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Dutch Arrest 40 Greenpeace Activists Protesting Gazprom Arctic Oil Shipment

May 1, 2014

More than 40 Greenpeace activists have been arrested in Rotterdam protesting against the first delivery of oil extracted from offshore Arctic waters.

According to a report from the NGO, Dutch security agents also took control of Greenpeace's flagship Rainbow Warrior, which was trying to prevent Gazprom oil tanker Mikhail Ulyanov from docking.

The tanker is carrying 70,000 tonnes of crude oil extracted by the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, located in the Pechora Sea, 60 kilometers off the Russian coast.

French oil giant Total has bought this shipment, which it will distribute to European markets.

Last year 30 Greenpeace activists were jailed in Russia for 100 days after staging anti-drilling protests alongside the Prirazlomnaya oil rig.

Last year 30 Greenpeace activists were jailed in Russia for 100 days after staging anti-drilling protests alongside the Prirazlomnaya oil rig.

Oil Train Derails in Fiery Blast in Virginia, Leaks Into River

May 1, 2014

A CSX Corp train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into flames in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, on Wednesday, spilling oil into the James River and forcing hundreds to evacuate.

In its second oil-train accident this year, CSX said 15 cars of a train traveling from Chicago to Virginia derailed at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Fire that erupted on three of the cars was extinguished several hours later, the company said.

The three cars, each weighing 100 tons, fell down an embankment into the river and were still leaking oil on Wednesday evening, city mayor Michael Gillette told Reuters.

There were no injuries, and the nearly 350 residents who were evacuated earlier in the day were allowed to return to their homes, he said.

Harvard Carbon Divestment Activists Blockade Entrance to President's Office

Apr 30, 2014
(Boston Herald)

Harvard students have blockaded the main entrance to university President Drew Faust's office, calling for an open meeting with Harvard's governing body about fossil fuel divestment.

The protest began at 6 a.m. outside the administrative offices in Massachusetts Hall with about 30 members of the Divest Harvard campaign, part of a global movement with more than 400 campuses calling for endowments to divest from the top 200 publicly traded oil, coal and gas companies that own the majority of the world's carbon reserves and are responsible for the climate crisis, the students said. No arrests have been made.

"Lots of students feel that Harvard investing in fossil fuel companies is not socially responsible, both for the damage fossil fuels cause through climate change and the political activities the industry engages in to block climate change legislation and to fund climate change misinformation," said graduate student Ben Franta, one of the protesters.

Sen. Reid in Talks to Hold Keystone Pipeline Vote Next Week

Apr 30, 2014
(The Hill)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is talking with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and other senators about voting on the Keystone XL pipeline next week.

Reid said Tuesday that he has had discussions with Republican Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) about linking a nonbinding amendment on Keystone to energy efficiency legislation that will come to the Senate floor next week.

But he is also coming under pressure from some members to consider a vote on legislation urging President Obama to greenlight the controversial pipeline, according to a Senate aide.

A Senate Democratic aide said Reid has a tough decision to make on whether to set up a vote on a sense-of-the-Senate resolution or binding legislation.

World's Biggest Fund Manager to Help Create Index That Bars Fossil Fuel Companies

Apr 30, 2014
(Financial Times, sub. req.'d)

BlackRock, the world's biggest fund manager, has teamed up with London's FTSE Group to help investors avoid coal, oil and gas companies without putting their money at risk.

In a sign that a global campaign against fossil fuels is entering the financial mainstream, companies that extract or explore for such fuels are excluded from a new set of indices created by FTSE, a large provider of stock market indexes

Several market benchmarks have already been developed to cover companies likely to profit from tougher environmental regulations, such as renewable energy or water management groups.

But the FTSE ones are believed to be the first from a leading index group that specifically bar fossil fuel companies.

Supreme Court Upholds EPA Rules on Cross-State Coal Pollution

Apr 29, 2014
(New York Times)

In a major environmental victory for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate the smog-causing pollution from coal-fired power plants that wafts across state lines from 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states to the East Coast.

The 6-to-2 ruling upholds a centerpiece of what has become a signature of President Obama's environmental agenda: a series of new Clean Air Act regulations aimed at cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. Republicans and the coal industry have criticized the effort as a "war on coal."

Legal experts said the decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, signaled that the Obama administration's efforts to use the Clean Air Act to fight global warming could also withstand legal challenges. The E.P.A. is expected to unveil in June a sweeping new climate change regulation, using the authority of the Clean Air Act to rein in carbon pollution from coal plants.

'Green Nobel' Goes to 6 Activists, Including Indian Coal Campaigner, NY Fracking Activist

Apr 29, 2014

Six environmental advocates from India, Peru, Russia and three other nations have won this year's Goldman Prize, which is awarded annually for grassroots activism.

India's Ramesh Agrawal received the prize for helping villagers fight a large coal mine in Chhattisgarh state, the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Foundation said Monday.

Peru's Ruth Buendia was recognized for helping to prevent construction of two large dams that would have displaced nearly 10,000 indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, and Russian zoologist Suren Gazaryan won for defending protected areas around Sochi from illegal land seizures for Olympic construction projects, it said.

National Wildlife Federation Sues for Release of Tar Sands Pipeline Documents

Apr 25, 2014
(Portland Press Herald)

The National Wildlife Federation has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to force the U.S. Department of State to release documents pertaining to the potential reversal of an oil pipeline to carry so-called tar sands crude oil from Montreal to South Portland's waterfront.

The federation filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Vermont on Wednesday, according to a news release from the federation.

Jim Murphy, the federation's senior counsel, claims the State Department has failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request made nearly two years ago for documents that would shed light on plans that the pipeline's owner, Portland Pipe Line Corp., may have to reverse its pipeline.

Wyoming Town Evacuated After Explosion at Natural Gas Plant

Apr 24, 2014

A small town in southwest Wyoming was evacuated Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing facility and major national pipeline hub. There were no reports of injuries.

The gas has been shut off, but people who were in Opal, about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, went to an area about 3 miles outside of town as a precaution, said Lincoln County spokesman Stephen Malik. The town has about 95 residents.

"They were downwind from the plant," said Lincoln County Sheriff Shane Johnson. "The fire was still very active, and because of the nature of the processing that goes on there, that was the call that was made for safety reasons."

Johnson said he didn't know when people would be allowed back into Opal.

Price of Gas in U.S. Rises as Refiners Export More to Other Countries

Apr 23, 2014
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))

Drivers in the U.S. are facing rising gasoline prices ahead of summer-vacation season, just as refiners here are shipping more gas to other countries.

A new pipeline, built to release a glut of crude oil that was stuck in the middle of the country, is now feeding oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast that churn out gasoline and diesel. While these fuels still make their way to the Southeast and the East Coast, growing amounts are being sold to Mexico, the Netherlands, Brazil and other countries.

The push into these markets has been spurred by the U.S. oil boom. Rising oil output had been flooding the nation's oil market in recent years, keeping U.S. crude prices low relative to world prices. Facing tepid fuel demand in the U.S., refiners have been ramping up exports, creating more global competition for U.S.-produced fuel.