A win as far as the judge refusing to dismiss the lawsuits, that is. There is no question that the proposed land swap is an atrocious giveaway, but whether courts will see that in the long run is another matter. You know how plenty of judges are.
A federal judge has put on hold four lawsuits filed by eight environmental groups to block a land swap that the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota needs to move forward.
U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen stayed the lawsuits while Congress considers legislation to force completion of the land exchange between PolyMet and the U.S. Forest Service. The bill passed the House last November and is pending in a Senate committee…
In her order Tuesday, Ericksen denied PolyMet’s motion to dismiss the lawsuits.
Groups have filed for a contested case hearing on PolyMet with the Minnesota DNR.
If so inclined, you can view the proceedings via a livestream at The Uptake. A good many viewpoints will likely be presented, in at least some cases quite vigorously.
It is never my intent to caricature supporters of sulfide mining in the general public. They have their reasons, and many are knowledgeable, well-intentioned, and no fools.
Some information on a purported “damage deposit:”
A draft permit to mine issued by the Minnesota DNR last month calls for PolyMet to make available $544 million in financial assurance the first year of mining, which acts as a sort of damage deposit if PolyMet couldn’t pay for the proposed mine’s cleanup.
However, state officials estimated that more than $1 billion would be necessary to cover the potential environmental liability Minnesota could be left with from the mine.
The DNR is taking comments through March 6; the PCA through March 16.
Correction (Feb. 8, 2018): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that PolyMet has put up money for financial assurance. A draft permit calls for that, but PolyMet would not begin to make financial assurance available unless and until it receives permits and begins construction.
As the article explains, the fallout from this will be complex and substantial. I suspect, though, that for the time being U.S. firms will find other countries to dump on.
On New Year’s Day 2018, a new Chinese regulation banning the import of 24 different types of waste (came) into force, sending shock waves through the global, multibillion-dollar waste disposal and recycling industry.
Though the regulation is primarily designed to address major environmental and health issues in China, it will also be a genuine global disrupter. It has the potential to propel many waste-exporting countries – who for far too long have taken an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude to waste disposal – to adopt far more progressive disposal and recycling systems.
(South China Morning Post)
– “Mountains of U.S. recycling pile up as China restricts imports” (USA Today)
Could have been worse. But if we had any kind of even remotely enlightened federal governance, at this point in history, it would be a lot better.
While the final tax bill left the Investment Tax Credit and the Production Tax Credit in place, the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) provision made it through the final version. An amendment keeps 80 percent of the value of both the ITC and the PTC.
Clean energy organizations and investors are now crunching the numbers to assess just how much the loss of 20 percent will impact tax equity investment. Tax lawyers seem optimistic that the market will bounce back.
“It’s possible the investors will become a little bit more conservative on what they pay to juice their returns a little bit,” said Michael Masri, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. “But I don’t think it will have any significant impact on deals continuing to flow.”
But those representing clean energy companies and entrepreneurs said uncertainty surrounding BEAT still runs high.
Data confirms what many have long suspected.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may pose a significant—but very local—harm to human health, a new study finds. Mothers who live very close to a fracking well are more likely to give birth to a less healthy child with a low birth weight—and low birth weight can lead to poorer health throughout a person’s life.
The research, published Wednesday in Science Advances, is the largest study ever conducted on fracking’s health effects.
“I think this is the most convincing evidence that fracking has a causal effect on local residents,” said Janet Currie, an economist at Princeton University and one of the authors of the study.
A couple of items.
Still, many Native Americans don’t want to see more fossil fuel infrastructure. Period. Not only is it exacerbating the climate crisis by driving up emissions, they argue it’s threatening their lands.
The current Line 3 cuts right through the Fond du Lac Reservation and Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, as well as the Chippewa National Forest. Enbridge wants to place the new Line 3 a bit more south, where it wouldn’t cut right through these lands, but the proposed route would still travel right outside the Fond du Lac’s territories. It’s not far from the White Earth and Red Lake reservations, either.
Nebraska’s Keystone XL decision won’t hinge on Thursday’s 210,000-gallon spill. Oil gushed out of the Keystone pipeline in rural South Dakota on Thursday, 30 miles west of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation. Cleanup crews raced to the site, and TransCanada temporarily shut down the conduit…
Environmental groups said that Nebraska officials should consider the spill a “stark warning.” Just one problem: They can’t. A 2011 Nebraska law prevents state regulators from taking pipeline safety or possible leaks into account in their decisions — a rule that Nebraska’s Public Service Commission plans to abide by.
Update: The Nebraska commission has approved the project.
Updatex2: The decision was not cut-and-dried.
Nebraska regulators have approved TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, but not its preferred route through this state — raising questions about whether the company will continue to pursue the project.
Monday’s decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which came on a 3-2 vote, adds another twist to a debate that has made headlines for nearly a decade.
The commission — instead of signing off on TransCanada’s 275-mile preferred route, which was the main focus of a court-style hearing in August — opted for a second, slightly longer route known as the “mainline alternative.”