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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 11/16/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

November 16, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: County’s efforts to regulate pipeline are challenged in court

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: Summit Carbon has paid out $200M to landowners anticipating pipeline approval

  • FOX21: Indigenous Business Event Draws Protest From Water Protectors Group

  • Reuters: TC Energy says Keystone oil pipeline system to curtail volumes

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Looking to Expand Haynesville to Gulf Coast LNG Corridor

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Defense negotiators resist adding permitting to NDAA

  • The Hill: Some Republicans show appetite for a Manchin deal on permitting reform

  • Politico: 4 Things On Energy Policy To Watch For Under Republican House Control

  • Press release: Sierra Club Makes Historic Selection For Its Next Executive Director

  • E&E News: Mooney to seek Manchin’s Senate seat

  • E&E News: Methane proposal curbs hazardous, smog-forming emissions

STATE UPDATES

  • Reuters: U.S. regulator releases report blaming Freeport LNG blast on inadequate processes

  • E&E News: La. legal showdown may preview national battle over hydrogen

  • Facing South: Louisiana fisherfolk fear Air Products’ Lake Maurepas carbon capture scheme

  • Albuquerque Journal: NM, neighboring states, vie for federal hydrogen funds

  • CBS News: “It is very unsafe”: Wildlife experts rescue 5 birds after major oil spill in Natomas

EXTRACTION

  • CNBC: ‘Profoundly disturbing’: The PR firm for the COP27 climate summit has a long history with Big Oil

  • Gizmodo: How Oil & Gas Funding Distorts Energy Research

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Oil Change International: Investing in Disaster: Recent and Anticipated Final Investment Decisions for New Oil And Gas Production Beyond the 1.5°C Limit

  • E&E News: Facing Questions About Climate Aid, Democrats Blame The GOP

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Enbridge: Recreation, education are for everyone at this Tennessee state park

OPINION

  • The Hill: Congress needs to stop short-changing EPA enforcement

PIPELINE NEWS

Iowa Capital Dispatch: County’s efforts to regulate pipeline are challenged in court
CLARK KAUFFMAN, 11/15/22

“Summit Carbon Solutions, which hopes to build a pipeline to transport carbon dioxide across Iowa, is suing Story County to block efforts to regulate the pipeline’s construction and location,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “Summit filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court for Southern District of Iowa against the Story County Board of Supervisors. The company is alleging the locally elected county supervisors are attempting to impose on the project “public safety” requirements that are the exclusive province of federal regulators… “The lawsuit alleges that some Iowa counties, including Story County, have taken steps on their own to regulate pipelines. That’s improper, the lawsuit asserts, because the federal government regulates the safety of pipelines such as the one proposed by Summit, and the Iowa Utilities Board has the statutory authority to issue route permits. On Oct. 25, the Story County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that establishes setback and other requirements for hazardous materials pipelines in the county. The lawsuit notes that at a board of supervisors meeting on Oct. 18, Amelia Schoeneman, Story County’s planning and development director, explained the purpose of the ordinance was to regulate “hazardous materials pipelines that pose … health and safety risks” to the public. The setbacks, she stated in a memo to the board, were “the minimum necessary to protect public safety.” Summit argues the Story County ordinance prevents the company “from completing — or even beginning — the portion of the pipeline project in Story County.” The company says “federal law already exclusively regulates interstate pipeline safety under the Pipeline Safety Act,” which was enacted by Congress in 1994. That federal law, Summit claims, expressly preempts any local government’s attempt to impose safety regulations on interstate pipeline projects. The lawsuit seeks a court order declaring Story County’s ordinance to be preempted by the Pipeline Safety Act and thus invalid and unenforceable, at least as it relates to Summit’s planned pipeline. Such an order would likely have an impact on other Iowa counties that have sought to regulate pipelines, as well as other companies that have competing pipeline projects.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Summit Carbon has paid out $200M to landowners anticipating pipeline approval
JARED STRONG, 11/15/22

“One of three companies that plans to build a carbon dioxide pipeline in Iowa has paid landowners about $200 million to build on their properties, and the company won’t get that money back if the plan fails,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “We write them 100% of that contract, and that is theirs,” Lee Blank, the chief executive of Summit Carbon Solutions, told the Dispatch. “And in the event that it doesn’t — the project doesn’t come to fruition — that money was just a cost of trying to do the business. And that’s different than our competition.” “…Blank told the Dispatch Summit has agreements with the plants to take a cut of their increased revenue, but he declined to reveal the percentage… “It petitioned the Iowa Utilities Board for a permit in January, and the board is poised to meet Dec. 13 to help finalize a procedural schedule, including a public hearing date. That hearing might last for weeks, and Summit wants it to be set for March… “The number of parcels … requires a significant amount of board staff time to review, in addition to reviewing of other parts of the petition, petition exhibits and testimony,” the board wrote. The state’s Office of Consumer Advocate opposes Summit’s proposed schedule for the permit process, citing: the unfinalized list; a pending dispute about whether Summit must provide an emergency response plan to the board; and potential new federal safety guidelines for carbon dioxide pipelines, according to an IUB filing… “There is also pending litigation about whether the pipeline companies can survey private property after notifying the landowners, which is allowed by state law. Summit and Navigator sued a total of seven groups of Iowa landowners to get access to their properties, and the companies’ requests for injunctions are set to be decided early next year. The landowners argue that the state law violates their property rights, and they seek injunctions to prevent the companies from going onto their land. One of Summit’s land surveyors was charged with trespassing in August for attempting to survey farmland east of Spirit Lake. His trial is set for December… “A group called Buffalo Rebellion held a protest in Des Moines last week that sought to join racial and indigenous minorities against the pipeline proposals. “It is important for us to always acknowledge that we could not be here without the blood and forced labor of Black Iowans and the love of natives who tended to the land long before we all existed on it,” Jalesha Johnson, of the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement, told the Dispatch.”

FOX21: Indigenous Business Event Draws Protest From Water Protectors Group
11/15/22

“About a dozen protesters were near Pier B on Tuesday evening, rallying against the Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council that was holding its yearly fall networking dinner inside the hotel,” FOX21 reports. “The event brought together indigenous and non-indigenous business leaders to connect and talk about the trades industry. The conflict on Tuesday was over the protesters wanting indigenous workers to stay away from working for Enbridge, which built Line 3 and is working on Line 5… “The president of the council told FOX21 he felt like there is a false narrative circulating about the event celebrating the completion of Line 3, adding that his group supports jobs in both the conventional energy and green energy fields… “I wouldn’t call them protesters, I would call them members of the public, you know,” Jim Jones, the president of the Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council, told FOX21. “People have a misconception and that’s what’s happening tonight outside there.” “…The protesters who were outside told FOX21 they were part of the water protectors group, and shared a message about why they were there, along with their thoughts on Enbridge. “I’m painted turtle, and we all decided to come today all of us animal friends to remind our indigenous relatives of their own responsibilities to the land, and so today Enbridge is meeting with our Native American contractors and so we are here to remind them of their responsibility to take care of us,” Gaagigeyaashiik (Dawn Goodwin), told FOX21. “We don’t want our brothers and sisters, our Native American contractors, to help Enbridge destroy our lands…we want to bring attention to Line 5. That needs to be shut down and we need to transfer from fossil fuels. We need to protect what we have left.”

Reuters: TC Energy says Keystone oil pipeline system to curtail volumes
Swati Verma and Nia Williams, 11/15/22

“Canada’s TC Energy (TRP.TO) on Tuesday said its 622,000 barrel-per-day Keystone oil pipeline will curtail volumes due to a series of recent severe weather-related impacts to system facilities,” Reuters reports. “The Calgary-based company said it notified customers on Monday of the force majeure event. TC did not share any details on the size or duration of the curtailment, citing customer confidential information… “Two market sources told Reuters volumes had been curtailed by 7%. One of the sources said Canadian heavy crude prices had sold off on Monday before rallying on Tuesday… “Keystone ships Canadian crude from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest and on to the Gulf Coast, and is a key part of Canada’s oil export network. TC said in October it would temporarily increase capacity on its Keystone pipeline for a couple of months from November for testing operations on the system.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Looking to Expand Haynesville to Gulf Coast LNG Corridor
ANDREW BAKER, 11/15/22

“TC Energy Corp. is working to connect more natural gas supply from the Haynesville Shale and Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) with LNG export demand, management said last week,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “CEO François Poirier hosted a call on Wednesday (Nov. 9) to discuss the Calgary-based pipeline juggernaut’s third quarter earnings. Poirier and his team highlighted the $400 million Gillis Access project in Louisiana, which the company sanctioned during the quarter.  The 1.5 Bcf/d header system “will connect growing supply from the Haynesville basin to Louisiana markets including the rapidly expanding” Louisiana liquefied natural gas export market, management said. TC is aiming for the project to enter service in summer 2024… “Chapman said with Gillis project and the other projects in service on the drawing board, “we’re going to increase the flowing LNG feed gas that we have from about 3 Bcf today, which is roughly a 30% market share, to over 6 Bcf or 35% market share in 2025… “The third quarter also saw the start up of the Louisiana XPress natural gas pipeline, which has increased TC’s market share from 25% to about 30% of volumes destined for export from third-party LNG facilities. The start of commercial service on Louisiana Xpress, along with expansions and upgrades to TC’s ANR Pipeline Co. system, added about 1 Bcf/d of U.S. gas capacity during 3Q2022. In Canada, the company is “laser focused” on completing the Coastal GasLink pipeline by the end of 2023, said TC’s Bevin Wirzba, executive vice president who oversees Canadian natural gas and liquids pipelines.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: U.S. Pipeline Constraints Could Hinder Mexico LNG Projects
CHRISTOPHER LENTON, 11/15/22

“Mexico has big plans to become an LNG export powerhouse, but it might not have the pipelines or available capacity to do so, according to experts,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “Is there enough capacity and pipelines to support these projects? I don’t think so,” the head of the Gadex consultancy, Eduardo Prud’homme, told NGI on Monday at the LDC Gas Forums’ U.S.-Mexico show in San Antonio, TX. Mexico plans to import gas from the United States for its liquefied natural gas export projects, which means securing upstream capacity. There is also competition for gas from around 10 other LNG export projects planned in the United States… “But if these LNG export projects go ahead, someone has to build new pipelines.” So far, only the first phase of the 3 million metric tons/year (mmty) Energia Costa Azul (ECA) export project in Baja California, Mexico, is progressing, albeit with some delays. The project is sponsored by Sempra Infrastructure. Prud’homme told NGI New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE) in conjunction with CFE could also see some advances. NFE executives last week said they expect to finish building their first “Fast LNG” unit by March… “There are other LNG export projects planned, too. President López Obrador said in September an LNG terminal could potentially be built in the port of Coatzacoalcos in southern Veracruz to export supply to Europe… “Meanwhile, Singapore-based LNG Alliance Ltd. is developing the 7.8 mmty Amigo project in Sonora State. Mexico Pacific Ltd. LLC plans a project in the same state with a combined liquefaction capacity of 14.1 mmty. And Sempra is looking at another project, Vista Pacifico LNG, in Topolobampo, Sinaloa. The CFE also has floated an export project idea for Salina Cruz. CFE is also in the process of developing the Mérida, Valladolid, Tuxpan, Baja California Sur, San Luis Río Colorado and González Ortega combined-cycle plants. There aren’t many details about their progress.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Defense negotiators resist adding permitting to NDAA
Nico Portuondo, Nick Sobczyk, 11/16/22

“Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees were pessimistic Tuesday about Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting reform package ending up in the annual defense authorization package,” E&E News reports. “Zero chance,” House Armed Services ranking member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) told E&E  about the prospects of the West Virginia Democrat’s permitting reform push being in the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. “We’re doing everything we can to keep anything controversial out of this bill.” “…The approach is to try and work this out between the four leaders of the committees, Democrat, Republican, House and Senate, and then the top leadership and get a bill we can all agree on,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told E&E. “We think we’ll get more done that way.” “…My focus is to get the NDAA done,” Senate Armed Services ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told E&E. “I am not optimistic” that permitting reform will be included… “Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) told E&E including the permitting package “hasn’t been suggested ” so far in NDAA negotiations. Many House Democrats are skeptical that permitting reform, whether in the NDAA or not, has enough support to pass in the lame duck, given ongoing progressive opposition to overhauling environmental laws and boosting oil and gas production. That’s despite significant interest among climate hawks in speeding up approvals for clean energy and transmission projects.”

The Hill: Some Republicans show appetite for a Manchin deal on permitting reform
RACHEL FRAZIN, 11/16/22

“A handful of Republican lawmakers appear open to working with Sen. Joe Manchin on his push for permitting reform despite tensions between the West Virginia Democrat and the GOP caucus,” The Hill reports. “…His last attempt ran into opposition from both Republicans — who said it didn’t go far enough — and progressives, who said it could harm communities who live near the projects. Republicans were also not inclined to help Manchin after many saw him as double-crossing them with his agreement on a deal that led to passage of the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act. The deal was announced after Republicans backed a separate infrastructure bill. In recent weeks, Manchin has engaged in talks with Republicans in the hopes of finding a lame-duck agreement on permitting reform. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) told The Hill that getting permitting reform done was “really, really, really important” and that he believed there is an appetite for it… “He told The Hill there was “slow but steady progress being made” and that he hoped to close what he described as “loopholes” on time limits in the energy project approval process that he said were a part of Manchin’s initial proposal. Asked whether something could come together in the next few weeks, Sullivan told The Hill: “Maybe.” “…Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) also told The Hill that he and Manchin “agreed to try to work together” on the permitting issue, but appeared skeptical that it would get done in the lame-duck session… “But Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told The Hill he was “not optimistic” about the permitting bill’s chances of making it into the package… “Westerman also told The Hill he opposes adding nondefense riders to the NDAA.”  

Politico: 4 Things On Energy Policy To Watch For Under Republican House Control
BEN LEFEBVRE, JOSH SIEGEL, 11/15/22

“Democrats led by Manchin are planning to try to resurrect an effort to advance permitting reform during the lame-duck session of Congress,” Politico reports. “But House Republicans say they plan to prioritize the issue too, which could mean that permitting reform gets pushed into 2023. And even then, there’s a major gap in their permitting goals, with the GOP pushing for wholesale reform of environmental laws and less exposure to lawsuits over permits to build pipelines, while Democrats favor narrower changes to ease approvals of transmission lines to spread clean power. The oil and gas industry hopes to benefit from changes to permitting rules, giving the issue a salience that motivates Republicans. Oil and natural gas companies gave $37 million directly to campaigns during this election cycle, and more than 80 percent of that went to Republican candidates, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website that tracks political contributions. But serious attempts at permitting reform could be sidelined by a steady stream of oversight hearings, according to industry lobbyists. There’s also the question of how far the White House will be willing to go to get bipartisan agreement, Bruce Thompson, a lobbyist with CapeDC Advisors and former head of oil and gas trade association American Exploration and Production Council, told Politico.”

Press release: Sierra Club Makes Historic Selection For Its Next Executive Director
11/14/22

“The Sierra Club’s Board of Directors unanimously selected Ben Jealous (he/him) to be the next executive director of the nation’s most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization on Monday. Jealous will be the seventh executive director since the position was created in 1952 and the first person of color to serve in the role… “After an extensive search, we are thrilled to welcome Ben Jealous to the Sierra Club during such a critical juncture in our transformation, as we continue to discover more equitable and just ways to fight for a healthy and sustainable future,” said Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz… “In a career that has spanned from organizer to social impact investor in green technology, Jealous has been president of People for the American Way since 2020 and was the youngest person to serve as president and CEO of the NAACP from 2008 to 2013. The NAACP launched its climate justice program under Jealous’ leadership and in 2012 issued its report Coal Blooded: Putting Profits before People, which assessed the impact of the nation’s 378 coal-fired power plants on communities of color and low-income communities. It was an extension of work Jealous began as an investigative reporter for the Jackson Advocate exposing “cancer clusters” in Mississippi’s rural communities caused by industrial pollution. “In this existential moment in history, when planetary preservation is a human rights issue, we all need to consider pivots in our lives. Too many leaders still think that we can only create a growing economy if we sacrifice people, the wild, and even the planet itself. This flawed ‘either/or’ mindset–with its roots deep in our nation’s history of colonialism–has led our planet to the brink,” Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous said. “We now know better. We can both create more good jobs for communities that have suffered for too long and build a healthier, more sustainable future for everyone.” 

E&E News: Mooney to seek Manchin’s Senate seat
Timothy Cama, 11/15/22

“West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney entered the race to represent the state in the Senate on Tuesday, becoming the first Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin for the 2024 election,” E&E News reports. “Mooney, who has served in the House since 2015, is presenting himself as a hard-line conservative supporter of former President Donald Trump, and saying Manchin’s actions — most notably his leading role crafting the Inflation Reduction Act — are a betrayal to West Virginia and its coal economy… “He argued that Manchin’s been “the chief enabler of Joe Biden. I know in the past he held back some stuff. But lately, he’s been Biden’s chief enabler. And frankly, he’s a liberal Democrat. And West Virginia doesn’t deserve that anymore. And it has to be changed. So I think the time is now.” “…And Joe Biden’s destructive Green New Deal was dead and buried until Joe Manchin resurrected it. Manchin bailed Biden out, making a disastrous deal that gutted West Virginia coal,” it says… “The Office of Congressional Ethics this year concluded that Mooney likely violated federal laws by improperly accepting gifts and having staff complete personal tasks for him, among others… “Manchin has not formally committed to running again.” 

E&E News: Methane proposal curbs hazardous, smog-forming emissions
SEAN REILLY, 11/14/22

“A newly released EPA plan to slash oil and gas industry emissions of heat-trapping methane will yield other air quality benefits: significant cuts in releases of smog-forming compounds and hazardous air pollutants, agency forecasts indicate,” E&E News reports. “From next year through 2035, the proposal is expected to reduce emissions of benzene, toluene and other hazardous pollutants by a total of 390,000 tons, or an annual average of 30,000 tons, according to data contained in an official analysis and cited in a news release. A separate, smaller estimate of the expected emission reductions was included in the analysis by mistake, an EPA spokesperson said in an email Monday. In 2017, oil and gas operations accounted for about 110,000 tons of hazardous pollutant emissions. While cautioning against using that figure in assessing the proposal’s impact, EPA predicts that it will cut releases from sources covered by the plan by 75 percent in 2030.”

STATE UPDATES

Reuters: U.S. regulator releases report blaming Freeport LNG blast on inadequate processes
11/15/22

“Federal pipeline safety regulators released on Tuesday a heavily redacted consultant’s report that blamed inadequate operating and testing procedures, human error and fatigue for the June 8 explosion that shut Freeport LNG’s export plant in Texas,” Reuters reports. “The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued the report after Freeport disclosed earlier in the day a summary of the consultant’s review. PHMSA said it accepted the redacted report but would later make its own determination on what to exclude. The fiery explosion at the Texas Gulf Coast plant, the second-largest in the United States, caused global liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices to spike amid falling Russian supplies to Europe and other outages. Neither Freeport’s statement on Tuesday nor the consultant’s report indicated when the plant could restart. Causes of the incident were deficiencies in valve testing procedures, failure to adjust alarms that could warn operators of rising temperatures during operations and operating procedures that allowed “operator discretion” to close valves that might cause LNG to be isolated in pipes, the report said. It described a control room that did not adequately show when temperatures soared in the pipeline that breached. Other alarms were “constantly indicating” on equipment out of service for years, leading to what some operators described as alarm fatigue.”

E&E News: La. legal showdown may preview national battle over hydrogen
David Iaconangelo, 11/16/22

“The developer of a $4.5 billion hydrogen project in Louisiana is in a legal battle with local lawmakers in a case that analysts say could preview conflicts around the country,” E&E News reports. “Air Products and Chemicals Inc., the developer, announced a year ago that it would build its sprawling Louisiana Clean Energy Complex across multiple parishes in the Baton Rouge area… “But this October, the council of rural Livingston Parish threw Air Products’ plans in doubt by approving a one-year moratorium on well-drilling and seismic testing on its territory. That affected surveying activities that the company had begun in order to better understand the geology of its carbon storage site. Council members say the moratorium will provide time for local review of the project and cite the need to prevent pollution of the parish’s freshwater aquifers and Lake Maurepas’ ecosystems. “Everybody feels like it was a backdoor deal, it was forced down our throats, we had no say-so at all. And you’re doing it in one of the most important things in our parish, which is our waterways and our lake,” Jeff Ard, one of the council members who voted in support of the moratorium, told E&E. On Oct. 18, Air Products sued the parish in U.S. District Court, arguing that the moratorium was preempted by state and federal law and demanding a permanent injunction against its enforcement… “The moratorium may only be the beginning of local opposition. Livingston and its neighbor, St. Helena Parish, have also passed ordinances barring Class VI injection wells used to store CO2 — something that Air Products will likely seek to drill in later stages of development, although its lawsuit did not address the topic. Louisiana environmentalists told E&E they are preparing to contest permits for carbon pipelines sought by Air Products and other energy companies in the state. The case underscores an emerging nationwide fight over carbon dioxide storage, pipelines and blue hydrogen. In several Midwestern states, planned carbon pipelines are being targeted by local landowners and climate activists… “Carbon capture and hydrogen made with fossil fuels are “expensive distractions to clean energy and won’t help Louisiana reach our climate goals,” said Darryl Malek-Wiley, a senior organizer at the Sierra Club’s Louisiana chapter, in a statement last year after the Air Products announcement.”

Facing South: Louisiana fisherfolk fear Air Products’ Lake Maurepas carbon capture scheme
Jason Kerzinski, 11/14/22

“In October 2021, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced that Air Products, a Fortune 500 chemical company based in Pennsylvania, would develop a so-called “clean” energy complex in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, by 2026. The $4.5 billion project calls for construction of a plant to convert natural gas to hydrogen and capture the resulting carbon dioxide,” Facing South reports. “…But many locals are worried about where and how Air Products will store the captured carbon long-term. Current plans call for the waste to be piped 35 miles and pumped into injection wells over a mile below Lake Maurepas, an ecologically rich estuarine system that lies about halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge… “Air Products’ Louisiana project would be the biggest blue hydrogen project to date… “At public meetings about the Louisiana project, local residents have been outspoken in their opposition. They worry about the project’s impact on the ecology of the lake and surrounding area, which is rich in wildlife including white-tailed deer, waterfowl, and bald eagles. Lake Maurepas is also an important fishery for blue crabs, oysters, and catfish, and local fisherfolk are concerned about how the planned blasting, pipeline construction, and carbon storage will affect the lake’s health and their livelihood in the surrounding parishes: Ascension, Livingston, St. John the Baptist, and Tangipahoa. While the project already has the approval of the Louisiana Office of Coastal Management, it still needs permits from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Army Corps of Engineers. I recently spent time with commercial fishermen working on Lake Maurepas, individuals with generations-deep connections to the water. To understand their concerns, I asked them this question: “What are your fears about the proposed blue hydrogen facility that would attempt to sequester carbon more than a mile below Lake Maurepas?” This is what they told me.”

Albuquerque Journal: NM, neighboring states, vie for federal hydrogen funds
KEVIN ROBINSON-AVILA, 11/13/22

“New Mexico is now one of four Western states that, together, have formally entered the race to win up to $1.25 billion in federal funding to build a regional “hydrogen hub,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “In February, New Mexico partnered with Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to form a collaborative initiative to jointly compete for a slice of some $7 billion in funding included in President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, approved by Congress last year, to build out hydrogen hubs across the country. And on Nov. 4, the four members of the new “Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub,” or WISHH, submitted a “concept paper” outlining their regional proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy, which is managing the competitive grant process to award up to $1.25 billion for each of six to 10 projects around the nation. Submission of concept papers, which were due by Nov. 7 to compete in this initial round of funding, marks the first step in DOE’s selection process. The current competition is expected to culminate in mid-to-late 2023 with federal backing for at least four hydrogen hubs to start.”

CBS News: “It is very unsafe”: Wildlife experts rescue 5 birds after major oil spill in Natomas
MARLEE GINTER, 11/15/22

“Cleanup crews taped off and cleared out Tanzanite Park in Natomas while they suited up and hit the water. California Fish and Wildlife officials said a fuel tank for a generator at a nearby company spilled into a storm drain about a mile upstream and then flowed right into the pond at the park,” CBS News reports. “It is very unsafe. We’ve got petroleum product in the water. We don’t want any of their dogs or kids to be impacted by it,” Fish and Wildlife Officer Angel Tapia told CBS. The Oiled Wildlife Care Network captured five birds that are now being treated at a care center in Fairfield. “The main focus is our wildlife and making sure that the pond gets cleaned up,” Tapia told CBS. While there’s no telling exactly how much diesel leaked into the pond, the fuel tank had a 10,000-gallon capacity. Crews are now directing people away from the area. “But for the geese, it’s kind of saddening because there’s so many of them. And I see them around and it’s going to be sad if they get hurt or something happens to them,” 15-year-old Felix Castro told CBS.

EXTRACTION

CNBC: ‘Profoundly disturbing’: The PR firm for the COP27 climate summit has a long history with Big Oil
Sam Meredith, 11/16/22

“Environmental campaigners see a deep irony in Egypt’s choice to hire U.S. public relations firm Hill and Knowlton Strategies to lead communications at the biggest climate-related conference on the planet,” CNBC reports. “The host country of the COP27 summit, which runs for nearly two weeks until Nov. 18 in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, sees Hill and Knowlton take charge of handling briefings and news conferences at an event designed to galvanize collective action on the climate emergency. The public relations company, however, has been sharply criticized for what critics say is a long track record of spreading disinformation on behalf of its Big Oil clients. “Hill and Knowlton is the main lobbying communications firm for the oil industry,” Duncan Meisel, campaign director at Clean Creatives, a U.S.-based group working to disentangle the PR industry from the fossil fuel sector, told CNBC. “There is almost no more inappropriate agency to bring on to lead communications for a climate summit,” Meisel told CNBC via telephone. A spokesperson for Hill and Knowlton did not respond to a request for comment, and Hill and Knowlton’s parent company WPP did not provide an answer to CNBC’s questions. There is a particularly deep irony of Hill and Knowlton, with this decades-long track record of supporting and facilitating corporate deception and corporate malfeasance, being a critical voice for the global climate negotiations. Hill and Knowlton, in addition to working with major tobacco companies in the 1950s, is known to have worked for fossil fuel clients such as Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil  and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative — a consortium of 12 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. For example, Hill and Knowlton in 2017 and 2018 helped to create ads that showcased Shell’s role in powering London’s buses with biofuels partly made from coffee waste. The PR firm said the campaign “exceeded all expectations” as it became a global story, with nearly 1,200 news stories and 11.9 billion media impressions. Critics, however, called this out as “greenwashing” with Shell having significant oil and gas operations across the globe. In the run-up to COP27, a group of more than 400 scientists wrote to Hill and Knowlton and WPP and said that the firm’s work for Big Oil clients was “incompatible with its role leading public communications at the annual United Nations climate talks.”

Gizmodo: How Oil & Gas Funding Distorts Energy Research
Molly Taft, 11/14/22

“Journalists like me often seek out academics for comment and insight on stories related to the energy transition, since these professors have often done in-depth research into various fuel sources and their impacts. The hope is that these sources are relatively unbiased; their loyalty is to the data. But a study published Thursday in Nature Climate Change found that prominent energy policy centers at top-tier universities that are funded by the fossil fuel industry may produce content more favorable to dirty energy than other, similar centers,” Gizmodo reports. “This is concerning, because it’s not just journalists who seek the council of these academics—it’s policymakers, too. “Reports by fossil-funded [centers] are more favorable towards natural gas than towards renewable energy, while centers less dependent on fossil fuel industry funding show a pro-renewable energy preference,” Anna Papp, a PhD student in Sustainable Development at Columbia University and one of the authors of the paper, told Earther in an email. Academic centers focused on energy research have become an increasingly respected and important voice in energy policy conversations, as the U.S. and the world begin grinding the gears on the energy transition. Representatives from places like Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy and MIT’s Energy Initiative have testified in Congress and are often featured on television as experts; some of their reports have even been the subject of their own Congressional hearings. But several of the most prominent academic think tanks working on energy issues also have significant funding from the fossil fuel industry. Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy, for instance, lists its financial partnerships on its website, which include big fossil fuel names like BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Occidental Petroleum. (Full disclosure: While I was employed at a PR firm between 2014 and 2016, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy was a client; I worked on some of their press needs and materials.) What’s more, much of the research and whitepapers produced by these centers does not undergo the peer review process that a scientific paper may receive.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Oil Change International: Investing in Disaster: Recent and Anticipated Final Investment Decisions for New Oil And Gas Production Beyond the 1.5°C Limit
11/16/22

“This briefing, “Investing in Disaster: Recent and Anticipated Final Investment Decisions for New Oil And Gas Production Beyond the 1.5°C Limit,” reveals the countries and companies responsible for approving the most new oil and gas extraction in 2022 despite the clear evidence that fossil fuel expansion is incompatible with holding global warming to 1.5°C,” according to Oil Change International. “It also warns that the oil and gas industry is poised for a disastrous surge of new expansion over the next three years – unless governments and communities put a stop to it. The briefing reveals that new oil and gas production approved to date in 2022 and at risk of approval over the next three years could cumulatively lock in 70 billion tonnes (Gt) of new carbon pollution. This is equivalent to almost two years’ worth of global carbon emissions from energy at current levels, 17 percent of the world’s remaining 1.5°C carbon budget, or the lifecycle emissions of 468 coal power plants. Among countries with the most oil and gas expansion approved in 2022, the United States and Saudi Arabia are by themselves responsible for more than 50 percent of the carbon pollution locked in by new oil and gas development approved this year. The U.S. tops the list due to the continued drilling of new fracking wells, particularly in the Permian Basin, while Saudi Arabia ranks second due to Saudi Aramco’s approval of a major expansion of its offshore Zuluf field, the largest conventional oil and gas project approved this year… “Governments must step in to stop further expansion and adopt policies that ensure a managed phase-out of fossil fuels alongside a rapid scale-up of just transition support and clean-energy solutions.” 

E&E News: Facing Questions About Climate Aid, Democrats Blame The GOP
JEAN CHEMNICK, 11/15/22

“It seems unlikely that Democrats will get another chance anytime soon to pass international climate aid using budget reconciliation, which currently allows Senate Democrats to pass spending measures without Republican help,” E&E News reports. “The process would do them no good if Republicans take control of the House in January, following last week’s midterm elections. That leaves Democrats the difficult task of delivering most of President Joe Biden’s international finance commitments via the regular appropriations process, which requires buy-in from some Senate Republicans. Congress returned to Washington on Monday for a lame-duck legislative period that will be consumed with negotiations over funding the federal government for the next fiscal year and other priorities, like oil and gas permitting reform. Democrats who visited the climate talks last week told E&E the reconciliation process could potentially deliver climate finance in the future if Democrats control both chambers in a subsequent Congress.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Enbridge: Recreation, education are for everyone at this Tennessee state park
11/15/22

“Children of all physical and mental abilities can play together at a one-of-a-kind playground in Tennessee—but it likely won’t be the only one for long,” according to Enbridge. “…The playground is supported by the Friends of Warriors’ Path State Park, an organization that fosters conservation and educational efforts by improving facilities for recreation, education and enjoying nature… “This year, Enbridge made a $7,100 Fueling Futures donation to Friends of Warriors’ Path State Park, as part of our commitment to help build sustainable and inclusive communities. The funding is being used for playground equipment upgrades and park maintenance. Enbridge employee Charlie Newman attended the announcement and check presentation to Friends of Warriors’ Path this past summer.”

OPINION

The Hill: Congress needs to stop short-changing EPA enforcement
David F. Coursen is a former EPA attorney and a member of the Environmental Protection Network, a nonprofit organization of EPA alumni working to protect the agency’s progress toward clean air, water, land and climate protection, 11/15/22

“Fair and effective enforcement of environmental laws is one of the linchpins of environmental protection. But the erosion of support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) enforcement program over the last two decades has been so severe that The Washington Post recently reported that a “lack of resources and workers” has undercut the EPA’s ability to carry out such critical enforcement functions as inspecting facilities, measuring contamination, and punishing violators,” David F. Coursen writes for The Hill. “Congress needs to step up in the next budget cycle and give EPA the funding it needs to enforce well-established and effective environmental laws. Not only have resources for existing programs waned, but the EPA enforcement program will need new resources to implement new climate and environmental justice provisions in the new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) effectively. The enforcement program also needs institutional support, including timely confirmation of an assistant administrator to lead it… “As we approach the December expiration of the continuing resolution currently funding the government, Congress needs to support EPA with an enforcement budget that gives the agency the resources and leadership to protect our nation’s people and environment.”

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