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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Keystone Kochs, Nebraska landowners sue governor, pipeline spills not detected by highly touted technology, etc.

Keystone XL: Neb. Landowners Sue Governor, but Case May Not Get Heard

Landowners say pipeline siting law violates the Constitution. State says suit should be thrown out because landowners have no right to make the challenge.

by Lisa Song, InsideClimate News
Nebraska landowners who helped doom TransCanada's plan to build its Keystone XL pipeline through the Sandhills say their state is trying to rubber-stamp the project by using a law that loosens environmental and eminent domain protections.
So they're taking legal action.
Randy Thompson, Susan Luebbe and Susan Dunavan challenged Nebraska's controversial "pipeline siting" law in a lawsuit, claiming that it violates the state Constitution. The suit, filed in May, is against Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, the state treasurer and the director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Senate Votes to Confront E.U. over Aviation Emissions Scheme

Critics say sabre-rattling could backfire and undermine progress being made to reduce airlines' growing carbon footprint.

by Jason Plautz, InsideClimate News
In the last minutes of the legislative session last Saturday before the election recess, the Senate passed a closely watched bill that would bar U.S. airlines from participating in a European Union emissions reduction scheme.
The EU scheme went into effect at the beginning of the year and requires all airlines flying in and out of European airports to slash their emissions or purchase allowances to cover them. All major US airlines are currently taking part.
The Senate vote is the latest twist in a high-profile political saga that has united not just Congressional Democrats and Republicans, but many of the world's largest economies in political opposition to the EU.
But critics say the bill is nothing more than a symbolic hit against the trading scheme, and warn that it could overshadow larger concerns about airline emissions and the work already being done to reduce them.

States Look to Establish 'Green Banks' as Federal Cash Dries Up

States are largely on their own if they want to pursue a major scale-up of clean energy technologies, advocates say. Are green banks the answer?

by Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News
U.S. states eager for a piece of the fast-growing green economy are in a quandary: Budget cuts, combined with the expiration of key federal subsidies, mean less cash and an uncertain future for clean energy.
Now, a group of leading experts has produced a policy paper showing that the solution to the problem lies in a financing mechanism used in other countries and within reach of all states, simply called the "green bank."

Koch Brothers Cashing In 220,000 Acres of Tar Sands Holdings

Recent action by Koch Oil Sands pulls the curtain back further on the Koch family's deep but quiet involvement in Canada's oil sands industry.

by Elizabeth Douglass
A Canadian division of Koch Industries is reviewing a range of offers to buy up to 220,000 net acres of its many undeveloped oil sands properties within Alberta's vast reserves of oil sands.
The projects could ultimately yield an estimated 2.9 billion barrels of "recoverable" resources and could position the buyer "to be a top tier Canadian bitumen producer," according to an online description of the offering.
Koch Industries has had a stake going back 50 years in Canadian heavy oil through mining, pipeline development and refining. Its Pine Bend Refinery in Minnesota is now responsible for about 20 percent of the oil sands crude being piped into the United States and has played a key role in the growth of the family's fortune. The family stands to profit further from growing U.S. reliance on tar sands imports.

Few Oil Pipeline Spills Detected by Much-Touted Technology

InsideClimate News analysis of a decade of federal data shows general public detected far more spills than leak detection technology.

by Lisa Song
For years, TransCanada, the Canadian company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has assured the project's opponents that the line will be equipped with sensors that can quickly detect oil spills.
In recent newspaper ads in Nebraska, for instance, TransCanada promised that the pipeline will be "monitored through a state-of-the-art oil control center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 21,000 sensors along the pipeline route relay information via satellite to the control center every five seconds."
Other companies make similar claims about their remote sensing technology, sometimes promising they can detect and isolate large spills within minutes.
But an InsideClimate News examination of 10 years of federal data shows that leak detection systems do not provide as much protection as the public has been led to believe.

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