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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wind manufacturing employs around 20,000 people across the country. As Wyoming bleeds fossil fuel jobs and revenue, it wants to attract this industry. But right now, the state doesn’t have any of these jobs. Just across the border, Colorado is home to thousands.
The coal industry’s recent downturn is casting ripples throughout the economy in the West. In Wyoming, the unemployment rate is climbing faster than any other state in the country—and it’s not just miners who are struggling.
With the help of a few more delegates from a handful of states, including North Dakota, Donald Trump finally gathered enough to clinch the republican nomination. And with that news, the official Republican Presidential nominee rolled into Bismarck, North Dakota on Thursday.
The people who run our electricity grids are trying to figure out what to do with solar and wind power that is generated when no one needs it. Take California – there’s enough solar there now to serve more than three million homes. But during the day, especially in the spring, demand is low and generation is high. So, that clean power has to be sent elsewhere. Right now, its going across state lines to Arizona.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting