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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 8/5/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 5, 2022



  • Pro Publica: Joe Manchin’s Price for Supporting the Climate Change Bill: A Natural Gas Pipeline in His Home State

  • E&E News: Manchin deal: Renewables boon or states’ rights menace?

  • Aberdeen News: Landowners in 7 more South Dakota counties file complaints against Summit Carbon Solutions

  • WLUC: DNR assists investigation of contaminated soil along Enbridge Line 5 near Ashland, Wis.

  • Star Tribune: Water spills again from aquifer breached by northern Minnesota pipeline

  • MyChesCo: Two Years Later, Sunoco Pipeline Still Failing to Meet Commitments

  • U.S. Energy Information Administration: Pipeline projects announced to expand Permian natural gas capacity

  • Reuters: TC Energy inks deal with Mexican utility to develop $4.5 billion gas pipeline


  • E&E News: Senate approves resolution against Biden NEPA rules

  • E&E News: Oil companies see ‘net positive’ in climate bill

  • E&E News: Methane Fee Likely To Survive ‘Byrd Bath,’ Lawmakers Say


  • Archaeology Southwest: New Report Highlights Urgent Need for Federal Oil and Gas Reform to Protect Cultural Landscapes Surrounding National Parks

  • MPR: Investigators probe for source of petroleum discharge into Mpls. sewers


  • Financial Post: Upstream growth takes a backseat as oilsands majors plow billions into buybacks and dividends

  • Canadian Press: Proposed emissions cap on oil and gas sector overly ambitious’: CNRL


  • The Hill: Congress is finally addressing climate crisis with Inflation Reduction Act

  • Houston Chronicle: Tomlinson: As oil and gas industry’s profits soar, corporations can afford to fight climate change


Pro Publica: Joe Manchin’s Price for Supporting the Climate Change Bill: A Natural Gas Pipeline in His Home State
Ken Ward Jr. and Alexa Beyer, 8/5/22

“From his Summers County, West Virginia, farmhouse, Mark Jarrell can see the Greenbrier River and, beyond it, the ridge that marks the Virginia border. Jarrell moved here nearly 20 years ago for peace and quiet. But the last few years have been anything but serene, as he and his neighbors have fought against the construction of a huge natural gas pipeline,” Pro Publica reports. “Jarrell and many others along the path of the partially finished Mountain Valley Pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia fear that it may contaminate rural streams and cause erosion or even landslides. By filing lawsuits over the potential impacts on water, endangered species and public forests, they have exposed flaws in the project’s permit applications and pushed its completion well beyond the original target of 2018. The delays have helped balloon the pipeline’s cost from the original estimate of $3.5 billion to $6.6 billion. But now, in the name of combating climate change, the administration of President Joe Biden and the Democratic leadership in Congress are poised to vanquish Jarrell and other pipeline opponents. For months, the nation has wondered what price Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin would extract to allow a major climate change bill. Part of that price turns out to be clearing the way for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. “It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Jarrell, a former golf course manager who has devoted much of his retirement to writing protest letters, filing complaints with regulatory agencies and attending public hearings about the pipeline, told Pro Publica. “We’re once again a sacrifice zone.” “…In essence, the Democratic leadership accepted a 303-mile, two-state pipeline fostering continued use of fossil fuels in exchange for cleaner energy and reduced greenhouse emissions nationwide. Manchin has been pushing publicly for the pipeline to be completed, arguing it would move much needed energy supplies to market, promote the growth of West Virginia’s natural gas industry and create well-paid construction jobs… “But even some residents along the pipeline route who are avidly in favor of action against climate change say they feel like poker chips in a negotiation they weren’t at the table for. And they are anything but happy with Manchin. “He could do so much more for Appalachia, a lot more than he is, but he’s chosen to only listen to industries,” farmer Maury Johnson told Pro Publica… “The pipeline’s neighbors say they’ll keep fighting, but they recognize that the odds are against them. “You just feel like you’re not an equal citizen when you’re dealing with Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Jarrell told Pro Publica.

E&E News: Manchin deal: Renewables boon or states’ rights menace?
Miranda Willson, 8/5/22

“A slew of permitting reforms backed by the White House and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) could make it harder for states and tribes to obstruct natural gas pipelines and other energy facilities they don’t want, analysts say,” E&E News reports. “…But other aspects are raising alarm for environmentalists concerned about fossil fuel pipelines they say could worsen climate-warming emissions. One provision would overhaul Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which guides the process for states and tribes to issue water quality certifications for pipelines and other projects… “It’s a hit to states’ rights,” Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, told E&E of the potential changes. “Take the example of New York. New York state has banned fracking, yet this is intended to prevent New York from objecting to a fracked gas pipeline on climate grounds.” If the changes are enacted, states or tribal agencies would have a year to take action on water quality certification requests, according to a one-page summary issued by Manchin’s office this week. Reviews of certification requests would also be limited to the scope of projects’ impacts on water quality — seemingly restricting states from considering climate change impacts or the cumulative impacts of a project in concert with other nearby infrastructure, observers told E&E. “This appears to be targeted at that to clarify that the review can only focus on the project that’s in front of them,” Ben Cowan, a partner in environmental and energy law at Locke Lord LLP who works with pipeline and energy projects, told E&E.

Aberdeen News: Landowners in 7 more South Dakota counties file complaints against Summit Carbon Solutions
Alexandra Hardle, 8/3/22

“A back-and-forth exchange of court filings between Summit Carbon Solutions and South Dakota landowners seems to be in high gear,” the Aberdeen News reports. “Landowners in eight counties have now filed against the Iowa-based carbon dioxide pipeline company. They’re represented by Brian Jorde, an attorney with Domina Law Group in Omaha, Neb. A group of McPherson County landowners was the first to file a complaint against Summit. That was at the end of June. It alleges that a state law allowing Summit to enter landowners’ property to conduct survey work without consent is unconstitutional.  In response, Summit filed paperwork in McPherson County asking for declaratory judgement and injunctive relief. Declaratory judgement would result in the court resolving any legal uncertainty when it comes to the right to survey land. The declaratory judgement sought would prevent landowners from stopping the surveys. Now, landowners in Minnehaha, Lincoln, Lake, Edmunds, Spink, Brown and Beadle counties have also filed complaints against Summit… “Summit Carbon Solutions has also filed a motion against several landowners in Edmunds County asking for a court order that would prevent them from denying Summit access to their land for survey work… “In the new cases, the declaratory judgement sought asks the court to declare that a state law is in violation of the South Dakota Constitution and the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution… “The landowner filings cite an article in the state constitution that notes private land cannot be taken or damaged without just compensation and another that notes corporations that take private property must pay compensation before any damage to the property is done… “The landowners’ filings go on to claim that the surveying law violates the due process clauses of both the state and federal constitutions… “Summit Carbon Solutions has also filed legal paperwork in McPherson County, claiming that surveying private land is legal.” 

WLUC: DNR assists investigation of contaminated soil along Enbridge Line 5 near Ashland, Wis.

“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is assisting with an investigation of soil suspected to be contaminated along Enbridge Line 5 south of Ashland,” WLUC reports. “On Wednesday night, Enbridge reported to the DNR that a contractor had encountered soil suspected to be contaminated near Old Airport Road and Holmes Road, approximately 1 mile west of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa reservation. Enbridge told DNR staff they believe the contamination was from a historical discharge and not an ongoing release. Enbridge excavated and stockpiled all suspect material. DNR staff have been on-site several times and have not observed any additional petroleum odors or soil staining. Enbridge will be required to submit documentation to the DNR of the actions taken to address the suspected contamination as well as documentation on the volume of soil that was excavated and where it was legally disposed. Enbridge told WLUC that they did not find an indication of a leak when the pipeline was shut down. They also stated that they slowly increased pressure to attempt to identify a leak and are now currently up to full pressure with no sign of a leak or alarm.”

Star Tribune: Water spills again from aquifer breached by northern Minnesota pipeline
Jennifer Bjorhus, 8/4/22

“Environmental advocates who have called attention to aquifer breaches from the construction of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline across Minnesota say they’ve found groundwater bubbling from a rupture that was supposed to have been fixed,” the Star Tribune reports. “The news came Thursday as environmentalists and tribal members gathered at a boat launch on northern Minnesota’s Big LaSalle Lake to memorialize the one-year anniversary of the aquifer break at LaSalle Creek, which flows through a marshy valley into the lake and eventually the Mississippi River. The commemoration was led by White Earth citizen Dawn Goodwin, who co-founded RISE Coalition, an Indigenous women’s environmental group. Goodwin told the Star Tribune the breach site on LaSalle Creek looks “horrible.” “It’s very heartbreaking because we warned them,” she said in an interview. “We know that’s irreparable damage to our aquifers. That’s our source of drinking water.” The group released a seven-minute video about the accident that includes images from a flyover, narrated by geologist Laura Triplett of Gustavus Adolphus College. The LaSalle Creek aquifer breach is one of three caused by Line 3 construction that the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed in March. Each breach involved the use of sheet piling to stabilize the walls of the trench for the pipe. Pipeline operator Enbridge Energy said on its website that the LaSalle breach was grouted and fixed last November. But in response to questions raised by the environmentalists, the DNR confirmed Thursday that groundwater is again spilling at the LaSalle Creek repair site in Clearwater County.” “…Beyond confirming the discharge at LaSalle Creek, DNR spokeswoman Gail Nosek told the Star Tribune the agency couldn’t discuss the situation because it’s working on an “ongoing comprehensive enforcement action” against Enbridge.

MyChesCo: Two Years Later, Sunoco Pipeline Still Failing to Meet Commitments

“Nearly two years since Sunoco Pipeline L.P. spilled drilling mud into Marsh Creek Lake and its tributaries, and more than one month past the company’s agreed-upon remediation and restoration deadline, state Senator Katie Muth, D-Chester, Berks, Montgomery, and state Representative Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, commented on the operator’s failure to meets its commitments, as cleanup efforts continue near Marsh Creek State Park,” MyChesCo reports. “August 10 marks the two-year anniversary of the spill, which sent more than 20,000 gallons of drilling mud into streams, wetlands, and the lake during construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East II pipeline. A Consent Order and Agreement signed in December between the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Sunoco Pipeline L.P., a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, required Sunoco to complete dredging, remove the dredged material to an approved disposal facility, and restore the access and staging areas on or before July 1, 2022. In documents submitted to DEP on June 23 and July 7, Sunoco attributed its failure to meet the agreed-upon schedule to a number of factors, including weather, the presence of an unexpected amount of debris in the lakebed, and repeated significant equipment failures, including the July 1 failure of a containment bag at the sediment dewatering site. The biggest delay was attributed to the company’s discovery of two existing pipelines under the area to be dredged, meaning that the planned mechanical dredging could not be completed safely, so divers were brought in. “We are now more than one month past the deadline and two years past the spill and Sunoco has failed to complete the required remediation and restoration in the timeframe agreed to,” Otten said. “The excuses for their delays are things they could and should have accounted for in their planning process — especially the existence and location of two pipelines clearly visible on public maps to anyone with a browser and an internet connection. This operator continues to show absolute disregard for the people and communities impacted by their work. Senator Muth and I have met with DEP for updates on the project and have called on DEP to hold Sunoco accountable to the fullest extent possible for their ongoing delays.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration: Pipeline projects announced to expand Permian natural gas capacity

“Our latest Natural Gas Pipeline Project Tracker includes five new projects—four newly announced projects and one project under construction—since the last update in April 2022,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Of the four new projects, three will expand capacity for existing pipelines, and one will be a new pipeline. If completed as planned, these five projects together would increase takeaway capacity out of the Permian Basin by a combined 4.18 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) over the next two years. The three capacity expansion projects were announced in May and June: The Gulf Coast Express Pipeline Expansion, announced by Kinder Morgan on May 16, will expand compression on the pipeline, increasing capacity by 0.57 Bcf/d to 2.55 Bcf/d. The project is expected to enter service in December 2023. The Permian Highway Pipeline Expansion, which reached a final investment decision by Kinder Morgan on June 29, will also expand compression, increasing capacity by 0.55 Bcf/d to 2.65 Bcf/d. The project is expected to enter service in November 2023. The Whistler Pipeline Capacity Expansion, announced on May 2 by WhiteWater and MPLX, is a joint venture between Stonepeak and West Texas Gas, Inc., that will expand compression by installing three new compressor stations on the pipeline, increasing capacity by 0.5 Bcf/d to 2.5 Bcf/d. The project is expected to enter service in September 2023. The new pipeline project reached a final investment decision on May 19.”

Reuters: TC Energy inks deal with Mexican utility to develop $4.5 billion gas pipeline

“TC Energy Corp (TRP.TO) said on Thursday it had struck a deal with a Mexican state utility to develop a $4.5 billion natural gas pipeline,” Reuters reports. “The offshore Southeast Gateway Pipeline will supply natural gas to Mexico’s central and southeast regions, the Canadian pipeline operator added. The deal with Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) comes as Canada and the United States are having their most serious trade spat with Mexico over the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. TC Energy said sanctioning of the pipeline would expand its secured capital program to $33 billion and could add to its 2021-2026 adjusted EBITDA growth outlook.”


E&E News: Senate approves resolution against Biden NEPA rules
Kelsey Brugger, 8/4/22

“The Senate approved a resolution this afternoon to undo the White House’s new National Environmental Policy Act rules,” E&E News reports. “The vote was 50-47, with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joining Republicans in voting “yes.” The Congressional Review Act resolution, sponsored by Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan, seeks to reverse the Council on Environmental Quality’s move to scrap standards approved during the Trump administration… “Sullivan framed the issue as about “the dignity of work.” He tried to blame President Joe Biden — a self-proclaimed union guy — for neglecting the “working men and women” who build bridges and transmission lines across the country… “Former President Donald Trump’s NEPA rule sought to accelerate the permitting of fossil fuel and renewable infrastructure by reducing the importance of climate change and cumulative impacts in agency reviews… “Top Democrats have vowed to pass permitting reform through separate legislation sometime this fall after passage of budget reconciliation legislation in the coming days.”

E&E News: Oil companies see ‘net positive’ in climate bill
Mike Lee, 8/5/22

“Oil and gas executives are finding a lot to like in the Senate climate and energy bill, though they are still opposed to some provisions,” E&E News reports. “…At Manchin’s urging, though, it would require the government to offer oil and gas leases on federal land and in the Gulf of Mexico, albeit at a higher royalty rate. It also provides tax incentives for projects that capture carbon dioxide and new forms of energy like hydrogen. The downside for the oil industry is a required minimum tax rate and a new fee on emissions of methane, a potent climate-warming gas that’s a major source of pollution in the oilfield. While some trade groups told E&E the bill would eliminate industry jobs, several oil companies said they’ll be shielded from tax increases and the methane fee and could benefit from some of the incentives. They have also voiced enthusiasm about a related proposal to reform the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which controls federal permits for pipelines and other infrastructure. Cheniere Energy Inc., which operates liquefied natural gas terminals, is expecting to apply for federal permits to expand its operations in Louisiana and Texas, Chief Executive Officer Jack Fusco said yesterday during a conference call with analysts. “I believe the permitting reform that’s currently being talked about in D.C. is a very positive development,” he said. “It should enhance the regulatory tailwinds for well-developed, commercially sound brownfield projects like ours and what we’re about to propose.”

E&E News: Methane Fee Likely To Survive ‘Byrd Bath,’ Lawmakers Say. 

“A major provision in the Democratic climate bill that would curtail methane emissions is likely to pass procedural muster with the Senate referee, lawmakers said yesterday,” E&E News reports. “Republicans admitted the methane fee proposed in the reconciliation package’s $369 billion climate and energy portion is unlikely to fall victim to the chamber’s strict budgetary rules governing the process. ‘My understanding is I don’t think we can do much with the methane,’ Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, told E&E News yesterday. Capito has been a vocal opponent of such a fee (E&E Daily, May 6). EPW Committee lawmakers and staff took their turn in front of the Senate parliamentarian to make their pitches for whether certain provisions within the committee’s jurisdiction qualify for the chamber’s reconciliation guidelines. Known as the ‘Byrd rule,’ so named for the late Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the process is undertaken to ensure that each provision in a budget reconciliation package must have some direct impact on federal spending or revenues. Capito said Republicans focused much of their presentation on provisions that they argued represented ‘overstepping and legislating’ in the bill. They did not say exactly what they challenged. A decision from the parliamentarian could come as soon as today. The structure of the methane fee, however, likely means it will survive the review.”


Archaeology Southwest: New Report Highlights Urgent Need for Federal Oil and Gas Reform to Protect Cultural Landscapes Surrounding National Parks

“Today, Archaeology Southwest and The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (CPANP) released a report on the threats oil and gas development pose to ancestral homelands and sacred sites of Tribes within and adjacent to national parks in the United States. The report looks at five national parks and monuments: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The report explores how oil and gas activities on surrounding lands have harmed these special landscapes over the years, including but not limited to: The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Farmington Field Office has leased nearly 92 percent of the public land surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park to the oil and gas industry, and oil and gas companies have drilled over 37,000 wells in the area; Tens of thousands of oil and gas wells have been sunk in the area surrounding Dinosaur National Monument over the last century… “It also identifies specific steps that the Biden administration and Congress can take to provide cultural landscapes across the country, including those discussed in the report, with enhanced, lasting protection. When deciding which public lands to offer for lease earlier this year, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that sensitive cultural areas would be avoided. Now, these changes must be made permanent. “The broken federal oil and gas system allows the oil and gas industry to nominate and lease lands for oil and gas drilling on the doorstep of irreplaceable cultural sites and artifacts, and jeopardize the history and heritage of modern-day tribes across the West,” said Paul Reed, Preservation Archaeologist with Archaeology Southwest. “The Department of the Interior and Congress must permanently reform the profoundly outdated federal oil and gas leasing system now so that it prioritizes the protection of these sacred landscapes and their cultural resources for future generations.” 

MPR: Investigators probe for source of petroleum discharge into Mpls. sewers

“Twin Cities authorities say they are talking now to local industrial companies with large petroleum storage tanks in the region as they probe how petroleum ended up in Minneapolis sewers, forcing Tuesday’s evacuations on the University of Minnesota campus,” MPR reports. “Investigators are assessing whether the material was directly discharged” into Minneapolis sewers or lines in the connected regional system, the Metropolitan Council said in a statement Wednesday. City and regional sewer lines near the university showed “signs of black oily liquid or odor,” the Met Council said, noting that the lines merge and carry sewage to the regional wastewater treatment plant in St. Paul. A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety told MPR test results indicate the substance was most likely diesel fuel. University officials ordered evacuations of six buildings Tuesday after contractors working in the sewer tunnels located around 5th and Oak streets reported their gas monitors had sounded an alarm and that they could see and smell petroleum, the Minneapolis Fire Department told MPR.”


Financial Post: Upstream growth takes a backseat as oilsands majors plow billions into buybacks and dividends
Meghan Potkins, 8/4/22

“Canada’s oilsands majors are plowing outsized second-quarter profits into buying back their own shares, hiking dividend payments and knocking down debt rather than investing in upstream growth — a trend that could continue over the next decade as companies contend with a number of headwinds to increasing production, according to analysts who follow the sector,” the Financial Post reports. “High commodity prices and refining margins have driven record-breaking profits for energy companies in the second quarter of 2022 and, midway through earnings season, Canadian firms have so far elected to return billions in excess cash to investors. “We leaned into the share buybacks quite heavily in Q2,” said Cenovus Energy CEO Alex Pourbaix on a conference call with investors last week. “I suspect going forward, we will be very much focused on shareholder value and we will go after one of the two of those — (buybacks or dividends) — depending on where we think we’re driving the most advantage for our shareholders.” Canadian oilsands companies appear in lockstep with global energy firms that are boosting dividends and buying back shares as energy prices have risen amid tight supply and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… “While the buyback bonanza is popular with the current crop of energy investors, some critics say it enriches shareholders and executives at the expense of long-term growth in production that creates jobs and economic opportunity. Companies have also come under fire from consumers over prices at the pumps and from a public tired of delays on efforts to decarbonize the sector. Industry watchers told the Post the current trend of little to no investment in upstream growth is understandable following nearly a decade of depressed prices and volatility that hampered or delayed investments in production — and one that may continue for the remainder of the decade.”

Canadian Press: Proposed emissions cap on oil and gas sector overly ambitious’: CNRL

“The head of Canada’s largest oil-and-gas producing company criticized the federal government’s proposed emissions cap for the energy sector Thursday, arguing environmental goals must be balanced with economic and energy security concerns,” the Canadian Press reports. “Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. president Tim McKay made the comments during a conference call with analysts. While the purpose of the call was to discuss the company’s second-quarter financial results, McKay took aim at Ottawa’s proposed cap in his opening remarks. He also talked up the emissions reduction efforts that are already under way through Pathways Alliance, an industry group that includes CNRL and other major Canadian oil sands producers. “In our view, this (federal) cap is unnecessary and overly ambitious in light of our stated preference for government and industry to continue to work together through the Pathways initiative to achieve an already announced emissions reduction target,” McKay said… “As presented, both emissions cap options have the potential to limit oil and natural gas production in Canada by adding regulatory burden and eliminating options for economywide co-operation on emissions reductions,” Lisa Baiton, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, told CP… “Key to the industry’s plan is a proposed carbon capture and storage project that would capture CO2 from oil sands facilities and transport it to a storage facility near Cold Lake, Alta., delivering about 10 million tonnes of emissions reductions per year from oil sands production. Pathways Alliance members have not yet pulled the trigger to go ahead with the project, though the group has said the investment tax credit for carbon capture and storage projects unveiled by the federal government earlier this year is an important step. “The tax credit is a positive approach where industry and government can co-invest in CCUS infrastructure at an achievable pace of development,” McKay said Thursday.


The Hill: Congress is finally addressing climate crisis with Inflation Reduction Act
Ramón Cruz is president of the Sierra Club, 8/4/22

“The Kyoto Protocol. McCain-Lieberman. Waxman-Markey. Build Back Better. For more than 25 years, we’ve come oh so close to taking action on climate, only for those efforts to flame out. Lord knows I’ve been wrong before, but I’m filled with hope that now, in 2022, Washington is finally willing to take the bold action that’s so desperately needed to address the climate crisis and environmental justice,” Ramon Cruz writes for The Hill. “Passing the Inflation Reduction Act is critical to Congress finally addressing the climate crisis. Full stop… “The legislation the Senate is now considering is nothing short of a game changer. Contained in this legislation’s pages is a pathway for how we can — and must — reduce our carbon emissions by 40 percent by the end of the decade. As we do so, we will finally begin to address environmental injustices that have plagued so many of our communities for so long… “But perhaps most critical is how this legislation will invest in the communities that have been saddled with among the most polluted air and water in our country… “As remarkable as this legislation is and as significant an impact as it will have, it is anything but perfect. As robust as the environmental justice provisions are, this bill preserves the status quo of leaving the Gulf South as a sacrifice zone… “This legislation takes measures to lock in this devastating situation for decades to come. Fossil fuels are not the solution to the crises we face. Protecting certain communities while endangering others does not propel our country forward… “They must pass this bill before time runs out.”

Houston Chronicle: Tomlinson: As oil and gas industry’s profits soar, corporations can afford to fight climate change
Chris Tomlinson, 8/3/22

“The oil and gas industry is making record profits thanks to high energy prices, but they also are pumping out more greenhouse gases than ever before. If Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other oil companies have tens of billions to buy back stock and reward investors, they have a billion to spend on controlling emissions. No longer can they claim that tighter regulations will bankrupt them,” Chris Tomlinson writes for the Houston Chronicle. “…The top 28 publicly traded independent oil producers generated $25.5 billion in free cash flow in the second quarter, Bloomberg news reported… “Profits are high because fossil fuel corporations do not pay for the damage their products cause the planet. They don’t pay carbon dioxide or methane taxes, and the U.S. is not effectively limiting emissions. Our grandchildren will pay for the warmer climate instead. Natural gas producers could reduce emissions by 82 percent by 2030, if they chose, the consulting firm Accenture determined in a new report. Despite their promises, though, the oil and gas industry is increasing them, especially in Texas… “Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian, whose job is to oversee the industry, keeps claiming that regulating emissions will destroy the oil and gas business. Using talking points from the industry’s main lobbying group, the American Petroleum Institute, he brags on how companies have voluntarily reduced emissions… “An affordable, market-based solution is a $50 million-a-year tax on methane emissions, which would induce companies to patch leaks and avoid $1.8 billion in climate damages a year, according to a University of Chicago study. Texas Republicans in Congress, though, have blocked proposed taxes on emissions, and Christian has blocked state regulations. Today’s short-sighted partisanship means more hot summers and drastic action in the future. Controlling emissions is about fairness, not politics. When a product damages our shared environment, the company making the profits should pay to mitigate the damage.”

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