TGG provided expert testimony on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux in the legal proceedings related to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Represented by Earthjustice, the Tribes have waged a long-term legal battle to stop the pipeline, in parallel with the historic protests of the pipeline in North Dakota. Since 2016, the Tribes have argued that the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) should deny DAPL permits to cross the Missouri River and undertake a full environmental review. In late 2016, the Obama administration supported the Tribes’ position, and USACE committed to a full environmental review. Days after his inauguration in January 2017, US President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum to grant the final permits and expedite the construction process.
TGG was retained by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in 2013 to provide an expert report on a proposed crude-by-rail (CBR) terminal project at a Valero refinery in Benicia, California. In July 2013, TGG filed Comments on Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) Valero Crude by Rail Project Benicia, California with the City of Benicia. In our report, TGG provided a market analysis of the project. The report was included as an attachment to NRDC's Comments on Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Valero Crude by Rail Project, filed with the City of Benicia on July 1, 2013.
In January 2018, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee rejected the Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal (VEDT), the largest proposed crude-by-rail terminal in the US – and the largest proposed oil terminal on the West Coast. In response to the Governor’s decision, Tesoro Savage (the project applicant) terminated all development activities and cancelled the project in February 2018.
Background: The Trans Mountain Expansion Project has been one of the most controversial crude oil pipeline projects in Canadian history. Since 2013, it has been the target of numerous legal challenges, intense public protests and two major regulatory reviews at Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB). In 2013, Kinder Morgan filed an application with the NEB to expand the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which transports up to 300,000 barrels per day from Alberta through British Columbia (BC) and Washington State to refineries and ports on the West Coast. The C$7.4 billion expansion (estimated at C$12.6 billion in late 2020) would more than triple the capacity of the existing pipeline (to 890,000 barrels per day). The increased capacity would be provided by a second line, roughly parallel to the existing pipeline. This second line would be largely used to transport more tar sands dilbit for export markets (US West Coast and Asia).
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) of South Dakota retained TGG in 2015 to provide expert testimony in the Keystone XL (KXL) permit recertification case before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). TGG’s written expert testimony, Changes to the Economic Costs and Benefits of the Keystone XL Pipeline for South Dakota, was filed on behalf of the RST in April 2015 (and withdrawn in July 2015).
Background: In 2015, TGG was retained by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups (NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Sierra Club, Los Angeles Waterkeeper) (“the Coalition”). The Coalition was concerned about the environmental and health impacts of oil production in California using newer well stimulation technologies (including fracking). Well stimulation treatment (WST) refers to processes to increase the production of a well by stimulating the flow of oil and/or gas.
In June 2014, TGG, in collaboration with Équiterre and Greenpeace Canada, released a report refuting the oil industry's claims regarding the economic benefits for Quebec of moving and refining tar sands crudes. The report, entitled Economics of Transporting and Processing Tar Sands Crudes in Quebec, demonstrated that the benefits for Quebec would be insignificant while the costs and risks were very high. TGG also concluded that a major pipeline accident could be catastrophic with billions of dollars in damages and loss of human life.
In November 2013, TGG prepared an expert report entitled Analysis of the Potential Costs of Accidents/Spills Related to Crude by Rail for Oil Change International (OCI). The report demonstrates that the economic costs of crude by rail accidents can be very large and concludes that a major crude by rail (CBR) unit train accident/spill could cost $1 billion or more for a single event. The expert report was incorporated into Comments filed by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club and OCI (on behalf of a numerous other environmental and community groups). The Comments were filed in December 2013 before The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) as part of the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hazardous Materials: Rail Petitions and Recommendations To Improve the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation.
In 2013, TGG was retained by a coalition of Quebec- and Ontario-based environmental groups (the Équiterre Coalition) to provide expert testimony related to a controversial crude oil pipeline: Enbridge’s Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion (300,000 barrels per day at full capacity). The project would transport a mix of tar sands dilbit and synthetic crude oil (SCO), Bakken, and conventional Western Canadian crudes through Ontario and Quebec, crossing major waterways and Canada's most populous urban areas (including Toronto and Montreal). TGG filed written expert testimony entitled, The Relative Economic Costs and Benefits of Enbridge's Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project in August 2013 at Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) on behalf of the Équiterre Coalition.
TGG and KXL: On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued an Inauguration Day executive order to rescind the construction permit for the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. Since KXL was first proposed by TransCanada in 2008, the pipeline has been the subject of a long and divisive public debate. This debate and the accompanying media coverage have been characterized by significant misunderstanding and misinformation concerning the pipeline’s environmental and economic impacts. During the Obama Presidency, the pipeline underwent an extensive federal review process by the State Department over a seven-year period. TGG released several highly influential expert reports, notably Pipe Dreams and the Keystone XL Market Analysis, described here. Our reports demonstrated to the Obama Administration and the media that the economic benefits of KXL have been greatly exaggerated by the proponents while the environmental costs have been understated. See Project Pages for Keystone XL in South Dakota and Keystone XL Job Study for more information about TGG’s work on KXL.
TGG’s jobs analysis in Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL was used to demonstrate to the US media and the Obama Administration that KXL would not be a major job creator for the US, nor would it have any substantial impact on US employment. TGG co-authored this influential and widely publicized study on the employment impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline with the Cornell Global Labour Institute in 2011. The report was released in September 2011 and updated in January 2012. TGG’S Ian Goodman and Brigid Rowan provided the economic analysis to demonstrate that TransCanada Pipelines Ltd had greatly exaggerated the employment impacts of the Keystone XL (KXL) Project. TGG estimated the Project would create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years and at the most a handful of permanent jobs (ranging from a low of 20 to a high of 127).