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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 4/18/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

April 18, 2023



  • Pipeline Fighters Hub: Webinar: Analysis of PHMSA Report on Denbury CO2 Pipeline Rupture in Satartia, MS

  • KMA: Page County board retains legal counsel to review potential hazardous liquid pipeline ordinance

  • Hope Standard: Emergency response exercise for Trans Mountain pipeline lands in Deroche

  • CemNet: MoU extended for Mt Simon Hub carbon pipeline


  • E&E News: Westerman emerges as pivotal player in permitting talks

  • E&E News: Biden Admin Scraps Trump-Era Approach To Offshore Oil Rule 

  • The Hill: Environmental advocates contend ‘green’ natural gas efforts fail to contain damaging leaks

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: FERC Pauses Review for Rio Grande LNG CCS Proposal

  • E&E News: D.C. Circuit skeptical of challenge to EPA climate finding

  • E&E News: 9th Circuit busts Berkeley’s natural gas ban

  • E&E News: Think Manchin has coal connections? Meet his potential rival.

  • TIME: The IRA is Spurring Fossil Fuel Companies to Monitor Methane Leaks from Space


  • Radio Iowa: Governor selects new chair for Iowa Utilities Board

  • Public News Service: NV Group Opposes Bill to ‘Modernize’ Natural Gas Infrastructure

  • Montana Standard: Republican lawmakers rush to aid NorthWestern Energy

  • New Scientist: World’s first drilling project to seek natural hydrogen hits a snag


  • E&E News: U.S. Methane Emissions 70% Higher Than EPA Estimates — Study

  •  The Hill: Slightly fewer Americans concerned about multiple environmental problems: Gallup

  • Canadian Press: First Nations blast Alberta Energy Regulator at hearing; minister promises reform

  • Reuters: Canada’s Indigenous communities call for regulatory overhaul after tailings leak




Pipeline Fighters Hub: Webinar: Analysis of PHMSA Report on Denbury CO2 Pipeline Rupture in Satartia, MS

“Join Pipeline Safety Trust executive director Bill Caram, and Bold Alliance attorney Paul Blackburn on Monday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. CT for a webinar overview and analysis of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) recently issued “Consent Order and Agreement” with pipeline operator Denbury, whose pipeline carrying supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) ruptured in Satartia, Mississippi in 2020,” the Pipeline Fighters Hub reports. “The toxic plume of 31,405 barrels of CO2 released caused the entire town to be evacuated and sent 45 people to the hospital, reporting symptoms of CO2 poisoning and oxygen deprivation. According to PHMSA, Denbury had several areas of non-compliance that exacerbated the failure’s effects on the community of Satartia. Most critical were that Denbury did not notify local responders to advise them of the failure (nor train them how to handle one before the incident happened), address the risks of geohazards to its pipeline system, or correctly determine the areas that could be affected by a CO2 release in its plume dispersion modeling. Our discussion and Q&A will focus on the implications of this Order on other potential CO2 pipeline operators besides Denbury (Summit, Navigator, Wolf et al.) that are currently proposing massive CO2 pipelines spanning the Midwest that would endanger countless communities and first responders in their paths.”

KMA: Page County board retains legal counsel to review potential hazardous liquid pipeline ordinance
Ethan Hewett, 4/17/23

“During its regular meeting Thursday, the Page County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved retaining legal counsel through Ahlers and Cooney to review a potential hazardous liquid pipeline ordinance,” KMA reports.”The move comes as the county could have roughly seven miles of Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed Midwest Express pipeline cutting through the county towards Green Plains’ Shenandoah ethanol plant. Supervisors Chair Jacob Holmes says the move primarily comes to allow the county to continue to move forward with potentially adopting an ordinance similar to what was passed in Shelby County… “Holmes says he had contacted Ahlers and Cooney lawyer Tim Whipple, who also worked with Montgomery County on a proposed ordinance, about reviewing the regulation… “The county has also heard a continued push from some landowners to move swiftly with adopting an ordinance citing safety concerns. At a recent meeting, Marty Maher, who owns land near Imogene, cautioned the board on advice from Summit to wait on the result of ongoing litigation with Shelby County, which was one of the first counties to implement an ordinance and subsequently sued by the pipeline company. “Let’s say the Shelby County ordinance is overruled — then Summit has won the game,” said Maher. “But lets say the Shelby County ordinance is upheld, the pipeline can either go through Shelby County more carefully or they can go around Shelby County. But, all the rest of the counties will be too late to get an ordinance put in place, because that has to be done this year.”

Hope Standard: Emergency response exercise for Trans Mountain pipeline lands in Deroche

“Deroche can expect increased activity this week when the Trans Mountain Corporation holds an emergency response drill on Nicomen Slough on Tuesday (April 18) and Wednesday (April 19),” the Hope Standard reports. “The exercise will feature training for both land and water and will include the use of equipment. Oil spill traliers, response boats, a containment boom and more equipment will be utilized for training purposes. In a news release, Trans Mountain says the exercise will take place during regular business hours and no oil or simulated product will be released. “The purpose of the exercise is to validate response equipment, practice our Emergency Response Plan, confirm viable spill control points and refresh personnel on response tactics,” the release reads.

CemNet: MoU extended for Mt Simon Hub carbon pipeline

“Chart Industries, Inc, a leading diversified global manufacturer of highly-engineered equipment and technologies for the industrial gas and clean energy industries, is expanding its existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wolf Carbon Solutions US LLC,” CemNet reports. “…Through the cooperation agreement, both companies will jointly identify, develop, pursue and execute projects using Chart’s Sustainable Energy Solutions (SES) Cryogenic Carbon Capture (CCC) technology at mutually-agreed upon host sites located along Wolf’s recently announced Mt Simon Hub carbon pipeline system. The proposed Mt Simon Hub will run from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to central Illinois, USA. Carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere will be captured via Chart CCC™ technology and transported, stored, and permanently sequestered in the proposed Mt Simon Hub carbon capture, transport, and sequestration system… “In addition to CCC technology for post-combustion carbon capture, the parties will also work together to utilise additional rotating equipment manufactured by Howden for CCUS applications. Howden provides flue gas boosters for various CCUS technologies (including amine treating units and others), compressors for energy efficiency in the regeneration of amine treating units, rotating adsorption machines, and CO2 compressors.”


E&E News: Westerman emerges as pivotal player in permitting talks
Kelsey Brugger, 4/18/23

“It’s only been a few months, but Rep. Bruce Westerman has made his mark on energy policy in the House,” E&E News reports. “…He’s now serving as a broker on the legislative white whale this Congress: an energy permitting overhaul deal. Democrats and moderate lawmakers call him a “good agent.” He’s already engaged in talks with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) on the matter… “In his first hearing as chair of Natural Resources this year, Westerman rejected Democratic policy ideas like the Green New Deal. He called recent Interior Department “ecogrief” workshops “meaningless pandering” and a “colossal waste” of taxpayer dollars… “While he maintains those core convictions, Westerman has been talking with moderates like Sinema about speeding up permitting for infrastructure projects. “She wants to get to work,” he told E&E of Sinema… “Westerman has also been meeting with Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee… “This time around, observers and lawmakers tell E&E Manchin has been taking a back seat on the issue, while House Republicans like Westerman and Natural Resources member Garret Graves (R-La.) try to rebrand it… “The Senate plans to begin holding hearings on permitting in the coming weeks.”

E&E News: Biden Admin Scraps Trump-Era Approach To Offshore Oil Rule 
Heather Richards, 4/18/23

“The Biden administration revoked part of a proposed oil and gas rule from the Trump era that would have partially shielded large energy companies from cleaning up abandoned wells and pipelines off the nation’s coasts,” E&E News reports. “The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement published final offshore decommissioning regulations Tuesday detailing how long former owners of oil and gas wells have to draft cleanup plans for infrastructure that has been abandoned by current owners. It also clarifies how companies holding rights of way or easements related to offshore energy development take on decommissioning responsibilities. BSEE Director Kevin Sligh told E&E that the final rule will improve industry compliance with federal regulations and help oil and gas companies plan for future retirement of their wells.”

The Hill: Environmental advocates contend ‘green’ natural gas efforts fail to contain damaging leaks
SAUL ELBEIN, 4/18/23

“Environmental groups charge that the oil and gas industry is using promises of a future “green” fossil fuel economy to boost the use of the fuels in the present,” The Hill reports. “…Like the Obama administration before it, the Biden Department of Energy has thrown its support behind a vision of a new-model fossil fuel industry that captures its climate-warming emissions — while producing clean-burning products like hydrogen. Much of this remains theoretical: the Democrats’ landmark 2022 energy package contains billions for carbon capture facilities; carbon dioxide pipelines and regional hubs to pull hydrogen fuel from gas. But the oil and gas sector is already building out the infrastructure to sell customers products billed as lower-emission — which may be called “green,” “certified,” “low-carbon,” or “responsibly sourced” gas… “People need to understand that [certified gas] is the cleanest carbon on the planet, and we need to bring 2 billion people out of poverty with this enormously clean carbon fuel,” Project Canary CEO Chris Romer told interviewers last September… “While gas producers “must clean up their product, that doesn’t mean that they can continue to produce as much gas as they’re producing today,” Lorne Stockman of Oil Change International told The Hill. “They have to have a plan to manage the decline of their gas.” “…Report coauthor Eisenfeld told The Hill that Project Canary’s response reinforced the larger problem with certification: that it is almost impossible for third-party groups, including affected communities, to audit company claims — forcing them to take promises of pollution reduction on faith.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: FERC Pauses Review for Rio Grande LNG CCS Proposal
JACOB DICK, 4/17/23

“As NextDecade Corp. awaits a critical FERC decision for the Rio Grande LNG facility later this week, federal regulators have paused the regulatory process for a project intended to significantly reduce emissions from the Texas export project,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “In a letter published Friday, Federal Energy Regulatory Staff informed the Houston-based firm that it was suspending an environmental assessment (EA) for NextDecade’s carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project (No. CP22-17-000). The review was previously expected to be issued in May. FERC staff wrote that the firm had provided some responses to its data requests, but NextDecade indicated it wouldn’t be able to supply answers to all of the Commission’s information requests before the review deadline… “In a list of 11 data requests issued by FERC included in the letter, staff noted it lacked data or a timeline for delivery from NextDecade for seven categories. The firm told FERC it could deliver air dispersion modeling by the end of the month… “NextDecade has been seeking to amend its 2019 authorization for Rio Grande LNG to include a CCS project since 2021. The firm estimated that its CCS design would allow it to remove 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced during the liquefaction process. The CO2 would be transported to an injection well via pipeline, under NextDecade’s plan. NextDecade created a subsidiary, NEXT Carbon Solutions LLC, to develop the project as a part of its effort to make Rio Grande LNG a net-zero emissions facility in the future. The project has faced opposition from environmental groups and regulatory barriers, including a remand of its federal authorization.”

E&E News: D.C. Circuit skeptical of challenge to EPA climate finding
Lesley Clark, 4/17/23

“A federal appeals court signaled on Friday that it might support the agency’s endangerment finding on greenhouse gases,” E&E News reports. “Judges questioned how conservative groups are harmed by EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding, which underpins the agency’s climate rules…”

E&E News: 9th Circuit busts Berkeley’s natural gas ban
Ellie Borst, 4/17/23

“The first city law banning natural gas hookups to new buildings is illegal under federal energy conservation law, a federal appeals court ruled Monday,” E&E News reports. “The Berkeley, Calif., ordinance is not in line with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which “expressly preempts State and local regulations concerning the energy use of many natural gas appliances, including those used in household and restaurant kitchens,” U.S. Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay wrote for the unanimous three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “Instead of directly banning those appliances in new buildings, Berkeley took a more circuitous route to the same result and enacted a building code that prohibits natural gas piping into those buildings, rendering the gas appliances useless,” Bumatay, a Trump appointee, wrote in the opinion… “Despite attacks on the ban from the gas industry, multiple states and the federal government defended Berkeley’s ordinance… “Berkeley’s ban inspired copycat laws in dozens of California cities and municipal legislation in Washington state, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York and elsewhere.”

E&E News: Think Manchin has coal connections? Meet his potential rival.
Scott Waldman, 4/18/23

“West Virginia voters may swap one coal boss for an even bigger one,” E&E News reports. “Gov. Jim Justice (R) is expected to make a decision about challenging Democrat Joe Manchin for his Senate seat in the coming weeks, a move that would pit two politicians with deep connections to the coal industry against each other. Justice, who was included on Forbes‘ billionaires list as recently as 2020, has profited from family businesses in the fossil fuel industry across Appalachia. He would immediately become the front-runner in the Republican primary and potentially in the general election, polls show… “Both men have earned millions from their families’ fossil fuel businesses. Over the years, Justice’s family coal businesses have collected tens of millions of dollars in state and federal fines for pollution and public safety violations. The businesses have a long history of ignoring those fines or paying them after years of protracted legal efforts… “Accusations around conflicts of interest have followed Justice, 71, and Manchin, 75, through much of their careers. But that has not slowed their political rise in West Virginia, Rob Cornelius, the former chair of the Wood County Republican Executive Committee and a critic of Justice, whom he described as “Teflon as hell,” told E&E. “It’s really an Eastern European, Third World mindset here. We expect our leaders to be a little dirty, I guess is the nice way of putting it,” Cornelius told E&E. “No one here cares about what I would call government and business corruption, and that’s probably an indictment of our voters.

TIME: The IRA is Spurring Fossil Fuel Companies to Monitor Methane Leaks from Space

“At Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, a SpaceX rocket loaded with dozens of satellites from companies and governments is preparing to blast off,” TIME reports. “Among that cargo are two satellites from startup Orbital Sidekick (OSK), dishwasher-sized boxes with advanced hyperspectral cameras, which will eventually form a network with four more. One of the uses for those cameras, the company told TIME, will be to help fossil fuel companies curb emissions of methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses, from leaking wells and natural gas pipelines… “But things have changed in the industry since the U.S. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act last summer. That sprawling climate law included the nation’s first ever fine for companies that emit methane—$900 per metric ton starting in 2024, with the cost ratcheting up over the following two years for facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent… “Still, those looming fines had a role in spurring some fossil fuel companies to pay OSK to monitor their infrastructure, Dan Katz, the company’s CEO, told TIME… “OSK was selling customers on its methane monitoring tech before the IRA was passed. The Williams Company, a natural gas pipeline operator that has invested in OSK, for instance, is interested in using satellite imagery to demonstrate that it’s able to transport natural gas with minimal emissions, and then sell credits on voluntary carbon markets based on the methane it didn’t leak… “Katz told TIME the fines enacted by law made pitching some other companies a bit easier.”


Radio Iowa: Governor selects new chair for Iowa Utilities Board

“Governor Kim Reynolds has appointed a former Republican legislator to lead the Iowa Utilities Board,” Radio Iowa reports. “Current Iowa Utilities Board chair Geri Huser will remain on the board, but the governor has appointed Erik Helland to take over as chair in May. Helland, who is an attorney, grew up on a farm near Huxley and served two terms in the Iowa House representing the Des Moines suburb of Johnston. Helland will lead the Iowa Utilities Board as it considers applications for construction permits for three carbon pipelines… “Reynolds previously appointed Helland to the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, but minority Democrats were able to block his confirmation in 2022.”

Public News Service: NV Group Opposes Bill to ‘Modernize’ Natural Gas Infrastructure
Alex Gonzalez, 4/13/23

“Clean-energy and environmental advocates aren’t pleased with a bill in the Nevada Legislature that they say would commit the state to using fossil fuels long-term,” Public News Service reports. “Senate Bill 116 would allow the utility Southwest Gas to replace thousands of miles of existing gas distribution infrastructure with what conservation groups warn would be minimal oversight from the Nevada Public Utilities Commission… “Any effort to prolong or encourage the use of fossil fuels really just doesn’t make sense in a state like Nevada,” Nevada Conservation League Deputy Director Christi Cabrera-Georgeson told PNS, “especially when we don’t produce them here. We produce solar and geothermal, and renewable energy.” Cabrera-Georgeson told PNS her group is also concerned the bill could saddle ratepayers with the cost of modernizing the gas pipeline system, paying billions of dollars on top of what she calls “historically high gas bills.”

Montana Standard: Republican lawmakers rush to aid NorthWestern Energy
Tom Lutey, 4/14/23

“Montana’s Republican legislators took extraordinary measures Friday to ban regulation of greenhouse gasses, a move intended to nullify a court order against state regulators and NorthWestern Energy,” the Montana Standard reports. “On a party-line vote, House Republicans suspended the deadline for new bills and added House Bill 971, which bans “an evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions, or corresponding impacts to the climate in the state or beyond the state’s borders.” In caucus before the vote, House Republicans said immediate action was necessary to undo an April 7 District Court ruling against the Department of Environmental Quality because it “failed to take a hard look concerning two environmental issues,” carbon dioxide emissions and light pollution. District Judge Michael Moses ordered work at the power plant stop until DEQ reviewed both environmental risks, after which DEQ will have to decide whether permitting the plant warrants a detailed environmental impact statement, or the lighter touch of an environmental assessment… “The legislation is one of several bills introduced this session to plow the regulatory road for the fossil fuel industry in general and NorthWestern Energy specifically. Other laws prevent local governments from determining where pipelines and power plants are located, or diminish the voting clout of city residents.”

New Scientist: World’s first drilling project to seek natural hydrogen hits a snag
James Dinneen, 4/14/213

“In mid-March, workers began pumping water out of a 3.5-kilometre-deep hole drilled in the middle of a Nebraska corn field. It would have been an unremarkable scene if they had been in search of oil or natural gas. But the well is the first in the world drilled in search of naturally occurring hydrogen, which some think could become a significant source of clean fuel,” New Scientist reports. “…The tests started in March are now on pause due to a pump failure, but should soon reveal whether the well contains significant concentrations of the gas. Researchers have long known geologic processes generate hydrogen, which emits only heat and water vapour when burned, but they didn’t think it would make a viable source of energy. “No one was really expecting to find it in large quantities,” Zgonnik told NS. “Because of that, no one was looking.” Now, new estimates of the amount of hydrogen within Earth have driven researchers and some start-ups to take the hunt for geologic hydrogen, also known as gold hydrogen, more seriously. “If it can be produced in large quantities – still a big ‘if’ – it could play a major role in helping reduce carbon emissions,” Adam Brandt at Stanford University in California told NS. A sizable discovery in Nebraska would be “a very significant milestone in geologic hydrogen development,” Geoffrey Ellis at the US Geological Survey told NS… “If the well contains sufficient hydrogen, Zgonnik told NS they plan to sell it to a nearby fertiliser plant, which produces ammonia by reacting hydrogen with nitrogen. Most ammonia production uses hydrogen created with an energy and emissions-intensive process to reform methane with steam.”


E&E News: U.S. Methane Emissions 70% Higher Than EPA Estimates — Study 
Shelby Webb, 4/18/23

“EPA has underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas production by an average of 70 percent, or 6.1 million tons, over the past decade, scientists said on Monday,” E&E News reports. “During the same period, however, the United States has seen a decline in methane intensity, or the amount of methane emissions released relative to the amount of oil or gas produced, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ‘What we have found is methane emissions have been going up and down, but with improvements in the efficiency of the industry, methane intensity has improved over the past decade,’ Daniel Jacob, an atmospheric scientist at Harvard University and one of the main authors of the study, told E&E. The Harvard study found that oil and gas production emitted 14.8 million tons of methane a year from 2010 through 2019, while EPA put that number at 8.7 million tons.”

The Hill: Slightly fewer Americans concerned about multiple environmental problems: Gallup

“Fewer Americans in a new poll are concerned about multiple environmental problems, with small declines seen in reported worries since last year,” The Hill reports. “The Gallup poll found that 55 percent of Americans say they have a “great deal” of worry about the pollution of drinking water in the U.S., down from 57 percent last year. Fifty percent now express that level of concern for the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, down from 54 percent who said the same last year. And the share of Americans who said they worry a great deal about climate change overall dropped 4 percentage points, from 43 percent last year to 39 percent this year… “The poll attributes the declines to Democrats, who have appeared less concerned about environmental issues amid the Biden administration and after last year’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included significant investments aimed at promoting clean energy and combatting climate change. Democrats overall are generally more concerned about the environmental issues than Republicans, according to the poll, and Republicans’ concern has remained relatively stable since last year.” 

Canadian Press: First Nations blast Alberta Energy Regulator at hearing; minister promises reform
Mia Rabson, 4/17/23

“Chiefs of First Nations affected by releases of wastewater from an oilsands mine excoriated Alberta’s regulator at a House of Commons committee hearing, calling it a system that serves the industry and not the public,” the Canadian Press reports. “The [Alberta Energy Regulator] has zero credibility outside Calgary’s echo chamber,” Daniel Stuckless of the Fort McKay Métis Nation said in Ottawa on Monday. “They actively dismiss and downplay impacts of oilsands on communities and their Aboriginal and treaty rights.” Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation went further outside the committee room. “The Alberta system, when it comes to the Alberta regulator, is completely broken and should be dismantled,” he told CP. Ottawa shares culpability by failing to enforce environmental laws, he told CP. “While Alberta bears much of the blame, Canada must also shoulder responsibility for what has happened,” Adam told CP. The comments came as the House of Commons environment and sustainability committee held hearings to examine why it took nine months for First Nations and governments to find out what was happening with both tailings pond seepage and overflow from a containment pond at Imperial Oil’s Kearl mine. But the six First Nations leaders who addressed the committee quickly insisted their concerns go much deeper than a single case. “Alberta’s reaction throughout is to simply say this is a communications issue,” said Adam, who broke down in tears describing what it was like telling his people their water may be contaminated. “The Alberta Energy Regulator is a joke. A complete joke.”

Reuters: Canada’s Indigenous communities call for regulatory overhaul after tailings leak
Nia Williams, 4/17/23

“Indigenous communities in Canada’s oil sands region on Monday called for Alberta’s energy regulator to be disbanded and replaced following a months-long toxic tailings seepage from Imperial Oil’s  Kearl oil sands mine,” Reuters reports. “…Imperial, a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp, first detected discoloured water near its Kearl site last May, but the company and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) failed to update local First Nations communities when testing showed the water contained tailings, a waste product of mining… “Indigenous community representatives said the AER was too sympathetic to industry. “I think you need to scrap it and build it back. I don’t think it’s salvageable in its current form,” Daniel Stuckless, director of the Fort McKay Métis Nation, told the committee. Timothy Clark, principal of environmental consultancy Willow Springs Strategic Solutions, which is working with the Fort McMurray Métis Nation, said the AER had undergone “regulatory capture”. “The regulator is constantly pulling the direction of the conversation in the interests of the regulated parties rather than the public interest,” Clark said… “On Monday the federal government released details of a new working group to improve monitoring of environmental risks from oil sands tailings ponds. The group will include Indigenous leaders, federal and provincial governments, and oil sands company representatives.”


National Catholic Reporter: Catholic sisters press Citigroup to reexamine pipeline financing
BRIAN ROEWE, 4/18/23

“A congregation of Catholic sisters is facing a financial showdown with Citigroup, alleging the global bank is misrepresenting a shareholder resolution that calls for a reassessment of its project-financing screens on Indigenous rights and climate change after Citigroup provided billions of dollars to a major oil company with a lengthy track record of spills,” according to the National Catholic Reporter. “The shareholder resolution, introduced by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace alongside other Catholic congregations, will be put to a vote April 25 during the annual shareholder meeting for Citigroup, one of the leading global banks with operations in more than 150 countries. The resolution requests that Citigroup produce a report evaluating the effectiveness of its policies and practices in adhering to international standards for Indigenous rights and financial industry benchmarks it helped draft for assessing environmental and social risks in project funding. At the center of the shareholder resolution is $5 billion in financing Citigroup has provided to Enbridge, a Calgary-based fossil fuel company and one of the world’s largest pipeline builders… “Citigroup has opposed the shareholder resolution, saying in its 2023 proxy statement that it did not provide project-specific financing for the Line 3 and Line 5 pipelines, and that the $5 billion to Enbridge was through general corporate purposes financing… “In response, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Citigroup “misinterprets” the resolution. The filing said Citigroup sought to “minimize its role in enabling these projects” by attempting to distance the bank from the Line 3 and Line 5 pipelines. The sisters also contend the bank’s Enterprise Security Risk Management policy lacks a formal commitment to the principle of free, prior and informed consent, which they told NCR “is vital to implementing effective and meaningful risk management systems related to Indigenous Rights.”

OPINION Letter: Politics in Iowa go Chicago-style
Bonnie Ewoldt, Milford, 4/17/23

“Chicago-style politics are playing out in the Iowa State Legislature where the CO2 pipeline mafia has blocked all legislation designed to rein in the use of eminent domain for one of the biggest land-grabs in American history,” Bonnie Ewoldt writes for “Without eminent domain, the hazardous liquid CO2 pipelines cannot gain access to thousands of acres of private land on the 1,800-mile route crisscrossing Iowa. The CO2 pipeline mafia needs private property for a $5.5 billion, taxpayer-funded carbon-capture and sequestration scheme. Many landowners signed the easements voluntarily, with several of them doing so only because of the threat of getting less money with eminent domain. Others have not signed, refusing to allow land damage and hazardous liquid waste on their property. Taking private property with eminent domain was expected to be easy pickings when the CO2 pipeline mafia moved into Iowa. They were not expecting pushback from private property owners. Opposing landowners have organized and been joined in the fight by a large and diverse group of Democrats, Republicans, independents, environmentalists, indigenous peoples and concerned Iowans from all walks of life who believe eminent domain should not be used for profit without public need. We have turned to lawmakers for help strengthening Iowa’s eminent domain laws to clearly state takings be only by the government for purposes of public necessity. Sadly, we’ve learned that the CO2 pipeline mafia has deep tentacles into Iowa politics, and this has enabled them to slow walk eminent domain reform… “Sen. Bousselot’s actions were not surprising. Before being elected to the Senate, he worked for Summit Agriculture Group as managing director and head of external relations. Prior to that, he was chief of staff for former Gov. Terry Branstad, who is now the senior policy adviser for Summit Carbon Solutions. Because of this blatant conflict of interest, senators are considering ethics charges against Bousselot. Even though HF565 failed to survive the funnel, it has a chance to be considered in the Senate with intervention from Senate leadership. However, they will only act if they feel pressured to do so by the public.”

Des Moines Register: Unfettered eminent domain doesn’t seem conservative
Sue Ravenscroft, Ames, 4/13/23

“I lived the first 50 years of my life in Michigan and do not remember hearing the phrase “local control” as a major political issue.  But when my husband and I moved to Iowa we realized how different state politics can be,” Sue Ravenscroft writes for the Des Moines Register. “…Land differs from other assets in those ways and in the emotional ties people, especially those who live off the land, have to their property. So we watch with dismay and confusion as the issue of local control seems to be not just ignored but overthrown by the current Senate in its refusal to deal with House File 565. Eminent domain would appear to be the Darth Vader, the dark countervailing force to the notion of local control. How can conservatives, whose political belief set usually includes the idea that government should interfere/intervene/participate less in our personal lives rather than more, support a policy like eminent domain? Why not support the majority of Iowans who want this bill to pass rather than support having the government serve as the enabler of large corporate interests? How is refusing to bring this issue to the Senate floor conservative?.. “I ask Republicans to explain how allowing large corporations to harness the government’s power to override individuals’ rights over their own property is a conservative position.”

The Hill: Biden’s climate blind spot
Jeremy Symons writes and consults on energy and climate change. He was the project manager of Climate 21, a blueprint for “whole-of-government” presidential climate leadership, 4/17/23

“President Joe Biden was right when he told world leaders in 2021 that this is “the decisive decade” to act on climate,” Jeremy Symons writes for The Hill. “…The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — Biden’s signature climate achievement — invests an impressive $369 billion toward this plan. In spite of this leadership, Biden has a climate blind spot… “Solving climate change requires rapidly ratcheting down oil and gas, which account for 60 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions… “The math doesn’t add up. We can’t achieve net-zero emissions without phasing out fossil fuel supplies. New fossil fuel infrastructure will lock in emissions, slow growth in clean energy jobs and undermine the president’s climate and environmental justice goals… “The Alaska LNG Project’s climate footprint — 2.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution over the project’s lifetime, according to Department of Energy (DOE) estimates — is equivalent to one-quarter of all the carbon pollution savings expected from EPA’s new tailpipe rules for cars, SUVs, buses, and freight trucks. DOE estimates that the Alaska LNG Project would result in as much as $350 billion in climate damages. Still, they approved the project because it would ostensibly only “contribute incrementally to climate change.” We don’t call these damages incremental when deadly wildfires, storms, floods and droughts hit communities. We call them an emergency… “The buck stops with the president. Industry’s plans require permit approvals from the Biden administration. Federal agencies are on autopilot, approving permits one at a time without looking at the big picture. When President Obama denied the Keystone XL pipeline in 2015, it was only after he had hit the reset button on how federal agencies were assessing the permit. “We’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky,” he said. Biden needs his own Keystone moment to stave off a massive fossil fuel buildout under his watch.”

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