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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/20/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 20, 2023



  • Inforum: Sen. Jeff Magrum files 8 bills related to Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: Judge set to decide whether pipeline trespassing case will proceed

  • Argus Media: FERC chair seeks consensus on new pipeline policy

  • S&P Global: Alberta pursuing ‘corridors’ to coasts for new access to crude markets: energy minister

  • CBC: RCMP, Coastal GasLink deny conspiring to intimidate, harass Wet’suwet’en members


  • Politico: All Natural

  • Washington Post: Delays plague Biden’s push for rapid action on climate change

  • New York Times: In Davos, a Skirmish Over the Role of Oil States at Climate Talks


  • San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area regulators look to impose sweeping ban on new natural gas water heaters, furnaces

  • PBS: Suncor’s temporary shutdown brings sense of relief for some nearby residents


  • Bloomberg: Oil Firms Eye $11 Billion Canada Fund to Match Biden’s Subsidies

  • National Observer: BP plots oil exploration program on Canada’s East Coast

  • Reuters: Canadian province and First Nations reach Montney shale play deal

  • CTV: Natural gas bills noticeably higher for some residents in Ottawa


  • Fort Frances Times: Enbridge and Fort Frances Fire Rescue team up for Project Zero

  • Enbridge Donates Nearly 300 Carbon Monoxide Alarms to Woodstock Fire Department


  • Bend Bulletin: Biden’s FERC shouldn’t pump more Canadian fracked gas into the Northwest

  • Globe and Mail: Dispute over Ottawa’s Just Transition to become the top issue in Alberta election

  • Toronto Star: Will Danielle Smith find a use for the Sovereignty Act — fighting Trudeau’s oilsands plan?

  • Food & Water Watch: Direct Air Capture: 5 Things You Need to Know About This Climate Scam


Inforum: Sen. Jeff Magrum files 8 bills related to Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline
Jeff Beach, 1/18/23

“The controversial Summit Carbon Solutions carbon capture pipeline has spawned at least eight bills in the North Dakota Legislature,” Inforum reports. “Two of the eight bills are directly related to the percentage of voluntary easements from property owners that would be required to obtain a pipeline permit in North Dakota. Others are related to private property access by surveyors and underground storage space… “The bills are: SB 2209: Requires 85% of landowners to provide a voluntary easement to obtain right of eminent domain. Counties could set a higher standard. SB 2212 : Removes carbon capture pipelines from being granted the right of eminent domain even if granted common carrier status. SB 2228: Requires 100% consent for underground carbon dioxide storage from the owners of the pore space, eliminating eminent domain. SB 2251 : Survey crews must obtain written permission from property owners. (There are currently multiple lawsuits involving Summit and surveyor access.) SB 2310 : If a person prevails against the state in a court hearing, (as in a surveyor access case) they are entitled to be reimbursed for court costs. SB 2313 : If property is taken by eminent domain, a court must increase the award by 33%. SB 2314: Requires a public hearing in each county where the pipeline company is seeking common carrier status. SB 2317 : Requires 85% of landowners to consent to underground storage space. Counties could set a higher standard… “He told Inforum part of the reason he filed the bills is to give people a chance to testify about the pipeline project. He blames Summit Carbon Solutions for a lot of the pushback against the pipeline, “just because they don’t know how to treat landowners.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Judge set to decide whether pipeline trespassing case will proceed

“There is no evidence a carbon dioxide pipeline surveyor accused of trespassing knew that he was not welcome to do the work on a Dickinson County farm, and the criminal charge against him should be dismissed, his attorney said this week,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “A district court judge is poised to decide whether the trespassing charge against Stephen James Larsen, 28, of Arlington, South Dakota, should proceed to trial. Alan Ostergren, a Des Moines attorney who represents Larsen, has requested that the case be dismissed. Larsen’s trial was delayed while District Associate Judge Shawna Ditsworth considers the request… “The surveys by Summit and Navigator CO2 Ventures are also the subject of a handful of civil lawsuits the companies have filed against landowners. Those suits seek injunctions to force the surveys, potentially with the help of law enforcement officers. The trespassing charge against Larsen was lodged because another Summit surveyor had been previously turned away from the Dickinson County property and told not to return, and because the landowners and tenant had rejected certified mailings that were meant to give notice of the survey. Dickinson County Attorney Steven Goodlow said in a court filing a week ago that Summit should have obtained an injunction before trying to survey the land again… “It’s unclear when Judge Ditsworth will rule on the motion to dismiss the case.”

Argus Media: FERC chair seeks consensus on new pipeline policy
Chris Knight, 1/19/23

“The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will try to find a way to move forward with a stalled update to a decades-old policy for permitting natural gas infrastructure, the agency’s new acting chairman said,” Argus Media reports. “FERC needs to move forward with a pipeline policy “that has stakeholder buy-in,” that is sustainable and that will allow for the approval of projects needed for the reliability of the natural gas delivery system, chairman Willie Phillips told Argus… “I think it is important to have durable policies come out, so I am focused on working with our colleagues to build consensus,” Phillips told Argus after his first FERC meeting serving as acting chairman. FERC last updated its permitting policy in 1999, a decade before the shale boom fueled a massive buildout of gas infrastructure and a corresponding blowback from landowners and environmentalists. The agency first started reconsidering the policy in 2018, under a Republican chairman, but the measure stalled… “Phillips has yet to say what type of pipeline policy he wants FERC to adopt. But he told Argus a focus on reliability and environmental justice would guide his approach to all issues at the agency. And he indicated that he was prepared to move forward with changes to the pipeline policy, even if FERC is not operating with its full complement of five commissioners.”

S&P Global: Alberta pursuing ‘corridors’ to coasts for new access to crude markets: energy minister
Ashok Dutta, 1/19/23

“The Alberta government is working on creating “economic corridors” to the Canadian and Alaskan coasts to further market access for its landlocked oil and natural gas resources and to circumvent regulatory hurdles blocking new pipelines, according to Pete Guthrie, the province’s energy minister,” S&P Global reports. “The corridors will have pre-approval for rail, utilities and crude oil and gas pipelines, Guthrie told S&P. While in early stages of discussions, the planned pathways are an “important piece we have on our platform” to provide additional egress for Alberta’s oil and gas producers, he told S&P. Alberta’s Department of Transportation has taken the lead on this initiative and consultations have already started with neighboring provinces British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and with First Nations communities and stakeholders, he told S&P… “Potentially, the corridors could be built from the Edmonton heartland to the port of Kitimat, British Columbia, for markets in Asia and to the port of Churchill, Manitoba, and even Alaska for markets in Europe, he told S&P. “The planned corridors could as an example be a 10 km-wide swathe where we have pre-approval to do work,” Guthrie told S&P. “If we can go out and do a bunch of the leg work, we can let producers/shippers know about their access points for investment.” “…Two major proposed pipelines — the 1.1 million b/d Energy East and the 550,000 b/d Northern Gateway — were cancelled as they did not receive federal government approval.” 

CBC: RCMP, Coastal GasLink deny conspiring to intimidate, harass Wet’suwet’en members
Brett Forester, 1/12/23

“The RCMP denies it conspired with a natural gas pipeline builder and a private security firm in a campaign designed to harass Wet’suwet’en people off their unceded territory in northern British Columbia, court filings say,” the CBC reports. “The RCMP, Coastal GasLink and Forsythe Security, named as defendants in a lawsuit three Wet’suwet’en members launched last June, all deny the allegations. The $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project is designed to carry fracked natural gas to a $40-billion LNG terminal in Kitimat, B.C., for export to Asia. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have consent to cross their territory… “The minister’s 17-page response, filed after a months-long delay, says the RCMP acted “reasonably” and within the bounds of a court-ordered injunction prohibiting interference with the project.  Police increased enforcement after an “escalation of unlawful activity” that included a violent February 2022 incident involving mask-wearing, axe-wielding assailants at a pipeline construction site, the filing says… “Police announced no arrests since then… “Plaintiffs Janet Williams, Lawrence Bazil and Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham) allege the defendants used intimidation, harassment, invasions of privacy, seizure of private property and unlawful detention in a bid to suppress law-abiding, constitutionally protected activity… “While the pipeline builder denies it harmed Sleydo’ and the other plaintiffs, the filing says if any damages were caused, “those damages were only suffered as a result of the plaintiffs being abnormally sensitive, and would not have been suffered by an average person.” “…The notice of claim alleges Forsythe routinely shared information, video footage and pictures with the Mounties in a joint effort to target the plaintiffs and visitors to the sites.” 


Politico: All Natural 

“The Biden administration on Thursday is unveiling its plans to assess the economic value of nature in a federal effort that could reshape how agencies determine the financial worth of maintaining ecosystems, land, water and wildlife,” Politico reports. “The White House says that economic growth and activity statistics currently overlook the role natural assets play, leaving blind spots for what the nation loses when development erodes nature, or the gains from maintaining it. The endeavor to update national economic accounting statistics will take multiple years, the White House said in a document outlining the strategy, but ‘will lead to more inclusive and forward-looking conversations about ‘the economy.’ The updated statistics will inform federal policymaking and regulations by giving a more holistic account of economic impact from decisions that affect natural systems. The push reflects growing research around the economic effects of biodiversity loss — Boston Consulting Group estimates the world in recent years has lost $5 trillion in economic activity due to declining natural capital. It also seeks to assign monetary benefits for maintaining natural systems, such as wetlands that both reduce flood damage and spending on physical structures to prevent losses.”

Washington Post: Delays plague Biden’s push for rapid action on climate change
Timothy Puko, 1/19/23

“Mounting delays threaten to undercut President Biden’s climate agenda, worrying activists and lawmakers who say the president might miss a narrow window to make vital progress on the nation’s ambitious goals,” the Washington Post reports. “The delays, which affect everything from the vehicles Americans drive to the power plants that light their homes, are raising concerns on whether the Biden administration can finalize enduring actions on climate before the end of the president’s first term. Tens of millions of Americans have a stake in the outcome, since these rules will influence what powers the nation’s economy — fossil fuels or renewable energy. Experts project that the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act will help the president’s cause considerably — cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by up to 42 percent by the end of the decade compared to 2005 levels. But further actions will be needed to meet America’s pledge to cut its total emissions in half by 2030, analysts told the Post. These include more restrictions on coal-fired power and tailpipe emissions, and higher efficiency standards on heavy industry and home appliances… “A convergence of obstacles is contributing to the delays, including staff shortages and concerns that federal courts could reverse any ambitious climate rules… “Many environmental rules draw lawsuits that linger for months. If Biden doesn’t win reelection, a new president could pass on defending the new rules in court and ultimately vacate them. They could try to roll them back at the agencies, too. The biggest threat may be from the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to scrap any regulation within 60 legislative days of its finalization by a simple majority vote. It would give Republicans a relatively quick way to erase rules they don’t like if they were to take control of both chambers in 2024. Because many rule changes can take a year or more to complete, that means any proposals that haven’t come yet must come soon, potentially within a few weeks. Many rules that don’t get completed until late 2024 would potentially face revocation under that law.”

New York Times: In Davos, a Skirmish Over the Role of Oil States at Climate Talks
David Gelles, 1/19/23

“John Kerry on Thursday offered a full-throated defense of the decision to hold this year’s United Nations climate talks in the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s largest oil producers, suggesting the Gulf state was rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels and would not compromise the integrity of the negotiations,” the New York Times reports. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” Mr. Kerry, President Biden’s special climate envoy, said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum… “Mr. Kerry has worked closely with Mr. Al Jaber for years and called him a “good friend,” adding that he believed the oil executive “would be a very serious and focused interlocutor on this.” “…There’s an advantage to having a petrostate that is actually in the forefront of some of these cutting edge initiatives,” Mr. Kerry told the Times. “I think the U.A.E. is serious about it.” Hours after Mr. Kerry spoke, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, appeared in Davos and assailed the choice. “Lobbyists have been influencing these conferences since basically forever and this puts a very clear face to it,” she said at a news conference, wearing the muddy boots she had on when she was detained by the police while protesting a coal mine in Germany on Tuesday. “It’s completely ridiculous.” “…Former Vice President Al Gore, speaking at the main Davos conference and at side events, also lent his support to the activists. “The appearance of a conflict of interest undermines confidence at a time when climate activists around the world, and I’m partly speaking for them right here on this stage, have come to the conclusion that the people in authority are not doing their job,” a fiery Mr. Gore said in a panel discussion on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of ‘blah blah blah,’ as Greta says, there are a lot of words, and there are some meaningful commitments. But we are still failing badly.” “We cannot let the oil companies and gas companies and petrostates tell us what is permissible,” Mr. Gore added.


San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area regulators look to impose sweeping ban on new natural gas water heaters, furnaces
Dustin Gardiner, 1/18/23

“The environmental push to stop the use of natural gas in homes may have become the latest splinter in America’s culture wars, but that hasn’t stopped Bay Area officials from aiming to be at the forefront of the movement,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Air-quality regulators for the region are considering adopting a pair of rules that would effectively ban the sale of new water heaters and furnaces that run on natural gas in less than a decade. The rules would apply to Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, along with the southern portions of Solano and Sonoma counties. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s board is expected to vote on the proposal at its March 15 meeting. If it approves the rules, they would be the most sweeping regulations of their kind in the country, proponents said… “Proponents of the rule said it’s a matter of public health because natural gas combustion appliances create pollution from nitrogen oxide, or NOx, ozone and particulate emissions, which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Adopting the regulations would prevent an estimated 37 to 85 premature deaths and about 110 new cases of asthma per year in the Bay Area, according to the air district’s analysis.”

PBS: Suncor’s temporary shutdown brings sense of relief for some nearby residents
Elle Naef, Jeremy Moore, 1/17/23

“Lucy Molina’s home is a busy one,” PBS reports. “…She does that on purpose,” Molina’s nephew Elijah told PBS, referencing the abundance of greenery, “because the plants help us breathe better.” “…The “deadly neighbor” Molina references is the oil refinery in Commerce City built nearly a century ago, in 1931. Currently owned and operated by Calgary-based Suncor Energy, the plant is temporarily shut down. On Christmas Eve, a fire broke out at the refinery, caused by a chemical reaction upon the release of vapors. Two employees were sent to the hospital for burns… “Suncor says that according to their “safety above all else” value, they decided to shut down the facility and put it on “safe mode” (reduced feedstock,de-pressurized equipment), while inspecting and repairing damage. They say they’re on track to be back in full operation by sometime in March… “It’s a big deal because at least someone like me dealing with the health impacts and the people dying all around me, it is like, wow, this could be like the three months of the beginning of the future?” Molina mused… “And while it is unknown if the oil refinery is solely to blame for some of the poor health Molina’s family and neighbors have experienced, state data show that people near the refinery are at a higher risk of exposure to cancer-causing toxic air chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde. The data also show that neighborhoods close to the Suncor facility are in some of the highest percentiles when it comes to asthma hospitalizations… “Suncor has not yet responded to questions regards to the long-term health impacts of people living near the refinery, nor their contributions (if any) to help offset the impact on low-income, marginalized communities.” 


Bloomberg: Oil Firms Eye $11 Billion Canada Fund to Match Biden’s Subsidies
Brian Platt and Robert Tuttle, 1/19/23

“Oil-sands companies see a chance to secure a steady stream of government aid as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledges to keep Canada competitive with the massive clean-energy subsidies on offer in the US,” Bloomberg reports. “Firms including Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc. are seeking a chunk of the C$15 billion ($11.1 billion) Canada Growth Fund, unveiled in the government’s 2022 budget, to help fund large-scale carbon capture plans that would reduce emissions from extracting the country’s heavy oil.  Trudeau has already put forward a tax incentive for building carbon capture projects, but Canada still faces a gap in matching the production tax credits contained in the US Inflation Reduction Act. The legislation signed by President Joe Biden last summer, in effect, provides an annual operating subsidy for carbon-capture systems. “We’ve got a very tilted playing field in North America at the moment,” Derek Evans, chief executive officer of MEG Energy Corp., told Bloomberg, warning that Canada risks losing out on investment and jobs… “Pathways President Kendall Dilling told Bloomberg comparable de-carbonization plans in Europe and the US get two-thirds of their funding from public sources in order to get the projects “moving ahead in a way that’s sustainable and reasonable from a corporate private investment perspective.” Under those proportions, the oil-sands producers are seeking C$16 billion in state aid — some of which has already been pledged by Trudeau. Last April’s budget set aside more than C$7 billion for the carbon-capture investment tax credit through 2030. Other federal programs, such as the C$8 billion Net Zero Accelerator, could be used for equipment costs. And there is also potential support from Alberta’s provincial government. That means Canada is already close to matching the US on capital cost incentives, Mark Cameron, head of external relations for Pathways, told Bloomberg. “Where there’s a real gap is on the operating cost side,” he added, with money from the Canada Growth Fund as the possible solution… “Climate-change activists, some of whom helped propel Trudeau to power in 2015, are critical of the prime minister’s receptiveness to the industry’s overtures on carbon capture.  “The government is betting big on a speculative technology” but “doesn’t spend much on real climate solutions” such as renewable energy, Julia Levin, a spokeswoman for Environmental Defence, told Bloomberg. “That ultimately doesn’t move us away from oil and gas.”

National Observer: BP plots oil exploration program on Canada’s East Coast

“Last year, fossil fuel giant BP left the oilsands to dive into Canada’s offshore market, and is now set to explore a new region on the East Coast it hopes holds up to five billion barrels of oil,” the National Observer reports. “About 400 kilometres off Newfoundland’s coast, BP is planning to drill its first exploration well at a site called the Cape Freels prospect this summer. Industry publication recently ranked Cape Freels fourth in its top five projects around the world to “shake up the market” this year. According to documents filed with the federal-provincial regulator, BP wants to launch a full exploration drilling program, testing several sites across three exploration licences. The area BP wants to explore overlaps with a protected zone spanning more than 55,000 square kilometres. It is known as the Northeast Newfoundland Slope Closure, which Fisheries and Oceans Canada notes has “high concentrations” of corals and sponges that provide important habitats for other species. All bottom-contact fishing is banned in the region to protect biodiversity. BP says it will study the site to reduce “potential adverse environmental effects on corals and sponges” but can’t eliminate those risks… “The largest oil spill in U.S. history came from BP’s Deepwater Horizon project, which was an exploration well. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the 2010 spill, which killed 11 people, “likely harmed or killed about 82,000 birds of 102 species; about 6,165 sea turtles; as many as 25,900 marine mammals; and a vast (but unknown) number of fish — from the great bluefin tuna to our nation’s smallest seahorse — plus oysters, crabs, corals and other creatures.”

Reuters: Canadian province and First Nations reach Montney shale play deal
Nia Williams, 1/18/23

“The Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.) announced a land, water and resource management agreement with the Blueberry River First Nations Indigenous group on Wednesday that will restart development in the vast Montney shale play, but also limit new oil and gas activity,” Reuters reports. “New well licenses in B.C.’s Montney have been frozen since June 2021, when a landmark B.C. Supreme Court decision ruled in favour of a Blueberry River claim that decades of industrial development had damaged their traditional territory. Since then the province and First Nations, in the region have been negotiating a different resource development approach in the 38,000-kilometre (23,612 miles) swathe of land that lies in the heart of Canada’s top gas-producing play… “The deal includes a new planning regime for future oil and gas development, an annual 750-hectare (1853-acre) cap on new land that oil and gas activity can disturb and protection from resource development for more than 650,000 hectares of land that is highly valued by Blueberry River. There is no limit on oil and gas production or activity on land that has already been disturbed… “Blueberry River will receive an C$87.5 million ($64.84 million) financial package over three years, with an opportunity for increased benefits from oil and gas revenue-sharing and provincial royalty revenues in the next two fiscal years.”

CTV: Natural gas bills noticeably higher for some residents in Ottawa
Dave Charbonneau, 1/19/23

“Natural gas prices in Ottawa seem to be skyrocketing, leaving many residents in shock as they receive their bills from Enbridge Gas,” CTV reports. “Tamara Mason, a resident and Enbridge customer, was one of many who were surprised to see a significant increase in the monthly bill. “So when I got my bill, I thought, ‘what the heck?'” Mason told CTV. “In December, it was $198. And my new bill, my bill now is $251.81.” Mason has lived in her house for almost nine years and says she has never broken the $200 mark for her gas bill, until now. Her bill has gone up 27 per cent from December, and 35 per cent in the past year… “Enbridge Gas spokesperson Andrea Strass says the war in Ukraine is putting pressure on worldwide prices and demand in North America has gone up.”


Globe and Mail: Shareholder advocates take aim at climate plans as proxy season begins

“Metro Inc. says it’s serious about addressing climate change. It has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 per cent from 2020 levels by 2035 – and that’s just one of the ways the Quebec-based grocery and drugstore chain is planning to deal with a threat it calls a systemic risk to society and the economy,” the Globe and Mail reports. “But one investor advocacy group says Metro’s moves fall short, and that the grocer has not provided the necessary detail to show it can achieve what it is touting. That group, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education, or SHARE, has put a proposal on the ballot for Metro’s annual meeting this month that calls for an “enterprise-wide climate action plan” rich with details and timelines that outline how the company intends to meet science-based emissions targets. Metro is the first among several companies whose climate policies SHARE is targeting during the 2023 proxy season. Chief among its aims is to get companies to beef up their pronouncements with solid climate action plans. The group, which represents investors that control $90-billion of assets, has published a guide that sets out what kind of disclosure investors should expect when it comes to the climate commitments of publicly traded businesses. Companies in virtually all sectors have announced they will reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement, but many have not set interim goals or shown how they will achieve them through adjustments to capital spending. This raises questions about their credibility, Shannon Rohan, SHARE’s chief strategy officer, told the Mail.  “When you dig a little bit deeper, you’re seeing some misalignment in terms of current company practices,” Ms. Rohan told the Mail. “We’re trying to cut through that greenwashing and really move to understand what is a meaningful climate action plan by a company. The guide really gives investors the tools to dig into that and to be able to understand the difference.”


Fort Frances Times: Enbridge and Fort Frances Fire Rescue team up for Project Zero

“One death due to carbon monoxide is too much for the Fort Frances Fire Rescue Service and Enbridge Gas,” the Fort Frances Times reports. “This week, the two organizations entered into a partnership to improve home safety and bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero. The Fort Frances Fire Rescue Service received 156 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. This year, 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.” Enbridge Donates Nearly 300 Carbon Monoxide Alarms to Woodstock Fire Department
Brad Kraemer, 1/19/23

“At a special announcement this morning between the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council, the Woodstock Fire Department, and Enbridge Gas, the donation was made as part of Enbridge’s goal to bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero,” reports. “Enbridge Gas is Canada’s largest natural gas company, and their Safe Community Project Zero is a public education campaign that will provide more than 8000 alarms to residents in 50 municipalities across Ontario. Enbridge has invested $250,000 into Project Zero this year alone. They have also provided more than 76,000 alarms to Ontario fire departments over the past decade and a half.”


Bend Bulletin: Biden’s FERC shouldn’t pump more Canadian fracked gas into the Northwest
Diane Hodiak is executive director of 350 Deschutes and Hannah Sohl is executive director of Rogue Climate, based in Southern Oregon, 1/19/23

“In December, Oregon’s U.S. senators sounded the alarm about a major threat to Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction goals by objecting to the proposed GTN Xpress fracked gas expansion project,” Diane Hodiak and Hannah Sohl write for the Bend Bulletin. “TC Energy, a major builder and operator of pipelines, is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve a plan to push more fracked gas into Central Oregon and surrounding region. Even though stopping this expansion would not stop the existing flow of fossil fuels in the pipeline, the GTN Xpress expansion would represent a huge new commitment to fracked gas and climate-changing pollution… “Joining thousands of people across Washington and Oregon, Senators Merkley and Wyden urged FERC to reject the GTN Xpress project. They argued the GTN Xpress “would risk the safety of frontline communities and the planet for a project that isn’t necessary,” and that “adding fossil gas infrastructure in a region that is rapidly transitioning to renewable energy risks sticking ratepayers with the costs of an underutilized project and it isn’t in the public interest.” Our organizations and the people we work with along the GTN pipeline route agree. TC Energy’s poor safety track record underscores the risks for our region. TC Energy would add compression to the GTN system, pushing more gas through an aging pipeline. In December 2022, the TC Energy-owned Keystone pipeline ruptured in Kansas, releasing 588,000 gallons of crude oil into the environment after TC Energy received federal permission to push more fuel through the pipeline. The GTN pipeline is much older than Keystone. Fracked gas pipelines — particularly large-diameter, high-pressure, pipelines like GTN — pose catastrophic fire and health risks. What if the pipeline exploded on a hot and windy day summer day? With their track record, we shouldn’t trust TC Energy to put even more high-pressure gas in an old pipeline… “ It’s time for FERC to listen — and reject GTN Xpress.”

Globe and Mail: Dispute over Ottawa’s Just Transition to become the top issue in Alberta election
Kelly Cryderman, 1/19/23

“The federal Liberals’ Just Transition strategy is turning into the 2023 dispute that won’t quit. Both women who would be Alberta premier are saying they will fight the plan,” Kelly Cryderman writes for the Globe and Mail. “And even with mistruths being thrown around regarding a federal briefing note on the matter, the early-this-year timeline for legislation and poor communication on the idea risks turning “standing up to Ottawa” into the number-one campaign issue for Alberta’s coming provincial election… “With legislation set to be introduced early this year, the federal government says it’s a strategy to help workers transition into the jobs of the future. The UCP, on the other hand, says it’s a plan to wind-up Alberta’s oil and gas industry… “But here’s why the UCP narrative on this is compelling to some. Liberal MPs do not represent parts of the country the most heavily invested in oil and gas, or agriculture. The federal government is planning for an ambitious industry-specific oil and gas emissions cap by 2030… “But federal politicians could argue that the timeline for what they see as key legislation can’t be dictated by provincial politics. And perhaps some in Ottawa are thinking in coarse political terms as well, and would rather have a conservative in office in Alberta – as a convenient foil.”

Toronto Star: Will Danielle Smith find a use for the Sovereignty Act — fighting Trudeau’s oilsands plan?
Kieran Leavitt, 1/19/23

“Will Danielle Smith use her Sovereignty Act to try to shield Alberta’s oilsands from federal emissions rules and a “just transition” plan?,” the Toronto Star reports. “It’s a question both in and outside Alberta as a battle looms between the province and Ottawa over imminent environmental legislation. Some say it’s one thing to build yourself a legislative nuke — read: the Sovereignty Act — but another to actually use it… “The latest big test of will-she-or-won’t-she is shaping up to be the federal government’s “just transition” plan. The plan has angered Alberta politicians. Smith says indications are that it would see the forced phase-out of oil and gas jobs in Canada, while observers and the federal government say it’s simply a pathway for workers here to adapt to a world that’s changing… “The premier and her allies have been blasting the plan from the federal government after Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson signalled its rollout was imminent. It comes as Ottawa is also expected to roll out the details around its proposed emissions-cap regulations for the oil and gas industry before year’s end… “However, Smith wouldn’t commit to using the Sovereignty Act when asked about it by reporters… “Smith may be calculating that she can keep her base onside by arguing with Ottawa, while trying to win over more moderate voters who want her to focus more on things like health-care and inflation — all while not pulling out the Sovereignty Act. One hand punches; the other throws up a peace symbol.”

Food & Water Watch: Direct Air Capture: 5 Things You Need to Know About This Climate Scam
Oakley Shelton-Thomas and Mia DiFelice, 1/19/23

“We know that the window is quickly closing for us to slash emissions and avoid climate change’s worst effects. So it’s easy to get excited about direct air capture: technology designed to suck carbon dioxide straight from the atmosphere,” Oakley Shelton-Thomas and Mia DiFelice write for Food & Water Watch. “But oil and gas companies have vested interests in DAC. As a kind of carbon capture and sequestration technology, DAC projects will receive hefty federal tax credits.  Now, DAC boosters are drumming up hype that masks real problems — notably, that direct air capture is a scam that won’t help solve the climate crisis. With time running out on climate change, we can’t waste resources on this dangerous and speculative technology. Here are five reasons why. 1. DAC Wastes Tons of Cash on a Few Drops in the Bucket…Capturing just a quarter of our country’s annual emissions would cost at least $700 billion each year… 2. DAC Emits More Than It Captures…Our research finds that capturing 1 ton of CO2 with fossil-powered DAC would emit the equivalent of 3.5 tons of CO2…3. Carbon Capture Relies on Toxic Solvents…The first, aqueous hydroxide solutions, produce deadly and corrosive chlorine gas, which has been used as a chemical weapon… 4. “Long-Term Storage Solutions” are Super Risky…Ultimately, there’s no guarantee that “sequestered” carbon actually stays sequestered… 5. DAC Projects Subsidize and Power More Drilling: While proponents proclaim DAC will pull our emissions out of the sky, they ignore a key fact: currently, 95% of our country’s captured carbon goes to enhanced oil recovery. This process injects CO2 and other chemicals into wells, to flush out the last dregs of oil… “We don’t need expensive, dangerous technology that doubles as a boon for Big Oil. Funding for a complete transition to renewables would be far more effective and efficient, and more people- and planet-friendly.”

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