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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 1/31/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

January 31, 2023



  • Five bills aimed at pipeline eminent domain

  • South Dakota Searchlight: 558 people and groups now have legal standing in two carbon pipeline applications

  • RFD TV: There is pushback against the Carbon Express Pipeline

  • KTVK: Kinder Morgan aiming to reopen Coolidge pipeline following deadly 2021 explosion

  • Petroleum Economist: Marcellus pipeline woes threaten to change entire US gas market game

  • Pipeline Fighters Hub: Webinar: “Preemption and Pipeline Regulations” [VIDEO]



  • InsideClimate News: California Activists Redouble Efforts to Hold the Oil Industry Accountable on Neighborhood Drilling

  • NM Political Report: Carbon sequestration bill passes House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee

  • Press release: 50 Groups Urge N.M. Governor to End Oil, Gas Extraction by 2034


  • Reuters: Exxon smashes Western oil majors’ earnings record with $59 billion profit

  • The Saxon: Global oil demand will start falling by 2030, says BP

  • Financial Post: No more carrots needed for oilpatch to invest in carbon capture emissions reduction: report


  • Corporate Knights: Colorado pension fund loses US$2.7 billion by not divesting from fossil fuels



  • The Reflector: Letter to the editor: GTN Xpress Pipeline is dangerous and unnecessary

  • Inforum: Port: Lawmaker fighting carbon pipeline because of ‘property rights’ once tried to seize neighbor’s property

  • Globe and Mail: France’s TotalEnergies plays smart in oil sands retreat

  • Missoulian: Op-Ed: NEPA: Sunshine In Government

  • Albuquerque Journal: EPA should ensure methane protections

PIPELINE NEWS Five bills aimed at pipeline eminent domain
Elijah Helton, 1/29/23

“State Sen. Jeff Taylor has five different bills plumbing into ways to curtail eminent domain for CO2 pipelines in Iowa,” reports. “The Republican from Sioux Center told his proposals are necessary to protect the constitutional rights of landowners who don’t want the proposed carbon-capture projects coming through their properties. “It’s one thing to talk about a government needing this for a public use. This isn’t that. Government shouldn’t be helping the private developer out because they’re frustrated that not everybody wants to go along with their plans,” Taylor told… “The quintet of bills is referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. All five have been assigned a subcommittee, although no hearings have been scheduled yet… “The senator told other lawmakers are working on similar bills in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature, and he thinks the chances are better than last year to get something passed on the issue. Senate File 101 is the main point of Taylor’s five-prong strategy. It is practically the same as the 2022 bill: No eminent domain for private CO2 pipelines. This would likely halt Summit, Navigator and others from building their pipelines. For example, on Summit’s line, about two in five landowners have yet to agree to a voluntary easement with the Ames-based pipeline company. There’s two ways eminent do­­main should be used, Taylor told, government-built projects and projects for public use. “In this case, it’s neither one. The government isn’t laying the pipelines and the product that’s flowing through those pipelines does not go to the public. I don’t see how this could be public use under either of those ways of looking at it, and so for that reason, it’s a nonstarter for me,” he told”

South Dakota Searchlight: 558 people and groups now have legal standing in two carbon pipeline applications

“More than 500 people and organizations now have standing to participate in the regulatory review of two proposed carbon-capture pipelines that would go through South Dakota,” South Dakota Searchlight reports. “…Pedde is one of 140 people and organizations granted official status in the Navigator matter, allowing them – and their lawyers if they have one – to participate in the proceedings, ask questions, and present evidence and testimony. Another 418 people and organizations have official status in Summit Carbon Solutions’ PUC pipeline case. Many of the people granted party status in both cases appear to be landowners potentially impacted by the projects. PUC staff spokesperson Leah Mohr said in an emailed statement “that is a very large number of formal parties participating in these two dockets.”  The number of people participating in the cases has not yet been a problem, Mohr told SDS. “However, that issue is expected to be delved into more thoroughly at the Feb. 9 commission meeting.”

RFD TV: There is pushback against the Carbon Express Pipeline
Currey McCullough, 1/30/23

“One of the world’s largest planned carbon storage projects is hitting some roadblocks,” RFD TV reports. “The Midwest Carbon Express would capture carbon dioxide emitted by more than 30 ethanol plants across five states and transport it to permanent storage. Supporters say this is a necessary project to cut greenhouse gas emissions but many throughout rural Minnesota are not as sure as the pipeline would run underneath their fields. Some farmers have been promised five-figure bonuses if they sign the easements, but one landowner says yields are still down from past pipeline projects, and the company behind it has stopped compensating for those losses.”

KTVK: Kinder Morgan aiming to reopen Coolidge pipeline following deadly 2021 explosion
Casey Torres, 1/30/23

“It’s been nearly two years since a gas line exploded in Coolidge, which killed a father and his daughter. Now, Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C (EPNG) wants to resume operation of the line,” KTVK reports. “In a statement, EPNG confirmed it’s submitted a request to federal regulators last week… “Hopefully other communities won’t have to go through what mine did,” Sen. TJ Shope. Shope represents the area of Coolidge and had not heard from the company about its plan to reopen the line, told KTVK… “The entity had operated for decades with zero to few incidents, so they have proven that they can. Unfortunately, we have a horrible incident in very recent memory,” Sen. Shope, told KTVK. Shope, like others in the community, is still healing after losing Luis Alvarez and his 14-year-old daughter Valeria in August 2021… “In the preliminary report released in late 2022, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found the gas pressure from the pipeline installed in 1986 was “well under” what federal regulators allowed. However, the NTSB is still working to figure out what caused the line to rupture.”

Petroleum Economist: Marcellus pipeline woes threaten to change entire US gas market game
Peter Ramsay, 1/30/23

“Permitting issues have radically curtailed the access to cheaply produced gas to which the industry has grown accustomed,” Petroleum Economist reports. “That the Marcellus shale and the wider Appalachian gas basin have a pipeline offtake problem is hardly news. But the implications of the US cutting itself off from gas resource that can be cheaply produced may still be being underestimated. Research firm Enverus forecasts Appalachian gas production rising by just 0.88bn ft³/d (24.92mn m³/d) year-on-year in 2023. “The limited growth from the Northeast is really a function of takeaway constraints, rather than resource issues or the economics of wells at sub-$4/mn Btu Henry Hub prices,” senior vice-president of intelligence, Steve Diederichs, told PE. “And we do not expect significant relief until the Mountain Valley Pipeline comes online…”

Pipeline Fighters Hub: Webinar: “Preemption and Pipeline Regulations” [VIDEO]

“Carbon pipeline developers have in recent months gone to the extreme step of suing several County Boards in Iowa and South Dakota that passed ordinances or moratoriums to put in place common-sense protections for their communities from the dangerous proposed projects,” according to the Pipeline Fighters Hub. “The number of counties across Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois and Nebraska is growing each day that have either already passed, or are considering voting on ordinances that impose distance “setbacks,” and require public safety-related information needed for county emergency response planning. Other counties have imposed a moratorium on all carbon pipeline construction, until the federal government’s PHMSA pipeline safety agency completes a new rulemaking process for carbon pipelines it started in the wake of its damning report after operator Denbury’s carbon pipeline rupture in Satartia, MS in 2020… “But, using a well-worn page from Big Oil’s playbook, the carbon pipeline companies have threatened these county officials with lawsuits, claiming that federal law’s Pipeline Safety Act “preempts” their presumed lower county-level authority to enact protections for their communities. However, despite industry’s loud trumpeting of the “preemption” threat at countless county board meetings, they will soon be tested in the courts… “Attorney Paul Blackburn with Bold Alliance will speak on the thorny topic of “preemption” — when a higher-level authority’s power to enact laws supersedes a lower-level’s authority — in this instance as it relates to states and counties putting protections in place for their communities when faced with proposed large industrial projects like carbon dioxide pipelines.”


Politico: Next Up, Permitting

“Now that the House has finished the messaging fight over the Strategic Petroleum Reserve bill by passing it largely on party lines (and ending its political future), Republicans are planning to turn to an issue on which they hope to attract support across the aisle: easing permitting rules to expand energy production and mining critical minerals,” Politico reports. “Natural Resources Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) told POLITICO’s Josh Siegel Friday that House Republicans hope to have legislation ready for a floor vote in March. ‘We are going to be looking at much broader energy bills where we will not just focus on onshore and offshore oil and gas production, but also the other component that goes with renewable energy and with electrification and decarbonization, and that’s mining,’ Westerman told Politico. The relatively quick timeline is possible, Westerman told Politico, because Republicans have already ‘well vetted’ energy bills inside the caucus as part of a strategy that Speaker Kevin McCarthy released last summer that called for measures to stimulate oil and gas production, ease permitting regulations and reduce reliance on China and Russia for critical materials.”

E&E News: Turmoil and turnover plague Audubon
Robin Bravender, 1/30/23

“Workplace woes are taking a toll on the National Audubon Society,” E&E News reports. “…Staff complaints of a toxic work environment spilled into the news. The organization enraged workers when it laid off staff on Earth Day. The group’s longtime leader resigned under pressure. Employees unionized. But despite new leadership’s pledges to rebuild morale and promote diversity, equity and inclusion inside the nonprofit, problems persist. The organization has churned through leaders of its diversity office, including the most recent who resigned in December. Staffers accuse management of slow-walking union negotiations and failing to stem employee turnover in recent years. The nonprofit is also facing pressure to change its name to distance itself from John James Audubon, an enslaver. Some employees don’t think the organization has been transparent enough about how it will make its decision… “Audubon is a behemoth in the environmental community, employing more than 700 people spread across the country. The group’s revenue in 2022 was $152.3 million… “The organization in 2020 condemned Audubon’s history as a slave owner and announced it was partnering with leading historians and journalists to “grapple” with his legacy. Some Audubon affiliates have ditched the namesake from their organizations’ names recently, citing his racist history. Seattle Audubon decided to change its name last summer; the Maryland-based group formerly called the Audubon Naturalist Society adopted the new name Nature Forward in October… “One former Audubon staffer, who is Black, told E&E that wearing a shirt with the organization’s name on it felt like being “branded with his name.” That former staffer, who was granted anonymity to protect professional relationships, added, “Knowing that John James Audubon was an enslaver, knowing that he was a liar and knowing that he brutalized humans for the sake of bird art doesn’t — that doesn’t make me feel proud to stand next to that or to stand with that on a T-shirt.”


InsideClimate News: California Activists Redouble Efforts to Hold the Oil Industry Accountable on Neighborhood Drilling
Liza Gross, 1/29/23

“By all appearances, California environmental justice leaders should be taking a victory lap to celebrate recent laws and policies designed to rein in oil industry pollution and profiteering,” InsideClimate News reports. “On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors officially approved an ordinance, unanimously passed in September, to prohibit new oil and gas wells and phase out current drilling in unincorporated areas of one of the nation’s most densely populated counties. The county’s move came a month after the city of Los Angeles passed a similar measure and Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed to “protect Californians from being ripped off by Big Oil” with a price-gouging penalty. Newsom also signed landmark legislation that established the nation’s largest buffer zones between new oil wells and neighborhood sites and tightened pollution controls on existing wells… “But days after Newsom signed the law in September, the oil industry filed a referendum to overturn it. Now, environmental justice advocates are mobilizing allies to hold the line against oil industry polluters’ multimillion-dollar campaign to reverse what community leaders call the most significant environmental win in years… “Even so, neighborhood oil drillers are determined to stop it. They spent more than $20 million in just three months to circulate petitions and get their repeal measure on the 2024 ballot… “Paid canvassers began circulating the oil industry’s referendum petition in October. By Halloween, reports had emerged from Los Angeles to Sacramento that petition circulators were lying to voters, falsely claiming their signatures would help lower gas prices and create, rather than repeal, neighborhood safeguards, as Inside Climate News reported… “Environmental advocates are urging Newsom to continue implementing S.B. 1137, either by issuing a moratorium on new permits or directing his oil and gas regulators to stop approving permits, as they did with fracking.” 

NM Political Report: Carbon sequestration bill passes House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Hannah Grover, 1/29/23

“In the effort to prevent global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (nearly 35 degrees Fahrenheit), technology like carbon capture and sequestration may be needed, according to reports from groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Rep. Meredith Dixon, D-Albuquerque, pointed to that report when presenting a bill that would provide $2.4 million of state money for New Mexico so that the state could seek primacy over Class VI wells, according to NM Political Report. “…The bill passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee on a 6-4 vote. It now heads to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. Primacy would allow the state to permit the groundwater storage wells where captured carbon would be sequestered rather than waiting for federal approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dixon told the Report this would allow for faster permitting, which she said is important in the race to cut emissions. Opponents of HB 174 say this money is unnecessary in part because the federal government already is providing $50 million for states so that they can pursue primacy over those wells… “Opponents of HB 174 expressed concerns that carbon capture in New Mexico would be used to prop up the fossil fuel industry. They also questioned if New Mexico has the capacity to run its own Class VI program given the struggles that state agencies have had in enforcing existing rules, including well inspections. They also expressed concerns about potential contamination of land and groundwater.  Instead, opponents say state money could better be used to further solar and wind energy deployment.”

Press release: 50 Groups Urge N.M. Governor to End Oil, Gas Extraction by 2034

“More than 50 Indigenous, environmental and social justice organizations marked the start of New Mexico’s 2023 legislative session by calling on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to promote strong science-based climate legislation that phases out oil and gas production by 2034. In their letter to the governor, the local and national groups cite New Mexico’s outsize role in producing carbon emissions as home to one of the largest oilfields in the world, the Permian Basin. “To be true climate leaders, the governor and legislators have to confront the massive carbon pollution produced by drilling and fracking, especially in the Permian Basin,” said Gail Evans, a New Mexico-based attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Let this be the year New Mexico’s policymakers take action on oil industry emissions, because we’re running out of time. We have a little over a decade to end polluting fossil fuel extraction or face cascading and irreversible harms to people and wildlife in our state.” “…In addition to urging a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels, groups also called on the New Mexico legislature to adequately fund state environmental agencies. Chronic underfunding at the New Mexico Environment Department and the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department has led to thousands of unenforced oil and gas industry violations annually. To meet emissions targets, these agencies need the necessary funding and staff to create and enforce rules to protect the public health and the environment.”


Reuters: Exxon smashes Western oil majors’ earnings record with $59 billion profit
Sabrina Valle, 1/31/23

“Exxon Mobil Corp posted $59 billion in adjusted profit for 2022, the company said on Tuesday, taking home more than $6.7 million per hour last year, and setting not only a company record but a historic high for the Western oil industry,” Reuters reports. “Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records on high prices and soaring demand, pushing their combined take to near $200 billion. The scale has renewed criticism of the oil industry and sparked calls for more countries to levy windfall profit taxes on the companies. Exxon’s results far exceeded the then-record $45.2 billion net profit it reported in 2008, when oil hit $142 per barrel, 30% above last year’s average price. Deep cost cuts during the pandemic helped supercharge last year’s earnings… “Exxon said it incurred a $1.3 billion hit to its fourth quarter earnings from a European Union windfall tax that began in the final quarter and from asset impairments. The company is suing the EU, arguing the levy exceeds its legal authority. The results may set up another confrontation with the White House. On Friday, President Joe Biden’s administration blasted oil firms for pouring cash into shareholder payouts rather than production.”

The Saxon: Global oil demand will start falling by 2030, says BP
Teilor Stone, 1/30/23

“Global demand for oil will start falling by 2030, BP says,” The Saxon reports. “According to BP, this decline is largely explained by the growing popularity of electric vehicles. BP forecasts a gradual decline in oil demand that will begin by the end of the decade at the latest. The company’s new forecasts also cast doubt on the long-term viability of Canada’s oil fields. In its new annual report, BP presents three scenarios that vary according to their climate ambitions. Its most moderate scenario predicts that global demand will remain stable at 97 million barrels per day until 2030 before starting to decline slowly to 75 MB/day in 2050. The Accelerated Energy Transition and Carbon Neutrality scenarios project a decrease in oil demand as early as 2025. These models estimate that global oil demand will be 21 to 42 million barrels per day in 2050. According to BP, this decline is largely due to the growing popularity of electric vehicles. According to the accelerated energy transition scenario, the world could have more than 1.6 billion in 2050… “BP’s forecast also contains bad news for Canadian producers, and in particular those in the Alberta oil sands. The report states that higher production costs in non-members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will make them increasingly less competitive.”

Financial Post: No more carrots needed for oilpatch to invest in carbon capture emissions reduction: report
Meghan Potkins, 1/30/23

“A new report casts doubt on recent claims by oilpatch leaders that more government support will be needed before large investments in carbon capture technology can proceed,” the Financial Post reports. “Recent changes to industrial carbon pricing rules in Alberta, the province with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the country, should be sufficient to trigger private investment in large-scale carbon capture and storage projects, according to the Pembina Institute, which urged governments not to offer further incentives to industry. Updates to Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Regulation (TIER) regime introduced in December increase the stringency of the tax on industrial emitters, while offering incentives to reduce emissions with the the introduction of new credits for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)… “The Pembina report says the changes augment an existing suite of incentives for decarbonization, including: a federal investment tax credit for CCUS, carbon pricing that will increase to $170 per tonne by 2030 and credits for emissions reductions under federal clean fuel regulations. The report’s authors argue that with the addition of another federal carbon policy expected later this year, called carbon contracts for differences, there should be sufficient incentives in place to offset risk of investing in CCUS. “(It) means that no further measures — such as changes to Alberta’s oilsands royalty system — are needed, and there is sufficient up-front and sustained support for CCUS projects to progress to final investment decision in Alberta,” the report said. The danger highlighted in Pembina’s report, Gorski told the Post, is that governments go overboard on incentives for the oil and gas industry in a bid to speed up the energy transition. “If the province comes in and gives them a really favourable royalty treatment, taxpayers start to shoulder that cost,” Gorski told the Post. “And there’s this question of, ‘How should we be using that taxpayer money right now?’ Is the best place to use it to give it to industry, or should we be using it to address some of the other concerns: inflation, affordability. Striking that balance is really important.”


Corporate Knights: Colorado pension fund loses US$2.7 billion by not divesting from fossil fuels

“Divesting from fossil fuels isn’t just good for the planet. It can be good for financial returns, too,” Corporate Knights reports. “That was one of the conclusions from a new Corporate Knights report that revealed that a Colorado pension fund missed out on an additional US$2.7 billion in returns over the last 10 years by not divesting from fossil fuels. The report found that the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (Colorado PERA) could have earned an additional 21.8%, or $4,161, for each of its members from 2012 to 2022 if it had divested all its fossil fuel stocks in favour of the rest of the portfolio… “The report, which was commissioned by Boulder County, laid out three different scenarios in which the pension divested from stocks that earned 10% of revenue from thermal coal, oil and gas; divested from stocks that earned 50% of revenue from those sources; and divested from all fossil-fuel-related stocks. Researchers found that in each scenario, the pension fund missed out on similar returns. And a breakdown of the Colorado pension fund’s total returns by sector shows that oil and gas stocks had the lowest returns during this period (even with high returns from 2021 to 2022 due to skyrocketing energy prices caused by the invasion of Ukraine). Information technology had the highest. The revelation came as Colorado state lawmakers consider a bill that would direct the Colorado PERA board to adopt proxy voting procedures that “ensure that the board’s voting decisions align with, and are supportive of, the statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.” If passed, the bill would also adopt new GHG targets for the state that would slash emissions by 65% (of 2005 levels) by 2035 and 100% by 2050.“


Niagara-on-the-Lake Advance: Niagara-on-the-Lake fire department investing in leadership books, management material for volunteers
Brilee Sears, 1/30/23

“The Niagara-on-the-Lake fire department is investing in its members, using a grant to help purchase books focusing on leadership to be kept in a library at the station,” Niagara-on-the-Lake Advance reports. “…The organization received a $5,000 Safe Community Project Assist grant from Enbridge Gas, which can be used toward any training materials a station needs. “The program looks to support smaller communities because the financial challenges are obviously greater in a smaller community than a large city,” Nicholas Klip, Enbridge Gas operations manager for the Hamilton and Niagara Region, told the Advance. “We’re just glad that it helps advance the education and experience of the departments involved.” “…The grant is part of more than $250,000 Enbridge Gas has split among fire departments across Ontario to be used for the purchase of training resources.”

Calgary Herald: Serious fun fuels Enbridge employees’ success
This story was produced by Mediacorp in partnership with Postmedia, on behalf of Enbridge Inc., 1/30/23

“The soundtrack of Mary Fajardo’s working day at Enbridge Inc. has the intense hum of people who are hard at work, mixed with the constant refrain of laughter from her fellow employees who enjoy what they do,” according to the Calgary Herald. “We do little things that add a bit of fun and brightness to our day,” says Fajardo, senior advisor of pension financial reporting. “This is the first job where I have laughed so much, but we’re also so productive. It makes me excited to come into work every day.” “…That family-oriented corporate culture is built on Enbridge’s core values of safety, respect, integrity and inclusion. Melissa Moye, chief human resources and inclusion officer, says those values aren’t just words on paper… “Enbridge employees can earn up to $350 annually by participating in activities that support physical, financial, social or mental health. Work-life balance is a priority and the company offers employees a flexibility program that blends remote work with in-office days.” “While taking the work seriously, employees find ways to inject levity into their day. Teams compete with each other in online trivia contests, paper airplane distance competitions and step challenges.”


The Reflector: Letter to the editor: GTN Xpress Pipeline is dangerous and unnecessary
Kristin Edmark, Battle Ground, 1/30/23

“TC Energy is proposing to increase the amount of methane through its GTN (Gas Transmission Northwest) Pipeline which carries Canadian fracked methane to Washington, Oregon and California,” Kristin Edmark writes for The Reflector. “The flow in the aging pipeline is to be increased by increasing the pressure by adding three pump stations. The proposed increase in methane is about equal to a quarter of Washington state’s annual gas consumption.  TC Energy recently increased the pressure in its Keystone pipeline which could have been a factor in the Keystone Pipeline’s major rupture in December of 2022. The GTN Pipeline carries methane which can cause large fires at pipeline breaks. Increased pressure increases the likelihood and severity of breaks… “The greenhouse gas emissions from the GTN Xpress pipeline would exceed the top emitters in Washington except for the retiring TransAlta Centralia power plant. Washington, Oregon and California are passing legislation to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, especially methane. Washington’s Attorney General has objected to the GTN Xpress project because of its negative implications for community safety and environmental justice.”

Inforum: Port: Lawmaker fighting carbon pipeline because of ‘property rights’ once tried to seize neighbor’s property
Rob Port, 1/30/23

“I believe that if we don’t protect our property rights, we won’t be free anymore.” So said state Sen. Jeff Magrum , a Republican from District 8 who has, as a part of his myopic feud with Gov. Doug Burgum , filed a raft of bills in Bismarck to undermine efforts to build a carbon pipeline in our state,” Rob Port writes for Inforum. “…Would it surprise you to learn that this supposed paragon of property rights once tried to seize his neighbor’s property through a legal process that’s not at all unlike eminent domain? It’s actually worse. Unlike the eminent domain process, which requires that the taker compensate the property owner at fair market value, Magrum tried to pull this off without paying the actual property owner a dime… “Magrum considered a trail across the northern section of his property to be the boundary with Gimbel’s property, according to documentation from the North Dakota Supreme Court. Magrum built a fence along it. Gimbel disagreed, got a survey, got that survey approved and recorded by Emmons County, and then asked Magrum to take down the fence since it was on his property. Magrum refused, and instead tried to take Gimbel’s property under a legal doctrine called “adverse possession,” which generally means that a person can take someone else’s property if they use it and act like its owner for a certain amount of time… “The Gimbel vs. Magrum decision doesn’t change the debate about the Midwest Carbon Express, really.”

Globe and Mail: France’s TotalEnergies plays smart in oil sands retreat
Andrew Willis, 1/30/23

“More than two years ago, France’s flagship energy company made a statement on the Alberta oil sands,” Andrew Willis writes for the Globe and Mail. “Paris-based TotalEnergies announced its Canadian holdings, developed over decades, didn’t fit with the company’s low carbon future. In the summer of 2020, Total took a $9.3-billion write down on stakes in the Fort Hills and Surmont properties, labelled them as stranded assets and drove home its message by quitting the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers… “Total, in step with many investors, decided the best way to deal with the challenges that come with climate change is to divest its Canadian assets. The French company is plowing cash into renewable energy projects. Canadian rivals, including Fort Hills’s controlling shareholder, Suncor Energy Inc., plan to meet their net-zero goals by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from their oil sands properties. Their capital spending is around initiatives such as carbon capture and storage, and scale matters on these multibillion-dollar projects… “In announcing the planned spin off last fall, Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanné outlined the challenges facing energy companies in an investor presentation. He said the next decade is “decisive” when it comes to meeting climate-change goals, as investment in low carbon power must double to US$1.5-trillion annually. At the same time, he said: “Investment in new oil and gas developments is required until at least the mid-2030s to satisfy customer demand.” Total will need all the capital it can raise to pay for its shift to low carbon energy. The French company is looking to Canadian markets, or Suncor, for a sizable chunk of that change.”

Missoulian: Op-Ed: NEPA: Sunshine In Government
Mike Bader, Missoula, is an independent consultant and researcher with emphasis on grizzly bears, a conservationist and former seasonal Yellowstone ranger and firefighter, 1/29/23

“NEPA’s public participation process ensures that the American public gets an opportunity for its say. This is vital to the management of federal public lands, which are ‘owned’ by the people,” Mike Bader writes for the Missoulian. “Many successful lawsuits challenging government projects are decided on the procedural requirements of NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act rather than the substantive provisions of other laws such as the Endangered Species Act. Why? Because the Courts recognize that NEPA is part of the bedrock of our participatory democracy and if the agencies shortcut NEPA they are shortcutting democracy. For years NEPA has been the punching bag of industry lobbyists and their shills in Congress and the administrative branch who have rewarded them with the ‘Categorical Exclusion’ from detailed NEPA analysis and public involvement. Montana’s Senator Jon Tester wanted to ‘cut red tape and get the timber out’ and he pushed Congress to allow some timber sales up to 3,000 acres under the roof of the CE… “Sunshine is the best disinfectant and the agencies must bask in its light. NEPA must be maintained, strengthened and enforced. A popular musical at the time of NEPA’s passage included the hit song “Let the Sunshine In.” Sing it loud, sing it proud.”

Albuquerque Journal: EPA should ensure methane protections
JOAN BROWN, 1/29/23

“I’ve been working with families on the front lines of oil and gas production in the Permian Basin for the last 10 years. I’ve experienced first-hand growing concerns about health, quality of life, and environmental pollution,” Joan Brown writes for the Albuquerque Journal. “Methane and other air pollutants from oil and gas drilling cause health conditions for the same people who keep the industry prosperous. That’s why I and many faith leaders in New Mexico joined hundreds of advocates from across the country in public hearings to urge the Environmental Protection Agency to swiftly finalize new protections that reduce methane pollution from oil and gas operations. There’s still time for the EPA to make changes to the rule and for New Mexicans and Texans to speak up for the strongest possible protections. People of faith have been part of this fight from the start – we have a spiritual, ethical and moral duty to love and care for our neighbors… “We need protections from the EPA to ensure that states work together to cut methane because we all share a common home. Our communities deserve to be part of this conversation, which can be done with participation in the Super Emitter Response Program that will monitor and address the industry’s largest leaks using public data. Cutting methane isn’t optional – it’s a moral and ethical obligation that we have to each other, and we can stand together to let the EPA know that we need strong methane protections by submitting public comments before Feb. 13. Together with the EPA, resolute in our faith, we will address methane pollution and hold the oil and gas industry accountable.”

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