Skip to Content


EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 5/23/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

May 23, 2023



  • KCUR: How deciding not to fix a pipe in Kansas 10 years ago led to the Keystone pipeline’s biggest spill

  • Kansas Reflector: Keystone pipeline owners knew of defect years before Kansas spill

  • KMSP: Citizen scientist group: More problems along Line 3 pipeline corridor suspected

  • West Central Tribune: Summit Carbon Solutions updates Kandiyohi County Board on pipeline progress in Minnesota, Iowa, Dakotas

  • Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa landowners along the route of Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon dioxide pipeline across Iowa may be offered third-party mediators


  • E&E News: McCarthy: Permitting reform still on table in debt talks

  • Washington Post: Debt ceiling meeting between Biden, McCarthy ends with no deal Monday



  • Santa Fe New Mexican: New Mexico’s fracking water contains cancer-causing chemicals, study says

  • InsideClimate News: Colorado Frackers Doubled Freshwater Use During Megadrought, Even as Drilling and Oil Production Fell

  • Midland Reporter-Telegram: Report says methane mitigation could create 35,000 Texas jobs

  • Fox Business: Alaska Looks Toward Clean Energy Market While Still Relying On Oil 


  • Washington Post: U.S. and E.U. lawmakers are calling for the removal of the COP28 president

  • Guardian: Big polluters’ share prices fall after climate lawsuits, study finds

  • Reuters: ‘Carbon majors’ face biggest hit from climate litigation – study

  • Reuters: Chevron to boost U.S. presence with $7.6 billion PDC Energy buy

  • CNBC: Norway faces backlash from campaigners for ‘reckless’ pursuit of Arctic oil and gas

  • Associated Press: German chancellor calls some climate activists’ protests ‘nutty’

  • New York Times: An Oil Refiner Leans on Manure to Provide a Greener Future


  • Reuters: Shell CEO shielded by security as climate protesters try to storm shareholder meeting

  • Seattle Times: University of Washington students chain themselves to power plant, seeking climate action

  • Bloomberg: Swiss Re Becomes Fourth Insurer to Leave Net Zero Group

  • Motley Fool: Suncor Energy: The Pros and Cons of Investing in Canada’s Oil Sands


  • Chicago Sun Times: Don’t let communities lose power that helps ensure environmental justice

  • Inforum: Port: Shameless lawmakers set to attack carbon pipeline over supposed foreign ownership

  • Mary Landrieu: Natural gas, renewables are vital partners in reducing emissions

  • Globe and Mail: Feds should not waste their $15-billion Canada Growth Fund on carbon capture for oil


KCUR: How deciding not to fix a pipe in Kansas 10 years ago led to the Keystone pipeline’s biggest spill
Celia Llopis-Jepsen, 5/22/23

“Independent investigators paint a very different picture from what oil company TC Energy has said publicly about events that led to the Keystone pipeline’s biggest oil spill ever,” KCUR reports. “Their report says, for instance, that the company dug up the section of pipe nearly a decade before it burst because it knew the pipe had warped. Yet it reburied the spot without fixing it. The consultants’ 240-page report also sheds light on how the Keystone — with its beefed-up safety features that won it a special federal permit to operate at high-stress levels — burst open in Kansas last year while operating under much less pressure than it was designed for. It ruptured, in fact, under run-of-the-mill pressure, which normal, less rigorously designed oil pipelines regularly withstand. Why? Investigators found gaps in TC Energy’s standards and controls for how it designs bends in the pipeline and how it judges whether to repair warped pipes. “Other (similarly designed bends in the Keystone) may also be susceptible,” they wrote. That includes more than 100 pipe fittings installed in 2010 that “could have similar (welding) imperfections.” The investigators also found lapses in construction oversight and pointed to ways the Canadian company underestimated key risks that paved the way for more than 500,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil to spill onto a hillside and into a stream in Washington County in north-central Kansas. TC Energy knew for a decade that the section of pipeline that eventually ruptured had warped from perfectly round to an oval shape. Yet the company didn’t look into how that had happened or what risks accompanied the deformities… “TC Energy told KCUR that it is running extra checks on its system and that it ran inspection tools through 300 miles of pipe in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. It is looking into other spots in the pipeline that investigators said could suffer similar problems. “Thus far, we have not found any similarities,” the company told KCUR. “We anticipate this work to carry into 2024.” “…During a months-long cleanup, at times with 800 workers on site, crews isolated and bypassed four miles of the sullied creek and drained more than two miles of the most heavily polluted stretch to excavate the oil… “TC Energy expects to continue working at the site into this fall… “It blacked out, for example, some of the manufacturers and contractors involved in producing and installing the specific section of pipeline that split open more than a decade later. It also blacked out details of projects since 2016 aimed at increasing the flow of oil running through portions of the Keystone system that are redacted but that appear to include Kansas… “The Kansas News Service has filed records requests for various documents related to the pipeline, the spill and how TC Energy handles ruptures of this nature.”

Kansas Reflector: Keystone pipeline owners knew of defect years before Kansas spill

“Owners of the Keystone pipeline knew a defect had formed years before the strain finally caused the pipeline to burst and flood a Kansas creek with oil last year,” the Kansas Reflector reports. “…While the December spill was the most severe, it was caused by a manufacturing defect that worsened under stress, like most earlier breaches. Bill Caram, executive director of Pipeline Safety Trust, told the Reflector any failure that affects the environment is alarming.  “But the fact that we have a history of these construction issues on this pipeline and we have another failure because of that — I think it calls into question the condition of the pipeline itself,” Caram told the Reflector… “This root cause analysis…points to inadequate oversight in TC Energy’s policies and procedures. The fact that they had to replace this piece of the pipeline a couple times and it still went in defective speaks a lot to that,” Caram told the Reflector… “According to the study, prepared by RSI Pipeline Solutions on TC Energy’s behalf, operators discovered in 2013 that the Keystone pipeline had become somewhat oval-shaped instead of round near the point where it burst 10 years later… “That decision not to address the ovality is one of four causal factors in the pipeline failure outlined in the report. The report says the company failed to run an inspection tool back through the pipeline after making modifications. It also failed to properly oversee construction and quality control, which allowed for construction techniques that caused the bending stress. It also followed design policies that didn’t account for the impact of stress on welds at elbows and joints… Caram continued: “I think the public would say, ‘Well, when you spill hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a creek, that means you weren’t operating the pipeline safely,’ but it’s not always that simple from the regulator’s point of view.” “…Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, who grilled a TC Energy executive in March about the timeline for cleanup of the spill, told the Reflector he feared if the rupture could happen where it did, it could happen at any of those points.  “Until they can prove this pipeline is safe, properly inspected and doesn’t have similar defects, then it has to be treated as if it’s a potential disaster waiting to happen,” Carmichael told the Reflector.

KMSP: Citizen scientist group: More problems along Line 3 pipeline corridor suspected
Nathan O’Neal, 5/22/23

“Enbridge’s oil replacement pipeline known as Line 3 has officially been in operation for more than a year. The construction of the pipeline in Northern Minnesota led to several aquifer breaches, millions of dollars in fines for the company and even criminal charges,” KMSP reports. “While the pipeline has been a flashpoint for environmentalists, tribal communities and the oil industry, internal records from the state and the company itself reveal Enbridge was aware of some problems a lot earlier than the company let on… “In Clearwater County, an uncontrolled water flow was first noticed in January 2021 after large sheets of metal used to reinforce the soil breached an aquifer… “State records reveal Enbridge did not notify the state of the problem at first – and even after the company issued itself an “unacceptable report” in March 2021, Enbridge again did not bring the issue to the state’s attention. Internal emails reveal it wasn’t until six months after the problem was first detected that the state caught wind of it. One state official in an email called it a “serious situation” with about 15 gallons of water per minute gushing out of the aquifer. In total, three aquifer breaches were identified by the state, which led to $11 million in fines for Enbridge… “However, the company’s public messaging during the ramp up to putting the pipeline into operation neglected any mention of the aquifer breaches, including a previous interview in September 2021 with FOX 9 prior to the pipeline becoming functional… “Jeffrey Broberg is a geologist with four decades experience under his belt, including 10 years working in the oil industry. He now works with the citizen science group Waadookawaad Amikwag. He’s concerned about the potential problems within the pipeline corridor, like aquifer breaches near the Fond du Lac reservation… “I ended up identifying 45 sites in the 355 miles that had emerging groundwater right on the pipeline within the corridor,” Broberg told KMSP. “They’re in every county all the way from North Dakota through the headwaters of the Mississippi.”

West Central Tribune: Summit Carbon Solutions updates Kandiyohi County Board on pipeline progress in Minnesota, Iowa, Dakotas
Shelby Lindrud, 5/22/23

“While the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions carbon dioxide pipeline through areas of the state might be Minnesota’s first such pipeline, it most likely won’t be the only — or the last,” the West Central Tribune reports. “We are the first one here. We are not going to be the last in Minnesota,” said Joe Caruso, Minnesota external affairs coordinator for Summit, at the May 16 meeting of the Kandiyohi County Board… “With the state taking over all permitting for the pipeline, Kandiyohi County doesn’t have much say in the project, but Summit Carbon has said it will be as transparent as possible with the impacted counties, hence the at least annual stops at county boards… “The pipeline’s route through Kandiyohi County is still in flux. Summit Carbon cannot use eminent domain in Minnesota, so it’s only with landowner approval that the pipeline can go across private property. This means the pipeline might have to take a more serpentine route through the counties, adding miles to the route. There have been some landowners in Kandiyohi County who have signed on to the project, Caruso told the Tribune. “We have to essentially lock it down before we file with the Public Utilities Commission,” with the route and then permitting, Caruso told the Tribune.

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa landowners along the route of Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon dioxide pipeline across Iowa may be offered third-party mediators
Stephen Schmidt, 5/22/23

“Iowa landowners along the route of Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon dioxide pipeline across Iowa may be offered third-party mediators during easement negotiations, the Iowa Utilities Board announced Friday,” the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. “In an order, the board said the proposal is intended to ease the negotiation process and make for smoother, more understandable proceedings for landowners. But opponents of the pipelines said they see it as an attempt to encourage landowners who have been resistant to Summit’s negotiations to come to an agreement… “Under the proposal, if the landowner does not participate in the voluntary mediation, the board would begin seeking testimony related to eminent domain, which, if granted, would allow the state to take the land for the project and pay the landowner a set amount. Brian Jorde, a lawyer representing a group of landowners before the Iowa Utilities Board and in numerous lawsuits, told the Gazette the proposal is akin to “trying to do Summit’s work for them.” “If they’re going to start getting involved in helping billion-dollar companies have an easier time of wrestling property rights away from landowners who don’t want to be subjected to this, then we’re gonna have to have a very different conversation,” he told the Gazette.


E&E News: McCarthy: Permitting reform still on table in debt talks
Emma Dumain, 5/23/23

“House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Monday night that an overhaul of the nation’s permitting laws was still on the table in debt ceiling negotiations,” E&E News reports. “He also strongly hinted that President Joe Biden could endorse a framework that would speed up approval for oil and gas projects, not just renewables… “In this conversation, the president and I agreed that you can’t do permitting reform for one form of energy; it has to be for all of the above,” McCarthy, a California Republican, told reporters at a press conference Monday following his meeting at the White House on the debt ceiling. “Lots of times people come and say, ‘Oh, I want to just do it for oil production,’ [or] ‘just for renewables.’ No, it will help everybody,” he said… McCarthy, responding to a question from E&E News regarding the importance of reaching a deal on permitting reform in the context of debt limit talks, also relayed a promise he had made to Biden that whatever permitting policy changes the two sides could not agree on by the deadline could be taken care of later. “I will continue these conversations and keep going,” McCarthy said, “because I want to be able to build things in America.” “…Asked whether he could say with certainty whether a permitting deal would be included in a final debt limit agreement, McCarthy replied, “I hope [it will] be in there; I believe it can be.” “…In a press call earlier in the day Monday, a handful of House and Senate Democrats urged against addressing permitting in any capacity as part of debt ceiling negotiations. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, who helped tank permitting overhaul proposals from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) twice last year, said on the call that Republicans were trying to “throw the ultimate lifeline to the fossil fuel industry.” “…In the meantime, Democratic anxiety about getting steamrolled by Republicans — including on climate policy — remains high. “It’s not clear, at the end of the day, when it’s a game of chicken, that the president won’t cave,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said in the press call with progressives.

Washington Post: Debt ceiling meeting between Biden, McCarthy ends with no deal Monday
Tony Romm, Rachel Siegel and Leigh Ann Caldwell, 5/22/23

“With as few as 10 days remaining until the U.S. government could default, President Biden on Monday resumed direct negotiations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), hoping to resolve a stalemate over the debt ceiling that has started to spook Wall Street,” the Washington Post reports. “The two men commenced the new round of talks after a weekend of turbulence and acrimony, and mere hours after the Treasury Department issued its latest warning — this time, using more urgent language — that the United States is “highly likely” to run out of cash and other options in early June, perhaps as soon as the first of the month. Publicly, Biden and McCarthy both appeared determined to try to project collegiality and optimism, having pilloried each other for months after House Republicans embarked on a campaign to leverage the debt ceiling to advance their political agenda. GOP lawmakers seek to slash federal health-care, education, science, labor and research spending, while preserving the defense budget, with cuts far deeper than the White House is willing to support. The president opened a roughly hour-long discussion acknowledging that Democrats and Republicans have “got to get something to sell both sides, and we need to cut spending.” McCarthy later described the talks as “productive,” even though the leaders did not resolve the debt ceiling dispute, promising that their top emissaries would “work through the night.” But the two still seemed stuck over the same political differences that have been present for months and now leave the U.S. government perhaps mere days away from a fiscal catastrophe… “And the House speaker appeared to double down on one of his party’s more controversial demands — work requirements for Americans who receive food stamps and other federal aid — despite Biden’s opposition… “Before Biden and McCarthy met, top Democratic and Republican lawmakers and aides convened for about three hours at the Capitol on Monday morning. White House liaisons Steve Ricchetti, Shalanda Young and Louisa Terrell exited shortly after noon without comment, while GOP Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (N.C.) sidestepped questions about the extent to which the two parties’ emissaries found any common ground.”


“The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) announced up to $45.5 million in funding available to advance carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technologies and help establish the foundation for a successful carbon transport and storage industry in the United States. Large-scale deployment of carbon capture, transportation, and storage infrastructure is crucial to meeting President Biden’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to address climate change, while also delivering a healthier environment and economic opportunities for our communities and workers… “Projects selected under this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will focus on two areas: Developing lower cost, highly efficient technologies for carbon capture from power and industrial facilities that will capture CO2 for permanent geologic carbon storage or for conversion into long-lasting products like concrete, and Accelerating the deployment of multi-modal transport of CO2 through the creation of transportation hubs. Preliminary engineering design studies will consider how hubs will connect multiple transport modes of CO2 with the aim of developing cost-efficient, long-term transportation options for all types of CO2 sources. In addition to advancing CO2 capture, transport, and storage technologies, applicants must carefully address the societal considerations and impacts of their proposed projects, emphasizing active engagement with communities.”


Santa Fe New Mexican: New Mexico’s fracking water contains cancer-causing chemicals, study says
Scott Wyland, 5/20/23

“New Mexico fossil fuel companies are using cancer-causing chemicals to aid in their fracking operations, increasing the risk of a highly toxic byproduct contaminating groundwater, according to a report by a medical watchdog group,” the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. “State records indicate companies injected thousands of pounds of PFAS into about 260 sites in the past decade during hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and possibly far more because the state’s trade secrets law allows operators to conceal many of the chemicals they use, according to Physicians for Social Responsibility’s 55-page report… “By shielding from public view the chemicals injected into oil and gas wells, weak disclosure rules raise the potential that New Mexicans may be directly exposed, or their groundwater and well water may be exposed, to PFAS … from hundreds or even thousands of oil and gas wells and waste disposal sites,” the report said… “Officials at the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, which regulates fossil fuel activities, declined to comment on the study or the trade secrets law. In an email, Joe Vigil, a New Mexico Oil & Gas Association spokesman, wrote his group agrees PFAS should not be used in fracking, and the report “wrongly insinuates” these chemicals are part of such operations in the state. “Fracking is a safe, scientifically engineered process that has been used in New Mexico for more than 50 years without a single case of groundwater contamination,” Vigil wrote… “Dusty Horwitt, the report’s lead author, told SFNM claiming no contamination has occurred during fracking is misleading… “The state has logged several hundred incidents in which waste pits have leaked contaminants into groundwater, Horwitt told SFNM. At the same time, fossil fuel companies are required by law to disclose certain fracking information to the state and the nonprofit FracFocus, Horwitt told SFNM. The data reveals two, possibly three, PFAS used in New Mexico operations, while pointing to a slew of chemicals shrouded by the trade secrets clause, he told SFNM. “I would say the evidence speaks for itself,” Horwitt told SFNM. “Scientists have reviewed our findings on PFAS. We stand behind our findings.”

InsideClimate News: Colorado Frackers Doubled Freshwater Use During Megadrought, Even as Drilling and Oil Production Fell
Liza Gross, 5/22/23

“In the middle of the longest-running drought in more than a thousand years, Colorado energy companies diverted rising volumes of the state’s freshwater resources for fracking, a new analysis shows,” InsideClimate News reports. “Colorado operators doubled their use of high-quality water to prepare wells for fracking over the last 10 years, with diminishing returns on oil production, the nonprofit group FracTracker Alliance reported earlier this month. Average volumes of water used per well quadrupled over that time, the analysis found. Colorado standards governing what water sources energy companies can access for fracking and how they dispose of wastewater are unsustainable and “incredibly wasteful,” concluded Kyle Ferrar, FracTracker’s western program coordinator, in the report… “Ferrar found that fracking operators’ freshwater consumption rose from about 5 billion gallons in 2013 to more than 10 billion gallons last year and increased from an average of 2.7 million gallons per individual well to 10.9 million gallons during the same period. Injecting more and more water into wells did little to boost oil production. But most importantly, Ferrar said, the data show that Colorado’s operators have generated enough wastewater to supply fracking operations without having to draw on the state’s precious freshwater resources. Ferrar analyzed the state’s water use after Democrats in Colorado’s House of Representatives introduced a bill in March to limit freshwater consumption in oil and gas operations.”

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Report says methane mitigation could create 35,000 Texas jobs
Mella McEwen, 5/19/23

“Millions of dollars are being spent – and will be spent – addressing methane emissions. A new report says that investment could result in the creation of thousands of high-quality jobs,” according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “A report authored by researchers from the Texas Climate Jobs Project and the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas at Austin found methane mitigation could create 35,000 jobs in Texas alone – 20,000 jobs to implement the standards in the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed methane rule and 15,000 jobs to address emissions more broadly, including 5,000 jobs capping orphan wells. The caveat in the report is that these should be union jobs… “The study also found the largest need for workers will be in the Permian Basin, which would need an additional 7,556 jobs broadly to address emissions. A portion of the jobs would reflect the immediate need for abatement and replacement of parts while some jobs will continue into the future as monitoring and maintenance.”

Fox Business: Alaska Looks Toward Clean Energy Market While Still Relying On Oil 
Landon Mion, 5/22/23

“Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy is holding a conference this week in which his efforts to push the state further into the clean energy market will be on display, even as the state continues to embrace new fossil fuel production,” Fox Business reports. “Dunleavy pushed for a bill that made it through the legislature that would allow the state to take advantage of the sale of so-called carbon credits to companies wanting to offset their carbon emissions. These projects could include credits for improving a forest’s health through thinning or by allowing trees to grow bigger. The governor is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday. Lawmakers said the bill would allow Alaska to continue to permit oil drilling, mining and timber activities while also moving into the market for sequestering carbon dioxide. Some environmental experts, however, dispute its impact as the governor and legislators have said the goal is not about restricting emissions but generating additional revenue. ‘There’s kind of a field of dreams quality to this issue. ‘If you plant the trees and create credits, will anyone buy them?’ the University of Michigan’s Barry Gabe, a political scientist who studies environmental and climate politics, told Fox.


Washington Post: U.S. and E.U. lawmakers are calling for the removal of the COP28 president
Maxine Joselow, 5/23/23

“A coalition of members of Congress and the European Parliament today called for the ouster of the oil executive leading the next U.N. Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates this fall,” the Washington Post reports. “Tuesday’s letter represents a remarkable rebuke of the decision to name Sultan Al Jaber, who runs the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., as president of the climate summit. It comes as human rights advocates also voice anger and disbelief over the UAE’s invitation of Syria’s embattled president to the climate talks known as COP28. Both climate and human rights activists say the integrity of the climate gatherings is at stake. “It’s pretty straightforward: The head of a national oil company should not be the president-designate of a climate conference,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who signed the letter along with 34 other congressional Democrats, said in an interview. “It’s a slap in the face to young climate activists.” “…Some participants argue the fossil fuel industry must be part of the discussion, but Khanna said that having an oil executive lead the global conference goes too far. “Sure, have them at the table,” he told the Post. “Just don’t put them at the head of the table.” The letter is addressed to leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, including President Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. It urges these leaders to “engage in diplomatic efforts to secure the withdrawal” of Al Jaber.”

Guardian: Big polluters’ share prices fall after climate lawsuits, study finds
Isabella Kaminski, 5/22/23

“Climate litigation poses a financial risk to fossil fuel companies because it lowers the share price of big polluters, research has found,” the Guardian reports. “A study to be published on Tuesday by LSE’s Grantham Research Institute examines how the stock market reacts to news that a fresh climate lawsuit has been filed or a corporation has lost its case… “The study, which is currently being peer reviewed, analysed 108 climate crisis lawsuits around the world between 2005 and 2021 against 98 companies listed in the US and Europe. It found that the filing of a new case or a court decision against a company reduced its expected value by an average of 0.41%. The stock market responded most strongly in the days after cases against carbon majors, which include the world’s largest energy, utility and materials firms, cutting the relative value of those companies by an average of 0.57% after a case was filed and by 1.5% after an unfavourable judgment. Although modest, the researchers conclude that the drop in the value of big polluters is statistically significant and therefore down to the legal challenges. “We didn’t know before if the markets cared about climate litigation,” Misato Sato, lead author of the study, told the Guardian. “It’s the first evidence supporting what was suspected before; that polluting firms and especially carbon majors now face litigation risk, in addition to transition and physical risk.” Researchers also found share prices fell more in reaction to novel cases involving a new form of legal argument or filed in a new jurisdiction.” “…The researchers found consistently larger effects on corporate share prices after the Shell case was launched “suggesting capital markets are increasingly responding to climate litigation”.

Reuters: ‘Carbon majors’ face biggest hit from climate litigation – study

“The world’s ‘carbon majors’ in the energy, utilities and mining sectors face the biggest share price hit when climate-related lawsuits are filed against them and need to consider it a financial risk, a study on Tuesday showed,” Reuters reports. “The paper by the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute, titled ‘Impacts of climate litigation on firm value’, studied 108 cases against U.S. and European-listed companies filed between 2005 and 2021… “The largest impact was seen in cases filed against the largest emitters in the energy-intensive energy, mining and utilities sectors, where a firm’s value fell 0.57% following a filing and by 1.5% after an unfavourable judgement. Larger reactions were seen in ‘novel’ cases, where a new legal argument was being pursued, or in a jurisdiction that had not previously seen a case. Non-carbon majors saw no statistically significant impact, the study said. “The findings suggest that lenders, financial regulators and governments should consider climate litigation risk as a relevant financial risk in a warmer future,” the study said.

Reuters: Chevron to boost U.S. presence with $7.6 billion PDC Energy buy
Sabrina Valle, 5/22/23

“Chevron Corp (CVX.N) said on Monday it is increasing its U.S. oil and gas footprint by acquiring shale producer PDC Energy Inc (PDCE.O) in a stock-and-debt transaction worth $7.6 billion,” Reuters reports. “For Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil firm, the deal will increase its production, capital expenditures and cash flow in the United States amid global geopolitical tensions over energy supply following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year… “American oil majors have been called out for criticism by President Joe Biden for not increasing output in the United States as fuel prices spiked for consumers last year. The deal is consistent with those calls, Wirth told Reuters, while adding value to shareholders. Analysts in recent months have been questioning Chevron’s ability to counter worries that the company’s core U.S. shale properties are in decline following poor performance in the Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico last year… “The acquisition will add 260,000 barrels of oil and gas production per day (boed) to Chevron’s output in the DJ basin, making its operations in Colorado one of the company’s top five business assets in terms of production, Wirth said.”

CNBC: Norway faces backlash from campaigners for ‘reckless’ pursuit of Arctic oil and gas
Sam Meredith, 5/22/23

“The Norwegian government is calling on energy giants to ramp up oil and gas exploration projects in remote regions like the Arctic Barents Sea, defying a sense of palpable frustration among climate campaigners as the Nordic country seeks to shore up its position as Europe’s largest gas supplier,” CNBC reports. “The rethink in strategy comes as Norway strives to keep up with growing demand for its energy exports in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Norway last year overtook Russia as Europe’s biggest natural gas supplier and says it is now seeking to maintain Europe’s energy security by exploring the Barents Sea for further resources. Speaking in the town of Hammerfest late last month, Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Aasland reportedly said that the industry should “leave no stone unturned” in their pursuit for fresh hydrocarbon discoveries in the Barents Sea. Aasland even described this policy as the oil and gas industry’s “social responsibility,” according to Bloomberg, saying undiscovered resources could help to maintain the country’s future production levels… “Environmental campaigners at Friends of the Earth Norway, WWF-Norway and Greenpeace Norway have described the country’s lobbying for continued oil and gas expansion as “embarrassing,” “extremely reckless” and “a middle finger to the Paris Agreement.” “Oil drilling in the Arctic is like pouring gasoline on a fire,” Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway, told CNBC..

Associated Press: German chancellor calls some climate activists’ protests ‘nutty’

“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday sharply criticized climate activists as “nutty” for drastic protests such as blocking streets or gluing themselves to famous paintings in museums,” the Associated Press reports. “I think it’s completely nutty to somehow stick yourself to a painting or on the street,” Scholz said during a visit to an elementary school in the town of Kleinmachnow outside of Berlin, German news agency dpa reported. The chancellor added that he did not think anybody’s opinion on climate change could be changed by such actions but rather that these protests made people angry. “That’s an action that I don’t think is going to help,” Scholz told the students. Members of the group Last Generation have repeatedly blocked roads across Germany in an effort to pressure the government to take more drastic action against climate change. In recent weeks, they’ve brought the traffic to a halt on an almost daily basis in Berlin, gluing themselves to busy junctions and highways. They’ve also glued themselves to various paintings in Berlin and elsewhere over the past year. The group responded angrily to Scholz’s remarks, accusing him of ignoring the risk that global warming poses to young people. “How dare you stand in front of children whose future you are currently destroying and say that you think the protests against your destructive policies are ‘completely nutty?’” it said. The group urged Scholz and his government to do more to combat climate change.”

New York Times: An Oil Refiner Leans on Manure to Provide a Greener Future
Stanley Reed, 5/22/23

“Every day dozens of tanker trucks, many laden with pig manure and other kinds of agricultural waste, rumble through the gateway of an imposing steel-and-concrete plant in northeast Netherlands. This pungent cargo will be mixed together into a slurry and pumped into massive tanks, where hungry bacteria will within weeks turn it into methane gas that will ultimately be sold to the energy grid to heat homes and generate electricity,” the New York Times repots. “The gas is a biofuel — similar to the natural gas pumped out of offshore wells in the North Sea but, because of its biological origins, considered carbon neutral… “ But the energy industry is going through wrenching changes, especially in Europe. For the plant’s main owner, Varo Energy, a privately held oil refiner in Switzerland that sells diesel and gasoline at service stations across northwest Europe, biogas facilities like this one represent the future — or at least a slice of it. The European Union and national governments like Switzerland’s are forcing suppliers of oil products to increase the proportion of the fuel they sell that comes from renewable sources to mitigate climate change. Russia’s efforts to use natural gas as political leverage in the war in Ukraine have added to the urgency to end dependence on fossil fuels.”


Reuters: Shell CEO shielded by security as climate protesters try to storm shareholder meeting
Shadia Nasralla and Ron Bousso, 5/23/23

“Security staff shielded Shell (SHEL.L) Chief Executive Wael Sawan and the firm’s board of directors as climate protesters tried unsuccessfully to storm the stage at the energy giant’s annual shareholder meeting in London on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “Shell Chairman Andrew Mackenzie was unable to start the energy giant’s annual general shareholder meeting an hour after its scheduled start amid climate activists singing and shouting before being carried out one by one by security staff. At one point, dozens of security staff formed a human chain on the stage to shield executives and directors from protestors running towards them and attempting to climb the stage. The scenes were reminiscent of Shell’s shareholder meeting last year which was delayed by around three hours with similar, staggered protests. “Go to hell, Shell, and don’t you come back no more,” a choir of about a dozen protesters sang with Sawan and Chairman Andrew Mackenzie looking on… “Shell is also facing an increasingly vocal minority of institutional shareholders saying it must move faster to tackle climate change while it seeks to balance pressure from other investors to capture profits from oil and gas… “Shell shareholders will vote on Tuesday on a shareholder activist resolution calling on the company to set more ambitious 2030 emissions cutting targets, which Shell’s board reject.”

Seattle Times: University of Washington students chain themselves to power plant, seeking climate action
Rebecca Moss, 5/21/23

“As the temperature dropped overnight and ushered in a chilled, gray morning, four University of Washington students awoke chained to the campus’s power plant. Sunday marked nearly 36 hours and counting that a small group of student activists have used their bodies to protest the university’s continued investment in fossil fuels,” the Seattle Times reports. “The demonstration followed a rally and march through the campus Friday evening. The students are seeking a commitment that UW will achieve 95% decarbonization by 2035, and a concurrent emissions reduction, by replacing the fossil fuels used to heat the campus with geothermal energy and heat pumps. The university now has a goal to meet this target by 2050, but as one of the state’s top greenhouse gas polluters — ranked 30th in Washington — students say waiting nearly 30 years is not ambitious enough. “We will remain here until our demands are met,” Brett Anton, an organizer among the students chained to the fence Sunday, a group that had grown to six by midmorning, told the Times. Anton told the Times Ana Marie Cauce, the university’s president, has been receptive and met with the activists three times already over the weekend to negotiate terms. She also has agreed not to have the protesters arrested or impeded, as long as they remain peaceful and nondestructive, though that will be reassessed Monday morning based on whether the students’ presence impedes power plant operations, Anton told the Times. Victor Balta, a spokesperson for the university, wrote in an email that while the school cannot sign an agreement without first understanding the scope of the potentially $825 million project, “we share their concerns and commitment to replace the steam plant as soon as is feasible.”

Bloomberg: Swiss Re Becomes Fourth Insurer to Leave Net Zero Group
Alastair Marsh, 5/22/23

“Swiss Re is quitting the world’s main climate alliance for insurers, joining a growing exodus from the coalition of some of the industry’s biggest companies,” Bloomberg reports. “The world’s second-largest reinsurer is now the fourth major company to walk away from the Net Zero Insurance Alliance, a sub-unit of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero that was formed in 2021. Swiss Re said its withdrawal doesn’t reflect a lesser commitment to climate policies, and said its sustainability strategy “remains unchanged,” according to an emailed statement sent Monday. The departure follows that of fellow Swiss firm Zurich Insurance Group AG, as well as Germany’s Munich Re and Hannover Re. NZIA has no US members, and with the departure of Swiss Re, it has roughly 27 left, including Allianz SE, Aviva Plc and Axa SA, according to the group’s website.”

Motley Fool: Suncor Energy: The Pros and Cons of Investing in Canada’s Oil Sands
Tony Dong, 5/22/23

“The Canadian oil sands are among the world’s largest sources of crude oil, presenting an intriguing investment opportunity for many in the face of lasting inflation and higher commodity prices,” Motley Fool reports. “…However, investing in the oil sands, and particularly in Suncor, comes with its own set of benefits and challenges… “The oil sands in Alberta, where Suncor has extensive operations, are among the largest crude oil reserves globally… “That being said, there are also compelling reasons as to why Suncor may not be the best way to capitalize on growth in Canada’s oil sands: Environmental concerns: Oil sands extraction is notorious for its environmental impact, including high carbon emissions and water use. These concerns have led to increased regulations and public pressure on companies like Suncor, potentially affecting their operations and reputation. Volatile commodity prices: The revenue of companies like Suncor is heavily tied to the price of oil, which can be extremely volatile. This means that if oil prices plummet, as they did during the 2020 pandemic, Suncor’s profits — and hence its stock price — could take a significant hit. Transition to renewable energy: Despite the current demand for oil, long-term the world is expected to pivot towards cleaner energy sources, which may reduce demand for oil in the long term. If Suncor doesn’t successfully execute such a transition towards more sustainable energy sources, it might struggle in a post-oil world. My ETF suggestion: I would not buy Suncor as a way to invest in Canada’s oil sands.”


Chicago Sun Times: Don’t let communities lose power that helps ensure environmental justice
Ben Jealous is executive director of the Sierra Club and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, 5/22/23

“…People from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and several Indigenous nations have been fighting for years to keep that image from becoming a reality by opposing the incongruously named, 303-mile-long Mountain Valley Pipeline across their states and ancestral lands,” Ben Jealous writes for the Chicago Sun Times. “They’ve been so successful, in fact, that some in Congress want to take away their power to oppose a project that’s recorded hundreds of clean water violations alone. It’s part of a bigger fight that goes by the mundane-sounding name “permitting reform” that’s playing out in Washington right now… “It’s a fight so important that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has tied defaulting on the country’s debt to resolving it. “This is more than just about the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Maury Johnson, a retired educator and farmer from West Virginia, who’s a leader in the opposition, told a reporter. “This is about the Gulf Coast, North Alaska and every community that has been sacrificed for decades. We can’t continue to sacrifice communities and people.” If we called it “protection reform,” it might be easier to understand. What’s at stake is the process for protecting our air, water and land from what may be irreparable harm. Some want to erode environmental safeguards that have been in place for more than 50 years and reduce the time allotted to determine the impact the new projects will have during their decades-long lifespan. Some want to treat dirty fossil fuel industries in the same way we think about new clean energy businesses. The fast lane needs to be reserved for renewable energy and the transmission infrastructure to distribute it. We also could call it “participation reform.” President Joe Biden is pushing for greater consultation with communities that will be closest to new projects, and transparency about their locations. Opponents want to extend exclusions that would allow plans to bypass any meaningful public voice, particularly for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. They even want to limit the ability of communities to challenge projects in court… “The argument comes down to expediency versus existence. We’ve been careening toward a warmer planet with less biodiversity since the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. We’ve subsidized destructive industries by rendering people and places disposable, failing to consider them during project planning. That’s what we can no longer permit.”

Inforum: Port: Shameless lawmakers set to attack carbon pipeline over supposed foreign ownership
Rob Port, 5/22/23

“…I wonder if North Dakota could make that same argument about being “open for business” today, what with people such as state Rep. Jeff Magrum in office and running a harassment campaign against investment in our state,” Rob Port writes for Inforum. “Magrum is an avowed enemy of a carbon pipeline project from Summit Carbon Solutions. He likes to wrap his cause in a lot of noble-sounding words about property rights, though given that he once tried to seize his own neighbor’s property without paying for it, I think we can assume his motivations are more petty than principled. Perhaps they’re wrapped up in his personal vendetta against Gov. Doug Burgum, a promoter of the carbon pipeline who campaigned against his election… “None of his legislation related to the carbon pipeline passed, because of his legislative colleagues don’t share his myopically belligerent perspective of this project… “Despite his abysmal performance in Bismarck, Magrum continues to prosecute his holy war against Summit Carbon Solutions with a wild claim that a foreign adversary, maybe owns the company. If that were true, it would mean Summit could run afoul of newly passed state laws prohibiting land ownership or development in our state by companies owned or controlled by countries considered to be foreign adversaries… “This isn’t to say there isn’t some foreign investment. “SK E&S of South Korea announced last year it acquired a 10% share of Summit,” Agweek reports… “Summit also indicated to Agweek that the company has some investments from funds that, in turn, may have investments from places like China. Even if that’s true, the threshold set by the new state laws is a controlling interest. Not merely an investment… “Magrum and his pals are now throwing mud, hoping to see what might stick. Given that, in this age where social media falsehoods so often dominate our discussions, it may well stick, whether true or not.” Mary Landrieu: Natural gas, renewables are vital partners in reducing emissions
Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, served as a U.S. senator from Louisiana, 1997-2015. She is a leadership council co-chair for Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future, 5/22/23

“The country’s largest renewable power association convenes in New Orleans this week to celebrate tremendous progress in reducing carbon emissions and incorporating more wind and solar power into our electric grid. It’s also an important opportunity to recognize that natural gas, working alongside renewables, is a strong partner in this achievement,” Mary Landrieu writes for “…American natural gas is the perfect partner with renewables — including low-carbon energy producers like nuclear and hydro — to accomplish this goal, but we urgently need leadership from all points of view to find a practical way forward on climate, reliability, security and affordability issues… “The Biden administration took a major step forward last month when Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm endorsed the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline and acknowledged the important role of natural gas infrastructure in shaping America’s clean energy future. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, expanding U.S. natural gas production helps our allies cut their climate-damaging coal dependency — and strengthens our economy here at home… “LNG expansion projects in Plaquemines Parish and across the Gulf Coast will allow our region to remain a leader in the global transition from climate-damaging coal to a climate-friendly partnership between low-carbon natural gas and carbon-free alternatives like wind, solar, nuclear and hydroelectric power… “Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards understands the important role natural gas plays working with renewables as part of our energy reliability, affordability and decarbonization strategy. Multiple carbon capture and sequestration projects are being considered in Louisiana and throughout our region because it’s a well-understood technology to help eliminate harmful emissions… “Let’s listen to the Clean Power leaders who want to responsibly streamline permitting and expand energy access for renewables and natural gas alike. Let’s fast-track our LNG export facilities to drive down global emissions and break the world’s addiction to coal. And let’s double down on investments in promising new technologies, like carbon capture, that can partner with renewables to cut emissions faster.”

Globe and Mail: Feds should not waste their $15-billion Canada Growth Fund on carbon capture for oil
Laura Cameron is a senior policy adviser at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, specializing in the areas of fossil-fuel subsidies, just transition, and oil and gas policy in Canada. Angela Carter is a professor at the University of Waterloo and an energy transition specialist at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, 5/22/23

“The $15-billion Canada Growth Fund, emphasized in the 2023 federal budget and aimed at accelerating decarbonization, is a landmark opportunity to align substantial climate action with a thriving national economy,” Laura Cameron and Angela Carter write for the Globe and Mail. “Achieving this potential rests in the hands of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP), responsible for independently managing the fund’s active investment strategy to boost Canada’s clean economy and attract global capital to it. As it currently develops its plan, the most fundamental question the PSP needs to answer is which initiatives and technologies it will back – which will deliver the greatest climate benefits over the investment horizon. While that space is vast and growing, there is one investment PSP has every reason to take off the table: carbon capture and storage, known as CCS, in Canada’s oil and gas sector, of which the industry is a big booster. For too long, Canada has entertained the myth that CCS for oil and gas is a silver-bullet solution in creating a globally competitive, low-carbon oil and gas sector. CCS for oil and gas has been promoted by industry as key to Canada’s competitive advantage in a decarbonizing world. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, this beguiling myth is perpetuated within industry and has pervaded the conversation around Canada’s energy transition. Here are three reasons the pension board should not succumb to endorsing CCS for oil and gas: Despite half a century of global investment, CCS still does not deliver results at scale. Canada’s federal government has already committed $9.1-billion in support for the technology… “CCS remains one of the most expensive ways to reduce carbon emissions… “CCS solutions for oil and gas can’t meet the current time crunch Canada is facing to achieve its emission-reduction targets… “Canada’s clean economy investment strategy must be based on data, evidence and pragmatism, not informed by oil and gas advocacy for solutions that just don’t deliver. The Public Sector Pension Investment Board can play a lead role in scaling up the many effective and cost-efficient solutions available through judicious management of the Canada Growth Fund, setting an example for all clean economy spending in the country.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub