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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/11/23

Mark Hefflinger, Bold Alliance (Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/Des Moines Register

By Mark Hefflinger

January 11, 2023

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • E&E News: Cantwell Demands Review Of Keystone Pipeline Permit

  • Kansas City Star: Keystone Pipeline dumped 588,000 gallons of oil onto Kansas lands, water. Here’s who pays 

  • Dakota News Now: Landowners relieved by scheduled pipeline hearing

  • KFYR: Grand Forks pipeline construction plans face setback after application errors

  • Daily Energy Insider: Consumers Energy finishes $164M upgrades to South Oakland Macomb Network pipeline

  • Fox News: Trade unions representing laid-off Keystone XL workers silent after report shows thousands of job losses

  • Senator James E. Risch: ICYMI: Canceling the Keystone Pipeline Cost Thousands of Jobs

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: White House Climate Guidance May Shift FERC On Gas

  • Washington Post: Critic of fossil fuels to lead key offshore oil agency for Biden

STATE UPDATES

  • WPLN: TVA is officially building a massive gas plant in Middle Tennessee

EXTRACTION

  • The Hill: Carbon emissions rise, still below pre-pandemic levels: study

  • Wall Street Journal: Oil and Gas Are Back and Booming

  • CBC: 28 charges laid in tailings pond death bring renewed grief to victim’s family

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • SeekingAlpha: Suncor cut at Wells Fargo as accidents imply ‘deeper safety culture shortfall’

  • The Hill: Powell: ‘Inappropriate’ for Fed to make climate policy

  • Reuters: Shell energy transition prompted talks to sell Norway business

  • E&E News: A climate fund was born. It still doesn’t have any money.

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

E&E News: Cantwell Demands Review Of Keystone Pipeline Permit
Brian Dabbs, 1/10/23

“A top Senate Democrat is calling on the Biden administration to ‘immediately’ review TC Energy’s permit to transport oil through the Keystone pipeline after it leaked last month, discharging roughly 600,000 barrels into a creek in northern Kansas,” E&E News reports. “ In a letter obtained by E&E News on Monday to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, also urged the agency to revise its spill policy on Canadian crude. ‘I am calling on PHMSA to immediately begin a review of TC Energy’s special permit and to update its oil spill response requirements for bitumen oil,’ said Cantwell in her letter… ‘According to the National Academy of Science, when tar sand spills reach a body of water it initially floats and spreads but then the residues will submerge or sink to the bottom of the water body,’ Cantwell told E&E, referring to a 2016 report.”

Kansas City Star: Keystone Pipeline dumped 588,000 gallons of oil onto Kansas lands, water. Here’s who pays 
KATIE MOORE, 1/10/23

“The company that operates the Keystone Pipeline will be billed for cleaning up a 588,000 gallon oil spill in Kansas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a consent order,” the Kansas City Star reports. “TC Energy will have to pay for oil removal as well as oversight and monitoring throughout the process… “As of Dec. 20, about 100 animals had died. Authorities believe the impact of the spill extends at least 3.5 miles downstream. The spill caused “an imminent and substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States,” the EPA said, including potential harm to wildlife, habitat, shorelines and public and private property… “TC Energy is responsible for recovering the oil and oil-contaminated soil and vegetation and installing temporary runoff control measures. The company also has to conduct air monitoring during the clean up and collect samples for testing upon the request of the EPA. As of Jan. 2, about 18,160 barrels of oil and affected water had been recovered, the company said. The EPA will bill the company for any costs incurred by the U.S. government. If the company violates the consent order, they could face civil penalties up to $51,796 per day, the order said.”

Dakota News Now: Landowners relieved by scheduled pipeline hearing
Beth Warden, 1/10/23

“Last week’s decision to schedule a hearing for Summit Carbon Solutions was a relief for landowners,” Dakota News Now reports. “…Valley Springs landowner Rick Bonander is glad the PUC scheduled the Summit Carbon Solutions hearing for September. He told DNN a springtime meeting during planting and calving season would create a conflict of interest in attending the hearing. Midwestern landowners opposing CO2 pipelines often rely on attorney Brian Jorde, who believes Summit’s request for a springtime hearing was by design to keep farmers from participating. He also says there still are South Dakotans unaware a pipeline could be on or near their land. “Approximately 100 persons who are within a half mile of their proposed route, and we’ve got a motion to dismiss their entire application or motion to return on that basis,” Jorde told DNN. As more details of the pipeline are revealed, his client list grows. “I’m involved in proximately 70 or so related to claims they have against landowners. It’s probably more, I frankly lost count,” Jorde told DNN. “And then, of course, they’re suing any county and the commissioners if they don’t like what they’re doing in an intimidation to try to make other counties not take action.” The hearing Dates for The Summit Carbon Solutions hearing are September 11th to the 22nd. The city and venue are still under consideration, as a large facility is needed to accommodate the many interested parties. Those opposing the pipelines shared a program for Governor Noem’s inauguration ceremony, where Summit was one of only five platinum sponsors for the event. “Well, money in politics, you know, money, money gets you votes. Money gets you laws. I don’t think anyone should think otherwise,” Jorde told DNN. “Summit has endless foreign money from their foreign owners and New York hedge funds and whoever else, so they’re throwing it around and trying to get people to check their common sense at the door, and hopefully, that doesn’t work.” “…District 23 Representative Senator Bryan Breitling of Aberdeen is making his opinion known. “I am on the side of landowners and landowner’s rights. I am part of the legislator coalition sponsoring and voting for pipeline reform.”

KFYR: Grand Forks pipeline construction plans face setback after application errors
Michael Anthony 1/10/23

“A pipeline project aiming to bring natural gas from Minnesota to eastern North Dakota is facing a delay,” KFYR reports. “In 2021, North Dakota legislators approved $10 million for the state’s industrial commission to build a 14-mile pipeline that would supply the area with gas from Minnesota’s Viking Pipeline. State Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said they discovered errors in an application last month that need to be corrected before awarding the funds. “They were missing some substantial amounts of contracts, and so the numbers were no longer good. My major concern right now is without that segment being built under the river, they would not have adequate capacity to meet the needs of existing contracts,” Kringstad told KFYR.

Daily Energy Insider: Consumers Energy finishes $164M upgrades to South Oakland Macomb Network pipeline
Chris Galford, 1/10/23

“Nearly 30 miles of pipe were replaced and nearly 17 miles added as part of Consumers Energy’s South Oakland Macomb Network natural gas pipeline project in Michigan, which finished work in late 2022,” Daily Energy Insider reports. “The project cost approximately $164 million, encompassing 15 projects over a four-year process. Part of Consumers’ larger 10-year natural gas delivery plan, it focused on replacing lines, in many cases installed in the 1940s, as well as city gates. Gas pressure is regulated at city gates for safe delivery… “Environmental inspectors toured the site daily as part of company plans to inflict minimal impact on the environment. It added that its methods helped reduce the need for tree removal, prevented erosion, and protected local wildlife, such as butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.”

Fox News: Trade unions representing laid-off Keystone XL workers silent after report shows thousands of job losses
Thomas Catenacci, 1/10/23

“Four labor unions representing workers on the Keystone XL pipeline project were silent this week when asked about a recent federal report showing the significant economic consequences of shutting the project down,” Fox News reports. “The Laborers International Union of North America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the International Union of Operating Engineers and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment from Fox News Digital when asked about the report. The four unions had reached an agreement with the pipeline’s operator TC Energy in August 2020 to represent thousands of project workers… “The four labor unions that were part of the PLA and which ignored requests for comment from Fox News Digital endorsed Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election.”

Senator James E. Risch: ICYMI: Canceling the Keystone Pipeline Cost Thousands of Jobs
1/10/23

“The worst-kept secret about the Keystone XL Pipeline is out: Canceling the pipeline cost thousands of domestic jobs… “With Senator Daines, I successfully introduced and passed a bill that required the Biden administration to admit just how destructive their policies on the Keystone XL Pipeline were… “With gas prices and inflation still punishingly high, the President should invest in American-made energy and jobs – not plead with dictators and despots to repair the energy crisis he created. To read more about the Keystone XL Jobs Report on FoxNews.com, click here.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: White House Climate Guidance May Shift FERC On Gas
Miranda Wilson, 1/10/23

“New climate guidance from the White House may change how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission assesses natural gas, a prospect that could dramatically affect emissions and split the bipartisan panel,” E&E News reports. “The White House Council on Environmental Quality last week issued guidance for federal agencies to analyze, quantify and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions ‘to the greatest extent possible’ as part of the environmental review process. The framework also encourages agencies to evaluate whether proposed projects or other actions would disproportionately harm disadvantaged communities.”

Washington Post: Critic of fossil fuels to lead key offshore oil agency for Biden
Timothy Puko, 1/10/23

“The Biden administration is using a new opening at a powerful offshore energy agency to elevate a critic of fossil fuels who previously was blocked from a top Interior Department job because of opposition from oil industry allies in the Senate,” the Washington Post reports. “…Her replacement will be Elizabeth Klein, a senior adviser to Secretary Deb Haaland and strong supporter of renewable energies who had also worked at Interior during the Clinton and Obama administrations. The White House had intended to nominate Klein as the deputy secretary of the interior at the beginning of President Biden’s term, but changed its plans after objections from Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who hail from energy rich states. Those senators feared that Klein and Haaland — herself an outspoken critic of the oil industry — would be a difficult team for the oil and gas industry to work with, as The Washington Post reported in 2021. In her new position, Klein will head an influential part of the Interior Department but her appointment does not require Senate confirmation. Before joining the Biden administration, Klein was deputy director of the New York University School of Law’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, which frequently challenged Trump administration rule-changes that were designed to support fossil fuel industries. During the Obama administration, she oversaw the creation of the offshore-wind leasing program the Biden administration is now trying to supercharge as part of its efforts to address climate change.”

STATE UPDATES

WPLN: TVA is officially building a massive gas plant in Middle Tennessee
CAROLINE EGGERS, 1/11/23

“The Tennessee Valley Authority has just chosen to burn fossil fuels for several more decades. Again,” WPLN reports. “On Tuesday, CEO Jeff Lyash signed off on a plan to build a nearly 1.5-gigawatt natural gas plant near Clarksville… “This was the choice of Lyash alone, as a short-staffed, Trump-filled TVA board voted to give him this power in 2021, during the time that several Biden nominees to the board were left unconfirmed by the Senate. Lyash’s nearly $10 million salary, comprised largely of bonuses, in 2021 has been partially tied to the success of fossil fuel plants — though TVA has previously denied that this is a motivation for any particular type of generation… “It follows a pattern: TVA announces that it will retire a coal plant, then chooses to build a new natural gas plant…. “A new, 32-mile pipeline will be constructed across Dickson, Houston and Stewart counties by Kinder Morgan, one of the largest pipeline companies in the nation, to feed methane to the new natural gas plant… “TVA is also planning on doing the same thing for its Kingston Fossil Plant, a coal plant near Knoxville. TVA has already begun the preliminary regulatory process with Enbridge to build a 117-mile gas pipeline to the coal site, and it has not released a draft environmental review for Kingston yet.”

EXTRACTION

The Hill: Carbon emissions rise, still below pre-pandemic levels: study
ZACK BUDRYK, 1/10/23

“American greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.3 percent last year but did not fully rebound to their levels before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a preliminary analysis published Tuesday by the Rhodium Group,” The Hill reports. “Despite the increase from 2021, the report found that the emission rebound did not outpace economic growth in 2022 as it did the previous year. In 2021, emissions increased by 6.5 percent, compared to a 5.9 percent rise in gross domestic product. The report attributes that dynamic not being repeated in 2022 to a decrease in electric power sector emissions, largely driven by the replacement of coal with natural gas and renewable energy. Emissions from the power sector, the source of over a quarter of overall U.S. emissions, fell 1 percent last year, according to the report. Meanwhile, coal generation fell 8 percent from the previous year, restarting a longtime decline after 2021 saw a slight uptick. The past year saw the retirement of coal-fired generators, as well as disruptions in delivery of coal to power plants by rail. The report projects these factors, and the decline in coal prices they caused, cut the share of overall electricity generation coal represents, from 23 percent in 2021 to 20 percent in 2022. Meanwhile, renewable energy generation was up 12 percent from 2021, while renewables represented a greater share of total power generation than coal for the first time in decades.”

Wall Street Journal: Oil and Gas Are Back and Booming
Benoît Morenne and Jon Hilsenrath, 1/10/23

“Chesapeake Energy Corp. was one of the biggest stars of the fracking boom, riding high for years on its ability to tap vast troves of American natural gas. By the summer of 2020, the pandemic and lockdowns had caused revenue to dry up, and the company, after a big, ill-timed expansion, filed for bankruptcy protection,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Yet last year, Chesapeake racked up $1.3 billion of profit in the first nine months. It sent its shareholders $800 million in dividends over that same period. Its stock has more than doubled since the company re-listed its shares in early 2021. Thanks to a mix of events, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the U.S. economic recovery, fossil fuels are showing surprising resilience, despite President Biden’s push to transition to clean energy and the industry’s own history of boom-bust investing and heavy reliance on debt. U.S. production of natural gas—Chesapeake’s focus—has hit record levels. The country’s crude oil production remains shy of the 2019 level but is otherwise at a peak. Exports of both gas and crude are hitting new highs, easily outpacing overseas sales of aircraft, pharmaceuticals, food and cars. Exxon Mobil Corp.’s shares rose 80% last year. The Biden administration has limited drilling on federal lands, but oil and gas companies have tapped the nation’s vast private shale reserves to drive production higher. As surging global demand for U.S. oil and gas has fueled high profit margins for producers, Mr. Biden has accused them of profiteering during a crisis. They take a different lesson from their fortune. “What’s really happened is the world has realized there is a need for hydrocarbons in energy policy,” Domenic Dell’Osso, Chesapeake’s chief executive, told the Journal.”

CBC: 28 charges laid in tailings pond death bring renewed grief to victim’s family
Wallis Snowdon, 1/10/23

“The parents of a 25-year-old oilsands worker who died in a frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta say charges in the case reveal disturbing details about safety failures on site,” CBC reports. “Suncor and Christina River Construction face a total of 28 charges under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act in the death of Patrick Poitras. Poitras was operating a bulldozer on Jan. 13, 2021, at Suncor’s base mine about 30 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, when the ice beneath the machine gave way. Three days later, his body was pulled from the pond. “Someone didn’t do their job and I lost my son because of that,” Marcel Poitras told CBC. “My son gave his life for that job.”  The charges, laid in November, allege the companies ignored a series of safety protocols when they directed Poitras to operate a dozer on dangerously thin ice. The case details how the companies allegedly failed to properly check the thickness of the ice and ignored previous measurements that showed it was too thin to bear the weight of the machine.  Christina River Construction, owned by Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, is facing nine charges in the death of their contractor. Suncor is facing 19 counts. A plea hearing is scheduled for March 15 in Fort McMurray provincial court. Suncor declined to comment on the case as it is before the court. Christina River Construction has not responded to questions about the charges.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

SeekingAlpha: Suncor cut at Wells Fargo as accidents imply ‘deeper safety culture shortfall’
Carl Surran, 1/10/23

“Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) -1.8% in Tuesday’s trading as Wells Fargo downgrades shares to Equal Weight from Overweight, saying the “cultural challenges to embrace safety and available uptime run deeper than a new CEO or modest restructuring of the company’s operations,” SeekingAlpha reports. “The Wells Fargo team led by Roger Read is referring to the recent accident at Suncor’s (SU) Colorado refinery, which it says “implies the company’s operational challenges are no longer limited to the oil sands arena,” and that “significant accidents occurring across multiple operating segments implies a deeper safety culture shortfall.” Suncor’s (SU) returns should benefit if it can deliver on safety improvements, Read wrote, adding that activist pressure might be more effective in 2023 as “recent events illustrate much still needs to be done.”

The Hill: Powell: ‘Inappropriate’ for Fed to make climate policy
SYLVAN LANE, 1/10/23

“Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday that it would be “inappropriate” for the central bank to plunge itself into the fight against climate change,” The Hill reports. “In brief Tuesday remarks during a summit in Stockholm, Powell said while the Fed must make sure banks are prepared for climate-related financial risks, it must not take measures to steer money toward green energy or away from the fossil fuel sector. “Without explicit congressional legislation, it would be inappropriate for us to use our monetary policy or supervisory tools to promote a greener economy or to achieve other climate-based goals. We are not, and will not be, a ‘climate policymaker,’” Powell said Tuesday. Powell argued that going beyond the Fed’s basic mandate of stable prices and maximum employment would “undermine the case” for the bank’s independence from Congress and the White House, which allows it to raise and cut interest rates without approval from elected officials. “It is essential that we stick to our statutory goals and authorities, and that we resist the temptation to broaden our scope to address other important social issues of the day,” Powell said. Powell, a Republican who was renominated last year by President Biden, has sought to strike a careful balance on the Fed’s role in the climate change fight amid growing pressure on central banks to lead the charge… “While Democrats have broadly praised the Fed’s initial efforts, many progressive lawmakers and climate activists say they fall well short of the aggressive action necessary to stop climate change. The Fed has faced pressure from the left to penalize banks who fund fossil fuel-related projects and incentivize investment in green energy, while Republican lawmakers have blasted the Fed for even considering climate change as a factor in bank regulation.”

Reuters: Shell energy transition prompted talks to sell Norway business
Ron Bousso, 1/10/23

“Shell held talks with Harbour Energy to sell its Norwegian oil and gas fields last year but could not reach a deal due to gas price volatility and uncertainty over the long-term outlook, three company sources told Reuters. London-based Shell has said it will focus its oil and gas operations in nine basins around the world, triggering a growing internal competition among assets as it aims to gradually reduce its oil and gas output and grow renewables and low-carbon operations to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. A sale of Shell’s oil and gas portfolio in Norway, where it has been for more than 110 years, would mark a continued retreat from the North Sea by the world’s largest energy companies which are focusing investments on newer, more profitable basins.”

E&E News: A climate fund was born. It still doesn’t have any money.
Sara Schonhardt, 1/11/23

“Two months after officials from around the world reached a surprise agreement to provide aid for escalating climate damages, the new fund hasn’t received a single pledge,” E&E News reports. “The fund, created to help poor nations grapple with unstoppable climate dangers, like rising seas, was seen as a major victory at the global climate talks in Egypt late last year. The absence of any financial commitments since then is raising concerns in developing countries that the fund could fail to deliver the historic help that was promised by world leaders. That’s largely because the agreement left more questions than it answered, including where the money will come from… “A handful of countries, including Denmark, Austria and New Zealand, committed around $80 million toward supporting what’s known as loss and damage before the fund’s creation was agreed to at the COP 27 climate talks in Egypt. But much of that money is already earmarked and won’t help fill a dedicated fund that countries are hoping will steer billions of dollars to things like damage from sea-level rise or the loss of cultural heritage… “The new loss and damage fund by its very nature will need to deliver money much faster. Unlike other pots of climate cash, it will pay for damages that are already happening — and can’t be avoided… “Meanwhile, climate advocates like Bharadwaj, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, are working with vulnerable countries to make sure that the money, if it materializes, goes to where it’s most needed. Failure to fill the loss-and-damage fund could have wide-ranging implications not just for countries in need of cash, but for the nations that are asked to provide it, Bharadwaj told E&E. Climate-related disasters can cause upheaval in developing countries that sometimes exacerbates debt distress and the displacement of people. That’s something wealthy countries should take note of, Bharadwaj added. “If they don’t provide funds now, it will only increase their bills in the future,” she told E&E. “If they don’t, then these borders would become porous.”

OPINION

The Hill: Can we stop global warming?
William Fletcher is a mechanical engineer and former senior vice president at Rockwell International; Craig B. Smith, Ph.D., is an engineer and former faculty member at UCLA, 1/9/23

“It is possible to stop global warming. Will we? Renewable energy from wind and solar has the potential to replace most fossil fuel uses. What’s required is an unprecedented level of planning, financing, project management and cooperation at the state, federal and international levels. Efforts to date have several shortcomings,” William Fletcher and Craig B. Smith write for The Hill. “First, it’s premature to shut down nuclear and fossil fuel power plants, pipelines and other facilities until sufficient reliable renewable energy is available… “Second, land use planning is a growing problem… “Third, electrical transmission and distribution systems are inadequate… “Expanding and upgrading transmission and distribution systems in the U.S. will cost $2 trillion or more over a 30-year period. We need to finance these investments without large increases in the cost of electricity. Today’s rate payers shouldn’t bear the full cost of transitioning transportation, space heating and other uses to renewables. Possibilities could be a transportation tax or a fee on fossil fuel sales using the revenues to fund transmission and distribution system upgrades… “Finally, we must recognize that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) goal of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is not achievable. We need a realistic, fact-based schedule to stop global warming, including a realistic assessment of how much longer fossil fuels are needed.”

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