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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/25/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 25, 2023

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Bloomberg: 4th Circuit Asked to Nix Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

  • Politico: The next debate on pipeline safety

  • Star Tribune: ‘Carbon Express’ pipeline runs into skepticism in Minnesota farm country

  • Marshall Independent: Farmer, attorney promote carbon pipeline mitigation agreements

  • Moody County Enterprise: Pipeline fight ramps up in Pierre

  • Carbon Herald: Kinder Morgan Announced Carbon Capture Deal With Red Cedar

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • American Petroleum Institute: Biden Administration Must Fix Broken Permitting Process That Prevents U.S. Energy Development

  • Politico: Industry Keeps Up Permitting Push 

  • E&E News: Deal Eyes EPA Air Regs Update For Oil And Gas Producers

  • E&E News: NEPA Lawsuit Targets Large N.M. Lease Sale

  • E&E News: How The White House Found EJ Areas Without Using Race

EXTRACTION

  • Environmental Health News: What happens if the largest owner of oil and gas wells in the US goes bankrupt?

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: Oil and gas companies moving into Permian Basin in $100M string of deals, as region expands

  • Canadian Press: Oilsands execs say they can’t invest in decarbonization any faster, despite profits

  • Bloomberg: Oil-Sands’ Carbon Capture Moonshot Faces Hurdle of Scarce Labor

  • NREL: Hydrogen Blending as a Pathway Toward U.S. Decarbonization

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Latin Finance: TC Energy refinances pipelines in Mexico

  • Reuters: New York pension seek stricter climate emissions rules from bank portfolios

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Dawson Creek Mirror: Kindness Meters generate $3,600 for two Mile Zero non profits

  • Enbridge: United Way 2022 Campaigns: ‘A Safety Net That Catches the Most Vulnerable’

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Bloomberg: 4th Circuit Asked to Nix Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline
1/24/23

“Environmental groups asked the Fourth Circuit during oral arguments Tuesday to toss a key water permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would lead to even more delays for the $6.2 billion project that developers aim to resume constructing this summer,” Bloomberg reports. “The Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, and eight other conservation groups sued the Virginia State Water Control Board, alleging that its approval of a state water protection permit and water quality certification violated the Clean Water Act. Derek Teaney of Appalachian Mountain Advocates, arguing on behalf of the conservation groups, told judges that the state failed to consider practicable alternatives for the stream crossings and disregarded expert critical commentary—rendering the certification arbitrary and capricious… “Wasn’t there some independent analysis required?” Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit asked the state. “Doesn’t look like there was much done here.” “…If the panel vacates the decision and remands it to the agency, it would preclude the Army Corps of Engineers’ ability to issue a CWA discharge permit, and ruin MVP’s plans to put the pipeline into service in 2023. A remand without vacatur or a ruling in favor of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality would keep the company’s 2023 in-service goal within reach… “A similar suit challenging the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s approval of a key water permit is also pending in the Fourth Circuit, and a decision is expected to come shortly. Decisions in both cases have the potential to delay the project.”

Politico: The next debate on pipeline safety
ARIANNA SKIBELL, 1/24/23

“For months, lawmakers have wrestled with how to make it easier to build large energy projects, such as pipelines (a GOP priority) and renewable energy transmission lines (championed by Democrats),” Politico reports. “But now one federal watchdog is asserting that current pipeline safety standards are too lenient, writes POLITICO’s E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan. The National Transportation Safety Board said the formula used to calculate a pipeline’s “potential impact radius” significantly underestimates the danger of explosions, and it is urging regulators to modify the calculation. At least twice since 2017, explosions have blown steel debris beyond that so-called blast zone, including one in Kentucky that killed a woman in a nearby mobile home… “The metric used for determining a pipeline’s blast zone is based on a number of assumptions, including that a person in the area could immediately understand what is happening and then run 200 feet within five seconds of an explosion. But that’s an unrealistic assumption — “a fantasy story” — safety advocate Royce Deaver, who worked as a pipeline consultant from Exxon Mobil Corp. for over three decades, told Politico. The agency that oversees pipeline rules, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said it would “strongly consider” modifications to ensure bigger safety margins. But that agency, an arm of the Department of Transportation, has faced questions about its own track record on safety. A 2015 POLITICO investigation found that the agency lacked the resources to inspect the country’s millions of miles of oil and gas lines, and that it had granted the industry it regulates significant power to influence the rulemaking process… “Some safety advocates say regulators need to do more than change one formula to ensure pipelines don’t kill. In the last decade, more than 2,600 pipeline leaks killed 122 people across the country, causing more than $4 million in damage and releasing 26.6 billion cubic feet of planet-warming pollution, according to a 2022 study by the public interest group U.S. PIRG Education Fund.”

Star Tribune: ‘Carbon Express’ pipeline runs into skepticism in Minnesota farm country
Jennifer Bjorhus, 1/24/23

“One of the world’s largest planned carbon storage projects is hitting resistance in rural Minnesota as an Iowa company tries to entice landowners to allow a carbon dioxide pipeline to run under their fields,” the Star Tribune reports. “Summit Carbon Solutions, which is developing the $5.2 billion “Midwest Carbon Express,” has been promising to pay farmers and other landowners for easements, in some cases dangling five-figure signing bonuses. A company executive told the Tribune Summit has secured about half the easements it needs in Minnesota. Even so, pushback was evident in this small southwest Minnesota farm town Monday evening where about 120 people, mostly landowners, packed the American Legion hall for a two-hour community meeting on carbon pipelines… “Monday’s meeting was organized by Carbon Pipelines Minnesota, an opposition group run by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), a Montevideo-based environmental nonprofit focused on rural communities. The group has been rallying landowners facing whether to sign an easement with Summit, whose pipeline would run about 240 miles in Minnesota. The main message Monday: Landowners need to carefully weigh the risks, and negotiate a fair deal if they decide to sign. “This is a community issue, not just a private landowner issue, because it will affect all of us,” CURE director Peg Furshong told the crowd. Landowners are questioning the global warming benefits and safety of piping and sequestering carbon dioxide, as well as the terms of the easement agreements. There’s also distaste with how the land agents for Summit have dealt with landowners. The state has ordered a full environmental review of the pipeline, which is not yet approved… “In filings at the state Public Utilities Commission, some property owners said they have revoked permission for land surveys and instructed Summit to stop contacting them. One Jackson County landowner wrote of having to chase agents off her land… “There was keen interest in the maps CURE hung at the back of the room showing which landowners had signed easements in local counties. CURE has been tracking signed easements through county clerk offices where they are filed. By its count, about 240 have signed in Minnesota… “In an earlier interview, one local resident told the Tribune she regrets signing an easement. Kerri Zimmerman, a school bus driver whose family farms near Lamberton, told the Tribune she didn’t know anything about the carbon pipeline when she signed an easement agreement last fall and accepted the $26,000 bonus check the company agent had in his hand.”

Marshall Independent: Farmer, attorney promote carbon pipeline mitigation agreements
FRITZ BUSCH, 1/25/23

“An Olivia farmer and a Twin Cities attorney talking at the American Legion Monday provided many of the nuts and bolts for more than 100 farmers on what is said to be the world’s largest carbon dioxide pipeline project,” the Marshall Independent reports. “…Olivia farmer Bob Ruebel said he learned about the subject decades ago when the Alliance pipeline system created a 2,391-mile natural gas pipeline system linking the U.S. and Canada that crossed Renville County… “Ruebel talked about the Alliance pipeline and joining a group including Renville County farmers who collected dues to pay an attorney for legal help. “It was the best investment I ever made,” Ruebel said… “Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) Director of Programs Peg Furshong advised against signing easements before the carbon pipeline project is approved by Minnesota government agencies. “Pre-signed easements give them (big corporations) leverage. Be sure you know what you’re getting into and are protected,” Furshong said… “Iowa farmer Dan Wahl said eminent domain is available for the project in Iowa but not Minnesota. He did not sign an easement and is in a court battle over it. He urged Minnesota farmers to protect themselves before signing easements.”

Moody County Enterprise: Pipeline fight ramps up in Pierre
Carleen Wild, 1/24/23

“As plans for two carbon capture pipelines move forward across South Dakota, including one that would be constructed through Moody County, both the companies and their opponents are honing in on Pierre,” the Moody County Enterprise reports. “This past week, at least two Moody County residents were among those lobbying for reform when it comes to eminent domain. Clayton Rentschler and Dan Janssen spent this past Wednesday meeting with legislators and lobbying for clarification in the state’s current laws. The two are part of the group Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform (LEDR). Why they feel that’s needed — the companies proposing the pipelines, Summit and Navigator C02 (Heartland Greenway), the latter of which is the line that would run locally, have stated that if landowners don’t agree to the pipeline route on their properties through sign agreements with the companies, they may move forward with construction regardless. And do so through the use of eminent domain… “HB 1084 was introduced this past week to address the issue and simply add the words ‘for public use’ into existing eminent domain law language… “Meanwhile, as concerned citizens reach out to state lawmakers, so do at least a dozen lobbyists hired by Summit and one (at the time of print) by Navigator as their permit applications remain before the Public Utilities Commission… “Zoning laws are being revised locally to best protect the residents of Moody County and property owners across the region. More local governments are discussing the issue and looking at the potential impact should the pipeline be approved (see this week’s Flandreau City Council meeting).” 

Carbon Herald: Kinder Morgan Announced Carbon Capture Deal With Red Cedar
Petya Trendafilova, 1/23/23

“Kinder Morgan – a large energy infrastructure company in North America, operating around 83,000 miles of pipelines, announced new carbon capture initiatives during its latest earnings report,” the Carbon Herald reports. “The company signed a deal with the Red Cedar Gathering Company to provide carbon dioxide services on its existing Cortez Pipeline. Red Cedar Gathering Company is a natural gas gathering and treating company that is a 51/49 joint venture between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund and Kinder Morgan. The carbon capture project discussed at the fourth-quarter earnings call of Kinder Morgan would transport around 20 million cubic feet of carbon dioxide per day to the Permian Basin for use in enhanced oil recovery… “The partnership will also enable Red Cedar to move forward with a carbon capture project at two natural gas treating plants in Southern Colorado. The total CO2 captured from the two facilities is expected to come at up to 400,000 metric tons annually.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

API: Biden Administration Must Fix Broken Permitting Process That Prevents U.S. Energy Development
1/24/23

“The American Petroleum Institute (API) called on the Biden administration to take action to fix the broken permitting process that is stymying U.S. energy development. In a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory, API Vice President of Corporate Policy Aaron Padilla argued that CEQ’s recent National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change could harm the development of critical energy projects – from oil and natural gas to renewables. The letter also urged the administration to instead work with stakeholders and bipartisan lawmakers in support of durable NEPA permitting reform. ‘API shares the administration’s goal of reducing GHG emissions throughout the economy while meeting the needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad with affordable, reliable and cleaner energy. But in order to fulfill these goals, we need a consistent, timely and predictable framework for approving critical energy infrastructure. CEQ’s policy guidance undermines the certainty that project developers need to make significant capital investments in energy and underscores the need for statutory permitting reform,’ Padilla said.”

Politico: Industry Keeps Up Permitting Push 
1/24/23

“The American Petroleum Institute sent a letter Monday to Council on Environmental Quality chair Brenda Mallory criticizing the interim permitting guidance released by CEQ earlier this month, which calls for broader examination of the climate impacts of major infrastructure projects,” Politico reports. “API called the policy ‘unprecedented and unsound’ and ‘legally inappropriate,’ arguing it will significantly delay the NEPA process for energy projects and calling for ‘durable,’ bipartisan permitting reform in Congress instead. The CEQ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Permitting reform is also a top priority this Congress for the American Exploration and Production Council, the trade group wrote in a letter to congressional leaders Monday. AXPC said the interim guidance ‘creates even greater delays, uncertainty, and legal vulnerability’ and released a separate set of 14 permitting reform recommendations. The wide-ranging list urges changes to NEPA, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.”

E&E News: Deal Eyes EPA Air Regs Update For Oil And Gas Producers
Carlos Anchondo, 1/23/22

“EPA has come to a preliminary legal agreement with environmental groups to review air pollution standards for oil and gas production facilities, according to a proposed consent decree filed Monday in the Federal Register,” E&E News reports. “If finalized, the proposed consent decree would set deadlines for EPA to take ‘proposed and final actions’ under a section of the Clean Air Act. The agency would then have until Dec. 10, 2024, to propose action and until the following December to finalize a rulemaking. The decree relates to a lawsuit brought last year by three groups — the Sierra Club, California Communities Against Toxics and the Coalition for a Safe Environment — alleging that EPA missed a Clean Air Act deadline to update hazardous air pollution rules for oil and gas producers. The existing regulations, which encompass emissions from natural gas transmission and storage operations, are supposed to be reviewed and potentially updated every eight years, but the suit said that time period had lapsed, putting EPA ‘in ongoing violation’ of the act.”

E&E News: NEPA Lawsuit Targets Large N.M. Lease Sale
Niina H. Farah, 1/24/23

“Conservation groups are suing the Interior Department over its analysis of the climate and environmental risks of a Trump-era sale of nearly 6,000 acres in New Mexico’s Permian Basin,” E&E News reports. “Citizens Caring for the Future and other groups asked the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to block lease authorizations and drilling approvals on the lands until Interior’s Bureau of Land Management completes a new environmental review of the sale. ‘Frontline communities are being forced to pay for oil and gas extraction with our health and climate stability,’ said Rose Rushing, an attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center, in a statement. ‘The science is clear: We must stop drilling for oil and gas if we are going to avert catastrophic climate change.’ The January 2021 sale expanding oil and gas leasing in New Mexico’s greater Carlsbad region was one of the final acts of the Trump administration’s ‘energy dominance’ agenda, which aimed to expand domestic fossil fuel production. Green groups claim that BLM hurried the sale’s National Environmental Policy Act review and ignored significant impacts of leasing on the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, as well as potential harms to the climate, air quality, water resources and public health.”

E&E News: How The White House Found EJ Areas Without Using Race
Thomas Frank, 1/24/23

 “The White House was widely criticized a year ago for not using racial demographics to identify disadvantaged communities that would be targeted for extra climate aid,” E&E News reports. “The nation’s leading advocates for environmental justice were furious, saying that race must be considered because biased policies like redlining had forced minorities into heavily polluted neighborhoods that are vulnerable to climate impacts. But the colorblind approach has succeeded at prioritizing minority neighborhoods, an E&E News analysis shows… “Roughly 1,900 census tracts in New York have populations where racial and ethnic minorities are a majority. The White House identified 66 percent of them as being disadvantaged communities, compared to 61 percent identified by New York’s screening tool… “States are using the environmental justice maps for varying purposes, such as to steer public funding and to decide where to locate facilities that could cause environmental harm. Hammond, the law professor, told E&E states face less legal risk by using race to evaluate whether to approve an environmental permit, compared to guiding state funding.”

EXTRACTION

Environmental Health News: What happens if the largest owner of oil and gas wells in the US goes bankrupt?
Kristina Marusic, 1/24/23

“Diversified Energy Company, the largest owner of oil and gas wells in the country, might abandon up to 70,000 oil and gas wells throughout Appalachia without plugging them, according to a new report,” Environmental Health News reports. “The company, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, spent the last five years acquiring tens of thousands of aging, low-producing conventional oil and gas wells and some fracking wells primarily in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky… “A new report, published by the Ohio River Valley Institute, a progressive think tank, finds that the company’s financial liabilities exceeded its assets by more than $300 million in June 2022. According to the report’s authors, it’s rare for an oil and gas company’s liabilities to exceed its assets to this extent, prompting concerns that Diversified Energy will go bankrupt without plugging its wells. “We don’t want to see citizens and taxpayers have to pay for plugging these well after this company is gone,” Ted Boettner, author of the report and a senior researcher with the Ohio River Valley Institute, told EHN. “The way Diversified’s business model is set up, this is a distinct possibility.” Boettner’s report expands on a previous report on Diversified Energy published by the same organization in April 2022 that found the company did not have enough funds on hand to plug its rapidly growing inventory of wells. That report also found that the company claims it can plug wells at a cost less than half the industry average, claims dying wells will continue producing for decades longer than can be reasonably anticipated, and misrepresents methane emissions… “The bottom line is that it’s highly unlikely that this company will have enough revenue to be able to plug all of its wells,” Boettner told EHN. “Their financial outlook is not good, and if something happens to this company, we’ll all be on the hook for it.”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: Oil and gas companies moving into Permian Basin in $100M string of deals, as region expands
Adrian Hedden, 1/24/22

“An oil and gas producer based on the Texas side of the Permian Basin looked to capitalize on growth in the New Mexico portion of the region, looking to buy lands in the southeast corner of the state,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “Permian Resources Corporation announced an agreement that will see it purchase about 4,000 leasehold acres and 3,300 royalty acres, mostly in Lea County for $98 million. The lands were estimated to produce about 1,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day, at 73 percent oil, according to a company announcement… “The company also planned to divest in oil and gas properties on the Texas side of the basin in Reeves County, Texas, along the New Mexico border. About 3,500 net leasehold acres were planned for sale for $60 million with about 1,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day at 44 percent oil, representing “the substantial majority,” the announcement read, of the company’s Texas assets… “International companies also showed interest recently in the Permian Basin, as Swiss international energy company Vitol’s U.S. upstream company VPX Energy Partners announced it plan to acquire Delaware Basin Resources (DBR), and its associated extraction and water infrastructure… “The region’s oil production was expected to see more growth in the next month, as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast the Permian would produce about 5.65 barrels of oil a day (bpd)in February, growing by 30,000 bpd from January. The basin was also expected to increase natural gas production next month, rising by 466 million cubic feet per day in February to a total of 21.7 billion cubic feet per day, making the region the second-largest gas-producing basin in the U.S., according to the EIA report.”

Canadian Press: Oilsands execs say they can’t invest in decarbonization any faster, despite profits
Nojoud Al Mallees, 1/25/23

“Oilsands executives insist they are all in on cutting emissions and will make big investments in green technology, but they maintain there isn’t a place to invest that money yet,” the Canadian Press reports. “Many companies are coming off a year of windfall profits not because they pumped out more product, but because the war in Ukraine and global supply chain crunches pushed world oil prices way up. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has said repeatedly over the last year that the companies need to prove their commitment by putting some of that cold hard cash into climate initiatives. But in an interview with The Canadian Press, Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said the companies are moving “as aggressively as (they) can.” “We’re not yet at the point where we can invest billions in these projects,” Pourbaix told CP. Cenovus is one of six oilsands companies in the Pathways Alliance, a consortium created to work together to decarbonize their production entirely by 2050. The companies are looking to spend $24 billion by 2030 on emissions cutting, including two-thirds of that on carbon capture and storage systems. However, who will pay for those investments is a point of contention. So far, the consortium has spent half a billion dollars on Phase 1 of these projects, according to the alliance’s president Kendall Dilling. The industry is hoping to see the federal government do more to match the funding being offered by the U.S. government to incentivize the development of clean energy in that country… “However, Pourbaix rejected the notion that the industry needs to contribute more to government coffers. “I think we are already contributing significantly,” he told CP, estimating the industry will pay somewhere between $10 billion and $12 billion in federal taxes this year… “Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, told CP the fact that the industry won’t actually put money behind their rhetoric on climate change is a good reason to implement a windfall tax. “They’re still waiting for the government to come and pay for them,” he told CP.

Bloomberg: Oil-Sands’ Carbon Capture Moonshot Faces Hurdle of Scarce Labor
Robert Tuttle, 1/24/23

“Canada’s oil-sands industry is examining how many workers it will need to build the carbon capture system that’s key to its emissions-reductions pledges, and leaders already are warning that scarce skilled labor may hinder projects,” Bloomberg reports. “The Pathways Alliance — which includes major producers Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Cenovus Energy Inc. — is studying the labor issue with other organizations, and the results should be available in coming months, Pathways President Kendall Dilling told Bloomberg. Canada’s oil-sands industry plans to spend C$24 billion ($18 billion) by 2030 to build a carbon capture and storage system to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 22 million metric tons… “The endeavor will require more trained tradespeople than are available now, and the group may seek adjustments to Canada’s immigration rules to bring in the welders and skilled labor that’s needed, MEG Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Derek Evans told Bloomberg… “The labor issue is another reason that Pathways is pushing back at government plans to reduce emissions even faster… “Our worries are we need more staff to accomplish this,” Alex Pourbaix, CEO of Cenovus, told Bloomberg. “In order to execute on that level of capital, that is a huge staffing up that needs to occur.”

NREL: Hydrogen Blending as a Pathway Toward U.S. Decarbonization
Natasha Nguyen, 1/24/23

“The U.S. natural gas infrastructure is expansive, providing service for 32% of the nation’s energy consumption in 2021. To reduce the emissions from natural gas service, blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines could prove to be a promising, cost-effective pathway. It would not only use existing natural gas infrastructure but also serve key end users where electrification is uneconomic,” according to NREL. “Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be produced and consumed with nearly zero emissions in several key markets where natural gas is used today. Blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines is just one of these markets, but numerous challenges and uncertainties complicate this approach. A technical report coauthored by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reviewed the state of hydrogen blending technology to provide direction for future hydrogen blending research… “One of the primary challenges with hydrogen blending is hydrogen-induced cracking. Solid metals can be easily permeated by hydrogen because it is the smallest element in the universe. As hydrogen atoms are absorbed and diffused within pipeline steel, they can affect the material’s fatigue- and fracture-resistance properties. These impacts could render pipeline steels more susceptible to cracking. The technical report discusses the research needed to combat this phenomenon… “Furthermore, the impact of hydrogen on different materials and equipment, such as plastic piping, compressors, valves, and on other non-pipeline equipment, such as storage facilities, also needs to be evaluated… “Another challenge for implementing hydrogen blend systems is the lack of hydrogen blending demonstrations and research. The few demonstrations around the world in recent years have proved that low hydrogen blends with natural gas are feasible, but these demonstrated scenarios were limited in end uses.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Latin Finance: TC Energy refinances pipelines in Mexico
Rodrigo Alonso Cruz, 1/25/23

“TC Energía Mexicana, a subsidiary of Canada’s TC Energy Corporation, has borrowed $2.3 billion in five-year credit facilities to refinance debt from natural gas pipelines in southern Mexico, sources confirmed on Tuesday,” Latin Finance reports. “Scotiabank, BBVA, BMO and Mizuho were joint global coordinators, lead arrangers and bookrunners on the loans, said a source close to the deal. Banco Inbursa, Citibanamex, Bank of America, Bank of China and HSBC were mandated lead arrangers…

Reuters: New York pension seek stricter climate emissions rules from bank portfolios
Ross Kerber, 1/24/23

“Shareholder resolutions filed by New York City’s top pension official will ask top Wall Street banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Bank of America (BAC.N) to set stricter 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for portfolio companies,” Reuters reports. “If the advisory proposals come to a vote at bank shareholder meetings this spring they would test investors’ climate commitments after setbacks in 2022, when calls for more dramatic cuts in fossil fuel financing put forward by other climate activists won slim support. New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who filed the new resolutions this year, told Reuters he aims to put up measures that have a strong chance of winning majority support. Many investors “want to see companies’ net-zero commitments be made real,” Lander told Reuters. New York City’s funds have been among the most aggressive in pushing energy companies away from fossil fuels, but few other big investors have embraced calls to divest from the sector amid rising energy prices. Meanwhile, Republican officials in states including Texas and Florida have sought to deny business to certain financial companies over their treatment of fossil fuel producers.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Dawson Creek Mirror: Kindness Meters generate $3,600 for two Mile Zero non profits
Rob Brown, 1/24/23

“The Ark and South Peace Child Development Center picked up $1,800 each from 2022 Kindness Meter campaigns,” the Dawson Creek Mirror reports. “Kindness Meters are made out of refurbished parking meters and are located in four different locations around Dawson Creek: the Kenn Borek Aquatic Centre, the Calvin Kruk Centre, Memorial Arena, and outside of the Mile 0 Intersection and flags downtown. Each year a pair of non profits are chosen to be recipients of the funds, with TC Energy matching the monies each year.”

Enbridge: United Way 2022 Campaigns: ‘A Safety Net That Catches the Most Vulnerable’
1/24/23

“There’s feeling like a million bucks. And then there’s raising a million bucks . . . which, let’s be honest, feels even better. In 2022, for the 30th year, Enbridge’s Houston team members capped a million-dollar campaign for the United Way of Greater Houston—as our workforce across North America raised US$3.6 million (C$4.7 million) for United Way chapters across the continent… “In the end, Enbridge’s Houston employee campaign raised $1,061,488 for the United Way of Greater Houston. Only four companies in the Space City have achieved such a consistent giving legacy; the others are CenterPoint Energy, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. Overall, more than 2,000 Enbridge team members used our Fueling Futures program in 2022 to support United Way chapters in 133 communities across North America. That US$3.6-million (C$4.7-million) total includes employee and contractor donations, retiree giving, special events, regional donations and Enbridge’s corporate match.”

OPINION

The Hill: Big Oil’s day in court
Andreas Karelas is the author of “Climate Courage: How Tackling Climate Change Can Build Community, Transform the Economy, and Bridge the Political Divide in America,” 1/24/23

“There’s a potentially game-changing way to make the fossil fuel industry pay for its climate crimes — with a pretty good track record,” Andreas Karelas writes for The Hill. “…It’s a little legal statute known as RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970… “Recently, 16 Puerto Rico municipalities filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against fossil fuel companies — including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Arch Coal — alleging they colluded to suppress evidence of climate change whose devastating impacts include 2017’s Hurricane Maria… “The similarities are eerily familiar. The fossil fuel giants not only deployed the same deception tactics, they even hired the same PR firms as big tobacco in an apparent attempt to deceive the public about the dangers of their products… “While any one of these efforts may fail, it seems to me the fossil fuel industry’s day of reckoning is upon us. It’s about damn time… “Mostly, I just hope the courts are reflecting on the severity of the situation and the need for swift and immediate action as they hear these cases. As famed naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough reminds us, “If the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then most of the rest of civilization will quickly break down. Please make no mistake, climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced.”

Daily Iowan: Opinion | The carbon capture pipeline needs to go through
Chris Klepach, 1/23/23

“Have any plans down the pipeline? In December 2022, three companies — Summit Carbon solutions, Navigator Heartland Greenway, and Wolf Carbon Solutions —  proposed a $4.5 billion pipeline,” Chris Klepach writes for the Daily Iowan. “This will allow ethanol producers to operate with a “net zero” carbon footprint. Jake Ketzner, SCS vice president of governmental and public affairs, has spoken of the immediate benefits… “The controversy lies in eminent domain… “However, the long-term impact of supporting ethanol with this pipeline is worth considering. Iowa is the leading producer of ethanol in the country, providing 30 percent of all U.S. ethanol. Reducing the carbon footprint of an industry large in Iowa would make a difference… “This pipeline would keep our energy industry competitive with the rest of the country. Most importantly, this proposed carbon-capture pipeline can be key to keeping Iowa friendly to the environment. If we can reach agreements between local and state interests to establish the pipeline under good terms, it will be a boon for environmental conservation which we should all strive toward.”

New Westminster Herald: Letter: Helping oil companies reveals misplaced priorities
Bill Zander, New Westminster, 1/24/23

“It’s interesting to read that the oil sands (a.k.a. tar sands) companies are looking forward to a steady stream of government aid to the tune of $15 billion to help them in the demand for cleaner energy,” Bill Zander writes for the New Westminster Herald. “All this is while they have been making excessive profits and while children in this country go to bed and to school hungry and people live in tents.”

CleanTechnica: Ohio Leads On Green Energy By Embracing Methane Gas
Steve Hanley, 1/24/23

“Policies have consequences. Last summer, the European Union, facing a crisis because the war in Ukraine has disrupted supplies of cheap methane gas exports from Russia, decided to classify methane gas and nuclear power as “green,” meaning they could qualify for government loans and tax incentives designed to spur investments in low or zero carbon technologies. According to CNN, the new rules could unlock billions of dollars of private investment and state subsidies for methane gas and nuclear projects,” Steve Hanley writes for CleanTechnica. “On the other side of the Atlantic, where the fighting in Ukraine is not disrupting the daily lives of Americans one iota, a group of fossil fuel advocates who call themselves The Empowerment Alliance decided what’s good for the EU should be good for the US of A. Together with ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, they convinced the Ohio legislature to adopt similar language regarding methane gas, according to the Washington Post. In December, when Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation that legally defines natural gas as a source of “green energy,” supporters characterized it as the culmination of a grass roots effort to recognize the Buckeye state’s largest energy source… “He neglected to tell his constituents the bill had actually been drafted by TEA and ALEC… “ALEC is famous for pushing its hard right agenda in Republican-controlled state houses and legislatures where lazy politicians who can’t be bothered to do their jobs are only too happy to latch on to someone else’s work product and fob it off as their own… “Is there an antidote to such behavior? Yes. Vote responsibly. Elect people who will represent the best interests of people, not corporations. Business has no conscience. We need representatives who do have one.”

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