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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 8/3/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 3, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Truthout: Dems’ Deal With Manchin Would Expedite Approval of Climate-Harming Gas Pipeline

  • Reuters: Equitrans to complete U.S. Mountain Valley pipeline in 2023, shares soar

  • Bloomberg: Mountain Valley Pipeline Shield in Manchin Deal Raises Hackles

  • WLNS: In protest of gas pipeline, farmers chain themselves to equipment

  • Bloomberg: FERC Approval of Northeast Pipeline Project Upheld by D.C. Panel

  • The Courier: Bremer County Supervisors express disapproval of proposed carbon pipeline

  • Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Landowners ‘disappointed’ as Minnehaha County defers moratorium on CO2 pipeline permits, land use

  • Prince George Citizen: Coastal GasLink pipeline in peak construction season

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Williams CEO Says Robust Natural Gas Demand ‘Driving a Great Pipeline of Growth Opportunities’

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Politico: Senate climate package keeps Arctic refuge drilling alive

  • Fox Business: Manchin-Schumer bill would reinstate tax on imported oil and petroleum products

  • Fox News: Sen. Steve Daines introduces bill to block Biden from adding ‘woke’ requirements to US retirement plans

STATE UPDATES

  • 5280: Governor Polis Has Said He Wants to Battle Climate Change. Colorado Environmentalists Don’t Believe Him

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: $219M Permian Basin oil and gas land sale closes, company to cash-in on region’s growth

EXTRACTION

  • BBC: Chertsey protest: Tunnel dug at ExxonMobil pipeline site

  • Financial Post: ‘Time is incredibly tight’: New report adds clarity to challenge of cutting oilsands’ emissions

  • Bloomberg: EPA Tracking Methane Emissions Through Flyovers of Permian Basin

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Reuters: West Virginia bars five financial firms for deemed fossil fuel ‘boycotts’

  • Associated Press: Banks far from hitting Paris climate targets, groups warn

  • U.S. News & World Report: Divestment Definition: All you need to know about types of divestiture and how divestment campaigns work.

  • Common Dreams: Student Climate Campaigners Welcome ‘Momentous Victory’ at Cambridge

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Northwest Herald: McHenry County Conservation Foundation awarded $10k grant from Enbridge

OPINION

  • NorthJersey.com: Tennessee Gas Pipelne blowout: A rude awakening and a dire warning | Opinion

  • Dallas Morning News: Stop letting Texas oil and gas companies police themselves

  • Guardian: Looking for someone to blame for the extreme heat? Try Wall Street

  • Bloomberg: To Fight Climate Change, Change Your Bank

  • Yahoo Finance: The case for a government oil company

  • Wilson Center: Canadian Petroleum Supplies to the US

PIPELINE NEWS

Truthout: Dems’ Deal With Manchin Would Expedite Approval of Climate-Harming Gas Pipeline
Jake Johnson, 8/2/22

“Environmentalists raised grave concerns Monday over newly reported details of a side deal between the Democratic leadership and Sen. Joe Manchin that would reform the permitting process for energy projects and clear the way for final approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry fracked gas through West Virginia,” Truthout reports. “…According to a one-page summary obtained by the Washington Post, the agreement in its current form “would set new two-year limits, or maximum timelines, for environmental reviews for ‘major’ projects,” a potentially massive victory for the fossil fuel industry that could also entail benefits for renewable energy production… “The emissions impact of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which has been mired in legal and regulatory issues for years, would be substantial at a time when scientists say failure to swiftly rein in carbon pollution would have devastating consequences for life on Earth. One analysis estimates the completed pipeline would generate 89,526,651 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equal to 26 new coal-fired power plants or 19 million passenger vehicles…“It’s not a climate solution. It’s a climate bomb,” Jamie Henn, the director of Fossil Free Media, wrote in a Twitter post Monday. “Fast-tracking fossil fuel projects and industry boondoggles will just throw more fuel on the climate fire,” Henn added. “Democrats shouldn’t be sacrificing communities in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline just to please a senator in the pocket of Big Oil.” “…In a statement late Monday, Earthjustice president Abigail Dillen warned that hacking away at regulatory processes for energy infrastructure “prioritizes polluting industries and fossil fuel interests over people who are dealing with prolonged exposure to toxic pollution.”

Reuters: Equitrans to complete U.S. Mountain Valley pipeline in 2023, shares soar
8/2/22

“U.S. energy company Equitrans Midstream Corp (ETRN.N)still expects to complete the $6.6 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia in the second half of 2023, the company said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “That follows news on Monday that Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin secured a commitment from President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to allow the long-delayed Mountain Valley to be completed. Manchin’s deal and the announcement boosted Equitrans shares over 10% to a three-month high of $8.72 on Tuesday… “Equitrans said in its earnings release that the Mountain Valley venture was “engaged in the permitting process with the relevant federal agencies for the outstanding permits required to complete the project.” Several agencies still need to reissue permits, including the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Biological Opinion), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (Right-of-Way across Jefferson National Forest). Many of those permits were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit – some more than once.”

Bloomberg: Mountain Valley Pipeline Shield in Manchin Deal Raises Hackles
8/2/22

“Sen. Joe Manchin’s legislative deal to press the Biden administration to approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline and make sure appeals avoid a court that has struck down the project’s permits is unusual and could face legal challenges, energy analysts said,” Bloomberg reports. “Lawmakers have rarely, if ever, pushed agencies to permit a project such as the 304-mile natural gas pipeline project in West Virginia and Virginia that has faced legal setbacks, they said. The deal also would direct all appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, instead of the Fourth Circuit. Lawmakers telling courts how to work on cases “would be problematic, and the authority of Congress to be so prescriptive would likely be challenged in courts as violating the separation of powers,” James Van Nostrand, a law professor and director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University, told Bloomberg. Van Nostrand pointed to one example of Congress singling out one energy project for approval: In 1979, Congress essentially carved out the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Tellico Dam following a US Supreme Court decision that precluded the project from moving forward because of its impact on an endangered species, the snail darter. While there was little resistance at the time, “that would not be the case for any action with respect to the MVP, as the project has been heavily litigated and is very high profile at this point,” he told Bloomberg… “Project’s opponents, who have been successful in challenging the project’s permits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., expressed outrage and pledged to dig in and ensure it does not come online. “I have never seen this before or heard of anything so illegal being pushed for an infrastructure project approval process,” Mary Finley-Brook, a geography professor at the University of Richmond who joined pipeline protests in May, told Bloomberg. “If the MVP gets this type of work around, expect mass resistance,” she said, describing the kind of encampments that sprouted to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. “We know there are many people who would put their bodies physically in the way to block construction of this dangerous pipeline.”

WLNS: In protest of gas pipeline, farmers chain themselves to equipment
Nate Salazar, 8/2/22

“Farm owners in Olivet are taking a stand against the installment of a gas pipeline by chaining themselves to construction vehicles,” WLNS reports. “I grabbed a couple of long chains this morning, I says we are going down and hooking on to the machinery,” Richard Midlam, the co-trustee of Midlam Family Farms, told WLNS. “Lisa Midlam and her brother Richard are fighting back on their farm in Olivet, after they noticed construction crews prepping the outskirts of their property for the installment of a gas pipeline. On Tuesday morning, both Lisa and Richard chained themselves to some of the construction vehicles that were left overnight, hoping to get in contact with the pipeline owners, Michigan Gas Utility. “Yesterday they just came on to our property for the first time in the afternoon, and they bush hogged some of this brush where we are standing and mowed down part of a corn field, and we decided now is the time to do something,” Richard told WLNS… “The Midlams told WLNS the pipeline will greatly affect the property values of the adjacent houses and have even worked on their own proposal for where the pipeline should run instead.”

Bloomberg: FERC Approval of Northeast Pipeline Project Upheld by D.C. Panel
8/2/22

“Federal judges on Tuesday upheld an approval issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a pipeline project to be built in Pennsylvania and Delaware,” Bloomberg reports. “FERC didn’t act capriciously in its review and eventual approval of the Adelphia Gateway Project, according to a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Adelphia Gateway LLC applied for necessary certificates to build, and the requests were granted by FERC after an environmental assessment of the project. The panel said FERC had reviewed all likely upstream impacts of the project…”

The Courier: Bremer County Supervisors express disapproval of proposed carbon pipeline
Andy Milone, 8/2/22

“The Bremer County Board of Supervisors takes issue with the private corporation, Navigator CO2 Ventures, for proposing it may use eminent domain to build 1,300 miles of carbon capture and sequestration pipelines,” The Courier reports. “…Supervisors stressed Monday that expropriating private property may be necessary for the public good, but not for what’s proposed to seemingly benefit private interests. The Bremer County Board of Supervisors has formally objected to a proposed carbon pipeline that would pass through its county. The supervisors unanimously approved the drafting of a formal letter to the Iowa Utilities Board in opposition to the “Navigator Heartland Greenway” project. They disagreed with the claim that by “promoting efforts to achieve climate goals,” the company is making these plans in the best interest of the public. “Bremer County strives to enhance the quality of life for the people in our county,” states the draft letter. “The pipeline that is proposed to run through nearly the center of our county does not do that. The careful use of eminent domain may be appropriate in certain cases for public use, public purpose or public improvement. However, the unrestricted and inappropriate use of eminent domain threatens and undermines private property rights.” Additionally, the board fears it won’t be able to protect its agricultural land and has concerns about any plans for the “proper or full restoration” of it “following pipeline construction, interference with proper drainage, the effects of pipeline construction on long term soil health and other possible negative environmental impacts.” Supervisors also have concern that the impacted land may experience a long-term – not temporary – “loss of economic value.” “…According to online filings with the Iowa Utilities Board, Bremer County is one of a couple dozen Iowa counties to have submitted correspondence in protest of the proposal.”

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Landowners ‘disappointed’ as Minnehaha County defers moratorium on CO2 pipeline permits, land use
Nicole Ki, 8/2/22

“Landowner Joy Hohn, along with at least 20 others, walked out of the Minnehaha County Commission room this week, “disappointed” elected officials opted not to pass a temporary block on CO2 pipelines,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. “Regardless of PUC’s timeline, someone needs to address public safety standards for the rest of us,”  Hohn told the Leader. “We’re disappointed.” Minnehaha County commission’s five-member board voted down a one-year moratorium “on the issuance of any permits and/or approval of land uses for transmission pipelines,” with a 4-1 vote during its weekly meeting Tuesday morning. This comes shortly after Hand County went back on their moratorium on Summit Carbon Solutions’ CO2 pipeline, and after the Iowa-based agricultural energy company filed paperwork to countersue a group of McPherson County landowners who are challenging a state law allowing companies to survey land without consent, according to the Aberdeen American News… “In further discussion, commissioners supported deferring a temporary zoning ordinance on gas and liquid transmission pipelines. They preferred waiting for South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to set forth a timeframe on how they plan to address landowners’ concerns about public safety and eminent domain with Summit Carbon Solution’s 2,000-mile CO2 pipeline project… “Commissioner Jeff Barth, who is running as a PUC candidate this November, was the lone dissenting vote… “Barth, from his chair on the board, took the opportunity to address Dan Lederman, Republican Party chair, who was sitting in the audience at the meeting. “I see Dan Lederman is here, who is a top lobbyist for Summit pipeline people and wearing their shirt emblazoned with Summit Pipeline Solutions,” Barth said. “How much are they paying you do that?”

Prince George Citizen: Coastal GasLink pipeline in peak construction season
Arthur Williams, 8/2/22

“Construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline is expected to ramp up to peak construction, according to information released by TC Energy on July 28,” Prince George Citizen reports. “There were 4,923 workers on the project as of June 30, and that number was expected to increase to more than 6,000 over the summer months, according to the company. Once complete, the roughly 670-kilometre-long natural gas pipeline will deliver up to 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from northeast B.C. to the LNG Canada liquified natural gas export terminal under construction in Kitimat. “Our prime contractors are mobilizing crews to various sites to continue to progress our most important construction season yet,” a statement issued by the company said. “At the end of June, Coastal GasLink was 66 per cent complete overall and now approaching 70 per cent overall completion.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Williams CEO Says Robust Natural Gas Demand ‘Driving a Great Pipeline of Growth Opportunities’
KEVIN DOBBS, 8/2/22

“The chief executive of Williams, a natural gas processing and transportation specialist, said mounting calls for LNG and robust summer cooling demand are driving exceptional activity levels on the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. (Transco) system, bolstering the company’s outlook,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The past two months rank among the hottest Junes and Julys on record in the United States, respectively, while fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine boosted already elevated demand for American supplies of liquefied natural gas. These demand drivers have catapulted natural gas futures above $8.00/MMBtu this summer, double year-earlier levels, with more heat on the way in August and no end in sight to the war… “Volumes on our systems have finally begun to respond to the higher prices that we’ve seen in the gas space,” Armstrong said. Consumption, meanwhile, “continues to increase in the face of higher natural gas prices, which speaks to the continued inelastic demand for natural gas, both here and abroad,” he added. Even as central banks in the United States and Europe hike interest rates to combat soaring inflation, creating the specter of recession, the Tulsa-based Williams expects demand for its services to endure given the multiple demand drivers. “We don’t expect much to change should a recession come to fruition,” Armstrong said.

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico: Senate climate package keeps Arctic refuge drilling alive
Heather Richards, 8/2/22

“The energy and climate spending bill negotiated by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last week may be the biggest of its kind in history, but some conservationists are zeroing in on what they believe is a key missing piece: a drilling ban in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Politico reports. “The omission is a significant blow to efforts to overturn a mandate approved by Congress during the Trump administration to allow oil and gas exploration and development in the refuge’s coastal plain, given midterm elections this fall that could upend the Democrats’ majority on Capitol Hill. “That’s it for the legislative fix,” Kevin Book, a managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, told Politico, of an ANWR repeal anytime soon. “Is there any scenario in which Chairman Manchin would deliberately … put back in the provision he took out? Not a very strong one, no.”

Fox Business: Manchin-Schumer bill would reinstate tax on imported oil and petroleum products
Bradford Betz, 8/2/22

“Lawmakers are poised to reinstate a decades-old fee on oil imports, though some critics say that would violate President Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000,” Fox Business reports. “The proposal, included in a $433 billion tax and climate bill, would reinstate a 16.4 cents-per-barrel tax on crude oil imports and taxes on imported petroleum products. President Biden has tried three times to reinstate the tax but has been unsuccessful thus far, according to a Fox News analysis. The Washington-based conservative group Americans for Tax Reform says the tax “will be paid by consumers in the form of higher gas and energy costs,” Bloomberg reported… “The tax on imported oil and petroleum products would seemingly break President Biden’s pledge that tax hikes will affect only those Americans earning $400,000 or more per year. Manchin has said the Democratic package honors that pledge. Taxes on oil and petroleum products are usually passed on to consumers in the form of higher energy prices. Energy prices have already broken records during Biden’s presidency, and inflation has hit its highest rate in decades… “A spokesperson for Manchin told FOX Business that Republicans on the Committee “released a partial analysis of one portion of the bill to advance a partisan agenda that does not accurately reflect the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act on average Americans.”  “…Manchin has asserted the bill’s imposition of a 15% minimum tax on corporations earning over $1 billion annually is not a tax increase. He says it closes loopholes such companies use to escape paying the current 21% corporate tax. Republicans mocked that reasoning and said its tax boosts would weaken the economy and kill jobs. They cited a report from Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation that said about half of the corporate minimum tax would hit manufacturing firms.”

Fox News: Sen. Steve Daines introduces bill to block Biden from adding ‘woke’ requirements to US retirement plans
8/2/22

“A senior GOP lawmaker introduced legislation on Friday to block the White House from forcing financial institutions to consider “woke” issues, like climate change, when deciding how to invest the retirement savings of American workers,” Fox News reports. “Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, told Fox News Digital the legislation was aimed at preventing President Biden from pressuring the nation’s banks to bow to “woke” ideology. “Montanans should not have to pay the price for the whims of wokeness with their hard-earned life savings,” he said. Last year, Biden issued an executive order directing the Secretary of Labor to identify actions that could be taken to protect the pension plans from “climate-related financial risks.”

STATE UPDATES

5280: Governor Polis Has Said He Wants to Battle Climate Change. Colorado Environmentalists Don’t Believe Him
Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, 8/1/22

“On January 13, some 200 people gathered outside the state Capitol in Denver, beating drums, chanting, and waving signs. A poster declaring “Your inaction burns our state” rested on the steps; eight red-robed demonstrators with huge clocks over their faces held letters that spelled “Out Of Time”; and a 12-foot-tall canvas bore flame-colored scraps of fabric reading “We Are On Fire Polis.” Inside, Governor Jared Polis was delivering his annual State of the State address,” 5280 reports. “The environmentalists rallying at the Capitol that day, members of a now 57-group coalition called United for Colorado’s Climate, were fed up—with the state’s worsening air pollution, fracking, and environmental racism. More than anything, they were upset by what they call the Polis administration’s slow pace in addressing the climate crisis. Two weeks earlier, the Marshall fire had roared through Superior and Louisville, destroying more than 1,000 homes and putting an exclamation point on their frustration. “We need Polis to be the climate leader he thinks he is,” says Harmony Cummings, an organizer with the environmental nonprofit Colorado Rising and one of the demonstration’s main architects. “We’re just trying to get his attention.” “…But since then, activists’ grievances have piled up. Today, says Jan Rose, legislative analyst for Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, “you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody in the environmental community who feels that Polis’ words have matched his deeds.” That’s troubling not only for Colorado, but also for anyone hoping for substantive action from world leaders.. “If Polis—a progressive governor who promised climate action and is presiding over Democratic majorities in both chambers of the Legislature—can’t get that done, well, who can?”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: $219M Permian Basin oil and gas land sale closes, company to cash-in on region’s growth
Adrian Hedden, 8/2/22

“Denver-based oil and gas company Sitio Royalties continued to up its presence in the Permian Basin, buying up more land in the U.S.’ busiest oilfield as energy markets continue to grow amid renewed demand following the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “…To capitalize on this growth, Sitio Royalties announced July 26 it closed the purchase of 12,000 acres of oil and gas land and royalties in the Permian from Momentum Minerals for about $219 million. In June, the company announced it also bought 19,700 acres in the region from Foundation Minerals for about $323 million. The two sales were Sitio’s fourth and fifth purchases of 10,000 or more royalty acres since June 2021, growing the company’s total acreage by 300 percent, and its Permian Basin footprint by 30 percent, per a company announcement… “Noah Lockshin, chairman of Sitio’s Board of Directors told the Argus the purchases were intended to consolidate acreage and drive-up returns for shareholders, part of trend of energy companies prioritizing existing producing lands rather than ramping up new production in the wake of COVID-19.” “…Senior Energy Analyst with Rystad Kristine Vassbotn told the Argus the key obstacle to U.S. growth in gas production was limit capacity to move the gas to market. “Already the top gas producer in the world, the US stands ready to boost output further to meet the global demand, but takeaway constraints are a serious risk,” Vassbotn told the Argus. “However, with new LNG capacity expected to be added after 2024, the US is set to grow its role in global gas markets for some time to come.”

EXTRACTION

BBC: Chertsey protest: Tunnel dug at ExxonMobil pipeline site
8/2/22

“A climate activist has occupied a tunnel next to the M25 in Surrey in an attempt to disrupt the construction of a new aviation fuel pipeline,” the BBC reports. “Oil and gas giant ExxonMobil has been installing a replacement pipe to take its fuel from Southampton to Heathrow. The company said the pipeline would keep 100 tankers off the road each day. The activist, who calls himself Digger, said ExxonMobil was planning for growth in fossil fuel use while the “world is on fire”. He is part of a group of campaigners who dug the tunnel at the point where the pipeline crosses the M25 at Chertsey. A statement from the group said the new pipe would supply 40% more aviation fuel to Heathrow, aiding expansion and increased flight numbers. Digger said: “As the UK experiences record-breaking temperatures, ExxonMobil continues to plan for growth in climate-destroying fossil fuel use. “Our world is on fire and ExxonMobil is pouring fuel onto the flames. “The current pipeline still has at least 20 years of useful life left – time which could be used to scale back air travel and develop zero carbon alternatives.”

Financial Post: ‘Time is incredibly tight’: New report adds clarity to challenge of cutting oilsands’ emissions
Gabriel Friedman, 8/2/22

“During the last decade or so, Canada’s oilsands experienced a nearly unprecedented transformation as production more than doubled,” the Financial Post reports. “In the next decade, the oilsands sector will need to not just stall, but reverse its trend of rising greenhouse emissions in order for Canada to meet its 40 per cent climate change reduction commitment by 2030. In a 42-page report released by the commodity research firm S&P Global on Tuesday, Kevin Birn, the company’s chief analyst of Canadian oil markets, uses a series of charts and data points to demonstrate the gap between the oilsands’ current trajectory of increasing emissions and the reduction it needs to make in the next eight years. While government and industry have touted carbon capture and storage — technology that can divert CO2 and other greenhouse gases into pipelines so they can be permanently sequestered underground, rather than in the atmosphere — Birn’s report illustrates that the size and scale of investment needed to achieve emissions reductions, as well as the relatively short timeline, create long odds that it can be achieved… “Discussions about carbon capture, the preferred method for emissions reduction, also remain preliminary: Earlier this year, the federal government released its 2030 emissions reduction plan, which calls for a 42 per cent or 81 million metric ton reduction in the country’s entire oil and gas emissions from 191 million metric tons in 2019 to 110 million metric tons by 2030… “Beyond any potential disagreements between the federal government and industry, carbon storage is controversial and has been opposed by non-profits such as Environmental Defence, which says the vast majority of emissions from oil and gas are released when they are burned as a fuel, which would not be affected by carbon capture that reduces emissions. They argue scarce government funding to mitigate the effects of climate change should be allocated elsewhere.”

Bloomberg: EPA Tracking Methane Emissions Through Flyovers of Permian Basin
8/1/22

“The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting helicopter flyovers of the Permian Basin region in New Mexico and Texas to identify large emitters of methane and excess emissions of volatile organic compounds with infrared cameras, according to a Monday news release,” Bloomberg reports. “The EPA will address noncompliance identified through the flyovers through such actions as administrative enforcement actions and referrals to the Department of Justice, according to the agency. Flyover will extend until Aug. 15.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Reuters: West Virginia bars five financial firms for deemed fossil fuel ‘boycotts’
Pete Schroeder, 7/28/22

“West Virginia has barred five major financial institutions, including Blackrock Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) , from new state business after determining that they were boycotting the fossil fuel industry,” Reuters reports. “Goldman Sachs (GS.N) , Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co are also barred on similar grounds, according to State Treasurer Riley Moore. Spokespeople for Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley told Reuters the banks disagreed with the decision, and a spokesperson for JPMorgan called it “disconnected from the facts.” A BlackRock spokesperson said it also disagreed with the decision. “BlackRock does not boycott energy companies, and we do not pursue divestment from sectors and industries as a policy,” the spokesperson told Reuters. Goldman Sachs did not immediately comment. The move to kick out some of the world’s largest financial institutions, including the world’s largest asset manager, Blackrock, comes as Republicans are ramping up pressure on Wall Street to step back from efforts to address climate change and tackle other social issues… “Moore told Reuters the firms were barred after a review of their policies and public statements found them to have policies “categorically limiting commercial relations with energy companies engaged in certain coal mining.” He is authorized to prohibit financial firms from new state banking business under a law the state passed earlier this year.”

Associated Press: Banks far from hitting Paris climate targets, groups warn
ED DAVEY, 7/28/22

“The world’s most influential banks need to substantially accelerate climate efforts if global temperature rise is to be kept within the targets of the Paris Agreement, an assessment released Thursday by an institutional investors group warned,” the Associated Press reports. “The efforts of 27 giant banks in North America, Europe and Asia to align their policies with global warming of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) are falling far short in every area measured in the pilot study, obtained exclusively by The Associated Press. The report said no major bank has committed to end financing for new oil and gas exploration, and only one has promised to cut all coal financing in line with International Energy Agency guidelines. The evaluation was prepared by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), whose more than 350 members are mainly asset managers and owners. They include Barclay’s Bank UK Retirement Fund, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs Asset Management International. Group members have €51 trillion ($52 trillion) in assets under management and advice, according to the IIGCC website. That amounts to roughly a tenth of total assets held by financial institutions worldwide… “The evaluation is significant because it comes from within the financial community, echoing the idea that fossil fuel investments must wind down, which environmentalists, climate scientists and energy experts have argued for years. Witold Henisz, vice dean of the environmental, social and governance initiative at the Wharton Business School, told AP the study “establishes convincingly that banks are not yet demonstrating substantive progress towards net zero, and often even their own commitments.” 

U.S. News & World Report: Divestment Definition: All you need to know about types of divestiture and how divestment campaigns work.
Wayne Duggan, 7/27/22

“Divestment, also known as divestiture, is the act of reducing financial exposure to an asset to better achieve financial or social goals. Companies can divest property, businesses or other assets by selling them or reducing their ownership stake in them. Individuals can also divest stocks or other assets by selling them or closing their investment positions in them,” according to U.S. News & World Report. “Divestment is often used to describe the act of a business downsizing in some way to improve its balance sheet, market value or performance. Fossil fuel divestment is a popular institutional and retail investing strategy that involves selling or avoiding stocks or other assets that contribute negatively to climate change. There are three primary ways for companies to divest assets: Spinoff. A spinoff is the act of a larger company separating one of its subsidiaries into a separate public company by issuing shares of stock in the newly formed company… “Equity carve-out. An equity carve-out is another type of divestment that is essentially a partial spinoff. In an equity carve-out, a parent company separates a subsidiary into a separate public company but maintains a controlling ownership in the new company… “Asset sale. Asset sales are another popular means of corporate divestment. In an asset sale, a company will sell assets, such real estate, equipment or even an entire subsidiary business, to another entity.”

Common Dreams: Student Climate Campaigners Welcome ‘Momentous Victory’ at Cambridge
JESSICA CORBETT, 7/25/22

“Student climate activists worldwide on Monday celebrated reporting that the U.K.’s University of Cambridge plans to rename its BP Institute for Multiphase Flow in response to recent protests,” Common Dreams reports. “Community and student groups have been campaigning on this so hard, and it’s good to see that the pressure is being felt by the university,” said a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion (XR) Youth Cambridge. “But we can’t address the climate crisis through rebranding—we need an actual end to the University of Cambridge’s fossil fuel ties.” The institute was created in 2000 with a £22 million ($26.5 million) donation from BP to host research teams from the Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences and Engineering departments. A new climate protest group, This Is Not a Drill, earlier this month targeted Cambridge buildings tied to the fossil fuel sector with black paint and broken windows. In May, university students and academics occupied the institute to demand an end to research partnerships with the sector—the focal demand of Fossil Free Research, an international campaign launched in March.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Northwest Herald: McHenry County Conservation Foundation awarded $10k grant from Enbridge
8/2/22

“The McHenry County Conservation Foundation was awarded a $10,000 community investment grant from Enbridge’s Fueling Futures program to assist with restoration efforts of 21 acres at McHenry County Conservation District’s Glacial Park site in Ringwood,” the Northwest Herald reports. “…Funds provided by the Enbridge Fueling Futures program will be used to buy a portion of the rich and diverse native seed mix necessary to convert land from current row crop production to high-quality prairie grassland… “The land conversion also will improve the ability of the area to recharge groundwater, which is where McHenry County residents receive 100% of their drinking water. The total cost for this project is $99,965 and the foundation is seeking additional support for the work.”

OPINION

NorthJersey.com: Tennessee Gas Pipelne blowout: A rude awakening and a dire warning | Opinion
Carolyn Jackson is a registered nurse, a member of Stop The Toxic Gas Compressors and lives in Wantage Township. Jill Aquino is a registered nurse, a member of Stop The Toxic Gas Compressors and lives in Frankford Township, 8/2/22

“At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4 at Sussex County Technical School in Sparta, the state Department of Environmental Protection will hold an important hearing on the proposal of Tennessee Gas Pipeline to majorly expand their gas compressor in Wantage, and build a new compressor facility in West Milford,” Carolyn Jackson and Jill Aquino write for NorthJersey.com. “The world’s leading scientists have made it clear: “It’s now or never” if we want to halt climate disaster, and to do so we must drastically cut our dependence on fossil fuels. Yet across New Jersey, seven new fossil fuel projects are currently moving through the approval process, including one right in my neighborhood. Carolyn’s home is 2,000 feet from Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s fracked gas compressor station in Wantage, Sussex County… “These accident-prone facilities regulate pressure in the pipes and release fracked gas right into the air when too much pressure builds up… “We already live with the danger of this fracked gas compressor station. This past New Year’s Day, Carolyn heard a loud noise — like the roar of a jet engine at full speed. When she went out to investigate, she was hit with a pungent odor. Carolyn quickly went back inside but it wasn’t enough to stop the headache that ensued… “Without intervention from GOV. Phl Murphy, the DEP could give TGP their stamp of approval for this expansion and the new compressor station in West Milford this summer. Only one permit remains pending on the project. The DEP’s public hearing this week is an important moment. We invite all who are concerned about this reckless and unnecessary project to join me in attending and speaking out against the compressor. We must come together and stop this project. We will all breathe easier for it.”

Dallas Morning News: Stop letting Texas oil and gas companies police themselves
Dallas Morning News Editorial, 8/3/22

“Last week The Associated Press published an investigative report that told us what we already knew: The fox is guarding the hen house in the Permian Basin,” the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board writes. “AP journalists visited dozens of sites with infrared cameras to confirm findings of an industry watchdog called Carbon Mapper, a partnership of university researchers, which detected 533 methane “super emitters” in the Permian Basin in 2021… “Texas relies on a robust energy market powered by fossil fuels and renewables, and the oil and gas flowing from the Permian Basin are a crucial supply. We can have healthy oil and gas production and fair regulation that protects the environment, but the record shows we’re not getting the balance right. The Environmental Protection Agency requires companies to report greenhouse gas emissions, but companies are severely underreporting, according to the AP’s findings. One example: In 2020, a company named West Texas Gas reported that methane emissions from all of its boosting and gathering operations combined were just one-twelfth of the amount documented by Carbon Mapper from just one of its sites… “Regulators will hold oil and gas companies accountable only for the emissions reported to them, and they will accept reporting only from oil and gas companies. TCEQ spokeswoman Laura Lopez told us her agency is reluctant to consider data “collected by external parties.” It’s the honor system. And it’s not working… “Self-policing may be workable in a kindergarten playground or a friendly game of golf, but it’s not a realistic regulatory solution. Producers need to get the message that there is real accountability for excess pollution. Regulators need to get the message that there are real consequences for non-enforcement. And politicians need to get the message that there is real political will insisting on clean air.”

Guardian: Looking for someone to blame for the extreme heat? Try Wall Street
Alec Connon is the coalition co-director of Stop the Money Pipeline, a network of more than 200 organizations working on getting US-based financial institutions to align their business models with the goals of the Paris agreement, 7/27/22

“Around the world, we’re witnessing the impacts of global heating: in the past week, airport runways have melted in the UK, wildfires have torched huge swathes of Europe, and more than 100 million Americans have sweltered in dangerously high temperatures,” Alec Connon writes for the Guardian. “…There are many to blame for the climate crisis and its extreme weather impacts. Executives of fossil fuel companies bear the greatest responsibility. More than anything else, it has been their great deceit – their burying of climate science, funding of climate denial, and spending of billions to kill climate policy – that has prevented us from transitioning away from an economy powered by coal, oil and gas. Compromised politicians, including the entire Republican party and the Democratic coal baron Joe Manchin, deserve special condemnation, too. In the cast of climate villains, however, another character rises to claim a special place on center stage: Wall Street… “Since the Paris Agreement, the six largest US banks – Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs – have provided $1.4tn in financing to the fossil fuel industry. Indeed, since that heralded day in the French capital, the world’s four largest funders of fossil fuel expansion have all been US banks. So much for “American leadership”. “…As we swelter through these early days of the climate crisis, we should keep in mind that our banks are deeply culpable for climate breakdown and that they are often using our money to make it even worse. And once we realize that, the real question is: what are we going to do about it?”

Bloomberg: To Fight Climate Change, Change Your Bank
Tanja Hester, 7/28/22

“It’s a sweltering summer of cognitive dissonance. The northern hemisphere is experiencing record-setting, even life-threatening, heat waves, droughts and fires; yet more attention has been given to rising gas prices than to measures that would prevent future summers from getting hotter, drier and more flammable. People who want to mitigate the climate crisis are desperate for actions they can take that don’t feel like drops in an increasingly empty bucket,” Tanja Hester writes for Bloomberg. “…What doesn’t get enough attention is responsible banking, which has far more potential to force the economy away from fossil fuels, the leading driver of carbon emissions that cause climate change — and to force that change quickly. We haven’t heard much about responsible banking because essentially none of the big banks engage in the practice, and they aren’t eager for customers to know how their money is being used… “Customers don’t seem to have connected the dots that their own money is what’s funding these banks’ investments in fossil fuels. If you bank with one of the big banks, the money sitting in your deposit accounts is available for the banks to use however they wish, and many of them send it to the worst offenders in the climate crisis. And the banks are paying almost no price. While some shareholder activists have been pushing the big banks to divest from fossil fuels, these efforts have not succeeded. And while bank customers seem to be paying little attention, right-wing special interests have certainly noticed. Conservative states like Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Indiana and West Virginia are enacting laws to punish banks for divesting from fossil fuels, even though none of the banks they’re targeting have actually divested or even come close. We should expect more attempts like these to strong-arm the banks into continuing to fund the leading driver of climate change. If enough customers leave banks that fund fossil fuels — and make it clear why they are leaving — it will show bank CEOs that there is a price to pay for funding climate change. Banks might not even need the prodding of shareholders to divest because the business case would be clear.”

Yahoo Finance: The case for a government oil company
Rick Newman, 8/2/22

“Should the U.S. government get into the oil and gas business? Absolutely not! This is a capitalist country and …. Wait, maybe it makes sense,” Rick Newman writes for Yahoo Finance. “Since 1975, the United States has bought and sold oil for the strategic petroleum reserve, a national stockpile established for times of emergency… “Why not go a step or two further? On the national security website War on the Rocks, energy-industry veterans Ryan Kellogg and David Brunnert make the case for a national reserve of drilled but uncompleted oil and gas wells on federal land that could be tapped in a crisis to add to U.S. energy capacity. That would give the government the ability to actually produce oil and gas, instead of simply reselling previously purchased barrels into the market. The government could own those spare wells outright, or pay private-sector firms to maintain them and operate them when necessary. Energy historian Gregory Brew of Yale University has suggested the government could stabilize energy markets and bring down prices by subsidizing U.S. oil refinery operations or even establishing a National Refining Company to add gasoline-production capacity without worries about turning a profit… “The U.S. energy industry is famously independent, yet the cowboy swagger has yielded to hard economics as climate change upends the oil and gas business model and investors have soured on energy bets. Pressure to reduce carbon consumption makes energy firms reluctant to add oil and gas production capacity and invest in long-term projects… “At the moment, there’s not much conversation in Washington about an operational role for the U.S. government in the domestic energy industry. Yet the United States is unusual in that regard, given that virtually all governments in the OPEC oil cartel either control their domestic oil industries or play a major role in them.”

Wilson Center: Canadian Petroleum Supplies to the US
Ambassador Mark Green is the president, director and CEO of the Wilson Center, 8/2/22

“Russia’s war on Ukraine has prompted many countries, including the US, to look for alternative energy sources. But Americans often forget that our largest foreign supplier of oil is right next door—Canada— and it has the capacity and willingness to increase production,” Mark Green writes for the Wilson Center. “According to the US Energy Information Agency, in 2021, Canada supplied 62% of all US crude oil imports. In fact, our northern neighbor supplies more than half of our total imports of petroleum and petroleum liquids. The International Energy Agency estimates that Canada is the world’s fifth largest producer of oil and holds the third largest proven oil reserves. Canada’s energy regulator reports that in 2021 the country produced 4.4 million barrels of crude oil per day, and could exceed 6.5 million daily barrels by 2050. The key word is could. Canadian oil exports are constrained by pipeline capacity. Today, only one pipeline—the Trans Mountain pipeline to Vancouver—connects the Canadian oil sands to the sea. The rest of the existing pipeline network links to refineries in the United States where Canadian oil is sold at a discount of as much as $20 a barrel compared to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark price. Part of that price gap is because Canada’s oil has nowhere else to go. A discount sounds like a positive thing for consumers…but it reflects a disincentive to produce more supply. Canadians realize this, but attempts to add pipeline capacity have been thwarted by political opposition in both countries. Pipeline politics are challenging, but the stubborn fact is that the United States could either import “democratic oil” from our friends in Canada or get it from elsewhere …including places that aren’t always friendly to the US or our interests. If we cannot build more pipeline capacity for Canadian oil imports, we will not have a choice.”

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