If your dog bites you are liable for damages
Last week was terrible for pipeline projects. The new 515-mile Sabal Trail pipeline, in operation for only 12 days, was shut-off by a D.C. Federal Appeals Court. There were no leaks or spills. The pipeline was stopped for ignoring the total greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) ignored the carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power plants at the end of the line. Burning natural gas to make steam creates massive amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, the main cause of the climate emergency.
The Court said, “the environmental groups which it refers to collectively as ‘Sierra Club,’ along with a group of landowners, timely petitioned our court for review of the approval process by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.” Interstate natural gas pipelines are regulated by FERC, a Department of Energy agency.
“Sierra Club argues the EIS failed to consider the project’s impact on low-income and minority communities. Landowners allege oversights in the EIS, dispute the public need for the project and claim FERC used an insufficiently transparent process to approve the pipeline.”
Can Diamond be stopped by a lawsuit?
Yes, it can, with sufficient funds to pay for the best lawyers. The Diamond approval process is based on incomplete false information and intimidation. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee are not known for environmental concerns. My comments are mainly about Arkansas, a beautiful state, where steel mills, wood-pellet mills, pig factories, deforestation, and river pollution are called “progress.”
Laws of Nature supersede State laws
Arkansas laws are made by people in power. Some make sense at the time when the rules are proposed. This is what the 1930’s Arkansas Law says about oil pipelines: “All pipeline companies operating in this state are given the right of eminent domain.”
The full-text, if done well, may have said something like: “Great news, oil was found in El Dorado, and the Arkansas economy is about to change. Everyone will benefit from oil revenues. To sell crude oil in nearby states, a new way to transport 200 barrels per day will be used. The device is called an oil pipeline. To protect the environment and private property rights, pipelines will be routed on public land, avoiding crossing rivers and sensitive ecological areas. Landowners will have the option to sell easements, and will be compensated at a price set by the owner, or the full market value determined by an independent appraiser. If the route traverses a farm, the pipeline company will buy the farm.”
The devastation in Texas from an unprecedented storm creating damages that will last for years is related to massive amounts of water in the clouds. Hot temperatures drive evaporation, the rain cycle is a natural process.
Choosing an irresponsible individual, the worst person to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, removing references to climate change, cutting resources and eliminating top climate scientists, is criminal behavior. Why waste resources to promote wars and build walls, ignoring the climate emergency?
Why has Diamond gone unchallenged in Arkansas?
You may have heard the story of the “5 Monkey Syndrome.” Monkeys learn from others and make unbreakable rules of behavior. This is known in the Natural State as “there is nothing you can do, you are a stranger in a strange land.” YouTube has the Monkey video.
From a rumor to a statewide permanent threat
In 2014, Fish & Wildlife and Department of Health concerns with partial information were ignored. One-on-one taking of private property, prior to having an approved route, gave Diamond a right-of-way. A request to cross watersheds without safety information, prior to choosing low-quality pipes, was granted in return for an undisclosed amount of money. A rubber-stamped river navigation permit, based on false and incomplete testimony, was expedited. In April 2017, wastewater permits were granted by the Department of Environmental Quality.
Time to act!
Gov. Asa Hutchinson is the authority in charge of state emergencies. Please contact his office and demand he stop the Diamond Pipeline to protect Arkansas.
Dr. Luis Contreras