Judge Annuls Gulf Of Mexico Oil Auction Over Climate Impact

A federal judge invalidated the results of an oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday saying the Biden administration failed to properly account for the auction’s climate change impact.

The decision has cast uncertainty over the future of the U.S. federal offshore drilling program, which has been a big source of public revenue for decades but also drawn the ire of activists concerned about its impact on the environment and contribution to global warming.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for 15% of existing U.S. oil production and 5% of dry natural gas output, according to the Energy Information Administration.

In the decision, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the United States District Court of the District of Columbia ruled to vacate the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Lease Sale 257, which offered about 80 million offshore acres (37.4 million hectares) in the Gulf of Mexico in an auction last November.

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Legal Petition Calls On Biden to Phase Out Federal Oil, Gas By 2035

Washington – More than 360 climate, tribal, religious and conservation groups petitioned the Biden administration today to use its executive authority to phase out oil and gas production on public lands and oceans.

The petition provides a framework to manage a decline of oil and gas production to near zero by 2035 through rulemaking, using long-dormant provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the National Emergencies Act. Without such action, it will become increasingly difficult for the United States to meet its pledge to help avoid 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and its unprecedented social, environmental and economic damage.

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Wet’suwet’en Retake Checkpoint A Month After Police Crackdown

On Saturday, December 19, activists leading the Wet’suwet’en resistance against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline project declared that they evicted workers of the project from the drill site. This development comes exactly a month after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) violently dismantled a blockade led by the Gidimt’en clan near Camp Coyote and arrested dozens of protesters and even bystanders.

The declaration of reclaiming Camp Coyote was made over a statement released by the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, on Sunday, December 20. “This courageous action took place one month after a wave of militarized raids on Gidimt’en land,” the statement read.

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An Ohio College Privatized Its Energy And Built A Gas Plant On Campus

About 40 students and activists march to the office of Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson on Sept. 24, 2021, demanding a halt to the construction of a $278 million gas power plant. “We will not give up,” Chandler Rupert, leader of the campus chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, blasts over a megaphone.

Columbus is Ohio’s capital and the fastest-growing city in the Midwest. And its climate action plan is aggressive. In 2020, the mayor announced a goal to go carbon neutral by 2050, and voters passed a Sierra Club-backed plan for 100% renewable energy by 2024. Some of Columbus’ large companies, which are exempt from these requirements, have opted into the city’s 100% renewables pilot.

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Law Requires Biden To Cancel Oil Lease Sale To Prevent Climate Harm

Washington — Conservation groups submitted formal comments today urging cancelation of February’s federal oil and gas lease auctions, saying the Biden administration is legally required to prevent harm from the leasing program’s greenhouse gas emissions, not just disclose it.

“The Biden administration must do more than simply talk about climate change, it has a duty to take action on a scale and with a sense of urgency that the climate crisis demands,” said Kyle Tisdel, attorney and Climate & Energy Program director with Western Environmental Law Center. “The ongoing sale and development of federal oil and gas is not only inconsistent with climate science, but a breach of the moral obligation we have to current and future generations.”

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ALEC Is Pushing A Bill That Punishes Banks For Divesting From Fossil Fuels

As climate change accelerates and environmental disasters proliferate around the world, a Big Oil-funded business lobbying group has decided to attack financial firms that are taking their money out of fossil fuel companies, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has learned.

This month at the annual States and Nation Policy Summit of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a pay-to-play organization that brings together corporate lobbyists and mostly Republican state lawmakers to author model legislation, members of the group’s energy task force voted unanimously to approve a new model policy that would prevent financial companies that end investments in oil, gas, and coal companies from receiving state government contracts or managing state funds.

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Mapped: Europe’s Fossil Fuel-Backed Hydrogen Lobby

Hydrogen has shot up the European legislative agenda in recent years, with politicians of all stripes touting its potential to help countries meet their climate goals.

The UK government’s Hydrogen Strategy, launched in August, promises to develop a “thriving low carbon hydrogen sector” as a “key plank” of its climate plans, and the fuel was given pride of place at a “Hydrogen Transition Summit” hosted in Glasgow during the recent UN climate talks.

But not all hydrogen is created equal, and environmental experts have raised concerns about the type of hydrogen being advocated – as well as which sectors of the economy it is best suited for.

The fuel comes in a variety of “colors”, depending on how it is produced, with almost all hydrogen currently created using fossil gas and termed “grey”.

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Battle Over Jordan Cove Energy Project Is Over After Developers Pull Plug

The bitter and protracted battle over the Jordan Cove Energy Project has finally come to a close. The Calgary-based Pembina company formally asked federal energy regulators Wednesday to withdraw authorizations for the proposed pipeline and liquified natural gas export terminal in southwest Oregon.

Pembina’s plan called for a 229-mile-long natural gas pipeline that would have run from Malin, Oregon, on the California border, over the Coast Range to Coos Bay. The gas would then have been super-cooled into a liquified form (LNG), loaded onto ships and exported to Asia.

The proposal raised concerns about environmental impacts to waterways and wildlife habitat. It was also expected to become the largest single emitter of greenhouse gasses in Oregon.

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Since Crude Export Ban Lifted, US Has Dropped ‘Climate Bomb’ On World

After Congress lifted a ban on crude exports in late 2015, oil and gas production in the Permian Basin soared while domestic consumption remained flat—leading to a massive build-out of pipelines and other infrastructure that culminated in the U.S. “flooding global markets” with fossil fuels at the expense of humanity, in general, and vulnerable Gulf Coast communities already overburdened by pollution, in particular.

That’s the focus of the third chapter of The Permian Basin Climate Bomb, a six-part multimedia report by Oil Change International, Earthworks, and the Center for International Environmental Law. The latest installment, released Wednesday, shows that the drilling and fracking boom that turned this area in the U.S. Southwest into “the world’s single most prolific oil and gas field” over the past decade was not driven by rising domestic demand, but by a surge in exports after 2015.

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Big Oil Pays $192 Million To Extract Fossil Fuels From The Gulf

The Biden administration went through with the largest offshore oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history Wednesday. In the controversial sale, major fossil-fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and BP bid a total of $192 million for the rights to drill a stretch of the Gulf of Mexico that is about double the size of Florida, The AP reported. The amount offered is the second-highest total since bidding resumed in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. The Biden administration has been widely criticized for allowing the sale to proceed even after President Joe Biden promised U.S. climate action during the COP26 talks in Glasgow.

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COP26 Negotiators Do Little To Cut Emissions

Many climate advocates and vulnerable nations entered this year’s conference hoping to address an enduring failure of the Paris Agreement, which said nothing about fossil fuels. But a draft agreement released on Saturday included only one reference, calling on parties to accelerate phasing out “unabated” coal consumption and “inefficient” subsidies for fossil fuels more broadly. Explicit references to oil and gas were absent.

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Will The People With Guns Allow Our Planet To Breathe?

It is perhaps fitting that United States President Joe Biden arrived in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) on the climate catastrophe with eighty-five cars in tow months after declaring ‘I’m a car guy’ (for details on the climate catastrophe, see our Red Alert no. 11, ‘Only One Earth’). Only three countries in the world have more cars per person than the US, and these countries (Finland, Andorra, and Italy) have a much smaller population than the United States.

Just before Biden left for the G20 summit, his meeting with Pope Francis, and COP26, he had his administration pressure the oil-producing states (OPEC+) to ‘do the needful when it comes to supply’ – namely to increase oil production.

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Residents Speak Out Against Prince George Petrochemical Project

Opposition to a proposed petrochemical complex near Prince George, British Columbia, continues to build, with locals fearing environmental harms and environmental experts asking how such a project could proceed with the global climate on red alert.

A council meeting in B.C.’s largest northern city grew heated last week as residents expressed “fierce criticism” about the C$5.6-billion petrochemical complex that Calgary-based West Coast Olefins (WCO) hopes to build outside of town, reports CBC News.

Among attendees were members of a grassroots organization called Grasslands Not Gas Lands, which has collected 1,500 signatures to date on its petition calling for a “holistic review” of the project that would include public hearings.

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Water Protectors Shut Down Line 3 Worksite

Floodwood, MN – On Saturday July 10th, water protectors stopped construction for a full day on an Enbridge worksite laying pipe for the Line 3 pipeline. Two water protectors locked to each other through the treads of a machine, while two others climbed up an excavator’s arm, where they stayed for 7 hours. This action took place on Anishinaabe treaty territories in solidarity with leaders of the growing Indigenous-led resistance to Line 3.                                                                                        

As these four water protectors stopped machinery, a large crowd gathered on the roadway in support, drumming, singing, and rallying in the summer heat. About 30 police officers from St. Louis, Carlton, and Aitkin counties responded, as well as State Troopers and a Fond Du Lac Tribal Officer.

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Exxon’s Senate Puppets

Montana is a very long ways from the Senate chambers in Washington, D.C. Yet, like every other state, we send two senators to represent us in what used to be called “the greatest deliberative body on earth.” We are continually flooded with self-congratulatory press releases promising they’re “fighting for Montana.”

But a sad reality was revealed in last week’s bombshell news that Montana’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican U.S. Steve Daines were named by Keith McCoy, Exxon’s senior director of federal relations in Washington, as two of 11 senators who he says are “crucial” to ExxonMobil. In truth, it appears our senators are actually “fighting” for the oil and gas industry, not the 1 million Montanans counting on them for Senate representation.

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