March 30, 2017

Lawsuit Filed to Block Keystone XL Pipeline Construction


Press Contact: Nicky Vogt at 202-331-2389 or vogt@newpartners.com



Following Ill-Advised Federal Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline, Lawsuit Filed to Block Construction 
Washington, DC – Following the Trump administration’s imprudent issuance of a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline last week, Northern Plains Resource Council; Bold Alliance; Center for Biological Diversity; Friends of the Earth; the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in federal court in Montana to challenge the permit and related environmental reviews and approvals for Keystone XL. 
The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Keystone XL, which the State Department completed in January 2014 and did not update before issuing, severely underestimated the project’s dangerous impacts on the climate, water resources, wildlife, and communities alongside the outlined pipeline route. More than three years later, there is increasing evidence of the risks of completing KXL. The State Department ignored much of this evidence in its haste to approve KXL under a 60-day deadline set by President Trump and relied solely on an outdated EIS. If approved, KXL would be responsible for at least 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year, comparable to the tailpipe emissions from more than 37.7 million cars or 51 coal-fired power plants. 
Kate French, Chair of the Northern Plains Resource Council, said, “As Montanans, we understand the importance of water. We depend on our rivers and our groundwater for drinking, for irrigation, and for our biggest economies – agriculture, recreation, and tourism. A threat to our water is a threat to our most basic needs. Together we must do everything we can to protect our water and our future."  Kate can be reached for comment at 406-461-5312. 
Ken Winston, Legal Counsel of the Bold Alliance, said, “The Bold Alliance is proud to stand with the millions of people our organizations represent in this challenge to the State Department’s flawed approval process for the KXL pipeline. We stand for the rule of law and protection of the air, the lifegiving water and land that sustains us. We stand against eminent domain for private gain. KXL still has no legal route through Nebraska; TransCanada has the burden to prove their proposed route is in the public interest. We do not believe they will be able to meet that burden.” 
Kieran Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said, “The Keystone XL pipeline will spill oil, pollute our drinking water, push us deeper into the climate crisis and drive wildlife closer to the brink of extinction. We’re not going to let Trump ram it down our throats. Trump should know that any time he tries to harm people or the environment, there’s going to be a wave of resistance that will rise up to meet him – every day, every week for as long as it takes.” 
Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth, said “For almost a decade, Americans have fought to stop the dirty Keystone XL pipeline from polluting our air and water. We cannot stand by and allow oil and gas companies to ruin our climate and pollute our land, water, and sacred cultural sites.  This litigation continues our resistance to Big Oil and Trump’s war against our health and  planet.” 
Anthony Swift, Canada Project Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said “The Trump Administration broke the law by arbitrarily endorsing a permit to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. It ignored public calls to update and correct a required environmental impact statement that should have led to one conclusion: Piping some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through America’s heartland would put at grave risk our land, water and climate. We’re asking the court to put an end to Keystone XL, once and for all. 
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said “The Keystone XL pipeline is nothing more than a dirty and dangerous proposal that’s time has passed. It was rightfully rejected by the court of public opinion and President Obama, and now it will be rejected in the court system. It has never been a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but rather a question of when, and Keystone XL is no different. This tar sands pipeline poses a direct threat to our climate, our clean water, wildlife, and thousands of landowners and communities along the route of this dirty and dangerous project, and it must and will be stopped. 
“We continue to meet Trump in the streets, and we look forward to meeting him in the courts to stop his reckless agenda that threatens our clean air and water and the climate. He was defeated – twice – when he tried implementing a Muslim ban; he was defeated when he tried to take health care away from 24 million Americans, and he will be defeated once again as he tries to force this pipeline on the people who have already seen its rejection. This movement has already defeated the Keystone XL pipeline, and we will do so once again.”

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          filed complaint

March 22, 2017

Line 5 Letter to the Editor, Detroit News, March 15, 2017



By Pat Egan, Emeritus Member of Sierra Club's Executive Committee

As a resident of the Upper Peninsula I need to take issue with a mis-guided and fact-challenged essay published here by Doug Stockwell of the Operating Engineers regarding the submerged old pipeline crossing under the Straits of Mackinac, and new job-ending pipelines in SE Michigan.

Mr. Stockwell calls a group of fact-finders, retired engineers, chemists, business people and serious academics “alarmists. “, connoting a cartoonish Chicken-Little. These are people who recognize the hazard of a 63-year old pipeline crossing lakes and tributaries in Michigan, and crossing under water and ice in the highest risk setting in North America. The threat of that pipeline is not just to clean drinking water, but to thousands of jobs and businesses and whole communities. 

Facts from Enbridge are hard to come by in any discussion of their Line 5. That is because the company does not have to publicly reveal what it is transporting in its pipelines, where it is eventually destined, and for what purpose. Not even the Operating Engineers know. Other, non-Enbridge facts are easier to know. We know about the currents in the Straits – twice the original design assumptions. We know about a clean up “success” of 35 to 40 percent. We know about metal fatigue and mussels. We know about easement promises and promises broken. We know that this pipeline was not designed to last over 60 years.

The Operating Engineers say that shutting off the risks posed by this aged, clunky pipeline jeopardizes warm homes, jobs and economic development.  The economic devastation of a significant spill in the Straits is obvious, it is real, and it trumps any number of jobs that Line 5 oil makes in Michigan.

We in the Upper Peninsula have several sources for home heating oils and gasses. We will live the same lives we are now living the day after the State of Michigan realizes its responsibility and shuts down oil transport in a pipeline that has been, and presently is, violating legal easement agreements

Enbridge has multi-billion dollar revenue every financial quarter. The Canadian-based company keeps that revenue unless it is fined, as it has been many times, or has to pay damages for its many spills. 

The Michigan Operating Engineers benefit from pipeline maintenance and construction, and yes, pipeline catastrophes. They do not mention the jobbers and truckers who will lose their jobs when new pipelines are built in South East Michigan. They would also suffer with the rest of us if businesses and the entire tourism economy of Michigan takes an ink-stained hit when oil blackens the Straits.

The people of Michigan are taking all the risk with this obsolete and dangerous pipeline. The oil Line 5 carries to a Detroit refinery is about 3% of its load, and that refinery has almost 90 percent of its supply from other sources. Instead of defending this high-risk pipeline, the Operating Engineers of Michigan should become “alarmists” as well, and recognize the significant hazard that is Line 5.


March 16, 2017

Sierra Club Statement on Trump Budget Cuts to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2017



Sierra Club Statement on Trump Budget Cuts to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

LANSING, MI - Today, the Trump Administration released its 2018 budget proposals for discretionary spending. Among those proposals, Donald Trump has proposed a complete elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

In response to today's news, Gail Philbin, Director of the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter, released the following statement:

"President Trump's proposal to completely eliminate all funding for Great Lakes protection and cleanup programs is a shocking abandonment of crucial, successful efforts to protect our drinking water and the most important natural asset for our entire region.

"Budgets are much more than numbers, they are statements of values and priorities.  By hitting the delete button on all federal efforts to protect the Great Lakes, President Trump is telling our entire region that our health is not his priority.  By cutting Great Lakes protection, President Trump is cutting good jobs in water infrastructure projects, he is cutting the cleanup of toxic pollution in our drinking water, and he is cutting off hope for communities that rely on these resources.

"Protecting our Great Lakes has long been a bipartisan priority for our region's leaders.  Trump's Great Lakes cuts should be dead on arrival for all members of Congress from our region.  We are ready to work with all of the people and communities of our region to resist and reverse Trump's cuts, and continue the critical work to clean up and restore the Great Lakes that are so important to all of us."


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