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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/12/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 12, 2023



  • KSHB: KDHE says waterways in northern Kansas showing improvement after Keystone oil spill

  • Summit-Tribune: Hancock County Republicans, Democrats unite against Summit carbon pipeline

  • Waverly Newspapers: Waverly City Council passes 2 resolutions in opposition to pipeline

  • KMA: Mayor’s veto on Shen council’s pipeline stance stands

  • Lyon County permits Summit pipeline

  • CTV: Trans Mountain expansion on track, despite comments from Alberta premier

  • Reuters: Mexican president ready to meet Canadian power firms over dispute

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Emerging U.S. Pipeline Bottlenecks Cast Shadow on Otherwise Positive Long-Term Outlook for Natural Gas

  • Big Bend Sentinel: Saguaro Connector Pipeline, to carry natural gas to border for export, under federal review

  • Pen City Current: Locals battle NuStar on pipeline easements


  • Anchorage Daily News: Protesters rally at White House calling administration to block Willow oil project in Alaska

  • Press release: More Than 300 Groups Urge Biden Administration to Manage Public Lands and Waters in Line with his Climate Promises and International Commitments

  • InsideEPA: Environmentalists Urge Steps To Further Strengthen EPA’s Methane Rule

  • The Hill: Key House Republican floats energy package

  • Reuters: U.S. sets up office to oversee abandoned oil well cleanup

  • Bloomberg: Biden Hands Rare Win to Permian Drillers With Pause on Smog Rule

  • E&E News: Talk Of Gas Stove Rules Angers Manchin, Republicans

  • Bloomberg: White House Permitting Office Delays Plans To Charge User Fees


  • Associated Press: Oil company sues Los Angeles over oil and gas drilling ban

  • Colorado State University: $50 million partnership with UT Austin to tackle challenge of oil and gas methane emissions accounting

  • Press release: Leading U.S. Natural Gas Companies Establish Appalachian Methane Initiative


  • Reuters: Alberta premier says province open to providing carbon capture tax credits

  • Canadian Press: Alberta’s PM will not commit to a sovereignty bill to refute the Fed’s “just transition” plan

  • Grist: Methane’s life, death, and secret second life


  • Windsor Star: Enbridge Gas donation assists LaSalle firefighter training


  • Bend Bulletin: Editorial: Should Bend oppose a natural gas pipeline expansion?

  • Energy Intelligence: Coming US CCS Wave Running Into Policy Bottlenecks

  • The Tyee: Despite Huge Profits, Big Oil Isn’t Paying Up for Environmental Damage

  • CBC: ‘Just transition’ is not the oil sector’s doom, Premier Smith. It’s the insurance policy

  • The Hill: Instead of canceling the gas engine, California should let innovators innovate

  • Bloomberg: Why Can’t Tesla Drive US Oil Demand Lower? Plastics


KSHB: KDHE says waterways in northern Kansas showing improvement after Keystone oil spill
Tod Palmer, 1/11/23

“Waterways in Washington County, Kansas, that were impacted last month when more than half a million gallons of oil leaked from a ruptured section of the Keystone Pipeline in northern Kansas are recovering,” KSHB reports. “The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Wednesday that water testing on Mill Creek showed “a decrease in the concentration of contaminants over time” and there was “a downward trend in contaminants” on the Little Blue River. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the leak impacted surface water at least 3 1/2 miles downstream, leaving a visible sheen, significantly affecting fish and wildlife and staining vegetation near the broken section of pipeline. The health department began sampling Mill Creek after an estimated 14,000 barrels of oil, or 588,000 gallons, began to leak Dec. 7 from the broken section of pipeline, contaminating nearby land and waterways… “KDHE issued a steam advisory on Dec. 9, alerting residents to avoid entering or allowing livestock and pets to enter Mill Creek in the area of the spill. That advisory remains in effect. Contractors for TC Energy who are cleaning up spilled oil — a diluted type of crude oil known as bitumen — conduct daily water and soil sampling, which is reviewed and analyzed by KDHE staff… “TC Energy is providing water and water testing for landowners in the area, the KDHE said… “The oil spill is the largest in the pipeline’s history in the U.S., eclipsing the 383,000 gallons that spilled when a section in North Dakota ruptured in October 2019. Keystone is the most leak-prone pipeline operating in the U.S. Concerns about such spills led President Biden to shutdown plans for Keystone Pipeline XL, which would have expanded the Keystone system.”

Summit-Tribune: Hancock County Republicans, Democrats unite against Summit carbon pipeline
Rob Hillesland, 1/8/23

“Hancock County Republicans and Democrats are uniting to inform area residents of their shared safety concerns with the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline that is proposed to cross their county. The public meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 14 in the Duncan Community Hall,” the Summit-Tribune reports. “The public meeting will feature speakers addressing known and some lesser-known dangers associated with carbon capture pipelines, according to Chair Bud Jermeland of the Hancock County Republicans. One of those experts will demonstrate a CO2 pipeline rupture scenario. The event is co-sponsored by the Hancock County Republican and Democrat Central Committees. “We might have a little different reasons for being against it, but we’re 100% united on this,” Jermeland told the ST, citing shared CO2 pipeline safety concerns. “(Britt Mayor) Ryan Arndorfer is the Hancock County Democrat Chair. I know Ryan and the City of Britt are concerned about public safety, and we are too, because they have a hospital and the pipeline would be just outside of town.” In fact, the Britt city council last year approved a resolution against hazardous pipelines while also submitting opposition comments to the Iowa Utilities Board. The proposed carbon pipeline could be located about four miles south of Britt, which is in its emergency services coverage area. The Britt resolution and objection letter to the IUB both raised concerns that a pipeline accident could overwhelm the city’s emergency resources… “We are together in that, in the end, it is essentially going to be funded by taxpayers and the money is going to end up in private bank accounts,” Jermeland told the ST. “Eminent domain should not be used for a private project. That and public safety is where we’re in 100% agreement.” Arndorfer confirmed that the Democratic Party in the county is, in fact, in agreement on those specific CO2 pipeline concerns. “In our opinion, the use of eminent domain doesn’t work here,” Arndorfer told the St. “From our perspective, this is a group of wealthy folks trying to push this through. It’s really about them collecting tax credit dollars to move this CO2 underground for no real purpose. It is not really doing anything… We’re looking really closely at what happened in Mississippi,” Arndorfer told the ST. “Costs are not discussed a lot, but that is part of it. If there is a break, (ample release of) CO2 could stop combustion engines from operating properly, possibly enough that equipment might not even get where it needs to go.”

Waverly Newspapers: Waverly City Council passes 2 resolutions in opposition to pipeline
Robert Lynch, 1/11/23

“The Waverly City Council passed two resolutions on Monday voicing their opposition to the proposed Navigator pipeline which would run through Bremer County,” Waverly Newspapers reports. “…The first resolution was a letter of support of the Bremer County Zoning Ordinance previously drafted by the Bremer County Board of Supervisors, and the second was a letter of objection addressed to the Iowa Utilities Board, objecting to Navigator’s request for approval which would allow construction of the pipeline as proposed… “According to documents provided to the council, the main factors leading council to write in support of the Zoning Ordinance are the questions of potential risks to public health in the event of a pipeline rupture; impingement upon privately owned lands; risk to the environment and detriment to future land use and economic development. The council supports the efforts of the proposed ordinance to ensure that a pipeline would not interfere with any existing land uses in the county, and would minimize the risk to the health and safety of citizens, environments, agricultural productivity and economic development in the county. The letter of objection to the Iowa Utilities Board, which is the governing body which will either approve or reject Navigator’s application for construction of a pipeline, is to demonstrate the council’s objection to the construction of the pipeline. The council cites the potential rupture of a pipeline allowing dissemination of CO2 into the local atmosphere; proximity to Waverly’s two new elementary schools and housing developments; the spacing of emergency shut off valves which would be 20 miles apart; the potential to affect economic decisions regarding property near the pipeline; the coexistence of underground tiling on county farmland and the lack of exhaustive studies on the efficacy of such pipelines as reasons to oppose the pipeline’s construction.”

KMA: Mayor’s veto on Shen council’s pipeline stance stands
Mike Peterson, 1/10/23

“Shenandoah City Hall was the site of another showdown on a controversial carbon pipeline project in KMAland,” KMA reports. “At its regular meeting Tuesday evening, the Shenandoah City Council took no action to rescind Mayor Roger McQueen’s veto of a resolution objecting to Summit Carbon Solution’s proposed Midwest Express carbon pipeline project. Approved by a 4-to-1 vote at its December 20th meeting, the resolution also opposed the use of eminent domain in acquiring property for the pipeline, which would extend through a good portion of the Midwest–including Western Iowa… “Opponents, however, challenged Summit’s safety claims. Marty Maher, who owns property near Imogene, says the proposed pipeline carries the risk of a mass casualty incident if it ruptures. “You’ve got a new assisted living facility going up out here on the west side of Highway 59,” said Maher. “You know, if you had a school, you have to have mandatory evacuation plans (with drills) at least a couple times a year. That happens in other cities in the state of Iowa where they have a pipeline next to a school. You have to have mandatory evacuation programs. You’re going to have to do that with the assisted living facility. “You have to protect the citizens of Shenandoah. That’s who you were elected to protect–not Summit Carbon Solutions,” he added… “Action to override McQueen’s veto was placed on the council’s agenda–but no motion was made.” Lyon County permits Summit pipeline
Elijah Helton, 1/10/23

“Lyon County approved local permits for a carbon dioxide pipeline Dec. 27 despite the board of supervisors’ skepticism about the project,” reports. “…Along that route, it will need to cross 11 rights of way, which supervisors approved at the recommendation of county engineer Daryl Albertson. “I’ve looked through the permit and everything looks fine. I’ve been in discussions with them,” Albertson said. “I just wanted to make sure that you guys knew that I was approving this.” Bill Sullivan is a project manager for Summit, which is based in Ames… “We’re putting in concurrent applications with the Iowa Department of Transportation as well,” Sullivan said… “In previous meetings, Lyon County supervisors have taken issue with the privately owned CO2 venture being categorized as a “utility,” arguing the IUB should not treat it like water or electricity for purposes such as eminent domain. “This is not a public utility. I can’t believe it is,” supervisor Steve Herman said in May… “Eminent domain, or the threat of it, has been the top sticking point for many N’West Iowans opposed to CO2 pipelines. Signs opposing it populate acreages across the region. State lawmakers of both parties have identified the issue as priority to settle in the upcoming session of the Iowa Legislature… “Through voluntary easements with landowners, Summit has secured a little more than half the mileage it needs in Lyon County and Iowa, Sullivan said. He added that he expects that ratio to increase throughout the winter. “We’ll continue to do voluntary easement negotiations all the way through the end of this coming year as well,” Sullivan said. “We’ll be picking up the remainder of the line pretty rapidly, I believe.”

CTV: Trans Mountain expansion on track, despite comments from Alberta premier
Michael Franklin, 1/11/23

“The possibility of the Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) project not being fully funded or operational by the end of the year is wrong, the company says, despite what Alberta Premier Danielle Smith suggested Tuesday,” CTV reports. “During an open media conference from Calgary, Smith was asked about pipelines in Alberta and, if the federal government wanted to close the oil and gas industry like she claims, why would it also spend billions on projects like TMX. Smith responded with doubt about the progress on the pipeline that’s already more than 75 per cent complete. “I’ve very hopeful that that gets completed,” she told reporters, adding Ottawa was not in Alberta’s corner on other pipelines. “I would put that in perspective that they didn’t stand up for us when the Keystone XL pipeline got cancelled, they did cancel the Northern Gateway project even though it had been approved. They put barriers in the way so that Energy East pulled the plug on their pipeline project.” While the cancellation of two out of the four examples mentioned by Smith were out of Canada’s control – Northern Gateway was stopped by the Federal Court of Appeal while Keystone XL was killed by U.S. President Joe Biden – the idea that TMX won’t be complete by the end of the year is also inaccurate, the company says. “The Trans Mountain Expansion Project is more than 75 per cent complete with over 700 kilometres of pipe in the ground,” Trans Mountain wrote in a statement to CTV News Wednesday. Smith also said she knew there were cost overruns with TMX and heard Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland mention that the federal government would not put any more money into the project. “I’m watching with interest to see how they bridge that gap to reach the finish line on that,” she said… “Trans Mountain confirmed a portion of her statement, agreeing there were “remaining costs” past the government’s commitment and admitted Freeland said last February that the company was on the hook for those.”

Reuters: Mexican president ready to meet Canadian power firms over dispute
Cassandra Garrison and Raul Cortes, 1/11/23

“Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday he was working with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resolve problems facing Canadian electricity companies in Mexico after the two met in Mexico City,” Reuters reports. “Lopez Obrador said he had told Trudeau he was willing to invite companies for talks over how to resolve disagreements. The president said he and Trudeau also discussed Canadian company investments in his country, citing by name TransCanada, which is now known as TC Energy. The firm, which operates pipelines, storage facilities and power plants across North America, is building a $4.5 billion natural gas pipeline which would connect several major ports along Mexico’s Gulf Coast. Several pipeline projects operated by foreign or private firms are facing legal challenges seeking to halt them, as well as regulatory delays over permits, but Lopez Obrador didn’t gives specifics about TC Energy being in any dispute at the moment… “Over the last two years, Lopez Obrador overhauled the electricity market in the name of national sovereignty, giving state-owned power utility CFE priority over private companies in connecting power stations to the grid. It boiled over into a formal dispute in July 2022 when Washington and Ottawa filed a complaint under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Emerging U.S. Pipeline Bottlenecks Cast Shadow on Otherwise Positive Long-Term Outlook for Natural Gas

“As the United States works toward casting a wider net on the global natural gas market via exports, key domestic markets could be turned upside down in 2023 as midstream bottlenecks leave gas stranded in producing basins,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “LNG developers on the Gulf Coast are in a race to boost liquefied natural gas exports to capitalize on rising demand in Europe and Asia… “At the heart of the increased supply is rising output in the prolific Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and the Haynesville Shale in East Texas and southwestern Louisiana. The problem is, pipelines in the Permian and Haynesville are nearly tapped out and could fill completely this summer. That means any additional production hitting the market this year is likely to struggle to make its way downstream. It’s a sore spot for the midstream sector, one that isn’t likely to be remedied anytime soon… “We need everything online as planned,” East Daley’s Ajay Bakshani, senior capital markets analyst, told NGI. Even then, those pipelines are likely to fill quickly, he said. No significant alleviation in constraints is expected until 2024, when WhiteWater’s Matterhorn Express greenfield project is due online, according to the analyst. “It’s not a great outlook for Permian gas overall,” Bakshani told NGI. “We’re cutting rigs back a decent amount, but we’re still seeing growth. Matterhorn provides some breathing room, but we expect constraints to materialize again in late 2025 or early 2026…I wouldn’t be surprised to see additional development,” Bakshani told NGI. “Those conversations will be happening now.”

Big Bend Sentinel: Saguaro Connector Pipeline, to carry natural gas to border for export, under federal review

“A pipeline that could transport 2.834 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas per day, beginning in the Permian Basin and crossing the border of Mexico at Hudspeth County, is currently under review,” the Big Bend Sentinel reports. “Saguaro Connector Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of ONEOK, Inc., in December submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a permit to construct facilities to transport natural gas across the border from Hudspeth County into Mexico, where it would then be transferred to a planned natural gas export facility on the West Coast of Mexico. Though the pipeline under federal review would connect to a much larger natural gas pipeline planned to snake through West Texas, the application process only applies to the relatively small portion that meets the border.  The two-part application seeks a FERC authorization and a “presidential permit” to construct and maintain the border facilities, which would cover roughly 1,000 feet of 48-inch-diameter pipeline beneath the Rio Grande… “Locals are already raising ecological concerns and concerns regarding archaeological sites near the pipeline’s path. Local archeologist David Keller noted the pipeline would pass near some undisturbed archaeological sites in Hudspeth County. “Archeological sites are ubiquitous, all over the place,” he told the Sentinel. “There’s no way you can do that much ground disturbance without disrupting some sites. “These projects do a lot of damage, ecologically and to cultural sites.” Independent researcher Coyne Gibson, who monitors seismic activity in his home county of Reeves, expressed concern about the pipeline’s path through an area that has recently seen an alarming jump in seismic activity. Beyond that, he expressed concern about its path through sparsely populated territory, with few first responders, which he saw as a public safety matter.”

Pen City Current: Locals battle NuStar on pipeline easements

“Representatives of two generational farms parried with pipeline officials for close to two days to stop eminent domain proceedings to take their property,” the Pen City Current reports. “…Coette Gida, representing herself and her mother Margaret Strunk, along with John Menke Hayes, representing his eight siblings in property owned since Lincoln was president, made their  case to the IUB to oppose NuStar Energy L.P.  taking of their property to build an anhydrous ammonia pipeline around Lee County to the Iowa Fertilizer Co… “IUB board member Joshua Byrnes, who served as IUB’s administrator of the hearings, referred to written statements where Hayes said his family was strong armed by NuStar’s contracted land agents, JCG Land Services out of Nevada, Iowa. “Have you been strong armed by NuStar,” Byrnes asked Hayes. Hayes said statements were made by the land agents to his brother Steve, who manages the property for the nine siblings. “The comment from JCG,  ‘We’re not going anywhere.’  was stated to my brother Steven.” “…Gida said she was also told that the state has the right to take her property if an easement agreement isn’t reached and no compensation would take place at that point… “She said she has been trying to get one answer from the pipeline officials and the IUB and she hasn’t gotten that answer, which is how will the pipeline impact her plan on becoming an organic livestock producer.”


Anchorage Daily News: Protesters rally at White House calling administration to block Willow oil project in Alaska
Riley Rogerson, 1/10/23

“Protesters, some traveling from as far as the North Slope village of Nuiqsut, rallied in front of the White House Tuesday, calling on the Biden administration to block a major Alaska oil project,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. “The $8 billion ConocoPhillips development prospect, dubbed the Willow project, would be located on federal land in the National Petroleum Preserve-Alaska, and is expected to produce more than 180,000 barrels of oil per day. The Biden administration has committed to releasing a final environmental report for the project before February and a final decision before March. The project has support from Alaska’s congressional delegation and some Indigenous groups like the Alaska Federation of Natives who see Willow as a boon for jobs and the economy. However, it has drawn increasing opposition from conservation groups who say the project threatens wildlife and will worsen climate change. About 40 of the project’s opponents, many representing national environmental groups, gathered at the White House Tuesday, chanting, “hey hey, ho ho, the Willow project has got to go.” Among the protesters was Mayor Rosemary Ahtuangaruak of Nuiqsut, the village closest to the proposed project. Ahtuangaruak told reporters that she has health concerns about the project and that it would imperil local caribou and fish populations necessary for subsistence. During her trip to Washington, D.C., Ahtuangaruak met with Alaska Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, who is pushing for the project’s approval. Ahtuangaruak said she also has plans to meet with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Wednesday.”

Press release: More Than 300 Groups Urge Biden Administration to Manage Public Lands and Waters in Line with his Climate Promises and International Commitments

“Today, more than 300 community groups sent a letter to the Interior Department outlining nine concrete steps it has authority to take to bring public lands and waters management in line with climate science and the president’s own climate promises. The letter comes on the heels of a recent lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, the first held by the Interior Department since passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which reinstated several oil and gas lease sales. The administration is currently weighing whether to approve more oil and gas projects, such as Willow and Peregrine in the Arctic. Additional lease sales both onshore and offshore are slated for later this year, including two in the Gulf of Mexico in September. Although President Biden initially pledged to ban oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters, he issued drilling permits at a rate faster than Trump during his first year in office. He then went on to hold new oil and gas lease sales on public lands and waters, including Lease Sale 257 in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest in U.S. history, which was later vacated after a lawsuit filed by environmental groups. Groups call on Interior to take the following actions: Phase out oil and gas production on public lands and waters to near zero by 2035; Defend and strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); Establish guardrails on the leasing program to protect the climate, public lands, oceans and communities; Issue a five-year plan with no new leases; Stop authorizing new exploration, development and drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska until there is a proper analysis of climate damage; Stop issuing new permits to drill on public lands until there is a proper analysis of climate damage and a climate screen; Manage public lands for climate solutions; Halt climate-destroying projects in the Arctic (ex: Willow, Peregrine); Protect climate and communities from near-term offshore lease sales (ex: Cook Inlet, Gulf of Mexico).”

InsideEPA: Environmentalists Urge Steps To Further Strengthen EPA’s Methane Rule

“Environmentalists are urging EPA to further strengthen its proposed oil and gas methane standards with provisions to further limit gas flaring, clamp down on emissions from storage tanks, and create a ‘clear pathway’ for groups to participate in the agency’s proposed third-party monitoring of ‘super-emitters,’” InsideEPA reports. “The advocates are also rebutting calls by industry and some other groups to extend the Feb. 13 comment deadline on the plan, arguing EPA must issue a final rule by this August. ‘We need to strengthen provisions to limit flaring . . . address the emissions from storage tanks and . . . provide clear pathway for the public to engage quickly and have access to data in a transparent way’ under the super-emitter program, said Sierra Club energy campaigns senior director Kelly Sheehan during the Jan. 10 opening of EPA’s three-day public hearing on its supplemental proposal targeting both new and existing sources of methane in the sector.”

The Hill: Key House Republican floats energy package
ZACK BUDRYK, 1/11/23

“House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) on Wednesday signaled the committee will move on a larger energy legislative package under her leadership,” The Hill reports. “There’s a lot in these packages, but I’d say it’s focused on securing American resources, it is [focused] on permitting reform, it is [focused] on modernizing energy infrastructure, [liquefied natural gas] exports … we need to be promoting carbon capture and sequestration, promoting renewables, promoting nuclear power, American needs to lead on next-generation nuclear energy,” Rodgers said Wednesday, speaking at the American Petroleum Institute’s State of American Energy event in Washington, D.C… “Permitting reform for new energy infrastructure has long been a priority for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who backed the Inflation Reduction Act last year in exchange for a vote on such a measure. An amendment including the Manchin proposal was blocked in the Senate last year, but the West Virginia Democrat has vowed to continue pushing for it. The Hill has reached out to Rodgers for clarification on whether the committee is in touch with Manchin, as well as for further details on whether the package in question will involve a single large bill or a series of independent bills.”

Reuters: U.S. sets up office to oversee abandoned oil well cleanup

“U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Tuesday issued an order to establish an office to ensure efficient use of the Biden administration’s $4.7 billion investment in the cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells,” Reuters reports. “The Orphaned Wells Program Office will be led by Kimbra Davis, who has worked at the Interior Department since 2009. Orphaned oil and gas wells are those that generally have been abandoned and are no longer producing. “The Department is standing up a new office to support states, tribes and federal land managers as they close and remediate orphaned oil and gas wells that pose environmental hazards to communities across the country,” Haaland said in a statement. Well-plugging efforts are part of President Joe Biden’s goal to reduce climate-warming methane emissions, create jobs and address pollution in communities impacted by infrastructure left behind after more than a century of oil and gas drilling… “A bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in 2021 allocated $4.7 billion to well cleanup efforts, with $4.3 billion to plug orphaned wells on state and private lands, $250 million to cap them on public lands and in national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges and $150 million to do so on tribal lands. The Interior Department said it had allocated $33 million to clean up 277 orphaned wells this year and $560 million was distributed as part of the initiative to set up well-plugging infrastructure.”

Bloomberg: Biden Hands Rare Win to Permian Drillers With Pause on Smog Rule
Jennifer A Dlouhy, 1/6/23

“The Biden administration is deferring a plan to crack down on smog in the drilling hotbed of the Permian Basin, handing a win to oil producers along with their allies in Texas and New Mexico,” Bloomberg reports. “The Environmental Protection Agency had been considering formally labeling parts of the region as violating federal air quality standards for ozone — a designation that would have spurred new pollution curbs and potentially deterred drilling in the world’s biggest oil field. But the administration omitted the policy from an agenda of planned regulations released late Wednesday and instead deemed the measure “inactive,” indicating it’s not expected to be finalized in the next six to 12 months. The move comes after President Joe Biden exhorted oil companies to produce more crude in a bid to keep gasoline prices in check and a spate of industry lobbying against the plan. New Mexico officials also were concerned the designation effort would dovetail with a state legislative session that runs through late March. In an emailed statement, the EPA confirmed the potential Permian Basin designation is no longer considered an active issue but signaled it could be revived later.  “If EPA decides to advance this action, EPA would initiate the redesignations process by sending a notification letter to the appropriate state governors soliciting their input and recommendations,” the agency said in the emailed statement. “As part of a potential redesignations effort, EPA would also provide an opportunity for public comment on the action.” The deferral is a blow to conservationists who have called for urgent action to stem surging ground-level ozone in the oil-drilling hotbeds that straddle the Texas-New Mexico border… “The agency seems to be backing down from this critical initiative to safeguard clean air and public health in the Permian Basin,” Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians, told Bloomberg. “While the Biden administration talks a good talk on public health and environmental justice, the reality is they’re bending over backward to let the oil and gas industry trash air quality and communities.”

E&E News: Talk Of Gas Stove Rules Angers Manchin, Republicans
Nico Portuondo, Ariel Wittenburg, 1/11/23

“A threat to ban gas stoves by a Consumer Product Safety Commission member has ignited a Capitol Hill blowup: Republicans and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin are roasting the Biden administration for what they say is government overreach,” E&E News reports. “Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. sparked lawmakers’ anger by saying he’s considering new regulations on gas stoves. That inspired Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, to question the purpose of the independent regulatory agency. ‘The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner,’ Manchin said in a statement. ‘If this is the greatest concern that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has for American consumers, I think we need to reevaluate the commission.’”

Bloomberg: White House Permitting Office Delays Plans To Charge User Fees

“Renewable energy companies, states trying to build roads and bridges, and other project developers can continue to get special permitting attention from the federal government for free, despite what the Biden administration’s new regulatory agenda says,” Bloomberg reports. “That document claims the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council is considering proposing by April a fee structure for project sponsors to pay back the government for ‘reasonable costs’ of the office’s services, which are currently free. The services provided by the council include bringing agencies together early in the permitting process to coordinate their work, hunting down potential trouble spots before they derail the work, creating and publicizing timetables for each agency, and monitoring agency performance in meeting their deadlines. The council will play a pivotal role implementing the Biden administration’s climate agenda, following the passage of sweeping legislation that aims to dramatically scale up infrastructure needed for the clean energy transition. But FPISC doesn’t immediately plan to set up a fee structure, mainly because the office is on firmer financial footing than it may have ever been in the past, Christine Harada, the steering council’s executive director, told Bloomberg Law. The office’s funding shot up from $10 million to $350 million in last fall’s climate bill.”


Associated Press: Oil company sues Los Angeles over oil and gas drilling ban

“An oil company sued the city of Los Angeles Tuesday over its recent law to ban the drilling of new oil and gas wells and to phase out existing ones within city limits over the next two decades,” the Associated Press reports. “Warren Resources filed the lawsuit seeking to block the city’s ordinance from taking effect. The company said the law will effectively shut down its operations because it’s dedicated to oil and gas extraction solely in the Los Angeles area, where it operates 244 wells and produces about 1,800 barrels of oil per day, according to court papers… “The lawsuit also accused the city of failing to conduct a proper environmental review of the measure… “The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously for the measure last year following more than a decade of complaints from residents that pollution drifting from wells was affecting their health… “Statewide, lawmakers voted in 2022 to ban new oil wells within 3,200 feet (975 meters) of schools, homes and other community sites. The California Independent Petroleum Association is trying to get a referendum on the ballot to block the law. The state should announce by the end of February whether it qualified for the ballot, which would put the law on hold until voters weigh in.”

Colorado State University: $50 million partnership with UT Austin to tackle challenge of oil and gas methane emissions accounting
Anne Manning, 1/10/23

“Colorado State University methane experts are partners in a $50 million research and education initiative aimed at improving how tracking and estimates of greenhouse gas emissions occur across the oil and natural gas industry… “The $50 million initiative, sponsored primarily by oil and gas companies, will address the growing need for accurate, timely and transparent accounting of greenhouse gas emissions across global oil and natural gas supply chains. Data and analysis from this new endeavor will help both public and private institutions develop climate strategies and actions informed by accurate data, identifying both opportunities for emissions reductions and verification… “The Energy Emissions Modeling and Data Lab will work to establish comprehensive, reliable, transparent, measurement-based greenhouse gas emissions assessments of oil and gas supply chains. The research – consisting of software tools and emissions datasets – will be open source and updated regularly. The lab will also offer education and training programs to help oil and gas operators, government agencies and other stakeholders utilize the tools and data… “Several major energy companies that  are also focusing on the accuracy of emissions data are partnering with the new lab, including Cheniere, EQT and Williams. Each company will contribute $5 million over five years to the initiative, with more stakeholders from the oil and gas industry, financial sector and non-governmental organizations expected to join in the near future.”

Press release: Leading U.S. Natural Gas Companies Establish Appalachian Methane Initiative

“A group of leading U.S. natural gas operators today launched the Appalachian Methane Initiative (AMI), a coalition committed to further enhancing methane monitoring throughout the Appalachia Basin and facilitating additional methane emissions reductions in the region. Enhancing methane emissions monitoring in the natural gas sector will assist in positioning companies for continued GHG reductions and will further underscore the sustainability proposition of Appalachian natural gas in the global energy system. The formation of AMI, whose founding members include Chesapeake Energy Corporation, EQT Corporation, and Equitrans Midstream Corporation, brings together two of the top five natural gas producers in the United States and one of the country’s leading midstream service providers. AMI’s efforts are intended to promote greater efficiency in the identification and remedy of potential fugitive methane emissions from operations in the Appalachian Basin through coordinated satellite and aerial surveys on a geographic-basis, as opposed to an operator-specific basis, and taking into account advanced methane monitoring and reporting frameworks. The coalition will seek to coordinate and share best practices in mitigating methane emissions from natural gas operations, including production and midstream, and collaborate on activities and monitor results through transparent, publicly available reporting… “AMI is focused on developing and implementing a pilot monitoring program in 2023 to cover select areas of interest within the major operating footprints of the Appalachian Basin, with the goal of working to develop and implement a full-Basin monitoring plan in 2024.”


Reuters: Alberta premier says province open to providing carbon capture tax credits
Nia Williams, 1/10/23

“Canada’s main oil-producing province Alberta is open to bolstering tax credits for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology but also wants the federal government to increase financial support, Premier Danielle Smith said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “Carbon capture and storage is seen as a key plank in global efforts to fight climate change by cutting emissions, and last April Ottawa unveiled tax credits designed to spur investment in the costly technology. However, Canada’s oil industry says it needs more government help to scale up the nascent industry, especially after the United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, which included massive tax credits to CCS there. Ottawa, in turn, has said Alberta should contribute more. Last week Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the province to use its budget surplus to boost the tax credits. Smith, who is a fierce critic of Trudeau and became premier last October with promises that her government would stand up to Ottawa, told a news conference Alberta was open to “collaboratively” investing in CCS with the federal government. “We are working towards the same goal…then we can figure out what portion comes from federal tax relief and what portion comes from provincial tax relief,” Smith said. “It really is up to the federal government to come to the table with something more significant,” she added. Smith said the IRA in the United States had “changed the calculus” for a lot of companies, and Alberta needed to ensure it could compete to attract investment.”

Canadian Press: Alberta’s PM will not commit to a sovereignty bill to refute the Fed’s “just transition” plan
Julian Wood, 1/11/23

“Prime Minister Danielle Smith will not commit to using Alberta’s controversial sovereignty law to refute looming federal “just transition” legislation, which she says poses an existential threat to her province’s fundamental oil and gas industry,” the Canadian Press reports. “Smith says there are still unanswered questions and other options for addressing the federal proposal, and Alberta will not allow its oil and gas industry to be phased out. “I have to see what[Prime Minister Justin Trudeau]has planned,” Smith told reporters in Calgary on Tuesday. “We have made no decision to invoke anything under the sovereignty law.” Smith said Alberta is on board to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is pursuing green projects like carbon use and storage. But, she added, this must be done in such a way that her province can continue to meet the demands of the world’s energy needs… “The federal government says the plan isn’t about shutting down oil and gas, but rather providing a training and incentive plan for workers to make a seamless transition as the world moves to a less-carbon-intensive economy… “Trudeau last week took the rhetoric to the extreme, urging Alberta to spend some of its budget surplus to incentivize tax credits for carbon capture and storage, while calling the province a laggard in the fight against climate change.”

Grist: Methane’s life, death, and secret second life
Jesse Nichols, 1/10/23

“Imagine you’re flying through our atmosphere in a spaceship the size of an atom. As you cruise through this tiny world, you pass more than 400,000 nitrogen molecules, 100,000 oxygen molecules, 219 carbon dioxide molecules, before you find what you’re looking for: a single molecule of methane,” Grist reports. “Methane is one of the most powerful yet misunderstood greenhouse gasses on Earth… “To understand the story behind this potent greenhouse gas, we’re going to follow 100 methane molecules throughout their entire existence, from “birth” to “death.” Our goal for this story was to give a simple, clear, and engaging overview of where methane comes from and how it impacts our planet… “Fossil fuels come from ancient carbon stored in the ground. When fossil fuel methane eventually breaks down, it’s adding new CO2 to our atmosphere, causing our planet to heat up even faster! Because of this, methane from fossil fuels can warm the planet as much as 38 percent more than methane from other sources!. After methane has broken into CO2, the molecules are slowly absorbed into oceans, fields, and forests over centuries. Until at last, roughly a thousand years since the start of our journey, our hundredth molecule is consumed by a flower, bringing our story of the life and death — and second life — of methane to an end.”


Windsor Star: Enbridge Gas donation assists LaSalle firefighter training
Julie Kotsis, 1/11/23

“LaSalle firefighters are getting a little extra help with training thanks to a $5,000 donation by Enbridge Gas,” the Windsor Star reports. “The LaSalle Fire Service used the grant money to purchase new educational materials to assist in training firefighters in life-saving techniques. Officials announced the contribution — part of a $250,000 donation shared by 50 Ontario fire departments — Wednesday afternoon at the town’s fire station. “At Enbridge Gas, safety is our priority,” said Brian Chauvin, Windsor operations manager. “We’re proud to support Ontario firefighters who share our commitment to keeping our communities safe, healthy and vibrant.” The support comes through the Safe Community Project Assist, a program with the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council that supplements existing training for Ontario volunteer and composite fire departments in the communities where Enbridge Gas operates.”


Bend Bulletin: Editorial: Should Bend oppose a natural gas pipeline expansion?

“Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Oregon Attorney Ellen Rosenblum have all weighed in against expansion of a major natural gas pipeline that runs by Bend,” the Bend Bulletin Editorial Board writes. “And on Wednesday the Bend Climate Committee will consider recommending that the Bend City Council do the same. The issue is what is called the GTN Xpress Project. It’s a pipeline that now stretches more than 1,000 miles from British Columbia to Malin, Oregon. It runs along the eastern side of Bend… “TC Energy, the company behind the expansion, says it is necessary to meet future demand for natural gas. It is the same company that backed the Keystone XL pipeline, which you may remember reading about… “The arguments for opposing the expansion by Wyden, Merkley and Rosenblum are similar. Oregon has goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Building additional capacity for natural gas should not be part of Oregon’s future. This project is projected to increase emissions… “Wyden, Merkley and Rosenblum have also argued that the methodology the government used for its calculation of climate impacts minimized them. Wyden and Merkley say ratepayers are going to be stuck subsidizing a project that is wrong for the environment and does not represent the direction Oregon is moving in. And all three have questioned that the TC agreements in place fully account for all the additional capacity.”

Energy Intelligence: Coming US CCS Wave Running Into Policy Bottlenecks
Luke Johnson, 1/11/23

“Carbon capture and storage (CCS) developers see the US as one of the world’s most attractive countries for their projects thanks to its excellent geology and ample supply of emissions volumes. But from a policy and regulatory standpoint, the US might not yet be ready to handle the many billions of dollars primed for CCS investment today,” Luke Johnson writes for Energy Intelligence. “For all the warranted praise for incentive programs enhanced by last year’s Inflation Reduction Act and predictions that the law will spark a wave of new CCS projects in the US, fundamental questions over well permitting, leasing and assigning future liabilities could complicate project planning or delay final investment decisions (FID)… “But with no regulatory framework in place for permanent CO2 storage in federal waters and a mounting permit backlog for onshore injection wells, can US policymakers keep pace with the spiking demand for projects? The next 12 months could be pivotal in answering at least some of these questions. Most pressing, for some, is the creation of a federal framework to govern offshore CO2-storage sites… “This is a key unknown for aspiring developers of CCS projects in the federal Gulf of Mexico, a prolific oil and gas basin that is also potentially a massive resource for permanently storing CO2… “A BOEM official said last May that he’d be shocked if CCS rules were published by the somewhat arbitrary November deadline. The issue requires careful study and evaluation of things like how CO2 “plumes” behave and move once they are injected underground, with only limited real-world examples to reference for projects of the proposed scale… “Onshore CCS projects in the US face a different kind of uncertainty… “The EPA has issued only two active Class VI permits to date, according to its website, and they each took more than five years to approve. Current EPA guidance is that a Class VI permit will take about two years to approve once an application is deemed submitted. But the backlog of permit applications is building. Industry insiders estimate that there are potentially hundreds of applications for Class VI wells in various stages of submission… “The great hope now is for the EPA to grant “primacy” to states that apply for it, which would allow state regulators to permit CO2-storage wells and bypass the federal backlog.”

The Tyee: Despite Huge Profits, Big Oil Isn’t Paying Up for Environmental Damage
Robert L. Ascah is a research fellow at the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta, 1/11/23

“At the end of the third quarter reporting season in October, the Big Four oilsands producers continued to report record profit levels,” Robert L. Ascah writes for The Tyee. “…However, apart from Suncor’s purchase, these companies are not reinvesting in their core businesses. This cash bonanza has implications for Canadian consumers, government taxation, royalty policies and environmental policy… “Oilsands shareholders, who are mostly foreigners, are enjoying huge profits while consumers are bearing the brunt of rising energy prices… “During the first nine months of 2022, $6.7 billion was paid out in dividends, with nearly two-thirds by CNRL. During the same period, $15.6 billion shares were repurchased. These share buybacks reward shareholders because reducing the shares outstanding means higher earnings per share for shareholders.These buybacks also signal to the market that the company’s board and management feel these purchases are the best way to manage capital and cash flow. Significantly it also means that the company is not investing to either increase or sustain operating cash flow… “While the oilsands industry divests, it hopes to have federal taxpayers — and possibly those in Alberta — pay the cost of subsidizing carbon capture and underground storage. This capital investment, now promised by the Pathways Alliance to invest $24 billion, remains the industry’s sole hope of continuing to operate past 2030… “There is a clear gap between the costs of environmental damage done by these companies and the amount they are required to mitigate… “Alberta, like a one-company town, faces a clear and present danger. Is there a Plan B to tilt Alberta away from its bitumen addiction? How will Smith reduce reliance on oilsands royalties? These are pressing questions that must be answered by the Alberta government.”

CBC: ‘Just transition’ is not the oil sector’s doom, Premier Smith. It’s the insurance policy
Andrew Leach, 1/12/23

“Alberta’s government has made the forthcoming “just transition” program the latest front in their war on Ottawa,” Andrew Leach writes for the CBC. “ If you believe Premier Danielle Smith, this is a tool to shut down the oil and gas sector. That’s not what this is about. Worse, to attack it this way is to miss the serious discussion that federal and provincial leaders should be having… “Were Mazzocchi here today, he would likely agree that as Canada is preparing to spend billions on carbon capture and storage, we should also spend to ensure the livelihoods of oil workers. And that’s exactly what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to do… “Think of it as insurance, or a hedge on bets that the oil industry and governments are making that demand for Canadian oil will continue and carbon capture technology will decarbonize its production. As a lobbyist, Danielle Smith stated the oil industry needs a transformation, not a transition. If this technological transformation bet pays off, Albertan oil workers won’t need the insurance on offer from Ottawa. But if carbon capture fails to secure the future of the oilsands, many Albertans would benefit from a Mazzocchi-style Superfund for workers. And make no mistake: the future of Alberta’s oil industry is far from secure. It’s not because of the federal government or lack of pipelines. The biggest challenge comes from eroding global oil demand.”

The Hill: Instead of canceling the gas engine, California should let innovators innovate
Paul Dabbar is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA, 1/11/23

“Several governments in the U.S. have made the decision that purchases of internal combustion cars will be significantly reduced or banned,” Paul Dabbar writes for The Hill. “…These governments have completely missed that there are more technology options for no-emissions cars, including the prospect that current internal combustion cars can be reduced or zero emission through net-no emission gasoline.  As a consequence, these governments should rescind their internal combustion car bans, and focus on technology-neutral options. Turning your current internal combustion engine car into a zero-emission car is based on a new type of gasoline refining.  One of the standard paths is to start with non-emitting power, such as nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric, or possibly in the future, fusion… “When that negative carbon gasoline is used in your standard internal combustion car, the carbon emitted is equal to the carbon pulled from the atmosphere to make the fuel. So net, it is a zero change in the atmosphere… “Several companies, including Porsche and LanzaTech, are commercializing this sort of fuel production. And it is particularly interesting that Porsche and Toyota have recently said that the death of the internal combustion car is not inevitable, in part because of innovations like this… “Rather than arbitrarily mandating a car or energy technology, it would be better to allow for the competition of innovation.  Retracting current internal combustion bans and replacing them with technology-neutral, innovation-open strategies would be a better policy. Including the prospect that you can keep purchasing internal combustion cars.” 

Bloomberg: Why Can’t Tesla Drive US Oil Demand Lower? Plastics
Javier Blas, 1/10/23

“It’s the battle that will define the US oil market this decade. On one side, the combination of rising sales of electric vehicles, more efficient conventional cars, and the impact of working-from-home is pushing down gasoline demand; on the other, the ever-growing popularity of plastics combined with a growing population is boosting consumption of petrochemicals,” Javier Blas writes for Bloomberg. “In short, one can call it “Tesla against the plastic industry.” If Tesla and its electric-vehicle rivals win the battle, oil demand will peak soon, helping to meet global climate change goals by reducing consumption of fossil fuels. For now, however, plastics have the upper hand, keeping overall oil demand growing… “Strikingly, American oil demand will rise to near-record levels in 2024 despite a significant drop in gasoline use, which in the past was the engine of US oil consumption. It’s an indication that electric-vehicle sales would need to grow significantly before they force overall oil demand down… “All suggest that the heyday of American gasoline demand is in the rear-view mirror. But the fall would be more than offset by rising consumption of the feedstock used in the petrochemical industry to produce plastics, which will hit a record high of about 4 million barrels per day by 2024, up more than 700,000 barrels from 2018… “If a peak in oil demand is near, it’s not showing up in any contemporaneous data or reliable short-term forecast. Only long-term models — rather than forecasts — point to a peak within the next few years. Everything else shows steady-as-it-goes consumption. The 2024 EIA forecast is a case in point: Not only is global oil demand heading toward another record, but the rate of growth isn’t moderating.”

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