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Tribal Consultation At Heart Of Pipeline Fight

People continue to camp in tepees and tents along the Cannonball River in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. The oil pipeline is slated to cross through Army Corps of Engineers land about a mile from this camp.

Consultation, the formal process of communication between tribes and the federal government, has become a central issue in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline. But this is not the first time tribes have sued over consultation violations. These lawsuits are becoming more and more common thanks, in part, to actions taken by the Obama Administration. Continue Reading →

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Fight Feels Familiar For Tribes At Pipeline Protest

Quiltman Sahme, left, and son Tiwani sit outside their tent along the border of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota where they're protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline. They're from the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon, which is trying to prevent Nestle from bottling water from a nearby stream.

Fights past and present over environmental issues have compelled Native Americans from tribes across the country to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in its battle to defeat the Dakota Access oil pipeline. This gathering of nations, meanwhile, could mark a turning point for tribes as they seek greater say in what happens to their land. Continue Reading →

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Many Reasons, One Cause In Pipeline Protest

Protesters gathered at the Four Winds American Indian Council in Denver on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

Opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues to grow beyond its North Dakota roots, with solidarity protests Tuesday in dozens of cities across the country and the world. People are protesting for many different reasons but with one goal—stopping the pipeline. Continue Reading →

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Tribes Win One Fight, Lose Another In Pipeline Protest

People raise their fists in the air in solidarity as a group of canoes arrives in a protest camp that sprang up to demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The canoe flotilla had representatives of tribes from the across the Pacific Northwest and navigated the Missouri River from Bismarck to Cannon Ball to show their support.

News that construction must stop on part of a controversial oil pipeline is drawing a mixed reaction from the people protesting it. That’s because even though a judge says work on the project can continue, the Obama administration surprised everyone when it announced it would block construction. Now, the fight over the Dakota Access pipeline is ramping up as it spreads from North Dakota to the nation’s capital. Continue Reading →

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A Battle Over Bringing Local Renewables To Rural Electric Co-ops

The intake for a micro-hydro plant on the South Canal, outside Montrose, Colorado. The Delta Montrose Electric Association has developed such plants on the canal in partnership with local water users, who benefit from the revenue the plants generate.

A rural electric co-op in western Colorado has started a high-stakes legal battle over putting more local renewable energy on its grid. The battled has pitted renewable energy advocates against traditional wholesale power providers, and it’s a fight that could help define the future of electricity generation in rural communities nationwide. Continue Reading →

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Pipeline Building Boom Raises Safety Concerns

A first responder walks by smoldering wood and a burning retaining wall near a home following a natural gas explosion at a pipeline complex, on Friday, April 29, 2016, in Salem Township, Pa. The explosion caused flames to shoot above nearby treetops in the largely rural area, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, and prompted authorities to evacuate businesses nearby.

On the morning of April 29, a natural gas transmission line exploded in a field in Salem Township in western Pennsylvania. The blast was so powerful it ripped a 12-foot crater into the landscape, burned a section of the field with a quarter-mile radius and threw a 25-foot section of the 30-inch steel pipeline 100 feet away. At the time of the explosion, a 26-year-old man was in his house, a few hundred feet away. He was badly burned, and his home destroyed. When local fire chief Bob Rosatti arrived at the scene, the flames were so hot, he had to stay in his truck. “They were massive—I would say 300 feet at the least,” Rosatti says. “That was the biggest fireball I’d ever seen in my life. Continue Reading →

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On The Hunt For Methane Leaks

The 2015 leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Los Angeles was a grim reminder of how devastating methane leaks can be. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that the four-month leak will have the same 20-year climate impact as burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline.

Burning natural gas for electricity is much cleaner than coal. But there’s a problem – leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Nearly 2 years ago Colorado implemented rules to try to limit methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure. Now the EPA is proposing to model federal rules on Colorado’s. Still finding and plugging leaks remains a challenge nationwide. In Pennsylvania, where thousands of gas wells and pipelines are working the Marcellus Shale, researchers are trying to figure out how much is leaking. For our Inside Energy project, The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier tagged along.
Continue Reading →

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