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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/13/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 13, 2023

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Reuters: Keystone pipeline may be ‘unsaleable’ after spill; analyst pushes other asset sales

  • KATV: Fact Check Team: The impact of canceling the Keystone XL pipeline project

  • Waverly Newspapers: Waverly joins other agencies in opposing carbon pipeline

  • Charles City Press: Floyd County hires law firm to help with CO2 pipeline zoning

  • West Central Tribune: Environmental groups invite west central Minnesotans to Carbon Pipelines 101 meeting Jan. 23

  • Louisville Courier Journal: LG&E still fighting to put pipeline through Bernheim forest. Here’s where things stand

  • AgWeek: Proposed natural gas pipeline into Grand Forks wouldn’t meet needs beyond those of Fufeng

  • KIWA: Sioux Center To Build Pipeline For Natural Gas Produced From Cattle Manure

  • KFGO: Company fined $10,000 for failing to get permit for pipeline

  • Variety: ‘On Sacred Ground’ Review: Doc Duo Deliver Uneven Drama About the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Rodgers Bets On Bipartisanship For Permitting Bill

  • E&E News: Oil And Gas Group Leader Urges Permitting Reform This Year

  • InsideEPA: EPA’s Counsel Adds To EJ Legal Tools To Address Cumulative Impacts

  • E&E News: EPA Eyes Cumulative Pollution To Boost Environmental Justice

  • National Law Review: White House Publishes Guidance on GHGs in Permitting

  • Oil and Gas Watch: Stalemate at FERC could stall Biden clean energy plan, landowner rights reform

  • Beyond Extreme Energy: Manchin Must Go! January 19th, 9AM at the FERC office

STATE UPDATES

  • Dallas Morning News: Texas oil patch gears up for more growth and spending with the Permian leading the way

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: Feds say oil and gas land sale in New Mexico will not ‘noticeably’ impact pollution

  • Westword: New Study Explores Costs Versus Benefits of Oil and Gas Industry in Colorado

  • Capital and Main: Colorado Seeks Payments for Oil & Gas Cleanup

  • StateImpact NPR: Pa. natural gas plant explosion under investigation in Washington County

EXTRACTION

  • E&E News: Exxon’s own models predicted global warming. It ignored them.

  • Associated Press: UAE names its oil company chief to lead U.N. climate talks

  • APTN: Human Rights Watch issues scathing report on Canada’s violation of First Nations rights

  • Canadian Press: How technology used by NASA on Mars could help reduce emissions from Canada’s oil sands

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Bradford Today: Bradford Fire and Enbridge Gas partner to help save lives

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Reuters: Keystone pipeline may be ‘unsaleable’ after spill; analyst pushes other asset sales
Jeff Lagerquist, 1/12/23

“TC Energy’s Keystone crude oil pipeline may be “unsaleable” in 2023 after its 14,000-barrel spill last year. That’s according to a RBC Capital Markets analyst calling for management to double or triple the size of the company’s plan to sell off billions in assets this year,” Reuters reports. “On Monday, the Calgary-based energy and infrastructure firm said it’s too early to estimate the cost of the Dec. 7 pipeline rupture, as clean-up efforts continue in Kansas. While the 622,000 barrel-per-day artery resumed service in late December, RBC’s Robert Kwan told Reuters the incident could put Keystone “out of the picture” as TC Energy looks to sell $5 billion in assets. “We wonder if the Keystone spill will effectively render that asset as unsaleable in 2023,” Kwan wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Instead, we turn our attention to selling a 49 per cent stake in NGTL (the Nova Gas Transmission Line).”.. “While the company is best-known for its Keystone oil pipeline system, a Canada-U.S. artery that grabbed headlines for an expansion project that ultimately failed, natural gas distribution is a larger part of TC Energy’s business… “We think the time has come to go big and leave no doubt, and based on our discussions with investors, we believe this may be a path to share price outperformance in 2023,” he wrote. “We believe an asset monetization program in the $10 to $15 billion range could provide numerous benefits to the company.”

KATV: Fact Check Team: The impact of canceling the Keystone XL pipeline project
KONNER MCINTIRE and COURTNEY RAU, 1/12/23

“In 2021, President Joe Biden canceled the completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was expected to carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the United States,” KATV reports. “The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a report on the cancelation and found the pipeline was expected to create about 50 permanent jobs once it was operational. The information included estimates that construction of the pipeline would support between 16,000 and roughly 60,000 temporary jobs. However, the report found some estimates overstated jobs because they included jobs outside the United States… “Overall, the DOE notes the job impacts were limited and are focusing on their finding that there would have only been 50 permanent jobs created.”

Waverly Newspapers: Waverly joins other agencies in opposing carbon pipeline
Andy Milone, 1/13/23

“Bremer County’s largest municipality has joined a growing list of agencies and individuals to formally oppose a company’s proposal to build a hazardous carbon pipeline,” Waverly Newspapers reports. “The Waverly City Council reportedly heard from constituents about the hot button issue. Two councilors stated at Monday’s meeting that originally they questioned how the Navigator CO2 Ventures project concerns the city when the proposed route does not pass within its boundaries. But the resolution, detailing the council’s objection, ultimately passed 6-0 and is being submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board, the state agency making the determination on whether the company and its project are granted a permit… “Additionally, the council voted 6-0 in favor of a resolution supporting Bremer County’s proposed ordinance with zoning and land use regulations related to pipelines. That details setbacks from certain structures and emergency response requirements in preparation for the possibility of a pipeline rupture. That has become a well-known worry because of an incident involving a pipeline near the village of Satartia, Mississippi. After learning about the rupture in 2020, reportedly leaving 49 people hospitalized and causing a few hundred people to evacuate, councilor Ann Rathe said it “made me really think about the potential impact on our city, not just that citizens might be sick or injured but that our first responders – our fire department, our ambulance crew, etc. – are going to be responding.” She added that the council “needs to think” about its relationship with Bremer County and other smaller cities as well as the potential impact of a pipeline on economic and housing development and other issues of importance like property values… “Dove noted the entire emergency medical system in Bremer County is “befuddled” by the potential project and planning for a response.”

Charles City Press: Floyd County hires law firm to help with CO2 pipeline zoning
Bob Steenson, 1/9/23

“The new Floyd County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Monday morning approved hiring a Des Moines law firm to represent the county in developing a zoning ordinance that could regulate where hazardous liquid pipelines – especially carbon dioxide pipelines – can be located in the county,” the Charles City Press reports. “The law firm, Ahlers & Cooney, could also represent the county if the county wishes to intervene with the Iowa Utilities Board in the permit application process for either or both of the two carbon dioxide transportation pipelines that could impact Floyd County. The supervisors’ second meeting as a board again stretched well into the afternoon as the members spent almost four hours on one budget item – discussing whether or not to hire the law firm. Included in the discussion were Tim Whipple, the Ahlers & Cooney attorney who would do the majority of the work with the county; representatives of the Navigator CO2 Ventures and Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline companies; the Valero Renewables ethanol plant manager; and dozens of county residents who were mostly opponents but included some supporters of the pipeline projects… “I guess the question is, and the question I proposed to the Area Development Corporation on Nov. 30, is this: Who would want to build on top of a hazardous carbon pipeline? According to our Area Development Board, it makes the northernmost 24 acres virtually undevelopable. That ground was purchased for $28,500 an acre. It is worth $10,000 perhaps to develop an ordinance and the county’s prorated share of perhaps $100,000, to protect that investment? I think so. I really do,” Kuhn said… “Many people at the supervisors meeting made comments regarding pipeline safety concerns and emergency services availability and response times, and arguments that eminent domain should not be used for for-profit companies. Others said some easements that have been signed by landowners would result in the pipeline being located so close to the edge of those properties that they would be closer to a neighbor’s home than to the property with the easement.”

West Central Tribune: Environmental groups invite west central Minnesotans to Carbon Pipelines 101 meeting Jan. 23
1/13/23

“Area landowners and residents are invited to a Carbon Pipelines 101 meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at American Legion Post #41 in Lamberton,” the West Central Tribune reports. “…Landowners or concerned community members in Cottonwood, Jackson, Redwood, Renville, or Yellow Medicine counties in Minnesota are encouraged to attend, according to a news release from Citizens Concerned and Clean Up the River Environment (CURE). The meeting will feature speakers on concerns about easements, safety, crops, land and environmental impacts, and offer farmer viewpoints and more in-depth information… “After decades of development and repeated attempts to get carbon capture off the ground, the technology has never been successful at scale, according to the news release from Citizens Concerned. The group also stated that carbon capture is very energy intensive and that most of the energy comes from fossil fuels. For more information, visit www.carbonpipelinesmn.org or call CURE at 320-269-2984.”

Louisville Courier Journal: LG&E still fighting to put pipeline through Bernheim forest. Here’s where things stand
Connor Giffin, 1/13/23

“LG&E and the Bernheim Foundation locked horns in court this week, as the energy utility sued to break Bernheim’s conservation easement and build a new gas pipeline through protected lands,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports. “The 12-mile pipeline would run through Bernheim’s Cedar Grove Wildlife Corridor, an act Bernheim says threatens a sensitive and lush forest ecosystem. On the other side, the utility says the proposed infrastructure is necessary to ensure future energy reliability to a growing Bullitt County population… “This week’s Bullitt County Circuit Court battle concerns LG&E’s attempt to get past the conservation easement through eminent domain, which, now that closing arguments have been presented, is up to the judge. But that isn’t the only obstacle remaining for LG&E. In April 2022, the project was paused while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers examined whether building and maintaining the pipeline would threaten sensitive habitat and violate Endangered Species Act protections… “And even if all is approved, LG&E still faces the rising cost of the project, which has more than doubled to $74 million since initial estimates, according to Louisville Public Media reporting — a cost ratepayers could end up shouldering. Bernheim and its supporters, including the local Sierra Club chapter and other environmental activists, have fervently opposed the proposal since its introduction, citing its potential to harm sensitive habitat in one of the few large tracts of preserved land in the state. “This pipeline would break up a mostly intact forest, destroy habitat and migration routes for countless wildlife, and impact clean streams for decades,” Bernheim argues on its website.”

AgWeek: Proposed natural gas pipeline into Grand Forks wouldn’t meet needs beyond those of Fufeng
Ann Bailey, 1/12/23

“A proposed pipeline to supply natural gas for a proposed corn wet milling plant in Grand Forks likely would not have enough capacity for the city’s future residential and commercial use, the North Dakota Pipeline Authority director says,” AgWeek reports. “Viking Gas Transmission applied for a $10 million grant from the North Dakota Industrial Commission to build the estimated $26.1 million pipeline, but company officials recently discovered that their grant application had used incorrect numbers, Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad told AgWeek. “Assuming it gets built, with the information we have today, it suggests that there would be extremely limited or no gas available for residential and commercial use,” Kringstad told AgWeek… “However, once the numbers on the Viking application were corrected, it was learned that the natural gas would not flow under the river as needed, Kringstad explained. Unless another segment of pipeline is built under the Red River, the natural gas would “bottleneck” in East Grand Forks, and there would not be the excess capacity needed to supply any other residential or commercial needs beyond the Fufeng project, Kringstad said.”

KIWA: Sioux Center To Build Pipeline For Natural Gas Produced From Cattle Manure
SCOTT VAN AARTSEN, 1/12/23

“Cattle manure from local dairy farms will be run through digesters to generate natural gas that will run through a pipeline to Sioux Center,” KIWA reports. “Aaron Maassen owns one of the three dairy farms involved in the project. He told KIWA it will not only expand the town’s capacity for natural gas, it will also capture methane emissions from livestock waste. Maassen told KIWA the greenhouse gas emissions eliminated will be equivalent to around 8,800 cars. Sioux Center utilities assistant manager Adam Fedders told KIWA the community needs more natural gas capacity. Fedders told KIWA the utility will pay the upfront costs for installing the two-way pipeline but will recoup those costs from West Branch RNG, the company formed by the dairy farms.”

KFGO: Company fined $10,000 for failing to get permit for pipeline
Paul Jurgens, 1/12/23

“A natural gas pipeline owner has been fined $10,000 for failing to file the necessary permit applications with the North Dakota Public Service Commission,” KFGO reports. “Caliber North Dakota LLC built the short 2.6-mile, eight inch diameter pipeline in McKenzie County without a siting or route permit. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak told KFGO  this matter came to light when the company asked the PSC for a temporary change in the pipeline’s operation. “In the process, they realized they hadn’t been permitted to begin with, ” Fedorchak told KFGO. “So they came to us and said, ‘Oops — we didn’t permit this.” Fedorchak told KFGO the company asked to keep operating the pipeline, and get temporary approval to do that, and then go through the permitting process. PSC staff came to a “consent agreement,” under which the fine was levied. In December, an earlier consent agreement — which levied a $5000 fine — was rejected by the commission.”

Variety: ‘On Sacred Ground’ Review: Doc Duo Deliver Uneven Drama About the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy
Joe Leydon, 1/12/23

“Although there is much to admire in “On Sacred Ground,” the first dramatic feature by environmental activist documentarians Josh and Rebecca Tickell, this technically polished indie effort is overall more admirable in its intent than compelling in its narrative. And there’s really no way of getting around the fact that many viewers will be put off by the abundance of “white savior melodrama” in a movie putatively focused on 2016 protests by Native Americans and their allies against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Variety reports. “To be sure, it can be argued that telling the story through a non-Indigenous protagonist’s point of view is an efficient way to expose a wider audience to pressing social issues about land use, water rights and cultural imperialism as the lead character gets his eyes opened and his conscience stoked and blah, blah, blah. Trouble is, the movie places so much emphasis in so many scenes on the professional, domestic and psychological crises of Dan McKinney (William Mapother), the freelance reporter assigned by a conservative Houston newspaper to cover events at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North and South Dakota, that he inevitably overshadows everything and everyone else on screen. Sound familiar?.. “Supporting players cast as Native American protestors are impressive across the board, with particularly memorable contributions coming from Kerry Knuppe as a brassy activist who’s rightly skeptical of McKinney; Irene Bedard as a protest organizer whose dubiousness about the reporter curdles into contempt; and David Midthunder as a protestor who’s appreciably more accepting of McKinney until he has good reason not to be. (Credit Midthunder for powering one of the movie’s more emotionally impactful moments, when he brusquely informs the reporter that it’s time to face the music.) But even these fine actors are hard-pressed not to come across as window dressing as Mapother’s potently implosive performance is spotlighted and underscored, and “On Sacred Ground” places its prime emphasis on his character’s redemption. The result is a movie that is not merely disappointingly uneven, but irredeemably unbalanced.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Rodgers Bets On Bipartisanship For Permitting Bill
Kelsey Brugger, 1/12/23

“The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s new chair on Wednesday set aside GOP talking points to seek bipartisanship on issues like legislation to ease permitting for energy development,” E&E News reports. “Speaking during an American Petroleum Institute event, Washington state Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers declared that ‘the most meaningful legislation does come in divided government.’ Rodgers was agreeing with API CEO Mike Sommers’ sunny outlook for the year ahead on Capitol Hill, even as he rebuked President Joe Biden’s policies on federal oil and gas leasing, strategic reserves and, referring to the latest flare-up, gas-burning stoves. The event also featured three moderate Democratic lawmakers to talk about the importance of oil and gas to their districts.” 

E&E News: Oil And Gas Group Leader Urges Permitting Reform This Year
Kelsey Brugger, Carlos Anchondo, 1/11/23

“American Petroleum Institute CEO Mike Sommers on Wednesday morning said permitting reform legislation should happen before the 2024 election year,” E&E News reports. “‘Once you get out of 2023, it becomes another political issue,’ he told reporters after API’s State of American Energy event in Washington. The thorny issue of ‘permitting reform’ erupted into a contentious political fight late last year, following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act… “But the oil and gas advocate thinks the time is ripe for compromise. ‘I do think that it could be a point of huge bipartisan negotiation if we do this right,’ Sommers told reporters. ‘We’ll be pushing for that.’” 

InsideEPA: EPA’s Counsel Adds To EJ Legal Tools To Address Cumulative Impacts
1/11/23

“EPA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) has released a long-awaited document providing the first-ever collection of examples of environmental and other legal authorities that regulators can use to identify and address cumulative impacts in permitting, regulatory and grant-funding decisions,” InsideEPA reports. “…The addendum outlines how cumulative impacts can be considered in actions taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA); Clean Water Act (CWA); Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA); Oil Pollution Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act; pesticide and toxics programs; and environmental review programs including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), under which EPA reviews other agencies’ NEPA analyses. For example, OGC says, ‘Taken together, NEPA and the CAA section 309 review process provide EPA with broad authority to advance environmental justice by helping to ensure that cumulative impacts on communities with [EJ] concerns and other underserved communities are considered and addressed.’ It also cites a NEPA tool — Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA reviews — that can be helpful.” 

E&E News: EPA Eyes Cumulative Pollution To Boost Environmental Justice
Kelsey Brugger, 1/11/23

“EPA on Wednesday released a new playbook for confronting the onslaught of pollutants in low-income and minority communities across the country,” E&E News reports. “The ‘cumulative impacts addendum’ builds on a policy from May that helps dictate how the federal government considers pollution and climate change in communities of color when enforcing environmental statutes… “The policy itself does not have legal muscle, but it discusses various regulatory mechanisms under the Clean Air Act as well as water and waste management programs. ‘Individuals, communities, and tribes are exposed to numerous stressors from a wide array of sources through multiple pathways,’ the addendum says. ‘These stressors can aggregate and accumulate over time, affecting health and well-being.’”

National Law Review: White House Publishes Guidance on GHGs in Permitting
1/11/23

“On January 9, 2023, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published new interim guidance intended to assist federal agencies in analyzing greenhouse gas (GHG) and climate change effects of project proposals under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),” the National Law Review reports. “…Recognizing that “there is little time left to avoid a dangerous—potentially catastrophic—climate trajectory,” and that the Biden administration’s clean energy and climate agenda requires a substantial build-out of clean energy infrastructure subject to prolonged permitting review, the new guidance seeks to reduce the depth of analysis where a project involves net GHG emission reductions or no net GHG increase. Accordingly, while federal agencies should quantify the reasonably foreseeable gross GHG emissions increases and gross GHG emission reductions for a proposed project, the no action alternative, and any reasonable alternatives over their projected lifetime, those agencies should be guided by a “rule of reason” and the “concept of proportionality” in undertaking this analysis. In other words, projects with net beneficial climate effects warrant a less thorough climate impact review. For example, citing utility-scale solar and offshore wind, CEQ advises that “the relative minor and short-term GHG emissions associated with construction of certain renewable energy projects…should not warrant a detailed analysis of lifetime GHG emissions.” CEQ further advises that projects with only small GHG emissions “may be able to rely on less detailed emissions estimates.”

Oil and Gas Watch: Stalemate at FERC could stall Biden clean energy plan, landowner rights reform
Brendan Gibbons, 1/11/23

“A recent change in the chairmanship at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could set the stage for a stalemate that could slow reform efforts for landowners rights and environmental justice, along with President Joe Biden’s climate and clean energy agenda,” Oil and Gas Watch reports. “…During his two years as chair starting in January 2021, Glick had helped pushed forward new policy changes to promote renewable energy and uplift climate and environmental justice concerns. If finalized, the policies would have significantly shifted the way FERC reviews new projects. In February 2022, FERC issued a statement on greenhouse gases that would have, for the first time, established a carbon emissions threshold for projects with a “significant” climate impact… “Another policy change would have broadened the scope of FERC’s review when deciding whether to allow the construction of new natural gas pipelines and facilities. It would have required FERC staff to analyze projects’ impacts on environmental justice communities and landowners, who often have strips of land forcibly sold to energy companies after FERC greenlights a project. The policy change would have allowed FERC to deny a permit if “adverse impacts” outweighed its benefits… “Many clean energy advocates say FERC is in dire need of reforms to help it oversee a transition away from fossil fuels. As Sale told OGW, “if we’re going to be pushing clean energy across the country, that’s going to mean transmission lines, which is going to mean eminent domain.” One recent example is a coalition of Midwest farmers and indigenous groups currently fighting a proposed carbon capture and storage pipeline… “Maya K. van Rossum, who has directed the Delaware Riverkeeper Network since 1994, has sued the commission multiple times over its approval of natural gas lines pipelines from drilling and hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale formation in northeast Pennsylvania… “Republicans have plenty of reasons to support FERC reforms, Van Rossum told OGW. Under the current system, “properties are being taken by eminent domain very cavalierly, very quickly and for projects that don’t even have full approval to go through,” she told OGW. “If they’re true property rights advocates, then they need to reform the Natural Gas Act. And I do believe, despite the public rhetoric, that there are many responsible and smart Republican members in Congress who recognize that economic devastation results from the climate crisis.”

Beyond Extreme Energy: Manchin Must Go! January 19th, 9AM at the FERC office
1/12/23

“Corrupt coal baron, Senator Joe Manchin, now effectively controls FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On the morning of January 19th, when the FERC commissioners have their monthly meeting, we will take action in front of the FERC DC headquarters in DC demanding that Manchin be removed as head of the Senate committee which oversees FERC. FERC needs to stop being a rubber stamp agency for the methane gas industry. Yet last March, after FERC under the leadership of Richard Glick had begun to take steps toward reform, Manchin used his power to stop it, in collaboration with other FERC commissioners. Since Manchin began to pressure FERC decisions- FERC has approved natural gas projects that amount to a cumulative 282,866,661 metric tons of C02 a year… “Then, after President Biden in September nominated Glick for a second term, Manchin refused to hold a hearing on that nomination, so Glick is now gone. Congress needs to pass legislation to replace FERC with a Federal RENEWABLE Energy Commission, FREC, which would lead the urgently-needed shift off of fossil fuels to clean renewables, with environmental justice for low wealth and people of color communities most impacted by the production and burning of fossil fuels. Until that happens we demand Senator Chuck Schumer replace Manchin, we commit to supporting continued grassroots resistance to all new fossil fuel expansion projects, and we call upon employees of FERC to resist this new Manchin FERC.”

STATE UPDATES

Dallas Morning News: Texas oil patch gears up for more growth and spending with the Permian leading the way
Mitchell Schnurman, 1/13/23

“What a difference a few years make in the Texas oil patch. Oil and gas production keeps growing, the sector has been adding jobs at a torrid pace, and most companies have been investing more,” the Dallas Morning News reports. “In a December survey by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, almost two-thirds of oil and gas executives reported an increase in capital spending compared with a year earlier — and almost two-thirds expect to increase spending in 2023. “Like it or not, oil and gas is here to stay for a very long time,” an executive from an exploration and production firm told the Dallas Fed. “Our request is simple: Get out of our way and we will deliver cheap energy.” For the 12 months ending in October, crude oil production rose 7% in the U.S., reaching 12.38 million barrels daily. Texas’ daily production hit almost 5.2 million barrels in October, up 4.6%. Those volumes are just shy of the record set in late 2019, shortly before the pandemic arrived. But in 2023, U.S. production is projected to edge higher and set a new high, driven by the Permian Basin region in West Texas. The Permian is expected to increase output by 440,000 barrels a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration… “Michot Foss of Rice told the News she was optimistic about the fossil fuel industry attracting more investment, both in the near- and long-term.”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: Feds say oil and gas land sale in New Mexico will not ‘noticeably’ impact pollution
Adrian Hedden, 1/10/23

“Federal land managers in the Permian Basin found leasing New Mexico public land in an upcoming sale to the oil and gas industry for fossil fuel production would have little impact on pollution,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “The Bureau of Land Management published an environmental assessment Jan. 4 for an auction of oil and gas leases planned for May, offering 19 parcels on 3,280 acres in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties in southeast New Mexico… “The BLM estimated that injecting produced water from the wells, at a rate of about 40,000 barrels per month would not “noticeably contribute” to induced seismicity in the region as the volume was considered minor and the wells were not in any geologically sensitive areas… “But environmentalists cautioned that federal support of oil and gas operations throughout the nation could broadly lead to continual environmental degradation. “Moving ahead with these leases is pushing the accelerator on climate change,” Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Argus. “The Biden administration can stop this ecocide by phasing out oil and gas extraction. We’re running out of time.”

Westword: New Study Explores Costs Versus Benefits of Oil and Gas Industry in Colorado
CATIE CHESHIRE, 1/12//23

“What has the oil and gas industry done for you lately? The answer may have come just as the 2023 legislative session begins in Colorado, via a new study by the Colorado Fiscal Institute that attempts to illuminate a cost-benefit analysis of the oil and gas industry in the state to help inform policymakers,” Westword reports. “…The study found that pollution emitted in oil and gas operations will cause over $13 billion in damages between 2020 and 2030. But it also extrapolates data from national research that found that health damages from premature deaths will be between $13 and $29 billion by 2026. Colorado’s share of that premature death cost: between $480 million and $1 billion. “We always talk about the role of oil and gas in Colorado’s economy, which is a very real role in today’s world,” Pegah Jalali, research manager and co-author, told Westword. “On the other hand, we just wanted to try to also quantify some of the costs associated with oil and gas to get a better picture, because these costs are also real. These costs are affecting other sectors of the economy.” “…The study found that the oil and gas industry — including pipeline construction and other support industries — makes up 1.8 percent of wages in Colorado and 3.3 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. It represents 0.7 percent of the total employment in the state, with around 20,000 jobs. The median wage of oil rig laborers in 2021, which offers the most recent data, was $46,740. That’s similar to the median wage in Colorado generally, which is $47,940. Drill operators, managers, business employees and engineers all make more than that.”

Capital and Main: Colorado Seeks Payments for Oil & Gas Cleanup
Nick Bowlin, 1/11/23

“Since October Colorado oil and gas companies have been submitting plans to the state detailing how they intend to pay for plugging and cleaning up oil and gas wells at the end of their productivity,” Capital and Main reports. “When the process is complete, every operator in Colorado regardless of size is to have a financial assurance plan guaranteeing they can pay for the cleanup. All plans must be approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state industry regulator. The commission describes the new financial assurance rules as “the strongest in the nation.” A Capital & Main analysis of the financial assurance proposals submitted by oil and gas companies found that while some firms are proposing robust bonding increases, others are seeking financial requirements that fall far short of the full cost of plugging and reclaiming their wells… “The agency is trying to head off an enormous potential bill. Colorado has about 50,0000 unplugged oil and gas wells. Using data from its orphan well program, the state estimates that plugging and fully reclaiming a Colorado well costs $92,710 on average, although the number can vary for a variety of reasons, including the depth of a well. The estimate suggests Colorado has about $4.6 billion in well plugging costs. The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, fears the process could result in bankruptcies if financial assurance requirements are raised substantially.”

StateImpact NPR: Pa. natural gas plant explosion under investigation in Washington County
1/12/23

“The Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a Christmas Day explosion at a natural gas processing plant in Washington County,” StateImpact NPR reports. “The explosion occurred in the early morning at Energy Transfer’s Revolution Cryo plant in Smith Township. A DEP incident report said the explosion occurred when a defective valve released a vapor cloud of natural gas liquids from one section of the plant and ignited, though the ignition source was unknown. The fire burned for most of the day, venting gases and flames. No injuries were reported. DEP spokesman Neil Shader said in an email that “primary operations” at the facility are on hold… “The area around the Revolution facility could host another natural gas processing plant. Another company, MarkWest, is seeking state approval to expand its Harmon Creek plant, about a mile away.  Cat Lodge, who lives in nearby Robinson Township, told NPR flares from the Revolution plant have been burning in recent days. She wants the DEP to finish its investigation into the Revolution plant explosion before the agency grants a permit for another processing plant nearby. The area is dotted with pipelines, well pads, compressor stations, and other gas infrastructure. “How can you stack these all right next to each other?” Lodge told NPR. “Can we get a handle on this before the new one comes in?”

EXTRACTION

E&E News: Exxon’s own models predicted global warming. It ignored them.
Chelsea Harvey, Lesley Clark, Benjamin Storrow, 1/13/23

“It’s been seven years since journalists first revealed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s decadeslong efforts to undermine the scientific certainty around climate change, despite knowing how serious a problem it was. Now, a new analysis demonstrates exactly how much the company knew — and how its public disinformation campaigns sabotaged the warnings of its own scientists,” E&E News reports. “Exxon wasn’t just aware of the greenhouse effect. It had its own teams of scientists developing models to project the effects of carbon emissions on the global climate. And those models, it turns out, were highly accurate. “We have our scientists do good science, but we have our corporate board not listening,” Ed Garvey, who worked on climate science for Exxon in the late 1970s, told E&E. The analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, captures that sentiment. Exxon’s models matched state-of-the-art simulations being used by academic scientists at the same time period. And the company’s predictions accurately foresaw the warming that’s actually occurred since the 1970s, according to the study written by researchers Geoffrey Supran, Stefan Rahmstorf and Naomi Oreskes. The findings deepen Exxon’s reputation for climate disinformation. And they may carry legal consequences as well, by becoming evidence in litigation that could cost the fossil fuel industry hundreds of billions of dollars. Two dozen U.S. cities, counties and states are suing Exxon and other energy companies in an attempt to show that they misled the public about their contributions to climate change… “But attorneys for the parties suing fossil fuel companies suggested the study would help make the case that Exxon knew its products were contributing to global warming and sought to blur the facts. “It moves the conversation from ‘Exxon knew that global warming was real’ to ‘Exxon was internally generating the same predictions about global warming as the climate science it was publicly disparaging,’“ Niskanen Center chief legal counsel David Bookbinder, who represents several Colorado communities that are suing the industry, told E&E. The research, he added, “should have a significant impact on a jury.”

Associated Press: UAE names its oil company chief to lead U.N. climate talks
1/12/23

“The United Arab Emirates on Thursday named a veteran technocrat who both leads Abu Dhabi’s state-run oil company and oversees its renewable energy efforts to be the president of the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Dubai, highlighting the balancing act ahead for this crude-producing nation,” the Associated Press reports. “Authorities nominated Sultan al-Jaber, a trusted confidant of UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who serves as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. That firm pumps some 4 million barrels of crude a day and hopes to expand to 5 million daily… “Al-Jaber’s nomination, however, drew immediate criticism. Harjeet Singh, who is the head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, told AP al-Jaber holding the CEO title at the state oil company posed “an unprecedented and alarming conflict of interest.” “There can be no place for polluters at a climate conference, least of all presiding over a COP,” Singh told AP. Alice Harrison of Global Witness put it even more bluntly: “You wouldn’t invite arms dealers to lead peace talks. So why let oil executives lead climate talks?” Greenpeace said it was “deeply alarmed” by al-Jaber’s appointment, adding: “This sets a dangerous precedent, risking the credibility of the UAE and the trust that has been placed in them.” “…Analysts believe the Emirates is trying to maximize its profits before the world increasingly turns to renewables. The Emirates itself has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 — a target that remains difficult to assess and one that authorities haven’t fully explained how they’ll reach.”

APTN: Human Rights Watch issues scathing report on Canada’s violation of First Nations rights
1/12/23

“A leading human rights group says Canada is failing to address long-standing abuses, delivering a scathing rebuke of what it calls the federal government’s inadequate climate policy and violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” APTN reports. “…The report, written by New York based Human Rights Watch, outlines the fact that more than two dozen First Nations remain under long-term drinking water advisories, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to bring that number down to zero… “The report also deals with violence against Indigenous women. It cites a May 2022 Statistics Canada study that reported 81 per cent of Indigenous women who had been in the child-welfare system “had been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.” “…The criticisms levelled in the group’s annual reports extended to Canada’s climate change policy, as well. The report censures the government for its financing of fossil fuel projects, the fact that Canada is a leading emitter and its inadequate measures to support First Nations in adapting to the impacts of climate change. “Canada is the top public financier of fossil fuels among G20 nations and projects increased oil and gas production through 2050,” says the report. “Canadian oil sands are among the most carbon-intensive and polluting oil production methods globally. The government continues to permit oil and gas pipeline expansions, including on First Nations’ lands. “Plans to increase fossil fuel production disregard the government’s human rights obligation to adopt and implement robust climate mitigation policies. “Federal and provincial climate change policies have failed to put in place adequate measures to support First Nations in adapting to current and anticipated impacts of climate change and have largely ignored the impacts of climate change on First Nations’ right to food.”

Canadian Press: How technology used by NASA on Mars could help reduce emissions from Canada’s oil sands
AMANDA STEPHENSON, 1/12/23

“The same technology used to search for signs of ancient life on Mars could be key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Canadian oil sands,” the Canadian Press reports. “At least that’s what members of the Pathways Alliance – an industry consortium of this country’s six largest oil sands companies – appear to believe. On Thursday, the group announced Impossible Sensing Energy, the Calgary-based affiliate of U.S. space exploration company Impossible Sensing, as the winner in an industry-sponsored global competition aimed at helping to accelerate the wide-scale use of steam-reducing technologies in oil sands operations. The company won with a proposal to use optical imaging technology, adapted from its Sherloc system currently installed on the Mars Rover, in an oil sands application. Just as optical imaging can be used to search for faint traces of potential carbon-based past life on Mars, it can also detect precise amounts of carbon-based solvents in the oil production stream, Ariel Torre, co-founder and CEO of Impossible Sensing Energy, told CP… “If solvents could be used to replace steam in oil sands production, the amount of natural gas consumed by the industry would decline dramatically. “We’re looking at a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, all the way up to 90 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, by using these solvents. So the potential is huge,” Jickling told CP… “However, a report released last year by green energy think-tank the Pembina Institute said that solvent use in the oil sands is “promising on paper” but comes with technical and cost limitations. “The economics of using solvent with steam can be challenging in low crude price cycles when the costs of deploying and recovering solvents is higher than revenues from the incremental production,” the report said.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Bradford Today: Bradford Fire and Enbridge Gas partner to help save lives
Rob Paul, 1/12/23

“Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire and Emergency Services (BWGFES) and Enbridge Gas announced on Thursday that they’re partnering together to improve home safety and bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero,” Bradford Today reports. “BWGFES received 288 combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms through Safe Community Project Zero–a public education campaign with the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council (FMPFSC) that will provide more than 8,000 alarms to residents in 50 municipalities across Ontario. “We are honoured to collaborate with the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council and Enbridge Gas to be able to distribute 288 combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms within our community,” said BWGFES Chief Brent Thomas. “Distributing the alarms also allows staff the opportunity to engage with residents and further educate on fire safety, which is one of our key mandates in the fire service.” “This generous donation will ensure that an additional 288 families across BWG, and their homes, are better protected against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Mayor James Leduc. “We are grateful to Enbridge Gas and the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council for their ongoing commitment to promoting and educating the public on fire safety, and for their investment in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.”

OPINION

Journal Times: Milholland: Enbridge Line 5 is critical
Nancy Milholland, 1/12/23

“Energy supplies and prices matter, and not just during election season. Wisconsinites need to be able to heat their homes and drive to work. Wisconsin farmers need to heat their homes, harvest their crops, and power their tractors. Wisconsin businesses need to be able to deliver their products and heat their buildings,” Nancy Milholland writes for the Journal Times. “And while I’m all in favor of developing affordable ‘green’ energy, a $20,000 solar setup on a roof isn’t going to help someone living in rural Wisconsin when it’s 10 degrees outside and the panels are under two feet of snow. This is why a pipeline project right here in Wisconsin is so critical. The Enbridge Line 5 relocation project in far northern Wisconsin will ensure that Line 5 can continue to deliver the crude oil and natural gas liquids our region needs to produce propane, gas and diesel… “Line 5 is a lifeline of energy for our state and region, I hope our state’s leaders will support the relocation project and keep this energy flowing.”

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