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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 5/25/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

May 25, 2023



  • Penn Biz Report: Bill introduced to complete Mountain Valley Pipeline

  • KXNET: Former engineer identifies safety concerns for CO2 pipeline

  • Iowa Sierra Club: Summit Carbon Sends Threatening Email to County Supervisors Over Safety Ordinances

  • West Central Tribune: Climate change denial among hurdles for carbon capture pipeline project in southwestern Minnesota

  • South Dakota Public Broadcasting: How might Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline impact SD landowners?

  • Fort Dodge Messenger: Summit: 77% of easements signed in Webster County

  • The Narwhal: ‘TD crew’ got heads up Canada would obscure involvement in Trans Mountain pipeline bailout

  • The Progress-Index: They live in a neighborhood with a natural gas compressor station. It’s about to double its output.

  • Alaska Public Media: Energy leaders in Anchorage make the case for Alaska LNG pipeline — again

  • The Center Square: Pipeline malfeasance charges range from fraud to catastrophe

  • KLTV: White Oak Fire Department on scene of explosion at pipeline site

  • Oklahoman: Cushing, set for new refinery complex, considers itself pipeline crossroads of the world


  • Utility Dive: Energy permitting reform divides environmental, clean energy groups as it remains in debt limit talks

  • Washington Post: GOP unites in brinkmanship over default, rejecting Biden compromises

  • NPR: Debt ceiling talks aren’t going well. Here’s where they stand

  • The Hill: Do humans cause climate change? Even now, only half of Americans say yes.

  • E&E News: Hearing Highlights Republican Angst Over BLM Rule 

  • E&E News: Biden Urged To Cancel New Mexico Oil Sale 

  • Bloomberg: Biden Pressed to Limit Hydrogen Credits Key to Nascent Industry

  • E&E News: Chevron doctrine: Not dead yet

  • E&E News: Major polluter escapes EPA power plant rule

  • E&E News: Judges Weigh EPA Air Permit Mandate For Troubled Refinery

  • Law360: Ex-FERC Chair Launches Clean Energy Consulting Firm


  • Washington Post: California could require large companies to disclose their emissions, regardless of the SEC

  • The Hill: Big Oil, green groups unite to back key Texas energy cap

  • InsideClimate News: Shell Agrees to Pay $10 Million After Permit Violations at its Giant New Plastics Plant in Pennsylvania

  • Minot Daily News: Saltwater, crude oil spill reported in Renville County

  • News Channel Nebraska: Nebraska lawmakers pass bill that includes clean hydrogen hub support


  • Guardian: ‘Worthless’: Chevron’s carbon offsets are mostly junk and some may harm, research says

  • Washington Post: Germany conducts raids against climate activists, alleging criminality

  • BBC: Chelsea Flower Show: Just Stop Oil protesters arrested

  • Reuters: Shale R&D cuts cast shadow on future of US oil production


  • Press release: Gwich’in Steering Committee Speaks at Travelers Annual Meeting, Requests U.S. Insurance Giant Not Support Oil and Gas Projects in the Arctic Refuge’

  • Energy Monitor: Will antitrust concerns be the death knell for insurers’ net-zero commitments?


  • Yale Climate Connections: The fossil fuel industry is donating hundreds of millions to university climate and energy research

  • New York Times: With Climate Panel as a Beacon, Global Group Takes On Misinformation



Penn Biz Report: Bill introduced to complete Mountain Valley Pipeline
LIZ CAREY, 5/24/23

“Legislation introduced Monday by U.S. Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) would complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” according to Penn Biz Report. “Joyce, who was joined by U.S. Reps. Carol Miller (R-WV), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) Mike Kelly (R-PA), Dan Meuser (R-PA), and Alex Mooney (R-WV), said his bill H.R. 3500 would finish a project that will not only finish a project started in 2017, but also bring jobs and natural resources to the Appalachian region. “Ensuring that the natural resources beneath the feet of my constituents in Pennsylvania are able to reach Americans across the country is critical to returning our nation to energy dominance,” Joyce said. “Congress must clear the way to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline and allow natural gas to flow to those who need it in the southern United States.” “…Once signed into law, the Mountain Valley Pipeline Completion Act, would accelerate completion of the project.”

KXNET: Former engineer identifies safety concerns for CO2 pipeline
Christina Randall, 5/24/23

“Concerns continue to rise regarding the dangers of having a CO2 pipeline so close to Bismarck — despite Summit Carbon Solutions’ claims the pipeline is safe,” KXNET reports. “This feels like another potential Titanic,” former natural gas pipeline engineer Curtis Jundt told KXNET. “First of its kind. biggest of its kind. Largest, greatest capacity. They didn’t even think God could sink her. And on her first voyage, you see what happens.” Jundt believes that it’s not a question of if the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline will burst — but when. “There will be no odor put into CO2,” explains Jundt, “so there will be no early warning of the sense of smell. So it’s only going to be your sense of hearing, visuals, and what you get on your emergency alert cellphone.” “You have long haul CO2 pipelines running by metropolis areas like Sioux Falls and Bismarck-Mandan — that’s a first,” Jundt told KXNET. “Not only is this pipeline the longest haul and largest volume, it’s also the first of its kind to move this close to higher populated areas.” And with the pipeline only being 4 feet underground, Jundt told KXNET the likelihood of a leak is high… “On Feb. 22, 2020, a pipeline burst in Mississippi. First Responders testified about the event at the Linton this year. According to those first responders, the most dangerous plume traveled 3 miles away — causing many drivers to lose consciousness. “Within two miles of this proposed pipeline, which is just north and east of Bismarck, in two miles of Burleigh County, North Dakota, there are 1,247 homes,” former Bismarck mayor Dr. John Warford told KXNET. “This pipeline should be moved as far from Bismarck as we can get it to be moved.” Regarding the concerns in North Dakota, Summit Carbon Solutions released the following statement: “For decades, Bismarck residents have successfully raised families, sent their children to school, worked, and retired around pipelines,” it reads. “These pipeline systems have not impeded the growth and development around Bismarck, as the community has grown by more than 30% since 2000… “Summit Carbon Solutions jas also released a second statement regarding Senator Jeff Magrum’s press conference that was held Tuesday. This message, signed by Summit’s Director of Regulatory Affairs John Satterfield, reads as follows: “During the North Dakota legislative session this year, every single one of Senator Magrum’s proposals related to carbon capture projects was rejected — and he is now resorting to making unfounded accusations.”

Iowa Sierra Club: Summit Carbon Sends Threatening Email to County Supervisors Over Safety Ordinances

“On May 8, the Kossuth County Supervisors received a threatening letter from Summit Carbon Solutions ahead of a vote to move forward with a carbon pipeline zoning ordinance,” according to the Iowa Sierra Club. “It is appalling to see this outrageous effort to intimidate these Supervisors from protecting their citizens and communities.  It’s like Summit is admitting they are losing the battle and have to resort to tactics like this,” said Jess Mazour, Sierra Club Iowa Chapter Conservation Program Coordinator. “It’s clear Summit does not care about protecting Iowans who are in the path of the proposed pipeline.” In a recording at the May 8th Supervisor meeting, Supervisors could be overheard discussing “the email” [ordinance discussion begins around 20:00 min; discussion of email starts around 28 minutes].  Supervisors said it’s better to do it sooner than later.  Later in the discussion, the threatening email from Summit was brought up and the Supervisors tabled the decision to move forward with the ordinance. “Three of our four Supervisors were supportive of the ordinance before Summit sent the threatening email.  Summit is a bully.  They will sue, threaten and bully anyone that says no to this carbon pipeline scam,” said Matt Dornbier, impacted landowner in Kossuth County. Supervisors in Montgomery County, which is also considering a zoning ordinance, received a similar letter. The email states “It is essential that you consider the potential consequences of enacting ordinances that may infringe upon the jurisdiction of the state and federal governments…If found liable for damages, the attorney suggests that the county may resort to raising taxes to pay for those damages. Such an increase in taxes would place an additional burden on hard working Iowans. This situation could ultimately affect the county’s financial stability and reputation.” Channon Mawdsley, an impacted landowner in Kossuth County stated, “Summit’s pipeline was proposed to be only 300 feet from my home. Our Supervisors should be able to protect us without fear of being sued. Our Supervisors have totally negated the duties of their job that they were elected to do.  We need our supervisors to put Kossuth County Citizens safety over threats from the pipeline companies.”

West Central Tribune: Climate change denial among hurdles for carbon capture pipeline project in southwestern Minnesota
Tom Cherveny, 5/25/23

“Summit Carbon Solutions hosted 15 meetings for landowners last year at locations across the 10 counties in Minnesota in which it intends to build a pipeline to transport carbon dioxide from ethanol plants,” the West Central Tribune reports. “Three issues were recurring themes at all of those meetings, held at 11 different venues, according to Joseph Caruso, external affairs coordinator for the company in Minnesota. Safety, eminent domain, and tile lines were the top topics for landowners through whose lands the pipelines could cross, Caruso told the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners on May 23… “It was put on the record for the Public Utilities Commission by a county commissioner in Wilkin County, according to Caruso. “I don’t like this project,” Caruso told WCT, paraphrasing the commissioner’s on-the-record statement. “The reason I don’t like it is I don’t believe in the underlying premise of global warming.” “That is an issue a lot of people have when we’ve been out with the landowners,” Caruso told the commissioners. “They fundamentally don’t believe it is a problem, and they fundamentally don’t believe the government should be solving a problem that is not a problem.” He emphasized that the company does not attempt to proselytize on the issue of climate change. For the ethanol industry, it is faced with seeing doors to its markets closed if it does not meet carbon reduction targets, he explained.”

South Dakota Public Broadcasting: How might Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline impact SD landowners?
Lori Walsh, Ellen Koester, Ari Jungemann, 5/24/23

“In the Moment talks landowners and lawsuits. We dive into whether a carbon pipeline can be true public use and how eminent domain may change the face of farming in certain parts of South Dakota,” South Dakota Public Broadcasting reports. “Summit Carbon Solutions is looking to use eminent domain in part to build a carbon capture pipeline through the northeast part of the state. That impacts Suzanne Smith, a county commissioner at Spink County, Ed Fischbach, a landowner from Spink County, and Craig Schaunaman, a landowner in Brown County. They joined the show for a discussion on landowner rights and the potential impacts of the pipeline.”

Fort Dodge Messenger: Summit: 77% of easements signed in Webster County

“The developer of one of the two proposed carbon capture pipelines that, if the projects move forward, will cross through Webster County, gave an update on the project to the Webster County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday,” the Fort Dodge Messenger reports. “…Riley Gibson, a spokesperson for Summit from Turnkey Logistics, presented the update to the board on Tuesday — the first update since February of this year. Currently, the anticipated pipeline route covers 30.86 miles in Webster County. According to Gibson, about 23 miles of voluntary easements have been acquired from property owners along the route and Summit has issued $7.2 million in voluntary easement payments. As for the remainder of the pipeline’s route across Iowa, more than 1,133 landowners have signed voluntary easements that cover more than 472 miles. If the remaining landowners impacted by the proposed pipeline’s route do not enter into voluntary easement agreements with Summit, Summit will have to ask the Iowa Utilities Board to grant eminent domain, which allows the government to take private property for public use.”

The Narwhal: ‘TD crew’ got heads up Canada would obscure involvement in Trans Mountain pipeline bailout
Carl Meyer, 5/24/23

“An executive at the federally owned Trans Mountain corporation gave TD Bank a heads up that the government would obscure the financial institution’s involvement in a multibillion dollar bailout for the struggling oil pipeline, according to an email obtained by The Narwhal. “Trans Mountain chief financial officer Mark Maki gave the assurance to six people working for Toronto-Dominion Bank’s investment banking arm, TD Securities, in the May 2022 email obtained under access to information law… “The email provides a glimpse at private conversations between the federal government and Canada’s big banks in the lead-up to Ottawa’s decision to support a $10 billion loan to Trans Mountain from a financial syndicate. The federal government’s support came in the form of a loan guarantee — meaning the public would assume the loan’s financial risk. It also provides a stark example of how the government offered to protect bankers from criticism about their involvement in the controversial pipeline expansion… “The government decided to offer the loan guarantee in the wake of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland ruling out any further direct public funding for the pipeline’s expansion, leaving private lending as the main alternative… “In backing the loan, the government also put taxpayers on the hook in the event the expansion project is cancelled, according to a financial report from the Crown corporation… “Trans Mountain and Finance Canada have defended their decision not to be proactive about telling Canadians how the banks were involved in the $10 billion deal. The pipeline company and federal department argue the information was already available for people with a subscription to financial data services… “Asked why TD was given a heads up about not being named in the government’s announcement, a spokesperson for Trans Mountain called it a “courtesy.” “…Due to the significant price tag for access, the data the group obtained should not be understood to have been publicly available, the group’s climate finance director Richard Brooks said in an interview. “Finance Canada is lying, you can quote me on that. They’re lying, it wasn’t public,” he told the Narwhal.

The Progress-Index: They live in a neighborhood with a natural gas compressor station. It’s about to double its output.
Joyce Chu, 5/24/23

“On the sleepy neighborhood along Baxter Rd., white and yellow markers that say “WARNING GAS PIPELINE” dot the narrow street.  An “Adopt-a-Highway” sign greets drivers upon entering the road from County Dr., crediting Columbia Gas Transmission (a subsidiary of TC Energy) for making improvements,” The Progress-Index reports. “…Drive down another minute, and you’ll see a pale green natural gas compressor station immediately to your right, with houses perched on spacious green lots directly across from it… “Also near the station: a high school academic learning center, churches, and two apartment complexes, Liberty Pointe and Pinetree Apartments. Most of the development happened after the compressor station was built in the ’50s. Some young families who have recently moved into the area weren’t aware of station’s purpose… “If you’re wondering if it’s normal for homes to be built so close to the compressor station, researcher Itai Vardi from the Energy and Policy Institute told PI it’s not. “Compressor stations are usually built in remote and rural areas, far away from residential areas,” Vardi told PI. This helps to prevent people from breathing in larger concentrations of pollutants emitted from the station, lessening the risks to human health. However, this compressor station is in what researchers call an “Environmental Justice community.” Others have called it a “sacrifice zone.” “…Petersburg, a majority Black city, has been consistently ranked as the unhealthiest locality in the state. The people who live here are susceptible to elevated health risks, including having the highest highest asthma hospitalization rate in the Central region along with a low life expectancy of 66.2 years. TC Energy wants to deliver more gas to residents and businesses in the Hampton Roads region. In order to do so, it would need to widen the diameter of some its pipelines and double the horsepower of the compressor station to push more gas through the pipelines. Doing so will release more pollutants to the area though the gas-fired turbines’ smokestacks, or “chimneys.” Those that live closest to the compressor station will bare the higher risk of experiencing respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, sore throat and shortness of breath and may also experience symptoms such as headaches and burning eyes, Keller told PI.

Alaska Public Media: Energy leaders in Anchorage make the case for Alaska LNG pipeline — again
Kavitha George, 5/24/23

“Gov. Mike Dunleavy convened energy leaders in Anchorage this week for the second annual Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference, aimed at highlighting new opportunities for energy in the state. But a major focus on Tuesday was a very familiar project: a proposed 800-mile natural gas pipeline to run from oil fields on the North Slope to a liquefaction plant on the Kenai Peninsula,” Alaska Public Media reports. “Versions of the Alaska LNG project have been discussed for decades, but the project has mostly failed to get traction because of its high cost. Estimates place the price tag for construction at around $40 billion. But supporters argue that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year has added new uncertainty to world natural gas markets and Alaska’s project could provide stability. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. envoy to Japan, attended the Anchorage conference in person and spoke in favor of the project. In remarks on Tuesday, Emanuel argued that exporting Alaska’s gas could offer energy stability to parts of Asia, plus generate thousands of jobs at home.  “I believe in the promise of what Alaska has to offer as a strategic tool for the United States to win the future of the most important region in the world, the Indo-Pacific,” Emanuel said. Emanuel predicted that as Europe turns away from Russian natural gas, there will be increased competition to supply gas to Asia. He said the U.S. should move quickly to fill that need — with Alaska’s gas. Environmental groups criticized Emanuel’s support for developing natural gas. In a news release, the California-based group Pacific Environment and Alaska-based Cook Inletkeeper said it runs counter to the Biden administration’s climate commitments. Emanuel said he believes natural gas is necessary to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.”

The Center Square: Pipeline malfeasance charges range from fraud to catastrophe
Anthony Hennen, 5/24/23 

“State and federal investigators charged two Pennsylvania men for “risking catastrophe” when they cut corners on a natural gas pipeline project,” The Center Square reports. “In early May, Attorney General Michelle Henry filed charges against Joseph Berkich and Welton Darl Shipe, ranging from falsifying documents and providing false statements to risking a catastrophe and criminal conspiracy. “These men allegedly put lives at risk by carelessly ignoring certifications and safety assurance requirements in an effort to profit from pipeline work,” Henry said in a press release. “Unfortunately, we have seen recently the devastating environmental impacts of such carelessness, and my office is committed to holding accountable those who put the environment and our citizen’s health and lives at risk.” “…The charges are related to welding work on the Mark West Liberty Pipeline, which moves various natural gas liquids from processing plants in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to fractionation facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania that separate them into different products. Berkich was hired by Shipe to evaluate the integrity of welds on sections of the pipeline, but did not have the proper certifications for the work — he was “neither trained nor certified” for the work. When EnTech Energy, who employed Shipe, demanded Berkich’s certification paperwork, he forged signatures.”

KLTV: White Oak Fire Department on scene of explosion at pipeline site
Stephanie Frazier 5/24/23

“White Oak firefighters are at the scene of an explosion,” KLTV reports. “The White Oak City Manager told KLTV that the incident occurred on part of the Mid-Valley Pipeline, which is at 1010 Cox Dairy Rd. He says workers are at the scene reducing pressure in the line but the fire is still burning. No injuries were reported. The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time.”

Oklahoman: Cushing, set for new refinery complex, considers itself pipeline crossroads of the world

“A maze of pipes connect storage tanks with interstate pipelines at Enbridge Inc.’s storage yard in Cushing. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said last week the Obama Administration is studying whether to change the 40-year-old ban on most domestic oil exports,” the Oklahoman reports. 


Utility Dive: Energy permitting reform divides environmental, clean energy groups as it remains in debt limit talks
Stephen Singer, 5/24/23

“A debt limit deal between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., could include ways to ease federal permitting of energy projects,” Utility Dive reports. “…The American Council on Renewable Energy, or ACORE, and two other groups wrote to House and Senate leaders May 22 urging bipartisan transmission permitting legislation. But as many as 75 environmental and community groups said May 17 they’re concerned that easing permitting could undermine environmental goals and further damage communities struggling with a legacy of fossil fuel plants and other sources of pollution… “Grassroots environmental, religious and labor groups agree that permitting reform should be legislated by Congress outside of the debt limit negotiations. But scores of organizations said in a letter obtained by Axios that the trade group American Clean Power should oppose energy legislation or permitting reforms that weaken environmental laws “and reduce our ability to protect our communities from dangerous fossil fuel projects.”

Washington Post: GOP unites in brinkmanship over default, rejecting Biden compromises
Marianna Sotomayor, Jeff Stein, Rachel Siegel and Paul Kane, 5/24/23

“During a closed meeting Tuesday morning at a GOP hangout a block from the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made a pointed plea: Do not break ranks over the debt ceiling crisis,” the Washington Post reports. “Ahead of another round of negotiations with the White House, McCarthy told Republicans they had the upper hand in the discussions and encouraged his members to show their support for colleagues facing tough reelection bids next year as a sign of unity, two people in attendance, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talk, told the Post. McCarthy urged members to make sure vulnerable lawmakers would have plenty of campaign money from GOP coffers — even pledging that they would not be outraised by their opponents in the 2024 election cycle, the people said of the meeting, which took place at the Capitol Hill Club… “The overture reflects the GOP’s determination to stay unified behind spending cuts even as the nation heads toward the brink of a default, despite a rapidly approaching deadline, a White House suddenly eager to compromise and a Democratic-led effort to push a petition that could force a vote on raising the debt ceiling over McCarthy’s objections. After refusing to negotiate for months, President Biden’s aides last week offered the GOP substantial concessions on the federal budget — including a freeze on spending for two years — that nonpartisan estimates have projected could cut deficits by as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.” “…The Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank, was among those that had called for Biden to negotiate — but which is calling for a deal to avoid default. “From what I can tell, the administration is being very reasonable when it comes to discretionary spending,” G. William Hoagland, the center’s senior vice president, told the Post. “From what I can tell, the administration has been willing to compromise. But both sides need to.”

NPR: Debt ceiling talks aren’t going well. Here’s where they stand
Barbara Sprunt, 5/24/23

“There are few signs of progress as the U.S. teeters close to the brink of an unprecedented default on its debt,” NPR reports. “Republican negotiators are expressing frustration at the state of staff-level talks, a day after President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met at the White House and expressed optimism that a deal could be reached to raise the debt ceiling. “There is a significant gap between where we are and where they are,” Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday night. “Unless and until the White House recognizes that this is a spending problem, then we’re gonna continue to have a significant gap.” Graves, who is a top proxy for Speaker McCarthy in talks, said no additional meetings with the White House negotiators had been scheduled as of Tuesday evening. Graves said that he and North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, a key McCarthy ally involved in the talks, are ready to meet again as long as it’s not a “rehashing of the same discussion.” “…White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a briefing on Tuesday that the talks have yielded one agreement: default isn’t an option… “New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged some Democrats may vote for a compromise bill — but she has her own lines in the sand. “I do not believe that the president would call on the progressive caucus of all the caucuses in the Democratic Party to support legislation that he knows is contrary to progressive values,” she told NPR. “We have not received any sort of indication that the White House would be asking us to do that. There are multiple caucuses in the Democratic Party. If Kevin McCarthy needs five votes, he can get them from somewhere, but he’s not going to get it from me.”

The Hill: Do humans cause climate change? Even now, only half of Americans say yes.

“Even now, only half of Americans believe humans cause climate change. That finding, from a new Ipsos poll, illuminates a yawning gap between public opinion and science on perhaps the most important scientific question of our time,” The Hill reports. “Forty-nine percent of Americans believe climate change is caused mostly by human actions, the survey found, the lowest share reported in several years of polling.   In other words, a narrow majority of the country disagrees with the nation’s scientists, nearly all of whom are certain that humans cause global warming. Twenty-seven percent of Americans say climate change is natural. Seven percent say the climate isn’t changing. Most other respondents say they aren’t sure.  The disconnect between popular opinion and scientific fact on global warming stems from an age-old partisan divide, climate experts say, and reflects the opposing stances of scientists and oil companies. “Virtually all of climate science is on one side of this issue because they’re actually looking at the evidence,” Edward Maibach, distinguished professor and director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, told The Hill. “The other side of the issue is driven, essentially, by the fossil fuel industry, and their friends in the conservative media, and their friends in conservative politics.” “…The split “is being fed by the culture wars, and by those who find the climate narrative a perfect foil for what they view as a kind of ‘woke’ America,” Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives at the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, told The Hill. “If you don’t want to believe this because you’re in that ideological and media ecosystem, then you won’t.” 

E&E News: Hearing Highlights Republican Angst Over BLM Rule 
Scott Streater, 5/25/23

“House Republicans at a Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Wednesday once again raised strong objections to a sweeping draft public lands rule designed to elevate conservation, with some lawmakers labeling the proposal an ‘unprecedented’ move by the Biden administration to advance a ‘left-wing social agenda,’” E&E News reports. “The draft rule, unveiled in March by the Bureau of Land Management, would prioritize federal rangeland health and conservation of the 245 million acres under the bureau’s care by elevating conservation on par with livestock grazing and energy development, among other uses. The draft rule says dramatic action is needed to maintain BLM lands for multiple uses in the face of a warming climate that has sparked severe drought conditions and larger, more destructive wildfires across the West. But at Wednesday’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) dismissed such concerns, describing the draft rule as an ‘unprecedented power grab’ by the Biden administration to lock up federal lands from livestock grazing, mining and other activities. ‘It’s clear that the BLM has turned into a climate activist organization under this administration,’ he said.”

E&E News: Biden Urged To Cancel New Mexico Oil Sale 
Heather Richards, 5/24/23

“‘Wonder Woman’ actor Eugene Brave Rock, the clothing company Patagonia Inc. and an activist group in the South Bronx area of New York are among the broad group of voices calling on the Biden administration Wednesday to cancel an imminent oil sale on public lands in New Mexico,” E&E News reports. “The Bureau of Land Management will offer roughly 3,000 acres on federal lands in the state’s oil-rich southeast, as well as nearly 7,000 acres in western Kansas, to oil developers Thursday. The auction is the first of several the bureau will hold on public lands in the coming weeks under heavy protest from environmentalists and climate activists who say the White House is backtracking on a commitment to phase out drilling on public lands. In a last-ditch effort to reverse the New Mexico sale, roughly 250 green groups, artists and community organizers inked a letter to BLM New Mexico’s state director, Melanie Barnes. ‘We are shocked and dismayed that in spite of a clear scientific, political, and public consensus that action for the climate requires we begin to phase out fossil fuels, the [administration] is continuing the legacy of sacrifice zones in New Mexico by moving forward with the auction,’ the letter says.”

Bloomberg: Biden Pressed to Limit Hydrogen Credits Key to Nascent Industry
Jennifer A Dlouhy, 5/24/23

“Senate Democrats are pushing the Biden administration to impose tough limits on hydrogen tax credits they say will ensure the fuel lives up to its climate-fighting potential,” Bloomberg reports. “Hydrogen advocates warn that could end up stifling the nascent industry instead. The campaign is aimed at the US Treasury Department, which is writing rules for claiming the tax credit worth as much as $3 for every kilogram of hydrogen produced over a decade… “Without “rigorous guardrails,” the resulting investment could spur a net increase in US greenhouse gas emissions, Senate Democrats warn the Internal Revenue Service in a drafted letter seen by Bloomberg News. “The IRS must ensure that the billions of dollars at stake are used to promote truly low- and zero-carbon hydrogen production and infrastructure.” The lawmakers — along with a coalition of environmental groups — want the full credit available only for hydrogen ventures offset by new, clean electricity supplies located in the same region and operating during the same hours. Otherwise, they argue, surging energy-intensive hydrogen production might spur more generation of fossil fuel-based electricity to fill the gap — boosting carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 26 new coal plants each year. One think tank analysis estimates the result could be hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.”

E&E News: Chevron doctrine: Not dead yet
Pamela King, 5/24/23

“The Supreme Court has signaled that it could be prepared to upend a tool that helps federal agencies legally defend their power to regulate on key issues like climate change — but the justices have options if they want to avoid upsetting the nearly 40-year-old precedent,” E&E News reports. “As soon as summer 2024, the justices will decide a case that asks them to overrule — or at least put guardrails on — the Chevron doctrine, a legal theory born from a 1984 Supreme Court case that gives federal agencies leeway to interpret their regulatory authority when statutes are unclear. A ruling to overturn the deference standard could deflate the power of agencies like EPA just as they are gaining ground in the race to tackle climate change — and potentially open the Supreme Court to new scrutiny for its willingness to overturn long-standing precedent, as it did last year on abortion rights. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the justices limit Chevron, as opposed to overruling it,” Katrina Kuh, a law professor at Pace University, told E&E… “Kuh told E&E she sees a path for the court to find that Congress’ silence on a disputed matter does not equal statutory uncertainty… “But even if the more moderate conservative justices can salvage Chevron, Hsiao told E&E, a narrowed deference doctrine could still potentially handcuff federal agencies.”

E&E News: Major polluter escapes EPA power plant rule
Benjamin Storrow, 5/25/23

“Two steam turbines at the Ninemile Point power plant emit more carbon dioxide than any gas-fired units in America, according to an E&E News review of federal emissions data. But neither would need to reduce emissions under EPA’s draft rule to limit pollution from power plants,” E&E News reports. “The discrepancy illustrates the novel approach EPA took in crafting the standard, tailoring requirements to a plant’s fuel type, size and usage. As the agency seeks to green the country’s electric grid, it is balancing the need to deeply slash emissions — and meet the country’s climate targets — with ensuring it doesn’t shut down gas facilities that some industry groups say are needed to ensure grid reliability. “It is a balancing act of how much to cover, how fast,” Julie McNamara, deputy policy director of the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told E&E. “This is the challenge to EPA: How do we ensure we don’t get unintended outcomes from setting different cut points for different sources in different places.” “…The plant’s two dirtiest units, the pair of 1970s-era steam turbines, would effectively be given a free pass to continue polluting at current rates. That’s because EPA’s rule carves out a specific provision for gas-fired steam turbines, which generally operate as peaking units, ramping up quickly to meet surges in electricity demand and powering down when demand subsides.”

E&E News: Judges Weigh EPA Air Permit Mandate For Troubled Refinery
Sean Reilly, 5/24/23

“EPA’s decision to require a mothballed Caribbean refinery to get a new Clean Air Act permit before restarting operations came under scrutiny Wednesday from a panel of appellate court judges,” E&E News reports. “In a lawsuit brought this January, Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation LLLP challenged the agency’s conclusion late last year that the plant on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands would have to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit before reopening. In announcing that decision, EPA Administrator Michael Regan told reporters that the application process could take three years or more. Port Hamilton, which bought the plant in early 2021 following a bankruptcy sale, maintains that the permitting requirement applies only to new refineries or those that undergo “major modifications.” EPA “doesn’t need this hammer,” Andrew Simpson, an attorney for the company, told a three-judge panel on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during oral arguments. “It has lots of other hammers.”

Law360: Ex-FERC Chair Launches Clean Energy Consulting Firm
Keith Goldberg, 5/24/23

“Ex-Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick said Wednesday that he has launched an energy consulting firm with his former chief of staff that will focus on the power sector’s transition to zero-carbon and low-carbon energy,” Law360 reports. 


Washington Post: California could require large companies to disclose their emissions, regardless of the SEC
Maxine Joselow, 5/25/23

“…One of the bills in particular could have implications far beyond California’s borders. The measure would require large companies in the Golden State to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, even as the Securities and Exchange Commission considers whittling a similar rule in the face of looming legal challenges,” the Washington Post reports. “Since many businesses that operate in California are also active nationally, the rule could sustain stricter reporting requirements even if federal mandates are pared down. “Given the size of California’s economy — we’re now the fourth-largest economy in the world — a very large percentage of large corporations are doing business in California,” state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who introduced the bill, told the Post. “So this will be very impactful.” Under Senate Bill 253, known as the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, companies that bring in at least $1 billion in revenue and do business in California would have to annually report their emissions to the public. The measure closely resembles a landmark rule that the SEC proposed last spring. The rule would similarly require all publicly traded companies to disclose their emissions and the financial risks they face from climate change. But in two key ways, the California legislation is more ambitious and far-reaching than the federal proposal. First, the California bill would apply to both privately owned and publicly traded companies, whereas the SEC proposal would affect only the latter. Second, the California bill would require companies to disclose their scope 3 emissions, or those produced by customers and suppliers. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has hinted that the commission is considering dropping the scope 3 requirements to help the rule survive expected legal challenges.”

The Hill: Big Oil, green groups unite to back key Texas energy cap

“New legislation passed by the Texas legislature may have accomplished what is generally impossible: bringing oil companies and green groups to the same side of the table,” The Hill reports. “The legislation, known as Senate Bill 7, seeks to finance the construction of a fleet of new and mostly gas-fueled power plants… “Under that broader package, these plants would be financed by making electric utilities help pay for them — costs that critics fear could be passed onto customers. That’s why state Rep. Todd Hunter (R) introduced Senate Bill 7, which aims to set some boundaries within that full package. The bill would limit the costs that could be transferred to ratepayers to a maximum of $1 billion… “Oil companies and green groups have come together in an unlikely alliance in support of the proposed $1 billion cap. Conservation groups like the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund are sandwiched between two frequent foes: the Texas Oil and Gas Association and Texas Chemical Council… “The green groups agree on capping the amount that can be spent on building out more fossil fuel infrastructure, but so do the state’s oil and gas and petrochemicals industries. As some of the state’s biggest energy buyers, they stand to bear the brunt of any runaway costs… “Just want to be clear we will still sue refineries when they violate air quality laws, but we agree on keeping electric costs low for consumers large and small!” tweeted Cyrus Reed, a conservation director for Texas Sierra Club. 

InsideClimate News: Shell Agrees to Pay $10 Million After Permit Violations at its Giant New Plastics Plant in Pennsylvania
James Bruggers, 5/25/23

“Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro on Wednesday announced that he had reached an agreement with Shell to pay $10 million in penalties because the company’s new plastic manufacturing plant in Beaver County near Pittsburgh put more pollution in the air in its first months of operation than its state permits allow,” InsideClimate News reports. “The plant has the capacity to produce as much as 3.5 billion pounds a year of plastic pellets, the building blocks for such products as bags, bottles, food packaging and toys, and churn out single-use plastics for potentially 30 years, company officials have acknowledged… “His announcement comes two weeks after two environmental groups, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Philadelphia Clean Air Council, sued Shell in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania over excess air emissions, claiming violations of the federal Clean Air Act and Pennsylvania’s Air Pollution Control Act. “The settlement agreement does not mean the end of the lawsuit against Shell,” Jen Duggan, deputy director of the Environmental Integrity Project, told ICN. “We are currently reviewing the agreement between DEP and Shell.” “…The multi-billion dollar Shell plant became fully operational in November after years of construction and in December was cited by state environmental regulators for exceeding its yearly limit of volatile organic compounds, which create lung-damaging smog. In the state’s press release, officials mentioned other violations and said Shell had exceeded its rolling 12-month or yearly total emission limits for several categories of air pollutants.”

Minot Daily News: Saltwater, crude oil spill reported in Renville County

“Cobra Oil and Gas Corp. notified state agencies on Sunday of a saltwater and crude oil spill at a site it operates near Glenburn in Renville County,” the Minot Daily News reports. “Initial reports indicate 6,300 gallons of saltwater and 420 gallons of crude oil released, impacting agricultural land. The incident resulted from the malfunction of an oil-water separator. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality reports its personnel are on location and will continue to oversee remediation.”

News Channel Nebraska: Nebraska lawmakers pass bill that includes clean hydrogen hub support
Doug Kennedy, 5/23/23

“Nebraska legislators were on final reading of several bills Tuesday, including a measure that adopts the Nuclear and Hydrogen Development Act,” News Channel Nebraska reports. “Senator Bruce Bostelman says the bill allocates $500,000 over the next two-year budget to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, to provide grants through public power districts and the Nebraska Hydrogen Hub working group. The money would be used for engineering and modeling as Nebraska seeks one of the U.S. Energy Department’s regional clean hydrogen hubs that will be established. “NPPD has been a strong leader in the hydrogen hub process and in this grant application, we are now one of 33, I think it is, states that the Department of Energy says you can go ahead and continue on….and give us a final RFP, or proposal for them to consider for one of it’s either eight or nine hubs, I think it is, in the United States.” “…Monolith has started with their new development, new technology that they use by Hallam in their plant that has started there. They have their first, we’ll call it reactor that has been built that does carbon black. But, they’re going to have a huge expansion program going on. In the next three years, they’re going to need, I think it’s two or three hundred new employees.” The Monolith Materials facility is located at NPPD’s Sheldon Station, near Hallam.”


Guardian: ‘Worthless’: Chevron’s carbon offsets are mostly junk and some may harm, research says
Nina Lakhani, 5/24/23

“A new investigation into Chevron’s climate pledge has found the fossil-fuel company relies on “junk” carbon offsets and “unviable” technologies, which do little to offset its vast greenhouse gas emissions and in some cases may actually be causing communities harm,” the Guardian reports. “…Despite major expansions in five continents, Chevron has said that it “aspires” to achieve net zero upstream emissions by 2050. To do this, it is mostly relying on carbon offset schemes – environmental projects meant to cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions – and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. New research by Corporate Accountability, a non-profit, transnational corporate watchdog, found that 93% of the offsets Chevron bought and counted towards its climate targets from voluntary carbon markets between 2020 and 2022 were too environmentally problematic to be classified as anything other than worthless or junk. A carbon offset is characterized as having low environmental integrity, or being worthless, if it is linked to a forest or plantation or green energy project, including those involving hydroelectric dams, that doesn’t lead to additional greenhouse gas reductions, exaggerates benefits or risks emitting emissions, among other measures. Many of Chevron’s offset purchases focus on forests, plantations or large dams. According to the report shared exclusively with the Guardian, almost half of Chevron’s “worthless” offsets are also linked to alleged social and environmental harms – mostly in communities in the global south, which are also often the most affected by the climate crisis. “Chevron’s junk climate action agenda is destructive and reckless, especially in light of climate science underscoring the only viable way forward is an equitable and urgent fossil fuel phase-out,” Rachel Rose Jackson from Corporate Accountability told the Guardian.

Washington Post: Germany conducts raids against climate activists, alleging criminality
Kate Brady, 5/24/23

“German police launched a series of raids early on Wednesday across the country against a group of climate activists known for attacking art and gluing themselves to roads to raise awareness,” the Washington Post reports. “The searches targeted 15 properties across seven states, linked to members of the “Letzte Generation” (Last Generation) group. Seven suspects aged between 22 and 38 years are being investigated on suspicion of forming or supporting a criminal organization, police said. The suspects are accused of organizing a fundraising campaign to finance criminal activities, advertising them on their website and collecting at least $1.5 million in donations so far… “Last Generation, which has been condemned by Germany’s environmental Greens Party, gained prominence last year with a wave of food-related climate protests — including throwing mashed potatoes at a Monet painting in Potsdam’s Museum Barberini. Activists have also glued themselves to roads, and even runways to disrupt traffic. The protests aim to draw more attention to climate change through acts of civil disobedience… “German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told German media outlets that legitimate protest ends when crimes are committed and other people’s rights would be violated. “If this red line is overstepped, then the police must also act.” Two of the suspects arrested Wednesday are accused of planning to sabotage an oil pipeline between the Bavarian town of Ingolstadt and the Italian port of Trieste. The pipeline is deemed a critical piece of infrastructure in the southern German state. Prosecutors also confiscated accounts and secured assets during the raids and the group’s website was shut down… “In a news conference held by climate activists on Wednesday, Aimée van Baalen, a spokeswoman said the group will “continue to resist.” “The need to resist is not diminished by criminalization,” she said, adding that as long as the federal government flouts the law, activists will continue to exercise their right to peacefully protest.

BBC: Chelsea Flower Show: Just Stop Oil protesters arrested
Jess Warren, 5/25/23

“Three Just Stop Oil activists have been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show,” BBC reports. “Protesters released orange powder paint in the show gardens at the Royal Hospital Chelsea at about 09:00 BST. Cdr Karen Findlay of the Met Police’s major operations team said the gardens had been “criminally damaged”… “They added there had been no disruption to visitors and the show remained open to ticketed guests… “The three women targeted a garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, for wealth manager RBC Brewin Dolphin. A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said the protest was part of their fifth week of action in London. The environmental protest group is calling for the government to halt all new oil, gas and coal projects.”

Reuters: Shale R&D cuts cast shadow on future of US oil production
Liz Hampton, 5/23/23

“Shale technology advances that propelled the U.S. to the top global oil producer spot with world-beating growth rates are falling fewer and farther between as drilling budgets shrink and with them, the research and development that might deliver the next great leap,” Reuters reports. “…Output gains, however, have dwindled as tight-fisted producers spend only enough to maintain output amid rising costs, while favoring giving cash to shareholders as dividends and stock buybacks. The lack of investment has oil growth slowing as some of the most productive areas tap out. The best shale sites have been drilled and executives and analysts worry there is not enough high-quality inventory to last another decade… “The technology interests are in new frontiers of geothermal and hydrogen, and biofuels,” Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian and vice chairperson of S&P Global, told Reuters. “I don’t see any other transformative technology at this time that is really going to change the global market.” Producers are turning to acquisitions to expand future production. On Monday, Chevron Corp agreed to pay $7.6 billion in stock and acquired debt for smaller rival PDC Energy Inc, a move that will add 10% to its oil and gas reserves. Chevron slashed its R&D to $268 million last year from $435 million in 2020… “That combination of horizontal drilling plus fracking and completions that took shale to global prominence was unique. Outside of digital tools, there may never be another industry advancement like that in our lifetime,” David Forsberg, founder of energy venture fund Ascent Energy Ventures, told Reuters. The absence of new breakthroughs has companies looking to old tricks to squeeze more oil out of their properties.”


Press release: Gwich’in Steering Committee Speaks at Travelers Annual Meeting, Requests U.S. Insurance Giant Not Support Oil and Gas Projects in the Arctic Refuge

“Traveling over 4,300 miles from Alaska to Connecticut, the Gwich’in Steering Committee delivered a statement today at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Travelers, a major U.S. company with a history of underwriting oil and gas projects. Trillium Asset Management, shareholders of Travelers, invited GSC to speak on behalf of their proposal to the company to provide shareholders a racial equity audit. Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, spoke to shareholder concerns that Travelers’ approach to environmental justice is lacking clarity and transparency. “Travelers is associated with past and current controversies that have alleged racial impacts on stakeholders,” said Demientieff. “We believe these controversies are under-addressed, which opens the company to potential legal, reputational, and regulatory risks.” During the AGM, Travelers CEO Alan D. Schnitzer said more than once that Travelers does not provide insurance for projects in the Arctic. The company has not made a public commitment specific to the Arctic Refuge and has yet to announce a forward-looking policy to not insure projects there in the future… “Following the AGM, the GSC executive director, including members of the GSC Youth Council Lexine Demientieff and Madison Wiehl, attended a rally held outside of the AGM by Connecticut Citizen Action Group, Sierra Club CT and Insure Our Future. The groups have supported Gwich’in engagements with insurance companies, several of which are based in Hartford, to encourage the insurance industry to address harms and impacts from fossil fuel development.” 

Energy Monitor: Will antitrust concerns be the death knell for insurers’ net-zero commitments?
Polly Bindman, 5/24/23

“Given that every fossil fuel project requires insurance in order to commence operations, insurers are a lifeline to the industry. Insurers’ policies restricting the underwriting of coal, oil and gas projects therefore fall under heightened scrutiny in a world aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, especially since just a handful of insurers control an outsized share of the property and casualty insurance market,” Energy Monitor reports. “In recent months, insurers’ perceived ability to distort market prices by refusing to underwrite certain fossil fuel projects on climate grounds has made them vulnerable to accusations of breaching antitrust laws designed to ensure that institutions are not able to make decisions behind closed doors that could distort market competition. A 2022 review of the insurance market for the power sector from global broker Willis Towers Watson found that operators of coal power plants currently face “bleak prospects” and experience “extreme challenges” in accessing insurance, considering the number of insurers that have set policies restricting their coal underwriting… “Yet crucially, insurers implementing policies that restrict underwriting services for fossil fuel majors have, to date, seemingly done so on an individual basis and not as part of coordinated action… “In light of ongoing accusations – primarily from Republican politicians spearheading an anti-ESG campaign in the US – that financial alliances for net zero are engaging in “cartel-like” behaviour in committing to restrict investment in fossil fuel majors, a number of members have exited GFANZ in recent months, despite it only being established in November 2021 in the run-up to COP26… “It is no coincidence that these recent departures have coincided with the “anti-woke” culture war brewing in the US, Peter Tufano, senior advisor at the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard University, told Energy Monitor. Similarly, Peter Bosshard, who coordinates the international Insure Our Future campaign, notes that each of the three insurers pulling out of the NZIA derive roughly one-third of their revenue from the US market, and are therefore “vulnerable to its political follies”. 


Yale Climate Connections: The fossil fuel industry is donating hundreds of millions to university climate and energy research

“Fossil fuel companies profit from the world’s dependence on coal, oil, and gas. Some climate activists are concerned that some of these same companies fund university research about climate and energy,” Yale Climate Connections reports. “I don’t think there should be a space in climate research in which the fossil fuel industry is involved,” Bella Kumar, a student at George Washington University and an organizer with a campaign called Fossil Free Research, told YCC. “Kumar is the lead author of a recent report by the think tank Data for Progress. Her team looked at 27 universities and found that the fossil fuel industry donated or pledged more than $600 million to the schools over a 10-year period. Kumar told YCC funders can influence which topics are studied. And in some cases, they influence how results are framed, for example downplaying the negative impacts of burning fossil fuels. So her group calls on universities to enact stronger conflict of interest policies, increase transparency about research funders, and ultimately, decline fossil fuel funding. “I think any time the fossil fuel industry is involved in creating the narrative around the climate is incredibly dangerous, and the best way to mitigate that is banning fossil fuel funding,” Kumar told YCC.

New York Times: With Climate Panel as a Beacon, Global Group Takes On Misinformation
Steven Lee Myers, 5/24/23

“Two years ago, at a virtual gathering organized by the Nobel Foundation, Sheldon Himelfarb outlined the idea that the world’s leading scholars should join forces to study misinformation the way that scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change documented the global effect of carbon emissions,” the New York Times reports. “That new group gathered for its official introduction in Washington on Wednesday, uniting more than 200 researchers from 55 countries with a similar sense of urgency and alarm as the threat of global warming. In the group’s first report, the researchers questioned the effectiveness of fighting falsehoods online with content moderation, one of the most common strategies to combating misinformation, saying other tactics had more scientific evidence behind them. “You have to approach the information environment in the same way scientists approached the environment,” Mr. Himelfarb, the group’s executive director and the chief executive of PeaceTech Lab, an advocacy organization affiliated with the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, told the Times… “One challenge facing these efforts is overcoming the increasingly fierce arguments over what exactly constitutes misinformation. In the United States, the efforts to combat it have run aground on First Amendment protections of free speech. The biggest companies have now shifted focus and resources away from the fight against misinformation, even as new platforms emerged promising to forgo policies that moderate content… “The findings suggest that the most effective responses to false information online are labeling content as “disputed” or flagging sources of state media and publishing corrective information, typically in the form of debunking rumors and disinformation. Far less certain, the report argues, is the effectiveness of public and government efforts to pressure social media giants like Facebook and Twitter to take down content, as well as internal company algorithms that suspend or play down offending accounts.”


Peabody Gazette-Bulletin: Keystone pipeline
Harry E. Bennett, 5/25/23

“Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration posted a study of the causes of the December Keystone pipeline rupture in Washington County, Kansas,” Harry E. Bennett writes for the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin. “…It was found that TC Energy did not have any pre-installation X-rays of the welds, which are required of high-pressure petroleum pipelines. A flaw had been detected and the pipe excavated in 2013, but no corrective action was taken… “The same Keystone pipeline runs through Marion County from north to south and passes under the Cottonwood River just west of Marion. South of that, in Wilson Township, right after the pipeline crosses Spring Branch Creek, there is a double 45-degree bend to facilitate going under Union Pacific rail right of way. In November of 2010, I observed personnel from Shihan Construction excavate and replace a section of the pipe with the two bends. This occurred after the pipeline had been finished and just before it was put into service. I inquired with a contact I had with PHMSA. No information was provided by the company. X-rays of the welds are property of the company and therefore not available to the public. The circumstance of the Washington County spill and possible flaws in the pipeline as it passes through Kansas on its way to Cushing, Oklahoma, should raise alarm in all of the adjacent communities. This poses a threat to water, land, and the environment. There should be a call from local officials to have the pipeline shut down for thorough and complete inspections by regulators or third-party contractors before disaster befalls another community. It should be remembered that TC Energy received a 10-year property tax abatement by the Kansas Legislature, and that Marion County just collected the first tax draw from the pipeline for 2022. Maybe TC Energy should have put that tax gift into maintenance for the pipeline to make it safer.”

Food & Water Watch: Why Iowa Lawmakers Chose Pipelines Over People — Again
John Aspray, Jennifer Winn, 5/24/23

“For the second year in a row, polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Iowans don’t believe pipeline companies should be able to take private land through eminent domain to build these hazardous projects. But frustratingly, lawmakers have failed to take action,” John Aspray and Jennifer Winn write for Food & Water Watch. “Hundreds of pipeline opponents lobbied at the Capitol throughout the session, with some making the trip to Des Moines weekly. Many more called and emailed their state and local elected officials.  At the local level, the pressure from residents has been met with support. Across the state, local governments have passed resolutions and ordinances opposing the projects. They’ve also submitted formal objections to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), which oversees the permitting and eminent domain proceedings for the carbon pipelines.  To date, 45 of 56 counties along the proposed pipeline routes —  and 22 towns — have submitted formal objections to the IUB. County supervisors from 36 counties wrote to Senate Leadership demanding they pass legislation to ban the use of eminent domain for carbon pipelines. And this loud opposition got the attention of many lawmakers… “Later this month, PHMSA will meet in Des Moines to discuss the safety of carbon pipelines with the public. We don’t want to see another disaster like Satartia. You can join us in Des Moines to tell PHMSA and the Biden administration that we need a nationwide moratorium on carbon pipelines!”

Bloomberg: What Exxon Won’t Tell You About Climate Costs
Mark Gongloff and Liam Denning, 5/24/23

“Paying for restaurant meals is a cost. Taking classes to learn how to cook your own meals is an investment. Similarly, suffering through the effects of climate change is a cost, but spending money to avoid the worst climate outcomes is an investment,” Mark Gongloff and Liam Denning write for Bloomberg. “The difference is meaningful — as Exxon Mobil Corp. has inadvertently reminded us. In a regulatory filing last week, the oil giant argued it shouldn’t have to bother disclosing more-detailed estimates of the cost of phasing out its fossil-fuel business to meet the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions scenario for 2050, calling the goal too unrealistic to merit careful accounting. That’s fair enough, considering the world isn’t on a path to keeping its net-zero promises. But then Exxon apparently couldn’t resist adding: “[I]t is highly unlikely that society would accept the degradation in global standard of living required to permanently achieve a scenario like the IEA NZE.” The IEA’s net-zero scenario is indeed a remote possibility. But a lot of shareholders — more than half of whom voted for a net-zero accounting in 2022 — want to see such details anyway as a form of stress test. Presumably, they worry that what seems aggressive today may not be within a generation. And they might be displeased that what little disclosure Exxon does provide is, shall we say, impressionistic, with future cash flows represented with vague charts. But with that extra zinger about global living standards, Exxon went from arguing narrowly about accounting requirements to presumptuously opining about what humanity will tolerate over the next three decades. It’s certainly ironic, given that Exxon spent decades sowing doubt about climate change, discouraging all of us from an earlier and presumably less jarring transition. More importantly, the remark illustrates a fundamental problem with how decarbonization is framed in the public arena. People may well balk at the behavioral changes and increased spending required to stop burning fossil fuels. But that’s only one side of the ledger. If society won’t accept the “degradation in the global standard of living” that Exxon alludes to, then it implicitly would be accepting the degradation that will be inflicted by unaddressed climate change — in the form of floods, mass migration, shrinking food supply and a host of other frightening and economically damaging effects. Exxon’s warning that society isn’t ready to confront a diminished “standard of living” also glosses over the fact that inaction on climate change might preserve immediate convenience only to worsen quality of life over the longer term. (When asked for comment, an Exxon spokesperson said “energy poverty” affects health, education and economic development.)”

Press Democrat: Close to Home: A new priority for public land
Keith Hammond is on the board of directors of Calwild, 5/24/23

“The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is the largest land manager in the nation, including a nice chunk of land here in Northern California. While BLM isn’t exactly a household name, the success of its mission to manage the public lands for “multiple use and sustained yield” is critical to mitigating the worst impacts of climate change,” Keith Hammond writes for the Press Democrat. “That’s why I was excited to see BLM propose a new public lands rule that would mark a historic improvement in how the agency approaches its work. In short, BLM is seeking to raise the floor on how it manages public lands and to explicitly recognize that conservation of healthy, resilient ecosystems is an integral part of its mission. These changes are long overdue and I commend BLM’s leadership for making this a priority. Closer to home, BLM’s Arcata and Redding field offices are working on a comprehensive plan — known as Northwest California Integrated Plan — that will direct how more than 380,000 acres in Northern California are managed… “I hope BLM uses this as an opportunity to protect land that many of us know and love, places like English Ridge on the Eel River in Mendocino County and the proposed Trinity Alps Wilderness additions in Trinity County… “For many reasons — wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, saving salmon and climate resilience — now is the time for BLM to take bold action to protect federal lands and waters. I’m looking forward to seeing the public lands rule cross the finish line, and I hope the forthcoming Northwest California plan process will protect wild places like English Ridge at long last.”

Wall Street Journal: A Lawsuit to Protect Pensions From Climate Politics
Editorial Board, 5/23/23

“New York City leaders have boasted about using worker retirement savings to advance their climate agenda. They may come to regret it after several city workers this month sued their pension funds for putting climate over financial returns,” the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board writes. “This could be a significant test of politicized investment by public pensions. New York law and regulation impose strict fiduciary duties on trustees of such funds. Plans are required to invest “for the exclusive benefit of the participants and beneficiaries” and with “care, skill, prudence and diligence.” State courts have ruled that trustees owe a “duty of undivided and undiluted loyalty” to retirees and workers. Yet three big public pensions—the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York, and Board of Education Retirement System of the City of New York—have instead made investment decisions based on climate goals. The three plans manage about $150 billion. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio led this climate socialism in 2018 when he declared that city pension plans would have to divest fossil-fuel-related assets within five years to show the city is “leading the fight against climate change.” The mayor, city officials and union representatives control the boards of the three pension funds, which complied with his orders. “Our first-in-the-nation divestment is literally putting money where our mouth is when it comes to climate change,” Mr. de Blasio crowed. But it’s not his money. New York City’s police and firefighter pension funds notably refused to divest from fossil fuels because it would violate their fiduciary duty… “Government pension funds in other states have also made climate and social policy an investment focus, if not as brazenly as those in New York. The lawsuit puts the funds on notice that they can’t hijack worker savings to serve their own political purposes.”

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