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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 7/29/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 29, 2022



  • Globe and Mail: Cost estimate for Coastal GasLink pipeline soars 70 per cent to $11.2-billion

  • S&P Global: Keystone Pipeline volumes rise to about 610,000 b/d from capacity hike

  • Counter Currents: Anti-Mountain Valley Pipeline Protest

  • Bloomberg: Mountain Valley Pipeline Defends Virginia Water Permit Approval

  • Michigan Radio: Crude Oil Catastrophes Part 3: “A Tale of Two Treaties”

  • Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Minnehaha County Democrat lodges attacks against Republicans allegedly backing Summit pipeline

  • KMA: Navigator CO2 Ventures relocates headquarters to Omaha

  • The Courier: Informational meetings scheduled for proposed carbon pipeline through Bremer, Buchanan counties

  • Epoch Times: Foreign Company With Troubled Past Buys Into Massive Midwest Carbon Capture Project

  • Bradford Era: Pipeline explosion cause not yet provided

  • WAMC: Springfield City Council urges rejection of Eversource pipeline project

  • Eversource pipeline opponents, trade unions clash over ending Springfield-Longmeadow project


  • Press release: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Creates New Task Forces to Inform Responsible Development and Deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration

  • New York Times: Surprise Deal Would Be Most Ambitious Climate Action Undertaken by U.S.

  • E&E News: Democrats open to Manchin’s push for permitting reform

  • E&E News: A climate bill with fossil fuel victories

  • Politico: ‘Easter eggs’ in climate bill delight oil and gas industry


  • Energy and Policy Institute: Livermore Lab carbon capture campaign funded by utility company front group

  • Open Secrets: Fossil fuel industry lobbying increases as ConocoPhillips fights for more oil drilling in Alaska

  • Associated Press: Hidden Menace: Massive methane leaks speed up climate change

  • Press release: Pacific Energy and Enbridge Announce Partnership in Woodfibre LNG


  • The Narwhal: How do you make oil investments attractive in a climate crisis? Hire a pension executive

  • Insure Our Future: Fossil Fuel Insurers Invest Billions in Climate Chaos

  • Bloomberg: Greg Newman discusses Enbridge (VIDEO)


  • Letter: Stop eminent domain for private advantage

  • The Hill: Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling does not doom the SEC’s climate disclosure rule


Globe and Mail: Cost estimate for Coastal GasLink pipeline soars 70 per cent to $11.2-billion
BRENT JANG, 7/28/22

“The estimated cost of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia has soared 70 per cent to $11.2-billion, but TC Energy Corp says it’s optimistic about completing construction by the end of 2023,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The project previously carried a price tag of $6.6-billion for the 670-kilometre pipeline, which is designed to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to LNG Canada’s $18-billion export terminal, which is under construction in Kitimat, B.C. Capital costs have risen from the original estimate because of design changes, the impact of COVID-19, weather and other events, TC Energy said in a statement on Thursday as part of its second-quarter financial results. “We continue to believe the project remains economically viable,” said the statement from TC Energy, an energy infrastructure company that will operate the pipeline. TC Energy said it hopes LNG Canada will eventually expand its export capacity because that would improve Coastal GasLink’s financial performance… “TC Energy plans to make a $1.9-billion equity contribution toward the pipeline, starting with its first installment next month… “TC Energy concluded the sale of a 65-per-cent stake in the pipeline venture in 2020 to Alberta Investment Management Corp. and KKR & Co. Inc. TC Energy, which currently owns 35 per cent of Coastal GasLink, announced a deal in March to set aside a 10-per-cent stake for the planned equity sale to as many as 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline route. Those elected band councils have agreed to support the pipeline. But the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a non-profit society that represents hereditary chiefs who oppose the pipeline, maintains that elected Indigenous leaders don’t have jurisdiction over the Wet’suwet’en’s traditional, off-reserve territory. A group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters have staged protests at Coastal GasLink construction areas near Houston, B.C., over the past four years.”

S&P Global: Keystone Pipeline volumes rise to about 610,000 b/d from capacity hike
Jordan Blum, 7/28/22

“TC Energy said its Keystone Pipeline crude volumes rose to roughly 610,000 b/d in the second quarter from a previous baseline capacity of 590,000 b/d as the Canadian pipeline operator aims to increase volumes from the Alberta oil sands to the US Gulf Coast through more modest optimization efforts,” S&P Global reports. “TC Energy said July 28 that, using an open season that dates all the way back to 2019, it aims to continue to ramp up Keystone volumes through the end of 2022, but declined to provide specific volumes, citing commercially sensitive deals. TC said it placed almost one-third of its open season contracts into service during the past quarter. The goal also is to grow the southern leg of the Keystone network, the Marketlink Pipeline, which runs from the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub to the Texas Gulf Coast. “We safely reached nearly 610,000 b/d a day as we placed about 30% of the 2019 open season contracts into service,” CEO François Poirier said during a July 28 earnings call. “We’re increasing long-haul volumes on Keystone, and we’re also working to increase utilizations on Marketlink.” The earnings call comes just five days after Keystone returned to normal service following a nearly weeklong reduction in capacity triggered by damage at a third-party electric substation. TC Energy continues to take smaller, measured steps to grow Keystone after the 2021 cancelation of the infamous Keystone XL Pipeline project that became the political epicenter of the climate change battle and had its permits yanked as soon as President Joe Biden entered office… “However, TC Energy now wants to move more Canadian volumes — and US shale barrels — through its 2,700-mile Keystone system, which includes Marketlink. The Marketlink Pipeline can move 750,000 b/d from Cushing to Nederland, Texas. The Keystone Houston Lateral provides an additional, 47-mile expansion to Houston markets. The question is how much higher TC plans to grow base Keystone’s capacity. TC Energy for years has planned and delayed a 50,000 b/d capacity expansion to Keystone through optimization efforts. Also, TC sought to add 80,000 b/d to base Keystone through open season contracting if other barrels were moved onto Keystone XL. In addition, former President Donald Trump in 2020 issued a permit to allow the existing Keystone system to expand its capacity up to 760,000 b/d from 590,000 b/d… “In the meantime, the FBI is investigating the July Keystone disruption that forced the nearly weeklong reduction in capacity.”

Counter Currents: Anti-Mountain Valley Pipeline Protest
Phil Pasquini, 7/29/22

“A small group of dedicated activists today rallied in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters calling for the commission not to issue a second extension certificate to the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) a $5.5 billion 303-mile-long interstate natural gas project,” Counter Currents reports. “The 42-inch diameter pipeline is facing opposition from numerable groups with issues related to global warming, the route’s effect on endangered species, construction issues including continual erosion problems along its length along with complaints from landowners whose property the massive pipeline project is crossing. The commission is meeting today to consider granting the second extension request to MVP for completion of the final 20-mile segment of the project. As workers at the commission arrived this morning, they were handed leaflets by activists regarding what they call the MVP Destruction Zone calling for the commission to not grant the request for the extension to complete the project… “Protesting against pipeline construction is unfortunately an annual event here in Washington. Last October the city faced a week of unrest when over fifty environmental activist groups descended on the city with daily demonstrations by indigenous people and their supporters in a show of support for and to demand that the Biden administration declare a climate emergency and stop all new fossil fuel projects. Indigenous activists under the rubric of “People vs. Fossil Fuels” demanded a stop to the Line 3 project across the upper Midwest that was and is still a cause of great concern with its attendant environmental impact along with water rights on native lands. At the time the groups presented a petition with over 400,000 signatures from people across the nation to the Army Corps of Engineers calling on them not to approve the “Black Snake” project. Referring to “Water is Life” and their concerns for the eventual environmental pollution and despoiling of the water resources as related to the project on native lands, the Army Corps of Engineers ultimately granted permission to proceed with the Line 3 project ignoring the concerns of activists. It is therefore highly doubtful that a multibillion-dollar project like MVP will not receive its extension request to complete the pipeline project. But climate crisis activists vowed that they would continue on in their quest to make the road to completion a challenge for the company to achieve.”

Bloomberg: Mountain Valley Pipeline Defends Virginia Water Permit Approval
Maya Earls, 7/28/22

“The Fourth Circuit should reject a challenge to Virginia’s approval of a water permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project because the state completed a comprehensive review and it lacks the authority to change the selected route for the project, the company argued,” Bloomberg reports. “No degree of study will ever suffice” for conservation groups that petitioned the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to review the state’s decision, according to Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC. They want to kill the project because the pipeline would move natural gas, the company told the court Wednesday…”

Michigan Radio: Crude Oil Catastrophes Part 3: “A Tale of Two Treaties”

“Line 5 runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac (above) for 4 miles, where lakes Michigan and Huron meet. The Constitution refers to treaties with other sovereign nations as “the supreme law of the land.” But what happens when promises have been made that are potentially in conflict?,” Michigan Radio reports. “Two different treaties with the U.S. could lead to very different outcomes for Line 5 – a controversial pipeline in the Great Lakes. One treaty is with Canada, promising not to disrupt the flow of hydrocarbons across the border. The other one is with Tribal nations in what’s now northern Michigan; it guarantees the right to hunt and fish throughout their ceded territory. At a Senate hearing in May, Canadian officials called on the U.S. to join them in demanding the governor of Michigan “abandon her efforts” to shut down Line 5 – an important link in a series of pipelines moving crude oil from western to eastern Canada. But Tribal nations in northern Michigan see the pipeline as a threat to their treaty rights – specifically, fishing in the Straits of Mackinac. A spill could devastate important spawning grounds for lake trout, whitefish and other species that are key to Tribal fisheries.”

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Minnehaha County Democrat lodges attacks against Republicans allegedly backing Summit pipeline
Nicole Ki, 7/28/22

“Minnehaha County Commission’s lone Democrat teamed up with other candidates running on the Democrat ticket in November at a Thursday morning press conference, center piecing a new slogan: “No eminent domain for private gain,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. “Jeff Barth, who is running against South Dakota Public Utilities Commission chair Chris Nelson this fall, spoke about a need to protect landowners from big corporate interests in their fight against Summit Carbon Solutions $4.5 billion CO2 pipeline project. At a local Democrat-led press conference in the downtown Sioux Falls library, Barth, who is a Minnehaha County commissioner, accused Republican chairman Dan Lederman, a proponent of Summit’s pipeline, of prioritizing private gain over public interests. “I’d like to know how much Dan Lederman is getting paid,” Barth said Thursday morning, at a press conference held in the downtown library. “How many legislators has Dan Lederman sold to the pipeline company? Unclear.” “…Barth believes the Republican party is no longer representing the people but instead seeks to benefit pipeline companies like Summit Carbon Solutions, an Iowa-based agricultural energy company… “Elect me to the PUC,” Barth told the public in closing. “These pipelines will scar land forever and threaten our very lives.”

KMA: Navigator CO2 Ventures relocates headquarters to Omaha
Ethan Hewett, 7/27/22

“One of the three companies proposing carbon dioxide pipelines in Iowa has found a Midwest city to call home,” KMA reports. “The now formerly Texas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures announced Tuesday the relocation of its headquarters to Omaha, occupying office space at 13333 California Street… “Elizabeth Burns-Thompson is the vice president of government and public affairs for Navigator. She told KMA the move made sense due to the company’s Midwest presence. “We’ve already had a number of team members here throughout the Midwest, and our project footprint through the Heartland Greenway is largely here throughout that five-state region,” Burns-Thompson told KMA. “So it made a lot of sense for us to bring the heart and core of the business unit up here to where we’re going to be building out our signature piece of infrastructure and continuing to do business moving forward.” On top of the company leadership’s family ties to the Omaha area, Burns-Thompson adds the Nebraska metro provides a central hub for their Midwest operations… “With the Heartland Greenway System, estimated to capture and store 15 million tons of carbon annually, Burns-Thompson emphasized the importance of working “in their own backyard.” “…She expects Navigator to submit its permit application to the IUB in October or November. If approved, construction would likely begin in 2024, with operation starting in 2025.”

The Courier: Informational meetings scheduled for proposed carbon pipeline through Bremer, Buchanan counties
Andy Milone, 7/28/22

“Public informational meetings have been scheduled next month to discuss a private enterprise’s proposal to build and operate 1,300 miles of carbon capture and sequestration pipeline,” The Courier reports. “The Navigator Heartland Greenway will end up passing through Bremer, Buchanan and other nearby counties, but not Black Hawk, according to filings with the Iowa Utilities Board… “When reached Wednesday, one supervisor in Bremer and another in Buchanan could not recall another time in recent memory when private industry proposed to build such a pipeline. “It’s something that’s very new for us,” Buchanan County Supervisor Clayton Ohrt told the Courier. “We’re gathering as much information as we can.” At this time, Ohrt told the Courier the board has not considered sending a letter in support or rejection of the plans. In Bremer County, Supervisor Timothy Neil told the Courier the board will be weighing a letter of objection likely Monday at its 9 a.m. regular meeting. His personal objections have to do with eminent domain and not being clear how farmers will be compensated for their land and possible damages.”

Epoch Times: Foreign Company With Troubled Past Buys Into Massive Midwest Carbon Capture Project
Beth Brelje, 7/28/22

“Midwest landowners fighting the construction of a 2,000-mile web of carbon-capture pipelines are upset to learn that the company seeking easements on their lands is funded by foreign investors, including at least one with a troubling history,” according to the Epoch Times. “…In May, South Korea-based energy company SK E&S announced it will invest $110 million to acquire a 10 percent stake in Summit Carbon Solutions as part of its strategy of transitioning to more supposedly environmentally friendly forms of energy… “SK E&S is a subsidiary of SK Inc., along with SK Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd., which pleaded guilty in June 2020 to wire fraud, in a scheme to obtain U.S. Army contracts through payments to a U.S. Department of Defense contracting official, and the submission of false claims to the U.S. government. According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, SK was sentenced to pay $60.6 million in criminal fines; $2.6 million in restitution to the U.S. Army; and serve three years of probation, during which time SK agreed not to pursue U.S. federal government contracts. The Army suspended SK in 2017 from future contracting throughout the executive branch of the U.S. Government… “SK admitted that in April 2015, its employees burned many documents related to the contracts to hamper investigators. And the company admitted that in the fall of 2017, its employees obstructed a federal criminal proceeding by attempting to persuade an individual not to cooperate with U.S. authorities, a DOJ statement said… “But the landowners who are being asked for easements through their properties don’t believe the tax credits should go to foreign investors. “That’s the other issue that’s angering people,” Hoffman told the Times. “Why do foreign people get to come in and take advantage of our federal 45Q tax credit at the expense of us taxpayers? We don’t believe they should be allowed use eminent domain on this because it doesn’t serve a public purpose … We don’t think that eminent domain should be used for a private company, and we don’t think that it’s a safe material to have in a pipeline.” “…Brian Jorde, managing lawyer at Domina Law Group based in Omaha, Nebraska, is working in the involved states, with more than 500 landowners who don’t wish to allow an easement on their land. The cases aim to prevent easements through eminent domain abuse. “It’s one thing if the government is doing it and, the theory is, that it’s for the greater good. But here, this is purely for financial enrichment of a private corporation,” Jorde told the Times. “Our laws have moved away from public use. The trigger for eminent domain has to be a public use. Some guys just woke up one day and said, ‘Wow, there’s tax credits. Yeehaw! Let’s reverse engineer a business to grab those tax credits. And we take people’s land in the meantime if they don’t want to give it to us. What a great plan.’ I mean, it’s just absolutely outrageous.”

Bradford Era: Pipeline explosion cause not yet provided

“It has been nearly two weeks since a section of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) exploded near Clermont, and little is known about the cause,” the Bradford Era reports. “A representative from Kinder Morgan, the parent company of TGP, stated July 15, “A thorough investigation is underway and will take some time to complete.” “…There were no adverse impacts to the residents or wildlife reported from this event,” KM told the Era… “During an incident, we shut down and isolate the impacted pipeline segment which was a portion of Line 1 on our Tennessee Gas Pipeline 300 system. We did so during this incident by closing mainline valve 309 and mainline valve 310, which are on either side of the segment that experienced the failure. The impacted segment remains shut down…Line 2 on our TGP system parallels Line 1, and the operating pressure of that pipeline was lowered, as a precaution, until we determined that it hadn’t sustained any collateral damage as part of the in-service failure on Line 1. This line has resumed normal operations.” KM pointed to its website for further information concerning updated notices. From there, it was found that the company had declared a “Force Majeure” on Main Line Valve 309 and MLV 310, on Line 1, as of July 13 and until further notice… “More recently, as a followup to which agencies are involved in the investigation, The Era was told to contact the National Response Center (NRC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. So far, there has been no response from the NRC, and the DEP referred queries to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC), stating such an incident falls under the commission’s jurisdiction. A representative from PUC, in turn, stated that it was not the commission’s jurisdiction since the pipeline is interstate rather than intrastate. Jurisdiction for pipelines running through multiple states is with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).”

WAMC: Springfield City Council urges rejection of Eversource pipeline project
Paul Tuthill, 7/27/22

“The Springfield City Council has recorded an official protest to a controversial natural gas pipeline project in western Massachusetts,” WAMC reports. “Citing the need to rapidly transition from fossil fuels, the danger of explosion and fire, and the cost to ratepayers, the City Council passed a resolution stating its opposition to a plan by Eversource to build a high-pressure natural gas pipeline from Longmeadow to Springfield. All nine Councilors present remotely when the vote was recorded Monday night supported the resolution. It was authored by City Council President Jesse Lederman and had 9 co-sponsors. Councilor Zaida Govan told WAMC Springfield, and the state, need to stay on a course to greatly decrease dependency on fossil fuels. “We need to start doing things to reach that goal and not putting in new pipelines,” Govan told WAMC. Eversource has said the new pipeline is needed as a backup for infrastructure that is 70-years-old. If the existing pipeline is damaged, or needs to be shutoff for maintenance, 58,000 Springfield customers could be without natural gas service potentially for months, the utility has stated. The cost for the project is currently put at $65 million. With the passage of the resolution, the Council joins a growing list of opponents to the pipeline project including the Longmeadow Selectboard and half-dozen members of the local state legislative delegation who recently sent a letter of opposition to state utility regulators. Several rallies to protest the project have been put on by the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition.” Eversource pipeline opponents, trade unions clash over ending Springfield-Longmeadow project
Patrick Johnson, 7/28/22

“City Councilors and opponents of a controversial Eversource pipeline planned to run from Longmeadow through parts Springfield took to the steps of City Hall Thursday to call for an end to the project,” reports. “They were met by officials from three trades unions, who countered that ending the project would mean eliminating hundreds of good-paying jobs for area workers. “We’re here to voice our strong opposition to the redundant gas pipeline through the city of Springfield,” said Jesse Lederman, council president. Daniel D’Alma of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #7, shouted back: “What’s your plan if the existing pipeline goes down? I don’t get this. What are you trying to accomplish.” The City Council voted, 9-0, on Monday on a resolution calling for the state to block the project. The Longmeadow Selectboard has previously voted to oppose the projects, and six Springfield-area legislators have also expressed opposition. At the City Hall rally Thursday, a letter authored by U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, was read aloud in which Markey faulted the need for the pipeline and applauded those who are taking a public stand against it.


Press release: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Creates New Task Forces to Inform Responsible Development and Deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration

“The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has announced it is seeking nominations for two new task forces that will provide input to inform the responsible development of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS). The task forces, which are required by the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, will provide recommendations to the Federal government on how to ensure that CCUS projects, such as carbon dioxide pipelines, are permitted in an efficient manner, reflect the input and needs of a wide range of stakeholders, and deliver benefits rather than harms to local communities. One task force that CEQ is creating will focus on CCUS permitting and development issues on Federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. The other will focus on CCUS permitting and development issues on non-Federal lands. Consistent with the USE IT Act, CEQ is seeking nominations of a diverse range of qualified candidates to serve on the task forces; the call for nominations notes, in particular, a priority on ensuring that the experiences and perspectives of environmental justice communities are reflected in the task forces. CEQ delivered new guidance in February to Federal agencies to help ensure that the advancement of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies is done in a responsible manner that incorporates the input of communities and reflects the best available science. That guidance built on CEQ’s June 2021 CCUS report and identifies measures to facilitate sound and transparent environmental reviews for CCUS projects. Members of the public can begin submitting nominations via the Federal Register on Thursday, July 28, 2022, using the following links… “Vacancies are anticipated to be filled by December 31, 2022.”

New York Times: Surprise Deal Would Be Most Ambitious Climate Action Undertaken by U.S.
Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, 7/28/22

“The $369 billion climate and tax package forged in a surprise deal by Senate Democrats on Wednesday would be the most ambitious action ever taken by the United States to try to stop the planet from catastrophically overheating,” the New York Times reports.”The agreement, which Senate Democrats hope to pass as early as next week, shocked even some who had been involved in the sputtering negotiations over climate legislation during the past year. The announcement of a deal, after many activists had given up hope, almost instantly reset the role of the United States in the global effort to fight climate change… “The bill aims to tackle global warming by using billions of dollars in tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal, battery and other clean energy industries over the next decade. Companies would receive financial incentives to keep open nuclear plants that might have closed, or to capture emissions from industrial facilities and bury them underground before they can warm the planet… “In the longer term, the tax incentives in the bill are expected to nurture emerging technologies like carbon capture for industrial facilities such as steel and cement, next-generation nuclear reactors and the use of hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel. Many of these technologies are too costly for widespread use today, but the hope is that by creating a market for an initial round of projects, costs could be driven down — much as federal tax credits in the 2000s and 2010s helped transform wind and solar power from a pricey niche technology into an affordable mainstream option. The bill does provide some support for fossil fuels, a concession widely seen as necessary to win support from Mr. Manchin, whose home state of West Virginia is rich in coal and natural gas. For instance, the bill would mandate new lease sales for oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, something environmental groups had opposed and Mr. Biden had promised to halt as a candidate for the White House… “As part of the agreement, Mr. Manchin said he had also secured a commitment from both Mr. Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California that Congress would approve a separate measure to address the permitting of energy infrastructure, potentially including natural gas pipelines, before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30… “That could ease the way for a project in which Mr. Manchin has taken a personal interest, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would transport Appalachian shale gas from West Virginia to Virginia.”

E&E News: Democrats open to Manchin’s push for permitting reform
Jeremy Dillon, Nick Sobczyk, Kelsey Brugger, 7/29/22

“Democratic leaders yesterday said a deal on a permitting was crucial in getting West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to “yes” on a separate climate and social spending package,” E&E News reports. “And while not everyone is overjoyed with it, some see a silver lining. “The goal was to do permitting reform, not just for fossil fuel pipelines but for transmission lines,” Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) told E&E. “They’re kind of bundling those together.” “…Still, Schumer acknowledged the reality that streamlining the permitting process would help unleash fossil fuels. “There’s some kinds of permitting that get in the way of clean energy, as well,” he told E&E… “In a Zoom call yesterday, Manchin referenced his prized Mountain Valley pipeline as a possible project that reaps the benefits. Despite having to swallow the permitting effort to pass the reconciliation bill, Democrats insisted yesterday that any permitting reform legislation would extend further than just fossil fuel infrastructure sought by Manchin… “Even so, other Democrats closer to environmental review processes said they were skeptical. “Any compromise is going to have winners and losers, so it’s important that we see all the details before we declare victory,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. He told E&E he’s particularly concerned that the bill’s mention of “comprehensive permitting reform” was just a “euphemism for gutting our most foundational environmental and public health protections, like the National Environmental Policy Act.” “…Already, general reforms aimed at “streamlining” environmental review were included in the infrastructure law enacted last fall. Those included making permanent the White House permitting council — loathed by some greens for seeking to speed up environmental review — and establishing two-year timeline goals. A bipartisan group of senators including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) backed the effort at the time. The provisions drew ire from environmentalists who thought the actions would weaken environmental scrutiny under NEPA, which requires the government to analyze climate and community impacts for major projects like bridges and pipelines.”

E&E News: A climate bill with fossil fuel victories
Scott Waldman, 7/29/22

“The new climate and energy bill shaped largely by Sen. Joe Manchin includes significant wins for the fossil fuel industry that could extend carbon emissions for decades to come,” E&E News reports. “The legislation seeks to expand domestic oil and gas production while, in some cases, making the development of clean energy resources contingent on meeting fossil fuel targets. It also proposes increased hydrogen production and offers renewable energy tax credits for both nuclear and carbon capture and storage. And some provisions are conditioned on Democrats’ backing another measure that would speed up permitting for pipelines, transmission lines and other energy infrastructure… “There are additional tax credits for carbon capture projects — a process that could prevent emissions from being released into the atmosphere — while potentially forestalling the closure of power plants powered by fossil fuels. That includes more funding for the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture and storage. The bill is a “climate suicide pact,” Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told E&E. “It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction,” he told E&E. “The new leasing required in this bill will fan the flames of the climate disasters torching our country, and it’s a slap in the face to the communities fighting to protect themselves from filthy fossil fuels.” Manchin, in an interview yesterday with Hoppy Kercheval of MetroNews, a West Virginia radio show, said he focused on including benefits for fossil fuels because most Democrats didn’t appreciate that their climate goals would only work if the United States was energy independent. “It’s hard to get people to even think that way, because they were so aspirational — ‘Get rid of all fossil, get rid of all coal, get rid of all oil, get rid of all gas, get rid of everything,’” Manchin said. “Yeah, and it would go to hell in a handbasket.”

Politico: ‘Easter eggs’ in climate bill delight oil and gas industry

“The oil and gas industry doesn’t hate the climate bill,” Politico reports. “The industry as a whole isn’t yet embracing the $700 billion-plus reconciliation deal, which would penalize some forms of fossil fuel pollution while making one of the largest investments in clean energy in U.S. history. But the legislation also contains what some called “Easter eggs” that would benefit oil and gas companies, including access to new swaths of federal waters in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. “There are some things in there that are helpful to our business,” Rich Walsh, senior vice president and general counsel at Valero, one of the country’s largest fuel refiners, said during an earnings call Thursday with investors… “But it includes proposals to ease federal rules that the West Virginia senator has said are constricting fossil fuel production and slowing needed upgrades to the power grid. The compromise has infuriated some progressive environmental activists. One such group, the climate organization, called the bill “a sham” because of the fossil fuel provisions and accused the Biden administration of “engaging in a bait and switch tactic on climate legislation.” “…The bill would also require the Interior Department to offer at least 2 million acres a year for onshore oil and gas lease sales. Unless it holds those lease sales, the bill says, the department could not offer rights of way for solar and wind power projects. Those leasing provisions alone would offer a win for oil and gas companies that are feuding with the Biden administration over Interior’s slow pace of fossil fuel lease sales, one lobbyist for the industry told Politico… “The bill would also make it easier for businesses to use a tax credit for deploying technology that captures and stores planet-warming carbon emissions, which has become big business for companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The technology, which Manchin has championed as a way to stave off climate change but environmental groups and other critics say is not ready for prime time, aims to strip the carbon emissions from industrial smokestacks and bury them… “If enacted … this package would provide the most transformative and far-reaching policy support in the world for the economy-wide deployment of carbon management technologies,” Madelyn Morrison, spokesperson for the advocacy group Carbon Capture Coalition, said in a prepared statement.


Energy and Policy Institute: Livermore Lab carbon capture campaign funded by utility company front group
Joe Smyth, 7/28/22

“A campaign to promote carbon capture in California by the Lawrence Livermore National Lab received $1 million from a front group run by executives of DTE Energy, a Michigan-based utility whose subsidiary owns biomass power plants in California that could benefit from policies promoting carbon capture,” the Energy and Policy Institute reports. “Emails obtained through public records requests show that the Chief Advisor to former California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols advised the Livermore Lab’s carbon capture campaign on how to influence his own agency – before leaving to lobby for oil, gas, and power companies as the executive director of the “California Carbon Capture Coalition.” The involvement of power plant operators and oil companies in the campaign to promote carbon capture as a key part of California’s climate plans underscores concerns among environmental justice advocates and climate policy experts about the scope and focus of carbon capture and carbon removal efforts in a plan under development by the California Air Resources Board. And the funding arrangement raises questions about the Department of Energy’s oversight of its National Lab’s industry partnerships… “The tax filing also shows that all of the money that the “Clean and Sustainable Energy Fund” received in 2020, $3 million, came from “Michigan Energy First,” another 501(c)(4) group run by the same DTE Energy executives, which has historically worked unabashedly on behalf of DTE Energy’s political agenda… “Despite multiple requests, the Department of Energy press office did not respond to EPI’s question: “Does this funding arrangement comply with Department of Energy policies governing partnerships between the National Labs and industry?” “…Emails obtained through the California Public Records Act show that while he was working at CARB, Welch advised Livermore Lab staff on a campaign to influence his own agency to focus on carbon capture as it developed its next five-year plan to reduce emissions in California… “Some emails show Livermore Lab Energy Program Chief Scientist Roger Aines and Livermore Lab Carbon Management Partnership Director George Peridas seeking advice from Welch about op-ed strategies to promote the Livermore Lab report, before it was published… “Now as a lobbyist for oil, gas and power companies that could benefit from policies that promote carbon capture in California, Welch regularly uses the Livermore Lab report.” “…While lobbyists for oil, gas and power companies have made their preferences known, some of the most prominent public voices pushing carbon capture to the center of California climate plans have been representatives of Lawrence Livermore Lab. Those representatives have repeatedly emphasized their independence in comments to legislators and regulators, without disclosing that their carbon capture campaign was funded by a front group run by DTE Energy executives.”

Open Secrets: Fossil fuel industry lobbying increases as ConocoPhillips fights for more oil drilling in Alaska
Jimmy Cloutier, 7/28/22

“Oil and gas companies spent more than $63.5 million lobbying the federal government in the first six months of 2022, an increase of 11% compared to the same period last year when industry spending hit a 10-year low,” Open Secrets reports. “Driving much of this increase is ConocoPhillips, which reported spending more on federal lobbying in the first half of 2022 than it has annually for any year since 2011. The Texas-based oil company spent roughly $5.9 million on lobbying in the first half of 2022, three times what it spent in the same period last year, as it sought final approval for its long-delayed Willow project — an $8 billion plan to extract oil from the federally-administered National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska’s North Slope… “Several climate activists have characterized the Bureau of Land Management’s release of a revised environmental assessment as a step toward Willow’s approval — and blow to the climate… “Disclosures show that ConocoPhillips deployed lobbyists and government relations officials with close ties to Murkowski. Senior vice president of government affairs Andrew Lundquist and in-house lobbyist Kjersten Drager were both former aides to Sen. Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski’s father… “Karina Borger, a spokesperson for Murkowski’s Senate office, previously told OpenSecrets that “there is no irony or conflict between producing the resources we will need for the foreseeable future and working to transition to cleaner energy.” “…Beyond Willow, disclosures show that ConocoPhillips also sought to elevate the importance of Canada’s oil sands in relation to global energy security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ConocoPhillips and the French energy company TotalEnergies jointly hold more than 600,000 acres in the Athabasca Region of northeastern Alberta, home to the world’s fourth-largest proven oil reserves. In April, OpenSecrets reported that the Alberta government had contracted several Canadian and American firms to lobby the U.S. on behalf of the province’s oil interests… “In addition to Bluewater Strategies, ConocoPhillips retained three other lobbying firms — Greenberg Traurig, Alston & Bird and Tauzin Strategic Networks — which collectively received $380,000 from the company in the first half of this year. Though none of their lobbying disclosures specifically mentions Willow or Alaska, each reported lobbying on issues related to oil and gas, energy and taxes.”

Associated Press: Hidden Menace: Massive methane leaks speed up climate change

“To the naked eye, the Mako Compressor Station outside the dusty West Texas crossroads of Lenorah appears unremarkable, similar to tens of thousands of oil and gas operations scattered throughout the oil-rich Permian Basin,” the Associated Press reports. “What’s not visible through the chain-link fence is the plume of invisible gas, primarily methane, billowing from the gleaming white storage tanks up into the cloudless blue sky. The Mako station, owned by a subsidiary of West Texas Gas Inc., was observed releasing an estimated 870 kilograms of methane – an extraordinarily potent greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere each hour. That’s the equivalent impact on the climate of burning seven tanker trucks full of gasoline every day. But Mako’s outsized emissions aren’t illegal, or even regulated. And it was only one of 533 methane “super emitters” detected during a 2021 aerial survey of the Permian conducted by Carbon Mapper, a partnership of university researchers and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The group documented massive amounts of methane venting into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations across the Permian, a 250-mile-wide bone-dry expanse along the Texas-New Mexico border that a billion years ago was the bottom of a shallow sea. Hundreds of those sites were seen spewing the gas over and over again. Ongoing leaks, gushers, going unfixed… “Carbon Mapper identified the spewing sites only by their GPS coordinates. The Associated Press took the coordinates of the 533 “super-emitting” sites and cross-referenced them with state drilling permits, air quality permits, pipeline maps, land records and other public documents to piece together the corporations most likely responsible.”

Press release: Pacific Energy and Enbridge Announce Partnership in Woodfibre LNG

“Pacific Energy Corporation Limited and Enbridge Inc. today announced an agreement to jointly invest in the construction and operation of the Woodfibre LNG project. Woodfibre LNG is a 2.1 million-tonne-per-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility with 250,000M3 of floating storage capacity being built near Squamish, B.C. The project is underpinned by two long-term offtake agreements with BP Gas Marketing Limited for 15 years representing 70% of the capacity, with additional commitments in development for up to 90%. Woodfibre LNG announced in April that it had issued Notice to Proceed to global engineering and construction company McDermott International and that the project is expected to be in service in 2027. Woodfibre LNG will use electric motor drives powered by renewable hydroelectric power, making this one of the lowest-emission LNG export facilities in the world. The project is the only one in Canada with a non-treaty Indigenous-issued environmental assessment certificate, the first project approved under the Government of Canada’s “Five Principles” for environmental assessment, and has received all major federal, provincial and First Nations approvals… “Under the partnership agreement, Enbridge will invest in a 30% ownership stake in the $5.1 billion Woodfibre LNG project, with Pacific Energy retaining the remaining 70% stake in the facility. Capital for the project includes a contribution in aid of construction for the expansion of FortisBC Energy Inc.’s (“FortisBC”) Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre pipeline which will connect the facility through FortisBC’s system to Enbridge’s T-South natural gas transmission system. Pacific Energy and Enbridge will each make pro-rata contributions during construction through a combination of asset level financing and equity investments.”


The Narwhal: How do you make oil investments attractive in a climate crisis? Hire a pension executive
Drew Anderson, 7/28/22

“At the end of June, Lisa Baiton took the stage for her first public speech in her new role as president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers,” The Narwhal reports. “…Canadian oil was still the most ethically produced, according to Baiton, but now it was seeing a “shift from survival to hope” as the Alberta-based energy giants swelled from the returns of high prices after almost a decade of leaner years. The calls for more support for a struggling industry were gone, replaced with the pitch for more investment in an oilpatch she says could fill a void left by Russia and help wean the world off more ethically questionable barrels… “To get there, however, will require capital, she said. Coming directly from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board where she was the head of global public affairs, that sort of sales pitch will come easily to Baiton as she positions the association to go after growth after years of industry contraction. But the pitch will face enormous challenges from a public increasingly wary of the impacts of the climate crisis, and an investment ecosystem — pensions among them — looking at ways financial heft can shift away from fossil fuels that drive that crisis… “The speech demonstrates a notable shift for the industry association after pleading for life support — and reduced regulations — over the pandemic years and price downturns of the past eight years… “Baiton’s efforts to highlight what she says are the achievements of energy companies, such as reducing their emissions intensities and investing in new technologies that could be exported across the world, is a good fit with her former employer — despite the fact emissions intensities rose 10 per cent between 1990 and 2019, largely due to a reliance on high-emitting oilsands. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has been vocal about its philosophy when it comes to investments in fossil fuels. But its ongoing belief in fossil fuel investments isn’t without caveats and a reduction in overall interest… “The pension fund, which invests all those dollars that come off Canadian paycheques outside Qué​​bec, is worth over half a trillion dollars, making it the largest pension fund in the country… “Switzer declined to comment to the Narwhal on whether the pension fund considers dire warnings from organizations including the International Energy Agency about the considerable risk for stranded oil and gas assets when making investment decisions, or what steps are being taken to mitigate those potential losses. Selling the green bona fides of the Canadian oil and gas sector could be an appealing pitch to the pension and to financial institutions, including the country’s big banks and their evolving environmental, social and governance mandates known as ESG. Of Canada’s big five banks, three increased investments in fossil fuels over 2019 (before the pandemic slowed the industry and investment tapered in 2020), while Bank of Montreal and TD both reduced their investments, according to a yearly report on banks and climate change.”

Insure Our Future: Fossil Fuel Insurers Invest Billions in Climate Chaos

“American International Group (AIG), Berkshire Hathaway, Travelers, and Chubb are among the ten insurers that collectively invested over $59.7 billion in fossil fuels in 2019, finds an analysis released today by Insure Our Future, Public Citizen, and Rainforest Action Network.  The brief analyzed 2019 data released in April 2022 by the California Department of Insurance to determine the fossil fuel holdings of 10 major insurers of fossil fuels in North America. Other key findings include: The ten insurers analyzed invested a total of $30.8 billion in oil and gas in 2019. The insurers with the largest fossil fuel investments in 2019 were AIG ($24.2 billion) and Berkshire Hathaway ($20.8 billion), followed by Travelers, Chubb, The Hartford, and Liberty Mutual. AIG had the highest percentage of fossil fuel investments relative to total investments, with 11.40% of its 2019 assets under management analyzed in fossil fuels. The average 2019 ratio was 4.87% among the ten companies analyzed. The insurers in the brief also invested a total of $1.9 billion in tar sands and $272 million in coal.”

Bloomberg: Greg Newman discusses Enbridge (VIDEO)

“Greg Newman, senior wealth advisor and portfolio manager at Scotia Wealth Management, discusses Enbridge,” Bloomberg reports. 

OPINION Letter: Stop eminent domain for private advantage
Vickie Beck, Spirit Lake, 7/26/22

“Eminent domain laws need to be changed at the state level. With three hazardous pipelines trying to move across Iowa, we are in desperate need to strengthen the laws,” Vickie Beck writes for “Eminent domain is intended for public utilities for the common good of the community. These hazardous pipelines — Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator Greenway, and ADM — are all private companies looking to make big money off all taxpayers. They are all vying for federal tax dollars and carbon credits. These companies propose to pay the landowners of Iowa a little bit of nothing for use of their land. They then get billions of dollars in tax money for their own pockets and never give more to landowners. Pipeline companies can sell the lines, change what they carry, or abandon them and landowners have no say. Our property that Summit wants an easement for is 1.5 miles from Sandbar Slough and Big Spirit Lake. We are in the Spirit Lake watershed and drainage district. When something goes wrong with these hazardous pipelines, the asphyxiant vapors will move through the wetlands, slough and Big Spirit Lake. The toxic vapors will kill people, plants, animals, fish and acidify the waters… “Our house, barn with livestock, bins and sheds are located on these 40 acres, and this easement will be in place from now through eternity. We say no! If these hazardous pipelines get into Iowa, the most fertile farm ground in the world will be destroyed. We all need to speak up to stop these hazardous CO2 pipelines. Stop eminent domain for private gain.”

The Hill: Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling does not doom the SEC’s climate disclosure rule
Todd Phillips is the director of financial regulation and corporate governance at the Center for American Progress, 7/28/22

“Following the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit the agency’s authority to act on climate change, opponents of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) forthcoming climate disclosure rule have unequivocally declared that the opinion dooms it, too. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Todd Phillips writes for The Hill. “In the recent EPA ruling, the Supreme Court held that the so-called “major questions doctrine” applies when a court determines an agency has taken on new, extensive power that vastly expands its ability to address extraordinary policy questions. According to the Supreme Court, under this doctrine, it will only strike down regulations if agencies make an “unprecedented” departure from past interpretations of legal authority or “assert highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.” To that end, one scholar argued that the doctrine should instead be named the “extraordinary questions doctrine,” as agency actions can be major yet permissible. The SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule does not fit this description. With this proposed rule, the SEC would merely require the same types of financial risk disclosures that it has required since the agency’s founding in 1934, following the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929… “Recognizing that it has not been charged by Congress with addressing climate change nor does it have the expertise to do so, the SEC’s proposal does not require issuers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or develop climate-related transition plans. In fact, the proposal does not require issuers to change any management practice at all. Instead, the proposed rule simply recognizes that investors are hungry for information about issuers’ climate-related risks and opportunities and requires issuers to provide investors with that information, reducing information asymmetries between issuers and investors and allowing capital markets to function effectively and efficiently. The simple truth is this: In finalizing the climate disclosure rule, the SEC would not be violating the major questions doctrine but would instead be fulfilling its congressional mandate of ensuring members of the public have the information they need to make informed investing decisions.”

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