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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 8/1/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 1, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Blue Virginia: Thousands Submit Comments in Opposition to Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Request for Four-Year Extension

  • KELO: FBI investigating damage to substation for Keystone Pipeline

  • Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Summit Carbon Solutions seeks ruling to prevent South Dakota landowners from stopping surveys

  • Mitchell Republic: Carbon pipeline, opposed by some landowners, may split South Dakota’s Republican caucus over eminent domain

  • Bleeding Heartland: A science-based case against carbon dioxide pipelines across Iowa

  • West Central Tribune: CURE working with landowners concerned about proposed pipeline

  • ABC3340: Firefighters, EMA respond to fire after possible lightning strike at gas pipeline

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Press release: Hanging from Tipi Poles Indigenous Leaders & Allies Blockade Streets Surrounding the Department of the Interior Shutting Down Traffic Painting CLIMATE EMERGENCY on the Street in Front of the Building

  • Press release: Eight People Disrupt Monthly FERC Meeting

  • Truthout: 369 Groups Tell Biden to Reject Manchin’s Big Oil “Handouts” in Reconciliation

  • Biomass Magazine: Senate Inflation Reduction Act packed with bioenergy incentives

  • Bloomberg: Manchin Spending Deal Includes Billions in Taxes on Oil Sector

EXTRACTION

  • Reuters: Exxon, Chevron post blowout earnings, oil majors bet on buybacks

  • E&E News: Big Oil sees record profits with volatility on horizon

  • The Intercept: Oil and Gas’s Pivot to Blue Hydrogen Is Falling Through

OPINION

  • Ted Glick: The Climate Emergency and Congressional Compromising

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Stephanie Catarino Wissman: Pipelines to prosperity

  • The Hill: Senate reconciliation must end leasing in America’s Arctic Refuge

PIPELINE NEWS

Blue Virginia: Thousands Submit Comments in Opposition to Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Request for Four-Year Extension
7/29/22

“On Friday, July 29, the public comment period closed for Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) request to extend the project certificate granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by an additional four years. Submissions asking for denial include a letter from 27 Virginia state legislators, a sign-on letter with 270 participating organizations, and thousands of individual comments. Commenters cited the years of harm the MVP has brought to West Virginia and Virginia communities and water resources… “Since construction began in 2018, MVP has been cited for hundreds of water quality violations in West Virginia and Virginia, racking up millions of dollars in fines. In addition to water impacts, pipeline opponents have raised concerns about air emissions from compressor stations, safety issues, lack of need, and the impact of building out more fracked-gas infrastructure at a time when decarbonization is crucial to addressing the climate crisis. “We, the people directly impacted by the climate nightmare known as the MVP, and hundreds of national organizations demand FERC deny MVP’s four-year extension request. There is overwhelming health, ecological, climate, and economic evidence that the MVP has no place in our communities, especially during a climate crisis. Our grassroots movement and national allies are all hands on deck at this critical moment to stop the MVP and focus all our energy on bold climate action that secures the livable future we deserve,” said Grace Tuttle of leading frontline group, the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR) Coalition.

KELO: FBI investigating damage to substation for Keystone Pipeline
Rae Yost, 7/29/22

“Damage to an East River Electric transformer that supplies power to the Keystone Pipeline is under investigation by the FBI, county and East River officials said,” KELO reports. “Beadle County Sheriff Doug Solem told KELO because the type of crime involved an energy substation, the case was turned over to the FBI… “We’ve said publicly this was vandalized. This wasn’t heat related. It was a deliberate act,” Studer told KELO. The substation and transformer are dedicated to supplying Keystone with power, Studer told KELO. The damage was repaired and full power was restored on Saturday, July 23, Studer told KELO. The damage caused Keystone to pump less oil through the pipeline.”

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Summit Carbon Solutions seeks ruling to prevent South Dakota landowners from stopping surveys
Alexandra Hardle, 8/1/22

“Summit Carbon Solutions claims in a legal filing that a group of McPherson County landowners is violating South Dakota law by not allowing the company to survey private land,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. “The paperwork, filed by Summit in McPherson County about two weeks ago, argues that the company has a right to survey property without the landowners’ consent since Summit has a permit request before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.  In June, a group of McPherson County landowners represented by Brian Jorde, an attorney with Domina Law Group in Omaha, Neb., filed a lawsuit against Summit. It alleges that a state law allowing companies to survey private land without consent is in violation of both the South Dakota and U.S. constitutions. Under the law, companies that have applied for a permit with the PUC can survey land without consent as long as a 30-day notice is provided to the landowner. That should be unconstitutional, the McPherson County landowners believe. They also filed for a preliminary injunction, which would essentially stop Summit from surveying until the lawsuit is settled. Jorde told the Leader he does not represent all of the landowners listed in the paperwork filed by Summit. He told the Leader the action by Summit is not surprising and that he’s working with his clients to file a response… “Satterfield told the Leader he cannot comment on pending litigation but that the Summit filing is a way to follow the legal process in place allowing the company to do survey work. The filing is not a lawsuit, he said, adding that the company is open to visiting with landowners to hear their concerns.”

Mitchell Republic: Carbon pipeline, opposed by some landowners, may split South Dakota’s Republican caucus over eminent domain
Jason Harward, 7/30/22

“A carbon pipeline project promising to increase the competitiveness of South Dakota ethanol has grabbed the attention of legislators and their constituents across the state, possibly pitting the agricultural industry against the property rights of affected landowners during next year’s legislative session,” the Mitchell Republic reports. “…Summit Carbon Solutions says its plan for an early 2023 start for construction remains unchanged, but the project has many roadblocks left to pass. Those include finalizing a proposed route, negotiating with hundreds of landowners and awaiting a ruling from the Public Utilities Commission, not to mention the possibility of a clash in circuit court over eminent domain. Without an alteration to federal law, significant delays in this process could mean an inability to take advantage of lucrative federal subsidies… “Billions and billions and billions in tax credits that they’ll trade away to their rich friends,” Brian Jorde, an attorney representing South Dakota landowners in a lawsuit against Summit Carbon Solutions, told the Republic. “All on the backs of hard working South Dakotans. This is probably the worst possible project that could even be fashioned and the fact that it’s even being considered is outrageous.” “…The delays caused by moratoriums and the expected reveal by Summit Carbon Solutions of the final proposed route in October mean the state Legislature will have an opportunity to affect the process next session. Landowners say they are watching closely… “Jorde added that he and his clients would “figure out which elected officials stand with landowners and which ones don’t.” “…For example, the Legislature could overturn 21-35-31, the law that has been used to allow biological and cultural surveys , in some cases without landowner permission. Jorde is representing dozens of landowners in a lawsuit trying to overturn the law as unconstitutional… “Multiple legislators told Forum News Service that their constituents were worried about eminent domain. James Wangsness, a former commissioner and representative from Hand County running as a Republican in the District 23 race, told the Republic his decision to re-enter politics was “partially due to the pipeline deal.”

Bleeding Heartland: A science-based case against carbon dioxide pipelines across Iowa
Laura Belin, 7/31/22

“Seventeen academics, farmland owners, and environmental advocates have urged the Iowa Utilities Board to reject permit applications for a carbon dioxide pipeline that would run across Iowa. A July 29 letter to the board laid out four science-based objections to the projects proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator CO2 Ventures, and Archer Daniels Midland partnered with Wolf Carbon Solutions,” Bleeding Heartland reports. “Matt Liebman, Iowa State University professor emeritus of agronomy, took the lead in writing the document. Citing “relevant scientific and engineering studies,” the letter explained how the pipelines would damage soil and crop yields without significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Allowing the use of eminent domain for this project would be “a betrayal of public trust and a corruption of the ideal of private sacrifice for public good,” the letter argued. Those who wrote to the Iowa Utilities Board include six retired professors from Iowa colleges or universities and several Iowans with professional conservation experience at the federal or county level… “The letter to the utilities board noted that farmers are aware of the impacts on agricultural production and “consequently are reluctant to allow degradation of their land by pipeline construction.” “…Using research published in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, and assuming pipelines could capture all carbon dioxide generated through ethanol production, the letter estimated that at best, a pipeline could prevent 12.8 million metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That amount may seem large, but is “small in comparison to the greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes, from the entire U.S. transportation sector, and from the entire U.S. economy.” The U.S. transportation sector, including cars, trucks, and airplanes, discharged 1.57 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2020… “Thus, the process of capturing CO2 at ethanol plants, transporting it by pipelines through Iowa and other states, and storing it underground would have trivial effects on our nation’s CO2 emissions… “The eminent domain process, which allows private land to be condemned, is supposed to be used only for projects serving some public interest. “Given the link between land health and farm productivity and the paucity of relatively undisturbed forests and grasslands in Iowa,” the letter to the utilities board says, “it would seem that a very large benefit to the public should accrue to offset the damage incurred from building private CO2 pipelines through the fields and timber of hundreds of Iowa citizens.” But if the carbon dioxide captured by pipelines would hardly dent U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and would be dwarfed by emissions from tailpipes on vehicles using ethanol, then there is no public environmental benefit to allowing the pipeline projects to proceed. The letter concludes, “Issuance of permits for CO2 pipeline construction would be a betrayal of public trust and a corruption of the ideal of private sacrifice for public good. Permitting should be denied.”

West Central Tribune: CURE working with landowners concerned about proposed pipeline
Tom Cherveny, 7/29/22

“Clean Up our River Environment is working with landowners along the proposed route for the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline who are expressing concerns about it,” the West Central Tribune reports. “CURE, based in Montevideo, issued a news release this week reporting that nearly 60 landowners and community members from Redwood and Cottonwood counties gathered July 15 in Lamberton to discuss their concerns. Peg Furshong, programs director for CURE, told landowners attending the meeting to be careful. She told attendees that Summit must go through many stages of review and permitting before getting approval to build, including obtaining a route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. “Their strategy is to have many landowners sign voluntary easements to demonstrate local support for this project. But think twice before you hand over the rights to your land when the PUC hasn’t even approved the route,” Furshong said. She also advised landowners to have any contracts reviewed by an attorney with expertise in pipeline easement agreements… “Anita Vogel of Lamberton helped organize the meeting. Vogel said her parents signed an easement for the pipeline on their property. “Signing a voluntary easement may seem like not a big deal to some,” said Vogel, “but I want to remind you that this is a ‘forever’ easement and once you sign this you can’t reverse that decision.” CURE told the Tribune landowners at the meeting said they want more transparency about carbon pipelines and the potential risks they may pose to their property and communities.”

ABC3340: Firefighters, EMA respond to fire after possible lightning strike at gas pipeline
Caleb Turrentine, 7/29/22

“The Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) confirmed a fire took place Friday night at a gas pumping facility which serves a natural gas pipeline near Highway 19 in Shottsville,” ABC3340 reports. “Video posted online shows flames coming up from the ground near a building located off Marion County Road 56. The EMA said it did not know if the fire was directly impacting the pipeline. The pipeline is operated by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company of Kinder Morgan. The company released a statement Friday night after the fire was extinguished… “An investigation into the cause of the fire will be conducted… A thunderstorm was moving through the area at the time and firefighters are looking at the possibility of a lightning strike causing the fire. The Shottsville Volunteer Fire Department told ABC  this is the second time in the last three weeks it has responded to the pipeline due to a lightning strike.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Press release: Hanging from Tipi Poles Indigenous Leaders & Allies Blockade Streets Surrounding the Department of the Interior Shutting Down Traffic Painting CLIMATE EMERGENCY on the Street in Front of the Building
8/1/22

“As the sun rises an autonomous Indigenous-led delegation of Black, Indigenous, people of the global majority and their allies have shut down the streets surrounding the Department of Interior Washington D.C early this morning painting CLIMATE EMERGENCY in front of the building. The group is demanding President Biden declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects, including leases, exports, plastic plants, and pipelines. Permitting new fossil fuel projects will further entrench us in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come — and encourage the continued violence and genocide the fossil fuel industry brings to Black, Indigenous and communities of the global majority. Two provisions buried in the Inflation Reduction Act would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters… “We refuse to be complicit in the demise of our communities through co2colonialism. We know violence to the land results in violence to Indigenous bodies. Our people are dying from climate chaos already and with them our culture, our plant knowledge, our language, our sacred ways. We are not victims of the United States when we fight for our sovereignty and self-determination. We will not sit by silently as we have our lives devalued by white supremacy, while we are stripped of our sovereignty. Our struggle to abolish white supremacy and it’s systems that are killing us recognizes the political importance of accountability and refuses to embrace the rhetoric of victimhood, even as we vigilantly keep fighting to bring attention to the continued genocide and oppression of our people. We are inseparable from nature. We are older than the United States, older than western imperialism, older than colonization. And still the United States, this extractive and exploitative system, does everything it can to sever our connection to Mother Earth, lying to steal our sovereignty and strip us of our self-determination. Politicians don’t care about us, presidents don’t take care of us, these systems were created to destroy us. But we will fight until the natural balance is restored.”

Press release: Eight People Disrupt Monthly FERC Meeting
7/29/22

“Today Beyond Extreme Energy and pals disrupted the monthly meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In total eight people disrupted the meeting, standing and shouting to commissioners until removed from the room by security. To start the day BXE members picketed outside and joined a press conference put on by the LA Bucket Brigade about critical environmental justice fights in the gulf coast. As the FERC meeting began BXE members that had been previously banned from FERC meetings were placed into an overflow room, but escaped when the police weren’t looking and joined the main meeting. Over the course of the meeting eight people disrupted the proceedings and were thrown out. Bill Muth rose first looking at FERC Commissioner Richard Glick: “A larger problem than a failed grid is a failed planet. My grandson is 8 years old, he will experience 36 times more heat waves than I did in his lifetime. Please deny the Mountain Valley Pipeline anymore time. 36 times more heatwaves. My grandchildren, your children and grandchildren. Please deny the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We’re headed towards a climate catastrophe!” We demand that FERC deny the Mountain Valley Pipeline a four year extension for the construction of their useless, financially doomed, fracked gas pipeline in West Virginia/ Virginia. We demand that FERC be dismantled and replaced with the Federal Renewable Energy Commission which would focus fully on decarbonization, transition to renewable energy, environmental justice, and community controlled energy.”

Truthout: 369 Groups Tell Biden to Reject Manchin’s Big Oil “Handouts” in Reconciliation
Sharon Zhang, 7/29/22

“On Friday, hundreds of environmental and community organizations urged President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) to reject provisions that would expand or support fossil fuel projects in the new compromise reconciliation bill that Democrats announced on Wednesday,” Truthout reports. “In a letter signed by 369 organizations, the groups said that expanding fossil fuels’ grip over the energy sector is unacceptable as the world hurtles toward worse and worse climate crises. They went on to say that Biden, Schumer and Democrats have a mandate not only to reject proposals that are friendly to the fossil fuel industry in the new bill — dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — but also to take further action to wind down fossil fuel exploration in the U.S… “The groups call for Biden to reject the Mountain Valley Pipeline and reject any new leasing for fossil fuel projects on public lands. They also join a chorus of voices saying that Biden should immediately declare a climate emergency in order to free up resources and authority for the Biden administration to address the climate crisis. Letter signers included major climate and progressive organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Indigenous Environmental Network, Our Revolution and Sunrise Movement. They say that continuing to permit new fossil fuel projects is essentially sacrificing marginalized communities in the name of Big Oil’s profit. This would “further entrench us in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come — and constitutes a violent betrayal of your pledge to combat environmental racism and destruction,” they said. Activists further said that, while there are some laudable provisions in the new reconciliation bill, its fossil fuel-friendly provisions undermine the purpose of its clean energy proposals… “This is a climate suicide pact,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction. 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.”

Biomass Magazine: Senate Inflation Reduction Act packed with bioenergy incentives
Anna Simet, 7/29/22

“U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, announced on July 27 that an agreement has been reached with Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, to bring the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022—a major tax and climate package—to a vote. According to statements by Machin’s office, the act is designed to “address record inflation by paying down our national debt, lowering energy costs and lowering healthcare costs.” The bill proposes many bioenergy incentives, particularly the extension and modification of existing tax credits and creation of new ones… “In addition, the bill would amend Section 45Q to include carbon capture facilities undergoing construction prior to January 2033. “Under the bill’s provisions, any carbon capture, direct air capture or carbon utilization project beginning construction before Jan. 1, 2033, will qualify for the federal 45Q tax credit,” stated the Carbon Capture Coalition.  “… Furthermore, the legislation significantly boosts credit values to accelerate project deployment and emissions reductions in key sectors, increasing the value of 45Q for industrial facilities and power plants that capture their carbon emissions to $85 per metric ton for CO2 stored in secure geologic formations, $60 per ton for the beneficial utilization of captured carbon emissions and $60 per ton for CO2 stored in oil and gas fields.“ 

Bloomberg: Manchin Spending Deal Includes Billions in Taxes on Oil Sector
Ari Natter, 7/31/22

“The climate and tax spending deal announced last week by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin could cost the oil industry $25 billion in new taxes,” Bloomberg reports. “The legislation, which may get a Senate vote as soon as next week, would reinstate and increase a long-lapsed tax on crude and imported petroleum products to 16.4 cents per gallon, according to a summary of the plan released Sunday by the Senate’s tax-writing committee. A similar proposal, included in the House-passed Build Back Better Act, would have raised nearly $25 billion over a 10-year period, according to a congressional estimate. The Superfund tax, which previously stood at 9.7 cents per barrel until it lapsed at the end of 1995, is paid by refiners and other importers to help fund the clean-up of hazardous waste sites. In addition to increasing the tax, the Senate proposal would index the fee to inflation. The 725-page bill released last week would also impose other costs for the oil and gas industry. It places a new first-time fee on methane emissions rising to as much as $1,500 a ton and increases the royalty rate companies pay to the government for oil and gas produced on federal land.” 

EXTRACTION

Reuters: Exxon, Chevron post blowout earnings, oil majors bet on buybacks
Sabrina Valle, 7/29/22

“The two largest U.S. oil companies, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N), posted record revenue on Friday, bolstered by surging crude oil and natural gas prices and following similar results for European majors a day earlier,” Reuters reports. “The U.S. pair, along with UK-based Shell (SHEL.L) and France’s TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA), combined to earn nearly $51 billion in the most recent quarter, almost double what the group brought in for the year-ago period. Exxon outpaced its rivals with a $17.9 billion quarterly profit, the most for any international oil major in history. Chevron, Shell and Total ran to catch up with Exxon’s aggressive buyback program, which was kept unaltered. The four returned a total of $23 billion to shareholders in the quarter, capitalizing on high margins derived from selling oil and gas. The fifth major, BP Plc (BP.L), reports next week… “High crude oil prices can cut into margins for integrated oil majors, as they also bear the cost of crude used for refined products. However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and numerous shutdowns of refineries worldwide in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, refining margins exploded in the second quarter, outpacing the gains in crude and adding to earnings… “The results from the majors are sure to draw fire from politicians and consumer advocates who say the oil companies are capitalizing on a global supply shortage to fatten profits and gouge consumers. U.S. President Joe Biden last month said Exxon and others were making “more money than God” at a time when consumer fuel prices surged to records.” 

E&E News: Big Oil sees record profits with volatility on horizon
Mike Lee, 8/1/22

“Three of the world’s biggest oil companies reported their biggest-ever profits last week, as Russia’s war in Ukraine drove up oil and gas prices and American drivers faced the highest gasoline prices on record,” E&E News reports. “Exxon Mobil Corp. earned $17.9 billion in the second quarter of the year, Chevron Corp. earned $11.6 billion, and Shell PLC earned $16.7 billion. That’s more than triple each company’s profit from the same period last year, and it came after months of criticism from politicians who accused the companies of profiteering during wartime.. “ At the same time, Congress is now considering a bill supported by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that would benefit fossil fuel companies while also providing $369 billion in tax breaks and other financial incentives to combat climate change. Oil companies argue they’re investing heavily to increase their production and open new refining capacity, which will help bring down prices… “Oil companies are also under pressure to control costs and reward investors with dividends and stock buybacks. Exxon spent $7.6 billion on dividends and share purchases during the second quarter. Executives at oil majors were cautious in their comments last week about the “Inflation Reduction Act” that’s pending in Congress. Some of the financial benefits would go to technology that Big Oil has been investing in, like carbon capture, hydrogen production and biofuels.”

The Intercept: Oil and Gas’s Pivot to Blue Hydrogen Is Falling Through
Justin Mikulka, 7/30/22

“THE OIL AND GAS industry’s plan to convince the world to switch from natural gas to hydrogen made from natural gas is being upended by an unexpected cause: economics,” The Intercept reports. “As the climate emergency has gotten more and more impossible to ignore and the world has started moving away from natural gas, the industry has hyped a new technology: so-called blue hydrogen. Blue hydrogen produces no carbon emissions when burned or converted into electricity, but the main component in producing blue hydrogen is methane, the most potent greenhouse gas. It isn’t currently possible to produce clean blue hydrogen on a commercial scale, and it is important to acknowledge the risks of trying. But the market is also playing a role in pushing oil and gas away from this dangerous endeavor… “As natural gas started losing market share to lower-cost renewables, the industry came up with a way to repackage methane in a supposedly clean form: blue hydrogen. And it’s being pitched as oil and gas’s potential savior… “However, for blue hydrogen to actually be a clean fuel, its production would need to have almost no carbon dioxide or methane emissions — two very unlikely outcomes. Even proponents of blue hydrogen admit that methane emissions are a challenge… “Blue hydrogen can be clean — if it’s able to restrict its methane emissions and successfully capture 95 percent of the carbon emissions from producing the hydrogen. On paper, it could be a relatively clean fuel if this were achievable, but in the real world, it isn’t. Carbon capture has failed to come close to 95 percent capture rates in commercial facilities, and the natural gas industry produces large amounts of methane emissions both through its normal operations and frequent leaks. Blue hydrogen also requires that the captured carbon be stored indefinitely without leaking. There is little evidence that this is possible on a large scale.”

OPINION

Ted Glick: The Climate Emergency and Congressional Compromising
Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, 7/29/22

“There are two big national initiatives right now, as of two days ago, to address the climate crisis: -the call for and organizing to press Biden to declare a climate emergency and then use his Presidential powers unlocked by that to take a series of badly-needed actions, and the Biden/Manchin/Schumer/Pelosi “Inflation Reduction Act,” and, announced the same day, the commitment by Biden/Pelosi/Schumer to pass companion legislation by September 30th,” Ted Glick writes. “Here’s how that projected companion legislation was described by Manchin in a public statement: “President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have committed to advancing a suite of commonsense permitting reforms this fall that will ensure all energy infrastructure, from transmission to pipelines and export facilities, can be efficiently and responsibly built to deliver energy safely around the country and to our allies.” Transmission is one thing, pipelines and export facilities another completely. We don’t need more pipelines and export facilities! The International Energy Agency said last year that there should be no more expansion of the fossil fuel industry, as did the Pope about a week ago! So what should those of us do who get it both on the urgency of the climate crisis and on the need for climate action now which consciously incorporates an environmental justice, race and class lens?… “Without question it is a compromise that benefits Manchin and the fossil fuel industry while also doing good things as far as the needed shift from fossil fuels to renewables. It is, truly, “all of the above” legislation, which, frankly, is not what we need right now… “If Manchin is going to use his very unfortunate power in the existing Senate—which, by the way, six months from now could be a different reality if the Democrats have 52 or more Senators, a definite possibility–to prevent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act until those “commonsense permitting reforms” are passed—September 30 is a date I saw in the news—that’s a big problem, a very big problem. It means what is now going on is almost certainly just the latest maddening maneuvering by Manchin which, if those “reforms” are not as strong as he wants them to be, then he will end up, once again, after stringing Biden, Congress, climate and progressive activists and the country along, vote no on the “all of the above” compromise. That will not be a good thing for efforts to defeat the Republicans on November 8. So where I come out right now on all of this is for everyone who gets it on climate to rally behind the call by the 1200 organization strong network, People Vs. Fossils Fuels, for actions on August 2, next week, demanding that Biden declare a Climate Emergency. The last thing needed right now is for us all to get bogged down in back-and-forth debate for days and weeks over this Manchin/Biden/Pelosi/Schumer initiative. We need to press hard and publicly and right now for what is actually needed, and that is a Climate Emergency declaration.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Stephanie Catarino Wissman: Pipelines to prosperity
Stephanie Catarino Wissman is executive director of the American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania, 7/28/22

“No issue hurts Pennsylvania families more than rising inflation and energy costs. The global mismatch between energy demand and available supply has put upward pressure on fuel prices,” Stephanie Catarino Wissman writes for the PIttsburgh Post-Gazette. “…Policies that encourage investment in energy exploration and infrastructure build-out can help boost supply while strengthening U.S. energy leadership and national security… “Despite the progress we have made, poor policy decisions at the federal level and numerous legal challenges have led to pipeline constraints in Pennsylvania and neighboring states, affecting access to abundant, reliable natural gas in New England and beyond. Given the vast supply of shale gas in Pennsylvania, policymakers should unleash homegrown energy by supporting policies that encourage new investment and infrastructure. But first we need predictable regulations and efficient permitting here in the state. The American Petroleum Institute has a 10-point plan, called “Ten in 2022,” that would bolster U.S. energy leadership and safeguard affordable energy… “First, end permitting obstruction on natural gas projects… “Second, accelerate liquid natural gas (LNG) exports and approve pending LNG applications… “Third, designate critical energy infrastructure projects. Congress should authorize projects that support the production, processing and delivery of energy. These projects are of such concern to the national interest that they should be entitled to undergo a streamlined review and permitting process not to exceed one year. Several other policy reforms and solutions should also be on the table. These include lifting development restrictions on federal lands and waters, fixing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting process, dismantling supply chain bottlenecks and unlocking investment and access to capital.”

The Hill: Senate reconciliation must end leasing in America’s Arctic Refuge
William K. Reilly served as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush, 7/30/22

“Everyone knows America is living through a strange time but, to make things even stranger, some corporations and oil companies are taking steps to do what the U.S. Senate has so far failed to do: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” William K. Reilly writes for The Hill. “Since the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which for the first time opened the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas leasing — multiple insurance companies and America’s six largest banks have all adopted policies stating they will not fund or insure new oil drilling in the Arctic, or specifically in the 19.3 million-acre Arctic Refuge. When the previous administration held a lease sale in January 2021, not a single major oil company entered a bid. The principal bidder was the state of Alaska, which apparently acted out of fear that the sale would be a bust. And a bust it was, ultimately attracting a mere $11.3 million of the $1.5 billion that drilling proponents said would be raised over two sales to offset tax cuts for the richest Americans. The only oil company to enter a bid — Regenerate Alaska — initially acquired a single tract, but later returned it and got its money back. Meanwhile, Chevron and Hillcorp, companies that spent tens of millions of dollars over decades to hold undeveloped leases on private lands within the Refuge’s boundaries, recently terminated those leases and paid $10 million in compensation to the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation, which owns the affected lands. In other words, two companies paid almost as much to abandon the region as was raised by the first lease sale… “Turns out, it’s bad business to attempt to drill in a remote, wild landscape that is treasured by the public, and of which little is known in terms of potential oil reserves… “At the end of the day, leasing and drilling in the Arctic Refuge would simply be bad business. America deserves better than to risk having one of its last great wild places potentially destroyed for greed and short-term profits. The Arctic Refuge needs to be recognized as the special place it is, protected permanently like Yosemite and Grand Canyon.”

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