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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 3/10/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

March 10, 2023



  • Reuters: Keystone pipeline oil flows won’t change after US order to cut pressure, CEO says

  • S&P Global: House Republicans grill US pipeline safety official on agency’s climate focus

  • Summit-Tribune: Hancock County supervisors voice concerns on pipeline drainage crossing locates

  • KGAN: Proposed carbon dioxide pipeline could come to Ely

  • KCHA: Summit Reaches 92% of Voluntary Carbon Pipeline Easements in Chickasaw County

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Leading U.S. Natural Gas Firms Sound Rallying Cry For Permit Reform, Lawsuit Limits

  • Independent Commodity Intelligence Services: US Congress may make it easier to issue pipeline permits


  • E&E News: Democrats Plot Amendment Strategy For Big GOP Energy Bill 

  • The Hill: House Republicans announce major energy package as top priority bill

  • InsideEPA: GOP Bills Add To Hill Permitting Debate Featuring Deep Partisan Divides

  • The Hill: Biden once again targets fossil fuel benefits in budget proposal

  • E&E News: Why EPA’s huge social cost of carbon might fail to halt CO2

  • Law360: Federal Legislation Would Expand Calif. Native Monument 

  • Reuters: U.S. senators reintroduce bill to pressure OPEC oil producer group

  • Reuters: US announces $6 bln in grants to decarbonize heavy industry


  • Associated Press: Ex-GOP Ohio speaker, lobbyist guilty in $60M bribery scheme

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Oxy’s 1PointFive Targeting 2026 In-Service for Gulf Coast CCS Hub

  • Cowboy State Daily: Climate Vigilantes Could ‘Weaponize’ EPA Rule Against Fossil Fuels, Wyoming Oil And Gas Producers Say

  • Guardian: Texas youth organizers take aim at the biggest oil field in the world


  • Nature World News: Energy Transfer’s Kelcy Warren Advocates Natural Gas as a Solution for Worldwide “Energy Poverty”

  • CBC: Federal environment minister condemns delayed reporting of oilsands tailings leak

  • TechCrunch: Climate tech startups team up to decarbonize Arizona concrete plant

  • Washington Post: There are 21,000 pieces of plastic in the ocean for each person on Earth

  • Grist: An unexpected source of methane? Your local sewage plant


  • Public Citizen: These Insurance Giants Must Publicly Reject a New Oil Pipeline in East Africa


  • Caledon Enterprise: Enbridge Gas partners with Caledon Fire and Emergency Services on Safe Community Project Zero



Reuters: Keystone pipeline oil flows won’t change after US order to cut pressure, CEO says
Stephanie Kelly and Simon Webb, 3/9/23

“Oil flows on TC Energy’s (TRP.TO) Keystone pipeline will not change after the U.S. pipeline regulator said it would require the company to reduce pressure following a 13,000-barrel oil spill in Kansas in December, Chief Executive François Poirier told Reuters on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “Keystone has already been operating within the requirements of the new order from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Poirier said in an interview. The Canadian pipeline operator completed a controlled restart of the 622,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) pipeline to Cushing, Oklahoma, on Dec. 29 last year, returning it to service after a 21-day outage following the biggest U.S oil spill in nine years. Before the order, “we had the ability to meet the entirety of our contractual commitments of 594,000 bpd and so obviously that remains the same,” Poirier told Reuters on the sidelines of the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston… “Though an analysis has not been completed, Poirier said the company recently has indicated in disclosures that the spill was caused by issues around the girth weld on the pipeline combined with stress on the line. Poirier said the Canadian company has not changed its estimate of $480 million in costs related to the incident. TC Energy has a $34 billion backlog of projects for the next few years, Poirier said, adding most of those projects are natural gas. The company is not concerned that permitting challenges will impede those projects, he added… “TC Energy is involved with a push from Canada’s main oil-producing province Alberta to develop the country’s first carbon storage hubs… “Poirier estimates TC Energy will start burying carbon dioxide in Alberta in the second half of the decade, with aims to put infrastructure into service around 2027 or 2028, Poirier told Reuters.”

S&P Global: House Republicans grill US pipeline safety official on agency’s climate focus
Tom DiChristopher, 3/9/23

“A federal pipeline safety agency’s sharpened focus on preventing methane leaks drew intense scrutiny during the first meeting of the Republican-controlled Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials under the new U.S. Congress,” S&P Global reports. “The subcommittee held the March 8 hearing to review the agency’s implementation of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2020, known as the PIPES Act. Lawmakers also explored a range of future rulemaking needs as they prepare for periodic legislation to reauthorize the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA. Yet GOP concerns that PHMSA is placing too much emphasis on climate action were a throughline in Republicans’ questioning… “Nehls said PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety was falling short of a PIPES Act requirement: Pipeline inspection and enforcement personnel should not fall below 247 people. The office had just 207 personnel as of Jan. 21, Nehls said… “Brown listed several priorities, including leak detection and repair, safety of gas distribution pipelines, updated regulations for liquefied natural gas facilities, and an overhaul of CO2 pipeline safety requirements. Republican lawmakers additionally asked about PHMSA’s progress to consider establishing a center of excellence for LNG safety and interagency work to expedite project permitting. Democrats expressed concern over CO2 and hydrogen pipeline transportation; asked about progress mitigating methane emissions; and inquired whether PHMSA had adequate resources to recruit staff, levy civil penalties and support inter-agency cybersecurity efforts. The nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust submitted 22 recommendations, but Executive Director Bill Caram highlighted several priorities: removing a cost-benefit analysis requirement unique to PHMSA that “handcuffs” rulemaking, expanding the agency’s ability to regulate existing pipelines and replacing some performance-based rules with more prescriptive requirements.”

Summit-Tribune: Hancock County supervisors voice concerns on pipeline drainage crossing locates
Rob Hillesland, 3/8/23

“In a meeting with Turnkey Logistics and Summit Carbon Solutions officials on March 6, Hancock County supervisors expressed having serious concerns regarding expectations the county will provide detailed locate information for drainage crossings associated with the proposed carbon pipeline,” the Summit-Tribune reports. “It’s going to be an absolute nightmare,” said Supervisor Gary Rayhons after the board met with TurnKey Logistics Relationship Manager Doug Berghold as well as Summit Senior Pipeline Manager Grant Terry and Construction Manager Isaac Risseeuw. “We don’t spin a wheel (on this) until we get an agreement.” The cited agreement would be for insuring that funding mechanisms are in place because the county would need to hire contractors to dig up and gather depth, location, and details about drainage crossings along the pipeline route across the county. Summit officials are asking for the detailed information in advance of pipeline construction to minimize issues and accidents, saying in meeting last Nov. 14 and again on Monday that the company cannot enter the areas prior to permit approval… “Last November, TurnKey Logistics Project Manager Bill Sullivan said pipeline construction could begin as early as August 2023, but on Monday Terry acknowledged that would now be pushed back while awaiting the Iowa Utilities Board decision on the hazardous pipeline permit application. “If we do the research and nothing happens, then it is wasted time,” said Rayhons. Supervisor Chair Sis Greiman asked if more counties are changing their setbacks after learning carbon pipelines are more hazardous than some other hazardous liquid pipelines. “Some counties take an extreme approach,” Terry said. “Some counties are fine with the setbacks. It just varies from county to county.”

KGAN: Proposed carbon dioxide pipeline could come to Ely
Nada Shamah, 3/9/23

“One of the major carbon pipeline proposals in Eastern Iowa is set to run through Ely, but a lot of people in town, including the mayor and city council, say they do not want it,” KGAN reports. “Mayor Eldy Miller said the city council wrote a letter to the Iowa Utility Board (IUB) telling them, “In representing the best interest of Ely Community Members, Ely Proper, and the Ely 2-mile growth planning zone located around the City of Ely, the Ely City Council object to and express critical concerns regarding the Wolf Carbon Hazardous Liquid Pipeline project. Ely City Council met Monday March 6 to discuss the community’s stance on the proposed hazardous liquid CO2 pipeline and approved an objection letter to be submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board. Attached to this email is the full letter, resolution, and supporting documents.” “We’ve been doing a lot of extensive research and we’ve been talking to our residents, and we came to the conclusion that this will only have negative impacts on our community. All of that planning was not designed to have that type of a pipeline going through it,” Miller told KGAN… “Ely city council members aren’t the only people standing up to the pipeline; residents signed letters of opposition to the initial proposal. They tell the UIB they do not want the pipeline, and do not think it is for the best interest of the community. One person said the pipeline will run adjacent to their property, and they fear this will eventually cause their property value to drastically decrease.”

KCHA: Summit Reaches 92% of Voluntary Carbon Pipeline Easements in Chickasaw County
Mark Pitz, 3/9/23

“The company proposing to build a carbon capture pipeline in Chickasaw County says they continue to increase the number of voluntary easement agreements with landowners in the county,” KCHA reports. “Summit Carbon Solutions Ben Fuller provided a project update through the end of February to the Board of Supervisors Monday. Even though construction has not been approved by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), Fuller says the economic impact of Summit’s Midwest Carbon Express pipeline is already being felt in Chickasaw County. Fuller added that, with a decision on their IUB permit not expected until this fall, construction of the carbon capture underground pipeline wouldn’t begin until Spring 2024.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Leading U.S. Natural Gas Firms Sound Rallying Cry For Permit Reform, Lawsuit Limits

“Demand endures. Supply is abundant. Technology to produce it efficiently continues to advance. But the United States needs to meaningfully expand its natural gas production and delivery infrastructure to meet domestic needs while supporting increasing global demand for American exports of LNG and fuels of the future such as hydrogen. To make this happen, the pipeline permitting process, in particular, must be reformed,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “Such was the drumbeat from a parade of executives Wednesday at CERAWeek by S&P Global in Houston. Regulatory hurdles and often flimsy legal challenges are holding up needed projects, in some cases for years, said Williams’ Chad Zamarin, executive vice president of corporate strategic development. He noted the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, eight years in the making and still facing an uncertain finish line, as a key example. It is mired in exhaustive regulatory scrutiny and lawsuits that claim it would do more harm to the environment than good for the flow of energy… “Despite the criticism of MVP, he said an estimated 60% of emission reductions in the United States over the past 15 years is because of increased use of natural gas, a cleaner source of energy than coal and other legacy fossil fuels. “So it’s not just a theory,” Zamarin said. “We’ve proven that natural gas is an incredibly powerful decarbonization tool. That’s a fact.” He joined colleagues in calling on Congress to pass permitting reform legislation that would set reasonable but firm time limits on infrastructure project reviews. Advocates for change also want lawmakers to require legal challenges to demonstrate they have evidence of potential problems in order to proceed in the courts. Otherwise, even frivolous suits can get “you caught up in the courts forever,” Zamarin said.

Independent Commodity Intelligence Services: US Congress may make it easier to issue pipeline permits
Al Greenwood, 3/9/23

“US energy trade groups see an opening for reforming how the country issues permits for pipelines and other energy infrastructure because Congress is facing several pieces of legislation that it must pass this session,” according to Independent Commodity Intelligence Services. “…Energy companies are running out of pipeline capacity to take away natural gas produced in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations in the northeastern US. Growing oil production in other parts of the country could also face constraints. Oil wells – particularly those in shale basins like the Permian in west Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota – produce associated gas. If oil producers run out of pipeline capacity to ship out that gas, then that will limit their ability to increase crude production. Slow, cumbersome permitting could sabotage the renewable energy projects that feature so prominently in President Joe Biden’s administration… “Energy trade groups said Congress could make another attempt at permit reform… “Another opportunity for permit reform could come from the nation’s debt ceiling. Republicans in the House will need to vote on increasing it and allowing the federal government to stay open, Sommers told ICIS… “The Farm Bill provides another opening for permit reform, Karen Harbert, president of the American Gas Association (AGA), told ICIS.” 


E&E News: Democrats Plot Amendment Strategy For Big GOP Energy Bill 
Kelsey Brugger, Nico Portuondo, 3/9/23

“Democrats are plotting to take a few whacks at the big Republican energy package that is moving through the House — even as some in the party are considering supporting the GOP effort,” E&E News reports. “At a markup slated Thursday in the Natural Resources Committee, Democrats plan to offer about 18 amendments on the ‘Transparency, Accountability, Permitting and Production of (TAPP) American Resources Act,’ highlighting concerns over public health and environmental reviews. The legislation was written by Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chair Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.). The GOP megabill would ramp up domestic energy production and ‘streamline’ the permitting process for energy projects, including fossil fuels and renewables. House Republican leaders are eyeing a final package that includes elements from Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee, which will hold a separate markup Thursday. Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told E&E Wednesday that Democrats would offer amendments that carry ‘stronger impact.’”

The Hill: House Republicans announce major energy package as top priority bill

“House Republicans on Thursday announced that a major energy package that has been in the works for weeks will be known as H.R.1, signifying that it’s the party’s top priority for the congressional session,” The Hill reports. “The bill, called the Lower Energy Costs Act, is expected to include a large slate of energy policy proposals. It includes proposals aimed at speeding up the country’s approval process for energy and mining as well as limiting states’ ability to block projects like pipelines that run through their waters, according to press releases from the House Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The bill is also expected to to include suggestions from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which on Thursday took up legislation that would prohibit a ban on fracking, limit the president’s authority to block cross-border project permits — such as President Biden’s blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline — remove restrictions on natural gas imports and exports, as well as repeal portions of the Inflation Reduction Act that provided funding to address climate change and pollution. Majority Leader Steve Scalise issued a statement Thursday saying he’ll formally introduce the bill next week… “While the legislation overall is not expected to cross the finish line, there are bipartisan talks on speeding up energy project approvals, a subject that’s also known as permitting reform.” 

InsideEPA: GOP Bills Add To Hill Permitting Debate Featuring Deep Partisan Divides

“Republican lawmakers are ramping up activity on several bills to ease permitting requirements for energy and other projects, with environmentalists and Democrats heavily criticizing the legislation even as lawmakers from both parties say they are amenable to the concept of permitting ‘reform,’” InsideEPA reports. “Some experts tell InsideEPA the GOP bills are a launching off point that could eventually lead to more bipartisan proposals. Others say the fraught politics could require a less-traditional route dependent on an up-or-down vote rather than the usual Capitol Hill legislative process: ‘A lot of spaghetti is being thrown at the wall right now, and I don’t think anybody has a great guess on what is going to stick’ for permitting legislation, one source close to the clean energy sector told InsideEPA. This source adds that the House process so far is merely a precursor to ‘more bipartisan’ Senate efforts that will be necessary to enact permit streamlining legislation.”

The Hill: Biden once again targets fossil fuel benefits in budget proposal

“President Biden is once again taking aim at government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry in his new budget proposal after a contentious year between the administration and the industry,” The Hill reports. “Biden’s proposal — which is highly unlikely to be taken up by Congress — would raise $31 billion by “eliminating special tax treatment for oil and gas company investments, as well as other fossil fuel tax preferences,” said a White House fact sheet. Another fact sheet described the proposal as “cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests.” Biden has previously proposed getting rid of incentives for this industry, but this year’s proposal comes after he had repeatedly slammed oil company profits in the wake of high gasoline prices. The industry has pushed back, citing disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and accusing Biden of attempting to “vilify” energy companies.” 

E&E News: Why EPA’s huge social cost of carbon might fail to halt CO2
Jean Chemnick, 3/9/23

“EPA is about to finalize a sky-high value for carbon that could be used whenever the federal government leases land to oil drillers or buys new mail trucks. But its effect on actual policymaking may be limited,” E&E News reports. “The agency’s stratospheric social cost of carbon — at $190 a ton — could fail to strengthen regulations, cut fossil fuel production on federal lands or make buying decisions friendlier to the climate, according to experts — at least without further legal and regulatory changes. “Some people say the social cost of carbon is the most important number you’ve never heard of. There’s another story saying it’s the least important number that you always hear about,” Max Sarinsky, a senior attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University, told E&E. “I think maybe both of those are true.” “…But the idea that the metrics could provide an internal carbon tax that drives all aspects of federal decisionmaking faces a host of legal and procedural barriers that have thus far limited it to a footnote in regulatory documents. And while higher figures will change the math, whether they’ll change policy remains an open question.”

Law360: Federal Legislation Would Expand Calif. Native Monument 
Crystal Owens, 3/8/23

“Federal lawmakers have introduced legislation that would expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, placing almost 4,000 acres in California in federal trust,” Law360 reports. “The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Act, sponsored by Democratic U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein of California, would expand the monument’s protections to include approximately 3,925 acres in Lake County known as the Walker Ridge tract, administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. A goal of the bill is to improve tribal engagement and co-management of the monument, including historic preservation, archeological sites and forest health, according to a statement from Padilla. The expansion bill would rename the Walker Ridge tract, which spans Lake County and a portion of Colusa County, to Condor Ridge. The name is translated from ‘Molok Luyuk’ in the Patwin language of the Yocha Dehe and other federally recognized indigenous tribes to the area.”

Reuters: U.S. senators reintroduce bill to pressure OPEC oil producer group

“A group of bipartisan U.S. senators on Wednesday said they have reintroduced legislation to pressure the OPEC oil production group to stop making output cuts,” Reuters reports. “The so-called No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC, bill was reintroduced by Senators Chuck Grassley, a Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, as well as others on the Judiciary Committee. If passed by the committee, both chambers of Congress and signed by President Joe Biden, NOPEC would change U.S. antitrust law to revoke the sovereign immunity that has protected OPEC+ members and their national oil companies from lawsuits over price collusion.”

Reuters: US announces $6 bln in grants to decarbonize heavy industry
Timothy Gardner, 3/8/23

“The Biden administration said on Wednesday it is directing $6 billion in funding to speed decarbonization projects in energy-hungry industries like steel, aluminum and cement making that contribute nearly 25% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,” Reuters reports. “The Industrial Demonstrations Program will provide competitive grants to technology developers, industry, universities and others for up to 50% of the cost of projects that aim to cut emissions from industry that also includes production of chemicals, ceramics and paper, the Department of Energy (DOE) said. “It’s not super-defined,” Granholm said at the CERAWeek conference in Houston about the program which aims to fund projects at existing and new facilities alike… “Concept papers expressing interest in the grants are due April 21, with full applications due on Aug. 4, DOE said.”


Associated Press: Ex-GOP Ohio speaker, lobbyist guilty in $60M bribery scheme

“Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former state Republican Party Chair Matt Borges were convicted Thursday in a $60 million bribery scheme that federal prosecutors have called the largest corruption case in state history,” the Associated Press reports. “A jury in Cincinnati found the two guilty of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise involving bribery and money laundering. Each faces up to 20 years in prison… “Prosecutors alleged that Householder, 63, orchestrated a scheme secretly funded by FirstEnergy Corp. to secure his power in the Legislature, elect his allies — and then to pass and defend legislation that delivered a $1 billion nuclear power plant bailout to the Akron-based electric utility. They alleged that Borges, then a lobbyist, sought to bribe Tyler Fehrman, an operative, for inside information on the referendum to overturn the bailout law… “Under a deal to avoid prosecution, FirstEnergy admitted using a network of dark money groups to fund the bribery scheme and even bribing the state’s top utility regulator, Sam Randazzo. Randazzo resigned as chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio after an FBI search of his home, but he has not been charged and denies wrongdoing. The government has asked the PUCO to delay its own internal investigation into FirstEnergy while their probe continues.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Oxy’s 1PointFive Targeting 2026 In-Service for Gulf Coast CCS Hub

“Occidental Petroleum Corp. subsidiary 1PointFive has leased more than 55,000 acres along the Texas coast to develop a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) hub, management said Thursday,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The Bluebonnet Hub would be sited in Chambers, Liberty and Jefferson counties southeast of Houston. The hub as designed would boast capacity to hold about 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 1PointFive said. Bluebonnet, which is expected to be operational by 2026, would capture CO2 from nearby refining, petrochemical and manufacturing facilities. The CO2 would then be stored underground in saline formations that are not associated with oil and gas production… “In addition, 1PointFive and a subsidiary of Enterprise Products Partners LP are advancing a CO2 transportation solution to gather CO2 from regional emitters and deliver it to the hub… “The company is advancing multiple CCS efforts through its Oxy Low Carbon Ventures business. Projects include a direct air capture facility in the Permian Basin that is slated to enter commercial operation by mid-2025. It also has a slew of potential CCS hubs proposed for the Gulf Coast and Midcontinent. Oxy also is working with Energy Transfer LP on a CO2 pipeline network connecting point source emitters in the Lake Charles, LA, area with Oxy’s Magnolia sequestration site in Allen Parish, CEO Vicki Hollub said during Oxy’s latest earnings call.”

Cowboy State Daily: Climate Vigilantes Could ‘Weaponize’ EPA Rule Against Fossil Fuels, Wyoming Oil And Gas Producers Say
Kevin Killough, 3/8/23

“A proposed EPA rule would allow the agency to effectively deputize residents and communities to police methane emissions at oil and gas production facilities,” Cowboy State Daily reports. “Concerned citizens have always been able to report methane emissions they detect, but state regulators and companies had the option to weigh the value of the reports and determine what, if anything, needed to be done.  Under the Super Emitter Response Program (SERP), operators who are notified by one of these third-party monitors about detected abnormal methane levels at a site would be required to perform an inspection within five days and make repairs, if needed, within 10 days. Ryan McConnaughey, spokesperson for the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, told Cowboy State Daily there are a number of concerns about the rule… “Another concern, McConnaughey said, is that these third-party monitors reporting methane leaks without any standards for data collection that require companies to respond is a system ripe for abuse by those who just want to disrupt operations. “Allowing citizens to force the oil and gas industry’s hands on this without any sort of validation or certification is problematic and could cause significant interruptions to operations,” McConnaughey told the Daily. Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told Cowboy State Daily the alliance has many of the same concerns. “This has the possibility of being weaponized. A group could harass a company. I don’t see in the rules where there are standards for the quality of the data,” Sgamma told the Daily… “More than a dozen environmental groups, most of which aim to eliminate or greatly reduce fossil fuel use, submitted comments to the EPA in support of the SERP. The groups include the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund and Earthjustice… “The comments support the EPA’s view that the SERP would act as a backstop to ensure compliance with emission standards and that the standards of short-term collection thresholds would ensure that the program wouldn’t capture permissible emission events.”

Guardian: Texas youth organizers take aim at the biggest oil field in the world
Aliya Uteuova, 3/10/23

“A first-of-its-kind municipal climate charter in Texas could throw a wrench in US fossil fuel extraction. Residents of a major Texas city just west of the Permian Basin, the largest oil field in the US, will have the chance to vote on the package this spring,” the Guardian reports. “If the proposal passes, the city of El Paso would adopt a comprehensive climate policy that would include prohibiting the use of city water for extraction projects outside city limits, such as in the Permian Basin, which makes up roughly 40% of all US oil production. “El Paso is on the verge of potentially passing one of the most progressive pieces of climate legislation in the country,” Deirdre Shelly, campaigns director for the national Sunrise Movement, told the Guardian. Proponents say the climate charter would prepare El Paso to withstand extreme weather events and accelerate the city’s transition to renewables, requiring 80% of its energy to come from carbon free sources by 2030. It also encourages rooftop solar development, proposes establishing a climate department and could move the ownership of El Paso Electric into the city’s hands. The utility company was purchased in 2020 by a JP Morgan-tied fund… “The climate charter has the potential to disrupt drilling in the Permian Basin. The proposed policy would ban the use of city water for fossil fuel activities outside of El Paso limits.”


Nature World News: Energy Transfer’s Kelcy Warren Advocates Natural Gas as a Solution for Worldwide “Energy Poverty”
David Thompson, 3/9/23

“…Currently, nearly three billion people around the globe live in so-called energy poverty, meaning they lack access to reliable electricity,” according to Nature World News. “This lack of reliable energy directly leads to death and disease. According to the World Health Organization, approximately four million people die annually due to household pollution from heating and cooking with dangerous fuels like crop waste, wood and dung. Kelcy L. Warren, Executive Chairman of Energy Transfer, sees natural gas as a way to curb not only our worldwide dependence on electricity, but also help to curb energy poverty. Said Warren, “We can count ourselves lucky to have huge reserves of oil and gas throughout the U.S., which is abundant enough to support our needs here at home as well as supply international markets for many years to come.” He continues by adding, “We are proud that we can help these developing nations through our natural-gas export operations. We believe that increasing global natural gas availability can have the greatest positive impact on reducing carbon emissions.”

CBC: Federal environment minister condemns delayed reporting of oilsands tailings leak
Wallis Snowdon, Bob Weber, 3/9/23

“Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says Alberta’s silence about an oilsands tailing leak is a troubling failure that suggests the province needs more regulatory oversight,” CBC reports. “The release of at least 5.3 million litres of toxic tailings from Imperial Oil’s Kearl mine should have been reported to Ottawa by the Alberta Energy Regulator within 24 hours, Guilbeault told reporters in Ottawa Thursday. “It is very worrisome that, for over half a year, the Alberta regulator did not communicate with Environment and Climate Change Canada, nor did they communicate with the Indigenous nations,” he told CBC. “When I say we need to to find better mechanisms, that’s that’s what I’m talking about.”  Guilbeault said he has spoken with members of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation to discuss their concerns over environmental contamination.  Imperial has maintained that the releases were contained and posed no threat to water or wildlife. Environment Canada continues to investigate the ongoing leak. “Our systems are failing Indigenous peoples, clearly. And we need to find solutions,” Guilbeault told CBC… “Neither local First Nations, the federal government, nor other jurisdictions that share the watershed such as the Northwest Territories were informed of the seepage or kept updated. It wasn’t until Feb. 7 that the Alberta Energy Regulator publicly released an environmental protection order — after another 5.3 million litres of tailings at Kearl escaped from a catchment pond… “The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has stopped drawing water from the Athabasca River, forcing Fort Chipewyan to rely on limited supplies from its reservoir. In a release, Adam told CBC there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the tailings have entered local groundwater and waterways.”

TechCrunch: Climate tech startups team up to decarbonize Arizona concrete plant
Harri Weber, 3/7/23

“Local governments in the southwestern U.S. are putting up $150,000 to back what they say is a pioneering effort to “turn air into concrete at scale,” TechCrunch reports. “…The firms expect construction to kick off later this year, when the two startups install their tech within Block-Lite’s existing facility. It’ll work like this: Aircapture will suck carbon out of the air, and CarbonBuilt will retrofit Block-Lite’s curing chamber so the firm can use the CO2 to cure a lower-carbon recipe for concrete. CarbonBuilt’s recipe uses less cement and integrates industrial waste that “would otherwise be diverted to landfills,” such as fly ash, the startup said. “In essence, we’re working with Aircapture to take CO2 gas from our atmosphere and then we turn it into a rock for permanent storage,” CarbonBuilt said in a statement. The $150,000 award comes from the 4 Corners Carbon Coalition, which took its name from the Southwest region of the U.S. The group counts four municipalities as members — Salt Lake City, Utah; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Boulder, Colorado; and Flagstaff, Arizona.”

Washington Post: There are 21,000 pieces of plastic in the ocean for each person on Earth
Michael Birnbaum, 3/8/23

“Humans have filled the world’s oceans with more than 170 trillion pieces of plastic, dramatically more than previously estimated, according to a major study released Wednesday,” the Washington Post reports. “The trillions of plastic particles — a “plastic smog,” in the words of the researchers — weigh roughly 2.4 million metric tons and are doubling about every six years, according to the study conducted by a team of international researchers led by Marcus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute, based in Santa Monica, Calif. That is more than 21,000 pieces of plastic for each of the Earth’s 8 billion residents. Most pieces are very small… “The findings pointed toward both the vast amount of plastic that is flowing into the world’s oceans and the degree to which it is journeying long distances once in the water. The study may deliver a jolt of energy to U.N. talks to reduce global plastics pollution that started last year… “Only 10 percent of the plastic ever made has been recycled. The material that doesn’t make it into landfills can get swept into rivers or directly into oceans. It slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, known as microplastics, which are less than 5 millimeters in length and can be eaten by marine life. Plastic has been found near the summit of Mount Everest and inside the deepest point on Earth, the Mariana Trench — as well as in the human bloodstream… “The researchers found a fluctuating amount of plastic in the samples until 2004, when the numbers started to skyrocket. The increase in plastic particles in the oceans corresponds to a previously observed increase of plastic on global beaches over the same time period, they noted. “These parallel trends strongly suggest that plastic pollution in the world’s oceans during the past 15 years has reached unprecedented levels,” the study said.

Grist: An unexpected source of methane? Your local sewage plant
Siri Chilukuri, 3/9/23

“Wastewater treatment plants are typically overlooked when it comes to reducing greenhouse gasses, but new research from Princeton University reveals the plants emit twice as much methane as previously thought,” Grist reports. “Methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas and the treatment plants should be part of any plan to reduce emissions, according to the study released last week. “Wastewater treatment plants are a major source of greenhouse gasses in cities and we need to start treating them like that,” Mark Zondlo, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton and one of the authors of the research, told Grist… “The scientists examined 63 facilities in California and the East Coast. Their research showed that methane from these facilities exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimates by the equivalent of 5.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide… “We have more than a million miles of sewers in the U.S., filled with rich organic matter that may be causing methane emissions, but we have very little understanding of their scope,” Z. Jason Ren, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, another co-author, told Grist… “The biggest culprit for methane emissions in wastewater treatment is a domed container used near the end of the process called an anaerobic digester. The digester contains small microbes, like bacteria, that can function without oxygen and help break down the harmful microbes in our waste. While this process produces methane naturally, in the past scientists underestimated the leaks in these supposedly airtight containers, an oversight that resulted in inaccurate emission counts.”


Public Citizen: These Insurance Giants Must Publicly Reject a New Oil Pipeline in East Africa
Hannah Saggau, 3/8/23

“EACOP is a disaster. EACOP is a carbon bomb. EACOP is a climate hell — and EACOP is destroying our lives in Uganda and Tanzania.” These were the powerful words from Ugandan climate and human rights activist Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya as he spoke to protestors gathered outside AIG insurance’s headquarters on a chilly February day in New York City,” according to Public Citizen. “Around 40 activists rallied to demand that AIG and Chubb — two of the largest oil and gas insurers in the world — pledge not to insure the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). As part of a Global Week of Action, activists in 19 cities across North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia pressured banks and insurers not to support EACOP. Because without insurance coverage and financial support, developers cannot build EACOP… “To date, 22 insurance companies have vowed not to provide coverage for EACOP — but AIG and Chubb are among those that have remained silent. These companies are among the world’s largest insurers of oil and gas expansion projects. But there’s evidence that — together — we can move them.”


Caledon Enterprise: Enbridge Gas partners with Caledon Fire and Emergency Services on Safe Community Project Zero
Rohan Puri, 3/10/23

“Enbridge Gas Inc., the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council (FMPFSC) and Caledon Fire and Emergency Services have joined hands to improve home safety and bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero, a Town of Caledon media release said Wednesday, March 1,” according to the Caledon Enterprise. “Caledon Fire and Emergency Services have received 324 combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms through Safe Community Project Zero, a public education campaign that will provide more than 8,000 alarms to residents in 50 municipalities across Ontario, the release said… “Enbridge Gas has invested $250,000 in Safe Community Project Zero this year. Moreover, the program has provided more than 76,000 alarms to Ontario fire departments over the past 14 years, a release reads.”


The Hill: A plan for the Gulf States to power a low-emissions revolution
Philippe Benoit has over 25 years of experience working in international energy and sustainability, including prior management positions at the World Bank and the International Energy Agency, 3/8/23

“This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 28, will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates, which, together with its Gulf neighbors, enjoys abundant solar, natural gas and financial resources,” Philippe Benoit writes for The Hill.  “Unfortunately, the UAE and other Gulf states can’t easily export their solar resources to developing countries. However, they can export their natural gas to support affordable low-emissions power production in poorer countries if combined with donor-financed carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)-equipped gas-fired power plants. The lead-up to COP 28 provides an opportunity to explore this mechanism to support low-emissions economic growth in poorer countries — a “gas for poverty and climate” power proposal… “The second element is the use of this natural gas in gas-fired power plants equipped with “carbon capture, utilization and storage” technologies to produce “low-emissions” electricity… “CCUS is one tool to substantially further reduce these emissions by 90 percent or more. The potential result is CO2 emissions per kWh that are so low they might even be termed “near-zero emissions.” Although CCUS technologies have been developed and tested for many years on power plants, they have yet to be deployed at a large scale. One reason is that they are expensive per ton of reduced CO2 emissions. Consequently, their cost would undermine a developing country’s electricity affordability objective. To overcome this hurdle, the CCUS-equipped gas-fired plant would need to be financed in large part through highly concessional climate funding, to be provided notably by the international donor community… “There are, of course, additional complexities to explore. For example, the plant would need to be able to access reasonably priced options for CO2 use or storage.”

Frontier Centre for Public Policy: Zinchuk: Oilpatch Only Spending Half What It Spent in 2014
Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online, and an occasional contributor to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, 3/8/23

“Back in the lofty, pre-Justin Trudeau government days of 2014, back when oil was booming, pipelines were planned to east and west coasts, and Alberta and Saskatchewan were swimming in money, around $81 billion was spent in capital expenditures (CAPEX) in the Canadian petroleum industry. In Alberta, alone, the number topped $60 billion,” Brian Zinchuk writes for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. “On March 1, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) forecast CAPEX of $40 billion, which is just about double the disaster year of 2020, but half of 2014… “What would it be if we had a federal government supportive of the industry, instead of trying to make it disappear? Curiously, Enbridge announced on the same day its spending a lot of money in Texas, including a port facility for Houston. Funny how it’s not talking about Northern Gateway Pipeline to Kitimat, or a different pipeline to Churchill, or even Valdez, Alaska? I wonder why? Maybe that’s because Enbridge took a billion dollar write down when Trudeau got elected and declared, “The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.” “…Now, let’s imagine how much easier life would have been if a few things had been done differently since October, 2015, not just for Alberta, but Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada. Imagine if Northern Gateway had been built and completed by 2015, instead of being obstructed by the courts, British Columbia’s provincial government and First Nations. It would have given us access to the West Coast for heavy oil/bitumen exports. How much more money would Saskatchewan have made from its heavy oil, instead of years of sometimes enormous differentials between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select benchmarks?.. “And imagine if the federal government (as well as the B.C. government) had not chased away Kinder Morgan from building the Trans Mountain Expansion… “Teck’s Frontier oil sands project’s construction would be well underway by now, if not complete. Another $20 billion in CAPEX over several years – money that never happened… “And if Energy East had been built and in service by December, 2018, as originally planned, how much more CAPEX would that have inspired, from Fort Mac to Saint John?.. “If all of these had come to pass, plus the additional oil sands and conventional oil and gas production to fill them – would the provinces have gone to Ottawa, cap in hand, begging for more health care dollars? Or would Canada be flush with cash right now, from coast-to-coast?.. “If only we had a government for going on eight years which didn’t want to just transition the oil and gas sector out of existence, we would be rolling in it.

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