MONDAY AGAIN. Welcome to Overnight Energy — your source for the day’s energy and environment news.
Today we’re looking at the response to a report on the Keystone XL pipeline, wildfires in a Minnesota national forest and the latest on Henri.
PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE: Democrats tout new report to defend KeystoneXL cancellation
A group of House Democrats is arguing that a new report on spills from the Keystone Pipeline System boosts President Biden’s case for canceling the Keystone XL, which would’ve formed part of the network.
Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazio'Design-build' contracts key to infrastructure success EPA closer to unveiling plan for tackling 'forever chemicals' Congress sends 30-day highway funding patch to Biden after infrastructure stalls MORE (Ore.), Bobby RushBobby Lee RushBottom line Illinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (Ill.), and Donald Payne Jr. (N.J.) said in a joint statement that the new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report “validates President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE’s decision to revoke the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline.”
“In its thorough review of the pipeline’s history and construction, GAO found that preventable construction issues contributed to the current Keystone pipeline’s spills more frequently than the industry-wide trends,” said the Democratic lawmakers, who chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and subcommittees on energy and railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials, respectively.
What are they saying?: “In fact, GAO found that, while corrosion was the industry’s leading cause of such accidents on crude oil pipelines, half of Keystone’s accidents were caused by material failure of the pipe or weld," they added. “President Biden was clearly right to question this operator’s ability to construct a safe and resilient pipeline, and we support his decision to put Americans’ health and environment above industry interests.”
The report determined that since 2010, Keystone’s accident history is similar to that of other pipelines, but that its record has worsened in recent years. It particularly cited two more recent spills — one in 2017 and another in 2019 — that accounted for about 93 percent of the total barrels of oil released from the vessel network over the course of a decade.
How Keystone’s operator TC Energy fared compared to its peers varied based on the time period and metrics used in the report.
HEAT OF THE SUMMER: Wildfire leads to Minnesota national forest closures
A growing wildfire in Minnesota forced the U.S. Forest Service on Saturday to close a popular 1 million-acre area of Superior National Forest as hundreds of firefighters attempt to battle the blaze.
The Superior National Forest division of the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in a Facebook post Saturday afternoon that it had decided to close the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.
The closure, which is expected to remain in place for a week, was “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought [and] limited resources,” according to the forest agency.
Under the order, no entry permits will be given to visitors wishing to enter Boundary Waters, one of the most visited federally designated wilderness areas, according to The Associated Press.
Where does the closure apply?: The Forest Service said the closures would apply to “all lands, waters, trails, portages, campsite, canoe routes and Wilderness entry points in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”
“The Forest has notified permit holders and outfitters and is cancelling permits today through August 27,” the agency said, adding that all existing permit holders would be “fully reimbursed.”
HENRI THE LATE: Henri downgraded to tropical depression
Henri has been downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression as heavy rains make their way through Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Henri, which made landfall in Rhode Island around 12:15 p.m., was expected to land with hurricane strength. It was downgraded to a tropical storm before arriving in New England, however, to the relief of many.
Had the storm sustained hurricane strength upon making landfall, it would have been the first hurricane to hit New England directly in 30 years, NPR reported.
Still, officials have been bracing for heavy rainfall, flooding and loss of power. Around 200 residents in Helmetta, N.J., saw their homes start to flood, forcing people to stay with relatives or go to a hotel, The Associated Press reported.
On Sunday, some bridges in Rhode Island were closed briefly while other roads were difficult to pass through. A coastal flood warning was issued in Boston through Monday while a sea surge was anticipated for Sunday, the wire service noted.
HOWDY, PARTNER: Harris announces climate partnership with Singapore
Vice President Harris announced a climate partnership between the U.S. and Singapore Monday following a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
As part of the venture, the nations will “leverage expertise in the financial sector to increase sustainable finance, better address climate and environmental financial risk, mobilize private capital for climate mitigation and adaptation, and cooperate on clean energy and sustainable shipping and ports,” according to a White House statement.
In the statement, the White House also said it would improve the climate and sustainability aspects of the Third Country Training Program, a joint U.S.-Singapore venture that trains regional officials on issues ranging from local resilience to sustainable development.
Harris met with Lee as part of a trip to Singapore and Vietnam with an emphasis on improving climate resilience and forming international partnerships on emissions reductions.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
U.S. energy firms launching employee COVID-19 vaccination mandates, Reuters reports
As the West bakes, Utah forges ahead with water pipeline, E&E News reports
Wind-Turbine Makers Struggle to Profit From Renewable-Energy Boom, The Wall Street Journal reports
Vineyard Wind’s labor deal exposes tensions overs unions, worker diversity, Energy News Network reports
Galveston, Texas bans balloon releases due to environmental concerns, CW39 reports
ICYMI: Extra stories from Monday (and the weekend)...
8 dead after Hurricane Grace hits Mexico
Patagonia stops supplying inventory to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
OFF-BEAT AND OFFBEAT: Anar-capy