Allaying Pipe

Also: the other migration crises in Texas


In the halls of Capital Hill and other safe spaces for the corporate elite, safety rules and environmental protections are scorned as red tape that require “permit reform.” Our regulatory infrastructure is denigrated by ecomodernists like Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) in the name of a clean-energy boom and by carbon capitalists like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) who just want to lay more pipe.

In the real world, the fossil-fuel industry already mostly writes its own rules. And that means the stories of the lives they destroy can be found whenever journalists are allowed to look.

Mike Soraghan investigated the deadly regulatory gap in pipeline construction, as “6,000 miles of oil, gas and liquids pipelines are on the drawing board or under construction right now” and “as many as 65,000 more miles of pipelines will be needed for diverting carbon dioxide to permanent storage if the country is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.” Pipeline construction companies hire their own inspectors, who are blackballed if they take their job seriously instead of rubberstamping everything.

Tristan Baurick describes the frightening case of a recent recent rupture of carbon-dioxide pipeline owned by an ExxonMobil subsidiary. When a “dense cloud of carbon dioxide rolled over a rural stretch of southwest Louisiana on April 3,” local residents noticed something was wrong when their cats fled, because the “pump station and pipeline aren’t equipped with alarms or other methods of alerting the nearby residents when leaks or other accidents occur.”

Texan tycoons Daniel and Robert Cocanougher invest in Dragon Ball Z, golf courses, and poisoning family farms, write Mark Olalde and Nick Bowlin. The Cocanoughers are the owners of fracking wells in Oklahoma that killed the Ledgerwoods’ farm in Oklahama, when one of their shell companies flooded the ground with saltwater in a vain attempt to extract a few more barrels of oil from old wells. The Ledgerwoods spent years in vain trying to get compensation, thwarted by an oil-soaked system of injustice.

This morning, the House Energy and Commerce environment and manufacturing subcommittee holds a hearing on the EPA’s new Risk Management Program rules, critical safety procedures for chemical plants and oil refineries. The Republican witnesses are Gentner Drummond, the Oklahoma Attorney General, who is testifying the rules are “openly hostile to America’s oil and gas industry”; and petrochemical industry representatives Jatin Shah and Richard Erstad, who argue the industry is already sufficiently self-regulating. The United Steelworkers’ Jim Savage, who barely survived a hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit explosion at an oil refinery in 2019, is testifying, for some reason, in support of the EPA’s updated rule on hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit standards.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the migration crises in Texas that Fox News won’t cover.

Fracking quakes are migrating northeast in the Midland Basin as frackers further disturb the region’s geological substrate.

Mangroves are migrating north up the Texas coast, taking over salt marshes, as global warming and rising seas alter the coastal habitat.

Thousands of residents of Southeast Texas are now able to migrate back to their homes “after days of heavy rainfall that pummeled the area and led to hundreds of rescues — including people who were stranded on rooftops.” Four people are known to be killed by the fossil-fueled rains.

In a welcome sight, one billion birds are moving north through Texas, but time is running out for these annual migrations as climate pollution disrupts the seasons.

Patience is a virtue

The Batagay megaslump — a 3,250-foot-wide (990 meters) depression in the permafrost in the Russian Far East — is actively growing by a massive amount every year.

Global warming is fueling pop-up hurricanes that rapidly intensify close to the coast.

Geothermal heat pumps are helping clean up city buildings.

At least one person is dead and several others are injured after a tornado ripped through Barnsdall, Oklahoma, Monday night.

The country’s first new aluminum smelter in 45 years could radically cut carbon pollution.

When other people take a long time to reply to e-mail: lazy, unfriendly, irresolute, displaying a kind of disorganization characteristic of an unconscious and wasted life. When I take a long time: busy, thoughtful, rich inner world, applying the effort to do a good job, generous and sincere, an admirable and worthy friend.

Hearings on the Hill:

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. If you’ve got job listings, event listings, or other hot news, I want to hear it. Connect with me—@[email protected], @climatebrad on Threads, and on BlueSky.

“Permit reform”? More like “permit me to re-form my daily request you subscribe”!

Join the conversation

or to participate.