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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 11/22/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

November 22, 2022

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(Note to Readers: “Extracted” will take a break from publishing for the rest of this week in observance of the holiday. The next edition will be published on Monday, Nov. 28.)

PIPELINE NEWS

  • KTIV: Carbon pipeline surveyor arrested for trespassing on private property

  • Harlan Online: Crossing A Line? Summit Carbon Solutions Files Lawsuit Against Shelby County

  • Corridor Business Journal: Linn supervisors to consider ordinance on setbacks from hazardous material pipelines

  • E&E News: CO2 pipeline developer seeks to void local Iowa ordinances

  • KCCR: Public Utilities Commission Approves Developing Procedural Schedule In Carbon Pipeline Permit Application

  • Law360: FERC, Mountain Valley Want Pipeline Protest Put To Bed

  • Pittsburgh Business Times: Forest Service plans summer 2023 approval for Mountain Valley Pipeline work

  • Bloomberg: More pipeline problems for Canada as Enbridge rations space on its Mainline system

  • MarketsandMarkets: Offshore Pipeline Market Worth $18.6 Billion by 2027 

  • North American Pipelines: TC Energy, 3 Rivers Energy Partners to Develop RNG Production Facility at Jack Daniel Distillery

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Touts ‘Transformative Year’ in Mexico, Improved Collaboration with CFE

  • North American Pipelines: Pembina Pipeline Corp. Reaches Bankruptcy Settlement on Ruby Pipeline

  • The Narwhal: A year after RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory, the Coastal GasLink conflict isn’t going away

  • The Walrus: Could an Indigenous-Owned Pipeline Be a Force for Good?

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Roll Call: Permitting legislation finds roadblocks in path to NDAA

  • The Hill: Sustainability Democrats propose narrow permitting reform effort on electric grid, community involvement

  • House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition: SEEC releases Policy Brief on Permitting Reform for the Clean Energy Future

  • The Hill: Interior Department announces new proposed oil and gas lease sales in Nevada, Utah

STATE UPDATES

EXTRACTION

  • The Hill: Uncertainties about climate compensation fund trigger skepticism

  • E&E News: How vulnerable countries finally got a fund for climate damage

  • The Energy Mix: China Surprises at COP 27 with Draft Methane Plan

  • CNBC: U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips challenged over ‘secretive’ tax practices

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

KTIV: Carbon pipeline surveyor arrested for trespassing on private property
Matt Hoffmann, 11/21/22

“An employee of a carbon pipeline company was arrested for trespassing earlier this year. It’s the first in a set of legal battles about when the companies can conduct surveys without landowner consent,” KTIV reports. “A Dickinson County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested 28-year-old Stephen Larsen back in August of this year. It’s another battle over how and when these pipeline companies can conduct surveys, and what rules they have to follow. Because it’s a citation, we don’t have a lot of narrative detail, but he’s charged with first-degree trespassing. In court, the pipeline company, Summit Carbon Solutions, is arguing the citation can’t stand because Iowa law allows these types of surveys. The pipeline company says these surveys are allowed after the company gives notice to the landowner. They argue, even if the landowner declines the survey, the company can move forward without the landowner’s consent. However, opponents say the pipeline companies are just trying to finish their projects at any cost. ”It just shows these are not the kind of businesses that we want here in the state where Iowa nice, we don’t You don’t shove things down people’s throats like these pipeline companies are trying to do,” Jessica Mazour, a conservation coordinator with the Sierra Club, Iowa chapter, told KTIV.” 

Harlan Online: Crossing A Line? Summit Carbon Solutions Files Lawsuit Against Shelby County
11/21/22

“Summit Carbon Solutions filed a law suit against Shelby and Story counties late last week,” Harlan Online reports. “…It states the ordinance adopted by the Shelby County Board of Supervisors earlier this month attempts to preempt state and federal oversight. The company is asking the court to throw out the new rules… “The Shelby County ordinance regulates the distance between a hazardous liquid pipeline route, requiring no less than 1,000 feet from homes and half mile distance from churches, schools and other public places. It would also force all pipeline companies to obtain county permits for construction. It was passed after four well-attended public hearings, including one with the Shelby County Planning and Zoning Commission and three with the Board of Supervisors. “What frustrates me is we did everything to the letter of the law,” Steve Kenkel, Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Supervisors, told Harlan. “It doesn’t surprise me when you look at what’s going on,” he told Harlan. “They are filing suits against anyone trying to protect their own interests.” “…A representative from the pipeline company had attended three out of the four pubic hearings, but did not address the Shelby County Board of Supervisors… “Attorney Tim Whipple, who assisted the Supervisors in drafting the ordinance, told Harlan the county will be able to tell their story in court. Whipple hopes the federal court’s decision “will provide clarity” on the issue. He told Harlan that the purpose of the Shelby County ordinance was not to stop the pipeline, however, “They need to give consideration to what the Supervisors think is reasonable.” Jesse Harris from Summit Carbon Solutions told Harlan, “While Summit Carbon Solutions is not able to comment on the specifics of the complaint, it is important to note that the 3.3 million miles of pipelines in active service across the United States, including the 47,000 miles in Iowa, are extensively regulated at both the federal and state levels, and those regulations preempt ordinances at the county level.”

Corridor Business Journal: Linn supervisors to consider ordinance on setbacks from hazardous material pipelines
Richard Pratt, 11/21/22

“A proposed Linn County ordinance primarily designed to regulate setbacks from pipelines carrying hazardous materials is on its way to the Linn County Board of Supervisors for consideration,” the Corridor Business Journal reports. “The proposed ordinance was approved by the county’s planning and zoning commission in their meeting Monday night, Nov. 21. The commission’s vote was 5-1, with commissioner Griffin Kuntz casting the lone nay vote. Commissioner George Maxwell was not present at the meeting. Linn County Planning and Zoning director Charlie Nichols told the Journal the ordinance specifically addresses safety setbacks from hazardous materials pipelines, since unlike pipelines carrying natural gas – which are regulated by the Iowa Utilities Board – hazardous materials pipelines are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). That agency, Mr. Nichols told the Journal, governs construction of hazardous material pipelines but hasn’t yet issued guidelines for oversight of safety issues. “What we are attempting to do here is reduce the risk of damage and injury to Linn County’s public through regulations to supplement the Iowa Utilities Board’s permitting process, in the absence of updated guidance from PHMSA,” Mr. Nichols told the Journal… “The proposal is designed to protect Linn County residents without pre-empting the Iowa Utilitlies Board’s decision-making authority, Mr. Nichols told the Journal. “This has not been easy to balance both of those things, especially in this case,” Mr. Nichols told the Journal. “And I think there’s a better than zero chance that the county will face lawsuits over this from pipeline companies. We’ve seen other counties be taken to court over their regulations. We are trying very very hard to (the regulations) reasonable while still increasing or providing that safety measure in the absence of updated PHMSA regulation.”

E&E News: CO2 pipeline developer seeks to void local Iowa ordinances
JEFFREY TOMICH, 11/21/22

“The developer of a $4.5 billion carbon dioxide pipeline planned for the Upper Plains sued two Iowa counties last week claiming ordinances they adopted violate state and federal law because they seek to regulate project permitting, location and safety,” E&E News reports. “Ames, Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions LLC and William Couser, a local farmer and co-owner of an Iowa ethanol plant, filed the lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa against Shelby and Story counties. The suits seek to declare the local ordinances invalid and unenforceable, as well as to recover legal costs. The lawsuits are part of a larger legal brawl between developers of liquefied CO2 pipelines and opponents. At the core of both Iowa cases is whether local governments can impose minimum setback requirements and other safety regulations and restrictions.”

KCCR: Public Utilities Commission Approves Developing Procedural Schedule In Carbon Pipeline Permit Application
11/21/22

“The permit application docket for Summit Carbon Solutions liquid carbon dioxide pipeline was in front of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Friday,” KCCR reports. “At issue was attempting to set a procedural schedule set so a hearing on the application could take place. Brian Jorde is representing dozens of landowners as intervenors and says its to early to set a schedule… Brett Koenecke, representing Summit says without a schedule the docket will drag on… P-U-C Chair Chris Nelson agrees the docket needs to move ahead… It’s being estimated that an evidentiary hearing on the application could take up to two weeks to conduct.”

Law360: FERC, Mountain Valley Want Pipeline Protest Put To Bed
Grace Dixon, 11/21/22

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has sided with an appellate court’s finding that landowners brought their challenge to the $6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline project in the wrong venue, urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up a review of the ruling,” Law360 reports. 

Pittsburgh Business Times: Forest Service plans summer 2023 approval for Mountain Valley Pipeline work
Paul J. Gough, 11/21/22

“MVP is being built, will be operated and is partially owned by Equitrans Midstream Corp. (NYSE: ETRN), which is based in Canonsburg,” the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. “

Bloomberg: More pipeline problems for Canada as Enbridge rations space on its Mainline system
Robert Tuttle, 11/21/22

“Enbridge Inc., the world’s largest oil export pipeline system operator, is cutting supply on its key Canada line, adding yet another headwind for oil producers,” Bloomberg reports. “Enbridge will apportion space on a segment of its Mainline system by the most since November last year, the Calgary-based company said in a statement Friday. Apportionment is when shippers reduce volume when they see too much demand on a system, and has contributed to a glut of supply in the past as producers are left with the excess. Pipeline apportionment has previously led to large discounts for Canada’s crude oil and now threatens already-weak oil prices. The discount for Canadian heavy crude is almost US$30 in Alberta, close to the widest since 2018, amid releases of high-sulphur oil from U.S. strategic petroleum reserves and high natural gas prices making Canadian oil expensive to refine. The rise in apportionment signals that export lines may be filling up again amid record oil production in the province and rising demand for Canadian crude on the U.S. Gulf Coast.”

MarketsandMarkets: Offshore Pipeline Market Worth $18.6 Billion by 2027 
11/21/22

“The Offshore Pipeline Market is projected to grow from USD 14.8 billion in 2022 to USD 18.6 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 4.7% according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets. The Offshore Pipeline Market has promising growth potential due to the rising deployment of oil and gas distribution networks and the rising use of natural gas. The transport line segment holds the largest share of the Offshore Pipeline Market. The large market share can be attributed to the increasing number of contracts and projects from companies including Saipem (Italy), Subsea7 (UK), and TechnipFMC (UK). The Offshore Pipeline Market, by product, is divided into oil, gas, and refined products wherein gas accounts for the largest share. Gas is also expected to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecast period, owing to increasing awareness and demand for energy self-sufficiency. In this report, the Offshore Pipeline Market has been analyzed for five regions, namely, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and the Americas. Europe is a significant contributor to the Offshore Pipeline Market in the current scenario owing to the rapidly increasing cost-competitiveness of transport line solutions, which enable consumers to have access to clean energy power and offer opportunities to decrease their bills. A few of the key players include Saipem (Italy), Subsea7 (UK), TechnipFMC (UK), McDermott (US), John Wood Group PLC (US), and others. The leading players are adopting various strategies to increase their share in the Offshore Pipeline Market.”

North American Pipelines: TC Energy, 3 Rivers Energy Partners to Develop RNG Production Facility at Jack Daniel Distillery
11/21/22

“Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. is investing $29.3 million in a renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility near the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee,” North American Pipelines reports. “Owned by Lynchburg Renewable Fuels LLC, the facility will produce RNG with a carbon intensity score that is 50 percent lower than traditional natural gas, saving up to 16,000 tonnes of CO2e per year. The project is being developed by 3 Rivers Energy Partners LLC, also an owner in Lynchburg Renewable Fuels. Once operational in 2024, a byproduct of the Jack Daniel’s distilling process will be broken down to generate methane gases recovered as biogas. A biogas upgrade plant will remove contaminants to produce pipeline-quality RNG that will be directly connected to a local natural gas utility. Liquid fertilizer will also be produced in the process, processed, stored and distributed to meet local agriculture demand. “This investment is our first in the production of renewable natural gas,” said Corey Hessen, TC Energy executive vice president and president, power and energy solutions, in an Oct. 17 statement. “The production of RNG onsite at the Jack Daniel Distillery offers TC Energy one more opportunity to meet the challenge of growing energy needs and reducing emissions while providing customers with access to an affordable, reliable source of energy.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Touts ‘Transformative Year’ in Mexico, Improved Collaboration with CFE
ANDREW BAKER, 11/21/22

“TC Energy Corp. is strengthening its commercial ties with Mexico’s largest natural gas consumer and working toward the completion of multiple pipeline projects in the country,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The consumer is state power company Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), whose demand averages about 4 Bcf/d, nearly all of which comes from the United States. In a call to discuss the Calgary-based company’s third-quarter earnings, CEO François Poirier called 2022 “a transformative year for our Mexico business.” He highlighted an agreement reached with CFE in August to complete and develop natural gas infrastructure in Mexico’s central and southeast regions. Projects covered in the agreement include the 1.3 Bcf/d, 444-mile Southeast Gateway offshore pipeline, which is expected to be in-service by mid-2025, as well as the final sections of the Tula-Villa de Reyes pipelines… “TC management said the agreement with CFE “further demonstrates how we are leveraging our differentiated North American strategy to deliver energy solutions across our extensive footprint. Once in service in mid-2025, the Southeast Gateway pipeline is expected to benefit millions of people through increased access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.” The company added that, “In order to support execution of this accretive project, we issued C$1.8 billion in common equity to provide certainty around our go-forward funding plan. In addition, we resolved international arbitrations with the CFE on the Villa de Reyes and Tula pipeline projects allowing us to earn a full return on and of all previous capital invested.” TC placed the north section of Villa de Reyes pipeline and the east section of the Tula into commercial service during 3Q2022… “The arrangement also gives CFE the option to acquire an equity stake in TC’s local subsidiary, Transportadora de Gas Natural de la Huasteca (TGNH), contingent upon completion of the pending projects.” 

North American Pipelines: Pembina Pipeline Corp. Reaches Bankruptcy Settlement on Ruby Pipeline
11/21/11

“Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp. announced Nov. 18 that the company and certain of its wholly owned affiliates have entered into a settlement agreement with Ruby Pipeline LLC,” North American Pipelines reports. “The terms of the settlement agreement provide for, upon approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and the payment of all amounts contemplated by such agreement, the release of Pembina from any causes of action arising in connection with, among other things, prepetition distributions and the bankruptcy case. In consideration, the settlement agreement provides for the payment from Pembina to Ruby of $102 million USD. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware is expected to consider the terms of the settlement agreement at a hearing for Ruby’s Chapter 11 plan proposed for Jan. 23, 2023.”

The Narwhal: A year after RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory, the Coastal GasLink conflict isn’t going away
Matt Simmons, 11/18/22

“One year ago, helicopters dropped a squad of heavily armed police into the snow as tactical units of the RCMP gathered for a military-style raid on Wet’suwet’en territory.  The scene played out like a movie — snipers aiming at a cabin and those inside, police dogs barking and RCMP using an axe and a chainsaw to cut down the door of a tiny house. But for the Indigenous land defenders, their supporters and journalists there to document what was going on at Coyote Camp, it was all very real,” The Narwhal reports. “The camp was a re-occupation of the territory and an effort to protect Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) from the Coastal GasLink pipeline, being built to connect gas sources in the northeast of B.C. to a liquefaction and export facility on the Pacific coast. In 2019, the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction against anyone impeding construction of the pipeline, setting the stage for police enforcement. Coastal GasLink and the B.C. government had signed agreements with five of six elected Wet’suwet’en band councils but did not receive consent from the Hereditary Chiefs. The chiefs issued the company an eviction notice in early 2020 and enforced that order again last year, leading to the raids… “To date, RCMP have spent more than $25 million maintaining a constant presence on Wet’suwet’en territory. Most of that supports the force’s Community-Industry Response Group, commonly called C-IRG, a special unit set up in 2017 to police opposition to industrial projects… “After the raid, audio recordings captured RCMP members joking about the people they’d just arrested, including making racist remarks about Indigenous women, whose faces were marked with red handprints to symbolize Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, seemingly comparing them to orcs from The Lord of the Rings. John Brewer, chief superintendent and gold commander of the special unit, told The Narwhal this behaviour was “beyond troubling” and said he put his entire team on notice after listening to the recordings… “Community members filed a civil lawsuit against the RCMP, Coastal GasLink and the company’s private security force, Forsythe, in June. “On multiple occasions, I have witnessed the RCMP on the ground take direction from Coastal GasLink workers,” Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, a Gidimt’en clan wing chief who lives on the territory with her family, told The Narwhal in May. “Their relationship is so close and intertwined that it’s hard to distinguish roles.” “…Na’moks told The Narwhal he’s confident the pipeline will never be completed but the impacts of construction can’t be undone. “We’ve never agreed to this and we never will,” he told The Narwhal. “We’re doing our part to protect the planet, protect our land, Rights and Title, our humanity. And this is what we get.”

The Walrus: Could an Indigenous-Owned Pipeline Be a Force for Good?
ZOË YUNKER, 11/21/22

“A wealth gap exists between Indigenous peoples and other Canadians. Some First Nations believe buying the Trans Mountain pipeline might fix it,” The Walrus reports. “… Trans Mountain has been a linchpin of Canada’s oil industry since it was built nearly seventy years ago, and its expansion on the First Nation’s land—a project that would extend the existing pipeline, for exports, from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver—would triple daily capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil. Breaking ground would be the easy part. From the time it was proposed in 2013 by then owner Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based oil-and-gas corporation, the Trans Mountain expansion faced widespread resistance. First Nations like Tsleil-Waututh, located on BC’s coast, knew their territory would bear the brunt of increased tanker traffic… “Last year, Morin became chairperson of Project Reconciliation, an Indigenous-led consortium vying for ownership of Trans Mountain and its new pipeline… “In the midst of this reckoning, Project Reconciliation is driven by a simple premise: by buying into resource development on their lands, Indigenous peoples can narrow the wealth-and-power gap that exists with settlers. Project Reconciliation isn’t alone in this belief. Sixteen First Nations have tentatively agreed to a 10 percent stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline under construction in northern BC. This year, a group of twenty-three First Nations and Métis communities signed a deal with Enbridge to buy a $1.12 billion minority stake in a network of pipelines in northern Alberta. Such arrangements come in the wake of the costly lesson the oil-and-gas industry learned from Indigenous-led resistance… “Macdonald-Laurier’s solution was to offer First Nations equity—a financial share—in oil-and-gas projects affecting their territories.” Reuben George, Sundance chief and member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, isn’t willing to risk it. “It’s inevitable,” he told The Walrus. “It’s not if a spill will happen but when.” Already, Trans Mountain has reported eighty-four oil spills to the Canada Energy Regulator since 1961. That number doesn’t include a 2020 spill that leaked over 150,000 litres on Sumas First Nation territory. According to a study from Simon Fraser University, published in 2015, the company says there’s a 99 percent chance of another spill in the next half century. When George calls the pipeline “economic smallpox,” it is hard to avoid thinking of the goods laced with deadly disease that early colonists traded to Indigenous communities. Still, George is cognizant of the tough decisions Indigenous nations face. “I don’t say anything bad about any nation that negotiated,” he told The Walrus. “The hand we’ve been given to play has been devastating.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Roll Call: Permitting legislation finds roadblocks in path to NDAA
Benjamin J. Hulac, 11/21/22

“Prospects that Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will be able to attach an energy permitting proposal of his to the annual defense policy bill dimmed after two key Republicans said they opposed the idea,” Roll Call reports. “Rep. Mike D. Rogers, R-Ala., the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, said during House votes Thursday that Manchin’s proposal would not be included in the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2023. “Not an option,” Rogers said. Pressed, he said, “We haven’t even talked about it because it’s not an option.” Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said he opposed attaching the permitting bill to funding legislation in September. Rogers and Inhofe are two of the four key negotiators, along with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the chairmen of the Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over the Pentagon, plus leadership, who are negotiating the final details of the defense bill, which has passed and been enacted every year for 61 years straight. While there is interest in both parties to change federal laws governing federal permits for major infrastructure projects, Republicans and Democrats opposed fusing Manchin’s proposal onto funding legislation in September, prompting the West Virginian to withdraw his legislation.”

The Hill: Sustainability Democrats propose narrow permitting reform effort on electric grid, community involvement
RACHEL FRAZIN, 11/21/22

“A group of House Democrats that are part of a sustainability coalition on Monday put forward a narrow proposal on permitting reform amid broader talks on how to reshape the country’s energy approval process,” The Hill reports. “The new policy brief released by leaders of the House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC) narrowly focuses on bolstering the country’s electricity infrastructure and community involvement in energy project assessments… “Some of SEEC’s leaders, including co-chair Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and vice chairs Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), and Donald McEachin (D-Va.) were part of a large coalition of Democrats who expressed opposition to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting reform push. The new pitch from the sustainability coalition promotes legislation that the lawmakers say would give the federal government more power to approve some electric transmission lines, bolster grid resiliency and promote the development of community solar and offshore wind. It also called for increases to community involvement by requiring the preparation of reports on whether projects will harm community health and establishing environmental justice liaisons for such projects.” 

House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition: SEEC releases Policy Brief on Permitting Reform for the Clean Energy Future
11/21/22

“Today, the  (SEEC), under the leadership of Co-Chairs Reps. Gerry Connolly, Doris Matsui, and Paul Tonko and Vice Chairs Reps. Matt Cartwright, Alan Lowenthal, A. Donald McEachin, Chellie Pingree, and Mike Quigley, released a policy brief for consideration in the ongoing permitting reform discussions that details a positive vision for what permitting reform should look like to enable the clean energy future. The brief focuses on two primary pillars: electric transmission reform and increased community engagement in the permitting process. Under each of these two categories, the brief lays out the problems that need to be tackled and specific legislation that already exists to address them. The introduction to the brief reads in part: “[The Inflation Reduction Act] provided the incentives and financing needed to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy at the pace necessary to meet the crisis we face. With those investments now in hand, the next task ahead of us is ensuring that federal permitting laws that were written for the fossil fuel era work for the new clean energy age that we are now entering. “To this end, we have welcomed the many and varied voices who have shared both their concerns and support regarding various aspects of the permitting reform conversation that Congress has engaged in since the passage of IRA. Building out the requisite clean energy infrastructure as quickly and as equitably as possible can only be achieved if disadvantaged communities are properly engaged in the permitting process, rather than ignored and disproportionately burdened, as has happened all too often in the past. The need for this engagement is true not just for the permitting process but also for the legislative process. We have attempted to take into account what we have heard from these groups that share our goal of achieving a clean energy future and use that to inform this policy brief.”

The Hill: Interior Department announces new proposed oil and gas lease sales in Nevada, Utah
ZACK BUDRYK, 11/21/22

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Monday announced two proposed oil and gas lease sales for nearly 100,000 acres of land in Nevada and Utah,” The Hill reports. “…The land in question would be leased under updated provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden’s expansive climate and infrastructure package that became law earlier this year… “The Biden administration first announced the royalty hike in April as part of an earlier oil and gas lease sale announcement… “Earlier this year, the administration approved the first new lease sales in Nevada and Utah, as well as North Dakota and Montana, prompting a lawsuit from a coalition of environmental groups that argued the sales violated the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. “The very least the BLM could do is acknowledge the connected nature of these six lease sales and their collective impact on federal lands and the earth’s climate,” Melissa Hornbein, a senior attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said in June. “Its failure to do so is an attempt to water down the climate effects of the decision to continue leasing, and is a clear abdication of BLM’s responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act.” The Sierra Club, one of the plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuit, said the announcement undermines the goals of the IRA. “The IRA is one of the biggest steps the U.S. has taken towards achieving its climate goals, including fiscal reforms that hold the oil and gas industry accountable. Its long-term success is weighed down by the harmful provisions promoting oil and gas leasing,” Athan Manuel, Director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program, said in a statement. 

STATE UPDATES

Natural Gas Intelligence: Spire’s Wyoming Natural Gas Storage Expansion Designed to Smooth Out Renewable Volatility
LETICIA GONZALES, 11/21/22

“Against the backdrop of rising renewable electric generation and the need for more balancing mechanisms, Spire Energy Inc. is close to completing the first phase of a planned natural gas storage expansion near the Opal Hub in Wyoming,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “Spire Storage is working to expand capacity to 39 Bcf from 23 Bcf to meet growing demand in the Rockies and western United States. The facility connects to the Kern River, Northwest Pipeline, MountainWest, Overthrust and Ruby systems and serves natural gas and electric utilities, pipelines, industrial manufacturers, producers and gas marketers… “Smith noted that the boom in renewables for electric generation in the West has resulted in a change in consumption patterns for natural gas as more gas is needed to serve as a backstop for renewable generation. “With generation ramping up and down,” such as for wind generation, “that requires pipeline linepack and storage,” Smith told NGI. “That’s a big driver.” This dynamic has played out over the past few years in California, as an ongoing drought has reduced hydroelectric power and increased the call on natural gas during scorching summers and frigid winters. Smith said the Pacific Northwest also is experiencing a rise in natural gas consumption. “There’s a significant amount of gas-fired generation that has a lot of seasonality to it,” he told NGI… “Spire has put a $195 million price tag on the expansion, with inflation and other costs factored into the budget. Thus far, labor hasn’t been a concern as in other sectors of the oil and gas industry, according to Smith. Management is confident it has “access to qualified contractors who can do the work. Obviously, things can change, but we try to stay in touch in real time to make sure everyone is aware we have the work coming up next year.” Partial operations for the expansion are set to ramp up in the winter of 2023-2024, with the added capacity fully online within a year. “

EXTRACTION

The Hill: Uncertainties about climate compensation fund trigger skepticism
RACHEL FRAZIN AND SHARON UDASIN, 11/22/22

“A newly agreed “loss and damage” fund in which developed countries would pay for climate damages suffered by vulnerable developing counterparts lacks both details and actual funding, raising question about whether it’s merely a symbolic breakthrough,” The Hill reports. “…The deal provides no money, and no organizational structure, saying such details will be worked out in the coming months. It creates a “Transitional Committee” made up from representatives of 24 countries who will be tasked with finding funding sources and setting up the fund’s structure and governance. “A loss and damage fund has been established and that’s important on its own, but it’s an empty vessel,” Morgan Bazilian, a public policy professor at the Colorado School of Mines, told The Hill. Despite such skepticism, some advocates voiced optimism, arguing that getting to this point represents major progress after years of stalemate. “There was just a tremendous breakthrough this time of getting the United States and other traditional blockers to stop blocking,” Jean Su, energy justice program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Hill. She acknowledged that there are still “big questions” including “whether finance will actually get delivered,” but told The Hill that ultimately, it gave “vulnerable communities around the world a glimmer of real hope.” 

E&E News: How vulnerable countries finally got a fund for climate damage
Sara Schonhardt, Karl Mathiesen, 11/21/22

“The world’s most climate-threatened countries won an historic first at climate talks here Sunday — securing a fund that would pay them for the damage wrought by global warming. But the victory came at a price,” E&E News reports. “Reaching consensus on the new form of climate aid — or payments for “loss and damage” in U.N. circles — meant bargaining with a small group of petrostates and emerging economies who sought to block the conference from doing much to mitigate global warming. Those efforts, two European officials and an official from the United Kingdom told E&E, were led by Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Russia and Brazil — although none of those delegations could be contacted for comment immediately after the conference… “The final cover text reiterated an agreement from a year ago to phase down coal, but it also opened the door to natural gas… “Developing countries negotiate as an often fractious 134-country bloc at climate talks, called the G-77 and China. The group spans oil-producing Persian Gulf states, emerging economies, Africa’s least-developed countries and the smallest Pacific islands. In Sharm el-Sheikh they showed an unprecedented unity, marshaled by Pakistan, which holds the rotating chair… “That unified pressure softened the European Union’s position on a fund, Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission and head of the E.U. delegation, told E&E, despite the E.U.’s continued misgivings about the fund’s usefulness. Timmermans put forward a proposal late Thursday that paved the way for a compromise deal that ultimately earned the acceptance of almost 200 countries, including the United States, which had until recently refused to countenance any discussion of financing for climate damage. The unity of the G-77 also meant there was little organized resistance to efforts to revise the final deal as it related to cutting down emissions or curtailing fossil fuel use… “Meanwhile, a final draft of the cover decision that dealt with a section on cutting emissions was dropped on delegates in the plenary hall… “Their main bargaining chip — walking away from the loss and damage fund if they didn’t get more action on emissions cuts — had already been agreed to… “Timmermans reflected on the moral quandary his bloc of 27 countries had faced in trying to pursue their goals against a developing world united on loss and damage. “This deal is not enough on mitigation. But do we walk away and thereby kill a fund the vulnerable countries … have fought so hard for for decades? No, that would have been a huge mistake and a huge missed opportunity to tackle climate change,” he said in a statement delivered to the plenary. “We had to give up some of the things we wanted to help other parties and this process to move forward,” Timmermans continued. “But I urge you to acknowledge when you walk out of this room, that we have all fallen short in actions to avoid and minimize loss and damage.”

The Energy Mix: China Surprises at COP 27 with Draft Methane Plan
11/21/22

“China has drafted a plan to reduce methane emissions and the United States has pledged to help, but climate campaigners say the country’s biggest methane culprits—coal mines and livestock—have yet to be addressed,” The Energy Mix reports. “China is a major emitter of methane, and its plan is seen as significant progress toward keeping global warming within the 2015 Paris Agreement goal,” reports Bloomberg. “It comes a year after the nation agreed in a joint declaration with the U.S. to outline its strategy for cutting methane releases, which are heavily tied to coal mining operations and agricultural activities in the country.” But the plan—unexpectedly announced by China’s climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua during a Global Methane Pledge meeting at Egypt’s COP 27—will focus on cutting methane emissions along the oil and gas supply chain and those generated by agriculture and urban waste, reports Voice of America (VOA). Xie said his country would also work to improve its methane monitoring systems, but he made no mention of coal. Analysis shows 38% of China’s methane emissions come from coal mining, while 24% come from livestock, 16% from rice paddies, 7% from landfills, 5% from wastewater management, 2% from oil and gas systems, and 8% from “other sources.” China’s methane draft—currently awaiting legislative approval—is the outcome of a “flurry of diplomacy” with the U.S. last year, which led the two countries to promise joint action on methane reductions, grid decarbonization, illegal deforestation, circular economy measures, and “enhanced climate actions,” during the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow. Xie cited the several months spent in dialogue with his American counterpart, John Kerry, as he announced the draft, describing the U.S. climate envoy as his “very good friend” who had encouraged him to “come out and share with you our thoughts on methane reduction.”

CNBC: U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips challenged over ‘secretive’ tax practices
Sam Meredith, 11/21/22

“Oxfam on Monday filed shareholder resolutions against U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, saying a lack of transparency over their global tax practices poses a material risk for long-term investors,” CNBC reports. “The international relief charity said the companies’ tax practices undermine the public’s interest in a fair tax system — especially in Global South countries “with the greatest tax revenue needs.” “Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips’s threadbare tax disclosures leave investors, watchdog groups, and the general public in the dark about the companies’ secretive tax practices,” Daniel Mulé, policy lead on extractive industries and tax at Oxfam America, said in a statement. ConocoPhillips confirmed it had received a shareholder proposal from Oxfam and would review it ahead of its annual general meeting in May next year. The company added that it “remains committed to following all applicable disclosure rules in the countries in which we operate.” “…Oil majors have been repeatedly criticized for their global tax operations. And, in recent months, energy giants have faced growing calls for a windfall tax after raking in record-breaking profits thanks to a surge in the price of oil and gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… “Oxfam said the tax practices of Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips create a risk for investors who want to safeguard against potential reputational damage and the possibility of “shelling out millions due to lawsuits, blocked projects, and renegotiation of fiscal terms.” To rectify this, Oxfam called on the companies to publish reports detailing their tax practices in line with the tax standard of the Global Reporting Initiative, which includes public country-by-country reporting of financial, tax and worker information.”

OPINION

Toronto Star: Line 5 supplies critical energy safely while respecting treaty rights
Colin Gruending is executive vice-president and president, Liquids Pipelines, and Paul Eberth is director Tribal Engagement U.S., with Enbridge, 11/19/22

“An op-ed published Nov. 10 in the Toronto Star states, “Canada’s support of Line 5 violates Indigenous treaty rights …” Both that statement and its basic premise are false, as are their assertions regarding the safety and need for Line 5,” Colin Gruending writes for the Toronto Star. “Before addressing them, consider the idea that supplying energy safely and responsibility is not mutually exclusive from respecting Indigenous treaty rights and taking meaningful strides toward reconciliation. The authors’ views are unfortunate at a time when compassion and respect for Indigenous issues have never been more important — and as everyone struggles through a global energy crisis. Line 5 cuts through tribal property today because the Bad River Band agreed to and was paid for easements through its property when the pipeline was first built in the 1950s. These easements were repeatedly renewed and extended — yet again by the band for 50 years in 1992. Hardly a violation of Indigenous treaty rights. The judge in the Bad River Band’s federal trespass case noted that Enbridge is in “complete compliance with the easements that it purchased from the Tribe in all but a small percentage of the territorial lands.” The authors correctly state that the same judge ruled in a summary judgment in September that the Bad River Band is within its sovereign power to evict Enbridge from twelve parcels where our easements have expired. We do not deny that. In fact, Enbridge has been actively working for the past two years on planning and permitting to relocate the pipeline off the reservation. Enbridge has come to agreement with 100 per cent of landowners along the relocation route. The writers also mislead about Line 5’s safety, calling it “dangerous,” “decaying” and “ill-maintained”: Line 5 both through Bad River Band’s property in Wisconsin and at the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan continues to operate safely and reliably. The Line 5 Straits crossing is the most inspected segment of pipe in our entire North American network. Our monitoring and maintenance programs help us stay on top of potential issues to ensure the optimal fitness of our pipelines. Despite what the op-ed writers would like you to believe, the case of Line 5 is not about treaty rights, nor safety, nor the lack of need. We at Enbridge are working respectfully and transparently with Indigenous communities on both sides of the border — and even working together on projects from equity partnerships to solar self-power and carbon capture. We respect the Bad River Band and its decisions, but we also have a duty to consumers, industry, and the economies of two nations to continue to supply a major source of energy safely and affordably.”

Globe Gazette: Sovereign: Carbon capture will ensure resiliency for ethanol
Dave Sovereign is the board president of the American Ethanol Coalition (ACE) and serves as chairman of the board of directors at Golden Grain Energy in Mason City, Iowa, 11/20/22

“Did you know that ethanol is the most successful renewable energy platform in the world?,” Dave Sovereign writes for the Globe Gazette. “Many people do not. However, most Iowans understand it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle that builds a foundation towards rural economic prosperity. A successful ethanol industry benefits rural agricultural communities across the Midwest with strong corn prices and land values, and by adding high paying quality jobs which allows families to fill our schools and support our main street businesses. Few good things exist without challenges. For ethanol, recent years brought small refinery waivers and policy impacting this industry in negative ways. Concerns around carbon emissions have inspired the ethanol industry to develop and adopt new technology to help reduce or eliminate their environmental impact or carbon footprint. Fortunately, companies like Summit Carbon Solutions have been developing new technology assisting ethanol plants lay a foundation to lower their carbon intensity (CI) score and become a net-zero carbon fuel, something no other transportation fuel can claim. Special interest groups will argue ethanol and other biofuels should cease to exist, ignoring all the industry does for our state. We should instead choose to invest in the core industries that stabilize Iowa’s economy. The ethanol industry supports over 44,000 jobs in our state and is responsible for purchasing every other row of corn in Iowa. Summit Carbon Solutions’ initiative will ensure that ethanol can continue as an economic pillar for decades.”

Public Citizen: U.S. May Face $15 Billion Penalty for Rejection of Keystone XL Pipeline
Alex Durham and Sally King, 11/21/22

“The Keystone XL pipeline sparked a movement of activism to put people and the climate over Big Oil. After more than a decade of relentless protests and legal battles, President Joe Biden halted the dangerous pipeline on his first day in office. That was a huge victory. But the fight isn’t over,” Alex Durham and Sally King write for Public Citizen. “The company behind the pipeline, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), is now suing the U.S. government in a shady tribunal that could leave U.S. taxpayers on the hook to pay $15 billion – the equivalent of installing solar panels for 400,000 individual American homes… “TC Energy is now using a little-known provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to sue the U.S. government for $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers for “lost profits.” The Canadian company claims that blocking the construction of the pipeline violates its rights under NAFTA’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, , even though the estimated cost of the project was to be $8 billion, and only $1.1 billion had been invested in the project. The ISDS case has recently progressed to a key step, in which the three arbitrators have been selected. ISDS cases like Keystone allows foreign investors to bypass U.S. courts and challenge American laws in a corporate-rigged arbitration system. ISDS has been abused by corporations like the U.S.’s ExxonMobil subsidiary Mobil Investments Canada, which sued and won $26 million from the Canadian government in 2014. It refused to follow a Canadian law that required the company to invest a small amount of its earnings in R&D for environmental safeguards for offshore extraction and alternative energy, and ISDS provisions in NAFTA allowed it to be rewarded for doing so. Many of these cases similarly target government efforts to address climate change and protect the environment. In fact, of the 35 pending ISDS cases filed under U.S. free trade agreements , nearly all relate to environmental, energy, public health, financial, land use, and transportation policies… “As the Keystone case demonstrates, citizen health and the environment will remain under threat from corporate polluters unless ISDS powers are completely revoked… “At the same time, more needs to be done to weed ISDS out of existing pacts. There are dozens of U.S. treaties with countries across the globe that contain ISDS provisions, which leaves U.S. environmental policy vulnerable to lawsuits. Corporations like TC Energy have shown the lengths they will go to defend their actions, no matter how environmentally damaging, and the U.S. should not continue to give them the tools to do so.”

Center for American Progress: The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Can Accelerate an Equitable Energy Transition
Rachel Chang, Trevor Higgins, Shannon Baker-Branstetter, 11/21/22

“On August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, passing the most significant climate investment in U.S. history. One of the law’s largest investments was the creation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GHGRF)—an impressive $27 billion program to invest in clean energy deployment and emissions reduction projects across the country. Importantly, the GHGRF carves out a minimum $15 billion investment in low-income and disadvantaged communities, who have been disproportionately affected by toxic pollution and other environmental harms and are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” Rachel Chang, Trevor Higgins, Shannon Baker-Branstetter write for the Center for American Progress. “The GHGRF is the result of years of legislative efforts to advance a federal fund to accelerate the clean energy transition across the country, reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been tasked with designing and implementing this first-of-its-kind program. The GHGRF includes two programs with slightly different parameters: a $20 billion “green financing program” and a $7 billion “zero-emissions technology deployment program.” “…Notably, while rooftop solar is mentioned as an eligible project, this funding can also go toward technologies such as heat pumps, batteries, and more… “4. Ensure funding is for truly clean and transformative new projects: Some may argue that fossil-based technologies such as natural gas or biomass still achieve the mandate of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; however, the statute specifies that projects must reduce greenhouse gases and other forms of air pollution, ruling out combustion in many contexts because it inherently increases air pollution. Any project that locks in the combustion of fossil fuels should not be considered to reduce or avoid emissions, no matter what marginal improvement it might represent over the current set of fossil fuel systems. At the GHGRF’s outset, the EPA should establish clear guidelines interpreting this requirement.”

Globe and Mail Content Studio Advertising Feature: Advancing a full suite of tools to help decarbonize the oil sands
Pathways Alliance, 11/21/22

“Tackling climate change will require unprecedented collaboration and technological innovation – and Canada’s oil sands industry has spent the last decade working on a template for both,” the Pathways Alliance claims in a Globe and Mail Content Studio Advertising Feature. “Pathways Alliance, representing Canada’s six largest oil sands companies, is building on a unique model of collaboration among competitors – to share human resources and intellectual property as it pushes forward with the technologies it is developing and deploying to reduce emissions and achieve its net-zero goal… “Since 2012, these companies have conducted about 1,200 environmental research and clean technology development projects together, helping shrink the industry’s environmental footprint on land, air and water. This track record – and billions of dollars already invested in research and development by member companies – helped give Pathways Alliance the confidence it could tackle the enormous goal of achieving net zero by 2050… “A substantial reduction in emissions – of 10 to 12 million tonnes per year of the Pathways companies’ current total oil sands emissions – will come from implementing a foundational carbon capture and storage (CCS) network by 2030. This amounts to about half of the group’s total emissions reduction goal of 22 million tonnes annually by the end of this decade… “However, Pathways Alliance is looking beyond the current technologies that are available and seeking to develop the next generation of clean technologies to drastically reduce oil sands’ emissions. Further advancements in CCS technologies are emerging as a big priority, explains Mr. Jickling. “There are a lot of CCS technology options already available for commercial use, which Pathways companies will be deploying to achieve their 2030 goal. At the same time, we are working hard to develop new CCS technologies that are more efficient and cost effective. We aim to prove out the next generation of CCS technologies that we could use beyond 2030.” “…Between 2012 and 2021, the six Pathways companies invested more than $10-billion in technology research and development. Going forward, with anticipated co-funding support from governments, Pathways Alliance plans to invest more than $24-billion before 2030. Approximately $16.5-billion will support the proposed CCS network and $7.6-billion will go towards other major emissions reduction projects and technologies.”

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