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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 11/15/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

November 15, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Public News Service: NE Groups Take on a New Kind of Pipeline Fight

  • Little Village: Protesters disrupt carbon capture conference in Des Moines, face close call with SUV

  • Carbon Herald: Protests Disrupt The National Carbon Capture Conference In Iowa

  • KELO: CO2 pipeline seeks April hearing on South Dakota permit

  • KMA: Summit Carbon Solutions reaches easement milestone

  • Quad City Times: Coming up: Wolf to hold new meetings on carbon pipeline in December after some landowners didn’t receive notice

  • Axios: Iowa counties launch pipeline study

  • University of Iowa Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative: Carbon Pipelines Across Iowa: Panel Discussion

  • Financial Post: TC Energy’s $5-billion asset sale another opportunity for Indigenous communities

  • Upstream: Enbridge attempts to heal Indigenous relations

  • Government Accountability Office: Pipeline Safety: Fully Implementing Key Practices Could Help Improve Transparency of Enforcement Website

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Press release: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GROUPS AND ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS URGE THE WHITE HOUSE TO REVISIT ITS SUPPORT OF CURRENT PERMITTING REFORM EFFORTS TO ENSURE EQUITY

  • E&E News: Lawmakers back to deal-making on permitting, spending

  • InsideClimate News: Weak GOP Performance in Midterms Blunts Possible Attacks on Biden Climate Agenda, Observers Say

  • The Hill: Republicans eye Manchin as top target in 2024

  • E&E News: Manchin Schedules Hearing On Clean Energy, Grid Nominees

  • InsideEPA: CEQ Urged To Set Clearer Metrics For Scoring Agencies’ Justice40 Progress

STATE UPDATES

  • The Verge: Oil giant Occidental wants to remake itself as a climate tech leader in Texas

  • Bloomberg: Natural Gas Flaring Is Set to Rebound in Permian Basin

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: Permian Basin oil and gas operator fined after fire at Artesia plant injures workers

EXTRACTION

  • Sydney Morning Herald: Gas giant’s $3.2b effort to bury carbon pollution is failing

  • The Hill: UN climate summit releases draft of long-sought ‘loss and damage’ agreement

  • Financial Post: ‘This is mostly theatre’: Alberta’s message at COP27 is oilsands ‘boosterism,’ critics say

  • Globe and Mail: Government to decide between emissions cap and carbon pricing by spring, environment minister says at COP27

  • Climate Nexus: U.S. Oil/Gas Methane Emissions Science Tracker Now Available

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • E&E News: What the midterm results mean for ESG investing

  • Upstream: Building bridges with Canada’s Indigenous communities

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • National Observer: Competition Bureau to investigate gas lobby group for alleged greenwashing

OPINION

  • Daily Montanan: Montanans deserve better than NorthWestern Energy’s failed leadership

  • Toronto Star: Oilsands producers need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to net-zero carbon emissions

  • The Motley Fool: Why I Own Enbridge Stock

PIPELINE NEWS

Public News Service: NE Groups Take on a New Kind of Pipeline Fight
Deborah Van Fleet, 11/15/22

“A Nebraska group that led the fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline has turned its attention to a different environmental cause,” Public News Service reports. “Bold Alliance, a project of Bold Nebraska, is part of a coalition fighting plans for four carbon-capture pipelines in the Midwest. Last week, they protested at a conference held in Iowa for carbon pipeline developers. Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance Director told PNS her group considers carbon pipelines even more risky than oil or gas pipelines. She sees local residents as “guinea pigs” for an as-yet unproven technology. “These new pipelines would actually be doing something that’s never been done in the United States, where they are pumping into the ground this toxic waste at high pressure, and hoping that it stays there forever and doesn’t do any harm,” Kleeb told PNS… “Pipeline opponents say there’s little evidence that storing carbon underground will substantially affect climate change. They point to the safety risks of highly pressurized pipelines if a rupture occurs… “Kleeb told PNS the coalition fears the tax credits are contributing to a “gold rush” of projects for this controversial process. “And I think because the pipeline companies are selling it that it’s going to ‘help climate change,’ people have just kind of shrugged and said, ‘Well, it’s better that carbon is in the ground than in the air,'” Kleeb told PNS… “Kleeb told PNS Bold Nebraska plans a petition drive for the 2024 election to let Nebraska voters decide if the companies get to use eminent domain to take people’s land.”

Little Village: Protesters disrupt carbon capture conference in Des Moines, face close call with SUV
Lily DeTaeye, 11/10/22

“About 100 people marched from Cowles Commons through the streets of Des Moines to the Iowa Events Center on Wednesday to protest the National Carbon Capture Conference and Expo,” Little Village reports. “The expo featured speakers from Summit Carbon Solutions, Wolf Carbon Solutions, and Navigator CO2: the three companies who have submitted proposals and/or applied for permits to build a carbon capture pipeline that would run through Iowa and surrounding states. The protest was organized by Buffalo Rebellion, a climate action group made up of Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI). The groups organized the event to “denounce CO2 pipelines as a false climate solution,” according to a news release issued by Buffalo Rebellion. Just a day before the protest, members of Iowa CCI and DSM Black Liberation Movement interrupted the conference with concerns over the proposed pipeline… “After the speeches, the crowd marched to the Iowa Events Center. While stopped in the intersection of Center and Third streets, protesters had to avoid an SUV driver who had driven onto the sidewalk in an attempt to bypass the marchers in the street. Shortly after, a person using a pressure washer and wearing a green Operation Downtown shirt pointed the pressure washer at the marchers, shooting a jet of water over their head. A Des Moines police officer watched the incident, but did nothing in response.”

Carbon Herald: Protests Disrupt The National Carbon Capture Conference In Iowa
Violet George, 11/11/22

“The National Carbon Capture Conference and Expo taking place this week in Des Moines, Iowa, has faced disruptions from protesters,” the Carbon Herald reports. “Some 100 people marched through the streets of the city to demonstrate their opposition against the event and, more particularly, against the proposed carbon capture pipelines… “One of the main aim of the protesters, organized by climate action group Buffalo Rebellion, was to condemn the carbon pipeline projects as a ‘false climate solution.’”

KELO: CO2 pipeline seeks April hearing on South Dakota permit
Bob Mercer, 11/14/22

“A lawyer for a proposed carbon-dioxide pipeline in South Dakota has asked state regulators for an April hearing on whether it can go ahead,” KELO reports. “But lawyers for landowners who oppose the project’s potential route have argued April is too soon because too many unresolved right-of-way disputes remain. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission could set a schedule at a meeting Friday afternoon… “Attorney Brett Koenecke of Pierre filed the company’s request for the April hearing. He followed up with a request for a protective order for use by the parties during the discovery phase of the docket proceeding… “But landowners’ attorneys Brian Jorde of Omaha, Nebraska, and Ryan Cwach of Yankton responded the docket is “nowhere near” the point when scheduling discussions should start. “Summit has not obtained even 50% of the easements it desires in South Dakota and no proceedings, and no scheduling should move forward until it has acquired at least 90% of the South Dakota easements it desires,” Jorde and Cwach wrote. The commissioners meanwhile plan a series of three public-input meetings next week in southeastern South Dakota on a second proposed CO2 pipeline sought by Navigator Heartland Greenway, LLC.”

KMA: Summit Carbon Solutions reaches easement milestone
Mike Peterson, 11/14/22

“Progress is reported in the efforts to secure easements for a proposed carbon sequestration project in KMAland,” KMA reports. “Officials with Summit Carbon Solutions recently announced that nearly 2,100 landowners have signed approximately 3,400 easement agreements for the proposed Midwest Express C02 pipeline project… “I think it’s a reflection of the fact that the ethanol industry, I think, is widely believed to be one of the most critical industries in the state of Iowa,” Harris told KMA. “This project was created and initiated specifically to open up new economic opportunities. The 32 ethanol plants that we’re partnering with will be able to sell their product at a premium in a growing number of states and countries that have low carbon fuel standards. So Canada, California, Oregon, Washington, they all pay more for low carbon fuels. So, this really gives the ethanol industry a significant advantage moving forward.” “…Earlier this month, the Shelby County Board of Supervisors approved regulations for pipeline projects, such as separation distances between the proposed pipeline and homes and other community buildings. Harris, however, told KMA state law supersedes any local ordinances, and that the Iowa Utilities Board will have the ultimate authority in the pipeline project’s fate.”

Quad City Times: Coming up: Wolf to hold new meetings on carbon pipeline in December after some landowners didn’t receive notice
Sarah Watson, 11/14/22

“The company building a carbon pipeline through four Iowa counties and crossing the Mississippi River will hold new public meetings in early December because not all landowners were properly notified of the first round,” the Quad City Times reports. “…Wolf held public meetings in August, but some landowners who thought they were in the path of the proposed pipeline said they weren’t notified by mail and questioned the legality of the process… “In documents filed earlier this fall, company representatives said they found some “anomalies that occurred” which resulted in some landowners not receiving notice of the first round of meetings. The Iowa Utilities Board required Wolf to detail how landowners were notified and verify those notifications were sent. Company representatives said in a filing this fall they didn’t know until after meetings had concluded that some mail notices were returned with insufficient addresses… “Carbon pipelines in Iowa are controversial — advocates say the pipeline would reduce carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere and would attract industries other than ethanol, such as high-emission cement companies, to plug in to the pipeline. Detractors question the long-term necessity and economic/environmental viability of a pipeline with the country moving away from gas-powered vehicles and toward electric cars. Some farmers have expressed concerns with reduced crop yields, and residents have queried on likelihood of and plans in case of accidents.”

Axios: Iowa counties launch pipeline study
Jason Clayworth, 11/14/22

“The Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) launched a soil conservation study in October that could delay pipeline construction projects if ground conditions are unsuitable for heavy machinery, director Bill Peterson told Axios. “Why it matters: Some of the world’s best soil is in Iowa. There’s growing concern that roughly 2,000 miles of proposed pipeline projects in Iowa could devastate crop production, Peterson told Axios. Driving the news: The study launched Oct. 15 and is being overseen by Mehari Tekeste, an assistant agriculture professor at Iowa State University who has prior pipeline research. ISAC is asking each of Iowa’s 99 counties to voluntarily contribute $600 to pay for the research. Of note: Teskeste last year published research funded by Dakota Access Pipeline, showing Iowa’s soil in the right-of-way of that project is still recovering six years after a nearly 1,200-mile oil pipeline was constructed… “The study will focus on the effects of pipeline construction to farmland and potentially offer recommendations to help avoid long term reduction to crop production, Peterson told Axios. The IUB and individual counties could use the study’s findings to limit construction during wet conditions, he told Axios.”

University of Iowa Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative: Carbon Pipelines Across Iowa: Panel Discussion
11/13/22

“Join the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative in a panel discussion between policy experts, researchers, industry, landowners, and environmental representatives on the proposed carbon capture and storage pipelines across the state of Iowa. The Panelists: Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Vice President, Government & Public Affairs – Navigator CO2; Shannon Roesler, Moderator, Faculty Director, Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative; Monte Shaw, Executive Director, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association; Charles Stanier, Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa College of Engineering; Wally Taylor, Attorney, representing the Sierra Club; Jessica Wiskus, Linn County Landowner.”

Financial Post: TC Energy’s $5-billion asset sale another opportunity for Indigenous communities
Meghan Potkins, 11/14/22

“The announcement last week that TC Energy Corp. plans to sell $5 billion in assets next year has prompted speculation that Indigenous communities could scoop up ownership stakes in some portion of the company’s Alberta pipeline assets — a reflection of the growing shift in the energy sector’s approach to equity ownership in major projects,” the Financial Post reports. “…Last year, TC Energy sold its 15 per cent stake in the Northern Courier Pipeline project to a partnership between Indigenous communities and Suncor Energy Inc. More recently, the company struck a deal with more than a dozen Indigenous communities along the route of its Coastal GasLink pipeline project for an option agreement that could see the communities collectively acquire a 10 per cent stake in the $11.2-billion pipeline… “Poirier also suggested that governments can facilitate these types of arrangements by assisting in providing access to capital for Indigenous communities… “The Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp., a provincial Crown corporation set up in 2019, provided the $250-million loan guarantee that facilitated the Enbridge deal announced last month — but many Indigenous leaders say a dedicated federal loan guarantee program is needed… “Leaders such as Niilo Edwards, CEO of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, also tell the Post the green energy transition, which is expected to require billions in investment in Canadian infrastructure, will require more companies to meaningfully contend with Indigenous participation. “The road to net zero runs through Indigenous lands,” Edwards told the Post. “The only way that we are going to achieve our goals is through creating the environment where Indigenous communities can be successful, making informed decisions on their participation, and getting access to the financing that they need in order to participate as partners.”

Upstream: Enbridge attempts to heal Indigenous relations
Naomi Klinge, 11/14/22

“Years of tumultuous relations between oil and gas companies and Indigenous groups are leading some companies in Canada to rethink their engagement with First Nations and Metis communities,” Upstream reports. “Energy infrastructure company Enbridge recently released an Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan to track its progress in its commitments to Indigenous communities. These include engaging with Indigenous groups beyond what is required by the federal government, which usually amounts to project-based consultations. Enbridge and other companies are expanding their engagement to include long-term economic partnership throughout the life of pipelines and other assets.”

Government Accountability Office: Pipeline Safety: Fully Implementing Key Practices Could Help Improve Transparency of Enforcement Website
11/15/22

“The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration inspects interstate natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, investigates accidents, and enforces laws and regulations. The agency puts information about its enforcement activities on its public Enforcement Transparency website. We found that the website generally aligned with key practices for transparently reporting government data, but the agency could make some improvements. For example, a better search tool could let users filter the data by type of regulation violated or other characteristics,” according to the Government Accountability Office. “We recommended that the agency optimize the website’s search function, and more. The Administrator of PHMSA should update PHMSA’s Enforcement Transparency website to provide complete, machine-readable data that can be downloaded in bulk and in selected subsets; The Administrator of PHMSA should update PHMSA’s enforcement data to be interoperable with other relevant datasets, such as PHMSA’s accident-incident dataset (e.g., by adding a unique identifier variable.); The Administrator of PHMSA should update PHMSA’s Enforcement Transparency website to provide a search function that allows users to find relevant information, which could include the ability to search by the regulation violated.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Press release: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GROUPS AND ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS URGE THE WHITE HOUSE TO REVISIT ITS SUPPORT OF CURRENT PERMITTING REFORM EFFORTS TO ENSURE EQUITY
11/14/22

“Today, more than 70 environmental justice groups and 60 allied organizations demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that equity and justice are central to national policy decisions by sending a letter to President Joe Biden expressing concern about his support of dangerous and undemocratic permitting ideas, including the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022. The advocates called for the President to support reform measures that uphold democracy and center community interests in decision-making for projects designed to advance our national transition to a clean energy economy. The letter was sent to President Biden in anticipation of the “permitting reform” conversations beginning again as Congress reconvenes. It is expected that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)’s Energy Independence and Security Act, or some version of it, will be re-introduced as an amendment to the last must-pass bills of 2022 – the National Defense Authorization Act and omnibus packages which fund our national security and continue the operation of the federal government. The signatories oppose legislation that will permanently weaken two bedrock environmental protections, the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Both laws ensure thorough evaluation and review of the environmental impacts of major projects and the timely notification of the public with opportunities to comment. Manchin’s bill would severely erode community input, advance inadequate environmental analysis, and eliminate judicial recourse for those most harmed by subpar processes. Instead, signatories urge President Biden and Democratic Leadership to support the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021/S.872) (EJ4All), a comprehensive bill to reduce environmental inequities, including provisions to protect and strengthen public participation and tribal consultation. EJ4All also includes provisions to ensure the consideration of cumulative impacts in the permitting process and the consideration of alternatives.”

E&E News: Lawmakers back to deal-making on permitting, spending
Nick Sobczyk, 11/15/22

“Lawmakers are intensifying negotiations on a spending package and permitting reform ahead of a busy rush to the finish line in December,” E&E News reports. “Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told E&E “good conversations” continued over the recess on permitting. The White House has also voiced support for a bill in the lame-duck session. “We’re working every way we can,” Manchin said as Congress returned to work Monday. “This needs to be passed.” “…Changing the current system faces stiff opposition from House progressives wary of making any changes to the National Environmental Policy Act or approving the contentious Mountain Valley pipeline project… “Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), one of the progressive permitting reform opponents, told E&E it’s “hard to say” whether the permitting push would have enough votes in the House as an attachment to the NDAA. “The NDAA is already going to be combined with WRDA,” Huffman told E&E. “You’ve got to put a pretty complicated algorithm together for that.” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who has supported permitting reform as a means to build out clean energy, told E&E  it’s “too early to tell” if the effort will pan out… “Republicans, however, may not be willing to cut a deal ahead of the Dec. 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia. And because it appears they will win back the House, they may seek to force a punt on spending until the new year to get more leverage over the process.”

InsideClimate News: Weak GOP Performance in Midterms Blunts Possible Attacks on Biden Climate Agenda, Observers Say
Marianne Lavelle, 11/13/22

“For weeks, some Republicans have been preparing to wield control of Congress as a cudgel against President Joe Biden’s climate and clean energy agenda,” InsideClimate News reports. “Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), in line to become chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, hired a new chief counsel for investigations a month prior to the Nov. 8 election, vowing to hold administration officials accountable “for how they’ve shut down American energy.” “…But following Republicans’ unexpectedly weak showing—the worst midterm result for an opposition party in 20 years—clean energy advocates are feeling confident. Even if Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives or the Senate after the votes are all counted—including in the Georgia Senate runoff next month—they believe the nation’s first climate law will be able to withstand any assault by a weakened GOP. “The chances that the Congress that emerges from this midterm will, quote, repeal or otherwise do serious damage to the IRA seems to be diminished given the outcome,” said energy lobbyist Scott Segal at an online analysis session hosted by his firm, the Bracewell Policy Resolution Group, the morning after the election… “Some observers believe that if Republicans do take control of the House, they will try to use future Ukraine war effort funding bills as vehicles to free LNG facilities from environmental requirements or ease the permitting of new export facilities… “If Republicans take over either chamber of Congress, a top priority is certain to be changing the law to fast-track energy infrastructure, like pipelines… “Permitting reform is essential for us,” Macchiarola told ICN, noting that four major pipeline projects to move natural gas from the huge Marcellus shale formation along the Appalachian mountains have been canceled or delayed, including Manchin’s favored project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia.

The Hill: Republicans eye Manchin as top target in 2024
ALEXANDER BOLTON, 11/14/22

“Senate Republicans say Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be a top electoral target in 2024, even though he has voted with them more often than any other Senate Democrat and helped Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) block an effort to reform the chamber’s filibuster rule,” The Hill reports. “Smarting from the disappointing failure to retake the Senate majority in this year’s midterms, Republican strategists predict that McConnell will pour millions of dollars into West Virginia next cycle to flip Manchin’s seat. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, one of several Republicans who could challenge Manchin in 2024, said the centrist Democrat will pay a political price for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, which included major components of President Biden’s agenda such as tax reform, prescription drug reform and hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change… “Sen. Manchin deeply disappointed West Virginians and let them down tremendously when he supported the ‘Build Back Broke’ bill last summer. That legislation really hit our state very hard. You can dress up the pig anyway you want but most people in West Virginia understand that that bill is going to hurt us,” Morrisey told The Hill in an interview.”  

E&E News: Manchin Schedules Hearing On Clean Energy, Grid Nominees
Nico Portuondo, 11/14/22

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will question three of President Joe Biden’s nominees for high-level positions on clean energy and the grid. David Crane, former CEO of utility NRG Energy, is up for undersecretary of Energy for infrastructure, and Jeff Marootian, a former White House aide, is Biden’s nominee to lead DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The president announced both in August. Also on the agenda is Gene Rodrigues, a utility industry veteran and consultant, to lead the Office of Electricity. Rodrigues, currently vice president of energy, environment and infrastructure for ICF, was announced in September. If confirmed, all three would be in charge of implementing parts of the Inflation Reduction Act. Senate Democrats are eager to advance as many Biden nominees as possible during the lame-duck session, particularly when party control for next year remains in play. Notably absent from the confirmation hearing agenda is Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Richard Glick, whose tenure on the panel will expire at the end of the current Congress. ENR Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced last week that he did ‘not feel comfortable’ holding Glick’s confirmation hearing. Manchin has expressed concern about Glick’s environmental initiatives and the Biden administration’s green commitments.” 

InsideEPA: CEQ Urged To Set Clearer Metrics For Scoring Agencies’ Justice40 Progress
11/14/22

 “The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is being roundly urged to set clearer metrics and be more transparent in the scorecard it is developing to track EPA and other agencies’ progress implementing the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, with dozens of groups submitting comments in response to CEQ’s August request for information (RFI),” InsideEPA reports. “‘For the Scorecard to be transparent and meaningful, CEQ must clearly define the primary metrics by which success will be measured,’ and these should include ‘reductions in pollution and improvement in health and quality of life,’ Coming Clean and the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform say in joint Nov. 3 comments. ‘It is not sufficient to simply assume that a ‘benefit’ (e.g. jobs, access to clean energy, etc.) has been conferred upon a community simply because of monetary flows,’ the groups add. Others, like House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), emphasized the importance of including performance measures that examine agencies’ implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is ‘widely considered the most important tool for giving communities a say in the federal decision-making process.’ Grijalva specifically asked CEQ to measure whether agencies are properly disclosing and considering the cumulative impacts of multiple sources of pollution in NEPA reviews, and he asked that the scorecard also track and monitor agencies’ compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.”

STATE UPDATES

The Verge: Oil giant Occidental wants to remake itself as a climate tech leader in Texas
JUSTINE CALMA, 11/14/22

“One of the biggest oil producers in the US has a new kind of product in its lineup, one that’s supposed to clean up the climate pollution that’s still coming from its petroleum business,” The Verge reports. “Its plan is to sell customers supposedly green credentials that they can show off to the world. That risks giving polluters a license to keep polluting, critics say, and positions Big Oil as a heavyweight in the carbon removal and trading business… “Occidental signed an agreement to lease over 100,000 acres within the historic King Ranch, where it plans to build “direct air capture” (DAC) plants capable of filtering millions of tons of carbon dioxide out of the air. Once the CO2 is out of the atmosphere, the plan is to stuff the greenhouse gas underground, where it can’t heat up the planet. Then, Occidental can churn out credits for each ton of CO2 they capture and sequester… “It’s a scheme that’s similar to other carbon offset credits… “Now, companies also have the option of investing in a direct air capture plant instead of a forest to clean up its mess. But that doesn’t get at the root of the problem, environmental advocates tell The Verge, because it doesn’t stop the company from polluting in the first place. “It’s all flawed. It’s deeply flawed because ultimately, this gives the fossil fuel industry an out. So corporations, the fossil fuel industry, they can go on with business as usual,” Tamra Gilbertson, climate justice program coordinator at the Indigenous Environmental Network based in North America, told the Verge.”

Bloomberg: Natural Gas Flaring Is Set to Rebound in Permian Basin
Kevin Crowley, 11/14/22

“Operators in America’s biggest shale oil basin are set to significantly increase the amount of natural gas they burn into the atmosphere because of a lack of pipeline capacity to ship it elsewhere, according to Rystad Energy,” Bloomberg reports. “Permian Basin gas production has rebounded more quickly than oil since the pandemic, leaving pipelines effectively maxed out. It will be the latter half of next year before several major pipeline expansions come online to ease the shortage. Producers that haven’t yet secured space on existing pipes face a stark choice: throttle back gas and halt more valuable oil production, or continue to pump crude and burn off the excess gas. Going for the latter would threaten to undo much of the progress achieved in the last few years to address the industry’s flaring problem, which hasn’t just attracted the ire of climate-change activists but also that of ESG-minded investors. “It’s inevitable that some produced gas will just be flared,” Alexandre Ramos-Peon, head of shale research at Rystad, told Bloomberg. Flared volumes could triple to 3% of total production, driven by private operators with less stringent emissions targets, he told Bloomberg… “As a result, for many companies it makes more economic sense to flare off the gas, especially since permits are easy to receive from the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator.”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: Permian Basin oil and gas operator fined after fire at Artesia plant injures workers
Adrian Hedden, 11/12/22

“A natural gas facility near Artesia caught fire last month injuring workers, and the company was fined by the State of New Mexico for failing to adequately report the incident under State law,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “DCP Operating Company’s Kristina Booster Station, where natural gas is compressed and processed alerted on Oct. 2 that a fire broke out after an unplanned release of dry gas, according to a notice of violation (NOV) issued by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (OCD). Fines totaled in $66,800, according to the NOV issued by the OCD. An operator arrived to start up the station when he heard a noise “like an air leak,” records show, when the fire started. The worker had his hair and eyebrows signed in the fire, the report read. Another operator found the air leak and suffered burns to his face, was admitted to Artesia General Hospital for treatment and released “a few hours later,” read the report… “NMED cited the company for illegally emitting about 3.8 million pounds of nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) between May 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019. The initial fine totaled $5.3 million but was reduced via a settlement agreement between the company and NMED.”

EXTRACTION

Sydney Morning Herald: Gas giant’s $3.2b effort to bury carbon pollution is failing
Peter Milne, 11/13/22

“The world’s biggest carbon pollution reduction project at Chevron’s Gorgon gas plant is working at just one-third capacity after six years, delivering a setback to the credibility of carbon capture and storage as a means to achieve net-zero emissions,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports. “Chevron was allowed to build its $US54 ($81 billion) billion gas export plant on the condition it was capable of storing all the carbon dioxide from offshore reservoirs and as a minimum “implement all practicable means” to bury at least 80 per cent of the pollutant. In the 12 months to June 2022 Chevron injected underground just 1.6 million tonnes of reservoir CO2 and vented to the atmosphere 3.4 million tonnes, according to an annual Gorgon environmental report to the WA government released on Sunday… “Conservation Council of WA executive director Maggie Wood told the Herald CO2 injection at Gorgon had been an embarrassing failure for Chevron and proved that carbon capture and storage cannot be relied on to achieve meaningful emission reductions. “The issue is there is no credible plan from Chevron to deliver this.” In the six years since export of liquefied natural gas started from Gorgon 20.4 million tonnes of CO2 has been extracted from the natural gas piped from offshore to Barrow Island but only 6.5 million tonnes is now stored under the island. The reservoir CO2 vented by Gorgon so far is more than Origin Energy’s giant Eraring coal-fired power station in NSW emits in a year. In addition to vented reservoir, CO2 Gorgon emits five to six million tonnes a year of CO2 from burning gas to power its plant… “If Chevron are not able to give the public and the regulators confidence that they will be able to get Gorgon’s pollution under control, the only reasonable alternative is to shut down production,” Wood  told the Herald.

The Hill: UN climate summit releases draft of long-sought ‘loss and damage’ agreement
ZACK BUDRYK, 11/14/22

“A draft agreement for the international COP27 climate summit includes funds for “loss and damages,” a long-sought provision paying reparations to countries on the front lines of environmental disaster,” The Hill reports. “The draft, released Monday, must be agreed to by the nearly 200 nations attending the conference and will likely undergo major amendments if it survives that process at all. Under the draft text, participating countries would begin a two-year implementation process and be ready to put a funding mechanism into action no later than COP29 in 2024. The draft includes an option whereby a funding arrangement, which could involve a United Nations (U.N.) funding facility, is ready to be implemented by November 2024. Another option offered by the draft would consider a “mosaic” of funding arrangements, including the U.N. The text does not include details that have often been major bones of contention in the loss and damages debate, including definitions of exactly what kind of damages would be covered or how much would be paid. The nations at the greatest risk from climate change have long called for such a fund from developed and Western nations. Developed countries such as Canada, Denmark and Germany have signaled support for the idea before, but it has historically gotten nowhere at the COP summit, with wealthier nations unable to agree on their own liability for greenhouse gas emissions.”

Financial Post: ‘This is mostly theatre’: Alberta’s message at COP27 is oilsands ‘boosterism,’ critics say
Meghan Potkins, 11/14/22

“Alberta environment minister Sonya Savage said she’s attending COP27 in Egypt this week to prevent Ottawa from presenting a “one-sided narrative” at the global climate conference, and to showcase the province’s leadership on carbon capture and methane regulations,” the Financial Post reports. “…As the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference enters its second week, much of the talk surrounding Canada’s participation has focused on the makeup of the country’s delegation, which this year includes a political delegation from Alberta led by Savage — a reversal from the province’s stance last year when former premier Jason Kenney dismissed the global climate conference as a “gabfest.” “…Savage added that at past climate conferences, the federal government committed to targets that were not achievable only to return to Canada to hand down “unrealistic objectives” to the provinces in charge of developing those resources. But some critics have accused Savage of oilsands “boosterism,” arguing her message flies in the face of data that shows greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta have been increasing for the past two decades and are the highest of any province in Canada, largely because of oilsands production, which is responsible for some the highest per-barrel emissions in the world. “This is all mostly just high theatre for their base here in Alberta, to try to suggest that they’re doing something on this file,” University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski told the Post. “No one’s going to be fooled by a politician from Alberta coming and trying to talk, to essentially just lay out all these promises about some future plan,” Olszynski told the Post. “At the end of the day, the data is the data. And that’s the problem that (Alberta’s oil) industry faces — unless they really start putting their money where their mouths are, and really start to decarbonize, investing in CCS and all of that.”

Globe and Mail: Government to decide between emissions cap and carbon pricing by spring, environment minister says at COP27
ERIC REGULY, 11/14/22

“Canada’s Environment Minister said he sees at least one advantage of using an emissions cap over a pricing system to bring down the oil and gas industry’s burgeoning output of greenhouse gas,” the Globe and Mailreports. “In an interview on Monday with The Globe and Mail at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, Steven Guilbeault, who has been Minister of Environment and Climate Change for a year, said “one of the advantages of a cap is emissions reduction certainty.” That is, a cap would allow the government to predict with some degree of accuracy that Canada’s emissions targets would be met. Canada is struggling to reduce its carbon output by at least 40 per cent by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The government wants the oil and gas industry to cut its emissions by 42 per cent from 2019′s levels by 2030. A modified carbon pricing system is the alternative to a cap. Mr. Guilbeault insisted no decision has been made on which route the government will take, although he acknowledged the “predictability” of emissions reductions as a benefit of a cap system. He expects a decision to be made by the spring, after a long consultation period, with regulations to be put in place by the end of 2023… “A price cap would be part of a cap-and-trade system that would apply specifically to the oil and gas industry. The industry’s total emissions would be divided into allowances that would be allocated to individual companies. As the emissions cap is tightened, companies that fail to reduce their emissions fast enough would have to buy credits from rivals that had more success in bringing down their carbon output.”

Climate Nexus: U.S. Oil/Gas Methane Emissions Science Tracker Now Available
11/14/22

“To help keep track of the dozens of academic studies that have emerged on this issue, Climate Nexus has launched the U.S. Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Science Tracker, an interactive database that tracks and summarizes the relevance of scientific studies documenting methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas sector. This interactive database tracks the ongoing wave of scientific studies documenting that methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas system are far higher than the official U.S. government counts and are growing. The database provides a comprehensive catalog of significant studies on the methane emissions in the U.S. oil and gas sector, particularly studies since 2018 when the weight of the science on these emissions began to shift dramatically, as well as other studies relevant for understanding the global context… “Over 50 scientific studies reveal that methane pollution from the U.S. oil and gas industry is at least twice official EPA estimates. The good news: The Biden Administration just issued a major proposal to curb methane pollution through regulation. But the devil will be in the implementation. Industry has already learned to game another recent methane rule to report only a fraction of their methane pollution to the EPA.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

E&E News: What the midterm results mean for ESG investing
Avery Ellfeldt, Adam Aton, 11/11/22

“Republican victories in federal and local races this week are expected to inflame partisan clashes over the financial world’s growing attention to climate change. Just not enough to meaningfully curb momentum on the issue,” E&E News reports. “That’s the case, experts tell E&E, because Republicans have relatively few tools at their disposal to force the financial sector to ignore an issue that poses major economic threats — a reality both financiers and their regulators are obligated to consider. “The only reason why businesses would mess with this kind of stuff at all is because they see that it can add value to the business over the long run,” Jon Hale, who directs sustainability research at Sustainalytics, a sustainable finance and corporate governance research and ratings firm, told E&E. “Politicians who are not investment experts are not going to be able to legislate that away.” “…If either house changes hands, I think you will see an increase in noise about the attacks on ESG,” Bryan McGannon, who directs policy and programs at the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, told E&E. “But I don’t think that you will see any actual legislation go anywhere.”

Upstream: Building bridges with Canada’s Indigenous communities
Naomi Klinge, 11/14/22

“Justin Bourque was sceptical when Canadian pipeline company Enbridge approached 23 First Nation and Metis communities to offer them a near-12% stake in seven pipelines. This was not how oil and gas companies typically interacted with Indigenous communities in Canada,” Upstream reports. “You could imagine when they first came knocking with, ‘hey, we want to do this deal with 23 of you guys,’ we’re all looking around the room going, why? What’s the hook? What’s the catch?” the Willow Lake Metis Nation chief executive tells Upstream.

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

National Observer: Competition Bureau to investigate gas lobby group for alleged greenwashing
Natasha Bulowski, 11/14/22

“A prominent natural gas industry lobby group is being investigated by Canada’s Competition Bureau for alleged greenwashing one month after health-care workers raised the alarm over one of its advertising campaigns,” the National Observer reports. “This is groundbreaking,” Dr. Melissa Lem, spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), the group that filed the complaint against the Canadian Gas Association (CGA), told the Observer. ‘It’s the first time that the gas industry is being investigated by the Competition Bureau for misleading claims.” The Competition Bureau’s decision to open a file, announced by CAPE on Nov. 10, comes just one month after environmentalists successfully applied for the bureau to investigate RBC for allegedly misleading Canadians about its climate performance. The complaint filed against CGA centres on an ad campaign from last November called “Fuelling Canada,” which presents so-called natural gas as “clean” and “affordable” when, in reality, natural gas is mostly made up of a potent greenhouse gas called methane that does more damage to the planet in the short-term than carbon dioxide… “Because methane is 25 to 80 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide when burned, it is misleading to describe it as “clean,” the complaint argued. It also took issue with ads calling the fuel “affordable” given that heat pumps are generally cheaper to use and it is expected to become more expensive than other energy options as economies transition to low-carbon options. If the inquiry confirms CGA’s statements are misleading and false, the association and its member companies — including Enbridge, TC Energy, FortisBC, Énergir and about a dozen others — would be forced to stop advertising methane gas as “clean” and “affordable,” issue a retraction and possibly face a $10-million fine, the CAPE press release stated.”

OPINION

Daily Montanan: Montanans deserve better than NorthWestern Energy’s failed leadership
Steve Krum is a Laurel resident, retired oil refinery employee, and member of Northern Plains Resource Council, a grassroots conservation and family agriculture group, 11/13/22

“As the global energy landscape shifts – and the costs to power our homes, ranches, and businesses skyrocket – Montana faces serious challenges,” Steve Krum writes for the Daily Montanan. “Families and businesses feel the squeeze of rising energy prices as we tighten our belts and make tough budgeting decisions. NorthWestern Energy recently convinced the Public Service Commission to approve a $92 million increase to our energy bills. The corporation hopes to increase that figure to $170 million during the coming months. Looking at its plan to build a massive new power plant using one of the most expensive energy sources on the market today, it’s clear NorthWestern refuses to show any leadership regarding our energy challenges. In the face of NorthWestern’s failures, it’s up to everyday Montanans and our community officials to take on this challenge. Here’s the problem: NorthWestern continually refuses to adopt more modern, affordable and efficient energy sources. Instead, the company wants to double down on expensive methane gas despite the soaring costs and risky market volatility. Why? In part, it’s because Montana law has a disturbing policy allowing this investor-owned corporation to receive guaranteed profits for its operating expenses… “We expect the courts will properly determine that the city has the right to make zoning decisions in this area. From there, it will be up to Waggoner and the City Council – alongside Laurel residents and Montana energy customers across the state – to demand that NorthWestern stop polluting our communities and saddling us with overpriced energy.”

Toronto Star: Oilsands producers need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to net-zero carbon emissions
Gillian Steward, 11/15/22

“More fossil fuel industry delegates than ever — 600 — are attending the United Nations climate talks in Egypt. And among them are Canada’s oilsands operators, often cited by environmentalists as producing some of the world’s “dirtiest” oil,” Gillian Steward writes for the Toronto Star. “COP27 provides those companies with an opportunity to show those environmentalists that they too are working towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, even as they keep producing bitumen — thick, tarry, carbon-intensive oil. But back home, credible critics are pointing out that so far they haven’t done much except crow about their good intentions… “They were “certainly enthusiastic about the $2.7 billion worth of tax credits over the next five years” for carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) facilities revealed in the federal budget, as I wrote at the time. Those tax credits were designed to encourage a group of oilsands producers — the Pathways Alliance — to get going on its proposed $1.5 billion pipeline that would ship carbon dioxide from the oilsands region in northeastern Alberta to an underground facility 400 kilometres south, thus reducing emissions while still allowing for oil production. Fifty to 60 per cent of the cost of the project would qualify for tax credits. But now it seems the Pathways Alliance is not so enthusiastic. They want the federal and Alberta governments to pony up more money, even though they are raking in the biggest profits ever thanks to tight oil supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine… “But so far they seem more interested in upping dividends to shareholders or buying back shares, all of which enriches shareholders but does nothing to reduce carbon emissions and stall climate change… “Maybe the oilsands producers will change their minds after being exposed to thousands of delegates at COP27 who want much more than talk when it comes to climate change. Or, more likely, they will stick with the greenwashing while the cash continues to roll in.”

The Motley Fool: Why I Own Enbridge Stock
Demetris Afxentiou, 11/14/22

“Is your portfolio diversified? There are plenty of great stocks on the market that can provide ample growth and income-producing potential. One stock that poses a great opportunity right now is Enbridge (TSX:ENB). Here are a few of the reasons why I own Enbridge stock and why you should consider it, too,” Demetris Afxentiou writes for The Motley Fool. “…To understand the importance of that pipeline network, let’s talk about just how much oil and natural gas Enbridge moves along that network. The pipeline network is responsible for hauling nearly one-third of all North American-produced crude, and one-fifth of the natural gas needs of the U.S. In the most recent quarter, that worked out to 2.95 million barrels per day of crude. Enbridge’s pipeline network is a defensive operation that generates the bulk of Enbridge’s revenue. In the most recent quarter, that worked out to $2.3 billion, or 60% of the company’s overall adjusted EBITDA. But that’s not even the best part. Enbridge charges for use of that pipeline network and that use is not based on the volatile price of oil. In other words, Enbridge’s bottom line is largely removed from the volatility of oil prices. It’s like a toll-road network that generates a handsome revenue stream… “Speaking of reinvesting, there’s one more point to note about Enbridge’s dividend. Enbridge has offered a juicy annual uptick for 27 consecutive years and plans to continue that practice for the foreseeable future. The set-and-forget potential of Enbridge is a huge reason why I own Enbridge, and you should, too.”

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