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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 3/9/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

March 9, 2023



  • KCUR: Feds slap restrictions on more than 1,000 miles of Keystone pipeline after Kansas oil spill

  • WBUR: Keystone’s biggest oil spill cleanup continues in Kansas

  • Reuters: US carbon pipeline faces setback as residents refuse to cede land rights

  • Bismarck Tribune: North Dakota county approves pipeline safety ordinance

  • York News Times: Bold Alliance addresses York County board regarding carbon pipelines

  • Teen Vogue: Mountain Valley Pipeline Protest: Activists Want to Stop a New Pipeline in Appalachia

  • Michigan Radio: Investor group wants Enbridge board to examine whether company is taking unnecessary business risks

  • WMTW: Pipelines unable to carry enough natural gas to New England to meet demand

  • Brooklyn Paper: Brooklyn advocates demand Hochul, Adams stop fracking gas pipeline expansion


  • Las Vegas Review-Journal: Biden to visit Southern Nevada for monument designation

  • E&E News: Memo To Agency Heads Aims To Speed Permitting 

  • E&E News: Biden admin paradox: Boost oil — and cut CO2?

  • Washington Post: Manchin slams Biden’s ‘radical climate agenda’ in delay of oil leasing

  • E&E News: Energy And Commerce Sets Markup On 15 Energy Bills 

  • Washington Post: Former congresswoman Maloney says her Big Oil probe should be able to continue

  • E&E News: Senate chatter grows louder on carbon tariff


  • Bismarck Tribune: North Dakota lawmakers reject royalty owners’ plea, side with oil industry

  • Guardian: New Utah oil railroad by river is health and climate risk, campaigners say

  • Salt Lake Tribune: Utah counties to issue $2 billion in bonds to support oil railroad

  • Colorado Sun: Colorado oil and gas companies offer $459 million to guarantee their wells are plugged eventually


  • Wall Street Journal: U.S. Shale Boom Shows Signs of Peaking as Big Oil Wells Disappear

  • E&E News: CERAweek: What Big Oil Thinks Of The Climate Law

  • InsideClimate News: The Paris Agreement Will Fail Without Slashing Methane Emissions From Dairy and Meat, Researchers Say


  • New York Communities for Change: BREAKING: Climate activists crash closed door investor conference and shame Citibank CFO Mark Mason for financing the destruction of the Amazon [VIDEO]

  • Kansas Reflector: Kansas attorney general craves law making state-funded ‘ESG’ investment policies illegal

  • Reuters: Canada issues final guidelines for banks to manage climate-change risks


  • My Espanola Now: Enbridge Gas assists Elliot Lake Fire Service in supporting firefighter training



KCUR: Feds slap restrictions on more than 1,000 miles of Keystone pipeline after Kansas oil spill
Celia Llopis-Jepsen, 3/8/23

“Oil spills on the Keystone pipeline that runs from Canada to Texas are becoming more frequent and serious, federal regulators said Tuesday. So the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered Canadian company TC Energy to lower the pressure for crude oil along another 1,200 miles of its pipeline,” KCUR reports. “Federal officials also ordered a review of how the company handles geologic hazards such as unstable soil and said more spills and “serious harm” are likely if the pipeline operation doesn’t improve. “Continued operation (without change) is or would be hazardous to life, property or the environment,” the order said… “TC Energy says bad welding played a role in what the company has described as an “instantaneous rupture.” More than 500,000 gallons of crude oil gushed out on the night of Dec. 7, raining down on native prairie and cropland and pouring into a tributary of the Little Blue River. Bad welding caused other Keystone spills in the past, too — a fact cited by federal regulators in their decision on Tuesday. The one in Kansas was the pipeline’s worst spill yet. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — part of the US Department of Transportation — also said that TC Energy had been monitoring the area for shifting ground before the 3-foot-wide pipe burst. Unstable soil and ground movement are dangerous for pipelines. The agency says TC Energy was required to mitigate any such problems under its federal permit for the pipeline. Workers responding to the spill witnessed that the pipeline was under improper stress, the agency said. “It is not clear whether the pipe segment has been under stress since construction (in 2011) or if land movement in the area may have more recently induced or increased stress,” the agency said… “After the December spill, regulators immediately slapped a lower pressure rule on nearly 100 miles of the Keystone in Kansas and Nebraska. Tuesday’s order lowers the pressure limit for another 1,200 miles of pipe, southward to Oklahoma, eastward to Illinois and northward to the Canadian border… “The new order also requires TC Energy to file reports on welding quality along most of the rest of its pipeline system within the U.S… “TC Energy estimates that the cleanup and related work will cost $480 million. It’s unclear whether that figure includes the taxpayer money spent by state and federal agencies that responded to the oil spill — part of which the company will be forced to repay.”

WBUR: Keystone’s biggest oil spill cleanup continues in Kansas
Celia Llopis-Jepsen, 3/7/23

“In early December 2022, the Keystone pipeline carrying crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Houston, Texas, ruptured. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 588,000 gallons of oil were spilled over land and into Mill Creek,” WBUR reports. “TC Energy told WBUR  it has cleaned up most of the oil, but it’s predicted there’s still months more work ahead, at a total cost of half a billion dollars. Celia Llopis-Jepsen of the Kansas News Service reports.”

Reuters: US carbon pipeline faces setback as residents refuse to cede land rights
Leah Douglas, 3/923

“Navigator CO2 Ventures’ proposed carbon pipeline project in the U.S. Midwest is struggling to secure a site to store millions of tons of greenhouse gas it hopes to collect from the region’s ethanol plants, as residents refuse to give up land rights over fears the underground reservoirs could leak, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. “In Illinois, Navigator has restarted the permit process for its Heartland Greenway pipeline in part due to difficulty getting land rights from residents living above the underground formations where it hopes to store up to 15 million metric tons annually of carbon dioxide, according to a Reuters review of the state regulatory docket and interviews with landowners along the proposed route. Residents along the proposed route of the pipeline, as well as along the routes of two other carbon pipelines proposed by Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions and Denver-based Wolf Carbon Solutions, have expressed concern about damage to their farmland from installing the pipeline and safety risks if the pipeline were to leak. Some living above Navigator’s proposed sequestration site are also worried that carbon dioxide stored 5,800 feet underground could seep upward and contaminate their groundwater with carbonic acid, which is formed when carbon dioxide meets water… “The company did not share the number or percent of easements it has secured over its proposed sequestration sites. Karen Brocklesby lives over the pore space Navigator initially proposed in Christian County. She was quick to reject the company’s easement offer when they approached her last year and helped to form an Illinois community group that opposes the pipeline. “It was easy to come together as a group that said no, we don’t want this,” she told Reuters… “Christian County officials don’t believe residents will be more receptive to Navigator’s second permit attempt. “There’s nothing like this in the world,” county board chairman Bryan Sharp told Reuters. “We don’t want to be the guinea pigs.” “…Summit has negotiated easements with landowners for more than 85% of its sequestration site in North Dakota, the company told Reuters.”

Bismarck Tribune: North Dakota county approves pipeline safety ordinance
Blake Nicholson, 3/8/23

“The Burleigh County (North Dakota) Commission has approved a hazardous liquid pipeline health and safety ordinance in response to plans for a regional carbon dioxide pipeline that will cross the county — a move the developer says unnecessarily duplicates federal regulation,” the Bismarck Tribune reports. “County officials also are crafting a zoning ordinance related to such pipelines that will determine requirements such as minimum distances from homes, schools and animal feedlots. The ordinance the five-member commission unanimously approved Monday, March 6, is aimed at ensuring the safety of people in the area of Summit Carbon Solutions’ planned Midwest Carbon Express pipeline, which would cross the county 5 miles to the north of Bismarck… “But many residents and landowners north of Bismarck oppose the pipeline, and several spoke at Monday night’s meeting, arguing for the adoption of the safety ordinance. “We want it to be safe, and I don’t feel it’ll be safe where it’s going,” Karl Rakow said of the pipeline. Former Bismarck Mayor John Warford said the pipeline would cross a mile of his land, and would be less than 2 miles from where his children live and where his grandchildren go to school. He also said there are 1,247 residents within 2 miles of the pipeline’s path through the county. “I fear for the safety of my family; I fear for the safety of the schoolchildren; and I also fear for the safety of those in the rural residential area that this pipeline is proposed to go through,” he said… “Munson said, “We’ve all heard about (the) Mississippi accident. I am horrified for what happened there. I don’t want it here.” The county does not have any authority to stop the pipeline but it can approve certain restrictions. The Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss the second ordinance being drafted at a meeting on Wednesday night. It pertains to special use permits required for hazardous liquid pipelines… “Commissioner Jerry Woodcox on Monday said he thinks the county needs to get rules in place “before the PSC gets too far down that trail.”

York News Times: Bold Alliance addresses York County board regarding carbon pipelines
Melanie Wilkinson, 3/8/23

“A familiar face was before the York County Commissioners this week, as Jane Kleeb from Bold Alliance (formerly known as Bold Nebraska, with the name changing because the group is now made up of people from a number of states) addressed them regarding carbon pipelines, landowners’ rights and the need for local regulations pertaining to these types of projects,” the York News Times reports. “Kleeb became familiar with the county board and many in York County over the course of several years as Bold Nebraska (an organization she helped found and led) crusaded against the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The grassroots effort, made up of mostly landowners in Nebraska (including a strong number in York County), was a powerful movement against the tar sands pipeline which eventually did not become reality. “I’ve spent lots of time in York County on the Keystone XL pipeline, I’ve been in front of this board many times trying to get oil pipeline regulations,” Kleeb said to the commissioners. “Today, I’m here to talk about carbon pipelines and what we hope counties will put in place.” “…Kleeb said there is a “loophole” in Nebraska for carbon capture pipelines because the Nebraska Public Service Commission will not be involved as a regulatory agency. “The federal government has no laws in place yet for carbon pipelines and they don’t even know what proper set-backs should be. So we are encouraging county boards to put moratoriums in place, as you are without proper set-back, emergency response, those types of regulations…If this type of pipeline bursts, anyone near the pipeline will die and a mile away people will get dizzy, maybe pass out. The ramifications are serious.” Kleeb went on to say, “We worked with our legal team to look at state laws and create model county ordinances that counties can adopt or use to create their own…You can mandate topsoil management, pipeline depth, you can require emergency response equipment and local training in writing. Counties can also have jurisdiction over decommissioning plans with full bonds in place.” “…I was hoping the so-called ‘experts’ from Summit would be here today,” said Commissioner Jack Sikes. “How long would it take for people to suffocate if this type of pipeline would break? This is what happens when you put insane people in charge at the federal level. I’m just really disappointed they are not here because they haven’t been telling us the truth.” “…They certainly put out a lot of misinformation,” Kleeb responded. “If it’s so safe, why won’t they give us their plume study?”

Teen Vogue: Mountain Valley Pipeline Protest: Activists Want to Stop a New Pipeline in Appalachia

“In early 2021, I visited the tent encampment of a group of anarchists and activists in the forests of Appalachia. Far from having reliable cell service and the comforts of consumerism, I found myself in a self-sustaining, anticapitalist community — a small contingent of a larger coalition of climate activists and organizations. Their goal: to block construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a 303-mile natural gas pipeline being built across West Virginia and Virginia,” Teen Vogue reports. “Stop the MVP has drawn inspiration from Indigenous organizers who mobilized against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and the Coastal GasLink Pipeline on Wet’suwet’en land in Canada — epic struggles to restore relationships of mutuality and interconnectivity to the land. Thanks to a barrage of direct action campaigns, along with numerous legal challenges and an outcry from local communities, the Mountain Valley Pipeline project is now years behind schedule, its cost ballooning from an initial estimate of $3.7 billion to $6.6 billion. In one of the group’s most dramatic actions, dubbed “the Yellow Finch blockade,” Stop the MVP activists built elaborate treehouses among the last stand of trees in the pipeline’s path. For 932 days, forest defenders lived in the trees, stalling construction and garnering ground support from environmental activists and many local residents… “Last fall, I spoke to community activist Russell Chisholm and Yellow Finch tree-sitter organizer Acre about their involvement in the Stop the MVP coalition. During a choppy Zoom call, we talked about their direct action tactics, the Yellow Finch blockade, and how the MVP will impact Appalachia.”

Michigan Radio: Investor group wants Enbridge board to examine whether company is taking unnecessary business risks
Lester Graham, 3/9/23

“A group of Enbridge Energy investors wants the company’s Board of Directors to investigate Enbridge’s political activities,” Michigan Radio reports. “It’s not uncommon for an activist group to buy shares of a company to bring attention to its concerns. Investors for Paris Compliance (I4PC) has made a shareholder proposal to examine what it calls extensive use of “political front groups” and political donations to fossil-fuel supporting politicians in the U.S. I4PC noted the Michigan government’s strong opposition to the Enbridge’s Line 5 petroleum pipeline and the civil disobedience by protestors in Minnesota against Line 3. “Enbridge’s pattern of lobbying and political expenditures in the U.S. is causing significant controversy and creating business risk associated with alienation of decision makers and key constituencies while appearing to be unaligned with its goal to achieve net zero [greenhouse gas emissions]. This pattern and lack of disclosure merits due consideration and oversight by the Enbridge Board,” the investors group said in a statement. The Board of Directors of Enbridge is recommending shareholders vote against the shareholder proposal. It says Enbridge’s political and policy activities support its business strategy and they are legal… “It adds that Enbridge supports the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, but might not support all of the associated policy decisions.”

WMTW: Pipelines unable to carry enough natural gas to New England to meet demand
Jon Chrisos, 3/9/23

“As we look to the future, there are increasing concerns about the power grid here in New England,” WMTW reports. “Mainers are already seeing higher power prices on their bills this winter due, in part, to limited natural gas in the region… “We’re putting a Band-Aid on the problem,” Maine Public Advocate Bill Harwood told WMTW. Harwood told WMTW the problem is caused by limited natural gas pipeline capacity as the pipelines to New England can’t carry enough natural gas for both home heat and electricity generation. “We’ve had these big LNG ships come in from overseas into Everett, Massachusetts, and they inject the gas into the system in Everett to bypass the pipeline from Pennsylvania,” he explained… “There have been calls and proposals to expand pipeline capacity. In a November 2022 letter, The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America called on President Biden to address “a lack of adequate natural gas infrastructure” in New England. However, opponents argue that’s bad for the environment and a barrier to a clean energy future… “Governor Janet Mills (D-Maine) said Maine is over-reliant on natural gas to generate electricity. “We’ve got to get ourselves off natural gas,” Harwood told WMTW. “This is crazy.” Mills told WMTW long-term solutions are needed, including more efficient heating and cooling technologies and weatherizing homes.”

Brooklyn Paper: Brooklyn advocates demand Hochul, Adams stop fracking gas pipeline expansion
Ximena Del Cerro, 3/9/23

“Brooklyn advocates are demanding that Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams stop the flow increase from the Iroquois pipeline,” Brooklyn Paper reports. “The Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP (IGTS) is a 414 miles long natural gas pipeline that extends from the Canadian border to the Bronx through New York State and western Connecticut, including native American Iroquois’ land… “Iroquois proposed to install 12,000 horsepower compressors since utility companies, National Grid and Con Edison requested to move more gas to meet demand… “You cant convince me that massive of a move is not going to make the pipeline leak gas into the atmosphere,” John Pope, Kensington resident and member of Food & Water Watch, told the Paper… “The proposal to expand fracked gas in New York City comes despite opposition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, local legislation to ban fossil fuels in new construction, and legislation to ramp down emissions in the building sector through Local Law 97. “The mayor shouldn’t open up loopholes in the law that would allow large building owners and developers to put up their buildings with high energy efficiency, which is what cuts pollution and creates large numbers of jobs,” Pete Sikora, Greenpoint resident, Senior Advisor of New York Communities for Change, told the Paper.


Las Vegas Review-Journal: Biden to visit Southern Nevada for monument designation
Jessica Hill, 3/7/23

“President Joe Biden will visit Nevada next week to designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument, sources tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Biden announced late November during a tribal nations summit that Avi Kwa Ame, located in Southern Nevada, will become Nevada’s fourth national monument… “We’re incredibly hopeful and excited to welcome President Biden to Nevada in preparation for this incredibly crucial monument designation,” Taylor Patterson, executive director of Native Voters Alliance Nevada, told the Journal. Avi Kwa Ame, which means “Spirit Mountain” in Mojave and is pronounced “Ah-VEE-qua-may,” has been a popular site for outdoor recreation for years, and has been a significant cultural site for a dozen Yuman-speaking tribes that have traced their origins to the mountain. The Avi Kwa Ame Coalition has led the calls for 450,000 acres of land stretching from the Newberry mountains in the east to the New York South McCullough, Castle and Piute mountains in the west to be protected and preserved for future generations from development. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., has also been a staunch supporter of the designation and introduced legislation in the House to designate it as a national monument. “Tribal leaders, conservationists, and local officials have pushed to designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument for over 20 years,” Titus said on Twitter following the announcement. “I’ve worked alongside them to lead that fight in Congress. Now this sacred land will finally be protected for future generations.”

E&E News: Memo To Agency Heads Aims To Speed Permitting 
Robin Bravender, 3/7/23

“Senior Biden administration officials offered new instructions this week for agency leaders attempting to speed up the environmental review and permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects,” E&E News reports. “A memo issued to department leaders Monday offers guidance for agencies to comply with the Biden administration’s permitting ‘action plan’ that it rolled out last year. The memo — signed by Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory and Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council Executive Director Christine Harada — marks the administration’s latest move on revamping the often-lengthy permitting process. The new guidance includes details for agencies about how to establish clear timeline goals and about which infrastructure projects should be included on a federal permitting ‘dashboard.’”

E&E News: Biden admin paradox: Boost oil — and cut CO2?
Brian Dabbs, 3/9/23

“The Biden administration’s seemingly contradictory energy and climate strategy was on full display here Wednesday: Try to pivot away from fossil fuels, but promote them for now,” E&E News reports. “Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm faced that paradox as she addressed energy leaders and insiders gathered in a hotel ballroom, praising the uptick in U.S. oil and gas exports during Russia’s war in Ukraine while touting a clean energy shift… “The surge comes as the Biden administration is simultaneously pushing to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035 and move away from vehicles and power plants that rely on oil and gas from many of the companies appearing at the conference… “We know that oil and gas is going to remain a part of our energy mix for years to come,” Granholm said. “Even the boldest projections for clean energy deployment suggest that in the middle of the century we are going to be using abated fossil fuels.” “…The president said we’re going to be around for a while — at least 10 years,” Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute trade group, told E&E, referring to remarks made during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address that many conservatives mocked. “There has to be signals to the industry that these investments in the United States continue to make sense based on government policy. The policy has to meet the improved — not great but improved — rhetoric that we’ve heard from the administration in the last year.” “…Meanwhile, in another blow to the fossil fuel sector, the Biden administration said this week that a new five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling may be delayed until December.”

Washington Post: Manchin slams Biden’s ‘radical climate agenda’ in delay of oil leasing
Timothy Puko, 3/8/23

“In his latest clash with the White House, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) sharply criticized the Biden administration Wednesday for delays on a new federal offshore drilling plan that the Interior Department says it needs until December to put into effect,” the Washington Post reports. “Manchin — an oil industry advocate who has been key to supporting Biden policies in a narrowly divided Congress — has recently pushed back against the administration for its appointments and its implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, including on how it affects oil and natural gas leasing in Alaska. In court documents this week, Interior Department officials argue that they need the rest of this year to finish a legally required five-year plan to lease offshore territory for oil and gas development. The plan is months behind deadlines set in law, but in a federal appeals court brief Monday, department officials said they need the extra time to review public comments and complete other legally required analyses on a proposal issued last summer. Manchin told the Post the delays pose a risk to steady domestic supplies of oil and natural gas. He accused the administration of slow-walking a new plan as part of its push against fossil fuels… “They are putting their radical climate agenda ahead of our nation’s energy security, and they are willing to go to great lengths to do it,” Manchin said in a news release Wednesday. “I will hold their feet to the fire on this.”

E&E News: Energy And Commerce Sets Markup On 15 Energy Bill
Nico Portuondo, 3/8/23

“Republicans have repeatedly said their legislation is not as partisan as Democrats allege. They argue that the bills would lower energy prices and streamline burdensome regulations and permitting laws that are blocking new energy projects from being built in a timely manner,” E&E News reports. “To that end, Republicans introduced several bills that would create new waivers for ‘critical energy resources’ in several bedrock laws like the Clean Air Act or the Toxic Substances Control Act to loosen regulations on critical mineral and fossil fuel production. For example, H.R. 1131 from Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) would require the EPA administrator to authorize the use of ‘flexible air permitting’ — where emissions from multiple sources may be combined for the purposes of complying with emissions rules. … The Natural Resources Committee’s ‘Transparency, Accountability, Permitting and Production of (TAPP) American Resources Act’ bundles three pieces of legislation from Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chair Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) (E&E Daily, Feb. 27). The bill would set shot clocks and page limits for environmental reviews, restrict the opportunity for court challenges and increase oil and gas lease sales, among other provisions.”

Washington Post: Former congresswoman Maloney says her Big Oil probe should be able to continue
Maxine Joselow, 3/8/23

“During a sprawling investigation last year, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee obtained a trove of internal emails about climate change from executives at major oil companies including BP, ExxonMobil and Shell,” the Washington Post reports. “But the investigation has been frozen, and the documents have been in limbo, since Republicans took control of the House in January. That’s because former congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chaired the Oversight Committee, never sent the documents to the Senate, meaning Senate Democrats may lack the authority to continue the probe. For more than two months, Maloney’s motivations have remained a mystery, frustrating climate activists who say the documents could help reveal the oil industry’s alleged efforts to stall the transition to clean energy. Maloney has not given any interviews on the topic since losing her primary race after redistricting. But in a phone interview Tuesday, Maloney broke her silence on the issue, saying she believed — and continues to believe — that Senate Democrats have the authority to examine the documents… “Maloney told the Post she had discussed the issue with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has expressed interest in continuing the investigation as the new chair of the Senate Budget Committee, as well as Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (Md.), the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee. “If Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his staff cannot get access to these documents, let me know, because it was my understanding — and I wrote him and told him — that he has access to the documents,” she told the Post… “In an interview last month, however, Whitehouse told the post he lacked access to the documents because “it obviously was not approved for dissemination under Chair Maloney.”

E&E News: Senate chatter grows louder on carbon tariff
Emma Dumain, 3/8/23

“Optimism is growing in the Senate for instituting a tariff on carbon-intensive goods, a concept environmentalists have long considered a crucial tool to combat climate change,” E&E News reports. “Republicans are actively engaging on the issue, with Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana dangling introduction “in a month, or a month or two,” of what would be the first GOP-led carbon tariff bill — ever. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) is working on a product, too. Advocates also see a chance for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to raise the profile of the issue. As Senate Budget Committee chair, Whitehouse has pledged to draw the connection between the climate crisis and future economic calamity, and discussion of a carbon tax has already arisen in that context… “For many years, climate hawks were preoccupied with the government setting a price for greenhouse gas emissions to encourage emitters to pursue alternative, more environmentally friendly means of energy production… “ Many Republicans, however, are inclined to balk at any new tax, period. Now, lawmakers are more focused on getting agreement on a carbon border adjustment mechanism, or CBAM, which is tantamount to environmental trade policy that would slap a fee — or tariff — on imported goods based on their carbon content as a means of incentivizing decarbonization broadly. It’s far from certain the current chatter will lead to a bill that can actually become law in the 118th Congress, where partisan divisions in a presidential election cycle will make legislating exceedingly difficult… “Also, internationally, from a proper carbon tariff, we are a big winner and China is a big loser,” Whitehouse told E&E, “and that sentiment, I think, in Congress, about the way China has misbehaved economically … it’s something of considerable bipartisan interest.”


Bismarck Tribune: North Dakota lawmakers reject royalty owners’ plea, side with oil industry

“Mineral owners went to the North Dakota Capitol wanting greater transparency and accountability from oil companies. State lawmakers instead offered them a middle man,” the Bismarck Tribune reports. “Western North Dakota landowners who lease their mineral rights to oil producers have long feuded with the powerful industry over access to information and disputed fees. Last month, a Senate committee shot down legislation promoted by royalty owners but advanced several industry-backed proposals that would establish an ombudsman program to help sort out payment issues between royalty owners and oil companies. The program will next be considered by the House of Representatives after passing the Senate. Oil lobbyists say an independent intermediary could help improve relations between royalty owners and companies by bridging gaps in communication. Advocates for royalty owners argue the proposed ombudsman program would likely fall under the sway of the oil industry… “The legislation aimed to put some teeth into the state’s existing laws so companies couldn’t continue ignoring royalty owners’ concerns, Leverenz said… “State law requires oil and gas producers to pay interest on late royalties regardless of whether the mineral owner requests it, but Leverenz said trying to get companies to pony up on late fees “is like talking to a black hole in almost every case.” “…Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, opposed the bill, noting companies generally do a good job of providing information and timely payments to royalty owners.”

Guardian: New Utah oil railroad by river is health and climate risk, campaigners say
Nina Lakhani, 3/9/23

“Developers are seeking billions of dollars in tax breaks for a new oil railroad in Utah that will threaten the Colorado River and be a risk to the health and safety of millions of Americans while damaging Joe Biden’s climate credentials, campaigners say,” the Guardian reports. “The 88-mile proposed Uinta railway is forecast to quadruple crude oil production in the Uinta Basin by connecting it to the national rail network and coastal refineries. According to the plans shared with federal agencies, up to five two-mile-long oil trains a day would run more than 100 miles directly alongside the Colorado River – a vital drinking water source for 40 million Americans, 30 tribal nations and millions of acres of farmland. A derailment could be catastrophic for the river, which is already in crisis due to the region’s mega-drought, rising temperatures and reduced snowpack on the Rocky mountains, warn campaigners. The railway could spur an additional 350,000 barrels of oil extraction a day, campaigners estimate, exacerbating the poor air quality in Utah, Colorado and Gulf coast communities while releasing millions of tonnes of planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually… “If this goes forward it will be a triumph of corporate greed,” Kristen Boyles, a managing attorney at Earthjustice, an environmental legal group, told the Guardian. “The fact that we continue to have disasters like East Palestine and near misses over and over again is a regulatory failure that demonstrates the absolute power of railroad industry lobbying.” “…Meanwhile opposition from elected officials in Colorado has been mounting since the catastrophic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on 3 February. “The governor continues to share a number of the concerns that our communities and Colorado’s recreation and tourism industry have raised with the proposal,” a spokesperson for Jared Polis, the Democratic governor, told the Guardian. “Derailments are seen as a cost of doing business but we’ve seen the future in East Palestine and for us this would be like killing the golden goose,” Jonathan Godes, mayor of Glenwood Springs, a picturesque mountain town in Eagle county popular with tourists, told the Guardian. “This railway will not impact what we pay at the pump but could add 1% to the country’s climate emissions, which I just can’t square with Biden’s climate goals.” A coalition of environmental groups and Eagle county in Colorado have filed lawsuits to the DC circuit arguing that the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) permit – the cornerstone requirement for freight rail projects – was granted without an adequate environmental impact review.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah counties to issue $2 billion in bonds to support oil railroad
Brian Maffly, 3/9/23

“A group of Utah counties is poised to issue $2 billion in tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of an 85-mile oil-hauling rail spur out of the Uinta Basin,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. “According to a public notice posted last month, the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition intends to issue instruments called “private activity conduit bonds,” which would serve as a loan to Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners, L.P., the coalition’s partner that would own the Uinta Basin Railway. The notice indicates the project’s cost estimates have soared to $2.9 billion, a doubling over previous estimates of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion. The railroad would be privately owned and operated, but it is still eligible for tax-fee borrowing if a public entity sponsors the bond issue, according to the coalition’s general counsel Eric Johnson… “According to the notice, Wells Fargo is to underwrite the bonds, subject to a maximum 9% annual interest rate for a 40-year term. The full repayment cost would be $7.4 billion, recouped from the railroad’s operating revenues… “The bond offering drew immediate fire from the railroad’s critics who called it a taxpayer-supported subsidy worth about $80 million to the oil industry. “If you look at the other projects that have benefited from these tax-exempt bonds, they’ve been projects that serve the general traveling public, people who want to drive over safe bridges, people want to use mass transit, people who want to get from one place to the other easily and efficiently,” Ted Zukowski of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of several environmental groups opposing the railroad, told the Tribune. “This just benefits the oil industry.” “…A train derailment that spills oil in the headwaters of the [Colorado] River would be catastrophic not only to our state’s water supplies, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation assets, but also to the broader River Basin. It is beyond reckless to expose these sensitive areas of our state to these additional risks,” wrote Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse in March 6 letter to Vilsack. “Although we agree it is vital to secure our domestic energy supply, we do not accept that it requires imperiling the Colorado River or the local communities that live along it.”

Colorado Sun: Colorado oil and gas companies offer $459 million to guarantee their wells are plugged eventually
Mark Jaffe, 3/8/23

“Colorado oil and gas companies are proposing to meet new state requirements by putting up $459 million in guarantees that their wells will be plugged at the end of their lives — 60% of the amount regulators targeted,” the Colorado Sun reports. “But more than a quarter of the companies filing financial plans, primarily smaller operators with low-producing wells, are offering to cover only 14% of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s $360 million estimate for their plugging and remediation costs. Those 45 operators have nearly 8,600 wells with more than half of them shut-in or producing no more than 2 barrels of oil or 10,000 cubic feet of gas a day — an output that defines them as low-producing and potentially uneconomical. The analysis is based on a review by The Sun of the financial plans filed with the COGCC and an oil and gas data mapping project done by the environmental group Rocky Mountain Wild. “These are bottom-of-the-barrel operators looking to put in bottom-of-the-barrel financial assurance,” Kate Merlin, an attorney with the environmental group WildEarth Guardians, told the Sun. “If these companies can’t be made to adequately provide financial assurance the cost is going to fall on taxpayers.”


Wall Street Journal: U.S. Shale Boom Shows Signs of Peaking as Big Oil Wells Disappear
Collin Eaton and Benoît Morenne, 3/8/23

“The boom in oil production that over the last decade made the U.S. the world’s largest producer is waning, suggesting the era of shale growth is nearing its peak,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Frackers are hitting fewer big gushers in the Permian Basin, America’s busiest oil patch, the latest sign they have drained their catalog of good wells. Shale companies’ biggest and best wells are producing less oil, according to data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal reported last year companies would exhaust their best U.S. inventory in a handful of years if they resumed the breakneck drilling pace of prepandemic times. Now, recent results out of the Permian, spread across West Texas and New Mexico, are mimicking the onset of a production plateau that has taken place at other, more mature U.S. shale plays. At a major industry conference here this week, executives cited the stagnation in shale, saying it signaled a return to more dependence on foreign energy sources and more challenging times ahead for major U.S. companies, after most of them posted record earnings last year. “The world is going back to a world that we had in the ’70s and the ’80s,” said ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance, during a panel at the conference called CERAWeek by S&P Global. He warned that OPEC would soon supply more of the world’s oil… “The slowdown was mostly because of investor pressure on companies to curtail spending and limit growth in favor of generating higher returns. At the same time, weaker well results in the Delaware basin contributed to flattening output… “The recent degradation in well performance has stoked executives and investors’ concerns about the industry’s runway for growth, and has led companies to consider mergers this year.” Mike Wirth said last week the rate of production growth and drilling activity the U.S. shale industry saw a decade ago “is unlikely to be repeated,” though the Permian still has areas that haven’t been developed… “Shale’s sluggishness means global oil markets will have to rely on Middle Eastern crude over the next decades, said Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. “We’re just not gonna have that big growth pump like we used to,” he said of U.S. crude production.

E&E News: CERAweek: What Big Oil Thinks Of The Climate Law
Miranda Wilson, Brian Dabbs, 3/8/23

“The enactment of sweeping U.S. climate change legislation may be pivotal for early-stage technologies like low-carbon hydrogen, but an arduous permitting process and other challenges could stunt their progress, oil and gas executives said Tuesday,” E&E News reports. “The Inflation Reduction Act — signed into law by President Joe Biden last year — includes approximately $369 billion in climate and energy spending. Much of that comes in the form of tax credits targeting everything from wind and solar to batteries to ‘clean’ hydrogen made from renewable or low-emissions electricity. But while oil and gas leaders gathered at CERAWeek by S&P Global said the law will incentivize investments in carbon capture technologies and carbon-free hydrogen, they also called for changes to the permitting process to make it easier to build projects involving those technologies.”

InsideClimate News: The Paris Agreement Will Fail Without Slashing Methane Emissions From Dairy and Meat, Researchers Say
Kristoffer Tigue, 3/7/23

“If humanity continues producing and consuming food as it does today, those food systems alone will drive Earth’s average temperature up by nearly 1 degree Celsius by the end of the century, scientists warned in a new study,” InsideClimate News reports. “It’s the latest research to suggest that slashing methane emissions from the agriculture sector—particularly from meat and dairy production—remains one of the most impactful ways to slow climate change. Climate experts have long said tackling agricultural emissions, estimated to make up roughly 15 percent of Earth’s total production of greenhouse gases, is necessary to avoid catastrophic warming in the coming decades. But the new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, specifically highlights the outsized role methane plays among food-related emissions… “[A]ccording to Monday’s study, if the emissions released by the world’s food systems continue at current levels, they’ll cause at least 0.7 degree Celsius of additional warming by 2100, pushing the planet past the 1.5 degree threshold set by the Paris Agreement, even if fossil fuel use is drastically reduced… “The analysis found that production of meat, dairy and rice will be responsible for the vast majority of agricultural emissions, with meat accounting for 42 percent, rice 23 percent and dairy 19 percent… “The researchers said that if everyone limited red meat to a single serving per week, for example, it would prevent nearly a third of the additional warming projected by their model… “But many projections point to meat and dairy consumption steadily increasing in the coming years, largely because of the rising global population. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s most recent outlook, for example, estimates that global meat consumption will increase by 15 percent by 2031.”


New York Communities for Change: BREAKING: Climate activists crash closed door investor conference and shame Citibank CFO Mark Mason for financing the destruction of the Amazon [VIDEO]

“Citibank can’t claim to be a climate leader while spending over $250 billion torching the planet,” according to New York Communities for Change

Kansas Reflector: Kansas attorney general craves law making state-funded ‘ESG’ investment policies illegal

“Attorney General Kris Kobach and State Treasurer Steven Johnson tag-teamed testimony Tuesday in support of legislation undermining influence in Kansas of investment strategists applying environmental, social and corporate governance litmus tests to analysis of market options,” the Kansas Reflector reports. “The bill in the Kansas Senate would directly target the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System’s $20 billion portfolio as well as the state government’s pooled money investment accounts tied to more short-term transactions. The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee welcomed advocates of Senate Bill 291, and was expected to take testimony from opponents Wednesday. Kobach said the ESG movement wasn’t concerned about whether politically correct investments secured the highest return. In terms of KPERS, he said, the influence of corporate saboteurs threatened to damage value of pensions held by teachers, law enforcement officers and state government workers. “ESG investing uses retirement savings as leverage to force companies to reduce their carbon footprints, adopt racial and gender quotas or to succumb to the ‘woke’ social justice fad of the month,” the Republican attorney general said. “State-funded ESG investment policies should be illegal.” “…William Happer, a former physics professor at Princeton University, said he supported Kansas’ work against ESG strategists because concerns about climate change or global warming were bogus… “Supposedly, fossil fuels are causing a ‘climate emergency.’ This is not true,” he said. “ESG efforts to suppress the use of fossil fuels will be all pain and will cause enormous environmental and economic damage.” However, a lobbyist with the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club told the Reflector hundreds of national and international scientific organizations, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, NASA, the American Physical Society and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the United Nations, concluded manmade climate change was a threat to humanity. “In Kansas, we know that doing good business is more than just making a buck. It’s about doing right for the community, including the people and environment, you affect,” the Sierra Club’s Zack Pistora told the Reflector. “In our view, SB 291 unnecessarily interferes with the positive approach by the private sector to maximize broader collective benefits, including the reduction of pollution, weapons or social inequity.”

Reuters: Canada issues final guidelines for banks to manage climate-change risks

“A Canadian banking regulator on Tuesday published guidelines to bolster transparency in the country’s financial institutions’ disclosures related to climate risks starting next year,” Reuters reports. “Last year, Canada had said banks and insurance companies would need to disclose more about their climate-related risks and exposure beginning 2024 and improve transparency while disclosing such risks. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued the two-chapter framework, which will apply to domestic banks and internationally active insurance groups headquartered in Canada, effective the end of the 2024 fiscal year… “The regulator, however, did not lay out any specific increases in capital buffers and said the onus was for institutions to self assess within their internal capital… “OSFI said it received over 4,300 submissions from a wide range of respondents, including federally regulated financial institutions, for changes to be made in its draft.”


My Espanola Now: Enbridge Gas assists Elliot Lake Fire Service in supporting firefighter training
Rosalind Russell, 3/9/23

“Enbridge Gas Incorporated is helping Elliot Lake Fire Service purchase firefighting training materials,” My Espanola Now reports. “Company operations supervisor for the Northern Region, Brad Taylor, says the materials are being provided through the Safe Community Project Assist. He adds the program is provided through the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council that supplements existing training for Ontario volunteer and composite fire departments in the communities where Enbridge Gas operates… “Elliot Lake Fire Chief John Thomas says the funds are part of updating training opportunities with his staff and thanked the company for its support.”


Institute for Energy Research: Are CO2 Pipelines Regulated? By Whom?

“Currently, there are about 5,000 miles of carbon dioxide pipelines in the United States, used mostly to inject it underground to move oil to the surface through enhanced oil recovery. The 2021 infrastructure law, which included billions in funding for carbon capture demonstration and pilot projects, could change that number dramatically,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. “…According to some safety advocates, there are loopholes in federal safety regulations that could leave carbon dioxide pipelines largely unregulated. Pipelines being converted from shipping natural gas to carrying carbon dioxide are not covered by the current rules. Existing standards to move carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery also may not be adequate for new pipeline projects… “But, opponents want 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, with a first draft expected around October 2024. PHMSA regulations often take years to implement, delaying action further… “In addition, many of the new pipelines will be in more densely populated areas than the western Plains where many of the current EOR pipelines are located. The projects also 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… “The Biden administration is promoting carbon capture projects as an important part of its plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the 2021 infrastructure bill he signed provides lucrative tax subsidies to develop the industry. To reach Biden’s climate goals, the proposed CO2 pipelines will be necessary to maintain a vibrant ethanol industry. The issue is who is going to regulate them and provide for the safety of the American public. DOT’s PHMSA currently regulates supercritical CO2, but the CO2 pipelines do not keep CO2 at supercritical temperatures for the entire route and natural gas pipelines converting to CO2 also do not. That raises an issue of, if not PHMSA, then who?”

National Observer: B.C. about to decide on biggest pipeline yet
Kai Nagata is the communications director for Dogwood, a B.C. non-profit dedicated to climate justice, Indigenous rights and democratic reform, 3/9/23

“B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman will soon decide the fate of Enbridge’s Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project — and possibly his government. First approved in 2014, the 48-inch pipeline would carry fracked gas across a complex patchwork of sovereign territories to a new LNG terminal on the coast,” Kai Nagata writes for the National Observer. “Last week, Heyman’s ministry closed consultation with First Nations, giving some Indigenous groups just days to comment on Enbridge’s 98-page application. The company is seeking an emergency override of provincial law to prevent expiry of its project certificate. At the same time, TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline is becoming a costly boondoggle (more on that below). Polls show public opinion turning against oil and gas expansion. Voters are tired of companies like Enbridge making record profits — then demanding subsidies and special treatment from government. B.C.’s NDP government is already struggling to reduce greenhouse gas emissions amid a flurry of new fossil fuel projects. Approving another mega pipeline would only deepen that contradiction, with an election coming next year… “Taxpayers have spent tens of millions on militarized police raids to clear a path for Coastal GasLink. And billions on subsidies for fracking wells and terminal construction at either end of the pipeline. If costs go up any further, TC Energy may have to operate its pipeline at a loss. My guess is the company will soon demand a multibillion-dollar government bailout. Enbridge’s Westcoast Connector is the same story all over again, with even worse impacts for the climate. Environment Minister George Heyman should follow his own law — and let the project certificate expire.”

New York Times: Why Is the E.P.A. So Timid in the East Palestine Train Disaster?
Judith Enck, a former E.P.A. regional administrator, is on the faculty at Bennington College and is the president of Beyond Plastics, an organization that seeks to end plastic pollution, 3/8/23

“When a Norfolk Southern train carrying nearly 116,000 gallons of vinyl chloride derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, last month, local officials made a pivotal decision: to drain the highly toxic chemical into a ditch and set it on fire in a “controlled burn” to avoid a catastrophic explosion,” Judith Enck writes for the New York Times. “Officials didn’t mention that the plume could rain dioxins and other enduring poisons down on the community and others downwind. And two days after the burn, residents in the one-by-two-mile evacuation zone were allowed back into their homes — before any testing for dioxins and other contaminants on the surfaces inside had been done. Dioxins are some of the most potent carcinogens on earth — there’s no “safe” dose for humans, and pregnant women and young children are especially vulnerable to their effects. But even now, a month after the derailment, the people of East Palestine don’t have solid information about the risks they and their families face — whether they have already been exposed, what they should be doing to avoid future exposure and whether they just need to move. Why would the Environmental Protection Agency allow this horrific situation to continue? It should have ordered comprehensive testing the very day of the burn. It should have told residents, especially pregnant women and families with young children, not to return home until it was safe to do so. Instead, it timidly stood back, leaving local authorities, corporate interests and rumors to fill the void. In lieu of a comprehensive plan, the E.P.A. appears to be playing a game of crisis whack-a-mole, waiting and then responding to the news cycle. This is no way to safeguard our communities… “The E.P.A. needs to take two actions now. First, it needs to conduct comprehensive environmental testing for dioxins in and around East Palestine… “Second, the E.P.A. needs to establish federally funded medical monitoring for everyone along the plume. Even those who appear healthy now should be offered baseline testing.”

The Narwhal: Addressing Alberta’s leaky tailings ponds is Canada’s chance to keep promises to Indigenous Peoples
Aliénor Rougeot and Melody Lepine, 3/8/23

“At COP15, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, Canada focused on biodiversity protection, meaningful partnership with Indigenous Peoples and science-based policies. Yet when the rubber hits the road on each of these priorities with cases like the oilsands tailings ponds, Canada is headed the wrong way. It is time for the government to put a stop to the oil industry’s toxic takeover of lands,” Aliénor Rougeot and Melody Lepine write for The Narwhal. “Tailings ponds are industry-made reservoirs the size of lakes that store nearly 1.4 trillion litres of toxic byproduct from oil production. They cover vast swaths of the boreal forest in Northern Alberta, currently taking up over 300 square kilometres — enough to cover the city of Paris three times over. They contain dangerous chemicals such as ammonia, lead, mercury, benzene and naphthenic acids, and are known to leak and evaporate their toxic content into the surrounding environment… “Tailings pollution in the oilsands is a symbol of colonial injustice. Since the creation of the “ponds,” the nations downstream of the oilands, including Mikisew Cree First Nation, have been participating in federal and provincial consultations, monitoring programs and environmental assessments. Not once in nearly fifty years, since the oilsands operations began had there been an acknowledgment of the risks posed by the tailings — despite the nations voicing their concerns for ecological and human wellbeing and asking for adequate risk studies to be conducted. Now, a new plan is being hatched in the oilsands: oil companies want to flush partially treated tailings ponds into the Athabasca River, which the Fisheries Act currently forbids… “Canada must make a public commitment that it will not move forward in authorizing the release without the consent of the impacted nations. Dene lawyer Daniel T’seleie argues Canada has a legal obligation to obtain the consent of all nations impacted by the release due to its passing of Bill C-15, which stipulates “Canada must take all measures necessary to ensure that its laws are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples.”

Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Imperial Oil’s tailings spill shows communities need more protection
Gillian Chow-Fraser is boreal program manager for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Northern Alberta Chapter, 3/9/23

“You may have noticed that Imperial Oil has been dominating headlines as of late. One of the company’s tailings ponds has been leaking into the surrounding groundwater and bubbling up to the surface nearby for nearly a year, at least since May 2022. What is more alarming is that the news of this ongoing leak is just becoming public knowledge now, following an additional spill of over five million litres of contaminated water from a large storage pond,” Gillian Chow-Fraser writes for the Edmonton Journal. “…Mirroring Ohio’s predicament, the system that exists in Alberta’s oilsands industry to contain tailings and deal with accidents or leaks is also flawed and dangerous… “The striking truth is that we need regulations and processes that protect communities, not industry… “It’s an issue we see constantly: regulatory constraints mean intervention only happens after environmental catastrophes have already happened, an artifact of the ways in which industry is protected from repercussions from their mistakes out of fear that a profit margin might flutter. Industry willfully accepts the environmental impacts of development because there is a proven track record that it is unlikely they will face severe consequences. At most, tools like issues of non-compliance, emergency protection orders, investigations and fines are merely slaps on the hand and do nothing to actually protect people from the devastating risks of industrial activities. Industry knows the impacts, and what’s worse, they know they can get away with it. Meanwhile, the consequences of industrial mistakes are survived by downstream communities… “It’s time to rethink the power imbalance that the industry holds over communities. It is not a “responsible industry” if it is so comfortable with unloading environmental impacts to downstream communities.” 

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