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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 3/6/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

March 6, 2023



  • Reuters: Mountain Valley Pipeline gets a key approval to restart construction

  • Michigan AG files appeal to return Enbridge Line 5 case to state court

  • E&E News: Midwest CO2 pipeline rush creates regulatory chaos

  • Minot Daily News: Ahead of public debate in ND, New study examines carbon capture

  • LeMars Daily Sentinel: Anti-CO2 pipeline bill advances in Iowa

  • NPR Illinois: Plans are back on the table for a carbon pipeline in Illinois

  • Radio Iowa: Five counties along pipeline route hire legal counsel

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

  • Hamilton Spectator: Stoney Creek open house puts Enbridge pipeline bosses on hot seat

  • WPDE: Florence community members speak out against gas pipeline


  • Common Dreams: ‘Stop Wasting Public Money’: Climate Groups Slam Carbon Capture Scam

  • Washington Post: How a tax break meant to curb climate change could make it worse

  • CNN: #StopWillow is taking TikTok by storm. Can it actually work?

  • Reuters: Biden admin works on ‘green’ natural gas as U.S. vies for top LNG spot

  • E&E News: House Dem Retreat Showcases Divisions On Permitting 

  • InsideEPA: Permitting Faces Long Hill Process As GOP’s ‘Opening Salvo’ Draws Fire 

  • Navigator Research: Talking About Record Gas Company Profits Drives Up the Share Who Blame Corporate Greed for High Gas Prices

  • Data for Progress: After Ohio Train Derailment, Voters Support Strict Safety Regulations for Railroad Companies


  • Indiana Public Broadcasting: Bill on carbon capture pilot program divides Indiana lawmakers, narrowly passes Senate

  • Colorado Sun: Railroad’s plan to haul waxy crude through Colorado’s mountains needs $2 billion in government-approved bonds


  • Science News: The Deepwater Horizon oil spill ruined long-term shore stability

  • DeSmog: Industry Knew About Gas Stoves’ Air Pollution Problems in Early 1970s

  • Axios: Solving oil’s Goldilocks problem


  • Washington Post: The battle over Biden’s climate-friendly investing rule is just beginning

  • National Observer: Students push Ontario pension giant to ditch dirty investments

  • FinTech Global: Deutsche Bank ESG revenues set to surpass €1bn per year



Reuters: Mountain Valley Pipeline gets a key approval to restart construction
Clark Mindock, 3/2/23

“The Biden administration has determined that restarting construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline won’t significantly jeopardize rare fish and other endangered species along its path, clearing a major hurdle that was keeping developers from finishing the project,” Reuters reports. “The biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, made public Wednesday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), was a necessary precursor to other federal agencies being able to issue permits to restart construction on unfinished portions of the 303-mile proposed pipeline. The bulk of the unfinished portions of the pipeline either cross streams and rivers or go through the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, and building in those areas requires federal permits. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service, which are required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding how projects will impact endangered species, are expected to finalize those approvals as early as this spring. Patrick Grenter, the Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director for the Sierra Club, which is involved in ongoing litigation challenging the project’s approvals, told Reuters that the biological opinion was “hasty” and ignored concerns for endangered species.” Michigan AG files appeal to return Enbridge Line 5 case to state court
Garret Ellison, 3/3/23

“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to send her 2019 lawsuit seeking shutdown of the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac back to state court,” reports. “Nessel announced her filing Friday, March 3. It marks the latest legal jockeying over jurisdiction for the case after Grand Rapids Federal District Judge Janet Neff on Feb. 21 certified her August order denying Nessel’s request to remand the case. Typically, judge’s procedural decisions are not subject to appeal, but certification paves way for one. Sixth Circuit judges must now decide whether to accept the appeal. The case is stayed pending the outcome. “This pipeline poses a grave threat to Michigan and to our Great Lakes,” Nessel told Mlive. “Enbridge initially agreed that this case belonged in state court and waited two years to move it to federal court. I am grateful that the district court has now recognized that an appeal is appropriate, and I look forward to raising these important issues in the Sixth Circuit.” “…Nessel wants the case heard in Ingham County. She argues that Neff’s 2022 decision “effectively snatched the case away from the state court after substantial litigation had taken place in the state court, and while the parties were awaiting a final decision from the state court,” according to her office. Enbridge accused Nessel of “ignoring the substantial federal issues that are properly decided in federal court and not state court,” in a statement Friday.”

E&E News: Midwest CO2 pipeline rush creates regulatory chaos
Mike Soraghan, 3/3/23

“A complicated question is looming in the Midwest over plans to build thousands of miles of carbon dioxide pipelines: Who would regulate them?” E&E News reports. “The answer could affect the Biden administration’s hopes for a massive buildup of carbon sequestration projects, which would in many cases be supplied by those pipelines. Safety advocates say there are loopholes in federal safety regulations that could leave the lines largely unregulated. Pipelines being converted from shipping natural gas to carrying CO2 aren’t covered by current rules, for example. Existing standards to move carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery also may not be adequate for new pipeline projects, critics say. “There’s a lot of ambiguity,” Bill Caram, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, an advocacy group, told E&E. “The way the regulations are written leaves it open.” “…Opponents have been pushing for a moratorium on construction of the projects until new federal regulations for carbon dioxide pipelines are completed. PHMSA has begun an overhaul of its existing rules, but the agency isn’t projecting a first draft before October 2024. And PHMSA regulations often take years. The jurisdiction issue is creating confusion for some state regulators. In January, the Illinois Commerce Commission, which is weighing approval of Navigator’s project, sent a formal request asking PHMSA whether the federal agency would regulate the pipeline once built. Commission spokesperson Victoria Crawford said it also asked “whether and to what extent PHMSA inspects such pipelines.” A PHMSA spokesperson told E&E the agency is reviewing Illinois’ request, adding that it will “need to investigate the characteristics of the pipeline facility.” “…While opining that PHMSA has jurisdiction and determining that the safety information doesn’t need to be turned over for now, the Iowa board said Summit Carbon will still need to submit evidence in the future to gain approval of the pipeline… “Just because companies haven’t contested PHMSA’s authority in the past and aren’t contesting it now, doesn’t mean new pipeline owners will accept it in the future, Caram of the Pipeline Safety Trust told E&E… “But the projects face resistance from landowners and environmentalists who question the value of carbon capture and sequestration in fighting climate change, and object to the prospect that some of the companies might seek to condemn land under eminent domain… “Unregulated pipelines carrying a dangerous asphyxiant is a clear example of policy getting way out ahead of safety regulations,” Caram told E&E.

Minot Daily News: Ahead of public debate in ND, New study examines carbon capture
MIKE MOEN, 3/2/23

“A new study questions whether state and federal governments should be subsidizing the approach to carbon capture,” the Minot Daily News reports. “A series of public hearings will begin in March on a proposed pipeline project to bring underground storage of carbon dioxide to North Dakota, and at the same time, new research is emerging about the technology… “June Sekera, senior research fellow at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center and visiting scholar at The New School for Social Research, helped lead a new study, which found carbon pipelines might not be as efficient as other strategies for policymakers to consider. “And if they look at the data, they will understand that the public taxpayer’s money is much better spent on supporting biological methods than it is on supporting the mechanical methods that they’re currently subsidizing,” Sekera told the News. The study showed mechanical approaches to capturing carbon, similar to the Summit plan, have barely moved the needle in removing emissions from the air. Biological methods, such as replanting of trees, have achieved nearly one million tons of carbon dioxide removal… “While supporters of the Summit plan and similar projects said the technology is still taking shape, Sekera suggested there is doubt any long-term success will be achieved through the approach. “Scientists at the international level are predicting that we won’t get to even one gigaton of CO2 removal using the mechanical methods by 2050,” Sekera told the News. The findings are detailed in a separate report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which noted most large-scale projects have underperformed, with only a couple of successful ones.”

LeMars Daily Sentinel: Anti-CO2 pipeline bill advances in Iowa
Elijah Helton, 3/1/23

“The anti-pipeline movement has coalesced around a single bill in the Iowa Legislature,” the LeMars Daily Sentinel reports. “We’re looking at this to be our centerpiece,” Rep. Tom Jeneary (R-Le Mars) told the Sentinel. “I’m hoping we can get something done. I know that some folks would certainly like to see more, but this is something very workable.” House File 368 takes aim at the several carbon-capture pipelines — including the project from Summit Carbon Solutions — that corporate interests are planning to build in the Hawkeye State. The bill would delay and possibly stop the carbon-capture projects in three main ways: Pipeline companies would need to get 90 percent of landowners on the route to sign a voluntary easement before eminent domain could be pursued… “One of the key sticking points has been the threat of eminent domain. Many landowners who live along the project routes, mostly farmers, are opposed to their property being used for the CO2 lines… “Various groups opposed to the CO2 projects have made weekly visits to Des Moines during the legislative session, but organizers planned for Tuesday to be a particularly impactful gathering. Amy Solsma, a farmer from rural Sanborn, was at the demonstration and the subcommittee hearing. It was the first time she had made the drive, more than 400 miles round trip, for a protest in the state capital. “I was going to try and go down because I’m passionate about this. I had never been to a rally before,” Solsma told the Sentinel… “Sen. Jeff Taylor told the Sentinel that lobbyist pressure will remain if House File 368 makes it to his chamber, but the momentum will be too much to ignore outright, as is the present case.”

NPR Illinois: Plans are back on the table for a carbon pipeline in Illinois
Sarah Nardi, 3/3/23

“Plans have resumed for a carbon dioxide pipeline in Illinois after a brief delay. Heartland Greenway LLC refiled its application with the Illinois Commerce Commission last Friday after voluntarily withdrawing it at the end of January,” NPR Illinois reports. “…Navigator has also expanded the scope of the project in its latest application, adding 42 miles of pipeline and an additional storage site… “But despite geologists’ predictions that carbon could be safely sequestered for millions of years, many Illinois landowners aren’t willing stake their livelihoods to find out. Navigator withdrew its initial application with the ICC after failing to secure the necessary agreements with landowners to store the carbon dioxide. Concerns have also been raised about the repercussions of the pipeline itself. “As a farmer, I’m really concerned about the land impact,” Steve Hess told NPR… “Construction the pipeline would mean tearing through an expensive system of drain-tiles in Hess’s fields. And it would compact the soil, Hess told NPR, which could negatively impact soil quality for years to come. “And then you have the safety issue,” Hess told NPR. “My son lives a half mile from the (proposed) pipeline.” A carbon pipeline ruptured in Satartia, Mississippi in 2020, sickening dozens of people. Hess told NPR that incident weighs heavily on his mind, and he doesn’t think Navigator has done enough to address landowners’ concerns… “Asked any headway the company has made in securing agreements with landowners, spokesman Andy Gates told NPR Navigator has so far spent nearly a million dollars on Right of Way agreements for the project in Illinois. He did not specify what percentage of necessary agreements that figure represents.”

Radio Iowa: Five counties along pipeline route hire legal counsel

“Five northeast Iowa counties are hiring an attorney to respond to development of a carbon capture pipeline,” Radio Iowa reports. “…Delaware County Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs told Radio Iowa it makes sense to unite with neighboring Bremer, Butler, Emmet and Floyd Counties… “The boards have hired Timothy Whipple, a Des Moines attorney who specializes in work with government boards. “His representation is to assist with the drafting of any future ordinances and whatever representation we might need in Utility Board hearings,” Helmrich  told Radio Iowa. The counties are filing what’s called a petition to intervene. Helmrichs told Radio Iowa it would ensure the county is part of any government proceedings or public meetings about the Navigator pipeline… “We really feel it’s important to keep doing what we can for our landowners that will be affected and ultimately this will affect everybody because it’s a land use issue, It’s a right to own your own property and not be fearful of what’s going to happen to it,” Helmrichs told Radio Iowa. “There’s people that would like us to do more and there’s people that would like us to not to much of anything.”

RBN Energy: Southwest Louisiana Gas Pipeline Projects Targeting LNG Export Demand
Sheetal Nasta, 3/5/23

“As U.S. LNG export project development accelerates in the coming years, a lot more natural gas pipeline capacity will be needed to supply the numerous liquefaction facilities vying for a piece of the global gas market pie,” RBN Energy reports. ‘That’s particularly true for a small stretch of the Gulf Coast from the Sabine River on the Texas-Louisiana border to the Calcasieu Pass Ship Channel — where the bulk of planned export capacity additions are concentrated — even as transportation bottlenecks are emerging for getting natural gas supply to the area. To address the growing demand, a number of pipeline expansions are planned or proposed to bring more supply into the region or deliver feedgas across the “last mile” to these multibillion-dollar facilities… “In addition to regulatory approvals and financial commitments, one of the primary criteria for an LNG export terminal is access to upstream supply and the availability of pipeline capacity to deliver feedgas to the facility. To that end, there are a slew of pipeline projects in the works to do just that, including those that debottleneck routes for moving supply to the Gulf Coast and those that take it the last mile to the terminals. In Part 1, we reviewed some of the recently completed expansions, including TC Energy’s Louisiana Xpress and Alberta Xpress, Kinder Morgan’s Acadiana expansion of its Louisiana system, and Energy Transfer’s Gulf Run Transmission. Next, we’ll focus on future expansions and — specifically for the purpose of today’s blog — on announced or sanctioned pipelines primarily targeting LNG export demand in that southwestern Louisiana/Texas-Louisiana border region, including those tied to export projects that have already reached FID (or de facto FID based on capacity commitments).”

Hamilton Spectator: Stoney Creek open house puts Enbridge pipeline bosses on hot seat
Richard Leitner, 3/6/23

“A Stoney Creek open house on Enbridge Gas Inc.’s plan to build a natural gas pipeline to ArcelorMittal Dofasco didn’t draw many people, but those who did show up made their passionate objections clear,” the Hamilton Spectator reports. “Five members of the climate change group Hamilton 350 committee grilled Enbridge representatives for nearly an hour on the project, touted as “a practical bridge” to help the steelmaker transition to net zero in carbon emissions. Enbridge says the pipeline, whose preferred 14-kilometre route runs along an existing city road allowance that includes upper and lower Centennial Parkway, will cut Dofasco’s carbon emissions by 60 per cent by phasing out the use of coal. But Lucia Iannantuono, Green Party candidate in Hamilton Centre’s March 16 provincial byelection, criticized the plan’s silence on how Dofasco will get to net zero… “Enbridge in general wants to extract everything they can out of the assets while they are profitable — that’s just how companies work — or bring in a brand new pipeline that they’re going to try to use for the longest time possible.” But Enbridge regional director Murray Costello said Dofasco needs natural gas as a reliable energy source to stop using dirtier coal and the pipeline will help Hamilton reach 55 per cent of a target of cutting city carbon emissions in half by 2030.

WPDE: Florence community members speak out against gas pipeline
Shawnia Butler, 3/4/23

“A South Carolina court heard a challenge to Dominion Energy’s plans to build a 15-mile mile natural pipeline along the Great Pee Dee River earlier this week,” WPDE reports. “Residents in the area have protested tirelessly for years against the pipeline, they feel it will harm the environment along with their fellow neighbors. Kathy Andrews of Pamplico has been the spokesperson for these protestors for years and she’ll never stop fighting for what she believes is right. Andrews told WPDE this project will contaminate the air and the water, which will harm community members… “After its review of plans for the project, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control determined there is reasonable assurance that Dominion Energy will conduct work in a manner consistent with certification requirements, including water quality certification,” the company told WPDE. Andrew’s is also part of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, and they have filed a lawsuit against DHEC for giving Dominion Energy a permit to move forward with the pipeline.”


Common Dreams: ‘Stop Wasting Public Money’: Climate Groups Slam Carbon Capture Scam

“Climate organizations this week are calling out new legislation that would pour even more money into the “false solution” of carbon capture technology, which they warn is just a distraction by the fossil fuel industry that does nothing to address the climate crisis,” Common Dreams reports. “Advocates of bold climate action are taking aim at the Captured Carbon Utilization Parity Act (S. 542/H.R. 1262), introduced by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) on Tuesday. As a summary from the senators details, the bill would boost the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture and utilization (CCU) “to match the incentives for carbon capture and storage (CCS) for both direct air capture (DAC) and the power and industrial sectors.” Specifically, it would increase the value for DAC utilization to $180 per metric ton and for power and industrial sector utilization to $85 per metric ton—a move that the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates would cost $16 million over the next decade… “Many frontline communities and climate groups have long criticized efforts to develop and implement such operations—and the potential investment of public money into them—because of both local and global impacts, and instead demanded a swift and just transition to renewables. “We have real and proven solutions to address the climate crisis that don’t harm communities already overburdened with pollution,” Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Sarah Lutz told Common Dreams. “The Captured Carbon Utilization Parity Act will only undermine the needed transition away from fossil fuels… There is no legitimate reason to double down on subsidies for fossil fuel and petrochemical industry greenwashing scams. Sen. Whitehouse should not work with Republicans to light taxpayer money on fire at the expense of our communities and climate.”

Washington Post: How a tax break meant to curb climate change could make it worse
Evan Halper, 2/3/23

“The promise of a powerful new fuel that can be used to run such things as steel mills or heavy construction equipment without any greenhouse gas emissions was a major selling point in the climate package President Biden signed over the summer,” the Washington Post reports. “But now, as tens of billions of taxpayer dollars are poised to start flowing toward “green hydrogen” technology, environmentalists, scientists and some clean tech firms fear the subsidies could boost a fuel with a very different profile. They are fighting an intense lobbying effort by some of the world’s biggest energy firms to make those lucrative tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act available even to companies that are using fossil fuels to produce the hydrogen, releasing what some scholars warn could be an enormous amount of greenhouse gas in the process. The dispute underscores the considerable challenges involved with implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, which included hundreds of billions of dollars to speed the transition toward a greener economy. Several of the provisions are geared toward accelerating production of next-generation clean technologies. But deep disagreements exist over how quickly some of them can be brought into the mainstream and how aggressively the federal government should demand quick climate benefits. Tensions are also emerging around subsidies for capturing and storing carbon, as well as those for next-generation nuclear power plants and development of sustainable aviation fuels. The corporate resistance to requiring all green hydrogen be made with clean energy has alarmed major environmental groups and several developers of the new fuel. They warn the less restrictive rules sought by industry groups representing companies such as BP, NextEra and ExxonMobil from the IRS threaten to undermine the integrity of the fledgling green hydrogen industry and the new climate law.” “We are talking about a massive subsidy, where more than $100 billion could be spent,” Rachel Fakhry, who leads hydrogen work at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the post. “We could wind up with government spending it on something that actually increases emissions. Imagine the consequences of tons of added emissions heavily subsidized by a climate bill. That is an awful story.”

CNN: #StopWillow is taking TikTok by storm. Can it actually work?
Ella Nilsen, 3/5/23

“When Elise Joshi posted a TikTok video about the Alaska oil drilling project known as Willow in early February, she didn’t have high hopes it would go viral,” CNN reports. “Joshi, 20, posts often about climate issues on TikTok for the account Gen-Z for Change, as well as her personal account. She’s well aware “climate doesn’t trend very often,” as she told CNN. But Joshi’s video about Willow was very different. It took just a few days to accumulate more than 100,000 views, eventually surpassing 300,000. “It’s my most-viewed video in months,” Joshi told CNN. “This is the entire internet advocating against Willow; [President Joe Biden’s] voter base, that trusted him to act on climate.” “…While the project has both supporters and opponents in its home state, it has become a lightning rod on social media. Over the past week, TikTok users in particular have galvanized around halting the project, with a staggering number of people watching and posting on the topic. Videos with anti-Willow hashtags like #StopWillow have amassed close to 50 million views in the last week, and on Friday, Willow was on the site’s top 10 trending list, behind celebrities Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. Much of the spike in interest has come in the last week alone. The online activism has resulted in more than one million letters being written to the White House protesting the project, as well as a petition with 2.8 million signatures and counting. “If that doesn’t emphasize the fact that it’s everyday Americans pushing back, I don’t know what does,” Alex Haraus, 25, a TikTok creator whose Willow videos have garnered millions of views, told CNN. “This is not an environmental movement, it’s much larger than that. It’s the American public that can vote.” TikTok creators and climate groups CNN spoke to said the sudden surge in online activism around Willow has largely been organic, and much larger than any other climate issue on the app before.”

Reuters: Biden admin works on ‘green’ natural gas as U.S. vies for top LNG spot

“The Biden administration is holding talks with global energy companies and foreign officials in an effort to set standards for certified natural gas, a form of the fuel that producers market as climate friendly,” Reuters reports. “The effort comes as the United States seeks to sustain its liquefied natural gas, or LNG, exports to Europe to displace Russian fuel, while also promoting efforts to fight global warming. A credible market for certified natural gas could help it tackle both goals at once. Gas can be certified as low- or no-carbon if its producers can prove they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with getting it to market, or if they purchase carbon offsets to cut its net climate impact. “It’s a big priority for us to make sure that the role we’re playing in… supplying natural gas to our allies at a time of great energy security need is done in a way that is climate responsible,” Brad Crabtree, an assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) fossil energy and carbon management office, told Reuters. The United States has become the world’s top gas producer in recent years, and competes with Qatar to be top LNG exporter. Crabtree told Reuters he hosted a workshop in October with gas industry representatives, including a new industry group called the Differentiated Gas Coordinating Council (DGCC), to discuss standards for certified gas. His office has also had talks with European Union representatives, Japan, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, and Britain, and others on approaches to reduce methane emissions from the industry, a spokesperson told Reuters.

E&E News: House Dem Retreat Showcases Divisions On Permitting 
Emma Dumain, 3/3/23

“A senior Biden administration official told a group of House Democrats at their annual retreat here that the president would sign legislation to overhaul the federal permitting process,” E&E News reports. “This is not a new position, as articulated by Mitch Landrieu on behalf of the White House, where he serves as a top adviser responsible for coordinating implementation of the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law… “Landrieu’s comments — confirmed to E&E News by multiple members who heard his remarks Thursday — also drew into stark relief the challenges Democrats could face in implementing the multi-billion-dollar law passed in the previous Congress. That was a major topic at this week’s retreat, where the president himself spoke to lawmakers Wednesday. A group of House Democrats continue to insist there are plenty of ways to accelerate grid electrification and transmission deployment without permitting reform, which will all but certainly necessitate reopening the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. That group is clashing with those in the party — including key players in the White House — who argue that revisions to the permitting process and NEPA are the only ways to get renewable energy projects off the ground in a timely manner.”

InsideEPA: Permitting Faces Long Hill Process As GOP’s ‘Opening Salvo’ Draws Fire 

“House Republicans’ first suite of bills to ease environmental permitting for energy and other projects is drawing harsh criticism from Democrats, including from some who say they want to work with the GOP, as an assault on core safeguards, signaling that any effort to secure a bipartisan permitting deal faces a lengthy negotiation,” InsideEPA reports. “…‘Most of [the climate law’s clean energy buildout] will not be possible without the ability to permit and build efficiently,’ argued House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) during his committee’s Feb. 28 hearing on a Republican-sponsored bill that would make several major changes to NEPA… “Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) responded that she shares the Biden administration’s goal to streamline permitting for clean energy, and she has committed to ‘working with Democrats and Republicans to get it done. Unfortunately, [the Republicans’ NEPA bill] is not it.’ ‘Permitting reform is too important, too urgent for this Congress to spend time on partisan bills and one-sided legislative packages,’ Lee added.”

Navigator Research: Talking About Record Gas Company Profits Drives Up the Share Who Blame Corporate Greed for High Gas Prices

“One in three blame oil companies for high gas prices (33%), but that share rises to 45% when shown proof points about record-breaking profits oil companies have made,” according to Navigator Research, “a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.”

Data for Progress: After Ohio Train Derailment, Voters Support Strict Safety Regulations for Railroad Companies
Sabrina Jacobs, 2/24/23

“The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio created an environmental disaster that has shed light on the lack of regulation of U.S. railroad companies,” according to Data for Progress. “…Data for Progress finds a clear plurality of voters — 49 percent — blame train operator Norfolk Southern for the derailment in East Palestine, while 10 percent blame the Department of Transportation. Fifty percent of Democrats, 52 percent of Independents, and 47 percent of Republicans direct their blame toward Norfolk Southern. While railroad companies like Norfolk Southern claim that new electronic braking systems are too expensive to install, experts insist that the derailment could have been avoided had the train been upgraded to electronic braking systems. Seventy-six percent of voters believe that U.S. regulators should require railroad companies to install upgraded electronic braking systems in their older trains, including 88 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Independents, and 66 percent of Republicans. Voters also believe that current precautions for the transportation of hazardous materials don’t go far enough. Fifty-eight percent of voters say there are still too few safety precautions in place for railroad companies that transport hazardous materials. This includes 62 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 54 percent of Republicans. To address these risks, voters across party lines are in favor of increased safety measures, including 89 percent of voters who support setting higher standards for maintenance on railroads and strengthening safety regulations on railroad cars carrying explosive substances. Eighty-six percent of voters support placing limits on the length and weight of freight trains carrying hazardous materials… “Voters across party lines clearly agree that in order to avoid future tragedies, strict regulations on railroad companies must be put in place.”


Indiana Public Broadcasting: Bill on carbon capture pilot program divides Indiana lawmakers, narrowly passes Senate

“A bill that aims to help get a state pilot program on carbon sequestration going narrowly passed the Indiana Senate this week. Property rights and environmental issues split both parties on the matter,” Indiana Public Broadcasting reports. “Nearly four years ago, the state gave Wabash Valley Resources approval to store its carbon emissions underground. Senate Bill 451 aims to make the project in Terre Haute more competitive for federal grants by clarifying how the company will get property rights. The bill states landowners must get paid at least $250 per acre. But those who want more money would have to sue to get it. Farmers and other landowners also said the bill allows the company to inject CO2 under their land without the same consent as other such projects in the state. Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) said he was unsure about the Wabash Valley project at first. “If, in fact, you saw whether it has a minimal effect on environment and it could have enormous potential economic development effect — not just for the two counties in the state of Indiana, but the whole country. Why not?” he told IPB. But environmental groups worry the project could not only threaten the environment, but public health. They’re concerned leaking CO2 emissions could pollute drinking water sources, suffocate residents and animals, or cause earthquakes.”

Colorado Sun: Railroad’s plan to haul waxy crude through Colorado’s mountains needs $2 billion in government-approved bonds
Jason Blevins, 2/24/23

“There’s a new battleground for opponents hoping to stop controversial plans for a short railroad in Utah that could roll 350,000 barrels of dense crude a day through Colorado,” the Colorado Sun reports. “ Utah’s Seven County Infrastructure Coalition earlier this month approved a resolution allowing the owners of the railroad to secure up to $2 billion in “private activity bonds” to finance the construction of the 88-mile railroad that will connect Utah’s Uinta Basin oil fields with the national railroad network. Those bonds will cover only 70% of the project, so the Uinta Basin Railroad could cost as much as $2.9 billion after funding from private investors. The project was originally priced at $1.4 billion when the Surface Transportation Board began studying the plan four years ago… “The line of opponents to the new railroad has grown quickly as the proposed railroad takes shape. More than a dozen Colorado municipalities, counties and water districts are protesting the plan, which could send mile-long trains carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of the viscous crude in heated train cars along the Colorado River, Grand County’s Fraser River and through the Moffat Tunnel at Winter Park… “Eagle County has joined several environmental groups appealing the federal Surface Transportation Board’s 2020 approval of the new railroad. Many Colorado communities have filed “friend of the court” briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington supporting Eagle County’s fight… “Environmental groups also have filed an appeal of the transportation board’s approval of the project and those same groups also have sued to overturn the Forest Service’s approval of a short stretch of the railroad in a designated roadless area in Utah. Those groups argue that approving a railroad that will deliver 110 trains cars a day to refineries on the Gulf Coast do not align with the nation’s emission-slashing climate goals. Those lawsuits have been a last stand to block the trains. Now the groups are scheming how they might lobby the federal Department of Transportation to deny the bonds for Uinta Basin Railway, LLC.”


Science News: The Deepwater Horizon oil spill ruined long-term shore stability
Joshua Rapp Learn, 3/5/23

“Long after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the marshy shores of the Gulf of Mexico were still feeling the effects of the disaster. Marsh grass retained plant-smothering oil, and the soil continued to crumble away at a faster rate than before the spill, causing the shoreline to retreat more rapidly than it would otherwise, a new study shows,” Science News reports. “Following an explosion in April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig pumped nearly 800 million liters of oil into the sea). The disaster killed dozens of humans and untold sea life. And the oil and its by-products were catastrophic for the Gulf ecosystem, both underwater and along the shore. But the oil also caused structural damage to the shoreline by killing the marsh plants crucial to holding soil in place, researchers report January 25 in Environmental Pollution. That’s making the coast more vulnerable to tropical storms that may be increasing in intensity due to climate change. “If the plants are compromised in any way, shape or form, you’re going to lose a lot of land,” Giovanna McClenachan, an ecologist at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., told SN… “The field test revealed that, immediately after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the oil concentration of some of the most volatile components of oil, called aromatics, in marsh soil jumped from an average of 23.9 nanograms per gram of sediment before the spill to 17,152 nanograms per gram of sediment in 2011. By 2018, average levels had dropped to 247 nanograms per gram of sediment — but were still more than 10 times higher than before the spill. Soil strength also declined by half after the spill… “This is partly due to the strong storms that have come through in the years since the spill. McClenachan says the initial oil spill killed a lot of plants on what was then the marsh shore. Once those died, the soil retained by the marsh grass roots was loosened and washed away. But the oil remained in the water and got pushed farther into the marsh, where it killed more plants.”

DeSmog: Industry Knew About Gas Stoves’ Air Pollution Problems in Early 1970s
Rebecca John, 3/2/23

“At the end of December 2022, when Americans were getting ready to spend hours indoors with family and friends — often in their kitchens, preparing holiday meals on the stovetop — a new study reignited a decades-old debate. The peer-reviewed research by the environmental think tank RMI (formerly Rocky Mountain Institute), the University of Sydney, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine estimated that “nearly 13 percent of childhood asthma cases in the United States can be linked to having a gas stove in the home,” DeSmog reports. “The backlash was swift and fierce. The American Gas Association (AGA) trade group called the findings “not substantiated by sound science,” and added that “any discussion” of a possible connection between asthma and the use of gas for cooking was “reckless.” But this latest attempt to shut down discussion of the health impact of stoves is nothing new. It has been building for several years alongside revelations that AGA has used paid influencer campaigns to defend gas stoves and waged state-by-state, city-by-city lobbying offensives against initiatives to replace gas furnaces, water heaters, and stoves with electric-powered devices aimed at reducing pollution linked to climate change. It’s less widely known that the gas industry has long sponsored its own research into the problem of indoor air pollution from gas stoves. Now, newly discovered documents reveal that the American Gas Association was studying the health and indoor pollution risks from gas stoves as far back as the early 1970s — that they knew much more, at a far earlier date, than has been previously documented. More than 50 years ago, in 1972, AGA authored a draft report highlighting indoor air pollution concerns similar to those being raised by health experts and regulators today.”

Axios: Solving oil’s Goldilocks problem
Ben Geman, 3/3/23

“A mystery facing C-suite execs and policymakers is how much oil and gas the world needs in the future — and therefore how much should be spent now to ensure enough flows,” Axios reports. “Why it matters: Call it the Goldilocks problem: Too little investment could bring a pricey and ugly supply crunch — one that even slows energy transition. Too much means stranded assets, infrastructure that locks in emissions, or both. Driving the news: Enter new analysis from researchers with Columbia University’s energy think tank that offers ideas on guiding investments without bailing on climate goals. Right now, “the oil and gas industry is investing less than what is required to meet current demand trends but more than what is needed in the net-zero scenario,” write Gautam Jain and Luisa Palacios with Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy.


Washington Post: The battle over Biden’s climate-friendly investing rule is just beginning
Maxine Joselow, 3/6/23

“President Biden is expected to issue the first veto of his presidency after Congress last week passed a bill that would repeal a Labor Department rule on climate-friendly investing,” the Washington Post reports. “But the presidential veto will hardly end the battle over the rule, which 25 Republican attorneys general have challenged in federal court. The congressional vote “was somewhat performative because everyone knew that Biden would veto it,” Josh Lichtenstein, a partner at the law firm Ropes & Gray, told the Post. “I think the litigation is probably the most credible actual threat to the rule.” The litigation comes as conservatives increasingly charge that ESG investing — shorthand for environmental, social and governance investing — allows fund managers to prioritize social issue considerations over earnings.”

National Observer: Students push Ontario pension giant to ditch dirty investments
Isaac Phan Nay, 3/6/23

“When Aishwarya Puttur was a Grade 10 student in Oakville, Ont., she was shocked to learn her teachers’ pension fund had invested in the greenhouse gas emissions of air travel,” the National Observer reports. “Teachers are teaching us for a better future and because they want us to be successful,” Puttur told the Observer. “But how can we be successful and how can we continue to live on a dying planet when their own pension plan is investing in something that will be affecting us on a global scale?” Puttur joined a number of other Ontario classmates to protest the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s (OTPP) ownership in the Bristol Airport in North Somerset — a region in England about a two-and-a-half-hour drive west of London… “Puttur was a youth activist with Fridays for Future Toronto in 2021 when the non-profit Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health approached her. Patrick DeRochie, senior manager at the non-profit, told the Observer he had been advocating for the OTPP to divert its investments from fossil fuels and other high-polluting industries… “We really see this as an example where the pension plan owns this high-carbon asset that’s dependent on growth for profit and that’s inconsistent with their other climate commitments,” DeRochie told the Observer… “DeRochie told the Observer the students’ campaign made divestment an issue at OTTP’s annual general meeting that year. “It brought a lot more teachers and students into our network,” DeRochie said, “and we actually have seen the pension plan taking action, almost more than any other pension funds since we started this work.”

FinTech Global: Deutsche Bank ESG revenues set to surpass €1bn per year

“Deutsche Bank has unveiled an estimate today that its revenues from ESG business will grow to around €1.4bn per year, ahead of €800bn secured last year,” FinTech Global reports. “…During this event, Deutsche also set a series new sustainable finance goals, including an ambition to enable a total of €500bn in sustainable financing and investments between 2020 and 2025. There are also financed emissions commitments and updates to its policies for financing emissions-intensive sectors… “The bank also outlined a series of initiatives it will pursue in order to reach the new 2025 goal. These include measures to link supply chain financing to environmental and social criteria, providing more financing for energy-efficient construction and renovation in Germany and grow its ESG financing in development economies and emerging markets… “Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said, “Despite the present political and economic challenges, we have no time to lose regarding the sustainable transformation of our society. We want to support our clients as a strong partner on their path to a more climate friendly economy…In most cases we can contribute more to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by working with our clients. But in cases where we saw no willingness on the part of a client to embark on a credible transition, we would not shy away from exiting a relationship.”


Argus Leader: Carbon pipeline will leave us ‘picking up the pieces’
Rita Brown, Chester, 3/5/23

“I wish to challenge some of the statements made by Steve Gengler in the Feb. 26th issue of the Argus Leader. His sympathy for Summit’s over a year of hard work is laughable,” Rita Brown writes for the Argus Leader. “What about the landowners who have worked the same land for more than a century?  If you have never been a landowner, you can’t begin to imagine what it has cost each of them to sustain their way of life. Why should they have to give up their land to a project that does not benefit the public and does next to nothing to impact net zero emissions? Pipeline projects will construct power plants adjacent to the ethanol plants to facilitate the pressurization and transmission of CO2. What will their source of energy be? That’s right, fossil fuels. The project’s claim of working to achieve net zero emissions is clearly deceptive. Imagine capturing CO2 from one smokestack while emitting more CO2 from the chimney of the adjacent power plant. The public is not ignorant; the evidence will be obvious. The real “poison pill” (Mr. Gengler’s terminology) for the proposed pipeline projects is the fact that CO2 is a hazardous material.  If it leaks or ruptures, not only does it have the potential to kill all living things, but also to permanently pollute the air, land and water. If that happens, there will be no winners. We will all be left to pick up the pieces, if there’s anything left worth salvaging.”

Storm Lake Times Pilot: Pipelines pressure GOP legislators fraught with internal contradictions
Art Cullen, 3/3/23

“Several bills promoted by Northwest Iowa legislators that would limit the use of land condemnation for pipeline easements are floating around the House and Senate,” Art Cullen writes for the Storm Lake Times Pilot. “…You have several prominent Republicans claiming that the current condemnation regime is a government theft of property rights, and you have Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Branstads, Bruce Rastetter and the biofuels industry claiming that corn ethanol will die out in the decade without carbon sequestration. Summit, led by Rastetter, has about two-thirds of the easements it needs to plow through Iowa on its way to burying liquefied carbon dioxide underground — it’s engineering gone mad. Grassley, Holt, Farm Bureau et al think a pipeline should have 90% voluntary easements before asking the Iowa Utilities Board to invoke eminent domain. The Renewable Fuels Association has framed it as an either-or deal: Either you allow pipelines easy access through farms or you lose 30% of the value of your corn crop when the ethanol plant shuts down. Not all farmers are buying it, obviously, if Pat Grassley has an ear for rural concerns… “Farmers who are addicted to ethanol and the price rise they’ve enjoyed over the past decade don’t necessarily believe that cloud belching out over Highway 7 at Fort Dodge is a problem, not one whose capture should come at their expense. Half the state thinks climate change is a hoax. There are yet other farmers who see that corn ethanol’s days may be numbered anyway as our transportation fleet goes electric. Some are outraged that these pipelines are subsidized by tax dollars. All of this gets heaped on the GOP caucus room table. The controversy within the rural base is the Republican Party’s alone… “Strange when the Branstad/Reynolds franchise is at odds with the Farm Bureau and the Grassley franchise. What’s it got to do with the price of corn? Everything.”

Rapid City Journal: GANJE: Pipelines have benefits, but also concerns
David Ganje, 3/3/23

“Underground (and sometimes above-ground) pipelines are a necessary part of the fabric of a developed nation. Yes, they are necessary. Yes, they are everywhere,” David Ganje writes for the Rapid City Journal. “…The question then is how does the nation manage this necessity and the issue of pipeline hazards? “…Approximately 5,000 miles of pipeline carry CO2 in the United States, primarily linking natural CO2 sources to aging oil fields where the CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery. According to the federal government a much more expansive CO2 pipeline network could be needed for carbon capture and storage systems to meet national goals for greenhouse gas reduction… “Have the risks to human health and livestock, including the potential for loss of life from ruptures of a pipeline which could spread carbon-related gases from the point of rupture been adequately studied?.. “Have the risks and potential loss of reduced crop yields been calculated, as well as any restrictions for the use of productive farmland which may occur, due to a proposed pipeline, been adequately studied?.. “Has the absence of competent federal regulation and oversight, as suggested by the federal agency with jurisdiction –  the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) –  concerning the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the carbon pipeline been addressed? Critics say that the PHMSA has missed congressional deadlines on safety rules because of technical issues, industry pushback and limited staffing, with some rules finished more than a decade behind schedule… “When a pipeline is proposed what is the status, readiness and training of local first responders to correctly assist parties or victims in the event of a rupture? Are current safety radius distances around planned pipelines adequate?”

Argus Leader: When it comes to taxes, pipelines, some things are unavoidable
Robert Funk, Brandon, 3/5/23

“If we’re going to have pipelines, can we at least put more regulations in place to make them safer?” Robert Funk writes for the Argus Leader. “…It seems to me the state should require pressure sensors and shut-off valves every few miles, more frequently near population centers, and on either side of a water feature such as creeks, rivers, and lakes. When a loss of pressure is detected, the shut-off valve up-line would shut off the supply. This would reduce the amount of contamination caused by leaks when they occur. Taxes are always due, concrete will crack, and pipelines will leak. Some things in life are unavoidable.”

Sharon Herald: Keystone XL Pipeline support not warranted
Charles Baldoff, Hermitage, 3/4/23

“Republicans in the state Senate — including state Sen. Michele Brooks, R-50, Jamestown — support a resolution urging President Joe Biden renew plans for the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline is a bad idea. The oil that travels through the pipeline is not “our” oil. It is Canadian oil and it is some of the dirtiest oil on the planet,” Charles Baldoff writes for the Sharon Herald. “The oil must be heated to be transported. It is tar sand oil and is very abrasive and acidic. When it leaks (it is 3 times more likely to spill than conventional oil per mile traveled) it will have disastrous results. It is extremely difficult to clean up — it doesn’t even float. Keep in mind that pipelines do not produce oil, they only transport it. This pipeline is basically a short cut; no additional oil will result… “If the Republicans’ main concern is jobs, where were the vast majority of the GOP’s U.S. Representatives and Senators on the federal infrastructure bill?.. “This pipeline will create only about 50 permanent jobs. It will cross Indigenous tribal lands and will put the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions as well as 30 percent of America’s irrigation water, at risk. This pipeline is an extremely bad idea, it may benefit a few who are not even Americans, but it will put many millions of others at risk. I understand a vote has been taken in the PA Senate already. But I hope Senator Brooks and other officials do not support this extremely bad idea in the future.”

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