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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/27/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 27, 2023



  • KFYR: Lawmakers tackle eminent domain bills

  • KMA: Residents continue push for Page County to adopt pipeline ordinance

  • Pipeline Fighters Hub: CO2 Pipelines: County Ordinance & State Legislation Tracker


  • E&E News: E&C Republicans elevate climate in subcommittee shakeup

  • Roll Call: House GOP aims to tie oil reserve sales to public land drilling

  • E&E News: The Trump Rules Still Vexing Biden

  • InsideEPA: SAB Floats Draft Report With Broad Backing For EPA’s Methane Plans

  • The Hill: Former Rep. Tim Ryan joins Landrieu at pro-natural gas group


  • Capital and Main: Bay Area Plans to Refine Biofuels Could Derail Climate Goals, Warn Environmentalists


  • Press release: Imperial approves $720 million for largest renewable diesel facility in Canada

  • Reuters: Gas flows to Freeport LNG export plant resume, Refinitiv data shows


  • E&E News: One Republican stands between the far right and ESG

  • Vanguard SOS: Customers, Students, and People of Faith Charge Vanguard with Short Sightedness on Climate, Assert Their Own Vision at the Firm’s Newtown Square Location.



KFYR: Lawmakers tackle eminent domain bills
Joel Crane, 1/26/23

“For some landowners across North Dakota, one of the most important issues facing the State Legislature this session deals with the Carbon Summit Solutions pipeline. Lawmakers have introduced bills that would address their concerns,” KFYR reports. “That’s right Monica, today, three bills relating to the pipeline got their first public hearing. They’re addressing surveying, court costs for landowners involved in lawsuits, and perhaps most importantly, eminent domain. Some landowners in North Dakota are seriously concerned about what they say are the practices of the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline. “They have steamrolled their way through North Dakota, with sights set on big profit, with little regard as to how their 2,000-mile pipeline affects those living in the footprint,” said Stephanie Doolittle from District 8. That’s why Senator Jeff Magrum from Hazelton introduced a batch of bills he believes protect property owners affected by the pipeline. One of them would increase the amount paid to landowners for land seized by eminent domain: it would add 33% to the fair market price… “And although several people spoke in favor of the bill, including spokesmen from the Northwest Landowners Association and the Senate Majority Leader… “This bill is likely to result in a dramatic increase in the number of eminent domain proceedings by incentivizing the property owners to forego negotiations altogether with developers,” said Brady Pelton, ND Petroleum Council… “The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee is hearing five bills related to these issues on Friday… “Two that pop out at me are SB 2212, which would exclude carbon dioxide carriers outright from exercising eminent domain, and SB 2209, which would require an amalgamation of 85% or more of landowners to sign on to a project before eminent domain could be used. Those committee hearings start at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.”

KMA: Residents continue push for Page County to adopt pipeline ordinance
Ethan Hewett, 1/26/23

“Calls for carbon pipeline regulations continue in Page County,” KMA reports. “During its regular meeting this week, the Page County Board of Supervisors heard from a pair of residents who are continuing to urge the board to get the process started on establishing an ordinance that could regulate projects such as Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed Midwest Express CO2 pipeline… “Marty Maher is a landowner near Imogene and has been a strong opponent to the proposed pipeline and says the county should look to a similar ordinance established in Shelby County, which was crafted with the assistance of Ahlers and Cooney… “Maher and other opponents have often pointed to safety concerns with the project, primarily the possibility of a rupture or release of pressurized carbon dioxide — which the project would be carrying from participating ethanol plants, including Green Plains Shenandoah, to a storage facility in North Dakota. Maher emphasized the protections the ordinance would provide to those not strongly protected by the federal Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s current guidelines. “You have to really worry about the people who have acreages and don’t have a say about this, or people who could have a pipeline going past their house and can’t do anything about it,” he said. “If it’s 200 or 300 feet away from your house, you don’t have much of a chance (to evacuate) if you happen to be in the area of a release.” Montgomery County resident Jan Norris, a landowner in West Township, says the county should begin the effort now to start what could turn into a lengthy process.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub: CO2 Pipelines: County Ordinance & State Legislation Tracker
Mark Hefflinger, 1/27/23

“A year ago, landowners, Tribal Nations, and grassroots groups started to get phone calls about a new threat – carbon dioxide pipelines,” the Pipeline Fighters Hub reports. “…In an ideal world, states and the federal government would ban the abuse of eminent domain for private gain, and establish clear laws around easement terms, pipeline decommissioning, setbacks and emergency response. The reality is, none of this exists for the new threat of carbon pipelines, so much of the responsibility lies on the shoulders of county governments… “Counties across the Midwest states impacted by proposed CO2 pipelines — Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, and Minnesota — have already taken action to file objections with state agencies overseeing permitting processes, and also put in place commonsense ordinances and moratoria on carbon pipelines. Bold Alliance has produced a Model County Ordinance for Carbon Pipelines that county officials may review and consider as a basis for crafting their own ordinances. State lawmakers in the impacted states are also introducing legislation during their 2023 sessions aimed at regulating carbon dioxide pipelines, including preventing the abuse of eminent domain for these projects that serve no public good. Bold’s Pipeline Fighters Hub and the Easement Action Teams are serving as a convener and assisting state-based groups and landowners with education, legal structures, and tools. We have endeavored to create a tracker here, to monitor ongoing efforts by states and counties at the behest of landowners and community members.”


E&E News: E&C Republicans elevate climate in subcommittee shakeup
Jeremy Dillon, 1/26/23

“House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans unveiled subcommittee leadership and roster changes Wednesday. Some changes include new names for two panels dealing with energy and environment issues,” E&E News reports. “…Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) will take over as the chair for the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate and Grid Security. It was formerly known as the Energy Subcommittee. Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah), head of the Conservative Climate Caucus, will be the subcommittee’s vice chair. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) will serve as chair for the Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Minerals. It was formerly known as the Subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Crisis. Republicans told E&E the name changes are meant to highlight and elevate policy areas they intend to focus over the next two years. Leaders specifically emphasized the ties between climate and energy policy as an area the panel is set to explore. “We believe that our energy solutions are climate solutions, and that addressing climate change is absolutely a prime priority,” E&C Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) told E&E.. “We need to address climate change through innovation and energy solutions that are going to ensure that America continues to lead.” “…To be sure, McMorris Rodgers emphasized any climate policy would work in tandem to unleash domestic fossil fuel resources globally, including exports of natural gas.”

Roll Call: House GOP aims to tie oil reserve sales to public land drilling
David Jordan, 1/25/23

“The House on Wednesday may begin consideration of a bill that would alter the president’s authority to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Roll Call reports. “President Joe Biden has said he would veto it.The bill, introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., would require the government to approve a plan to increase drilling on federal lands and waters prior to any nonemergency drawdown of the SPR. The percentage of public lands and offshore waters leased would be required to increase by the same percentage as any drawdown from the SPR. The Energy secretary would be required to develop the plan in coordination with the secretaries of Agriculture, Interior and Defense. Though unlikely to advance in the Senate, the bill gives House Republicans an opportunity to criticize administration policies governing drilling on public land… “The bill stands little chance of passing in the Democrat-controlled Senate, but the Biden administration still voiced its strong opposition to the bill. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm attended a White House press briefing on Monday to both defend Biden’s decision to tap the strategic reserve last year and reiterate her opposition to the bill, which she said would “impose unnecessary, unhelpful restrictions on when the SPR can be used to help provide supply.” “It would require these arbitrary reports regarding energy production on federal lands before waiving any new restrictions,” Granholm said. “It would not offer any tangible benefits to the American people. Instead, it would interfere with our ability to be responsive to release oil during an international emergency, helping Putin’s war aims.”

E&E News: The Trump Rules Still Vexing Biden
Robin Bravender, 1/25/23

 “With Biden halfway into his term and Republicans now holding the majority in the House, environmental advocates are worried about the administration’s pace. Failing to get new policies solidified in time, they warn, could make them easier for a future administration to unravel. … Another rule redo that environmental advocates are watching closely is the Biden administration’s planned ‘Phase 2’ of its overhaul of a Trump-era policy that limited the scope of environmental reviews for projects like pipelines and highways. The White House Council on Environmental Quality last spring finalized its first round of reforms governing how agencies implement the National Environmental Policy Act, a move that reversed one of Trump’s most contentious environmental policies (Greenwire, April 19, 2022). The administration promised a broader set of Phase 2 changes, but that hasn’t yet been completed. CEQ spokesperson Alyssa Roberts said the agency is ‘continuing work on our modernization of the National Environmental Policy Act regulations and anticipates issuing a proposed rule in the coming months.’ ‘Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked expeditiously to restore science, protect lands and waters, and combat climate change while advancing the most ambitious environmental justice agenda of any administration,’ Roberts added. ‘We’re full speed ahead.’

InsideEPA: SAB Floats Draft Report With Broad Backing For EPA’s Methane Plans

“EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) is advancing draft recommendations that generally support the agency’s proposed oil and gas methane standards, including its threshold for defining ‘super-emitter’ events, while calling for steps to adopt up-to-date technology for emission measurement and engage affected groups on key issues,” InsideEPA reports. “A draft SAB report about the science and technology supporting EPA’s proposal comes as parties face a Feb. 13 deadline to submit formal comments on the agency’s supplemental plan affecting new and existing sources in the sector. The report’s precise language is still subject to tweaks before a final version is released, with SAB Chairwoman and University of Washington public policy professor Alison Cullen telling Inside EPA’s Climate Extra that the board hopes to send a final report to the agency around mid-February.”

The Hill: Former Rep. Tim Ryan joins Landrieu at pro-natural gas group
ZACK BUDRYK, 1/26/23

“Former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who left his seat to run against now-Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) in 2022, will join the leadership council of Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future, the D.C.-based natural gas trade group announced Thursday,” The Hill reports. “Ryan will join former Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and replace another former Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who left the organization to serve as director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.”


Capital and Main: Bay Area Plans to Refine Biofuels Could Derail Climate Goals, Warn Environmentalists
Aaron Cantú, 1/23/23

“Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for regulators to “accelerate refinery transitions away from petroleum to the production of clean fuels” was part of a larger effort to reduce climate pollution from California’s transportation sector, the largest source of emissions in the state,” Capital and Main reports. “Since 2020, two oil companies in Contra Costa County have assembled plans to convert their petroleum refineries to processing biomass instead. But residents and environmental groups are raising concerns that the plans could actually increase emissions and exacerbate the climate crisis, the opposite of what the state is setting out to do. And even within the California Air Resources Board (CARB) — the agency responsible for managing the state’s progress toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions — there’s uncertainty about how supply chains for biofuels may impact the environment, according to agency documents. The California Air Resources Board is considering limits on crop-based diesel fuel as part of an overhaul to reduce California’s emissions by 2030. Phillips 66’s Rodeo Renewed refinery and Marathon’s facility in Martinez plan to produce renewable diesel from waste-based “feedstocks” such as tallow and grease, as well as fresher oils extracted from soybeans, corn and canola. Phillips 66 also has plans to make jet fuel from animal fats and vegetable oils. In public statements, the industry and regulators have emphasized that the refineries would mostly use waste oils. But those supplies could be constrained by global demand for those waste products in the coming decades, meaning that biofuels refineries in California may increasingly have to rely on crop oils that would otherwise be used for food, according to forecasts from the agricultural industry and state regulators… “Within a month, groups filed lawsuits against Phillips 66, Marathon and the county over the approvals. Both projects are active; Phillips 66 appears to have already started processing biofuels at its refinery… “The state has taken the unfortunate position of ‘all of the above’ in terms of fuel sources to tackle the issue of transportation emissions,” Center for Biological Diversity’s John Fleming told Capital and Main. “Many biofuels being put forth will do little to address the climate and environmental justice crises.”


Press release: Imperial approves $720 million for largest renewable diesel facility in Canada

“Imperial said today it will further help Canada achieve its net zero goals by investing about $720 million (USD $560 million) to move forward with construction of the largest renewable diesel facility in the country. The project at Imperial’s Strathcona refinery near Edmonton is expected to produce more than one billion litres of renewable diesel annually primarily from locally sourced feedstocks and could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Canadian transportation sector by about 3 million metric tons per year, as determined in accordance with Canada’s Clean Fuel Regulation. Regulatory approval for the project is expected in the near term… “Imperial’s renewable diesel facility will use low-carbon hydrogen produced with carbon capture and storage technology to help Canada meet low emission fuel standards. Imperial has entered into an agreement with Air Products for low-carbon hydrogen supply and is developing agreements with other third parties for biofeedstock supply. The low-carbon hydrogen and biofeedstock will be combined with a proprietary catalyst to produce premium lower-emission diesel fuel and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional fuels. Site preparation and initial construction are underway. Renewable diesel production is expected to start in 2025. The project is expected to create about 600 direct construction jobs, along with hundreds more through investments by business partners.”

Reuters: Gas flows to Freeport LNG export plant resume, Refinitiv data shows

“Freeport LNG’s long-shut liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Texas started receiving small amounts of pipeline natural gas on Thursday, Refinitiv data shows,” Reuters reports. “…When operating at full power, the Freeport LNG facility, which has been shut since June 2022 after a fire, can pull in about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of pipeline gas. Energy analysts told Reuters they do not expect Freeport to return to service until March or later even though the company told federal regulators this week that the plant was ready to begin the restart process. Analysts expect that it will likely take weeks before regulators approve the plan Freeport filed this week to start cooling some pipes at the plant, and after that Freeport still has to return to regulators more times to get permission to start other parts of the plant… “Freeport, the second-biggest U.S. LNG exporter, is important to the gas market because prices and demand will likely rise once the plant restarts.”


E&E News: One Republican stands between the far right and ESG
Emma Dumain, Adam Aton, 1/27/23

“Now in the majority, House Republicans have a chance to bring their campaign against climate-minded investing to a national stage — but party leaders are still deciding if they really want to,” E&E News reports. “It will likely be Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the incoming chair of the Financial Services Committee, who bears the brunt of conservative impatience. So far, McHenry has been distancing himself from far-right attacks on so-called ESG investing, which screens investments for environmental, social and governance risks. His panel has jurisdiction over the practice. Over the past two years, at least 17 mostly Republican-led states have proposed or instituted policies to blacklist financial firms that promote ESG investing, often saying that it amounts to a “boycott” of fossil fuel companies. Texas, West Virginia and others now bar some asset managers — most notably BlackRock Inc. — from state business such as managing public employee retirement funds. Now, McHenry’s panel is being populated with far-right Republicans who were among the harshest critics of Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during his messy fight for the speaker’s gavel earlier this month… “Asked how his panel would approach ESG and other climate issues, McHenry told E&E Republicans are already formulating an approach to a proposed climate rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which would require companies to provide details about their physical risks from climate change and disclose their supply chain emissions… “In a statement to E&E News, McHenry said the panel would focus on both “activist regulators and market participants who have an outsized impact.”

Vanguard SOS: Customers, Students, and People of Faith Charge Vanguard with Short Sightedness on Climate, Assert Their Own Vision at the Firm’s Newtown Square Location.

“Yesterday, about 50 people braved the cold rain to protest outside of Vanguard’s office on West Chester Pike. With speeches and songs, demonstrators challenged the asset manager to stop backtracking on its climate commitments. This was the first protest at Vanguard’s office in Newtown Square and the biggest protest at a Vanguard office since the firm ended its participation in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative last month. This protest comes after Vanguard’s annual event addressing customers, called “A Look Ahead.” At no point during the virtual event did Vanguard leadership address leaving its climate commitments or even mention climate change-related investment risk. Demonstrators used the protest to offer an alternative “look ahead” for local communities if Vanguard continues to lag behind on climate-safe investing. In addition to financing and investing in environmental destruction across the world, Vanguard also invests in many polluting facilities in the Delaware Valley. “Vanguard’s annual customer webinar is called ‘A Look Ahead’, but I never heard CEO Tim Buckley talk about anything longer than a few years out. As I make decisions about where to put my own savings so that I can retire in a couple of decades, I need Vanguard to be thinking longer term,” said Kaytee Ray Riek, Co-Clerk of the Board of Earth Quaker Action Team. 


Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s View: Building Line 3 disregarded the climate crisis
Jim Tjepkema, Minneapolis, 1/26/23

“In a column in the News Tribune on Jan. 17, the director of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project painted a false picture about it and those who opposed it (In Response: “ Line 3 protests endangered Minnesotans, the environment ”),” Jim Tjepkema writes for the Duluth News Tribune. “This pipeline shouldn’t have been built; the need for it wasn’t adequately established. It seemed to be built in a hurry, leading to extensive damage to sensitive natural areas. There were many improper leaks of drilling fluid, and aquifers were illegally punctured in at least two places. Due to the need to rapidly cut back on the use of fossil fuels because of their role in advancing the climate crisis, the oil carried by Line 3 shouldn’t be needed at all… “Monitors of the pipeline’s construction too often failed to find damage being done. Private individuals found much of the damage, perhaps due to what seemed like hurried construction. Law enforcement officers, paid from funds provided by Enbridge, made arrests of protestors that did not hold up in court. More could be said about the way Line 3 project Director Barry Simonson portrayed the project. Engridge has massive financial resources and made extensive use of these funds to push through the Line 3 pipeline. Doing so disregarded the urgent need to cut back on fossil-fuel use in order to prevent the climate crisis from advancing. It seems Endbridge cares more about building a pipeline than it does about the environment.”

Columbian: Letter: Keep limits on gas pipeline
Kristin Edmark, Battle Ground, 1/26/23

“TC Energy is proposing to increase the amount of methane through its Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline, which carries Canadian fracked methane to Washington, Oregon and California,” Kristin Edmark writes for the Columbian. “The flow in the aging pipeline is to be increased by increasing the pressure. The proposed increase in methane is about equal to a quarter of Washington’s annual gas consumption. TC Energy recently increased the pressure in its Keystone pipeline, which could have been a factor in the Keystone pipeline major rupture in December. The Gas Transmission Northwest Pipeline carries methane, which can cause large fires at pipeline breaks. Increased pressure increases the likelihood and severity of breaks… “Washington, Oregon and California are passing legislation to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, especially methane. Washington’s attorney general has objected to the Gas Transmission Northwest project because of its negative implications for community safety and environmental justice.”

Toronto Star: What are the oilsand companies willing to give?
Graeme Elliott, Toronto, 1/27/23

“‘Oilsands firms want a piece of $15B fund, Jan. 20.’ Sure, who wouldn’t,” Graeme Elliott writes for the Toronto Star. “The story mentions the oilsands firms’ partnership, Pathways Alliance, is hoping to get taxpayer subsidies of $15 billion to $16 billion to fund a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 22 megatonnes. Thus, the companies are hoping for a subsidy of roughly $700 per tonne of reductions. Given that about 435 litres of gasoline burned yields about a tonne of CO2 emissions, they want us to pony up more than a buck and a half per litre in tax dollars, over and above other subsidies that already flow to the fossil fools. Which would be OK if it was charged at the pump as a surcharge for pollution cleanup, but it will just end up being a handout. There is no word in the story about how much the shareholders will put into the project. No word on dividend cuts. No hint of executive pay cuts. No mention by the alliance of putting their windfall profits into research and development. Just a clamour for more tax dollars for an industry that has been converting public funds to private profit for decades while aggressively lobbying against change as the world heats up.”

Environmental Defense Fund: The Inflation Reduction Act is a game-changer on methane. Here’s why.
Edwin LaMair and Grace Smith, 1/25/23

“The US Congress recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which takes bold action to address the climate crisis. Multiple independent analyses show the bill could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, providing important support for President Biden’s goal of halving emissions by 2030,” Edwin LaMair and Grace Smith write for the Environmental Defense Fund. “Last week, the EPA requested public input on a key provision of the IRA — the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, MERP, — which works hand-in-hand with forthcoming EPA rules to cut methane from oil and gas operations through a fee on wasteful emissions. As enforceable pollution rules from EPA ensure broad, equitable protections for all communities, MERP’s waste charge will help discourage excessive emissions from a large proportion of polluting facilities across the supply chain. The program was also allocated $1.55 billion by Congress to support methane pollution monitoring and innovation, improve the accuracy of emissions reporting and drive down the costs of reducing pollution, in addition to providing support for cutting other harmful air pollutants from oil and gas operations that endanger frontline communities. EDF and a coalition of groups recently submitted comments, available here and here,  with recommendations for how EPA should use MERP’s funds and implement the waste charge… “The incentives to plug wells and funds for marginal well methane mitigation create a huge incentive for addressing both pollution culprits. Taken together, these provisions will play a critical role in driving down methane pollution alongside EPA regulations, while improving our understanding of the emissions problem and empowering communities to address it.”

The Hill: As carbon offsets, tree planting can be shady
William S. Becker is a former U.S. Department of Energy central regional director, 1/26/23

“There is nothing like a tree,” William S. Becker writes for The Hill. “…However, one benefit of trees is now getting particular attention. Trees inhale and store carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas most responsible for climate change. We produce most of it when we use fossil fuels. Other natural “carbon sinks” absorb it, too, including oceans, wetlands and soils. Protecting, restoring and conserving them is the least-expensive and most readily available hope for stabilizing the planet’s climate… “By 2050, nations are supposed to put no more CO2 into the atmosphere than they are taking out. However, they don’t have to eliminate all their pollution; they can take credit for paying others to reduce theirs… “The idea was to encourage polluters to help fund clean-energy projects in the developing world. The downside, however, is that the world can keep using fossil fuels, although fewer. Yet, we will not stop climate change by throwing a lifeline to polluters. The cheapest, most immediate and fool-proof way to confront climate change is to leave fossil fuels in the ground… “Since an effective and affordable technical fix is unavailable, restoring and conserving nature’s carbon sinks is critical — and tree-planting pledges are proliferating… “Republicans in Congress, many of them climate deniers in the past, have jumped on the tree-planting bandwagon. Reuters reports they feel pressure from voters to do something about climate change and prefer measures that will keep America’s drilling boom going. Apparently, it’s the view that we can have a pleasant climate and ruin it, too. Similarly, allowing polluters to buy the right to keep polluting is like trying to quit smoking by paying someone else to stop. Instead, we should restore the polluter-pays principle and stop emissions at their source. Carbon offsets are problematic because they contain many uncertainties, especially when they involve dynamic systems like nature… “Again, there are hundreds of reasons to protect forests and create new ones — but allowing the world to keep burning fossil fuels isn’t one of them. As the old truism points out, the way to get out of a hole is to stop digging. This generation’s job is to end the fossil-fuel era, not save it.”

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