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Canada Breaks With Australia to Contribute to Green Climate Fund

Nov 17, 2014

Canada – one of the few countries previously in line with Australia's opposition to the international Green Climate Fund – now appears to have changed its mind, with Tony Abbott’s close friend prime minister Stephen Harper saying he is preparing to make a contribution.

Abbott has defied global pressure to commit to the fund, designed to help poor countries adapt to climate change, because Australia is already spending $2.5bn on its domestic Direct Action fund and providing $10bn in capital to a so-called "green bank" – which he is trying to abolish.

World leaders forced Australia to include stronger language about the Green Climate Fund in the G20 communique – and during the summit Barack Obama pledged the US would contribute $3bn to it and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, offered $1.5bn. But soon after the conference was over Abbott indicated it would make no immediate difference to Australia’s position.

Obama to Congress: Don't 'Short-Circuit' Administration's Keystone Review

Nov 14, 2014
(The Hill)

Lawmakers shouldn't "short-circuit" the existing process for evaluating the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama told reporters on Friday with the Senate poised to vote on the controversial construction project next month.

"I've been clear in the past...and my position hasn't changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed," President Obama said at a press conference in Burma.

The president said that until an ongoing court case in Nebraska was settled that could affect the route of the pipeline, it would be difficult for his administration to conduct an accurate study of the effects of construction.

Tar Sands Battle Comes to Minn. as Groups File Suit to Block 'Illegal' Pipeline Scheme

Nov 14, 2014

The growing battle to halt the development of the Canadian tar sands is headed for a federal courtroom in Minnesota.

A coalition of organizations, including national and northern Minnesota-based groups have joined forces in a legal action to head off what they claim is an end-around of federal law by Enbridge, a major pipeline operator in the state.

According to a lawsuit filed this week in Federal District Court in Minneapolis, the groups claim that Enbridge and the U.S. State Department colluded in allowing the company to install a new section of pipeline across the U.S.-Canadian border prior to completion of an environmental review process.

While the new section of pipeline enters the U.S. in northeastern North Dakota, the company’s plans to ship as much as 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) of bitumen from Alberta through northern Minnesota to refineries in Superior, Wis., is raising concerns among Indian tribes in the region as well as environmentalists.

Longtime Coal CEO Don Blankenship Indicted

Nov 14, 2014
(The Charleston Gazette)

Massey Energy Co. chief executive Don Blankenship testifies in May 2010 at the U.S. Senate's Health and Human Services subcommittee hearing on mine safety, just a few weeks after 29 miners died at the Massey-operated Upper Big Branch Mine, in Raleigh County.

Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive officer of Massey Energy, was indicted Thursday on charges that he orchestrated the routine violation of key federal mine safety rules at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.

A federal grand jury in Charleston charged Blankenship with conspiring to cause willful violations of ventilation requirements and coal-dust control rules—meant to prevent deadly mine blasts—during a 15-month period prior to the worst coal-mining disaster in a generation.


Keystone XL Approval Bill Clears Hurdle in U.S. Senate

Nov 13, 2014

Legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, setting up a vote on the project next week.

Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who faces a runoff vote in Louisiana on Dec. 6, had pushed for vote on Thursday on the bill.

Her Republican opponent, U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy, pushed for a vote on a similar bill his chamber, as each competed to support TransCanada Corp's pipeline that would send some 800,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil sand petroleum to refineries in Texas.

Alberta Judge Rules Landowner May Sue Govt in Landmark Fracking Case

Nov 11, 2014
(The Tyee)

A landmark lawsuit that challenges the lax regulation of hydraulic fracturing in Canada has just scored a major victory.

In a lengthy decision, Alberta Chief Justice Neil Wittmann dismissed all key arguments made by the government of Alberta against the lawsuit of Jessica Ernst, including the fear that it may unleash a flood of lawsuits against a government that is heavily dependent on hydrocarbon revenue.

The Alberta government argued that Ernst's $33-million lawsuit had no merit; that the government owed no duty of care to landowners with contaminated water; and that the government had statutory immunity.

AOL Becomes Latest Tech Giant to Flee From ALEC

Nov 11, 2014
(National Journal)

AOL is ending its relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council, National Journal has learned.

The Web company decided "weeks ago" not to renew its membership with ALEC, a company official confirmed Monday. The departure makes AOL the latest in a remarkable wave of tech giants to recently separate from the conservative nonprofit.

It was not immediately clear why AOL chose to divorce itself from ALEC, a coalition of state legislators and corporations that works to develop template legislation to introduce in statehouses around the country.

Car Bomb, House Explosion Rock Solar Energy Campaign in Louisiana

Nov 10, 2014

The home and two cars of a campaign finance director for a pro-solar energy candidate running for Louisiana’s utility regulatory board were blown up Thursday.

No one was injured in the explosions, and authorities have yet to established a direct link between the apparent attacks and the campaign’s efforts to promote solar energy, according to local station WWL.

But the ATF is assisting in the investigation of the incidents, according to NOLA.com. The finance director targeted, Mario Zervigon, a well known political operative in the state, is taking a break from campaigning for candidate Forest Bradley-Wright.

Texas Oil & Gas Group Asks Court to Halt Fracking Ban

Nov 6, 2014

A North Texas city that sits atop a natural gas reserve is preparing for an extended court battle after voters made it the first in the state to ban further hydraulic fracturing — a fight that cities nationwide considering similar laws will likely be watching closely.

An industry group and the state's little-known but powerful General Land Office responded quickly to the measure Denton approved Tuesday night, seeking an injunction in District Court to stop it from being enforced.

Denton Becomes First City in Texas to Ban Fracking

Nov 5, 2014
(Fort Worth-Telegram)

In a state where the oil and gas industry is king, Denton on Tuesday was poised to become the first city in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing with voters approving a grassroots initiative against the controversial drilling method.

With 37 of 39 precincts reported by late evening, about 59 percent of voters in this college town of 123,000 had cast ballots for an ordinance that will drastically restrict drillers’ attempts to tap the rich natural gas reserves within the city limits. Calling the ordinance unconstitutional, state and industry officials have pledged to contest it in court and state lawmakers have said they may pass legislation to block it.