the past two years, at least four multibillion-dollar pipeline projects that drew protests have been canceled or delayed, signaling to activists the effectiveness of their pressure campaign for a carbon-free future.


Sometimes, as in the case of the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, whose permit was yanked by President Joe Biden, political considerations force project developers to give up.

Similarly, Williams Companies last year canceled its $1 billion, 125-mile natural gas Constitution pipeline after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used Clean Water Act power to block construction.

Cuomo used the same authority to deny a permit for the $1 billion Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement project to deliver natural gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to New York City. Williams Companies has not given up trying to build that pipeline but is on a delayed timeline.

Other times, legal fees drain a project's financing.

Last year, utilities Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced they would abandon construction of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast pipeline, which would have carried natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to East Coast markets.

Court challenges to that project led to yearslong construction delays and a more than $3 billion cost increase, according to the utilities.

Another $1 billion natural gas pipeline, PennEast, is still being fought, with a closely watched eminent domain case pending before the Supreme Court.

Here are five more targets of activists facing uncertain futures.

Dakota Access: This spring, the Biden administration declined to order the Dakota Access oil pipeline to shut down while it completes an environmental review, dealing a blow to green groups and Native American tribes that had sought to stop it from operating.

The Dakota Access pipeline has been carrying oil for more than three years from North Dakota to Illinois. But multiple courts have found the Trump administration’s environmental review of the project to be deficient, so Biden is conducting a new one. The administration could shutter the pipeline if the Army Corps of Engineers environmental review makes that determination. But it would be unprecedented because the pipeline is already operating, unlike Keystone XL.

Enbridge’s Line 3: The $9 billion Line 3 pipeline expansion in northern Minnesota has been the subject of protests this week, leading to tense standoffs with police and the arrests of more than 160 people.

Enbridge is looking to replace an aging pipeline to transport crude from Canada’s Alberta oil sands, the same emissions-intensive source that would have been used in Keystone XL, through the state's watersheds and tribal lands to Superior, Wisconsin. Despite pressure from activists, the Biden administration has declined to weigh in on the project. Environmentalists are also pressing their case in court.

Enbridge’s Line 5: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered the 645-mile Line 5 pipeline operated by the same Canadian energy company, Enbridge, to shut down, citing risks that the pipeline could leak or spill oil.

Enbridge’s Line 5, which carries up to 540,000 barrels per day of crude oil and natural gas liquids, runs under the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Enbridge is defying the order, however, saying the governor does not have the authority to shut it. Enbridge wants to move Line 5 into a new, $500 million tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to reduce the risk of leaks.

Biden has also not intervened or directly commented on this project.

Trans Mountain: Biden does not have any authority over the Trans Mountain pipeline, an expansion project taken over by the Canadian government that would carry an additional 535,000 barrels a day of oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the coast of British Columbia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bought the 68-year-old pipeline in 2018 when previous owner Kinder Morgan threatened to halt it while facing legal hurdles. But the government plans to sell the project eventually. In the meantime, insurers have dropped out of supporting the pipeline, prompting Trans Mountain to receive regulatory approval to protect the identity of its insurers.

Mountain Valley: Federal energy regulators voted in December to allow the developers of the Mountain Valley pipeline to do construction near a 25-mile area that includes going through the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.

But several of the permits for the $6.2 billion Mountain Valley pipeline, a 303-mile project that would carry natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia, are under legal scrutiny, and its cost has nearly doubled.


A coalition building the project recently said it would delay the startup of the pipeline to summer 2022 after originally planning to begin operating by late 2018.

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Tags: News, Energy and Environment, Dakota Access oil pipeline, Keystone XL, Climate Change, Fossil Fuels, Andrew Cuomo, Canada, Justin Trudeau

Original Author: Josh Siegel

Original Location: Five more oil and gas pipelines targeted by green activists

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