Energy infrastructure company TransCanada has asked an Oklahoma judge to help keep protesters away from its pipeline construction sites.
The company is building a 485-mile oil pipeline between Cushing's storage hub and refineries along the Gulf Coast.
Construction is expected to be completed this summer, but crews working in Oklahoma have been hampered about a half-dozen times by protesters affiliated with the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance.
TransCanada filed a lawsuit Monday in Atoka County seeking a temporary restraining order against the environmental group and 21 individuals involved in the protests.
The Obama administration is unlikely to make a decision on the Canada-to-Nebraska Keystone XL pipeline until late this year as it painstakingly weighs the project's impact on the environment and on energy security, a U.S. official and analysts said on Friday.
The decision may not be made until November, December or even early 2014, said a U.S. official, as President Barack Obama will not rush the process, which still has a number of stages to work through. One of those stages has not even begun yet and will run for months.
"The president has to be able to show that the administration looked under every stone to ensure it knew as much as it possibly could about the impact of Keystone," said the official, who did not want to be named given the sensitive nature of the project.
Elon Musk and David Sacks, two of the Silicon Valley stars behind Fwd.us, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's political action committee, have left the group, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Musk made it clear that his departure was related to the PAC's support of certain politicians whose positions on immigration reform and education jibed with the group's aims, but whose record on environmental issues had come under fire.
"I agreed to support Fwd.us because there is a genuine need to reform immigration. However, this should not be done at the expense of other important causes," Musk said in a statement to AllThingsD. "I have spent a lot of time fighting far larger lobbying organizations in D.C. and believe that the right way to win on a cause is to argue the merits of that cause. This statement may surprise some people, but my experience is that most (not all) politicians and their staffs want to do the right thing and eventually do."
Environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters, as well as MoveOn.org and immigration-rights organizations like Presente.org, announced they would pull existing Facebook ads and hold any orders for new ones for a minimum of two weeks — a response to seeing Fwd.us-backed political ads for conservative lawmakers who support controversial policies like Arctic oil drilling and building the Keystone XL pipeline.
For the first time in human history, the concentration of climate-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has passed the milestone level of 400 parts per million (ppm). The last time so much greenhouse gas was in the air was several million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free, savannah spread across the Sahara desert and sea level was up to 40 meters higher than today.
These conditions are expected to return in time, with devastating consequences for civilization, unless emissions of CO2 from the burning of coal, gas and oil are rapidly curtailed. But despite increasingly severe warnings from scientists and a major economic recession, global emissions have continued to soar unchecked.
"It is symbolic, a point to pause and think about where we have been and where we are going," said Professor Ralph Keeling, who oversees the measurements on a Hawaian volcano, which were begun by his father in 1958. "It's like turning 50: it's a wake up to what has been building up in front of us all along."
"The passing of this milestone is a significant reminder of the rapid rate at which – and the extent to which – we have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," said Prof Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which serves as science adviser to the world's governments. "At the beginning of industrialization the concentration of CO2 was just 280ppm. We must hope that the world crossing this milestone will bring about awareness of the scientific reality of climate change and how human society should deal with the challenge."
Republican senators staged a boycott of the nomination of Gina McCarthy as head of the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday, surprising the top Democrat on the Senate committee in charge of the vote. The absence of all eight Republican committee members left the panel without a quorum.
Had all Democrats been present, they would have been able to proceed.
"At this stage, their opposition even to allowing us to vote shows how outside the mainstream they are, it shows how obstructionist they are, it shows how their pledge to do better with women voters is false," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the committee chairwoman, said. "How could you have a more qualified woman than Gina McCarthy? This is outrageous. Get out of the fringe lane."
Canada threatened on Wednesday to take the European Union to the World Trade Organisation over its plans to label Canadian oil sands as dirty, but promised not to delay a bilateral trade pact.
The issue has overshadowed relations as Canada and the EU try to deepen economic ties through a trade deal that could generate $28 billion a year in new business and commerce.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, on a week-long lobbying trip to Europe, accused the EU of breaking international trade rules and discriminating against Canadian exports.
"We are going to take whatever action we need to, and we may well go to the WTO," Oliver told a news conference. "We will defend our interests vigorously."
Terminal developer Kinder Morgan on Wednesday dropped its proposal to export coal to Asia from a Columbia River port near Clatskanie.
The company's decision means three of the six coal export terminals originally proposed in Oregon and Washington have gone by the wayside. It also significantly reduces the potential for coal train traffic through Portland.
Together, the three abandoned projects represent up to $550 million in investment, 305 permanent jobs -- and nearly 50 million tons of Montana and Wyoming coal destined for Asian ports.
Enbridge Inc, Canada's largest pipeline operator, said it shut its 210,000 barrel-per-day North Dakota pipeline for the second time in less than a week after finding contaminated soil during integrity checks.
Graham White, a spokesman for the company, said in an email the line was shut on Monday after the discovery. The company does not yet know when it will restart.
Enbridge estimates 2 barrels of oil leaked from the line.
The biggest oil and gas pipeline company in Canada is breaking National Energy Board safety rules at 117 of its 125 pump stations across the country, but Enbridge says it's not to blame.
Enbridge was ordered by the Canadian energy regulator to disclose whether or not it had backup power to operate emergency shut-down systems in the facilities that keep oil flowing through its pipes. The company told the NEB only eight of its pump stations complied with the board's backup power system regulation.
On top of that, Enbridge disclosed that 83 of its pump stations were missing emergency shut-down buttons.
Gov. Jerry Brown put the state's early wildfire season in global terms Monday, saying the state would have to grow accustomed to more forest fires as a consequence of climate change.
Brown's remarks at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s aviation management unit in Sacramento came as firefighters in Ventura County said they expected to have the 28,000-acre Springs fire fully contained by Tuesday. State firefighters have responded to about twice the average number of wildfires so far this year – more than 1,100 in all.
"Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more intense," Brown said in an airplane hangar filled with trucks, airplanes and helicopters used by the state to fight fires. "It's going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.