Skip to Content


EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 3/13/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

March 13, 2023



  • Omaha World-Herald: Douglas County Board raises concerns about local landfill taking Kansas oil spill waste

  • Reuters: Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion costs surge 44% to C$30.9 billion

  • Press release: Trans Mountain Corporation provides update on the Expansion Project

  • KIWA: Former Governor Branstad Continues Push For Carbon Pipelines

  • Press release: Inslee urges federal regulators to reject GTN pipeline expansion

  • Press release: Larsen: Pipeline Safety is Critical to Protecting Communities in Northwest Washington and Across the United States

  • The Saxon: Activists Say No to Enbridge Pipeline Certificate Extension


  • New York Times: Administration to Approve Huge Alaska Oil Project on Monday, Two Officials Say

  • E&E News: Biden closes Arctic to oil — after Willow

  • Washington Post: Republicans Push Permitting, Energy Overhaul Bill Through Committee 

  • The Hill: Manchin says he won’t advance Biden lands nominee

  • Axios: Hundreds of railcars ordered removed from service due to derailment risk


  • Pro Publica: The Company Testing Air in East Palestine Homes Was Hired by Norfolk Southern. Experts Say That Testing Isn’t Enough.

  • Allegheny Front: Pa. Supreme Court: Groups that appeal environmental permits can recoup legal fees from companies

  • Anchorage Daily News: Judge says ConocoPhillips Alaska can keep Willow oil well data secret for now


  • Reuters: Energy firms bet big on carbon capture projects in U.S., Canada

  • DeSmog: Following Ohio Derailment, Concerns Arise Over Expansion of Rail and Pipeline Transport of Hazardous Material

  • CNN: Scientists find a way to suck up carbon pollution, turn it into baking soda and store it in the oceans

  • Wall Street Journal: Clean and Cheap Oil Is a Heavy Lift

  • Canadian Press: Kearl oilsands leak exposes gaps in how Alberta and Canada oversee industry: experts


  • Enbridge: Upgrading health care in the heart of North Dakota


  • Appalachian Voices: Mountain Valley Pipeline: Risky, ruinous and roadblocked

  • The Hill: Biden’s carrot patch: The whole (energy) world loves the Inflation Reduction Act

  • The Tyee: Ottawa Has Questions About that Oilsands Toxic Waste Spill


Omaha World-Herald: Douglas County Board raises concerns about local landfill taking Kansas oil spill waste
Christopher Burbach, 3/9/23

“Douglas County Board members are raising concerns about large amounts of waste from a recent Kansas oil pipeline spill being dumped in the county’s Pheasant Point Landfill in rural Bennington,” the Omaha World-Herald reports. “They want to know exactly what is in the contaminated soil and other waste that’s being sent to Nebraska from the cleanup of December’s Keystone Pipeline leak of tar sands oil in northeastern Kansas, near the Nebraska border. They want to know the risks of the contaminants. They want to know how chemicals in the soil will be prevented from leaking into the water, soil and air. And they want to know exactly why the material is being sent to Nebraska. “The concern that I have is that we’re receiving waste from an oil spill in Kansas,” County Board member Jim Cavanaugh said Wednesday. “Which raises the question, why isn’t Kansas taking care of their own oil spill waste?” He and fellow board members Maureen Boyle and Mike Friend raised the questions at the Douglas County Board meeting Tuesday during a presentation by the county’s environmental services director, Kent Holm, on other topics. Holm and Ryle Palmer, site manager for the landfill’s operator, Waste Management, assured them the waste had been deemed safe to put in the Douglas County landfill and would be contained. But the board members, who said they are hearing concerns from constituents about the waste, were unsatisfied with the answers and insisted on more detailed documents and answers. “We’re going to have them (Waste Management) come back when they have the right people here to answer the questions,” Boyle said. “They didn’t have an engineer here. They didn’t have their PR people here. … We want them to be sure to come back and talk to us again so we can get more assurances, so they can answer those questions we were asking.” “…A document on the NDEE’s website, an application from TransCanada Keystone Pipeline to dispose of the waste in a landfill near Topeka, Kansas, says that it contains “crude oil impacted soil, vegetation, wood, plastic, absorbents, PPE, hoses, boom, and animal carcass.” The document says 75,000 cubic yards of waste would be deposited over six months. The document says the material includes a “heavy crude oil” mixed with materials to dilute it. Under a category titled “hazardous ingredients of material,” the document lists bitumen, hydrocarbon diluent, benzene and hydrogen sulphide. Cavanaugh said he was particularly concerned about the possibility that the waste included benzene, which has been determined to cause cancer in people… “Asked if the NDEE had approved the disposal in Douglas County, a department spokeswoman said by email, “The petroleum contaminated soil generated from the TC Energy pipeline release cleanup in Kansas was reviewed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the EPA, and it was deemed a nonhazardous solid waste, which can be disposed of at any permitted solid waste landfill. The Pheasant Point facility is permitted to accept nonhazardous solid waste for disposal, and does not need to seek additional approval from NDEE for waste it’s already permitted to accept.” Asked specifically about the benzene, the spokeswoman said it is “present at a non-hazardous level” according to Nebraska state waste regulations.”

Reuters: Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion costs surge 44% to C$30.9 billion
Nia Williams, 3/10/23

“The cost of the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion has jumped 44% from last year’s estimate to C$30.9 billion ($22.35 billion), the federal corporation building the project said on Friday,” Reuters reports. “Trans Mountain Corp (TMC) said it is in the process of securing external financing to fund the remaining cost of the project, which is now expected to start shipping oil in the first quarter of 2024… “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bought the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N) in 2018 to ensure the expansion got built, drawing sharp criticism from environmental groups. Last February TMC increased the cost estimate to C$21.4 billion, up from C$12.6 billion in 2020 and C$7.4 billion in 2017. Following last year’s jump, the Canadian government said it would halt any further public funding for the project. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated government plans to sell the pipeline once it is complete. “As we committed to Canadians last year, no additional public money will be invested in this project as construction is completed,” Freeland told Reuters. “The federal government does not intend to be the long-term owner of the project, and we will launch a divestment process in due course.” “…TMC blamed the cost increase on a number of factors including high global inflation and supply chain issues, floods in British Columbia, unexpected major archaeological discoveries and challenging terrain. The corporation also said the current cost estimate does not include reserves for “extraordinary risks” and could change again.”

Press release: Trans Mountain Corporation provides update on the Expansion Project

“Trans Mountain Corporation today announced an update for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the Project). Construction of the Project is close to 80 percent complete, with mechanical completion expected to occur at the end of 2023, and the pipeline will be in-service in the first quarter of 2024. Once completed, the pipeline system will have nearly tripled its capacity, representing an increase of 590,000 barrels per day to a total of 890,000 barrels per day… “The total Project cost is now estimated to be approximately $30.9 billion. Trans Mountain is in the process of securing external financing to fund the remaining cost of the Project. The Project capacity is primarily committed to 11 shippers representing a mix of Canadian and international producers and refiners who are contracted for 80 per cent of the available capacity under long-term, take-or-pay transportation contracts for 15 and 20 years. The remaining 20 per cent of the capacity on the expanded system will be available through market mechanisms… “Specific factors for cost increases include high global inflation and global supply chain challenges; unprecedented floods in British Columbia; unexpected major archaeological discoveries; challenging terrain between Merritt and Hope; earthquake standards in the Burnaby Mountain tunnel; unexpected water disposal costs in the Sumas Prairie; and issues regarding densely populated areas between Sumas and Burnaby… “Trans Mountain plans to deliver oil to its Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby during the first quarter of 2024. The Alberta portion of the Project is complete. All pump stations across both provinces are complete. Berth 1 at the Westridge Marine Terminal is scheduled to be commissioned in May 2023.”

KIWA: Former Governor Branstad Continues Push For Carbon Pipelines

“Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says the proposed pipeline projects that would capture the carbon dioxide emissions from Iowa and other Midwest ethanol plants will help Iowa agriculture and biotechnology level up,” KIWA reports. “Branstad is the senior policy adviser for Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions, which is proposing one of the pipelines. He called Summit’s project “critically important.” Branstad made his remarks during the Iowa Biotech Showcase and Conference in Ankeny on Wednesday. The ethanol industry supports the proposed carbon pipelines because they say carbon capture will make them eligible for tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. A coalition of environmentalists, farmers, and landowners oppose the projects because of concerns about their safety and their property rights.”

Press release: Inslee urges federal regulators to reject GTN pipeline expansion

“Today Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urging members to reject a proposed expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Xpress pipeline, saying it does not serve a public need, would harm consumers, and sharply conflicts with the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to clean energy. The letter reads, in part: “Washington has a cap-and-invest program to reduce emissions consistent with our state’s statutory greenhouse gas limits, and a commitment to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2045. We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to jumpstart clean energy projects, clean up air pollution in overburdened communities and help residents access affordable clean transportation and energy. Expanding fracked gas through the GTN pipeline runs contrary to our climate goals, and risks further costly environmental harm to our state.”

Press release: Larsen: Pipeline Safety is Critical to Protecting Communities in Northwest Washington and Across the United States

“This week, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) emphasized the importance of improving pipeline safety at a bipartisan hearing on the implementation of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020. “On June 10, 1999, a pipeline explosion in Bellingham, Washington, claimed the lives of two 10-year-old boys and a young man of 18 years. This explosion spurred my commitment, which has been steadfast for over 20 years, to the highest level of pipeline safety,” said Larsen, the lead Democrat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, during the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials hearing. “For my entire tenure in Congress, I have fought to reduce the risk of pipeline incidents, promote transparency of pipeline safety information for local communities and increase accountability for pipeline operators.” During the hearing, Larsen submitted into the record a letter from Bellingham City Councilmember Edward H. “Skip” Williams that shares Williams’s perspective on the need for pipeline safety and how implementation of the PIPES Act of 2020 will protect communities like Bellingham. Williams helped found the Pipeline Safety Trust after his stepson, Stephen Tsiorvas, died in Bellingham’s Olympic Pipe Line explosion in 1999… “The PIPES Act of 2020 provides funding for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through 2023 to fulfill its mission of protecting people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials. The PIPES Act of 2020 was included in the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus spending package, which was signed into law in December 2020. The House will consider reauthorization of the PIPES Act of 2020 in the 118th Congress.”

The Saxon: Activists Say No to Enbridge Pipeline Certificate Extension

“A dozen environmental activists protested outside the constituency office of Environment Minister George Heyman on Sunday demanding that the government not approve the Westcoast Connector Gas Pipeline Project’s environmental assessment certificate extension application,” The Saxon reports. “The project has been stalled for almost a decade. Dressed as zombies and stained with fake blood, a dozen activists demanded that he not be dug up. In front of the constituency office of the Minister of the Environment , George Heyman, they performed a choreography borrowed from Michael Jackson to the notes of the song Thriller. The pipeline hasn’t moved in 10 years, Kai Nagata, the communications director of Dogwood, the environmental group behind the protest, told the Saxon. It’s a zombie project, meaning it’s something that’s been shelved for years… “A certificate of The environmental assessment was originally issued in 2014 and construction of the project was scheduled to begin in 2019. A five-year extension was also granted for the project, but the necessary certificate for the continuation of the project will expire in November 2024 if construction has not started. The company is requesting a second extension due to delays caused by the pandemic and delays in obtaining permits from the provincial government, an environment ministry spokesperson told the Saxon.”


New York Times: Administration to Approve Huge Alaska Oil Project on Monday, Two Officials Say
Lisa Friedman, 3/12/23

“The Biden administration on Monday will formally approve a huge oil drilling project in Alaska known as Willow, according to two people familiar with the decision, despite widespread opposition because of its likely environmental and climate impacts,” the New York Times reports. “The president will also impose sweeping restrictions on offshore oil leasing in the Arctic Ocean and across Alaska’s North Slope in an apparent effort to temper criticism over the Willow decision and, as one administration official put it, to form a “firewall” to limit future oil leases in the region. The Interior Department also is expected to issue new rules to protect more than 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska from oil and gas leasing. The restrictions, however, are unlikely to offset concerns that the $8 billion Willow project, led by oil giant ConocoPhillips, will have the potential to produce more than 600 million barrels of crude over 30 years… “The president has been lobbied fiercely by the oil industry and Alaska lawmakers to approve the Willow drilling project, which will take place inside the petroleum reserve. Other supporters, including labor unions, building trades and some residents of the North Slope, have argued that the project would create about 2,500 jobs and generate as much as $17 billion in revenue for the federal government. At the same time, environmental activists and some Native American communities have fought the project through online campaigns, protests and meetings with federal officials, charging that approval of the project would be a betrayal of Mr. Biden’s pledge to move the nation away from fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency has said that governments must stop approving new oil, gas and coal projects if the planet is to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change… “Climate activists told the Times that they were pleased the president plans to protect the Arctic but remained outraged that Mr. Biden, who has made fighting climate change a top priority, would approve a project they term a “carbon bomb.” “It’s insulting that Biden thinks this will change our minds about the Willow project,” Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, told the Times. “Protecting one area of the Arctic so you can destroy another doesn’t make sense, and it won’t help the people and wildlife who will be upended by the Willow project.”

E&E News: Biden closes Arctic to oil — after Willow
Heather Richards, 3/13/23

“As the Biden administration signaled it could soon approve a massive oil project on public lands in Alaska, President Joe Biden on Sunday declared the entire Arctic Ocean off-limits to oil and gas leasing,” E&E News reports. “As part of a “fire wall” against future drilling in the far north, the White House announced it is also preparing to overhaul management of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), expanding protections in a large portion of the 24-million-acre swath of public lands in the Arctic. Biden’s sudden conservation announcements arrive as the Interior Department is poised to greenlight ConocoPhillips’ contentious Willow project in the NPR-A, bucking a concerted effort over recent weeks from environmental groups, climate activists and some Alaska Native leaders to block the project. Since Friday, several news organizations have reported that the White House is expected to approve the project in Alaska’s North Slope. In approving the $8 billion development in some form, the White House would be siding with oil advocates in the fierce political divide over whether climate change should dramatically reshape how the nation manages its vast oil and natural gas wealth… “An administration official implied Sunday night that the president faced limited choices when it came to Willow. The official emphasized discussions about the project have focused on the Biden administration’s “legal constraints to stop or substantially limit Willow, given ConocoPhillips has held some leases for decades.” “…But the potential trade-off was immediately greeted with skepticism from environmental groups that have lobbied tirelessly to get Biden to reject Willow. “The benefits of these protections can be undone just as quickly by approval of oil and gas projects on public lands, and right now, no proposal poses a bigger threat to lands, wildlife, communities, and our climate than ConocoPhillips’ Willow project,” Athan Manuel, the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program director, told E&E “Oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters must end — full stop. The eyes of the world are watching.” The Biden administration’s new Arctic conservation plans include declaring 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea indefinitely off-limits to new oil and gas leasing. That would amount to an expansion of an Obama administration decision in 2016 to make most of the Beaufort Sea and all the Chukchi Sea planning areas — divisions of the Arctic Ocean — off-limits to oil and gas, according to a Sunday press release from the Interior Department.”

Washington Post: Republicans Push Permitting, Energy Overhaul Bill Through Committee 
Maxine Joselow, 3/10/23

“House Republicans on the Natural Resource Committee advanced legislation Thursday designed to boost energy production on federal lands, streamline mining permitting and overhaul the National Environmental Policy Act process, sending a key piece of of the GOP’s broader energy package to the floor,” the Washington Post reports. “No Democrats voted for the underlying bill, known as the TAPP American Resources Act, or H.R. 1335 (118), which advanced on a 24-19 vote. Democrats argued Republicans’ legislative offerings to ease federal permitting reviews amounted to ‘gutting’ the public input process set up under NEPA, the nation’s bedrock environmental law, and accused the GOP of favoring fossil fuels. ‘The simple truth is that this is neither a serious attempt at being part of the clean energy transformation nor working with Democrats,’ Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the committee’s top Democrat, told the Post. ‘Just add this bill — this performative permitting reform — to the long list of those kind of politics we can expect from the GOP majority.’ The committee approved a handful of amendments to the legislation on a bipartisan basis. Those included measures to prohibit Chinese government-run companies from obtaining oil and gas leases, barring foreign mining companies who’ve committed human rights abuses from operating on U.S. federal lands and creating and setting in motion the creation of an online permitting portal of projects under federal review to increase transparency to the public.”

The Hill: Manchin says he won’t advance Biden lands nominee

“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who chairs the Senate committee tasked with evaluating presidential nominees related to energy and natural resource issues, said Friday that he will not advance one of President Biden’s nominees,” The Hill reports. “Manchin, in a Houston Chronicle opinion piece, said he would not advance the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis, who has been nominated to be assistant secretary for lands and minerals management at the Interior Department.  “Today, I have also decided, as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that I will not be moving forward the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis as assistant secretary of the Department of Interior,” he wrote.  He cited an internal Interior Department memo in which Daniel-Davis signed off on a decision not to lower the fees that companies have to pay to the federal government to extract oil and gas because of climate change concerns.  Based on that memo, Manchin said last week that he “will not support anyone who agrees with this type of misguided reasoning.” He went a step further Friday saying he wouldn’t move the nomination forward. In response, Interior Department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz expressed disappointment and said that Daniel-Davis will continue to work in the administration, where she is currently principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management.  “We are very disappointed to learn of the Chairman’s position via today’s op-ed after his support during two committee hearings and votes over the past two years,” Schwartz told the Hill. 

Axios: Hundreds of railcars ordered removed from service due to derailment risk
Herb Scribner, 3/10/23

“Train companies have been warned to remove certain cars from service after Norfolk Southern discovered loose wheels on railcars during the cleanup of last weekend’s derailment in Ohio,” Axios reports. “…After Norfolk’s discovery, the Association of American Railroads issued an advisory to stop using steel coil cars with those wheels due to “an increased risk of an out of gage derailment.” “This is an uncommon defect that can create horizontal movement in the car as it travels down the track and could lead to a derailment,” AAR spokeswoman Jessica Kahanek told Axios. 675 cars were initially identified and impacted by the advisory, she told Axios. The cars should not be used or interchanged “until those wheel sets can be replaced,” Kahanek said… “Yes, but: Rail workers and union leaders told Fortune that there has been “underinvestment, cost-cutting, and pushback against safety protocols” throughout the railroad industry in recent years. A union representing Norfolk Southern warned federal regulators months ago that the company disregarded its own safety rules, per Bloomberg.”


Pro Publica: The Company Testing Air in East Palestine Homes Was Hired by Norfolk Southern. Experts Say That Testing Isn’t Enough.
Sharon Lerner, 3/11/23

“Last month, Brenda Foster stood on the railroad tracks at the edge of her yard in East Palestine, Ohio, and watched a smoky inferno billow from the wreckage of a derailed train,” Pro Publica reports. “…The people who arrived offered to test the air inside her home for free. She was so eager to learn the results, she didn’t look closely at the paper they asked her to sign. Within minutes of taking measurements with a hand-held machine, one of them told her they hadn’t detected any harmful chemicals. Foster moved her mother back the same day. What she didn’t realize is that the page of test results that put her mind at ease didn’t come from the government or an independent watchdog. CTEH, the contractor that provided them, was hired by Norfolk Southern, the operator of the freight train that derailed. And, according to several independent experts consulted by ProPublica in collaboration with the Guardian, the air testing results did not prove their homes were truly safe. Erin Haynes, a professor of environmental health at the University of Kentucky, told Pro Publica the air tests were inadequate in two ways: They were not designed to detect the full range of dangerous chemicals the derailment may have unleashed, and they did not sample the air long enough to accurately capture the levels of chemicals they were testing for. “It’s almost like if you want to find nothing, you run in and run out,” Haynes told Pro Publica. About a quarter century ago, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health was founded by four scientists who all had done consulting work for tobacco companies or lawyers defending them. Now known by its acronym, CTEH quickly became a go-to contractor for corporations responsible for industrial disasters. Its bread and butter is train crashes and derailments. The company has been accused repeatedly of downplaying health risks.”

Allegheny Front: Pa. Supreme Court: Groups that appeal environmental permits can recoup legal fees from companies
Kara Holsopple, 3/11/23

“A Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision last month makes it easier for the public and environmental groups to get reimbursed for legal fees when they successfully appeal environmental permits,” the Allegheny Front reports. “The decision resulted from two cases: Clean Air Council, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association v. DEP and Sunoco Pipeline and Gerhart v. DEP and Sunoco Pipeline. Melissa Marshall, an attorney and the community advocate for Mountain Watershed Association, told the Front their case was an appeal of the Mariner East pipeline environmental permits, which began six years ago over issues with water quality… “In this case, the losing party is the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, and by default, Pennsylvania taxpayers. Those legal fees can add up in the permit appeal process… “Conservatively, Marshall told the Front, an environmental permit appeal can cost upwards of $200,000 or more, and the process can go on for years… “Its decision was that when environmental permits are successfully appealed, reimbursement can come from the permitting agency and the company holding the permit. “It creates a new incentive for environmental groups like ourselves and maybe even private parties to bring these types of appeals and really enforce these provisions under the Clean Streams Law, which are intended to protect the public interest and to protect clean water,” Marshall told the Front.

Anchorage Daily News: Judge says ConocoPhillips Alaska can keep Willow oil well data secret for now
Alex DeMarban, 3/9/23

“A federal judge in Alaska on Wednesday decided in favor of ConocoPhillips in a dispute with state regulators, ruling that the oil company can keep well data from its huge Willow discovery confidential for now,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. “…Last year, ConocoPhillips Alaska sued to stop the release of data from five exploration wells drilled in 2018 in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, where the oil company made multiple discoveries including Willow. With minimal exceptions, state law requires that data associated with oil and gas wells be made public after two years — a period that has already passed for the wells in question… “ConocoPhillips had argued that because the wells were drilled on federal land, they are subject to federal laws around confidentiality, not state laws. Federal law allows the well information to be kept confidential for the life of the leases that ConocoPhillips acquired from the federal government — an initial period of 10 years, and longer as leases are renewed. In the 34-page decision, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason wrote that federal disclosure requirements for the wells preempt Alaska law.”


Reuters: Energy firms bet big on carbon capture projects in U.S., Canada

“Energy companies are making big investments in carbon capture projects,” Reuters reports. “…The United States has committed $3.7 billion to finance such projects and meet its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050… “Around 80 projects seek to be operational before 2030, and the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) data shows the U.S. could see CO2 capture capacity increase five-times to over 100 metric tons (Mt)  CO2 annually. Canada has around 15  projects in various phases of development, says IEA. Here are some North American companies investing in CCS projects: Exxon Mobil is advancing plans for over 20 CCS opportunities globally, including options for producing low-carbon hydrogen; Chevron in 2021 announced a unit, which manages around nine carbon capture, utilization, and storage ventures in Americas and six in the Asia-Pacific region; ConocoPhillips is evaluating making a CCS hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Its 25,000-acre position in southeast Louisiana has been identified as a potential hub; Occidental Petroleum formed Oxy Low Carbon Ventures for its carbon capture, utilization and emissions reduction operations, and is currently involved in about nine carbon innovation projects; EQT’s alliance is developing low-carbon and hydrogen hubs in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia; Air Products operates a large-scale system to capture CO2 from its reformers at its Texas refinery. The firm will invest $4.5 billion to build-own-operate a blue hydrogen production facility to capture over five million Mt per year of CO2, and will be operational in 2026. The company, along with the Canadian government, is also building a net-zero hydrogen energy complex to capture over 95% of CO2 from feedstock natural gas… “ADM has been operating CCS wells in Decatur for over a decade and plans to expand their capacity… “Phillips 66: The refiner is eyeing emission cuts from its Humber refinery in England with Shell Plc’s carbon capture technology… “Valero and BlackRock are partnering with Navigator Energy Services to develop a pipeline system by late-2024, with a capacity to store up to 5 million Mt of C02 per year… “Delek acquired 3Bear, which has a sequestration well permit in the U.S, and has invested in two carbon capture start-ups… “Enbridge Inc: The pipeline operator and Occidental Petroleum announced in November they would develop a CO2 sequestration hub in the Texas Gulf Coast. ENB also has agreements with Capital Power Corp and Heidelberg Materials to store CO2 at its Alberta storage facility. TC Energy Corp:  Pembina Pipeline Corp and TC Energy are developing transportation and sequestration systems to transport over 20 million tonnes of CO2 annually.”

DeSmog: Following Ohio Derailment, Concerns Arise Over Expansion of Rail and Pipeline Transport of Hazardous Material
Dana Drugmand, 3/7/13

“In the aftermath of last month’s toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, questions and concerns about the adequacy of rail safety regulations have resurfaced,” DeSmog reports. “…Nearly three years ago to the day, another disaster involving leakage of a hazardous material similarly sickened residents and forced the evacuation of a small town, this time in Mississippi… “Experts are now saying that these accidents demonstrate the consequences of inadequate oversight and insufficient safety regulations governing hazardous material transportation… “Carolyn Raffensperger — an environmental lawyer, advocate, executive director of SEHN, and Iowa resident — sees the train derailment in East Palestine as a stark example of what can happen in the absence of adequate safety regulations, which she told DeSmog applies to pipelines just as much as it does to trains. “When we look at the accident that happened in East Palestine, there were regulations that were possible that were not put in place. Now we have a place that will be contaminated indefinitely,” she told DeSmog. “What will we be doing with these [CO2] pipelines that we don’t have much experience with?” “…Among the most concerning regulatory gaps for CO2 pipelines are the lack of standards regarding impurities or contaminants within CO2 streams, and inappropriate regulations to determine a potential impact area in the case of a failure, Pipeline Safety Trust executive director Bill Caram told DeSmog… “We believe that CO2 pipelines are inherently dangerous. By closing the glaring safety gaps with some common-sense regulations, PHMSA can help ensure that CO2 pipelines will meet some basic safety standards they currently lack, but we will continue to advocate for more safety standards once the recommendations from our report are implemented,” Caram told DeSmog via email… “Raffensperger is convinced that even updated safety regulations from PHSMA will not be enough to ensure public safety, let alone leaving safety decisions up to the pipeline companies. “These [CO2 pipelines] cannot be built in a way that will guarantee safety,” she told DeSmog.

CNN: Scientists find a way to suck up carbon pollution, turn it into baking soda and store it in the oceans
Laura Paddison, 3/10/23

“Scientists have set out a way to suck planet-heating carbon pollution from the air, turn it into sodium bicarbonate and store it in oceans, according to a new paper,” CNN reports. “The technique could be up to three times more efficient than current carbon capture technology, say the authors of the study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances… “The problem with direct air capture is that while carbon dioxide may be a very potent planet-heating gas, its concentrations are very small – it makes up about 0.04% of air. This means removing it directly from the air is challenging and expensive… “Even the biggest facilities can only remove relatively small amounts and it costs several hundred dollars to remove each ton of carbon… “The new technique laid out in the study can help tackle those problems, SenGupta told CNN. The team have used copper to modify the absorbent material used in direct air capture. The result is an absorbent “which can remove CO2 from the atmosphere at ultra-dilute concentration at a capacity which is two to three times greater than existing absorbents,” SenGupta told CNN. This material can be produced easily and cheaply and would help drive down the costs of direct air capture, he told CNN. Once the carbon dioxide is captured, it can then be turned into sodium bicarbonate – baking soda – using seawater and released into the ocean at a small concentration. The oceans “are infinite sinks,” SenGupta told CNN. “If you put all the CO2 from the atmosphere, emitted every day – or every year – into the ocean, the increase in concentration would be very, very minor,” he told CNN. SenGupta’s idea is that direct air capture plants can be located offshore, giving them access to abundant amounts of seawater for the process.”

Wall Street Journal: Clean and Cheap Oil Is a Heavy Lift
Jinjoo Lee, 3/13/23

“Energy executives are all making the same shiny, new pitch: Let us keep drilling, and we’ll produce cheaper, less carbon-intensive oil and gas. Can they, really?,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Darren Woods said last week at industry conference CERAWeek by S&P Global that the company is one of the least emissions-intensive producers of fuel in the world. As long as there is gasoline and diesel demand, having Exxon make it will be a cleaner option, he said. While he was referring to the company’s refining operations, he touted a similar advantage in the company’s upstream activities, pointing to the Permian Basin as a source of cleaner hydrocarbons. Likewise, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said at the conference that the company’s carbon intensity in the Permian is about half of its portfolio average… “The looming problem is that there is only a limited pool of cheap, clean hydrocarbons—something Wood Mackenzie calls “peak advantage.” The research firm estimates that truly cheap and low carbon-intensity sources of oil and gas can meet only about half of its base-case hydrocarbon demand forecast through 2050. It estimates that only 28% of resources in discovered, commercially viable fields can break even when Brent crude is as low as $30 a barrel and have emissions intensity of less than 20 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent per barrel of oil equivalent. If the race toward cheap and clean goes awry, energy companies could just end up playing hot potatoes, with well-capitalized major oil companies taking all the advantaged resources while smaller companies get stuck with dirtier assets, which they might not be able to afford to clean up… “Conveniently for everyone involved, cheap can also claim to be clean today. But if companies race single-mindedly to the cheapest and cleanest barrels, it is a competition that could well end up dirtying everyone involved.”

Canadian Press: Kearl oilsands leak exposes gaps in how Alberta and Canada oversee industry: experts
Bob Weber, 3/12/23

“Recent leaks of toxic tailings from northern Alberta oilsands mines have revealed serious flaws in how Canada and Alberta look after the environment, observers say,” the Canadian Press reports. “Some accuse the federal government of abandoning the province. Others point to what they call a captive provincial regulator. All agree that there’s no way leaks from Imperial Oil’s Kearl tailings ponds should have gone unreported for nine months to both Ottawa and Edmonton, as well as the people who live near it. “We have never taken this issue seriously,” Martin Olszynski, a University of Calgary resource law professor and former federal regulatory lawyer, told CP. “They have never taken these risks and these threats seriously.” “…This regulator has always thought of its relationship being bilateral, between itself and industry,” Nigel Bankes, a retired professor of resource law at the University of Calgary, told CP. “Never triangular, never a three-legged stool involving the public…It’s a general message of don’t rock the boat. It permeates the department of energy and it permeates Alberta Environment.” “…The Kearl situation shows it can be a mistake for the federal government to “harmonize” regulations with the provinces and delegate oversight to them, Olszynski told CP. “I think it is time for Environment Canada to take a much more proactive role in tailings management,” he told CP.”


Enbridge: Upgrading health care in the heart of North Dakota

“For over a century, the Heart of America Medical Center has provided essential medical services to the North Dakota community of Rugby. And as rich in history the hospital is, it’s time for an upgrade,” according to Enbridge. “…About a year ago, the foundation kicked off a campaign to build a new facility in its “little community” that serves approximately 40,000 citizens in a six-county, 50-mile radius of Rugby… “Enbridge awarded a Fueling Futures grants of $20,000 to Good Samaritan Health Foundation Services in recent months to assist in the construction of the new Heart of America Medical Center. Meanwhile, a Fueling Futures grant of $20,000 has helped Trinity Health in its efforts to enhance and equip a redesigned Emergency Trauma Center in Minot as part of a new health-care campus and medical district targeted for completion in 2023.”


Appalachian Voices: Mountain Valley Pipeline: Risky, ruinous and roadblocked
Jessica Sims, 3/10/23

“Nine years after the Mountain Valley Pipeline project was announced, it remains unnecessary and dangerous to the communities, water resources, lands and habitats through which it is routed,” Jessica Sims writes for Appalachian Voices. “…Currently, Mountain Valley Pipeline is missing authorizations from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The pipeline company is pursuing new versions of these authorizations, so the agencies accepted public input in early 2023 on the application materials — and the tens of thousands of people opposing new permissions to pollute made their voices loud and clear… “​​These tens of thousands of comments opposing Mountain Valley Pipeline reflect the deep-seated concerns of residents who have watched this company run roughshod over communities and the Appalachian landscape with little regard to the impacts or dangers that result… “Adding to the overall volatility of the MVP mainline is an upcoming certificate expiration for the proposed MVP Southgate extension… “Facing a June 2023 expiration of their FERC Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, the developers will likely ask for an extension. Of note, Southgate also lacks the required state-level permits: a Water Quality Certification under Clean Water Act Section 401 from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and the air quality permit from Virginia’s DEQ for Southgate’s proposed Lambert Compressor Station. The lack of state-level permits adds to the argument that the project is unlikely to happen — and FERC should not extend the certificate… “Your continued help is needed as future agency decisions will call for public comment and provide opportunities to object to moving the ruinous Mountain Valley Pipeline forward… “Appalachian Voices will continue to work in solidarity with the communities impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Southgate extension until these projects are defeated.”

The Hill: Biden’s carrot patch: The whole (energy) world loves the Inflation Reduction Act
Levi Tillemann is a former member of the Obama administration Department of Energy, 3/11/23

“The catalyst for clean energy investment has always been a mix of regulatory “sticks” and industrial policy “carrots.” For now, industrial policy is on the ascent. Last week U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm walked into S&P Global’s CERAWeek (an 8,000-delegate conference sometimes called the “Davos of Energy”) advertising a big, fat, juicy bag of carrots — courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA),” Levi Tillemann writes for The Hill. “…The IRA has shifted the calculus of global energy markets… “ It subsidizes a wide swath of clean energy tech and goes one step further by providing rich incentives for carbon capture and sequestration efforts. The IRA is also an effort to harvest the fruits of lavish government spending on white coat innovation and distribute them to blue collar workers in the form of quality manufacturing jobs… “Surprisingly, judging from the conversations at CERAWeek, the traditionally right-wing energy industry and many of America’s economic rivals are all about it… “Some of the enthusiasm from the CEOs of ExxonMobile, BP, Hess and ConocoPhillips was, without doubt, greenwashing in my view. This was vividly pointed out by a very vocal protestor who snuck her way into the main hallway of CERAWeek’s executive conference disrupting the proceedings. But much of it is real. The fact that America’s industrial juggernaut is finally coming around toward climate progress is beyond dispute. And the IRA is stoking the engines. And in a deeply divided country, that’s what we call progress.”

The Tyee: Ottawa Has Questions About that Oilsands Toxic Waste Spill
David J. Climenhaga is an award-winning journalist, author, post-secondary teacher, poet and trade union communicator, 3/13/23

“Ottawa can afford to speak softly on constitutional matters because it carries a big stick,” David J. Climenhaga  writes for The Tyee. “…Still, while federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault spoke softly Thursday about the Alberta Energy Regulator’s disgraceful nine months of silence about the flow of 5.3 million litres of toxic sludge from Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Kearl oilsands mine 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, there was a hint of steel in his remarks. Guilbeault called the AER’s failure to report the pollution spill from a drainage pond to Environment Canada or the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation “very worrisome,” which has to be in the running for understatement of the year. The two First Nations are most impacted by the risk from the spill of water containing arsenic, dissolved metals and hydrocarbons… “Both First Nations say their members harvested food on Crown land near the spill without knowing about the hazards because nobody bothered to tell them. This makes the public silence of the oil company, the AER and the provincial ministers responsible for the energy and environment portfolios all the more deplorable… “Alberta Environment Minister Sonya Savage, who was energy minister at the time of the Kearl spill, claimed in a statement March 3 that she and Smith had only been briefed on the situation by the AER “in the last 24 hours.” If that’s so, that’s yet another shocking aspect to this story and suggests that the system is so full of holes the AER is barely capable of doing its nominal job… “Ever so politely and indirectly, the minister is saying: We know Alberta cannot be trusted to keep its agreements. And bullshit unconstitutional legislation like the Sovereignty Act and changes to trespassing legislation will not stop federal officials from doing their jobs.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub