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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 3/17/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

March 17, 2023



  • KSNT: Keystone pipeline operators slammed for ‘lack of transparency’

  • Omaha World-Herald: Landfill manager: Oil spill waste safe, taking it to Douglas County was business decision

  • Radio Iowa: Pipeline companies say they’ll cover upgrades to emergency equipment, training

  • KFYR: Public Service Commission holds hearing about Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline

  • Tribune-Democrat: Couple files lawsuit against gas company in Cambria court

  • WSOC: Huntersville holds public hearing almost 3 years after Colonial Pipeline spill

  • Brandon Sun: Erosion played role in pipeline rupture

  • Green Matters: Greenwashy Pembina Pipeline Project to Be Constructed on Indigenous Land

  • RBN Energy: Gas Pipeline Projects Targeting Southeastern Louisiana LNG Export Demand

  • Sierra Magazine: Meet the People Resisting the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline [VIDEO]


  • Politico: The Bipartisan Duo Pushing For An Energy Permitting Deal 

  • Guardian: Biden administration sides with climate lawsuit against fossil fuel companies

  • Washington Post: The Willow oil project debate comes down to this key climate change question

  • E&E News: Former Mass. energy guru tops potential FERC nomination list

  • NBC News: Schumer pushes federal safety board to expand probe to other rail giants

  • E&E News: Backlash hits Audubon after refusal to drop slave-holder’s name

  • Politico: IRA Is Here 

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: U.S. Natural Gas, Oil Companies Say Mexico Energy Policies Undermining Free Trade Pact


  • Star Tribune: Farmers, gas stations sue Gov. Tim Walz over Minnesota Clean Cars rule

  • Alaska Beacon: Willow development expected to be a money-loser for the Alaska treasury in early years


  • Washington Post: Arctic ice has seen an ‘irreversible’ thinning since 2007, study says

  • Reuters: Canada’s B.C. province sets high emissions bar for new LNG projects

  • Greenpeace: “Let’s clear the air”: Greenpeace Canada launches complaint against oil sands alliance for misleading advertising campaign

  • Guardian: Big oil firms touted algae as climate solution. Now all have pulled funding


  • Oil Change International: Commitment to end international finance for fossil fuels is shifting billions, but key countries breaking promises missing in action

  • The Hill: DeSantis, 18 states to push back against Biden ESG agenda

  • LittleSis: Tax Records Reveal University of Chicago is Massively Invested In Fossil Fuels




KSNT: Keystone pipeline operators slammed for ‘lack of transparency’
Rebekah Chung, 3/15/23

“Keystone pipeline operator, TC Energy, is under fire following last year’s massive oil spill in Northeast Kansas, near the Nebraska border,” KSNT reports. “In a hearing Tuesday, state lawmakers grilled the pipeline operator on the aftermath of the spill that happened back in December. Questions about safety, payments of damages and ‘lack of transparency’ were just some of the biggest takeaways. Gary Salsman, vice president of field operations for TC Energy, fielded questions from lawmakers… “We acknowledge that we’ve had previous incidents… and no incident is acceptable to us, and we want to make sure that something like this isn’t going to happen again,” he said. “We’ve gone above and beyond with integrity programs and video work plans on each of those situations, after we’ve determined the root cause.” “…The oil spill in Kansas back in December was the largest spill in the history of the Keystone pipeline, according to federal data. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled into a creek in Washington county, killing or displacing wildlife and impacting nearby land. Salsman said the company is compensating landowners for any damages, but couldn’t provide “specifics” on the agreements. There was also little to share on how long the cleanup would take, or when a months-long “no-fly zone” rule would be lifted to allow people to view the site of the spill. “When I’ve inquired about it in the past, safety was a concern with the presence of those drones, but I do think there’s a need for transparency and accountability,” said Representative Lindsay Vaughn, a democrat from Overland Park. Kansas Capitol Bureau has also asked to access the site since December, but the company declined the requests. Lawmakers demanded answers to why the company has put the “no-fly zone” rule in place, and when it would be lifted.”

Omaha World-Herald: Landfill manager: Oil spill waste safe, taking it to Douglas County was business decision
Christopher Burbach, 3/14/23

“Waste Management officials said Tuesday it was a business decision to bring waste from a Kansas oil pipeline spill to a landfill outside of Omaha, and sought to assure concerned Douglas County officials that the contaminated soil and debris don’t pose a threat to the local environment,” the Omaha World-Herald reports. “It’s just economics,” Mike Hey, area disposal manager for Waste Management of Nebraska Inc., told Douglas County Board members who questioned why the waste was being disposed of in Nebraska… “Hey said he decided on the Omaha-area landfill because it is better equipped to handle such a spike in waste. Pheasant Point is a little larger than the Topeka landfill and has more workers and more heavy equipment, Hey told the board… “He declined to say how much Waste Management is being paid to dispose of the waste. Waste Management owns and operates the landfill, but Douglas County collects fees for materials dumped there. The county is being paid $3 a ton for the Kansas oil spill waste. Kent Holm, Douglas County environmental services manager, set the rate under authority given to him by the County Board. Holm said he does not have the authority to reject materials that the landfill is qualified to receive under federal and state regulations. So far about 34,000 tons, or about 48,000 cubic yards, of waste from the Kansas spill has been deposited at Pheasant Point, Hey said. He currently expects that amount to double, although it’s likely to climb higher as the federal Environmental Protection Agency directs the cleanup. For perspective, Pheasant Point Landfill typically takes in about 500,000 tons of solid waste each year. An outside laboratory, Pace Analytical, has analyzed multiple samples and found the waste to be non-hazardous under government regulations, according to documents that Waste Management gave the County Board on Tuesday, and to records online at the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. Samples must be submitted for testing for every 2,000 cubic yards of contaminated debris. County Board members had asked specifically about levels of benzene, a carcinogenic material that’s used in the Keystone Pipeline. Josh Buehre, waste approval manager for Waste Management of Nebraska, said the federal regulatory limit for benzene is 500 parts per billion. The highest amount of benzene in a sample so far, Buehre said, was 79 parts per billion in such waste as booms and absorbent materials used to contain the spread.”

Radio Iowa: Pipeline companies say they’ll cover upgrades to emergency equipment, training
Ed Funston, 3/16/23

“Officials in a northwest Iowa city are considering whether to join other local governments in sending the Iowa Utilities Board a letter objecting to development of carbon capture pipelines,” Radio Iowa reports. “Estherville’s City Council has held a work session to gather information about the Navigator and Summit pipelines that would pass through Emmet County. Estherville Fire Chief Travis Sheridan says if there’s a pipeline rupture, his department would likely need a new mobile vehicle that’s equipped with air packs. “An electric vehicle that we can drive, go in and save people, and get them out,” says Sheridan, who is also Emmet County’s Emergency Management Director. Craig Schoenfeld, a spokesman for developers of the Navigator pipeline, says the company will provide equipment and training. “It is not to be encumbered by the City of Estherville in your general budget or whatever you allot for your fire department,” Schoenfeld says. “Those needs are incumbent upon us to provide, whether that’s personal aparatus, if we need to come up with other types of trucks, other types of personel…those types of things are on our nickel.” “…The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has sent an alert to its members today, saying a bill pending in the Iowa House is a major threat to the ethanol industry.”

KFYR: Public Service Commission holds hearing about Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline
Joel Crane, 3/14/23

“How would a pipeline carrying millions of tons of carbon dioxide impact Bismarck? That’s the question the Public Service Commission hoped to answer at a lengthy public hearing about the Summit Carbon Solutions project at the Heritage Center on Tuesday,” KFYR reports. “…But some people are concerned about how it’ll affect communities around the state. On Tuesday, the focus was on Bismarck. Former Bismarck Mayor John Warford is saying no to the carbon dioxide pipeline. “I’m trying to preserve my rights so that this company doesn’t take my land, I’m trying to preserve my rights that my family, who lives on the ranch property a little over a mile from the pipeline, that their safety is not compromised,” said John Warford. He says he’s concerned the position of the pipeline will negatively impact the city. “Bismarck is going to grow to the north and to the east, and if this pipeline stays where it is, it’s going to affect the long-term growth of Bismarck,” said Warford… “The COO of Summit Carbon Solutions says that’s not true: the pipeline ventures near other, larger cities along the five-state route too. “For a project of this size, I believe only about 5% of the pipeline route actually traverses a high consequence or could affect area, which is extremely low. In my experience, they’re usually, depending on where you are in the country, 40 to 50 to 60%,” said James Powell, COO of Summit Carbon Solutions… “Interestingly, environmental groups seeking to fight climate change, like the Dakota Resource Council, stand with Warford in opposition to the pipeline… “There will be three more public hearings over the next 2 months in Gwinner, Wahpeton, and Linton, where members of the public are welcome to testify.”

Tribune-Democrat: Couple files lawsuit against gas company in Cambria court
Katie Smolen, 3/16/23

“A Jackson Township couple have refiled a lawsuit against Sunoco Pipeline in Cambria County Court, claiming their property was damaged by work to install the Mariner East 2 pipeline and by conditions that followed,” the Tribune-Democrat reports. “Ronald and Jane Shawley filed the lawsuit on March 10 after the suit was dismissed by a federal court judge to allow them to file in state court. The couple sued the company, saying they allowed the company access to their property to construct the Mariner East 2 pipeline, but now experience regular flooding of their home, often with raw sewage from a compromised septic system, which they say has caused damage to household appliances, furniture, walls and floors – and a lack of access to clean, potable groundwater… “The couple are seeking to take the case before a Cambria County jury, as they are seeking damages over the $50,000 limit for arbitration. No specific amount was noted in the lawsuit, but in the couple’s now-dismissed federal lawsuit, they sought $150,000 in damages, citing private nuisance and negligence.” 

WSOC: Huntersville holds public hearing almost 3 years after Colonial Pipeline spill
Hannah Goetz, 3/16/23

“Almost two and a half years after the largest gasoline spill in the United States happened in Huntersville, residents finally got the opportunity to weigh in on final clean-up efforts,” WSOC reports. “The State Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Resources held a public forum Thursday night at Central Piedmont Community College… “Residents at the meeting were upset to learn the leak went undetected for months. “I understand what Colonial’s in the business of doing, and what they provide is important for us,” resident Scott Hensley said. “You know, to move gasoline, oil, petroleum throughout the country. I get that. But now we’re in a situation where they also need to take responsibility and we just have to figure out how to solve it together.”

Brandon Sun: Erosion played role in pipeline rupture
Ian Hitchen, 3/17/23

“Manitoba Hydro says it accepts the findings of an investigation into the rupture of one of its Westman-based natural gas lines and is committed to preventing such incidents in the future,” the Brandon Sun reports. “A company spokesperson made the statement on Thursday after the Transportation Safety Board released a report on its investigation into the incident in which it concluded lack of ground cover above the pipe was a factor. “Manitoba Hydro has already taken steps to complete a depth of cover survey for the entire Minell Pipeline and meet with affected landowners, as well as committed to taking the steps necessary to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future,” media relations officer Bruce Owen stated in an email to the Sun… “However, the pipeline was shut down for three days, causing a disruption of distribution that extended to Dauphin. No residential customers lost gas service, but large commercial clients were asked to cut back their operations to conserve the remaining gas in the line. “The investigation revealed that the depth of ground cover over the pipeline at the occurrence location was insufficient to prevent the ground-scraping blade from contacting the pipeline,” the TSB found. Over time, the removal of weeds and silt from a drainage ditch reduced the depth of cover over the pipeline, but this wasn’t identified by Manitoba Hydro’s damage prevention program. A 2009 pipeline depth of cover survey didn’t identify a problem or trigger further assessment of the area. It was estimated the tractor’s blade had penetrated the ground less than 12 centimetres when it hit the line. The TSB also questioned Manitoba Hydro’s response to the pipeline break. The rupture happened near a TC Energy compressor station near Moosomin, Sask., that could have been used to stop the flow of gas through the line in five minutes, but Manitoba Hydro didn’t have access to it, nor did it have a formal emergency response agreement with TC Energy. As a result, gas continued to flow to the rupture for 106 minutes after a rupture was suspected, until Manitoba Hydro was able to isolate the leak.”

Green Matters: Greenwashy Pembina Pipeline Project to Be Constructed on Indigenous Land
Lizzy Rosenberg, 3/15/23

“It’s a sad day for Western Canada’s beautiful natural lands. Earlier this week, the B.C. government and local Indigenous tribe, the Haisla Nation, gave gas giant, Pembina Pipeline, permission to move forward with its latest endeavor, Cedar LNG. Even though the $3.2 billion project is being framed as an economic opportunity for the Haisla people and surrounding communities, it will likely take a negative impact on the environment,” according to Green Matters. “…The receipt of our EAC is the culmination of more than a decade of work by the Haisla Nation and marks a significant milestone for the Cedar LNG project and the Haisla Nation’s journey towards economic self-determination,” Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor for Haisla Nation, also stated. “With Cedar LNG, we are setting a new standard of responsible and sustainable energy development.” “…Obviously, Cedar LNG has received considerable pushback from Canadian environmental groups, as pipelines notoriously pollute waterways, while putting communities and ecosystems at risk. Climate campaigner Peter McCartney accused the B.C. government of greenwashing, by promoting this project while promising to reduce regional emissions. “All the greenwash around B.C. LNG doesn’t change the fact that every new facility takes us further away from meeting our commitments,” he stated via JWN Energy. The company claims its environmental impact will be minimal. Supposedly, it will be among the lowest-emitting facilities of its kind worldwide, and it will run on renewable hydro-electricity. Cedar LNG also claims to have a lower impact because it’s using already-existing infrastructure, to avoid more construction than necessary… “Even though Pembina and Cedar LNG are supposedly taking steps to reduce the impact of the latest natural gas project, the billions in funds being used for it would do much better if it were going to be invested in a wind energy project, solar panels, or other means of actual clean energy.”

RBN Energy: Gas Pipeline Projects Targeting Southeastern Louisiana LNG Export Demand
Sheetal Nasta, 3/17/23

“Hardly a day goes by without news related to U.S. LNG export capacity expansions, whether it’s upstream supply deals, offtake agreements or liquefaction capacity announcements,” RBN Energy reports. “One project is nearing commercialization, another five are under construction and due for completion in the next few years, still others are fully or almost-fully subscribed and will be officially sanctioned any day now, and the announcements keep coming. Just days ago, Venture Global reached a final investment decision (FID) for the second phase of its Plaquemines LNG project. With export development accelerating in the coming years, more natural gas pipeline capacity will be needed, particularly for moving gas supply to the Louisiana coast, where the bulk of the new capacity will be sited… “In Louisiana (or just across the Texas border), these include Venture Global’s (VG) soon-to-be-operational Calcasieu Pass; QatarEnergy and ExxonMobil’s Golden Pass; the first phase of Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur LNG; and VG’s Plaquemines LNG in southeastern Louisiana, including Phases 1 and 2. In southeastern Texas, Cheniere sanctioned its Corpus Christi Stage III project last summer, while NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG in Brownsville, TX, is also closing in on FID. In addition, there are numerous other greenfield facilities proposed for the Texas-Louisiana coast that are working to secure the regulatory approvals and/or commercial commitments to reach FID, including Energy Transfer’s Lake Charles LNG, VG’s CP2 LNG, Tellurian’s already-under-construction Driftwood LNG, and VG’s Delta LNG, among others.” 

Sierra Magazine: Meet the People Resisting the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline [VIDEO]

“These resisters are fighting to save the “Place of the Great Turtle,” Sierra Magazine reports.


Politico: The Bipartisan Duo Pushing For An Energy Permitting Deal 
Josh Siegel, 3/16/23

“A Republican House committee chair and a Democratic climate hawk who connected over their shared interest in saving trees hope to parlay that partnership into a compromise to ease permitting reviews for clean energy and fossil fuel projects,” Politico reports. ”Rep. Bruce Westerman, a conservative from Arkansas who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Scott Peters, a moderate from fire-prone California, are working together to craft a bill to overhaul permitting rules that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can support. But passing permitting reform in a divided Congress, even with provisions that have bipartisan support, is a long shot. ‘We’ve got common interests,’ Westerman told Politico in a recent joint interview in Peters’ office. ‘We realized we both might have different approaches to get to it. But as we talk through the science and what the objective is, we seem to come together on the policy.’”

Guardian: Biden administration sides with climate lawsuit against fossil fuel companies
Hilary Beaumont, 3/16/23

“The US Department of Justice filed a legal brief Thursday in support of local governments in Colorado that are part of a growing wave of local and state governments pursuing climate litigation against fossil fuel companies,” the Guardian reports. “In the brief, the DoJ argued that the Colorado case against the Canadian energy giant Suncor should be heard in state court, which is considered more favourable than federal court for plaintiffs who are suing oil companies over climate change. ExxonMobile is also a defendant in the case. Experts tell the Guardian the DoJ brief is an action by the administration in support of climate litigation, fulfilling a campaign promise by President Joe Biden. “They’ve definitely come out on the side that the climate advocates wanted,” Dan Farber, law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Guardian… “Since the first lawsuits were filed in California in 2017, oil companies have removed them to federal court, which they see as friendlier to their arguments. But the plaintiffs have maintained that the cases belong in state court… “Asked whether a Colorado case should be removed to federal court, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued that the petition should be denied. “Respondents brought this suit in state court, alleging only state-law claims,” she wrote. “Under the well-pleaded complaint rule, respondents’ claims do not present a federal question, and petitioners have identified no sound basis for recharacterizing those claims.” “…Richard Wiles, president for the Center for Climate Integrity, was delighted by the federal government’s brief. “We’re obviously very pleased with this decision,” he told the Guardian. “The DoJ came down on the side of every other federal judge that has looked at this.” “…As for the Biden administration, he told the Guardian, “You can definitely say they made good on their promise to strategically support these cases.”

Washington Post: The Willow oil project debate comes down to this key climate change question
Shannon Osaka, 3/16/23

“When President Biden approved an $8 billion Alaskan oil drilling project on Monday, many reacted with outrage,” the Washington Post reports. “Wrong on every level,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, wrote on Twitter. “This decision betrays Biden’s own climate promises,” Jeff Ordower, the North America director of the environmental organization, said in a statement. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden had promised to prevent new oil and gas drilling on federal lands — a vow that runs contrary to his administration’s approval of ConocoPhillips’s operation, known as Willow, in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. In the weeks before the decision, environmentalists, activists, and young people united to try to block the project: For weeks, #StopWillow was even a trending topic on TikTok… “In recent years, the Democratic Party — and, by extension, the climate movement — has been divided on a key question. What matters more — cutting fossil fuel demand, by encouraging consumers to shift to things like renewable energy and electric vehicles, or tamping down on supply by preventing oil and gas drilling in the United States?.. “Legal considerations also come into play. Once the federal government issues oil and gas leases, it becomes much harder to claw them back, and top administration officials feared that if they denied the Willow project outright they would face a lawsuit from ConocoPhillips, putting taxpayers potentially on the hook for billions of dollars. So far the Biden administration’s strategy has framed climate change as many carrots and few sticks — cash incentives for clean energy, without halting oil and gas extraction outright… “But for activists and environmentalists, any amount of economic discussion doesn’t change a few simple facts: The United States has promised to reach net-zero carbon emissions, but is still extracting oil. Eventually — if the world is really going to stop emitting carbon dioxide — all fossil fuel production will have to halt. If not now, they might wonder, then when?”

E&E News: Former Mass. energy guru tops potential FERC nomination list
Jeremy Dillon, Miranda Willson, 3/17/23

“Judy Chang, a former Massachusetts undersecretary of energy and climate solutions, has emerged as a frontrunner for the open seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, three people familiar with the White House appointment process tell E&E News. “Chang played a major role in setting energy policy under then-Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) from June 2020 through January. The Bay State is considered a leader in the clean energy transition, with a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and multiple offshore wind projects currently under development. Prior to working for the state of Massachusetts, Chang was a principal at the Brattle Group, where she spent more than two decades researching renewable energy, electric power markets, FERC policies and other issues. While working for the consulting firm, she prepared reports that explored how bolstering the transmission planning process could help accommodate the growth of solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. FERC is now looking at some of the same policy questions. No final decisions have been made on the nomination, and the White House’s thinking could still change, the three people tracking the process told E&E. The people, including a lobbyist, were granted anonymity because the deliberations are not public.”

NBC News: Schumer pushes federal safety board to expand probe to other rail giants
Rose Horowitch, 3/15/23

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday urged the National Transportation Safety Board to broaden its rail safety investigation beyond Norfolk Southern to other large rail companies after last month’s derailment in East Palestine, Ohio,” NBC News reports. “In a letter to Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the NTSB, Schumer said it is “jarringly evident” that the industry is in “desperate need of a full and comprehensive investigation.” He cited a “troubling and fatal combination” of factors, including deregulations, more than 26,500 accidents and incidents in the past five years, as well as over 30,000 employee cuts. “I strongly urge you to expand your investigation into the safety practices of all Class I freight railroads operating throughout the country, including BNSF Railway, CSX, Union Pacific, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and Kansas City Southern; and issue findings, recommendations, and regulations to improve rail safety across the country,” Schumer wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Politico… “Schumer said: “As we have seen firsthand, the freight rail industry has time and time again dangerously played fast and loose with the regulations while endangering millions of Americans throughout the country.” NTSB spokesperson Keith Holloway told NBC the board is reviewing Schumer’s letter and will respond to him. “We appreciate the Leader’s focus on safety,” Holloway told NBC.

E&E News: Backlash hits Audubon after refusal to drop slave-holder’s name
Robin Bravender, 3/16/23

“Three members of the National Audubon Society’s board of directors resigned Wednesday in response to the conservation group’s announcement that it will retain its current name tied to the enslaver and bird artist, John James Audubon,” E&E News reports. “The national conservation organization is facing an internal backlash after publicly announcing that its board of directors decided to keep its current name after a yearlong deliberation. The decision outraged employees, prompted an uncomfortable all-staff meeting and drove three board members to resign in protest. Stephen Tan, a vice chair of Audubon’s board, and two other board members — Sara Fuentes and Erin Giese — resigned over the decision, a person who was informed about the resignations and was granted anonymity to discuss personnel moves that haven’t been publicly announced, told E&E… “Tan was the leader of a task force commissioned by the Audubon board to consider whether to rename the group, according to the person who was informed about their resignations. Fuentes was a member of that task force… “While the Board is disappointed to lose these Directors and the wisdom and dedication they brought to the Board, we respect their decision,” Susan Bell, the chair of the National Audubon Society’s board, told E&E. “We also value tremendously the many diverse and reasoned perspectives that these Directors — and others — have brought to this difficult conversation for our organization.” “…The announcement is taking a toll on morale in an organization that has already had a tumultuous few years, employees told E&E. “This makes my work harder,” the employee who was granted anonymity told E&E. That person criticized the group’s leaders of “doubling down on being named after a racist slaveholder.”

Politico: IRA Is Here 

“The Climate Action Campaign is out with an interactive map this morning tracking the $11 billion that has gone “out the door” from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act,” Politico reports. “The Biden administration has had trouble getting the message out about the climate investments from the laws, and the “Climate Wins Here” map is meant to help in “connecting the dots for people, to show them these laws are already working,” said Climate Action Campaign Director Margie Alt.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: U.S. Natural Gas, Oil Companies Say Mexico Energy Policies Undermining Free Trade Pact

“A trio of U.S. trade organizations led by the American Petroleum Institute (API) is again calling on the Biden administration to engage forcefully with Mexico over the latter’s energy policies, which the groups say give preferential treatment to Mexico’s state-owned producers of hydrocarbons and electricity,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, API – along with the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Clean Power Association – urged “continued action to hold Mexico accountable for its discriminatory energy policies by using every tool available under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).” Since taking office in 2018, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has slammed the brakes on the previous government’s constitutional energy reforms, which sought to open the oil, natural gas and electricity sectors to competition from the private sector… “I think the biggest issue for our members…is around permitting,” API’s Aindriu Colgan, director of tax and trade policy, told NGI. “There’s been a systemic move by the AMLO administration to deny, to delay the approval of even routine permits to private investors in Mexico.”


Star Tribune: Farmers, gas stations sue Gov. Tim Walz over Minnesota Clean Cars rule
Jennifer Bjorhus, 3/15/23

“Though they have yet to take effect, Minnesota’s “clean cars” standards to limit climate pollution from tailpipes are under legal assault,” the Star Tribune reports. “A coalition of soybean farmers, gas stations, convenience stores and ethanol industry players has sued Gov. Tim Walz and state pollution regulators in federal court saying the requirements violate federal law and will damage their business. Minnesota can’t regulate vehicle fuel economy beyond federal standards, even if California was granted a federal waiver to do so, the plaintiffs argue in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. They claim Minnesota’s more stringent emissions standards will significantly cut demand for liquid fuel and hurt gas stations, along with the state’s significant ethanol and biodiesel industries. Plaintiffs include the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, an ethanol advocacy group in Maryland; the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association; the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association; the National Association of Convenience Stores; and Kansas-based ICM Inc., which has designed, built or maintains many of Minnesota’s ethanol plants. Bob Worth, president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, told the Tribune he’s concerned the state standards will lead to other actions that shrink biodiesel demand… “Asked about the dire need to cut climate pollution, Worth told the Tribune biodiesel is a clean fuel that addresses that.”

Alaska Beacon: Willow development expected to be a money-loser for the Alaska treasury in early years

“A giant oil development project just greenlighted by the Biden administration and celebrated by Alaska state leaders is expected to cost the state treasury more than it would raise in the early years,” the Alaska Beacon reports. “The Willow project, estimated to hold 600 million barrels of recoverable oil, would spur a cumulative loss of more than $1 billion in oil-production tax revenue over about 10 years, according to a state Department of Revenue analysis. That is because the billions of dollars that ConocoPhillips is expected to spend building Willow will be used to offset the tax bills elsewhere from production elsewhere on the North Slope, according to the analysis, issued on Feb. 28. Willow would become cash-positive to the state in Fiscal 2035 and, through the 2050s, generate $5.4 billion in state revenues over its lifetime, according to the analysis… “Through that program and through other avenues, communities on the North Slope are poised to reap financial benefits from Willow, money that is vitally important, Nagruk Harcharek, president of the Voice of the Arctic Inupiat, an organization generally supportive of oil development, told the Beacon… “Willow is expected to produce more than $1 billion in property tax revenues to the North Slope Borough and add $2.5 billion to the NPR-A Impact Mitigation Grant Program, “supporting social services, youth programs, civic facilities, and more throughout our communities,” Harcharek told the Beacon. The expected state revenue loss in the first years of Willow’s life was no secret to lawmakers. In November of 2018, the administration of former Gov. Bill Walker released an analysis to legislators that calculated that over 10 years, the state would lose over $1.64 billion through development of Willow and other projects in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.”


Washington Post: Arctic ice has seen an ‘irreversible’ thinning since 2007, study says
Scott Dance, 3/15/23

“Arctic sea ice declined dramatically in 2007 and has never recovered. New research suggests the loss was a fundamental change unlikely to be reversed this century, if ever — perhaps proof of the sort of climate tipping point that scientists have warned the planet could pass as it warms,” the Washington Post reports. “The conclusion comes from three decades of data on the age and thickness of ice escaping the Arctic each year as it flows into the North Atlantic to the east of Greenland. Scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute found a marked difference in the ice level before and after it reached an unprecedented low in 2007. In the years since, the data shows, the Arctic has entered what the researchers called a “new regime” — one that brings with it a trend toward ice cover that is much thinner and younger than it had been before 2007, the researchers say. They link the change to rising ocean temperatures in the rapidly warming Arctic, driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases. “Our analysis demonstrates the long-lasting impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice,” they wrote in the journal Nature… “Up until 2007, they observed sea ice at a variety of thicknesses and ages, often with bumps and ridges that come from older ice floes being packed together. But in more recent years, ice floes have been smoother and have more uniform thickness, an indication that they are younger and shorter-lived… “Researchers have been reluctant to be too declarative on potential changes to the Arctic sea ice system as a whole because there is so much variability in ice cover from year to year, Meier told the Post. The new study could change that, he told the Post. “They make a pretty good case and put together a lot of data to say, yes, there is a fundamental change and we’re in this new regime,” Meier told the Post.”

Reuters: Canada’s B.C. province sets high emissions bar for new LNG projects
Nia Williams, 3/17/23

“British Columbia’s decision this week to toughen emissions standards for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects creates one of the most robust climate plans in North America, but sets a high hurdle for industry even as many countries look to Canada to become a global supplier of gas,” Reuters reports. “As part of a new energy action framework, the western Canadian province will require proposed LNG projects that are going through or entering the environmental assessment process to have a credible plan to be net-zero emissions by 2030. While the tougher regulation will not impact the huge Shell-led (SHEL.L) LNG Canada project already under construction, a proposed export terminal adjoining the small-scale Tilbury LNG facility and the early-stage Ksi Lisims LNG project in northern B.C will fall under the new rule… “That (net-zero requirement) is a very high bar and a high hurdle to pass,” Mark Zacharias, executive director of think-tank Clean Energy Canada, told Reuters, adding the new framework rounds out B.C.’s plan to cut emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. “The B.C. roadmap to 2030 is probably North America’s strongest climate plan but what was missing until now was answers on dealing with oil and gas. This fills in the missing gaps.” “…The message from the province is ‘We believe we can develop natural gas and move forward broadly on Indigenous reconciliation while also meeting out climate ambitions’,” Tristan Goodman, CEO of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, told Reuters. “That’s good, but the concern lies in the details.”

Greenpeace: “Let’s clear the air”: Greenpeace Canada launches complaint against oil sands alliance for misleading advertising campaign

“A coalition of the six largest oil sands producers has been running a misleading advertisement campaign to influence federal regulations and manipulate public support for oil sands development, Greenpeace Canada alleges in a new complaint to the Competition Bureau. The Pathways Alliance (Pathways) formed in 2021 and includes Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, Imperial, MEG Energy, and Suncor Energy. The complaint asks the Competition Bureau to investigate the claims made by the coalition’s “Let’s clear the air” campaign. “If the Pathways Alliance wants to ‘clear the air,’ let’s start by clarifying what their ad campaign really is: greenwashing,” said Priyanka Vittal, legal counsel for Greenpeace Canada. “The Pathways Alliance’s members continue to expand fossil fuel production, their net-zero plan doesn’t even consider all emissions — and it still doesn’t add up to zero.” Pathways’ members operate about 95 per cent of Canada’s oil sands. Last year, they broke their record for oil production, set in 2021, and are projected to surpass it again this year. The emissions generated from the use (burning) of the fossil fuel products Pathways sells — which comprise more than 80% of their members’ emissions — are not accounted for in their “net-zero” plan. Even without accounting for those emissions, their plan fails to add up to zero.”

Guardian: Big oil firms touted algae as climate solution. Now all have pulled funding
Amy Westervelt, 3/17/23

“One by one, big oil firms have touted their investments in algae biofuels as the future of low-carbon transportation – and one by one, they have all dropped out. Now in the wake of the last remaining algae proponent, ExxonMobil, announcing its withdrawal, insiders say they are disappointed but not surprised,” the Guardian reports. “Algae research was central to Exxon’s green marketing campaigns for years, and frequently criticized as greenwashing rather than a genuine research effort. But several of its former research partners told the Guardian that it was serious about the potential of algae biofuels – explaining why it stayed in the field long past the point at which other oil companies dropped out – but not serious enough. In its 12 years in the space, Exxon invested $350m in algae biofuels, according to spokesperson Casey Norton. (Norton says that’s more than double what the company spent on touting this research in ads.) Even so, every algae researcher who spoke to the Guardian said a real effort to commercialize biofuels, algal or otherwise, requires several billion dollars, and a long-term dedication to overcoming seemingly fundamental biological limitations of wild organisms. And no oil company was willing to go that far… “All the researchers who spoke to the Guardian agreed: what was needed to make algal fuels a success was a longer runway and funding in the billions – closer to what oil companies spend on fossil fuels. “It was great while Exxon was interested, but in the end it’s going to take more time and investment to mature this from a fuels perspective and they have other priorities,” Posewitz told the Guardian.


Oil Change International: Commitment to end international finance for fossil fuels is shifting billions, but key countries breaking promises missing in action

“Promise Breakers, a report released today by Oil Change International, reveals that the Glasgow Statement, a joint commitment forged at the 2021 UN climate summit (COP26), is already shifting an estimated USD 5.7 billion per year out of fossil fuels and into clean energy, with the potential of a further 13.7 billion per year if all Glasgow Statement signatories fulfill their commitments. At COP26 in Glasgow, 39 countries and institutions pledged to end international public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022 and shift this money to clean energy. This report is the first international assessment of signatories’ implementation of the commitment since the passing of the end of 2022 deadline. The report reveals that while some high-income countries have kept their Glasgow commitment, a group of major providers of international public finance have broken their promise, including Germany, Italy, and the United States. The report’s key findings include that out of sixteen high-income signatories that provide significant levels of international public finance: Eight have adopted policies that broadly meet the promise they made in Glasgow (Canada, the European Investment Bank, the United Kingdom, France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and New Zealand), shifting an estimated USD 5.7 billion per year out of fossil fuels and showing that the Glasgow Statement is having a real-world impact; Four signatories (Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Spain) have new policies that further restrict fossil fuel support but leave major loopholes and/or do not meet the end of 2022 deadline;  Four signatories (Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United States) have yet to publish new or updated policies. The United States has reportedly adopted a policy, but is refusing to publish it. Ongoing policy debates in Germany and Italy suggest that these countries are likely to introduce loopholes in any forthcoming policies that allow continued fossil fuel financing; Just days after this report was finalized, it appears Canada’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada is already in breach of their policy by approving four international oil and gas transactions totaling at least USD 5.5 million in 2023.”

The Hill: DeSantis, 18 states to push back against Biden ESG agenda

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday announced an alliance with 18 other states to push back against President Biden’s support for environmental, social and corporate governance investing, known as ESG,” The Hill reports. “The states argue that Biden’s backing for socially-conscious ESG investing, under which investors weigh sustainability and ethical considerations, is a threat to the U.S. economy.  DeSantis joins with the governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming in what his office called “an alliance to push back” against Biden’s ESG “agenda.” “…Republicans have championed legislation that would nullify the administration’s existing ESG rule allowing managers of retirement funds to consider ESG factors. The bill has been sent to the president’s desk, but Biden is expected to veto it. The 19 states in their joint statement said they plan to lead state-level initiatives “to protect individuals from the ESG movement,” including potentially blocking ESG at the state and local levels and withholding state pension funds and state-controlled investments from firms that use ESG.”

LittleSis: Tax Records Reveal University of Chicago is Massively Invested In Fossil Fuels
Derek Seidman, 3/16/23

“As dozens of universities and colleges move to divest from fossil fuels in the face of mounting climate catastrophe, tax filings from the University of Chicago reveal at least two dozen investments in funds that bankroll oil and gas companies, including several Big Oil supermajors, companies behind controversial operations like the Dakota Access Pipeline, and one company that’s owned by a far-right Texas oil billionaire who has helped drive that state’s backlash against women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and voting rights,” LittleSis reports. “We analyzed UChicago’s most recently available Form 990-T, where tax-exempt organizations report “unrelated business income,” which includes income from investments structured as limited partnerships, like private equity investments and pipeline partnerships. UChicago’s filing reveals that the university currently has, or recently has had, extensive investments in fossil fuel behemoths like BP, Phillips 66 and Shell, as well as major pipeline companies Energy Transfer and Plains All American Pipeline. Moreover, the university is invested in numerous fossil fuel funds overseen by firms with stakes in dozens of oil and gas companies. All this comes as David Rubenstein, a private equity billionaire whose firm Carlyle Group has extensive fossil fuel investments, became the chairman of UChicago’s Board of Trustees a year ago. Rubenstein has repeatedly and publicly professed his fondness for oil and gas investments. UChicago students, faculty and graduate workers have repeatedly spoken out on the climate catastrophe and called on the university to divest from fossil fuels, but the recent filings show that UChicago remains massively invested in oil and gas companies whose core business operations generate huge amounts of carbon emissions.”


Shelburne Free Press: Shelburne Fire Service gets funding boost for training materials
Paula Brown, 3/16/23

“The Shelburne & District Fire Department (SDFD) has received funding from Enbridge Gas to help purchase firefighting training materials for the local fire department,” the Shelburne Free Press reports. “The funding was made available through the Safe Community Project Assist, a program with the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council (FMPFSC) that supplements existing training for Ontario volunteer and composite fire departments in the communities where Enbridge Gas operates. “We are always working to provide cost effective training for our firefighters,” Chief Ralph Snyder told the Press. “This is the second time Shelburne & District Fire Department has received a grant from Enbridge and the FMPFSC, allowing us to expand our training library. SDFD is proud to work with these partners to improve the safety of our firefighters and the multiple communities we serve.” This year, Enbridge Gas donated $250,000 to be shared by 50 Ontario fire departments, including the Shelburne & District Fire Department. Funds were allocated to the fire departments to purchase education materials to assist in training firefighters in life-saving techniques.”


Bleeding Heartland: Democrats blew a chance to connect with rural Iowa
Wally Taylor is the Legal Chair of the Sierra Club Iowa chapter, 3/16/23

“Sierra Club has been opposed to the carbon dioxide pipelines that several corporations are trying to build across Iowa since the projects were first announced. The pipeline companies claim the capturing of carbon dioxide from ethanol plants will address climate change, save the ethanol industry, and provide economic benefits. There is no merit to any of these claims,” Wally Taylor writes for Bleeding Heartland. “One thing we learned from the Dakota Access pipeline fight several years ago is that the crucial strategy to oppose the pipelines is to organize the impacted landowners into a unified opposition. Through the fantastic work of Sierra Club’s Conservation Program Coordinator, Jessica Mazour, the landowners have created a groundswell of opposition. Their efforts helped persuade Republican legislators to introduce bills that would restrict or prohibit the use of eminent domain for the pipelines… “Meanwhile, only one Democrat on the panel, Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, voted yes. All of the other Democrats—Ross Wilburn, Rick Olson, Sami Scheetz, Brian Meyer, and Lindsay James—opposed the bill… “What is most disappointing is that the landowners who have worked hard to protect their rights and impact the legislative process are mostly rural voters, who question whether Democrats are on their side. It is clear that Democrats need to connect with rural voters in order to win elections in Iowa. Winning a few more seats in urban areas will not give the party control of the legislature… “I hope that when House File 565 comes to the floor, Democrats will reassess what is in their best interests and vote for the bill.” We need common-sense energy policies | Opinion
Anthony Pugliese is the former Chief of Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Senior White House Advisor for Transportation, 3/15/23

“During the Trump Administration, America achieved energy independence and record low energy prices. America quadrupled its liquified natural gas (LNG) exports. We were among the top three LNG exporters in the world,” Anthony Pugliese writes for “…Fast forward to 2023. Under President Biden, energy production within the United States has drastically decreased. As one of his first acts in office, he declared war on fossil fuels by canceling the Keystone Pipeline—putting thousands of American workers out of jobs. But it is not just the federal government attacking key energy projects. Blue states and radical environmental groups have weaponized environmental laws to obstruct our domestic energy production. For instance, in Oregon, state officials simply refused to grant the necessary permits for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal that would have carried natural gas from Canada to a proposed facility in Oregon. The cancellation of the project comes after years of significant investment and over a decade of work on the project… “Many blue states have weaponized good environmental legislation like the Clean Water Act, to kill other energy projects. For example, in New York, the state denied water permits needed to build the Constitution Pipeline that would move natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York consumers… “Another law being used by activist judges to obstruct the construction of energy pipelines is the Endangered Species Act. The Mountain Valley Pipeline had multiple permits invalidated due to lawsuits over the law. What often makes many of these lawsuits successful in revoking needed permits for the construction of these pipelines is the environmentalists’ court shopping to activist judges who will likely be sympathetic to their cause. Usually, this is the 9th Circuit Court that encompasses heavily Democrat-controlled areas such as California and has 29 Democrat-appointed federal judges. If we don’t stop the obstruction of energy pipelines, America’s national security and economy will be drastically weakened. What energy company wants to waste millions of dollars and years of resources in projects that never materialize?”

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