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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 11/18/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

November 18, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: House Republicans prepare big energy package for 2023

  • Bloomberg: Manchin’s Permitting Overhaul in Limbo

  • E&E News: FERC meeting: Grid rules, a boost for gas and Manchin

STATE UPDATES

  • Reuters: Green groups sue Louisiana over Venture Global LNG permit exemption

  • Los Angeles Times: California unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045

  • CPR: Colorado air regulators vastly underestimated ozone pollution from some oil and gas operations due to a data error

EXTRACTION

  • Guardian: Draft COP27 agreement fails to call for ‘phase-down’ of all fossil fuels

  • Reuters: COP27: China stops short of joining global methane pledge

  • Canadian Press: ‘Bridge fuel’ or climate villain? Natural gas in the spotlight as COP27 continues

  • Upstream Online: Study: Supermajor Emissions Pledges Undercut By Joint Venture Rules

  • Petroleum Economist: Exodus from Canada’s oil sands continues

  • Canadian Press: 2 workers killed in blast at oil and gas site in northern Alberta

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Enbridge: ‘Brilliance and Ingenuity’ That Transform Indigenous Communities

  • Enbridge: ‘Safety, quality and efficiency’: Supplier diversity far more than tokenism

OPINION

  • Bleeding Heartland: Backing carbon pipelines cost Senate President Jake Chapman his seat

  • The Hill: COP27: Fossil fuel interests are playing us for fools

  • New York Daily News: What Congress must accomplish: Some must-dos in the waning days of the 117th session

  • The Conversation: Why fixing methane leaks from the oil and gas industry can be a climate game-changer – one that pays for itself

  • Calgary Herald: Opinion: What does Ottawa get for killing the golden goose of Alberta’s energy production? 

PIPELINE NEWS

Indian Country Today: Dedicated Pipeline Fighter and Water Protector Joye Braun passes away
11/16/22

“Joye Braun (Wambli Wiyan Ka’win), a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation and dedicated water protector, passed away at her home on Sunday, November 13th. She was 53 years old. Joye was the National Pipeline organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, IEN representative for the People Vs Fossil Fuels Coalition and was a proud servant for her people as a grassroots advocate for climate justice,” according to Indian Country Today. “Joye traveled extensively throughout Turtle Island to support Indigenous struggles against extraction and colonization. She was a nonviolent direct action organizer and policy advocate who trained hundreds of people over the years. She was known as a firestorm when compelled to champion calls to action, and was fiercely loyal to family, friends, and her community-at-large. As a founder of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, hers was the first lodge to go up and one of the last to come down. Joye was one of the leaders who maintained the grounding tenets of peace and prayer in the months that followed the establishment of this historic and pivotal moment in Indigenous history. “Joye was a force to be reckoned with, but to those who knew her well, her heart was as big as Turtle Island and she would give her last meal or pair of moccasins to those in need,” said Kandi White, Indigenous Environmental Network Programs Director and friend. “Her advice and counsel was sought by many, she could always be counted on to speak the truth and she pulled no punches. For this, and so much more, she was respected by colleagues and adversaries alike. Joye is/was the epitome of a Modern Day Warrior. We will continue the work she was dedicated to in her honor; just as she would expect us to. Our sister will be greatly missed.”

Roanoke Times: Pipeline’s path through the Jefferson National Forest to get another look
Laurence Hammack, 11/17/22

“For the third time in six years, the U.S. Forest Service will study the environmental impact of burrowing a large natural gas pipeline through a 3.5-mile stretch of the Jefferson National Forest,” the Roanoke Times reports. “The latest evaluation comes after a federal appeals court rejected two earlier approvals for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Both times, in 2018 and again earlier this year, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Forest Service did not adequately address the erosion and sedimentation to be caused by clearing land and digging a trench for a buried pipe that will traverse steep slopes through federal woodlands in Giles and Montgomery counties. A draft environmental impact statement will be completed by January, the service said Thursday. That will be followed by a 45-day public comment period, with final action expected by summer 2023. Mountain Valley said the timeline aligns with its plans to complete the long-delayed, $6.6 billion project by the end of next year… “Opponents — from national environmental giants such as the Sierra Club to local community groups — have contested more than a dozen state and federal permits issued to Mountain Valley… “With Mountain Valley now forced to seek a third approval from the Forest Service, “it is not clear to us if the delay is a threat to the project’s in-service date,” Height Capital Markets, an investment banking firm that is monitoring the project, said in a commentary. “But it is another factor for investors to monitor closely.” Russell Chisholm, a Giles County pipeline opponent who coordinates a citizens monitoring group, told the Times: “The company should recognize this reality and put an immediate stop to their efforts to destroy our mountains and homes for the sake of their own financial gain, during a climate catastrophe.”

Des Moines Register: More stringent rules for carbon capture pipelines draw lawsuit from Ames company
Donnelle Eller, 11/17/22

“An Ames company that wants to build a $4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline across Iowa has filed lawsuits against Story and Shelby counties over new ordinances that would require increased distances between the project and homes, churches and schools,” the Des Moines Register reports. “Summit Carbon Solutions filed the suit this week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, saying county supervisors have adopted ordinances that attempt to preempt state and federal oversight. The company asks the court to throw out the new rules. Story County officials declined to comment on the lawsuit. Tim Whipple, a Des Moines attorney who helped the Shelby County supervisors write their ordinance, told the Register the federal court’s decision will help provide clarity on the issue. A decision would have broad impact in Iowa, where two other companies — Navigator CO2 Ventures and Wolf Carbon Solutions — also have proposed carbon capture pipelines and more counties are weighing setback requirements. At the same time, the Iowa Utilities Board is considering whether federal law preempts the state from imposing safety requirements when permitting the carbon-capture pipeline projects. Those arguments are slated to be heard Dec. 13. So far, only Summit and Navigator have requested hazardous liquid pipeline permits… “Story and Shelby county officials have said the ordinances aren’t designed to stop the projects, but to give residents a needed buffer in the case of a pipeline rupture. Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant that in large concentrations can cause death. Story County’s setback from homes and schools would be close to 1,700 feet, an official said during a reading of the ordinance. Shelby County’s would require about a half mile of separation from churches, schools and other public places and not less than 1,000 feet from homes. In addition to safety concerns, Steve Kenkel, a Shelby County supervisor, told the Register before Summit’s lawsuit that the ordinance is designed to protect the economic viability of towns that Summit’s pipeline would run near. The county has existing zoning requirements around towns to guide residential, commercial and other development, and the hazardous liquid ordinance fits within that requirement.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Pipeline company sues a second Iowa county over local ordinances
CLARK KAUFFMAN, 11/17/22

“A company that hopes to build a carbon dioxide pipeline across Iowa is suing a second Iowa county over local efforts to regulate the placement of the controversial pipeline,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “Summit Carbon Solutions, which hopes to build a pipeline to transport carbon dioxide across Iowa, sued Story County earlier this week in U.S. District Court for Southern District of Iowa. On Wednesday, Summit filed a similar lawsuit against Shelby County. Both lawsuits allege the locally elected county boards of supervisors are attempting to impose on the project siting requirements that are the exclusive province of federal regulators… “Two weeks ago, the Shelby County Board of Supervisors gave unanimous approval to an ordinance that would force Summit and other pipeline companies to obtain county permits for construction and impose restrictions on any pipeline’s proximity to homes, schools and farm. The ordinance states that its intent is to establish a permitting process that will impose “conditions and safeguards when using land in the county for purposes of a hazardous liquid pipeline.” The ordinance says it is designed to “to secure safety from fire, flood, panic, and other dangers” that might result from the pipeline. Both of Summit’s lawsuits seek a court order declaring the local ordinances are preempted by the Pipeline Safety Act and thus invalid and unenforceable, at least as it relates to Summit’s planned pipeline.”

High Plains Reader: PROPOSED CARBON PIPELINE: WISING UP TO SUMMIT’S TACTICS
Laura Simmons, 11/17/22

“Summit Carbon Solutions approached North Dakota land owner Kurt Swenson [CQ] in in August 2021, requesting to lease out Swenson’s land to sequester, or store, carbon dioxide underground in the pore space, which is the part of soil containing liquid and gas about one to two miles underground,” High Plains Reader reports. “After reviewing the proposed contract with the help of attorneys, Swenson said that no attorney in the state of North Dakota would recommend signing it… “Swenson told HPR the proposed contract would allow the company to install whatever they wanted on the surface of his land, there was poor insurance and the monetary compensation was low at $25 per acre. Swenson told HPR this is about 200 times less than what the oil or gas industry would pay for similar acreage… “Swenson told HPR he thinks Summit is planning on forcing landowners to give up their pore space, using the 2009 Senate Bill 2139. The bill states that if a company has made a “good-faith effort” to get all landowners’ consent and has obtained the consent of at least 60% of the landowners, then the North Dakota Industrial Commission [CQ] can issue a permit and the non-consenting pore space owners will be “equitably compensated” for their land. However, Swenson told HPR because carbon sequestration is still fairly new, the market value of pore space has not been determined… “Dakota Resource Council (DRC); a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization; is concerned about Summit’s motives. DRC Field Organizer Eliot Huggins told HPR Summit’s income is coming from two main sources: the premium price they can put on “clean” energy and the tax credits the company could receive from the government… “I don’t think this is gonna be a very [long-term] project,” Huggins told HPR. “I think it’s people trying to get rich quick on these tax credits.” “…Eliot Huggins is also concerned about the safety of the pipeline… “We believe [carbon dioxide sequestration] is an untested technology at an untested company on an untested scale that puts rural communities and farmers at risk,” Huggins told HPR.

Summit-Tribune: Pipeline reps seek Hancock County’s advance cooperation on drainage crossings
Rob Hillesland, 11/16/22

“Hancock County supervisors on Nov. 14 held an initial meeting with TurnKey Logistics representatives for Summit Carbon Solutions, regarding drainage district tile, open ditches, and road crossings for its proposed CO2 pipeline in Hancock County,” the Summit-Tribune reports. “Logistics Project Manager Bill Sullivan and Relationship Manager Doug Bergold advocated for cooperation from county officials well in advance of the potential Iowa Utilities Board permit issuance… “We want everything in place well in advance of the decision,” said Sullivan, recommending a subsequent sit-down meeting with supervisors that would last at least an hour to discuss particulars of individual crossings in the county… “The costs of the engineering inspection for such projects are typically billed to the company. However, an anticipated hurdle is a desire to complete tile locates in advance of the permit issuance, which could place an additional burden on county officials, working with county staff and local contractors. Sullivan said it is his understanding that SCS cannot engage in tile locates in advance of a permit being issued, but that there will be a need to be ready to go. Based on his past experience as a project manager, Sullivan said he believes SCS would need to take on the additional costs of properly locating and identifying underground facilities in advance of construction. However, he noted SCS has not currently provided confirmation of that with him for this proposed project… “Saying he was open to other solutions, Sullivan pressed supervisors and county officials for help with obtaining more precise information about proposed crossings in advance of the project. He said pipeline company representatives cannot access the land in advance of obtaining a permit, noting that counties can and saying it could help achieve better results if and when the project comes through the county. Supervisors voiced concerns about the burdens of additional work and resources being placed on the county, including monetary and budgeting. “We don’t have a bank account for this,” said Greiman. “I think that’s our biggest fear is payment, in addition to destruction of tile.” “…Supervisor Greiman also asked about the safety and emergency response and repair of CO2 pipelines, in general. Sullivan said that CO2 would be released to the atmosphere in an emergency shutoff situation. “The primary concern is not necessarily a rupture, which is extremely uncommon,” he said. “I’m a non-environmental permitting guy, but they would basically close things off, replace the section of pipe affected, and test to ensure there are no leaks. The carbon dioxide may sit on the ground for some time. It is not flammable or combustible. It is basically just the carbon dioxide that will go up into the air minus the water.”

Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines: Carbon Capture and Storage: Climate Savior… Or False Solution? [VIDEO]
11/16/22

“With humanity heading deeper into a climate crisis everyday, carbon capture and storage (CCS), the technology of injecting waste CO2 into the ground, has been been thrust into the forefront of U.S. climate mitigation policy. The U.S. government is now going all in, making tens of billions of dollars accessible to oil and gas companies and their affiliates to build out a massive network of specialized pipelines intended to transport CO2 across country to designated injection sites. But, do we really understand the potential long-term impacts and risks? Or, are we betting too heavily on a path that is diverting critical resources we need right now to build a renewable energy economy? In this webinar, three experts weight in with the answers. FEATURING: Dr. Mark Jacobson, Director Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University; June Sekera, Senior Research Fellow, Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center; Dr. Albert Karvelis, Risk and Safety Analyst, Fellow-American Society of Mechanical Engineers.”

Marcellus Drilling News: FERC Issues Positive Final EIS for Spire STL Pipeline
11/17/22

“Spire Inc. is the owner and operator of the Spire STL Pipeline, a 65-mile pipeline that connects to and flows Marcellus/Utica gas from the Rockies Express (REX) pipeline in Scott County, IL, to residents and businesses in the St. Louis, MO area,” Marcellus Drilling News reports. “…In October, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a full, final, positive environmental impact statement (EIS) for Spire STL, the final step before issuing a permanent certificate for the pipeline to operate.”

Politico: FERC Democrats Defend Pipeline Stance
11/17/22

“FERC’s Democratic commissioners responded to a September letter from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), defending their actions on moving pipeline and liquefied natural gas projects forward in recent months,” Politico reports. “The letters, sent Monday and published in the agency’s docket Tuesday evening, argue FERC has permitted pipelines in a manner that’s consistent with current commission policy as well as federal court rulings that found the agency did not go far enough in considering the climate and environmental justice impacts of proposed gas infrastructure.

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: House Republicans prepare big energy package for 2023
Jeremy Dillon, 11/18/22

“House Republican leaders said Thursday the party is preparing an energy and environment package that could emerge in January as one of the first pieces of major legislation passed by the GOP-controlled chamber,” E&E News reports. “Largely based on legislation already put forward by the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, and the Natural Resources Committee’s top Republican, Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, the package would seek to unleash domestic fossil fuel production along with critical mineral mining… “McMorris Rodgers confirmed discussions are underway to fine-tune what the package will contain. She told E&E that the foundation would likely come from the “American Energy Independence From Russia Act,” H.R. 6858, and “Securing America’s Mineral Supply Chains Act,” H.R. 8991. Introduced in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the first of the bills would offer a host of policies that would undercut Biden administration energy decisions, including a restoration of the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, directions to offer public lands for fossil fuel production and efforts to streamline liquefied natural gas exports, among other areas. The bill reads as a list of Republican gripes against the alleged slow-walking of fossil fuel project approvals by the Biden administration. Republicans have attempted to press Democrats to back the bill on multiple occasions this year using parliamentary tactics. Each attempt was rebuffed on party lines.”

Bloomberg: Manchin’s Permitting Overhaul in Limbo
11/17/22

“An overhaul of the federal permitting process for energy projects is a priority for members of both parties — but how it gets done is elusive for now, Republicans and Democrats said this week,” Bloomberg reports. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — who pulled his permitting bill from funding legislation in September to avoid a government shutdown — has said he wants to insert language to streamline the process into the must-pass 2023 National Defense Authorization Act before the end of the year. Lawmakers in both chambers are working on finishing up the defense policy legislation; House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) …”

E&E News: FERC meeting: Grid rules, a boost for gas and Manchin
Miranda Willson, 11/18/22

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission moved Thursday to boost the reliability of the power system by addressing regulatory gaps that could strain the grid as renewable projects proliferate,” E&E News reports. “…In addition, the commission authorized a new natural gas export project on the Louisiana Gulf Coast, even as the Democratic commissioners raised concerns about how industrial development in the region was affecting disadvantaged communities… “Environmental advocates on the Gulf Coast, however, told E&E the commission’s decision would worsen public health for nearby communities that already live in proximity to other oil and gas facilities. They also criticized the facility’s expected contributions to climate change. The project would emit the equivalent of about 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, about the same as the annual emissions of eight natural gas power plants, according to EPA’s greenhouse gas calculator. “The long-term environmental and climate damages far outweigh any perceived economical impact this facility would provide a local community,” James Hiatt, southwest Louisiana coordinator of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental justice organization, told E&E. “We continue to demand that FERC be accountable to the people and not to corporations.” Earlier this year, FERC staff concluded in an environmental impact statement that the facility would result in “disproportionately high and adverse” impacts for nearby environmental justice communities. However, commissioners said that they encourage developer Commonwealth LNG LLC to take steps to mitigate any potential harms.” 

STATE UPDATES

Reuters: Green groups sue Louisiana over Venture Global LNG permit exemption
Timothy Gardner, 11/16/22

“Three environmental groups have sued the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources for exempting Venture Global LNG from needing an environmental permit to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, the organizations said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. “The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), Sierra Club and Healthy Gulf filed a petition last week for judicial review against the Louisiana department after the regulators decided to exempt Venture Global from obtaining a coastal use permit for development of its LNG facility in Plaquemines, 35 miles (56 km) south of New Orleans. It was filed in the 19th district Louisiana State Court. The groups say the plant’s construction will destroy nearly 400 acres (162 hectares) of wetlands that serve as a storm buffer for nearby communities. Without sufficient protections, a hurricane would release pollution into homes, businesses, farmland and coastal water, subjecting predominantly Black and indigenous communities to the risks, they said. ‘Venture Global is not above the law that requires companies to minimize harm in a coastal zone,’ said Monique Harden, assistant director of law and public policy at DSCEJ. Venture Global did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Venture Global LNG terminal is one of four being built in the United States. LNG backers say the gas can replace coal, a fuel that releases more greenhouse gases when burned and gives consumers an alternative to Russian gas. Opponents say LNG facilities, drilling operations and transportation can leak methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.”

Los Angeles Times: California unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045
TONY BRISCOE, 11/16/22

“California air quality officials released a bold climate plan Wednesday that outlines in broad strokes how the state intends to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade and eventually eliminate its carbon footprint,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “The so-called scoping plan released by the California Air Resources Board reflects Gov. Gavin Newsom’s accelerated goal of curtailing planet-warming emissions by 48% this decade compared with 1990 levels. State law requires that California’s emissions be reduced at least 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2045, at which point any emissions from human activity would be offset by natural ecosystems and other solutions.The plan, which will go before the Air Resources Board for formal consideration next month, hinges on the widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles — either electric or hydrogen-fueled. The transportation sector, including tailpipe emissions and fuel, accounted for 50% of the statewide greenhouse emissions in 2019. It remains the largest single source of carbon emissions in California… “State officials anticipate the transition to clean vehicles will lead to less oil demand and fewer emissions from refineries, the largest source of emissions within the industrial sector. The plan expects refineries and cement plants to deploy a technology called carbon capture and storage, which involves siphoning smokestack emissions and piping them underground. This technology, which has not been implemented in California before, has been met with intense criticism from environmental advocates. Many have described it as an unproven technology that may suffer leaks in earthquake-prone state like California. In the final plan, carbon capture and storage is expected to be brought online rapidly starting in 2028. “Carbon capture is a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry that allows companies to keep business as usual, and relying on it to improve emissions is ludicrous,” Chirag G. Bhakta, the California director of Food & Water Watch, told the Times. “Gov. Newsom’s support for carbon capture is baffling given his readiness to tax oil companies for their outrageous profits. The only way to truly lower California’s emissions is to cut them at the source, stop issuing fossil fuel permits immediately, and initiate a just transition away from fossil fuels.” Critics also argue that although carbon capture technology reduces heat-trapping greenhouse emissions, it does not stop the release of such toxic substances as cancer-causing benzene or lung-aggravating particulate matter from industrial smokestacks. Surrounding communities will still suffer health risks from those emissions, they say.

CPR: Colorado air regulators vastly underestimated ozone pollution from some oil and gas operations due to a data error
Sam Brasch, 11/17/22

“Colorado air regulators withdrew large parts of a draft plan to cut ozone pollution Friday, acknowledging that it underestimated emissions coming from some oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations,” CPR reports. “The admission, detailed in a notice sent to state air commissioners, sends regulators back to the drawing board as they attempt to bring Front Range air quality into compliance with federal health standards. It also invites new scrutiny onto the state’s oil and gas industry, which the state already recognized as the region’s largest source of local ozone ingredients — even before they acknowledged the latest data error.  Environmental groups praised the latest decision. After criticizing an initial ozone plan released in June, they now see an opportunity to push for new air quality regulations, including rules to limit fracking operations during the summertime ozone season or requiring cleaner, electric drilling rigs. “They’re not trying to cover up their mistakes, but actually owning them and acknowledging some hard decisions need to be made,” Jeremy Nichols, the climate program director for WildEarth Guardians, an environmental advocacy group, told CPR. Colorado air regulators now plan to rewrite large parts of the state’s ozone plan before submitting it to federal regulators next year.”

EXTRACTION

Guardian: Draft COP27 agreement fails to call for ‘phase-down’ of all fossil fuels
Sandra Laville & Bibi van der Zee, 11/18/22

“The United Nations climate agency published a first draft on Thursday of what could be the overarching agreement from the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. However, much of the text is likely to be reworked in the coming days,” the Guardian reports. “…But it does not call for a phase-down of all fossil fuels, as India and the European Union had requested. The text does not include details for launching a fund for loss and damage, a key demand from the most climate vulnerable countries such as island nations. Rather, it “welcomes” the fact that parties have agreed for the first time to include “matters related to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage” on the summit agenda. It does not include a timeline for deciding on whether a separate fund should be created or what it should look like, giving time for negotiators to continue to work on the contentious topic. Greenpeace International’s COP27 head of delegation, Yeb Saño, reflected the general frustration, telling the Guardian : “The COP27 presidency pushes the pedal to the metal on the highway to climate hell. “After initially failing to even mention fossil fuels, the draft text is an abdication of responsibility to capture the urgency expressed by many countries to see all oil and gas added to coal for at least a phase down. It is time to end the denial; the fossil fuel age must be brought to a rapid end.” Joseph Sikulu, of the Pacific Climate Warriors and 350.org, told the Guardian: “The cover text released this morning does not represent the call from both the negotiation rooms as well as the civil society for a just, equitable, and managed phase-out of all fossil fuels. Anything less than what we achieved in Glasgow will see COP27 branded a failure by the world.”

Reuters: COP27: China stops short of joining global methane pledge
Valerie Volcovici, 11/17/22

“China’s special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua outlined his country’s policy for reducing methane emissions at an event at the COP27 U.N. climate talks on Thursday, but stopped short of joining an international deal to cut emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas by 30% by 2030,” Reuters reports. “U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry introduced Xie at the event, where the United States and the European Union announced more than 150 countries had signed on to the pledge since it was launched last year at climate talks in Glasgow.”

Canadian Press: ‘Bridge fuel’ or climate villain? Natural gas in the spotlight as COP27 continues
Amanda Stephenson, 11/17/22

“After long enjoying a reputation as a “bridge fuel” capable of helping the world achieve its climate goals, natural gas is losing some of its environmental lustre — and that has implications for Canada’s energy sector,” the Canadian Press reports. “Canada is the fourth-largest global producer and sixth-largest exporter of natural gas. And with the war in Ukraine driving a global energy crisis, companies like Enbridge Inc. and TC Energy say they expect demand to grow for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from Canada in the coming years. But natural gas — once seen as a low-emitting fuel able to act as a stopgap until more renewable sources of energy could be developed — has been taking heat at this year’s U.N. COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt… “Canadian energy companies have long touted natural gas as a “cleaner” alternative, suggesting that projects like the massive LNG Canada export terminal currently under construction near Kitimat, B.C. can be part of the climate change solution by helping to displace coal-fired power generation around the globe… “But delegates at this year’s climate summit are increasingly calling attention to the natural gas industry’s role in the production of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas that leaks from natural gas pipelines and wells in the form of “fugitive emissions” or is released during the venting and flaring part of the natural gas extraction process. Jeyakumar told CP if the world is serious about its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, then to drive greenhouse gas production down even further, the majority of electricity production going forward needs to be done through renewables. “I think the risk with viewing (natural gas) as a bridge fuel is that it could lead one to build natural gas assets, and these assets have an economic life of several decades,“ she told CP. “So what this does is lock us into these assets . . . and they become stranded assets.”

Upstream Online: Study: Supermajor Emissions Pledges Undercut By Joint Venture Rules
11/17/22

“As much as half of the oil and gas produced by the largest international majors may not be covered by their own emissions-reduction targets due to the impact of joint ventures on carbon accounting, according to a new report published by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF),” Upstream Online reports. “The study looks specifically at non-operated joint ventures (NOJVs) in which the seven largest international oil companies (IOCs) are partnered with national oil companies, typically providing technical expertise and capital in exchange for a share of production.” 

Petroleum Economist: Exodus from Canada’s oil sands continues
11/17/22

“TotalEnergies has unveiled plans to spin off its Canadian oil sands assets, and Vancouver-based miner Teck Resources has sold its share of Alberta’s Fort Hills mine to Suncor Energy, the asset’s operator and largest stakeholder, marking two high-profile exits from Canada’s oil sands since the end of September,” Petroleum Economist reports. “This is part of a longer-term trend by upstream oil and gas companies to divest non-core assets and focus more on core ones where they are more heavily positioned and/or believe they have competitive or strategic advantage,” Kevin Birn, vice-president at information provider S&P Global Commodity Insights, tells Petroleum Economist…”

Canadian Press: 2 workers killed in blast at oil and gas site in northern Alberta
11/16/22

“An explosion Saturday at an oil and gas site in northern Alberta claimed the lives of two workers,” the Canadian Press reports. “The RCMP and emergency crews were called to the Marten Hills site, northeast of Slave Lake, about 250 kilometres north of Edmonton. The deaths are being investigated by Alberta Occupational Health and Safety… “Tamarack President and CEO Brian Schmidt told CP the workers who died were contractors… “The families were notified and are going through a very difficult time,” Schmidt in an email… “Schmidt told CP the cause of the explosion is under investigation and the company is co-operating with all regulatory authorities to find answers. He told CP Tamarack is also conducting its own review.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Enbridge: ‘Brilliance and Ingenuity’ That Transform Indigenous Communities
11/17/22

“Support from the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund is putting more moose meat into freezers on Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi First Nation on the south coast of Newfoundland, according to Enbridge. “…The Miawpukek received the support of $30,000 through IPRF to purchase a large-scale community freezer, which the reserve’s 350 households can use to store food until they have room at home… “The support for the freezer is one of 400+ initiatives, created in 2020 and supported by the IPRF, in response to urgent needs that arose during the pandemic-and an understanding of how rural, remote, and urban Indigenous communities work. IPRF is an all-Indigenous-led foundation that accepts applications from Indigenous-led organizations and communities from coast to coast to coast… “Enbridge was impressed with the way the IPRF was designed to stand with community; we wanted to support this important work, and we’ve contributed $350,000 in Fueling Futures grants to IPRF between 2020 and 2022… “Indigenous communities are places of deep strength and resilience. They also have been made vulnerable by centuries of oppression and colonization. Whether it be storing food in a freezer or placing a screwdriver in the hand of a student learning to repair a snowmobile, each supported project adds to the vibrancy of Indigenous peoples.”

Enbridge: ‘Safety, quality and efficiency’: Supplier diversity far more than tokenism
11/17/22

“Mississippi’s Pilgrim Construction has a longstanding relationship with Enbridge,” according to Enbridge. “…As a fifth-generation pipeliner and third-generation leader of New Hebron, Mississippi-based Pilgrim Construction, Saige believes diversity shouldn’t be a token checking of the box—safety and a stellar track record are primary drivers to securing contracts for the company’s pipeline integrity specialization… “Woman-owned since its inception, Pilgrim’s status as a Woman Based Enterprise (WBE) was made official in 2019 through certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This designation aligns with Enbridge’s Supplier Diversity Policy, which seeks to drive diversity and inclusion within the supply chain, providing an equal opportunity for qualified businesses on both sides of the border. Reflecting Paige’s sentiments, the program is not tokenistic—above all, work standards and expectations are rigorous, safety and environmental performance paramount… John Yuran, U.S. construction coordinator with Enbridge’s liquids pipelines group, praises Pilgrim’s safety culture as “authentic” while noting the versatility and work ethic of its crews.

OPINION

Bleeding Heartland: Backing carbon pipelines cost Senate President Jake Chapman his seat
John Aspray is Food & Water Action Senior Iowa Organizer, 11/17/22

“State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott’s victory over Senate President Jake Chapman was a bright spot on a dark day for Iowa Democrats,” John Apsray writes for Bleeding Heartland. “While Republicans clinched a further majority in the state House and Senate, Trone Garriott pulled off a rare thing for a Democratic candidate — an upset over a sitting Republican in leadership. She previously won a GOP-held open seat in 2020… “The threat of thousands of miles of hazardous carbon pipelines proposed for the state also had a big role to play. Ultimately, Trone Garriott’s victory this month was due in no small part to Food & Water Action’s turnout of progressive voters mobilized around the pipeline issue… “The fight to keep hazardous carbon pipelines out of Iowa has brought voters out of the woodwork and energized candidates statewide. Carbon pipelines were on the ballot in Iowa this year: As per our poll this spring, nearly three in four voters, Democrat and Republican alike, were less likely to vote for a candidate who supported eminent domain for carbon pipelines. Sarah Trone Garriott was one of a several candidates who opposed eminent domain for carbon pipelines. Meanwhile, her opponent’s carbon pipeline stance may well have cost him his seat. Food & Water Action had a big role to play in making sure Senate district 14 voters knew exactly where Trone Garriott stood on the carbon pipeline issue: with the people, not the pipelines. Over six weeks, Food & Water Action knocked on 7,500 doors, holding thousands of conversations with swing voters. We sent three mailers to these households, called 1,300 voters, and sent more than a thousand handwritten letters, pushing Trone Garriott over the edge. Unofficial results show Trone Garriot won with 51.4 percent of the vote to Chapman’s 48.5 percent, a margin of just 873 votes. Make no mistake — turnout on the carbon pipeline issue helped cost Jake Chapman his position as the second-ranking Senate Republican.”

The Hill: COP27: Fossil fuel interests are playing us for fools
Robert Taylor is a freelance journalist whose research and published work centers on environmental issues; Craig B. Smith, Ph.D., is an engineer, former faculty member at UCLA; Taylor was a contributor and Smith was co-author (with W.D. Fletcher) of “Reaching Net Zero: What it takes to solve the global climate crisis,” 11/17/22

“Consider how our world powers its economies: We dig up fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and burn them. The air pollution alone causes millions of deaths and the heat-trapping emissions over-heat the planet resulting in sea-level rise, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events. The companies that produce these fuels take advantage of a pernicious business model that allows them to pollute for free, pass the costs of all the damages onto the public, as well as use their financial and political power to perpetuate their lucrative enterprise,” write for The Hill. “…Although scientists working at fossil fuel companies were among the first to understand the dangers, the industry has done all it can to protect their business model through denying climate science, obfuscating the problem and delaying the transition to clean energy alternatives. This industry and their political allies have deceived us. In response societies have unwittingly allowed these life-destroying fuels to imperil the future of humanity. They are playing us for fools… “Included in the COP27 agenda are conversations regarding who should pay for the loss and damage incurred by poor countries. Conveniently for fossil fuel interests, the framing for this conversation identifies rich countries and governments as the “polluters who should pay,” drawing attention away from the actual polluters — coal, oil and gas companies… “The first steps for government actions should include ending subsidies for fossil fuels, enacting carbon pricing legislation to make the polluters pay for the devastation they are causing and providing the financial incentives our societies need to quit using polluting fuels.”

New York Daily News: What Congress must accomplish: Some must-dos in the waning days of the 117th session
Daily News Editorial Board, 11/16/22

“Democrats will control the Senate and, it seems, Republicans, the House in the 118th Congress starting on Jan. 3, but the current 117th session still has some important business remaining. Even as Election Day vote counting continues on the last few House contests, the lame ducks in Washington must finish their work,” the New York Daily News Editorial Board writes. “Still outstanding is Sen. Joe Manchin’s essential proposal to speed energy projects through the slow and burdensome rules of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Congress and President Biden already streamlined the NEPA procedures for transportation and, as a condition of his support for the Inflation Reduction Act, Manchin won a promise from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that further streamlining would be attached to must-pass legislation this year. Time is running out…” 

The Conversation: Why fixing methane leaks from the oil and gas industry can be a climate game-changer – one that pays for itself
Jim Krane, Fellow for Energy Studies, Baker Institute for Public Policy; Lecturer, Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, 11/17/22

“What’s the cheapest, quickest way to reduce climate change without roiling the economy? In the United States, it may be by reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry,” Jim Krane writes for The Conversation. “…So far, 130 countries, including the United States and most of the big oil producers other than Russia, have pledged to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas by at least 30%. China has not signed but has agreed to reduce emissions. If those pledges are met, the result would be equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from all of the world’s cars, trucks, buses and all two- and three-wheeled vehicles, according to the International Energy Agency. There’s also another reason for the methane focus, and it makes this strategy more likely to succeed: Stopping methane leaks from the oil and gas industry can largely pay for itself and boost the amount of fuel available… “Nearly all of these emissions can be stopped with new components or regulations that prohibit routine flaring. Making those repairs can pay off. Global oil and gas operations emitted more methane in 2021 than Canada consumed that entire year, according to IEA estimates. If that gas were captured, at current U.S. prices – $4 per million British thermal unit – that wasted methane would fetch around $17 billion. The IEA determined that a one-time investment of $11 billion would eliminate roughly 75% of methane leaks worldwide, along with an even larger amount of gas that is wasted by “flaring” or burning it off at the wellhead… “Investor pressure has pushed several publicly traded companies to reduce their methane emissions, but in practice this sometimes leads them to sell off “dirty” assets to smaller operators with less oversight. In such a situation, the easiest way to encourage companies to clean up is via a tax. Done right, companies would act before they had to pay.”

Calgary Herald: Opinion: What does Ottawa get for killing the golden goose of Alberta’s energy production? 
Olivier Rancourt is an economist at the Montreal Economic Institute, 11/17/22

“Whether it gets emitted by an oilsands mine in Fort McMurray or by an auto plant in Oshawa, or by a private jet manufacturer in Montreal, a tonne of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere has the exact same effect on our climate. And yet, if federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s latest scheme goes forward, the first of these will be subject to new stringent federal legislation, while the latter two will remain untouched,” Olivier Rancourt writes for the Calgary Herald. “That’s because back in July, Ottawa announced its plans to cap greenhouse gas emissions stemming specifically from oil and gas production by 2030, at levels 40 per cent below what they were in 2005. We’ll spare you all the math, but given the expected growth in global demand, what’s being asked of our energy industry would amount to a roughly 47 per cent reduction over the next seven years. To achieve this, the industry basically has two options.  It can find a way, and fast, to cut per barrel emissions by nearly half. Or it can cut production by nearly half — along with jobs, government revenues, etc… “While the hit to our country’s economy is quite clear, the impact on our climate isn’t… “Basically, by capping our oil and gas sector’s emissions, Ottawa risks killing the golden goose while getting nothing in return. If anything, this measure looks much more like ideological obstinacy than proper evidence-based policy-making.”

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