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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 3/14/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

March 14, 2023



  • Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Strong majority opposes using eminent domain for carbon-capture pipelines

  • The Hawk Eye: Pipeline opponent says one ‘good bill’ is still viable

  • The Gazette: Iowa lawmaker files pipeline objection with Iowa Utilities Board

  • Louisiana Illuminator: Bill would end eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines

  • Hays Post: Keystone spill hearing planned

  • Common Dreams: ‘Economic Crime’: Cost of Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Soars by Billions, Again

  • News-Herald: Lorain County Auditor continues to fight Nexus Pipeline settlement

  • Bucks County Courier Times: Sunoco pipeline project nearing completion in Upper Makefield


  • Press release: People vs Fossil Fuels Coalition Condemns Biden Administration’s Approval of the Willow Oil Drilling Project

  • E&E News: Biden’s green allies promise lawsuit over Alaska oil project

  • The Hill: Willow Project approval heightens tensions between Biden and progressives

  • E&E News: Natural Resources Committee OKs Permitting, Energy Bill 

  • Bloomberg: Methane Response Program ‘Foreshadows’ Hyper-Local Monitoring


  • WOOD: ‘A true toxicant’: Oil refinery dumps tons of polluted wastewater into Lake Michigan

  • InsideClimate News: As Enforcement Falls Short, Many Worry That Companies Are Flouting New Mexico’s Landmark Gas Flaring Rules


  • Canadian Press: Ottawa deems Alberta oilsands leak harmful to wildlife; issues pollution stop order

  • Edmonton Journal: Scientists say Kearl oilsands tailing pond spills were harmful to fish

  • Texas Monthly: Elon Musk Came to Texas to End the Oil Age


  • Washington Post: Silicon Valley Bank collapse could slow the transition to clean energy

  • Press release: Center for Media and Democracy Launches New Website Exposing Right-Wing Group of Anti-ESG State Financial Officers


  • Des Moines Register: Opinion: Carbon capture is essential to the future of ethanol

  • CleanTechnica: Canada’s Oil Pipeline To Nowhere Tripling Costs Could Have Built HVDC Across The Country


Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Strong majority opposes using eminent domain for carbon-capture pipelines
Donnelle Eller, 3/14/23

“At a time when the state is deeply divided politically, Iowans are largely united in their opposition to carbon-capture pipeline companies using eminent domain to force unwilling landowners to sell them access to their property, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows,” the Des Moines Register reports. “The poll shows 78% of Iowans oppose companies using the state-granted power to build carbon-capture pipelines across the state, while 15% are in favor and 7% are unsure. “This initiative is opposed by strong majorities in every demographic group,” pollster J. Ann Selzer, who conducts the Iowa Poll, told the Register. A strong majority of Iowans oppose eminent domain for the pipelines, regardless of their political party, gender, age, religion, income or where they live. For example, 72% of Republicans oppose using eminent domain for pipeline construction, 82% of Democrats and 79% of independents; 76% of men and 80% of women; 78% of respondents younger than 45 along with those 45 and older; and 80% of rural residents and 76% of urban residents… “A bill in the Iowa House would require carbon-capture pipeline companies to reach voluntary deals for 90% of the land they need before they can seek eminent domain… “In addition to opposition to eminent domain, some opponents contend the pipelines may be unsafe. Though the pipeline companies say there have been few problems in decades of use, opponents point to a 2020 rupture in a Satartia, Mississippi, carbon dioxide pipeline. Some 45 nearby residents affected by the gas, an asphyxiant, were taken to a hospital… “The risk involved with these pipelines is unclear,” Schoon told the Register. “It just seems weird that something so controversial and unproven … can just be run through someone’s property without them having any control over the matter.”

The Hawk Eye: Pipeline opponent says one ‘good bill’ is still viable
Robin Delaney, 3/14/23

“Opposition to pipeline projects is mounting in Iowa, according to Jess Mazour, conservation coordinator for the state’s Sierra Club chapter,” The Hawk Eye reports. “To date, she tells the Hawk Eye 44 of the 56 affected Iowa counties and 23 cities and towns, along with 17 local entities such as school districts, conservation departments and citizen groups, have formally objected to plans to construct pipelines across the state. Mazour told the Hawk Eye a key component to the fight against the pipeline plans is for government entities to adopt ordinances, particularly ones that include a setback requirement for those planning to build a CO2 pipeline across the state. “Right now there are no safety setbacks for the carbon pipelines so they could come very close to your home. It’s up to counties to protect their citizens,” Mazour said Friday at a virtual meeting of the Iowa Farmers Union. She said 15 counties are working on adopting these ordinances and seven counties have intervened and asked to have legal representation at proceedings of the Iowa Utilities Board, which will ultimately decide whether the pipeline companies can use eminent domain to proceed with their projects. Mazour told the Hawk Eye Sierra Club representatives have been targeting state lawmakers to “stop bad bills from passing and keep the one good bill alive.” “…The “good bill” that is still in play at the state capitol is House File 565. “It’s a 90 percent threshold, so it’s not our preferred full outright ban, but realistically it’s a number we think we can get passed in the House and Senate.” She told the Hawk Eye the bill also protects the counties passing pipeline ordinances and that two counties, Shelby and Story, are being sued by the pipeline companies.”

The Gazette: Iowa lawmaker files pipeline objection with Iowa Utilities Board
Erin Jordan, 3/13/23

“A western Iowa lawmaker who sponsored a bill to restrict development of carbon dioxide pipelines has filed formal objections with the state board that has the final say over whether those projects proceed,” The Gazette reports. “Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, filed objections Monday with the Iowa Utilities Board to oppose the pipelines proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures. In his two-page letter on House of Representatives stationery, Holt said he does not think the board should grant the companies the right to use eminent domain to force the sale of easements to build the pipelines. “One of our most fundamental liberties as Americans is the right of private property,” Holt wrote. “To protect this fundamental right, eminent domain should only be used for public use (essential government services), and the CO2 pipeline does not meet that definition. “This pipeline is not an essential government service for public use, but rather it is a private economic development project.” “…Holt was the lead sponsor of House File 368, which would require a pipeline company secure 90 percent of its land through voluntary easements before being granted eminent domain… “The Utilities Board, a three-person, governor-appointed board, has no guidelines for how to decide whether to approve an eminent domain request, Holt told the Gazette. He hopes it gives special consideration to the rights of private property owners. “I do not believe that the blunt force of government should be allowed to be used by private individuals seeking eminent domain to seize other people’s property for their own economic benefit,” he wrote.

Louisiana Illuminator: Bill would end eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines
TERRY L. JONES, 3/13/23

“A Louisiana legislator wants to help keep landowners from losing their property to pipelines needed for the dozens of carbon capture projects proposed around the state,” the Louisiana Illuminator reports. “Rep. Robby Carter, D-Amite, has prefiled a bill for the upcoming 2023 Louisiana legislative session that would remove eminent domain rights given to private companies 14 years ago allowing them to seize private property for such pipelines. For Carter, whose district includes East Feliciana, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes where some of the carbon capture projects have been proposed, the issue isn’t just one of property rights; it’s a safety issue, too. “Once you put it in the ground, will it expand back to gas? Cause earthquakes? We don’t know,” Carter, who is concerned about the effects carbon sequestration could have on groundwater as well, told LI… “Carter isn’t the only one concerned about carbon capture and storage. Last year, Livingston Parish tried to implement a yearlong moratorium on the construction and drilling of carbon injection wells in the parish, but a federal judge struck the moratorium down. And in Iowa, farmers, landowners and lawmakers are opposed to carbon capture pipeline projects that would lay about 2,000 miles of pipe across the state. Bills similar to Carter’s have been filed in the legislature there. As of Dec. 31, at least 24 planned carbon capture projects were in the permitting process in Louisiana according to the research by Empower that was commissioned by the non profit 2030 Fund, which seeks to accelerate the transition to clean energy and combat climate change… “The argument is going to be ‘what is the public benefiting from this?’” John Sutherlin, a professor of political science and public administration at the University of Louisiana Monroe, told LI. “That’s easier to understand when you’re talking about giving up access for a sidewalk or utility line.” 

Hays Post: Keystone spill hearing planned
JOHN P. TRETBAR, 3/14/23

“…A joint House Committee hearing is planned Tuesday in Topeka at which an official from TC Energy is set to face questions from lawmakers about the Keystone Pipeline spill in Washington County,” the Hays Post reports. “U.S. government regulators are now officially requiring operators to reduce pressure from higher levels approved six months ago. TC Energy’s CEO tells Reuters they are already operating within the reduced pressure limits.”

Common Dreams: ‘Economic Crime’: Cost of Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Soars by Billions, Again

“Climate, environmental, and Indigenous advocates in recent days condemned the skyrocketing cost of expanding the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which is now expected to carry a CA$30.9 billion price tag—44% higher than last year’s estimate and nearly a six-fold increase from the original appraisal,” according to Common Dreams. “Trans Mountain Corporation said Friday that the project—which will add more than 600 miles of new pipeline and will nearly triple existing capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day—is currently close to 80% finished and should be completed by the end of the year. The company blamed the project’s soaring cost on numerous factors, including floods in British Columbia, supply chain difficulties, inflation, and the discovery of major Indigenous archaeological sites along the pipeline route. “Everybody warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if he bought this white elephant pipeline it would turn into a financial and political boondoggle,” Peter McCartney, a climate campaigner at the Wilderness Committee, said in a statement Friday… “In what critics called a betrayal of his purported commitment to tackling the climate emergency, Trudeau’s government bought the pipeline from Houston-based Kinder Morgan in 2018 for $4.5 billion… “When Trans Mountain first proposed its expansion in 2012, American company Kinder Morgan estimated the construction costs at $5.4 billion. In 2018, when the federal government bought the pipeline it had a forecast price tag of $9.6 billion, on top of the $4.5 billion purchase. Last year, the company announced costs had risen to $21.4 billion, and now it predicts it will cost $30.9 billion in total to finish the project with about a year left to go. That means the price of this pipeline has ballooned almost six times… “On the same day Trans Mountain Corporation announced the revised estimate for the pipeline’s cost, Calí Tzay, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, ended a 10-day visit to Canada and published a report linking the project to human rights abuses. “A large number of megaprojects in Indigenous territories proceed without good faith consultation and in the absence of obtaining Indigenous peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent as, in the case of Trans Mountain Pipeline,” Tzay wrote. “I am also concerned about the ongoing militarization of Indigenous lands and the criminalization of Indigenous human rights defenders resisting the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines in British Columbia.”

News-Herald: Lorain County Auditor continues to fight Nexus Pipeline settlement

“In a controversial move, Lorain County Auditor Craig Snodgrass is appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court to challenge its most recent and final decision against the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals regarding the valuation of the Nexus Pipeline system,” the News-Herald reports. “After lengthy consideration and input from multiple stakeholders in Lorain County and throughout the state of Ohio, I have decided to file an appeal,” Snodgrass wrote in a news release issued March 13… “I don’t see a downside to taking it to the Supreme Court to let them make the rule on this matter,” Hung stated. “The value was $1.6 billion and the tax commissioner has settled on a value of $950 million what leaves a shortfall to Lorain County of approximately $4 million per year, every year. “It’s not a one-time loss. It will be our schools and our children (who) suffer the effects of a shortfall. The residents don’t have high priced lobbyists working for them, and they look to their elected officials to make sure this is a good deal for the schools and our children’s future. “I am not ok with the schools using money, and the possibility of the residents, being asked yet again for a levy to support the schools because corporate business isn’t paying their fair share.” The higher the value of the gas line, the more money schools and other government agencies receive in funding from tax money collected in those areas where the gas line operates.”

Bucks County Courier Times: Sunoco pipeline project nearing completion in Upper Makefield
Damon C. Williams, 3/13/23

“Sunoco is in the final stages of its 14-Inch Twin Oaks to Newark Jacobs Creek Pipeline Relocation project in Upper Makefield, capping an operation that began in the fall to replace and relocate the jet fuel pipeline,” the Bucks County Courier Times reports. “…During a recent update provided to the Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors, Joe Massaro, spokesperson for Sunoco owner Energy Transfer, said the finish line was in sight, and the next steps will be restoring the site, which includes landscaping and affected roads. Massaro couldn’t provide an exact date on when the restoration process will be complete mostly due to possible weather delays, but noted the project was on target to meet the previously stated goal of being done by the spring… “The Twin Oaks to Newark refined product pipeline system consists of a 111-mile, 14-inch pipeline originating at the Twin Oaks pump station, adjacent to Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Tank Farm, south of Philadelphia, and terminating in Newark and Linden, in northern New Jersey.”


Press release: People vs Fossil Fuels Coalition Condemns Biden Administration’s Approval of the Willow Oil Drilling Project

“People vs. Fossil Fuels, a national coalition of over 1,200 frontline, climate justice, and progressive organizations, strongly condemned the Biden administration for its decision to approve the Willow Oil Drilling Project – a major oil drilling operation to be constructed on Alaska’s North Slope that has been loudly opposed by the environmental and climate justice community, including Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic and Alaska Wilderness League… “The approval is a denial of climate science, and directly contradicts the administration’s commitment to protect wilderness areas in Alaska from resource extraction and Biden’s own stated climate goals. In response, People vs. Fossil Fuels released the following statement:  “Global scientists have been absolutely clear: We must end fossil fuel expansion if we are going to avoid irreversible climate devastation and immediate harm to frontline communities. Approving a massive new oil drilling project that is estimated to release 280 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses when we are already in a climate emergency is signing away our future. “Biden’s presidential powers allow him to reject all new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency that would ensure the survival of our communities and our planet. Instead, he is choosing to fatten the wallets of Oil CEOs by expanding fossil fuel infrastructure that will drive us further into climate chaos. “The fight to #StopWillow and all new fossil fuel projects isn’t over. Our movement to fight fossils is continuing to grow – and we’ll continue to fight for a livable future in line with science and justice.” 

E&E News: Biden’s green allies promise lawsuit over Alaska oil project
Niina H. Farah, 3/14/23

“The approval Monday of ConocoPhillips’ massive Willow project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve is teeing up a new high-profile legal brawl that will likely align the Biden administration and Republican lawmakers against environmentalists who have largely backed the president’s climate agenda,” E&E News reports. “The pared-down project opens up three new oil and gas drilling areas of the western North Slope — two fewer than originally proposed by the oil company — but green groups tell E&E the approval still undermines the Biden administration’s commitment to halve nationwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The brewing legal battle highlights a sharp divide between a Democratic administration and environmental groups over the extent to which public lands and federal waters should be available for oil and gas development. “We are going to work with our clients to move forward with litigation,” Bridget Psarianos, senior staff attorney at Trustees for Alaska, which previously led a successful lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s approval of the Willow project, told E&E. “We’ll be moving quickly on that.” Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) — a staunch Willow supporter — told E&E he was already preparing to help defend the Biden administration from “frivolous legal challenges” against the $8 billion project… “Cancellation of the Willow project would have been a key win to block future fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Now environmentalists’ pressure campaign against the project is transitioning to legal action against the approval process by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management… “Kristen Monsell, oceans program litigation director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told E&E  that the Biden administration’s approval of drilling permits on public lands has outpaced the rate under former President Donald Trump. “The Biden administration has been a huge disappointment.”

The Hill: Willow Project approval heightens tensions between Biden and progressives

“The Biden administration’s decision to approve a controversial oil project in Alaska is exacerbating tensions with progressives, who have been critical of recent administration moves toward the right,” The Hill reports. “…Both left-wing activists and Capitol Hill progressives blasted the decision, saying it would be a disaster for the changing climate. The emissions the project is expected to produce are the equivalent of what would be produced from driving 51 million cars for a year. “From what I can see from all environmentally-minded voters, this feels like a betrayal,” Natalie Mebane, the climate campaign director at Greenpeace USA, told The Hill. “It feels like he’s suppressing his own voters right now.” Some Democrats fear the move could dampen left-wing enthusiasm for Biden. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) said on a call with reporters that “it’s hard to imagine this not having that effect.” “…He seems to be doing this run to the right to appease what he feels is this lost base of independents that maybe will like that,” Mebane told E&E, adding that this may reduce trust from core supporters.  Opponents of the Willow Project decision are calling it a political misstep in addition to lambasting its climate impacts, citing enthusiasm from young, left-wing voters as electorally important in the years to come.”

E&E News: Natural Resources Committee OKs Permitting, Energy Bill 
Kelsey Brugger, Hannah Northey, 3/10/23

“The House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday approved a Republican-authored permitting and energy bill with no Democratic support,” E&E News reports. “The ‘Transparency, Accountability, Permitting and Production (TAPP) of American Resources Act’ will be part of a larger GOP energy package, H.R. 1, the ‘Lower Energy Costs Act,’ up for a floor vote before the end of the month. ‘It’s not just energy that we’re going to do because we’re going to double all of the above that we’re producing today,’ Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Fox Business. ‘We need to not just be energy independent; this is about exporting, too.’ The ‘TAPP Act,’ which cleared committee 24-19, has virtually no chance of passing the Senate but represents Republicans putting a stake in the ground on what McCarthy called one of the party’s biggest priorities. The bill would increase the opportunity for domestic oil and gas drilling and try to speed up the National Environmental Policy Act permitting process for fossil fuels and hardrock mining as well as solar and wind projects.”

Bloomberg: Methane Response Program ‘Foreshadows’ Hyper-Local Monitoring
Jennifer Hijazi, 3/13/23

“A proposed EPA program to allow third-party emissions tracking at methane leak sites is a test case for citizen air monitoring, and could preview challenges to community efforts from the oil and gas industry,” Bloomberg reports. “Moves to measure methane from oil and gas sources and hyper-local air monitoring programs are separate actions with different scopes, but their use of third parties to provide data that industry must potentially act on is a common thread that will continue to gain traction… “Under the program, qualified third parties will notify the EPA and operators if a super-emitting event happens at a facility. An event with emissions of 100 kilograms of methane per hour or larger would trigger the program, according to the agency… “More than 100 community projects to monitor air emissions were granted EPA funds last year, the biggest investment of its kind in agency history. The EPA has made hyper-local and community air monitoring a funding priority, and its plans for methane monitoring is another dimension of the “rapidly changing” trend around science and regulation, according to King & Spalding partner Doug Henderson. “It’s almost like ‘citizen science’ has become ‘citizen regulators,’” he told Bloomberg Law. Green groups hailed both the air monitoring and methane programs, which would allow areas neighboring facilities to have more control and awareness over what’s in the air. “Data is like the baseline for the Clean Air Act, and if you don’t have that, then communities don’t get the protections they deserve,” Earthjustice senior legislative representative Terry McGuire told Bloomberg.


WOOD: ‘A true toxicant’: Oil refinery dumps tons of polluted wastewater into Lake Michigan
Matt Jaworowski, 3/12/23

“A new analysis of industry data maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that five of the worst wastewater polluters in the American oil refinery industry are in the Great Lakes region and one of them dumps directly into Lake Michigan,” WOOD reports. “The analysis was released in January by the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit organization that bills itself as a watchdog to make sure the EPA properly enforces environmental laws. In “Oil’s Unchecked Outfalls,” the EIP reports the 81 oil refineries across the country released 1.6 billion pounds of chlorides, sulfates and other dissolved solids in its wastewater in 2021. That doesn’t include the 10,000 pounds of nickel, 60,000 pounds of selenium and 15.7 million pounds of nitrogen that drew the focus of the study. While the EPA organizes the information, EIP Executive Director Eric Shaeffer told News 8 that the data is actually collected by the individual oil refineries and submitted to the agency. “Ultimately, (the EPA) is required to monitor their discharges. They report some of the pollutants that we looked at, but a lot of times (the refineries) are not required to,” Shaeffer told News 8. “We looked at some pollutants that the EPA currently doesn’t regulate. We looked at them because they are harmful.” “…Between the primary three pollutants — selenium, nickel and nitrogen — five facilities in the Great Lakes region were among the top 10 polluters. The Phillips 66 Wood River refinery in southern Illinois made the top 10 for all three: discharging more nickel than any other U.S. facility, the sixth-most selenium and the seventh-most nitrogen. Citgo’s refinery in Lemont, Illinois — about 25 miles southwest of Chicago — discharged the fourth-most nitrogen and fifth-most selenium. Koch Industries’ Pine bend refinery in Minnesota discharged the fourth-most selenium while ExxonMobil’s refinery in Joliet, Illinois, discharged the ninth-most selenium… “The Whiting refinery has four primary discharge points: two that dump directly into Lake Michigan and two that dump into the Lake George Canal — which flows into Lake Michigan.”

InsideClimate News: As Enforcement Falls Short, Many Worry That Companies Are Flouting New Mexico’s Landmark Gas Flaring Rules
Martha Pskowski, 3/12/23

“On a recent afternoon, Kayley Shoup drove southeast out of Carlsbad through an area that was once ranchland. Today it’s a patchwork of compressor stations, tank batteries and drilling pads, testimony to the Permian Basin’s booming oil and gas industry,” InsideClimate News reports. “…In May 2021, New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, or EMNRD, adopted new rules that prohibit routine flaring and venting and require operators to achieve a 98 percent gas capture rate by 2026. February 28 was the deadline for operators to certify that they were on track to comply. But environmental advocates and lawyers tell ICN that in the absence of rigorous state field enforcement, oil and gas companies are continuing wasteful methane flaring and venting. Recent flyovers by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, independent monitoring by environmental advocates and NASA satellite imagery have documented significant methane releases. To date, only two companies have been fined for unauthorized flaring since the rules went into effect. While operators still have time to achieve full compliance with the new rule, industry watchdogs warn that counting on operators to self-report flaring and venting is a failing strategy. Meanwhile, regulators say they are hamstrung by budget limitations. “What we’re seeing, unfortunately, is there’s a lot of talk about protecting clean air and the climate in New Mexico, but not much follow-through.” Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director at the Santa Fe-based nonprofit WildEarth Guardians, told ICN. “It’s not enough to say there are good rules on the books.”


Canadian Press: Ottawa deems Alberta oilsands leak harmful to wildlife; issues pollution stop order
Bob Weber, 3/13/23

“Federal inspectors have ruled a release of oilsands wastewater from Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Kearl mine is harmful to wildlife and have ordered the company to take immediate action to stop seepage from a tailings pond,” the Canadian Press reports. “Based on information enforcement officers have to date, the seep is believed to be deleterious, or harmful, to fish,” Environment Canada spokeswoman Nicole Allen told CP. “On March 10, 2023, enforcement officers issued a Fisheries Act direction to Imperial Oil. The direction requires immediate action to contain the seep and prevent it from entering a fish-bearing water body.” Seepage from the Kearl site about 70 kilometres from Fort McMurray, Alta., was first noticed in May, but neither Imperial nor the Alberta Energy Regulator kept local First Nations or provincial and federal environment officials briefed. News of the leak came out Feb. 7 in an environmental protection order from the regulator, after another release of 5.3 million litres of tailings from a catchment pond at the site… “The realization that nine months had passed between the discovery of the original release and the public announcement drew widespread anger from First Nations, who harvest from land near the site. Arthur Noskey, Grand Chief of the Treaty 8 First Nations, added his voice over the weekend. “Identify the causes of Imperial’s tailings breaches and find a resolution immediately,” he wrote. “Imperial and the governments must contain tar sands’ toxic leaks.”

Edmonton Journal: Scientists say Kearl oilsands tailing pond spills were harmful to fish
Vincent McDermott, 3/13/23

“Federal scientists say a leaking tailings pond at Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake site likely harmed fish,” the Edmonton Journal reports. “The company and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) had both insisted no wildlife had been harmed when the leaks were made public in early February. ECCC says samples were collected at the Kearl site north of Fort McMurray on March 8… “Two days later, enforcement officers issued a Fisheries Act direction against Imperial Oil. This is used when there is an unauthorized deposit of a harmful substance into waters frequented by fish. When there is a serious and imminent danger of such an incident, urgent action is necessary. Imperial Oil has been ordered to immediately contain the seep and prevent it from entering fish-bearing waterbodies. Federal officials are also working with the AER to review the company’s remedial action plan to guarantee it follows the Fisheries Act… “A fish barrier to stop migration and pumps to prevent seepages from entering the waterbodies are being installed, Imperial Oil spokeswoman Lisa Schmidt told the Journal… “Since last May, wastewater contaminated with arsenic, dissolved heavy metals and hydrocarbons has seeped into the landscape surrounding the Kearl operation… “The Athabasca Chipewan First Nation (ACFN) has criticized the regulator and company for keeping the spills a secret for so long. The Mikisew Cree First Nation is demanding an independent review of the AER’s management of tailings ponds. Meanwhile, the government of the Northwest Territories has accused the Alberta government of breaking an agreement to inform them of the spills.” 

Texas Monthly: Elon Musk Came to Texas to End the Oil Age
Russell Gold, 4/1/23

“Beside a horseshoe bend in the Colorado River where ospreys and egrets hunt for fish, a few miles northeast of Austin’s airport, the largest factory in the world stretches the equivalent of fifteen city blocks,” the Texas Monthly reports. “…They’d come for the annual shareholder meeting of Tesla, the maker of electric automobiles that relocated its headquarters from California to Texas in December 2021… “Tesla has reinvented the automobile, leading the industry’s accelerating shift away from gasoline-powered engines, and Musk has far grander plans for the company. “The overarching purpose of Tesla Motors . . . is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy,” he wrote in 2006… “Key to Musk’s vision for saving the planet is eliminating our dependence on hydrocarbons—or, as he reportedly put it while delivering a toast on the day the company went public, in 2010, “F— oil!”.. “Yet weirdly, this California apostate has been embraced by the Republican leaders of Texas, who famously despise both the Golden State and green energy. Texas is built literally and financially on oil, but that didn’t stop Governor Greg Abbott from welcoming a company designed to hasten the end of the oil age. “Texas is a perfect fit for Tesla,” he tweeted shortly after the company’s plans for an Austin factory became public… “Will the new Texan terraform the state into a sustainable energy paradise, or will the natives ultimately turn against the outsider for pushing too hard, too fast?”


Washington Post: Silicon Valley Bank collapse could slow the transition to clean energy
Maxine Joselow, 3/14/23

“The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank over the weekend has created new challenges for the nation’s clean-energy transition, with many major clean tech companies facing insolvency,” the Washington Post reports. “Although the federal government moved Sunday to allow depositors to access their funds, many clean-energy start-ups worry the episode will lead to even more investor caution in the sector, slowing innovations. According to investors and analysts, roughly half of the start-ups working to develop and scale up the newest clean-energy technologies were banking with the failed institution… “Some investors tell the Post the hundreds of billions of dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act and growing demand within the clean-tech market will blunt the fallout from the bank collapse. Others say the incident could ultimately make the market more stable, as the system is likely strengthened to avoid another collapse. Either way, the industry is certain to face a challenging landscape in the coming weeks.”

Press release: Center for Media and Democracy Launches New Website Exposing Right-Wing Group of Anti-ESG State Financial Officers

“Republican treasurers, auditors, and financial officers in 28 states have been weaponized by dark money groups and right-wing operatives under the umbrella of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) to help manufacture a crisis around the consideration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in business and investing practices. Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is launching a new website,, to expose the group’s role in legitimizing this latest front in the Right’s culture wars. SFOF has emerged on the political scene in recent years as a key player in expanding efforts to use the power of state governments to blacklist companies that include ESG factors in their private business decision making. Since 2020, more than 200 bills have been introduced in 32 states to attack ESG, such as blocking public pension funds from investing in and withholding public contracts from firms that take into consideration climate risks, diversity, gun safety, and other social justice issues when making business decisions. Many of these bills target citizens’ First Amendment rights and are modeled after legislation blacklisting companies that participate in the BDS (boycott, divest, and sanctions) movement critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinans, which has been promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and passed in some form in 33 states. SFOF connects Republican state treasurers and auditors in 28 states with industry and dark money groups in the same way that ALEC does for state legislators. The two organizations have close ties in terms of agendas and leadership.”


Des Moines Register: Opinion: Carbon capture is essential to the future of ethanol
Lee Blank is CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions, 3/12/23

“A little over a year ago, the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll found that 85% of Iowans, or what the pollster characterized as a “giant majority,” believe that ethanol is critical or fairly important to the state’s economy,” Lee Blank writes for the Des Moines Register. “…However, there are others who have clearly stated that ethanol should be eliminated altogether. For example, Sierra Club has argued that “ethanol serves to extend our reliance on fossil fuels, thus contributing to climate change” and characterizes the ethanol industry as “polluting” and “contributing to our climate crisis.” Food & Water Watch argues that the ethanol industry has done “tremendous harm to biodiversity due to intensive monocultural (corn only) production.” The pro- and anti-ethanol viewpoints are now at the center of the debate around the carbon capture projects that have been proposed here in Iowa and across the Midwest. And unfortunately, those who oppose ethanol are creating and advancing false narratives to help achieve their long-term goal of creating a world without ethanol. Here’s a simple fact. Carbon capture projects are essential to the future of ethanol… “Opponents of ethanol have continually made the provably false claim that Iowa landowners are opposed to carbon capture projects. However, Summit Carbon Solutions has secured nearly 70% of its proposed route in Iowa through voluntary easement agreements with Iowa landowners. Despite this overwhelming majority support, Sierra Club and a relatively small group of landowners have attempted to use property rights to provide cover for their anti-ethanol efforts. The Sierra Club opposes these projects because they know carbon sequestration will lengthen the life span for Iowa ethanol for decades, if not indefinitely… “For my part, I am pleased to stand with these landowners and help ensure that the ethanol industry remains competitive in the years to come. My hope is that Iowa policymakers take that same position and allow the regulatory process to continue moving forward, without changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

CleanTechnica: Canada’s Oil Pipeline To Nowhere Tripling Costs Could Have Built HVDC Across The Country
Michael Barnard, 3/14/23

“Canada has a climate change problem: its fossil fuel industry. It’s just sufficiently big enough at 6%-7% of the country’s GDP that irrational behaviors surface. The tripling of the Trans Mountain Pipeline contains a litany of them,” Michael Barnard writes for CleanTechnica. “…So now Canada is north of $35 billion CAD expended or committed on this pipeline to nowhere. Why do I say it’s a pipeline to nowhere? Because Alberta’s crude will be first off the market with Venezuela’s when peak oil demand arrives, most likely later this decade. As oil demand starts to decline instead of rise, the market will adjust itself to lowest cost producers, ones that have sweet, light oil close to water crude that is cheap to extract. Like Saudi Arabia, which has among the lowest operational costs in the world. Canada’s expensive to extract, process, distribute, and refine product will see an ever increasing quality discount until it’s no longer profitable to operate existing oil sands and they start to shutter one by one. I expect provincial exports of barrels of oil will start declining early in the 2030s and the first major operation will shut down by 2035 or so… “Given all, the likelihood that the Trans Mountain will be bankrupt and defunct by 2040 is high… “So what could could Canada have done with $33 billion instead of giving false hope to its dying fossil fuel industry and oil and gas supporters in Ottawa?.. “For $35 billion CAD, Canada could have had a massive 10 to 15 GW HVDC line linking Canadian provinces and linking down into the US in multiple points to bring clean renewable energy from wherever it happened to be in surplus to where ever it happened to be in demand… “That’s Canada’s energy corridor of the future. A cross-Canada HVDC connector wouldn’t be a stranded asset in a double handful of years. HVDC transmission is lower risk than pipelines for cost overruns. The Trans Mountain Pipeline was a bad idea from the start. Dropping federal opposition to it in 2016 to bring in the carbon tax was a good choice. Everything after that has been and will continue to be a spiral into the abyss.”

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