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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/17/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 17, 2023

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • E&E News: Feds Approve New Jersey Pipeline Expansion Despite Murphy Administration Objections

  • The Center Square: Central Illinois opposition mounts against proposed CO2 pipeline

  • Corridor Business Journal: Linn supervisors approve letter opposing carbon capture pipeline

  • The Tyee: Critics Say River Protection Is Lacking on Pipeline Route

  • Globe and Mail: Federal fisheries officers investigate Coastal GasLink pipeline project

  • BIV.com: Coastal GasLink set to cross finish line ahead of LNG Canada

  • BBC: Why Michigan is trying to shut down Canada’s Enbridge Line 5 pipeline

  • Prairie Public Broadcasting: ND House passes bill to give a property tax break for a natural gas pipeline to bring Bakken gas east

  • Post and Courier: First Kinder Morgan pipeline spill grants awarded in Anderson from $1.5M settlement

  • Reuters: Ruby Pipeline’s bankruptcy plan based on $282 mln sale approved

  • WTVF: 32-mile natural gas pipeline project in Dickson County sparks controversy

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Chamber Of Commerce Urges Congress To Pass Permitting Bill

  • E&E News: Names circulating for vacant FERC spot

  • InsideClimate News: EPA Moves Away From Permian Air Pollution Crackdown

STATE UPDATES

  • The Hill: Wyoming lawmakers propose ban on electric vehicle sales

  • Allegheny Front: PA. NATURAL GAS PLANT EXPLOSION UNDER INVESTIGATION IN WASHINGTON COUNTY

  • E&E News: Road To Truck Crude Through Utah Canyon Sparks Local Fight

EXTRACTION

  • Grist: The secretive legal weapon that fossil fuel interests use against climate-conscious countries

  • Financial Post: Activist investor Elliott poised to get fourth Suncor board seat as company continues to underperform

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • News From the States: Study: States that limit business with banks that ‘boycott’ fossil fuels could pay high cost

  • Associated Press: Missouri may require disclosure in ‘sustainable’ ESG investing

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Insuaga.com: Reducing carbon-related deaths in Burlington the goal of new partnership

OPINION

  • Globe Gazette: Letter to the Editor: Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline official responds

  • Financial Post: Dale Swampy: Ottawa’s climate policy will prolong Indigenous poverty

  • Natural Gas World: FROM THE EDITOR: BIG GAS PIPELINES ARE AN ANACHRONISM

PIPELINE NEWS

E&E News: Feds Approve New Jersey Pipeline Expansion Despite Murphy Administration Objections
Ry Rivard, 1/12/23

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a natural gas pipeline expansion over the objections of New Jersey utility regulators who had argued the project was an unneeded burden on the state’s gas customers,” E&E News reports. “In a decision posted late Wednesday evening, FERC authorized Williams subsidiary Transco’s plan to build the Regional Energy Access expansion, which would bring enough new gas into New Jersey to heat some 3 million homes… “New Jersey environmental advocates want to appeal FERC’s decision and are hoping the state, including the Department of Environmental Protection, will use its own regulatory powers to block or stall elements of the project that require state-level permits. In a press release put out by several of the state’s leading environmental groups — Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, among others — advocates variously said FERC’s decision will undermine New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy goals and that federal regulators ignored state officials. They urged Murphy to take action to stop the project.”

The Center Square: Central Illinois opposition mounts against proposed CO2 pipeline
Zeta Cross, 1/16/23

“Opposition is mounting among farmers and other residents in central Illinois who are concerned about the Texas corporation Navigator’s proposal to build a 1,300-mile steel pipeline to transport highly pressurized, compressed CO2 across their counties,” The Center Square reports. “…Karen Brockelsby is a farmer in Christian County and is treasurer of Citizens Against the Heartland Greenway Pipeline… “This technology has never been done on such a scale, covering such a distance and involving so many different manufacturing plants,” she told The Center Square… “A sudden change of pressure in the pipeline can lead to a rupture called a running ductile fracture, Brockelsby worried.  “The pipe just unzips and a plume of CO2 in a gas form is released. It will hang near the ground until it is dissipated by wind,” Brockelsby explained. People caught in the plume are at risk of suffocation, she said, because the plume displaces oxygen in the area… “She and other pipeline opponents are asking for a six-month moratorium on the pipeline permitting process while the regulations are being developed, she told The Center Square. “Right now, there are not even any setbacks as to how close the pipeline can be to a house.”

Corridor Business Journal: Linn supervisors approve letter opposing carbon capture pipeline
Richard Pratt, 1/11/23

“The Linn County Board of Supervisors is submitting a formal letter to the Iowa Utilities Board opposing the proposed construction of a carbon capture pipeline that would run through the southern portion of the county,” the Corridor Business Journal reports. “The letter, dated Jan. 11, was approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda for the board’s regular meeting…”

The Tyee: Critics Say River Protection Is Lacking on Pipeline Route
Amanda Follett Hosgood, 1/16/23

“B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office says it hasn’t investigated the most recent complaint about erosion and sediment control issues along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route, instead referring the concerns to B.C.’s oil and gas regulator,” The Tyee reports. “…The office said its compliance and enforcement branch received a complaint about the pipeline company working in the Clore River without proper sediment controls on Jan. 8. In a statement, the Oil and Gas Commission said it was “notified of the matter, followed up and did not find any non-compliances.” The Crown corporation, which is responsible for regulating oil and gas activities in B.C., also confirmed no one from the regulator had visited the site… “Mike Ridsdale, environmental assessment co-ordinator with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, told the Tyee the current complaint is being handled by the Oil and Gas Commission instead of the Environmental Assessment Office because in-stream work and fish habitat fall under the Oil and Gas Activities Act. Putting the Oil and Gas Commission in charge of overseeing the pipeline’s environmental impacts puts the “fox in the henhouse,” he told the Tyee. “I know the [EAO] compliance and enforcement officers because I work alongside them quite well. They’re very diligent in their work,” he told the Tyee. “I don’t know about the Oil and Gas Commission, because they’ve never once asked us to accompany them on any inspections on the right-of-way.” “…On Thursday, the David Suzuki Foundation issued a statement about the water-quality concerns, which occurred in the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s Likhts’amisyu Clan. “Wet’suwet’en officials have confirmed pipeline contractors dug up gravel beds and drove heavy equipment back and forth across spawning habitat as they installed huge pumps to divert Lho Kwa, the Clore River, a large tributary of the Skeena. Coastal GasLink failed to control silt or erosion in the river, putting countless salmon eggs in jeopardy,” it said. According to Tsebesa, a chief of the Likhts’amisyu Clan’s Sun House who observed the area while flying over by helicopter, Coastal GasLink has prevented the house group from monitoring pipeline construction on their territory. “Now we know what they were hiding,” she told the Tyee. “This reckless conduct violates both Wet’suwet’en and Canadian laws. Work on river crossings needs to stop immediately while investigators assess the damage.” Tsebesa told The Tyee that the house group has stopped asking questions to Coastal GasLink because the company has not been forthcoming with answers.”

Globe and Mail: Federal fisheries officers investigate Coastal GasLink pipeline project
JUSTINE HUNTER, 1/17/23

“Work on the contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline is under investigation by federal fisheries officers, as construction pushes through sensitive salmon-bearing rivers,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has already issued dozens of regulatory warnings and orders, as well as fines, for the 670-kilometre-long, $11.2-billion project. Dan Bate, spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, told the Mail officers from the conservation and protection branch are looking into the complaint of sedimentation in the Clore River as a result of the work being performed on the CGL pipeline project… “Shannon McPhail, executive director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, told the Mail the DFO has not done enough to assure the public that the effects to salmon are being adequately monitored. “Much of our economy is dependent on salmon, and our ecosystems,” she told the Mail. “It’s past time the federal regulators step in and take a close look at this project. There are systemic issues with confusion of jurisdiction, and hopefully this can be the start of remedying that mess.” The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office also received a complaint on Jan. 8 that CGL was crossing the Clore River without sediment control… “In the past two years, the EAO has issued 37 warnings, 17 orders, and a little less than $250,000 in fines, primarily related to sediment and erosion control concerns. A single order, from April, 2022, covered 33 waterways and wetlands after inspections found the company was not in compliance with the terms of its environmental assessment certificate… “The violations were so frequent that Coastal GasLink and the EAO signed a compliance agreement last July that requires CGL to follow more pro-active measures to control erosion and sedimentation for all new construction along the CGL pipeline route… “But the pipeline is strongly opposed by some Indigenous communities, led by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who say the company does not have consent to cross their traditional territory. Severn Cullis-Suzuki, executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, told the Mail that it is time regulators followed through on that threat. “The lack of monitoring and enforcement for following the law on this project completely undermines those goals. The damage to B.C. salmon habitat is deeply troubling,” she told the Mail. “Fisheries and Oceans Canada needs to issue Coastal GasLink a stop-work order immediately and resolve these issues.”

BIV.com: Coastal GasLink set to cross finish line ahead of LNG Canada
Nelson Bennett, 1/16/23

“By this time next year, Coastal GasLink should be ready to start pushing natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat through its 670-kilometre pipeline and then close a 10 per cent equity agreement with First Nations,” BIV.com reports. “That doesn’t necessarily mean natural gas will actually be flowing on the pipeline a year from now. The LNG Canada liquefaction plant in Kitimat that it will feed is not expected to be complete and in production until mid-decade. It may not be until late 2023 that natural gas actually starts moving through the new pipeline to Kitimat. “We anticipate some start-up and commissioning activities will begin in late 2023,” LNG Canada spokesperson Teresa Waddington told BIV… “The Coastal GasLink pipeline, now expected to cost $11.2 billion, has suffered numerous setbacks and obstacles since construction began in 2019, from a pandemic and competition for labour from the Trans Mountain pipeline project, to citations for violating environmental regulations, activist roadblocks and a “significant terrorist attack.” That’s how CGL president Bevin Wirzba describes an attack on a CGL work camp in February 2022 by 20 ax-wielding vandals who terrorized workers, commandeered heavy equipment, and used it to smash vehicles, equipment and camp trailers, causing millions of dollars in damage… “TC Energy (TSX:TRP), which is responsible for building the pipeline, owns 35 per cent of the project. KKR, an American investment company, and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), own 65 per cent. TC Energy signed option agreements last year with 16 of the 20 First Nations along the pipeline route, which will allow them to acquire 10 per cent of the pipeline, once it’s built. That would bring TC Energy’s ownership share in CGL down to 25 per cent. A West Coast LNG industry can’t happen without pipelines, and getting pipelines built in B.C. has proven to be a Herculean task. The geotechnical challenges of building a pipeline over mountains and underneath hundreds of streams have been compounded by a pandemic, activism and competition for labour – all of which have contributed to the estimated capital cost of the project spiraling from $6.6 billion to $11.2 billion.”

BBC: Why Michigan is trying to shut down Canada’s Enbridge Line 5 pipeline
Leana Hosea, 1/16/23

“An ageing pipeline crossing part of the Great Lakes has led to a standoff between the US state of Michigan and Canada. The outcome of the battle over Line 5, which delivers energy to the US Midwest and central Canada, will be viewed by many as a bellwether of how North America will balance its energy future with its environmental commitments,” the BBC reports. “…Now, there is no end in sight for the ongoing battle over the fate of the project, the pipeline and the need to protect the Great Lakes. Permits and a safety and environmental impact assessment for the project – which would take years to complete – are still pending. And Enbridge has ignored Gov Whitmer’s order to halt, setting things up for a lengthy and contentious court battle… “But Michigan has the support of 12 federally recognised Anishinaabe tribes in the state, who say Line 5 poses too high a risk to the Great Lakes… “An independent pipeline safety expert hired by the Bay Mills Indian Community, Richard Kuprewicz, says that transporting oil and gas “through an enclosed tunnel enhances the risk of a catastrophic explosion” – a risk he called low but not “negligible”. If there was a pipeline break, even in the best-case scenario the outcome would be disastrous, Great Lakes oceanographer Dave Schwab told BBC… “So even if the oil flow was stopped instantly, which is impossible, the pipe would still contain a minimum of 5,000 barrels of oil.” A “best-case scenario” could see 700km (435 miles) of shoreline along Lake Huron and Lake Michigan affected, he said, and “in the worst case of a 25,000 barrel spill, over 1,000km of shoreline in both Canada and America would be affected”. “…But Heather Exner-Pirot, a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a Canadian think-tank, believes Mr Biden is unlikely to allow Line 5 to close, especially in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has had a significant impact on global energy supply and markets… “This will dismay both environmentalists and tribes, who assert that Line 5 is contrary to the Biden administration’s green energy commitments. “Enbridge is speaking the universal language of economics,” Liz Kirkwood of FLOW, a non-profit conservation group, told BBC, referring to the firm’s warnings that a shutdown would have immediate consequences on the economies in the region. “What we’re talking about is 20% of the planet’s fresh surface water and the identity of an entire region. This is our home.”

Prairie Public Broadcasting: ND House passes bill to give a property tax break for a natural gas pipeline to bring Bakken gas east
Dave Thompson, 1/12/23

“The North Dakota House has overwhelmingly passed a bill designed to give a tax incentive for any company that builds a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Bakken to parts of central and eastern North Dakota that don’t have gas service,” Prairie Public Broadcasting reports. “The bill would give the pipeline company a 15 year property tax break. The Legislature has already set-aside $150 million in seed money for that pipeline. “Grand Forks needs gas,” said Rep. Eric Murphy (R-Grand Forks). “Passing this bill gives the opportunity, and sweetens the pot for a pipeline company to move forward.” “…The measure passed 92 to 2. It will now be considered by the state Senate.”

Post and Courier: First Kinder Morgan pipeline spill grants awarded in Anderson from $1.5M settlement
Nathaniel Cary, 1/13/23

“The Anderson Water Council has awarded grants totaling $120,000 to two Anderson County organizations, the first awards from a $1.5 million legal settlement with Kinder Morgan resulting from a 2014 fuel spill,” the Post and Courier reports. “The case from the spill spent years in litigation and was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court before it was settled. The spill occurred when a pipeline carrying diesel and jet fuel cracked and leaked an estimated 369,000 gallons of fuel into the soil, groundwater and a stream in rural Belton that flows into Broadway Lake in Anderson. Kinder Morgan has spent more than $17 million to clean up the spill and for monitoring that continues today. The Southern Environmental Law Center brought a Clean Water Act lawsuit against the company in 2016 on behalf of environmental groups Upstate Forever and Savannah Riverkeeper. The groups formed the Anderson Water Council to distribute the resulting settlement funds. Now, students in Anderson County schools and residents throughout the county will have the opportunity to learn how to monitor their own water sources for signs of pollution in the first round of grants distributed by the water council on Jan. 12. The water council provided $90,000 to the Anderson Soil and Water Conservation District (ASWCD) to start a water-monitoring education program for students and residents. The district will purchase eight “water trunks” with educational tools to teach how to sample water sources… “This first round of funding only used interest earned on the original settlement amount, so the entire $1.5 million remains. That amount could be used for a major future land purchase or could be distributed in similar grant cycles in the coming years, Chase told P&C.”

Reuters: Ruby Pipeline’s bankruptcy plan based on $282 mln sale approved
Dietrich Knauth, 1/17/23

“Houston-based natural gas pipeline Ruby Pipeline LLC received U.S. bankruptcy court approval on Friday for a Chapter 11 plan built around a $282 million sale of its assets to Tallgrass Energy LP,” Reuters reports. “Under the plan, Tallgrass, a Blackstone Group company, will acquire a 680-mile pipeline that is used to transport natural gas from the Rocky Mountains to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Ruby Pipeline will use cash from that sale, as well as a $135 million contribution from its equity owners Kinder Morgan Inc and Pembina Pipeline Corp and $162.8 million in its existing cash accounts, to repay creditors and wind down its business… “Ruby Pipeline filed for Chapter 11 protection on March 31st of last year because it didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay $475 million in unsecured notes that were due on April 1. The company blamed its financial troubles on declining natural gas prices and the subsequent drop in demand for its services… “Ruby Pipeline’s equity holders, which include Kinder Morgan, Pembina, and Ruby Pipeline Holding Company, will receive an $18.5 million repayment on lower priority debt that they issued to the company, and their equity shares will be wiped out, according to the Chapter 11 plan.”

WTVF: 32-mile natural gas pipeline project in Dickson County sparks controversy
Chris Davis, 1/16/23

“On a stretch of Tennessee Highway 49, neighbors don’t just know each other, they spend a lot of time together too,” WTVF reports. “I say, we have a good neighborhood; we have good neighbors,” Dorothy Corlew told WTVF… “But Corlew, the owner of a farm that’s been in her family since the 1800s, isn’t exactly welcoming their newest addition. “It will go all the way through my property,” she told WTVF. Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build a 32-mile long, 30-inch wide natural gas pipeline, that goes all the way to Cumberland City in Stewart County. That’s because, over the next five years, the Tennessee Valley Authority will transition the Cumberland City plant from coal power to natural gas. Dorothy’s neighbor, Bob Baird, told WTVF he has deep concerns about living that close to the pipeline. “Our house and our area’s within the explosion zone,” Baird, who has lived in his house for nearly a decade, told WTVF… “When these neighbors say they have safety concerns, it’s because some of them have seen it with their own eyes. “We looked out our front window, and we could see the blaze and the smoke,” said told WTVF. Richard Honeycutt remembers March 16, 1992 better than most. “We couldn’t get within a half-mile of it because it was so large,” the longtime firefighter told WTVG.  He was one of many local firefighters battling a 400-acre inferno in Claylick, Tennessee that injured five people and damaged several homes. It was sparked by a natural gas pipeline explosion. “We lost a lot of houses we couldn’t never even put water on because we couldn’t get close to them,” Honeycutt told WTVF… “It was just really upsetting,” Dorothy told WTVF. “I don’t want to move, but I’m scared to live here with the pipeline.” This is why these neighbors may spend even more time together figuring out a way to fight off this pipeline… “Meanwhile, environmental groups like Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club are planning monthly meetings to get feedback from the community.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Chamber Of Commerce Urges Congress To Pass Permitting Bill
Emma Duman, 1/13/23

“Those who want to try again this year on overhauling the nation’s permitting approval process for energy projects have a powerful, vocal ally. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘State of American Business’ event, President and CEO Suzanne Clark made a forceful pitch for Congress to take up the issue with expediency, naming it among the business community’s top legislative priorities for 2023,” E&E News reports. “‘It’s time to start building, so here is one essential, transformational thing Congress could do right away to unlock the potential: Pass meaningful permitting reform,’ Clark said in a speech yesterday. ‘Right now, the process is broken and it’s blocking progress. Pass permitting reform and make it possible to build. Make it feasible for businesses to invest. Make it affordable to start and finish projects. Make the approval process faster than the construction timeline.’ Clark said there was ‘bipartisan agreement’ for such an undertaking. ‘Now, we need bipartisan action,’ she added.”

E&E News: Names circulating for vacant FERC spot
Miranda Willson, Brian Dabbs, 1/17/23

“The top attorney at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and an energy adviser for House Democrats are among the candidates in the running for an open seat at FERC, according to several people familiar with the process,” E&E News reports. “Matthew Christiansen, who is general counsel at FERC and previously served as legal adviser to former Chair Richard Glick, is under consideration for the vacant spot at the commission. Rick Kessler, a senior Democratic adviser for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is also under consideration or may be eyeing the job, sources who asked not to be named because the nomination process is still ongoing told E&E… “Whoever is nominated could be selected specifically to serve as the permanent chair. In a statement earlier this month, a White House official said Phillips would hold the job of chair “until we are able to nominate and confirm a permanent chair.” “…It’s possible that the White House could nominate both a Democratic chair and Republican commissioner to replace Danly. Doing so could help smooth out the confirmation process before the Senate, Gasteiger of the Wires Group told E&E.”

InsideClimate News: EPA Moves Away From Permian Air Pollution Crackdown
Martha Pskowski, Dylan Baddour, 1/13/23

“Federal authorities have stepped back from a proposal to address high levels of air pollution from the oil fields of West Texas and New Mexico,” InsideClimate News reports. “Last summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it was considering designating the Permian Basin—the nation’s top-producing oil patch and one of the largest single sources of carbon emissions on Earth—in violation of ozone standards, which would have required substantial reforms in local oil and gas operations. But the proposal was moved to a backburner in the agency’s annual agenda issued last week, reclassified from “active” to “pending,” first reported by Bloomberg News… “It marks a win for the oil sector, which pushed hard against the EPA proposal, saying it would decrease production and cost jobs… “Despite promising steep, rapid cuts in carbon emissions, Biden has overseen a buildout of oil and gas export capacity, a surge in U.S. shale production and increased drilling on federal lands. While the administration has proposed much-needed regulations, major concessions to the fossil fuel sector “contradict their commitment to stave off climate change,” Robin Schneider, director of the Texas Campaign for the Environment, told ICN… “If the Permian Basin were designated as such, state regulators in Texas and New Mexico would be required to produce plans for ozone reduction. When EPA floated that idea last year, the Texas Oil and Gas Association called it an “attempt to undermine domestic production” that would kill jobs and threaten American security.” 

STATE UPDATES

The Hill: Wyoming lawmakers propose ban on electric vehicle sales
LAUREN SFORZA, 1/16/23

“A group of GOP Wyoming state lawmakers want to end electric vehicle sales there by 2035, saying the move will help safeguard the oil and gas industries,” The Hill reports. “The measure, introduced to the state legislature on Friday, was sponsored by six state legislators, who said in it that electric vehicles will hinder Wyoming’s ability to trade with other states. The bill states that citizens and industries would be encouraged not to purchase electric vehicles before the ban goes into effect. “The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce,” the bill reads… “Fifteen other states, meanwhile, including New York and California, have moved to ban gas-powered vehicle sales. The last clause of the bill instructs Wyoming’s secretary of state to send a copy of the bill to the California governor, who has backed his state’s ban on gas-powered vehicles throughout his governorship.”

Allegheny Front: PA. NATURAL GAS PLANT EXPLOSION UNDER INVESTIGATION IN WASHINGTON COUNTY
REID FRAZIER, 1/13/23

“The Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a Christmas Day explosion at a natural gas processing plant in Washington County,” Allegheny Front 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… “According to DEP records, it’s had problems in its short life. In 2021, the company was cited by the state for “failure to prevent visible emissions into the atmosphere” during a March 2021 inspection. The company agreed to a civil penalty of $15,550 later that year… “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 AF 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 AF. “Can we get a handle on this before the new one comes in?”

E&E News: Road To Truck Crude Through Utah Canyon Sparks Local Fight
Heather Richards, 1/12/23

“A canyon road famous for ancient Native American art in northern Utah is the latest battleground in a fight over transporting crude oil out of the beehive state’s Uinta Basin,” E&E News reports. “The Bureau of Land Management is considering a proposal to widen and pave a dirt track south of Duchesne, Utah, that leads into an already paved route through Nine Mile Canyon, sometimes called the world’s longest art gallery for its roughly 10,000 images carved or painted on the canyon’s walls. That additional road, roughly 5 miles through state and federal land, would greatly increase heavy truck traffic in the rural county, and that’s prompted a snarl of perspectives, from local environmentalists championing Indigenous history on federal lands to supporters of the economic benefit of the local oil industry, to those worried about the expensive wear and tear of heavy traffic. ‘You’re going to destroy and affect a lot of cultural resources,’ Layne Miller, a member of the City Council in Price, Utah, which depends on the tourism draw of Nine Mile, told E&E. ‘This is a road that shouldn’t be paved.’ The conflict is the second proposal to carry crude through the rocky region. Industry is looking to build an expensive railroad to haul crude, but with that ambition delayed by critics, lawsuits and permitting, supporters see the road spur project traversing public lands as a backup.”

EXTRACTION

Grist: The secretive legal weapon that fossil fuel interests use against climate-conscious countries
Lois Parshley, 1/17/23

“For over a decade, debate has raged over the Keystone XL pipeline project, which aimed to transport Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico,” Grist reports. “…However, the energy company backing the project didn’t take no for an answer: TransCanada soon sued the U.S. for $15 billion dollars — the future expected profits it claimed the pipeline would have earned, in addition to the $3.1 billion it had already invested in the project. The company was able to do so because the North American Free Trade Agreement, the treaty known as NAFTA that the U.S. signed with Canada and Mexico in 1994, included a clause about something called an investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS — a closed-door legal process that’s an often overlooked, but increasingly urgent, hurdle to addressing climate change. ISDS mechanisms are included in many other bilateral and international trade agreements, allowing a country to be sued by investors from other member countries if it takes any subsequent actions that adversely affect those investments… “Corporations’ ability to threaten this kind of financial liability is creating growing problems for countries looking to tackle climate change and restrict fossil fuel extraction, Kyla Tienhaara, the Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment at Queen’s University in Ontario, told Grist. It’s far from the only recent example: Take Italy, which banned oil drilling within 12 nautical miles of its coast only to be sued by the UK-based oil company Rockhopper, which had hoped to develop a near-shore oilfield at Ombrina Mare, off the coast of Abruzzo. This summer, an international tribunal authorized to adjudicate investor-state disputes ordered the Italian government to compensate the firm $210 million pounds. Tienhaara and her colleagues recently published a study in the peer-reviewed academic journal Science finding that global efforts to limit new oil and gas developments could generate as much as $340 billion in legal claims from fossil fuel investors seeking to recoup their losses.” 

Financial Post: Activist investor Elliott poised to get fourth Suncor board seat as company continues to underperform
Meghan Potkins, 1/16/23

“Activist investor Elliott Investment Management LP appears poised to add a fourth member to Suncor Energy Inc.’s board of directors after the oilsands major underperformed its peers in the second half of 2022, triggering a clause in last year’s peace agreement between Elliott and Suncor,” the Financial Post reports. “…Suncor entered into the agreement with Elliott after the Wall Street firm publicly called for a shakeup at the company over its lagging share price performance, missed production targets and poor safety record in recent years, including at least 12 fatalities since 2014… “Suncor underperformed the peer average by approximately 15 per cent for the period outlined in its agreement with Elliott… “Elliott may be particularly interested in the outcome of Suncor’s ongoing search for a new CEO to replace Mark Little. Little announced he was resigning on July 8, the day after a contract worker was killed at the company’s base plant mine north of Fort McMurray — Suncor’s fifth workplace fatality since 2020.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

News From the States: Study: States that limit business with banks that ‘boycott’ fossil fuels could pay high cost
Casey Quinlan, 1/12/23

“Republican state policymakers’ efforts to boost fossil fuels by prohibiting their governments from doing business with companies that take sustainability into consideration has the potential to cost states millions, according to a study released Thursday,” News From the States reports. “Researchers looked specifically at the possible effects on Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and West Virginia if they passed Texas-like legislation limiting investment options on municipal bonds and found it could cost them between $264 and $708 million in additional interest payments. The study noted that the states had not passed such broad legislation… “Republican policymakers refer to ESG as the “boycotting” of energy companies and argue that the investment funds are following a liberal agenda that hurts jobs… “With Texas leading the way as the first state to enact anti-ESG laws, the study’s authors assumed passage of similar laws and the same bond market restrictions in the six states they chose to examine. They used data on municipal bond transactions from January 2017 to April 2022 and looked at changes in Texas bonds “that occurred during the last 12 months of the period which corresponded to the implementation of the new laws.” The six were chosen because they had had more debate about anti-ESG bills and administrative action on ESG issues. The Wharton study found that Texas paid higher interest rates because of less competition after major banks were forced from the state. Similarly, the Econsult study found that interest costs for its six states could balloon if they underwent Texas-like changes that influenced municipal bonds in addition to state actions… “That is a burden on every taxpayer — every teacher, every elder citizen in those states,” Rothstein told NFS. “That obviously doesn’t help anyone. It’s just higher interest costs, and that is because of having less bankers being able to bid for that work. That is one of the risks. And in addition, they’re also not going to be considering climate risk.”

Associated Press: Missouri may require disclosure in ‘sustainable’ ESG investing
Joe Millitzer, 1/12/23

“There are some people who want to limit their investments to “sustainable” companies that address climate change, have certain social relationships, and deal with corporate governance. The concept is called environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing,” the Associated Press reports. “Missouri Secretary Jay Ashcroft would like investment advisors and brokers in the state to disclose if they are using this strategy with clients. His office says that the rule would help expose the use of investment strategies that “propagate values-based agendas that are not purely focused on generating profit for their clients.” “As many mutual funds, brokerage firms, and robo-advisors now offer investment products that employ ESG principles, this rule establishes parameters that will foster full disclosure and transparency when someone is investing their hard-earned money,” Ashcroft told AP. “We are hopeful the legislature will take the next step and pass laws relating to full disclosure advising.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Insuaga.com: Reducing carbon-related deaths in Burlington the goal of new partnership
Jeffrey Allen, 1/16/23

“A trio of organizations are teaming up with a goal to improve home safety and bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero in Burlington,” Insuaga.com reports. “Enbridge Gas, the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council and Burlington Fire Department have started the Safe Community Project Zero, a public education campaign that is providing alarms to residents in 50 municipalities across Ontario. Through this project, the Burlington Fire Department has received 438 combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to distribute in the city. In 2022, Enbridge Gas invested $250,000 in Safe Community Project Zero, and over the past 14 years, the program has provided more than 76,000 alarms to Ontario fire departments.”

OPINION

Globe Gazette: Letter to the Editor: Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline official responds
Rod Dillon, Director of Regulatory Compliance, Summit Carbon Solutions, 1/12/23

“Over the past year, there has been a fair amount of discussion around carbon capture, transportation, and storage projects like Summit Carbon Solutions, including some recent comments by the local political parties. Given that debate, it’s important from our perspective to separate fact from fiction,” Rod Dillion writes for the Globe Gazette. “First, landowners across Iowa and the Midwest are embracing this project. That is evident by the fact that 2,400 landowners have signed 3,800 easement agreements with Summit Carbon Solutions accounting for 57% of the proposed route… “Without carbon capture projects, it is going to be challenging to say the least for ethanol producers to remain competitive in the years and decades to come… “Several opponents have cited an incident related to a pipeline breach in Mississippi… “The gas in this incident contained other gases and vapors besides carbon dioxide (CO2) such as Hydrogen Sulfide, which is highly toxic and flammable. CO2 is nonexplosive, nonflammable, and cannot ignite or burn. CO2 is colorless and odorless. Witnesses to the Mississippi incident described a ‘greenish cloud’ and a ‘foul rotten egg smell.’ The CO2 that will be carried by the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline will be upwards of 98% pure CO2. PHMSA had issued an advisory bulletin concerning the potential for earth movement and other geological hazards – what caused the pipeline to break in Mississippi… “Let’s continue to have this debate, but focus more on facts moving forward.”

Financial Post: Dale Swampy: Ottawa’s climate policy will prolong Indigenous poverty
Dale Swampy, a member of the Samson Cree Nation, is president of the National Coalition of Chiefs, 1/17/23

“Canada’s latest Environment and Climate Change report to the United Nations, submitted at the end of December, fails Canada’s Indigenous people yet again, consigning us to poverty, wiping out our path to prosperity and blocking our ability to bring traditional knowledge and wisdom to bear on protecting the land,” Dale Swampy writes for the Financial Post. “… The oil and gas industry in particular takes great strides to protect the land, water and air — reducing GHG emissions intensity and fresh water use and investing heavily in clean technology like carbon capture and storage (CCS) in its attempt to reach net zero by 2050… “Engaging in proven solutions would have a more meaningful impact than instead chasing idealism that will beggar our economy and hurt people from coast to coast. The responsible development and use of oil and gas underpin the global economy… “Wiping out the industry in Canada — which is what the “Just Transition” aims to achieve — will do nothing to reduce global emissions or demand.Canada’s First Nations now have historic involvement with the energy industry… “The Canadian government talks a lot about reconciliation. A huge part of actually acting on reconciliation is allowing Canada’s First Nations to prosper while contributing our knowledge to solving the climate challenge. The current government plan doesn’t do that.”

Natural Gas World: FROM THE EDITOR: BIG GAS PIPELINES ARE AN ANACHRONISM
ROSS MCCRACKEN, 1/17/23

“Forget trans-national pipelines. The ability of LNG to deliver globally will become even more important as the energy transition progresses at different speeds around the world,” Ross McCracken writes for Natural Gas World. “If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the upending of gas exports to Europe have taught both sides anything, it is that big trans-national gas pipelines can be a hostage to fortune. They are notoriously difficult projects. Huge amounts of time, energy and capital are required for projects which sometimes never even get built. Even if the resources backing a successfully completed pipeline are large, the production and delivery of gas depend on policy and politics at both ends of the pipeline, and in between, if the pipeline passes through transit countries, throughout its lifetime…”

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