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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/12/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 12, 2023



  • Roanoke Times: Mountain Valley Pipeline sues its opponents

  • KSFY: PUC denies Summit Carbon’s application

  • Sioux Falls Argus Leader: South Dakota regulators deny Summit carbon pipeline permit on first day of hearing

  • Associated Press: South Dakota panel denies application for CO2 pipeline; Summit to refile for permit

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: State denies Summit permit; both carbon pipelines proposed in SD now rejected

  • South Dakota Public Broadcasting: South Dakota PUC commissioners deny Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline application

  • Mitchell Republic: South Dakota rejects Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, cites county rules

  • Morning AgClips: South Dakota Farmers Union Applauds PUC’s Action, Calls for Additional Protections

  • KELO: Analysis: Summit denial might not last as a win

  • WHBF: Plans for CO2 pipeline through Iowa, Illinois, other states dealt major blow

  • Illinois Radio Network: As South Dakota denies CO2 pipeline proposal, debate continues in Illinois

  • DRG News: Ringneck Energy CEO disappointed by South Dakota regulators’ denial of a permit for Summit Carbon Solutions proposed carbon capture pipeline

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: Rastetter testimony sought for evidence of Summit’s ‘anticompetitive’ agreements

  • Rigzone: Wolf to Extend Carbon Pipeline, Inks Deal with Air Products Canada

  • RFD TV: Navigator CO2 offers insight on carbon pipeline projects and what they are hearing from rural landowners

  • News & Observer: Along NC’s Haw River, Native Americans hold a totem pole prayer for ‘sacred’ water 

  • Reuters: Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline may face 9-month delay over route dispute

  • Prince George Citizen: Hospitality workers at Coastal GasLink camp pass strike vote

  • RBN Energy: Permian Basin Production Growth Drives NGL Pipeline Buildout

  • Bay Journal: Virginia compressor project raises environmental justice questions


  • Bloomberg: Biden Says Climate Change Poses Greater Threat Than Nuclear War

  • E&E News: Manchin hints at permitting talks as panel mulls AI role

  • Native News Online: The All Pueblo Council of Governors to Travel to Washington to Advocate for Preservation of the Chaco Canyon Sacred Landscape

  • Canary Media: The biomethane boondoggle that could derail clean hydrogen


  • Reuters: Several injured in blast at Archer-Daniels-Midland plant in Illinois

  • Guardian: The world’s biggest carbon capture facility is being built in Texas. Will it work?

  • Capital and Main: California utility wants customers to pay for carbon capture and hydrogen

  • Rigzone: Enbridge, Divert to Establish RNG Facility in Washington

  • Colorado Sun: EPA fines Suncor for producing fuel with too many pollutants, orders company to pay $600K for clean lawn equipment 


  • Bloomberg: Sinking Islands Turn to Court as They Fight for Climate Survival

  • Associated Press: UN report says the world is way off track to curb global warming, but offers ways to fix that

  • Vox: The oil industry’s cynical gamble on Arctic drilling

  • Truthout: Oil Refineries Are Leaking Cancer-Causing Benzene Into Residential Neighborhoods

  • Canadian Press: NDP wants Suncor CEO to tell MPs why company moving away from focus on clean energy

  • Reuters: Chevron gambles on untested laws to halt Australia LNG strike action

  • E&E News: How Big Oil’s wastewater could fuel the EV revolution

  • Carbon Herald: New Report Finds Carbon Capture And Storage Far Too Expensive

  • Investopedia: Why Companies From Microsoft to Shopify Are Investing Millions in Carbon Removal


  • InsideClimate News: Private Equity Giant KKR Is Funding Environmental Racism, New Report Finds

  • Guardian: Barclays seeks climate director after protests over fossil fuel finance


  • The Energy Mix: False Advertising Complaint Challenges Enbridge’s Claim of ‘Cheap’ Natural Gas

  • Hollywood Reporter: Filmmakers Call on Toronto Film Festival to Drop “Polluting” RBC as Sponsor for Financing Oil Projects

  • Globe and Mail: Actors, filmmakers call on TIFF to end partnership with RBC over environmental concerns

  • MSNBC: Follow the money: Fracking billionaires funding anti-renewable energy propaganda cartoons

  • InsideClimate News: Experts Warn of ‘Denialism Comeback’ Ahead of November’s Global Climate Talks


  • Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Setting ourselves apart: Summit’s dedication to communities, decarbonization, and the future of SD

  • Bismarck Tribune: Pipeline invests in tech, North Dakota’s farmers, state’s economy and future

  • Journal Courier: Carbon capture can enable realistic path to net zero emissions 

  • The Hill: Labeling innovation as ‘greenwashing’ diminishes the climate fight

  • AgWeb: John Phipps: Are Farmers For or Against Carbon Pipelines in the U.S.

  • Daily Kos: If the pipeline breaks: the Great Lakes are in peril

  • Resource Works: The world still needs Canadian oil

  • Reuters: Time to target fossil fuel demand, not supply

  • Houston Chronicle: To fight climate change, stop offshore drilling. Now.

  • The Hill: Don’t sacrifice sacred lands to the oil industry


Roanoke Times: Mountain Valley Pipeline sues its opponents
Laurence Hammack, 9/11/23

“Mountain Valley Pipeline is suing more than 40 people and two organizations that it says are unlawfully interfering with its efforts to complete a natural gas pipeline amid growing unrest,” the Roanoke Times reports. “The company is asking a judge to issue an injunction that would prevent opponents from entering construction areas, where they have temporarily delayed work at least a dozen times since July 5… “Since construction resumed earlier this summer, at least five people have been arrested. Filed last week in Montgomery County Circuit Court, the lawsuit also seeks to prohibit the organizing of such events and any “soliciting or accepting” of donations that might be used to fund them. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Named as defendants are Appalachians Against Pipelines, an organization that often promotes the protests on social media, and Rising Tide North America, which Mountain Valley says is raising money for the events. The lawsuit seeks more than $4 million in damages from the two groups and 41 individuals who have chained themselves to heavy equipment, walked onto restricted construction areas or taken other illegal steps against the highly controversial project. “Defendants are individuals and organizations who are unwilling to accept the fact that the project has been approved,” the lawsuit states. “Rather than abide by the statutes and court rulings authorizing completion of the project, defendants are determined to stop work by unlawful means.” “…Alan Graf, an attorney who in the past has monitored pipeline protests as an observer with the National Lawyers Guild, told the Times the company is trying to silence its critics with a heavy handed threat of legal action and financial losses. “This is a SLAPP suit on steroids,” Graf told the Times, referring to what are called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. “It is pure, outright intimidation,” he told the Times. “They don’t care about winning the case. They care about getting their lawyers and legal staff to try to intimidate the common people who are out there trying to do something right.” “…The lawsuit is against 16 named people and an additional 25 who are referred to as John Does. Mountain Valley said in the filing that it is working to identify those defendants and will add their names when it does.”

KSFY: PUC denies Summit Carbon’s application

“The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission met in Fort Pierre Monday morning for a hearing regarding Summit Carbon Solutions,” KSFY reports. “The first item at hand was whether the hearings would move forward, based on several things that happened on Friday. The PUC did not comply with Navigator Pipeline’s request to override the county’s setback ordinances. Navigator’s permit was ultimately denied. Summit then requested to withdraw their request to override the counties on their application, too. The PUC staff attorney then filed to deny the Summit Carbon Solutions application based on what the PUC says is Summit’s own testimony that they can’t build the CO2 pipeline without overriding those county setbacks. Summit quotes 72% voluntary easements & approximately 160 lawsuits filed against landowners who have not signed easements. PUC’s Gary Hanson asked a Summit attorney how many landowners signed out of intimidation. The attorney says he can’t speculate. Hanson asked how the three-week hearing could continue if it is already known that the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline route can’t comply… “Brown County’s setbacks are the largest at 1,500 feet. Minnehaha County’s setback is 300 feet. Previous testimony was read from SCS saying the routes are not possible without overriding the counties with both of these setbacks. “My client’s wish” is to delay proceedings and return later rather than deny the permit, said a SCS attorney. Commissioner Josh Hader said, “I would like to make a motion to deny the application.” “…Vote on Hader’s motion to deny Summit Carbon Solutions application: Hanson voted yes, Hader voted yes and Nelson voted yes. “We are so grateful to the PUC commissioners for standing up for their constituents! They made the right decision for the future of South Dakota. We are also thankful to them for upholding our county ordinances!” Joy Hohn, a Dakota Rural Action member leader and impacted landowner from Minnehaha County, told KSFY… “This decision is another staunch victory for local government in South Dakota. It is also a clear repudiation of Summit Carbon Solution’s attempt to bully their way through the permitting process by threatening counties with lawsuits if they took up ordinances and asking the PUC to preempt those ordinances without submitting any evidence that they had attempted to comply with them,” Dakota Rural Action told KSFY… “This is a great day for people over big money. Thankfully our commissioners and staff followed the law and denied Summit’s permit. It is a great day for the people of South Dakota!” Ed Fischbach, an impacted landowner and Dakota Rural Action board member from Spink County, told KSFY… “SCS respects the decision, plans to refile, and is reinforcing its commitment to South Dakotans and the state’s ethanol and sustainable-aviation-fuel industries,” the company told KSFY. 

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: South Dakota regulators deny Summit carbon pipeline permit on first day of hearing
Dominik Dausch, 9/11/23

“The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on Monday accepted a staff attorney’s motion to deny Ames-based Summit Carbon Solutions’ application for a permit to build its $5.5 billion Midwest Carbon Express pipeline through that state, cutting off a hearing on its first day,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. “…Summit said Monday it “respects the decision, plans to refile, and is reinforcing its commitment to South Dakotans and the state’s ethanol and sustainable-aviation-fuel industries.” The pipeline proposals have encountered stiff opposition from landowners and others concerned about safety and the prospect that the companies may use eminent domain to gain easements from unwilling landowners… “And Monday’s decision comes less than a week after the South Dakota PUC likewise denied a permit for Navigator’s proposed pipeline. Four counties in that state ― Brown, McPherson, Minnehaha and Spink ― have adopted ordinances that require more setback for the pipeline than mandated under federal law… “The denial decision is not outright fatal to the project, but Summit will have to reapply for a permit, essentially restarting the application process and further pushing back the earliest date it could receive a permit in South Dakota… “Jennifer Zwagerman, a Drake University associate law professor and director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines, told the Argus Leader she anticipates that Summit and Navigator will challenge the South Dakota decisions. “I think you’re going to see a challenge in court sooner rather than later.” In July, a federal judge approved a temporary injunction request from Summit that prevents Shelby County, Iowa, from enforcing an ordinance that likewise would restrict the pipeline’s construction. The judge said the ordinance conflicts with state and federal regulations and should not be enforced. The Monday decision could give Shelby and other Iowa counties “greater ammunition” in arguing they should be able to require enhanced pipeline setbacks, Zwagerman told the Argus Leader..

Associated Press: South Dakota panel denies application for CO2 pipeline; Summit to refile for permit
JACK DURA, 9/11/23

“South Dakota regulators on Monday rejected a permit application for a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline through the state, dealing a fresh setback to the company behind the multistate project after North Dakota refused a siting permit for another leg there,” the Associated Press reports. “…The decision complicates an already complex process for Summit Carbon Solutions as it seeks similar authorization in other states amid opposition from landowners and environmental groups… “After the South Dakota vote, Summit announced it intends “to refine its proposal and reapply for a permit in a timely manner.” “…Commission Vice Chair Gary Hanson said a permit could not be legally issued if the evidenced showed the applicant is currently unable to comply with existing statutes and regulations, adding “that’s the challenge that we’re having here.” “I believe that the applicant will be able to come back with, eventually, a clean application, and when they do, that is when it is proper to examine it,” Hanson said… “Omaha-based attorney Brian Jorde, who represents hundreds of people Summit has sued in South Dakota to take their land for its pipeline, told AP Summit’s proposed route in the state presented an “impossibility” to the panel, with a route that “cannot be constructed.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: State denies Summit permit; both carbon pipelines proposed in SD now rejected

“Some landowners who’ve been fighting against a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline shed tears of joy Monday as South Dakota utility regulators denied a permit application from Summit Carbon Solutions,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “The decision means both carbon pipelines currently proposed in eastern South Dakota have been rejected in their first attempts to gain permits in the state. “I’ve felt like there was a tractor on my chest, and that weight has finally been removed,” Jared Bossly, of rural Warner, whose land is along the Summit route, told the Dispatch… “The staff motion said Summit’s proposed route is in direct violation of “setback” ordinances adopted in Brown, McPherson, Minnehaha and Spink counties. Those ordinances establish minimum distances between pipelines, homes and other places… “In the motion to deny Summit’s permit filed by Edwards, she pointed out that despite Summit’s assurance of complying with local regulations, there hasn’t been any tangible evidence to show that the company has obtained the necessary waivers or county permits. The door isn’t entirely closed for Summit or Navigator. The companies can reapply in the future and obtain permits, provided they can adequately address the commission’s concerns about the projects… “Summit has initiated dozens of eminent domain court cases in an attempt to gain access to land from South Dakota landowners unwilling to grant it. Navigator has not yet pursued eminent domain in South Dakota.”

South Dakota Public Broadcasting: South Dakota PUC commissioners deny Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline application
Evan Walton, 9/11/23

“The Public Utilities Commission has voted to deny Summit Carbon Solutions an application for its carbon pipeline project before formal proceedings,” South Dakota Public Broadcasting reports. “This comes a week after the commission denied a similar project by Navigator CO2. The first motion in Summit Carbon Solution’s application hearing came from PUC staffers who recommended a denial… “Commissioner Gary Hanson is the Vice Chairman of the PUC and led Summit’s hearing. He said he does not like the way the company approached gaining easements in the state. “I’m concerned with how many easements you’ve pursued through lawsuits. Do you have a number,” asked Hanson. ‘150 or 160 to my best knowledge’,” responded Brett Koenecke, Summit’s legal representative. Without voluntary easements or PUC approval to veto county commission decisions, PUC staffers argued the project could not be built… “Summit’s legal representative Brett Koenecke said regardless of the outcome over the company’s application, carbon pipelines are going to happen. “I’m not arrogant enough to think that this application is going to be somehow rubber stamped by you as commissioners. But this project is ultimately going to be built. It’s too important to too many people both within this state and without. Carbon capture is the future of agriculture,” said Koenecke.    

Mitchell Republic: South Dakota rejects Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, cites county rules
Jeff Beach, 9/11/23

“South Dakota regulators have put a sudden stop to another carbon pipeline project,” the Mitchell Republic reports. “The state’s Public Utilities Commission voted Monday, Sept. 11, to reject a route permit application from Summit Carbon Solutions, which is seeking to build what it calls the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project. The vote comes just days after the same agency rejected the Navigator CO2 project… “This is a great day for people over big money. Thankfully our commissioners and staff followed the law and denied Summit’s permit. It is a great day for the people of South Dakota!” Ed Fischbach, an impacted landowner from Spink County and a board member for Dakota Rural Action, said in a news release. Dakota Rural Action has tried to rally landowners and county officials against the hazardous liquid pipelines… “Summit had originally planned to obtain permits in 2022, begin construction in 2023 and be operational in 2024, but has fallen behind that schedule.”

Morning AgClips: South Dakota Farmers Union Applauds PUC’s Action, Calls for Additional Protections

“On September 5th the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) rejected Navigator CO2’s application for a permit to construct the Heartland Greenway carbon capture pipeline,” Morning AgClips reports. “The company’s request sought to disregard county pipeline setback ordinances. The PUC’s unanimous decision pointed to the company’s lack of transparency in disclosing carbon dioxide plume modeling and untimely notices to landowners… “During the 2023 Legislative Session, South Dakota Farmers Union joined with others to support HB1133. The House Bill would have protected landowners by excluding carbon dioxide as a common carrier commodity. Unlike electricity, water or natural gas transported via pipelines, transporting highly pressured CO2 only benefits two private investor groups in pursuit of federal tax incentives. The majority of state legislators did not support landowners and the bill failed. If the bill had passed the Senate, CO2 would not qualify for “eminent domain,” which is a legal process to gain access to land from unwilling landowners. The South Dakota Farmers Union, once again, calls on state legislators and our Congressional leaders to clarify and strengthen protections for family farmers and their land rights: Doug Sombke, president, South Dakota Farmers Union: “The decision by the Public Utilities Commission is a win for local control and serves as a clear reminder that more must be done to secure property rights for landowners. As it is, South Dakota’s communities have limited control over the project’s planning. We need legislative champions to step forward and lead the charge in putting South Dakotans first. Legislation that includes definitions under Chapter 49 in South Dakota Codified law dealing with Public Utilities Commission’s jurisdiction would be a firm step in that direction. No one denies ethanol’s benefits. Just do the right thing. Treat landowners with respect and their rights to their land.”

KELO: Analysis: Summit denial might not last as a win
Bob Mercer, 9/11/23

“The landowners against the project got to claim a victory Monday, as the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission denied the permit application from Summit Carbon Solutions for a proposed carbon-dioxide pipeline that was to serve four ethanol-producing companies,” KELO reports. “But the rejection, which came on technical grounds, might be fleeting. Don’t be surprised when Summit applies again — and don’t be surprised if the next version of the pipeline is more ambitious, with a new leg to serve the Gevo aircraft-fuels plant that is planned at Lake Preston… “Nor would it be a surprise if the commission eventually approves Summit’s next application. Because, in the words spoken Monday by one of Summit’s attorneys, Brett Koenecke, carbon capture is “the future of agriculture.” The commission’s denial Monday was based on Summit’s admission that the current project couldn’t get through four counties — Brown, McPherson, Spink and Minnehaha — because of local pipeline ordinances… “Summit is also taking a step that Navigator didn’t — fighting in court for access across property of landowners who so far have refused to say yes. South Dakota law allows the power of eminent domain to be used for projects. Koenecke estimated Monday that Summit is engaged in 150 to 160 lawsuits seeking access… “Summit issued a news release, saying the company respects the decision and plans to refile. “SCS intends to do just that, to refine its proposal and reapply for a permit in a timely manner. SCS remains committed to the South Dakota ethanol industry and the growth of South Dakota’s energy industry,” the company’s statement said.

WHBF: Plans for CO2 pipeline through Iowa, Illinois, other states dealt major blow
Brian Weckerly, 9/11/23

“Plans for a carbon dioxide pipeline through Iowa, Illinois and several other state had a major setback,” WHBF reports. “South Dakota’s public utilities commission rejected the proposal, coming after North Dakota had already rejected the pipeline. Summit Carbon Solutions is expected to challenge both decisions… “The Iowa Utilities Board will vote on the project later this year.”

Illinois Radio Network: As South Dakota denies CO2 pipeline proposal, debate continues in Illinois
Greg Bishop, 9/8/23

“As one state has declined a request from a CO2 pipeline that would also come through Illinois, the local opposition to the idea remains strong,” Illinois Radio Network reports. “South Dakota regulators unanimously denied Navigator’s permit for a CO2 pipeline through that state… “The Illinois Commerce Commission is handling public comments and rebuttals for the project in the Land of Lincoln. An ICC staff engineer has recommended denial… “While some statewide industry groups support the pipeline, Illinois state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, said the more local you get, the more opposition there is.  “And for good reasons, because it’s going to be in their backyard. The big thing is you’ve got to be sure to secure the safety of it,” Rosenthal told The Center Square. Nick Dodson with the Sangamon Valley Sierra Club said transferring an asphyxiant via pipeline is not safe. “Navigator is trying to have their maiden voyage of a carbon dioxide pipeline be a 1,300 mile pipeline and they’ve never managed one single mile of CO2 pipeline,” Dodson told WMAY. “So I think it’s extremely difficult to consider.” “…A decision deadline on the project from the ICC is Feb. 29, 2024. The ICC is also handling a separate pipeline proposal from Wolf Carbon Solutions and ADM.”

DRG News: Ringneck Energy CEO disappointed by South Dakota regulators’ denial of a permit for Summit Carbon Solutions proposed carbon capture pipeline
Jody Heemstra, 9/11/23

“The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has denied (Sept. 11, 2023) a permit request for Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon capture pipeline,” DRG News reports. “Summit’s carbon storage project would’ve connected over 30 ethanol plants across five states in the upper Midwest. One of those was Ringneck Energy at Onida. President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Walt Wendland is disappointed with the decision. Wendland told DRG low carbon fuel is becoming a requirement in some parts of the country– and world. Wendland told DRG allowing the carbon emitted by the plant to be captured would make an efficient plant even more environmentally friendly.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Rastetter testimony sought for evidence of Summit’s ‘anticompetitive’ agreements

“Bruce Rastetter, the influential co-founder of Summit Carbon Solutions, should be subpoenaed to testify to state regulators in support of his company’s carbon dioxide pipeline proposal, according to the daughter of a landowner who is affected by the project,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “The daughter, Kerry Hirth, has filed a motion with the Iowa Utilities Board seeking to compel Rastetter’s testimony. If she succeeds, the move has the potential to subject him to questioning from pipeline opponents on a variety of issues. The political muscle of Rastetter, whose Summit Agricultural Group spawned the pipeline company, has been key to expediting a permit for the pipeline project in Iowa, its opponents allege. Those who oppose the project have been unsuccessful so far in fleshing out a clear view of the people and companies that own Summit Carbon Solutions. They sought more information from the company’s executives last week during the third week of testimony for Summit’s evidentiary hearing with the IUB, but those executives said they didn’t know much about the company’s owners… “Rastetter, an investor in Summit Carbon Solutions as well as its co-founder, might be able to provide those details… “Mr. Rastetter’s testimony will help the board see the entire stage that Summit Ag has set and understand whether or not Summit Carbon’s proposed pipeline is part of a larger corporate undertaking that violates” Iowa law, wrote Anna Ryon, an attorney for Hirth. Hirth alleges that Summit Agricultural Group’s infrastructure in Brazil — which the company claims produces the “lowest cost, most sustainable gallon of ethanol in the world” — threatens the price of Iowa-made ethanol. Hirth also claims that Summit Carbon Solutions’ agreements with a dozen ethanol plants in Iowa contain “anticompetitive provisions.” “…The Sierra Club of Iowa joined Hirth’s motion to subpoena Rastetter to help determine whether the pipeline system will benefit ethanol producers. “So Summit is therefore claiming that the support of the Iowa ethanol industry promotes public convenience and necessity,” wrote Wallace Taylor, a Sierra Club attorney. “But, as Ms. Hirth explains, Mr. Rastetter’s scheme will actually harm Iowa’s ethanol industry, to the benefit of Mr. Rastetter and Summit Agricultural Group.” “…It’s unclear when the IUB will rule on Hirth’s request.”

Rigzone: Wolf to Extend Carbon Pipeline, Inks Deal with Air Products Canada
Rocky Teodoro, 9/12/23

“Wolf Midstream Canada LP has reached a final investment decision to extend its existing Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) system through the core of the Alberta Industrial Heartland and into the Edmonton region to support existing and new industrial facilities in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions,” Rigzone reports.”Wolf has received approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator and other governing agencies and has begun construction of the new extension, called the ACTL Edmonton Connector, the company said in a news release… “At full capacity, the ACTL Edmonton Connector will be capable of transporting approximately seven million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Wolf said it has executed an agreement with Air Products Canada to transport carbon dioxide on the ACTL Edmonton Connector and the ACTL originating from Air Products’ net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta, which is under construction. Air Products says on its website the company’s $1.18 billion (CAD 1.6 billion) hydrogen facility “will help to accelerate the use of hydrogen as an emission-free transportation fuel across western Canada”, adding that “there will be enough liquid hydrogen capacity to fuel every major transit agency in Alberta”.

RFD TV: Navigator CO2 offers insight on carbon pipeline projects and what they are hearing from rural landowners

“Carbon pipeline projects continue to create debates among rural landowners. While some companies are pursuing eminent domain actions in court, Navigator CO2 believes it is a “tool of absolute last resort.” Elizabeth Burns-Thompson spoke with RFD-TV’s own Christina Loren on the value added to agriculture, expanding on their stance on eminent domain, and what concerns they are hearing from landowners,” RFD TV reports.

News & Observer: Along NC’s Haw River, Native Americans hold a totem pole prayer for ‘sacred’ water 

“The totem pole stood more than 10 feet tall and weighed more than two tons, and as it rolled into Haw River on the back of a flatbed Monday, a crowd of 30 placed their hands on its painted wood, praying for the “sacred” waterway it came to protect,” the News & Observer reports. “For more than two hours, Native American and environmental activists joined on the Haw’s banks in Alamance County, singing and drumming to celebrate the river they call seriously threatened by the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. “We are praying for the welfare of this body of water,” said Crystal Cavalier, Indigenous advocate who is a citizen of the Occaneechi band of the Saponi Nation. “We are praying that the pipeline doesn’t come through. We are here to pray for everyone who doesn’t know there is harm coming to them.” The MVP natural gas extension would run more than 70 miles south of Virginia into Alamance County, and both Native and environmental groups have long feared the impact on waterways it would cross… “Cavalier’s group 7 Directions of Service has long opposed the MVP extension, pointing to the potential for damaged water quality and species loss in exchange for unnecessary natural gas supply and minimal job gains. Monday’s interfaith totem pole prayer aimed to highlight those concerns in Haw River and connect them to the history of pipelines crossing native land.”

Reuters: Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline may face 9-month delay over route dispute
Nia Williams, 9/11/23

“The Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion could be delayed by up to nine months if regulators do not approve a route deviation request, the Canadian government corporation building the project said in a regulatory filing on Monday,” Reuters reports. “…Trans Mountain Corp (TMC) has asked the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to change the approved route on a 1.3-kilometre (0.8 mile) section just south of Kamloops, British Columbia, to avoid micro-tunneling construction that the crown corporation says is not feasible technically or economically. But TMC’s proposal to instead lay the pipeline through a different area nearby, using horizontal directional drilling and a conventional open trench, is opposed by the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) First Nation, an indigenous group whose territory the pipeline crosses. In a letter to the CER laying out the “worst-case” scenario, TMC said being forced to continue with building a micro-tunnel on that part of the route could delay pipeline completion until December 2024 and add an extra C$86 million in cost… “However the SSN First Nation said the lands TMC is proposing to disturb as part of the route deviation hold “profound spiritual and cultural significance.” “…A regulatory hearing on the route deviation request will take place next week in Calgary.”

Prince George Citizen: Hospitality workers at Coastal GasLink camp pass strike vote
Neil Godbout, 9/11/23

“Hospitality workers at the Horizon North Parsnip Lodge north of Prince George voted 95 percent in favour of strike action, UNITE HERE Local 40 said in a press release Monday,” the Prince George Citizen reports. “The 150 workers include room attendants, kitchen staff, janitors, and front desk agents. There were 1,321 workers at the Parsnip Lodge as of July 30, according to TC Energy, making it the largest single camp still in place on the pipeline route. Parsnip Lodge hospitality workers are asking Horizon North to respect their hard work by providing three months of severance pay per year of service at the worksite, which is scheduled to close later this year. “These workers provide a home away from home for thousands of workers in remote areas, and they are critical to the success of major construction projects in our province. Our members at Parsnip Lodge have spent years taking care of guests working on the Coastal GasLink pipeline,” Zailda Chan, UNITE HERE Local 40 president, said in a release “The workers want to be compensated with fair severance pay as the project nears completion. We are hopeful we can resolve this issue with the employer in bargaining and avoid a strike action at the site.”

RBN Energy: Permian Basin Production Growth Drives NGL Pipeline Buildout
Todd Root, 9/12/23

“The Permian is in the midst of an NGL infrastructure boom as midstream companies are investing to keep up with the strong production growth projected over the next several years — but until these new projects are up and running, NGL pipeline capacity to the Gulf Coast is only going to get tighter,” RBN Energy reports. “In today’s RBN blog, we look at five pipeline projects that are under construction or in the planning process that would significantly boost NGL takeaway capacity out of the Permian. The rise in U.S. NGL production in the early years of the Shale Era was accompanied by a massive build-out of the infrastructure required to, among other things, take mixed NGLs (aka Y-grade) from gas processing plants to the NGL storage and fractionation hub in Mont Belvieu. We started our review of the few large midstream companies that own and operate their own NGL networks, beginning with Energy Transfer in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. We then shifted our focus to Targa Resources, which, in addition to being a major gas gatherer and processor in the Permian and a number of other production areas, owns the Grand Prix NGL pipeline system and is one of the biggest players in Mont Belvieu. As we noted in Part 3, Targa also owns and operates a huge LPG export terminal along the Houston Ship Channel at Galena Park. In Part 4, we turned our attention to NGL giant Enterprise Product Partners, which owns and operates an extensive NGL network stretching from Appalachia to the Permian to the Rockies.”

Bay Journal: Virginia compressor project raises environmental justice questions
Jeremy Cox, 9/12/23

“Several environmental and civic groups are calling for a natural gas giant and federal regulators to rethink a project that could increase air pollution near one of southeast Virginia’s most vulnerable communities,” the Bay Journal reports. “Canada’s TC Energy, the firm behind the contentious Keystone Pipeline, wants to upgrade a compressor station near Petersburg, adding 2,700 horsepower to its capacity. The work would remove controls that currently limit the horsepower of existing equipment. To push that gas to the energy-hungry Hampton Roads region, the company also proposes doubling the diameter of nearly 50 miles of existing pipeline through Sussex, Surry, Southampton and Isle of Wight counties as well as the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake. The expansion and modifications along the Columbia Gas Transmission line have generated nowhere near the amount of outcry as the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the western part of the state. But both battles have raised environmental justice concerns over their potential impacts to nearby communities… “The census block that is home to the station doesn’t qualify as an environmental justice community, according to TC Energy’s analysis. But in two other census blocks within a 1-mile radius, minority residents represent 92% and 80% of the population, well above the 50% threshold. Those figures mirror the 85% minority population in the city of Petersburg. “You’re talking about a majority Black and Brown community being impacted,” Pat Hines, president of Petersburg’s NAACP chapter, told the Journal. “They can minimize it and say it’s safe. But we call Petersburg a sacrifice city because in more affluent places they at least have some emergency brakes.” “…A coalition of regional environmental groups has joined the local cause. “If there’s a project that does not need to be approved, it’s this one,” Lynn Godfrey of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter told the Journal. “It’s massive. As soon as you walk out of the car, you smell the gas.” Her group put its concerns on the record in June with 47 pages of comments submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project. The Southern Environmental Law Center drafted the letter on behalf of the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.”


Bloomberg: Biden Says Climate Change Poses Greater Threat Than Nuclear War
Jordan Fabian and Akayla Gardner, 9/10/23

“President Joe Biden said the sole threat to humanity’s existence is climate change, and that not even nuclear conflict poses a similar danger,” Bloomberg reports. “The only existential threat humanity faces, even things more frightening than a nuclear war, is global warming,” Biden said Sunday during a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. The president added “we’re going to be in real trouble” if, in the next decade or two, warming goes above the 1.5C temperature increase that scientists consider a tipping point for increasing the chances of extreme weather events… “When I was out here about three years ago saying I worried about the Colorado River drying up, everybody looked at me like I was crazy,” Biden told campaign donors at a June fundraiser. “They looked at me like when I said I worried about Putin using tactical nuclear weapons. It’s real.”

E&E News: Manchin hints at permitting talks as panel mulls AI role
Andres Picon, 9/8/23

“A top Department of Energy official told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday that the federal government should be taking advantage of artificial intelligence to streamline permitting for energy projects,” E&E News reports. “The hearing on the department’s use of AI came as lawmakers struggle to maintain momentum in their effort to overhaul the cumbersome federal permitting process. But ENR Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) hinted after the hearing that there are plans in the coming days to try to revive stalled negotiations. “We’re going to meet next week on it, trying to move it forward,” he told E&E. He added, “We’re working on it. It’ll be informal.” Manchin’s concern about making progress on permitting reform was mirrored by other senators on the committee Thursday…”

Native News Online: The All Pueblo Council of Governors to Travel to Washington to Advocate for Preservation of the Chaco Canyon Sacred Landscape

“The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) that represents 20 Pueblos is sending a delegation to Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 11, 2023, to meet with congressional representatives and other federal officials to voice their opposition to a House bill that aims to undo the Department of the Interior’s recent Public Land Order 7923 that prevents new oil and gas development on public lands around the Greater Chaco Canyon,” Native News Online reports. “…Monday’s meeting will provide the APCG delegation to vocalize strong opposition to H.R. 4374 that according to a press release issued by the APCG undermines the years of collaborative government-to-government work by the Pueblos, the Hopi Tribe, the State of New Mexico, the New Mexico Congressional Delegation, federal officials, and past Navajo Nation Administrations to establish this protective withdrawal. If passed, H.R. 4374 would unravel Public Land Order No. 7923 and years of collaborative efforts and diplomacy to protect these ancestral lands and the communities depending on them… “Alongside opposing H.R. 4374, the APCG delegation intends to correct the record and dispel misinformation surrounding the creation and effects of the protections in Public Land Order No. 7923. This includes describing the long history and collaborative work between the Navajo Nation and the Pueblos to design and advocate for the 10-mile withdrawal, and the significant tribal consultation with the Navajo Nation that preceded the withdrawal. The APCG delegation will also clarify that the Navajo Nation ensured from the beginning that Navajo Allottees would continue receiving all oil and gas royalties they are currently receiving and that their rights to develop on their own land would not be limited.”

Canary Media: The biomethane boondoggle that could derail clean hydrogen
Jeff St. John, 9/11/23

“The Inflation Reduction Act could lay the groundwork for the mass production of green hydrogen, a vital zero-carbon fuel that can help clean up industries from shipping to fertilizer production. Or the law’s hundreds of billions of dollars of green hydrogen subsidies could be diverted into what critics call a massive potential greenwashing scheme, powered by fossil fuels and painted green with manure,” Canary Media reports. “As the U.S. Treasury Department labors over the rules that will govern the climate law’s hydrogen incentives — known as the 45V tax-credit program — much of the public debate has centered on defining ​“green hydrogen,” which is created using water and clean electricity instead of using fossil gas. But far less attention has been paid to the ​“renewable natural gas” (RNG) industry’s quiet push for the Treasury Department to allow clean hydrogen tax credits to go to producers who make hydrogen in the conventional, dirty way and buy the equivalent of a dodgy carbon offset that enables them to claim their production is clean. The RNG industry is pressing the Treasury Department to adopt a controversial emissions accounting practice that has its roots in California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, or LCFS. That scheme, which watchdogs say is already starting to be abused in California, allows producers of hydrogen and other fuels to cancel out their emissions by purchasing ​“carbon-negative” credits from commercial dairies and livestock operations that capture the planet-warming methane bubbling out of their manure lagoons.  California’s rules, critics say, are much more effective at turning factory-farm manure lagoons into subsidy gold mines than they are at actually reducing the carbon intensity of fuels sold in the state. In fact, many analyses indicate that they increase, rather than decrease, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.  And if the Treasury Department adopts key facets of California’s policy as it develops the climate law’s massive hydrogen subsidy program, it could replicate that outcome at a nationwide scale. That runs the risk of making 45V ​“the single greatest waste of climate money in U.S. policy history,” with the possible exception of the massive, decades-long subsidization of corn ethanol that has worsened climate and food crises, Danny Cullenward, an expert in carbon-offsets markets and a research fellow at American University, told Canary.


Reuters: Several injured in blast at Archer-Daniels-Midland plant in Illinois

“Several employees were injured at an Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) (ADM.N) facility in Decatur, Illinois, after an explosion within its processing complex, the company said in a statement on Sunday night,” Reuters reports. “Eight ADM personnel were taken to hospital via ambulance, with the extent of their injuries unknown at the time, fire department official Dan Kline said in an emailed statement, adding that the fire was now under control. ADM said the incident happened at 7:11 p.m. CDT (0011 GMT) and that the injured had been taken to a hospital. The company said it did not have a confirmed cause of the incident as of Sunday night. The Decatur site, ADM’s North American headquarters and its largest facility globally, houses a soybean crushing plant and one of the largest corn wet mills in the world. It also has the capacity to produce 375 million gallons of ethanol biofuel annually, making it the largest in the country, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.”

Guardian: The world’s biggest carbon capture facility is being built in Texas. Will it work?
Oliver Milman, 9/12/23

“Rising out of the arid scrubland of western Texas is the world’s largest project yet to remove excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, a quest that has been lauded as essential to help avert climate catastrophe,” the Guardian reports. “The project has now been awarded funding from the Biden administration, even as critics attack it as a fossil fuel industry-backed distraction… “This milestone was followed, in August, by Biden’s energy department announcing that two facilities – one a separate venture by Carbon Engineering, in the southern reaches of Texas – will be given $1.2bn to act as DAC “hubs” to help jumpstart the carbon-removal industry in the US while also purging more than 2m tons of CO2 from the atmosphere between them… “The commitments to remove such volumes of CO2 is a step change for a direct air capture industry still nascent, small-scale and unproven in its capacity to curb the worsening climate crisis, even as hope, and dollars, are ladled upon it… “But some climate campaigners have argued that DAC is, at best, a costly irrelevance to the more pressing need to cut emissions and, at worst, a cynical ploy by the fossil fuel industry to maintain its polluting status quo… “We are going to pay an oil company to pump crap out of the ground and then pay them to put some back in – it’s plainly obvious this isn’t a climate solution,” Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown, which works on responses to the climate emergency, told the Guardian. “It’s just so silly. If you just buried dollar bills it would make more sense. This has just given big oil decades of talking points to promote a fake solution so they don’t have to stop polluting today; it’s a huge greenwashing exercise and we are falling for it.” Foley told the Guardian the Biden administration would be justified in spending a smaller amount on helping academia research direct air capture, to help mop up stubbornly persistent emissions from sources such as concrete and steel manufacture, or aviation. But giving oil companies public money for such ventures is “unconscionable”, he told the Guardian, and reminiscent of the mostly fruitless backing of carbon capture and storage – the effort to capture emissions at source from power plants and other industrial facilities that has failed to catch on despite enjoying bipartisan support in Congress. “When it comes to throwing funding at big industries for things that have never been demonstrated at scale, there’s suddenly a lot of money for it,” Foley tol the Guardian. “I’ve seen this movie many times before. This is clearly playing into the big oil playbook, and to subsidize that with public money is crazy.”

Capital and Main: California utility wants customers to pay for carbon capture and hydrogen
Aaron Cantú, 9/11/23

“In the final days of California’s 2023 legislative session, a major utility is seeking industry-friendly legislation through a tactic sometimes used to avoid public scrutiny on contentious proposals,” Capital and Main reports. “Lobbyists for Sempra, and its subsidiary, SoCalGas, are asking lawmakers to introduce a bill that would allow gas companies to charge ratepayers for company investments in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and methane gas infrastructure. Other proposed legislation would speed up the approval process for hydrogen production and transportation… “The late-hour proposals, which compress months of analysis and scrutiny into just a few weeks, have sent climate and environmental justice groups scrambling. They have opposed CCS as a technology that enables continued oil, gas and coal production, and advocate strict guidelines on hydrogen — in contrast with the industry’s promotion of fossil fuel-generated hydrogen. “If we are going to invest in stuff, it needs to be stuff that gets us out of the fossil fuel world, not the stuff that perpetuates it,” Ari Eisenstadt, the energy equity manager at the California Environmental Justice Alliance, told Capital and Main… “Sempra’s political influence is far-reaching. Several of its lobbyists were once political staffers in Sacramento, and the company holds court with top-ranking legislators and agencies. The late hour maneuvering has historically been employed to avoid scrutiny for unpopular measures… “Sempra’s CCS proposal would allow gas companies to seek reimbursements by charging ratepayers for company investments in carbon capture and storage. Any additional charge to ratepayers would have to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, but the proposed legislation essentially directs the commission to approve such requests… “Sempra and its subsidiaries have donated more than $1.04 million to lawmakers since 2021.”

Rigzone: Enbridge, Divert to Establish RNG Facility in Washington
Rocky Teodoro, 9/11/23

“Enbridge Inc. and Divert Inc. are establishing a facility to convert food waste into carbon-negative renewable natural gas (RNG) in Longview, Washington,” Rigzone reports. “The $100 million, 66,000-square-foot plant will convert 100,000 tons of wasted food annually into RNG by digesters, Enbridge and Divert said in separate news releases. The plant, expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024, will be able to offset up to 23,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year at full processing capacity, the equivalent of removing 5,000 gas-powered cars from the road annually, Enbridge said in its release. In March, Enbridge acquired a 10 percent stake in Divert, and the two companies announced a $1-billion infrastructure development agreement aimed at growing the supply of RNG, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and helping solve the global issue of wasted food. The Longview facility is the first project to emerge from the agreement, Enbridge said… “The facility will also transform waste from retailers and other companies into carbon-negative renewable energy using Divert’s proprietary depackaging process and anaerobic digestion, thereby preventing the waste from emitting harmful methane in landfills, the company said.”

Colorado Sun: EPA fines Suncor for producing fuel with too many pollutants, orders company to pay $600K for clean lawn equipment 
Michael Booth, 9/7/23

“The Environmental Protection Agency has once again fined Suncor’s Commerce City refinery over air pollution issues, this time demanding $161,000 for producing gasoline with too many pollutants, while also requiring Suncor buy $600,000 in clean lawn equipment for nine metro-Denver counties with excess ozone,” the Colorado Sun reports. “The settlement announced by the EPA says Suncor in 2021 produced 32 million gallons of gasoline with excess benzene, and in 2022 made 1 million gallons of summer gasoline with too-high Reid vapor pressure, which can lead to pollution from evaporation. The fine comes on the heels of the EPA in August fining Suncor more than $300,000 for alleged violations of toxic chemical regulations during a 2019 release from the Commerce City refinery. Suncor has also been under heavy pressure from Colorado regulators over air pollution and water quality violations, while air and water quality permits are under review at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment… “The Regional Air Quality Council said it has spent Suncor fine proceeds on clean air programs a total of 10 times now. A release from RAQC Wednesday was critical of Suncor for not pursuing cleaner energy options as other companies have, and noted the latest fines “represent less than one hour’s earnings to the corporation” based on Suncor’s $1.88 billion profits in the second quarter. “No program can undo the damage from violations like Suncor’s, but initiatives like the RAQC’s Mow Down Pollution program directly reduce ozone precursors, greenhouse gas emissions, and other air pollutants in impacted areas,” David Sabados, communications and programs director for the council, told the Sun… “Colorado’s Water Quality Division is also reviewing Suncor’s request to renew permits for discharging tainted water into Sand Creek, which flows next to the sprawling plant and empties soon after into the South Platte River as it flows through southern Adams County. Environmental groups have noted frequent spikes in Suncor’s test results for PFAS “forever chemicals” at the refinery’s outflow into Sand Creek.” 


Bloomberg: Sinking Islands Turn to Court as They Fight for Climate Survival
Jess Shankleman, 9/10/23

“A group of nine small island nations are pinning their hopes on international law to force countries into cutting the carbon emissions that are causing them to sink,” Bloomberg reports. “On Monday, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, based in Hamburg, will be asked to decide whether United Nations ocean pollution laws, backed by 176 countries, also apply to planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. As sea levels rise, some islands – including Tuvalu and Vanuatu – face becoming completely submerged by the end of the century. Tuvalu’s capital Funafuti, could be flooded by 2050 if climate change is left unchecked. This latest legal push comes amid widespread frustration among small island states and developing nations that the world is acting too slowly on tackling global warming. Now they are hoping to use legal levers to push the world’s biggest polluters to act… “If the tribunal agrees with the small island nations that CO2 is indeed a form of pollution, then it would put further pressure on signatories to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Associated Press: UN report says the world is way off track to curb global warming, but offers ways to fix that

“With the world far off track on its 2015 pledge to curb global warming, a new United Nations report central to upcoming climate negotiations details how quickly and deeply energy and financial systems must change to get back on a safer path,” the Associated Press reports. “The window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all is rapidly closing,” Friday’s report warned. The globe has to cut its emissions of heat-trapping gases by 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, and 60% by 2035, the report said. To get there, the report said, “the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels is required,” using a phrase international climate negotiators have shied away from before. It also said phasing out the internal combustion engine would be a huge help. And the way money flows — such as investments, subsidies, loans, grants and payments for people and places hurt by warming’s extreme weather — also has to change, the report recommended. It said countries need to stop $450 billion in annual subsidies for coal, oil and natural gas.”

Vox: The oil industry’s cynical gamble on Arctic drilling
Rebecca Leber, 9/8/23

“The Biden administration can’t make a move in the Arctic without a political mess,” Vox reports. “This week, the administration infuriated the oil industry by canceling seven of the remaining leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge sold by the Trump administration, and proposing new regulations to block oil development in about 40 percent of the National Petroleum Reserve. Climate activists applauded the decisions. But back in March, Biden raised their ire for approving a vast ConocoPhillips initiative called the Willow Project in the National Petroleum Reserve, which will be unaffected by the new regulations… “Yet the reality of what lies behind the oil industry’s obsession with this particular part of Alaska is far more complicated. The Arctic is an especially expensive place to drill for oil, so the price of oil must be high enough to ensure a payoff. Few oil companies in recent years have shown an appetite for taking on that kind of risk, with one major exception: ConocoPhillips. The company’s stakes in the Arctic reveal far more than PR statements do about what the oil industry intends. It’s essentially a bet that climate action will fail… “The industry’s lobbying to expand Arctic drilling has spanned every administration since Bill Clinton’s… “The industry aims to squeeze as much as possible out of the cheapest oil reserves it has: areas that will produce a lot of oil for less cost. The Arctic has oil, but it doesn’t come cheaply… “For Arctic drilling to make sense economically, a company has to bank on prices at the pump remaining high and that consumer demand will still be there for decades to come. That’s in spite of expectations that EV sales will cut into demand for gasoline, with EVs on track to become half of global car sales by 2035… “They’re betting that we’re not going to be able to stick within the confines of the Paris agreement,” Wight told Vox. “Arctic oil is a fundamental bet on the future and what will and will not happen with the energy transition.” “…The major oil companies are all banking on higher oil prices through 2030 than there were from 2015-2020, according to an analysis from Energy Monitor — an expansion strategy, in other words, that depends on global demand to remain very high. They may not be pursuing the Arctic, but they are vying for development where oil and gas are more expensive, like low-quality fracking sites, deep offshore drilling, or politically unstable countries. “They’re basically making the bet the world will fry, and people will continue to buy oil and gas,” Derry-Williams told Vox.

Truthout: Oil Refineries Are Leaking Cancer-Causing Benzene Into Residential Neighborhoods
Mike Ludwig, 9/8/23

“Despite a nationwide effort to monitor and stop emissions, dangerous concentrations of the cancer-causing chemical benzene are still being detected in the air and near ground level between oil refineries and neighboring communities in the Gulf South and Midwest,” Truthout reports. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General, the federal watchdog for the EPA, released an alarming report this week exposing massive holes in regulatory efforts to track and require oil refineries to reduce harmful concentrations of benzene in the air, which overwhelmingly impacts low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that are already overburdened by industrial pollution. The EPA classifies benzene as a “national cancer risk contributor” alongside toxic pollutants such as acetaldehyde, carbon tetrachloride and naphthalene. The finding suggest that newer, well-funded oil refineries are taking steps to mitigate benzene pollution, while older refineries in states with little oversight and high levels of industrial pollution are exploiting loopholes in federal regulations that require companies to take cleanup action when benzene concentrations exceed the public health limit of nine micrograms per cubic meter at the facility’s property line. Unsurprisingly, many of the worst offenders are located in the industrial corridors of Louisiana and Texas, where the fossil fuel industry holds massive political sway, environmental enforcement is sparse, and fiery explosions, deadly accidents and pollution leaks at fossil fuel refineries and petrochemical plants are common occurrences that often result in evacuation orders for nearby residents. While overall benzene emissions were reduced nationally under the EPA monitoring program launched in 2018, by 2021 at least 25 refineries were unable prevent benzene concentrations from reaching levels so dangerous they require cleanup under federal regulations, including 13 where benzene concentrations at the refinery’s “fenceline” exceeded the public health limit for months on end, according to Andrea Martinez, the auditor who produced the report.”

Canadian Press: NDP wants Suncor CEO to tell MPs why company moving away from focus on clean energy

“NDP MP Charlie Angus will ask the natural resources committee to summon the CEO of oilsands giant Suncor when the House of Commons resumes next week,” the Canadian Press reports.”Angus said CEO Rich Kruger has a lot of explaining to do over his remarks to investors on a conference call in August. Kruger, who took over as Suncor CEO in April, said the company had a “disproportionate” focus on the longer-term energy transition to low-emitting and renewable fuels. He said it needed to revise its direction toward the immediate financial opportunities in the oilsands. “Today, we win by creating value through our large integrated asset base underpinned by oilsands,” he said on Aug. 15… “Angus, who is the NDP critic for natural resources, called Kruger’s comments “shocking” and “irresponsible.” “We’ve had thousands of people displaced, millions of hectares of forest destroyed, large sections of North America covered in toxic smoke, and as everyone was talking about the urgency of dealing with this, we have Mr. Kruger saying the only urgency he sees is making as much money as possible,” Angus said in an interview Monday. Angus said Kruger needs “to come and explain why they’re refusing to accept responsibility or even to take up a role that can reassure Canadians that they have our best interests or any of our interests at heart.”

Reuters: Chevron gambles on untested laws to halt Australia LNG strike action

“Chevron Australia no longer expects to reach a deal with unions and will instead pursue an untested legal strategy to stop industrial action at its Gorgon and Wheatstone liquefied natural gas days before it escalates into full strikes,” Reuters reports. “Hundreds of workers at the facilities, which account for over 5% of global supply, started short strikes on Friday after five days of last-minute negotiations broke down without a deal. Unions have said they will escalate to two weeks of 24-hour strikes from Thursday. Chevron said on Monday it sees “no reasonable prospect of agreement” and will apply to Australia’s industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission, for an “intractable bargaining” declaration, which, if granted, would end strikes and allow the umpire to dictate an agreement… “The case will be a landmark test of the new laws, first introduced in June, which empower the umpire to force parties into an agreement they themselves are unable to make. However, with unions set to start full blown strikes on Thursday, it is unlikely the umpire will have time to hear arguments and decide beforehand.”

E&E News: How Big Oil’s wastewater could fuel the EV revolution
Hannah Northey, Shelby Webb, 9/12/23

“Since oil and gas drilling began nearly 150 years ago, the salty wastewater it produces has been a nuisance for operators,” E&E News reports. “Now, the electric vehicle revolution could turn the industry’s billions of barrels of brine into dollars. Oil and gas companies are eyeing their own byproduct — along with naturally occurring brine found deep underground — as a source of lithium, a highly sought-after metal needed to make EV batteries… “This year, the CEOs of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. have said their companies are working on pilot projects to extract lithium from brine… “Demand for lithium — as well as other critical minerals like nickel, cobalt and graphite — is skyrocketing as automakers around the world ramp up production of EVs. Companies usually mine hardrock and clay for lithium or access the silvery-white metal through evaporation using massive ponds. But oil and gas companies are looking to an emerging suite of methods called “direct lithium extraction.” The term refers to technologies that directly remove lithium from brine in salt flats and bodies of water like California’s Salton Sea — or from the wastewater of oil and gas drilling. In 2021, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, found that a single week’s worth of water from hydraulic fracturing in Texas’ Eagle Ford shale could produce enough lithium for 300 EV batteries… “But some say the oil and gas sector’s pivot toward critical minerals needs more oversight and scrutiny. Brine can contain drilling chemicals, as well as minerals and radioactive material picked up from the underground formation, Aaron Mintzes, senior policy counsel for conservation group Earthworks, told E&E. But it is exempt from the federal law that governs most hazardous waste, known as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. “This is one example of the oil and gas sector trying to extend the life of a business model that’s ending,” Mintzes told E&E. “They do so through various carbon management techniques — carbon sequestration, use of hydrogen and now also lithium. They only have to go one, you know, one or two elements down the periodic table.”

Carbon Herald: New Report Finds Carbon Capture And Storage Far Too Expensive
Violet George, 9/11/23

“A new report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development found carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies to be very expensive in Canada,” the Carbon Herald reports. “According to the report, which focuses on carbon capture in the context of Canada’s oil and gas industry, the climate solution’s persistently high costs are rooted in the ‘high design complexity and the need for customization’. The report published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) compares the way that financing and deployment of CCS projects has been going with that of the way switching to renewable energy sources has been developing. Namely, the comparison highlights the slow pace at which CCS tends to be weaned off government support, whereas renewables only relied on subsidies from the state in their initial stages.  With that in mind, the report also addresses how expensive carbon capture is and questions the economic viability of this climate technology. Current costs of CCS projects in Canada tend to run in the upper range of the predicted costs of CAD 50–150 (~$37-110) per ton of CO2 for diluted gas streams and CAD 27–48 (~$20-35) per ton of CO2 for concentrated gas streams.”

Investopedia: Why Companies From Microsoft to Shopify Are Investing Millions in Carbon Removal

“Companies such as Microsoft, Shopify, H&M, and payments company Stripe are investing millions in carbon removal, the process of extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to limit the impact of climate change,” according to Investopedia. “It’s an effort that continues to attract investment from companies eager to show they are addressing climate issues while simultaneously lowering the cost of such efforts through rapidly evolving technologies. Corporate support for carbon capture technologies has been growing. Frontier, a nine-year carbon capture initiative founded in 2021 by Alphabet (GOOGL), Meta (META), McKinsey, Shopify (SHOP) and Stripe,2 has raised more than $1 billion in funding to help lower the cost per-metric-ton of carbon capture… “Members Stripe, Shopify, and H&M on Thursday committed to another $7 million in carbon removal technologies from 12 sustainability-focused startups: Airhive, Alkali Earth, Banyu Carbon, Carbon Atlantis, CarbonBlue, CarbonRun, EDAC Labs, Holocene, Mati, Planetary Technologies, Spiritus Technologies, and Vaulted Deep… “Those aren’t the only companies investing heavily in carbon capture. Microsoft (MSFT) has partnered with Heirloom, an industrial design startup, purchasing up to 315,000 metric tons of the former’s direct air capture technology—a carbon removal process that extracts carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. The decision comes a month after Heirloom was chosen as one of two firms awarded by the Energy Department for $1.2 billion in funding for the construction of air capture facilities.Government involvement will be necessary to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Accord. Some 40 countries have carbon pricing mechanisms, with more planning to implement them in the future.”


InsideClimate News: Private Equity Giant KKR Is Funding Environmental Racism, New Report Finds
Keerti Gopal, 9/8/23

“From the Gulf South to Canada, frontline communities are getting hit hard by fossil fuel projects supported by a powerful firm in a notoriously opaque sector of the financial industry,” InsideClimate News reports. “One of the largest private equity firms in the world, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) publicly said in a 2022 sustainability report that it is committed to environmentally responsible investing and supporting decarbonization. But a report published Thursday as part of the Private Equity Climate Risks project—an initiative investigating private equity’s impact on the climate crisis—calls the firm out for empty promises and continued harm to marginalized communities. The report focuses on three fossil fuel projects that KKR is heavily financially involved in: the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Canada, the Port Arthur Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project in Texas, and the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana. These projects exemplify environmental racism and are actively harming low-income, Black, brown, and Indigenous people, the report says. “Up to the present, these environmental violations and conflicts with community members have been occurring mostly in the dark,” Alyssa Moore, co-author of the report and a researcher for the clean energy focused data organization, Global Energy Monitor, told ICN.

Guardian: Barclays seeks climate director after protests over fossil fuel finance
Kalyeena Makortoff, 9/10/23

“Barclays has kicked off a search for a director to champion its climate efforts, after a bruising year in which the UK bank was targeted by campaigners over its environmental record,” the Guardian reports. “…The director’s responsibilities will include creating a “compelling narrative for climate transition” linked to the bank’s wider strategy, assessing “reputation and media risk” around climate issues, and working with senior stakeholders “to influence the outcome of such issues in a positive way”, according to the job posting. It comes after a challenging year for Barclays in which it was targeted by climate campaigners at its AGM in May and faced pressure over its sponsorship of Wimbledon, as well as over its ties to the National Trust. The lender has also been hit by grassroots boycotts, including by a pensioner who refused to pay her council tax because of a link to the bank. Campaigners are concerned over Barclays’ support of carbon-heavy industries, having been the top European funder of fossil fuels between 2016 and 2022, according to the Rainforest Action Network’s banking on climate chaos report…”Campaigners said the creation of such a high-level climate communications role was a sign that Barclays was growing “scared” of climate activists. Joanna Warrington, at Fossil Free London, told the Guardian: “In recent years we’ve seen campaigning pressure expand beyond the oil giants like Shell and Equinor, on to banks and the massive funding they provide to companies building new oil and gas projects that would be impossible without it. Barclays is clearly scared. This new PR role is just another way for it to armour itself up.” The hiring follows similar moves by lenders, including the Canadian bank RBC, which recently announced it was hiring a head of climate transition who will have responsibilities including producing “lasting responses to climate activism”. 


The Energy Mix: False Advertising Complaint Challenges Enbridge’s Claim of ‘Cheap’ Natural Gas

“Three climate groups filed a false advertising complaint this week against Enbridge Gas’ claim that natural gas is the cheapest form of home heating, just as the Calgary-based utility and pipeline company doubled down on gas with a C$9.4-billion buying spree in the United States,” The Energy Mix reports. “With gas network expansions in Ontario costing the average consumer $10,000 more than a high-efficiency electric heat pump over the lifetime of the equipment, “Enbridge’s dishonest marketing is duping people into signing up for its gas service,” Environmental Defence Canada Program Director Keith Brooks said in a release… “The filing with the federal Competition Bureau from Environmental Defence, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and individual residents challenges marketing aimed at households in areas where Enbridge has recently expanded its gas distribution network, the release says… “I am outraged by Enbridge’s campaign filled with misleading information about the cost and environmental impact of its polluting product,” Selwyn County, Ontario resident Guy Hanchet said in the Environmental Defence release. A proposed new pipeline in the area “will deliver harmful fossil gas to our residents who will be locked in to higher prices for decades.” “…The false advertising claim landed just two days after Enbridge announced it was spending $9.4 billion to buy three gas pipeline companies in the United States from Virginia-based Dominion Energy, “betting big on the long-term value of natural gas in the energy transition as the world seeks to shift away from more polluting forms of fuel,” the Globe and Mail reports.

Hollywood Reporter: Filmmakers Call on Toronto Film Festival to Drop “Polluting” RBC as Sponsor for Financing Oil Projects

“An open letter signed by 214 filmmakers has called on the Toronto Film Festival to drop longtime sponsor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) for financing oil projects on Indigenous lands and in BIPOC communities,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Multiple leading Indigenous and BIPOC organizations and nations have denounced the bank’s indiscriminate enabling of projects on their lands, which they argue fail to respect their fundamental rights,” the letter signed by directors like Vincenzo Natali, Zach Lipovsky and Andrew Currie and addressed to TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, stated… “Their letter was timed for the opening of TIFF, where RBC has been a key sponsor for 16 years and this year is sponsoring the Los Angeles Times studio for celebrity interview, RBC House, a venue for TIFF partners, and a festival party for The Black Academy on Sept. 10, at RBC House… “In 2022, Hollywood actors Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johanssen and Leonardo DiCaprio were among celebrities to back a No More Dirty Banks campaign that singled out RBC for financing the northern British Columbia pipeline that cut through the Wet’suwet’en territory in northwestern British Columbia without the consent of local hereditary chiefs… “Representatives of the Toronto Film Festival were not available for comment on Thursday.”

Globe and Mail: Actors, filmmakers call on TIFF to end partnership with RBC over environmental concerns
BARRY HERTZ, 9/11/23

“More than 200 film-industry professionals, including such Hollywood stars as Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, Joaquin Phoenix and Rachel McAdams have signed an open letter calling on the Toronto International Film Festival to sever its ties with Royal Bank of Canada, one of TIFF’s major sponsors,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The filmmakers signed on to the campaign, called RBC Off Screen, because of their concerns over what organizers call RBC’s track record of “enabling projects on Indigenous lands without consent, snubbing of leaders from impacted nations as well as other BIPOC leaders, while leading the world’s banks in its investments in fossil fuels.” Quebec filmmaker Elza Kephart, who helped initiate the campaign, told the Globe and Mail in a statement that “filmmakers have spoken: we want oil and gas out of our industry. Now TIFF must decide between one particularly problematic sponsor and its community.” On his Twitter account, Ruffalo, whose new Netflix series All the Light We Cannot See premiered at TIFF over the weekend, alleged that “RBC is one of the biggest funders of fossil fuels with the worst record of green washing and First Nation abuses through their fossil fuels and extraction projects. They fight against us.” “…Alongside Visa and Bulgari, RBC is one of TIFF’s major sponsors. Last month, it was announced that TIFF’s lead sponsor Bell, which contributes roughly $5-million each year to the not-for-profit arts organization, would be ending its 28-year partnership with the festival after this year’s edition.”

MSNBC: Follow the money: Fracking billionaires funding anti-renewable energy propaganda cartoons

“Alex Wagner reports on the role of Farris and Dan Wilks, billionaire brothers who made their fortune in fracking, in funding propaganda cartoons criticizing solar and wind power. The cartoons are hosted by PragerU Kids, which is making inroads into the education systems of states with Republican governors,” MSNBC reports.

InsideClimate News: Experts Warn of ‘Denialism Comeback’ Ahead of November’s Global Climate Talks
Kristoffer Tigue, 9/8/23

“A “heat wave scam” is what one social media user called the record-high temperatures reported by European scientists late last month. In a separate post, another account referred to new policies aimed at reducing the carbon emissions of buildings as “climate communism.” As of Friday, the two social media posts have been viewed at least 2 million times—more eyeballs than some of the biggest primetime cable news shows will average in a week,” InsideClimate News reports. “The internet is awash with misinformation about the climate crisis, even as its effects on the planet couldn’t be more clear. The summer of 2023 is officially the hottest on record, the World Meteorological Organization reported this week… “Yet despite those impacts playing out in real time, conspiracy theories and misleading claims about climate change continue to spread online at alarming rates, muddying public debate and exacerbating political divides at a time when scientists say some of the worst consequences of global warming can still be avoided if societies can just find a way to cooperate. Recent reports show climate misinformation has become a growing issue not just in Western countries like the U.S. or Britain, but also in Latin America and China. “Denialism is making a real comeback, but in a way that is framed for the current conspiratorial universe,” Jennie King, head of climate research and policy at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a watchdog group focused on combating disinformation and human rights abuses, said in an interview last month with Carbon Brief. “So, rather than ‘don’t trust the science,’ it is much more ‘don’t trust the scientists.’” That “conspiratorial” aspect also makes fighting today’s misinformation harder than it used to be, King added. “Because it’s not grounded in the idea that there isn’t an evidence base or that climate modeling is unreliable,” she said. “It’s much more a reflection of a wholesale erosion of trust in institutions.”


Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Setting ourselves apart: Summit’s dedication to communities, decarbonization, and the future of SD
Lee Blank is CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions, 9/10/23

“During the last two years, since the introduction of Summit Carbon Solutions’ carbon capture and sequestration project in South Dakota, many have witnessed our unwavering commitment not only to decarbonization but to the communities we serve,” Lee Blank writes for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “…The figures speak for themselves: 73% of the Right of Way (ROW) secured in South Dakota is tangible proof of our commitment to infrastructure and community needs. Behind each easement are hours of negotiations, addressing concerns, thousands of reroutes, and tending to individual needs of landowners… “While the numbers are impressive, our proudest achievement is the depth of our community engagement… “With seven safety tour events and 2,200 landowner invitations sent out, we reaffirmed our dedication to the community’s safety and welfare… “Our openness to dialogue stands out strikingly. Since March 2021, our record of more than 670 communications, 271 in-person meetings, and 49 quarterly updates with South Dakota County Commissioners attests to our commitment to transparent and continuous communication… “Respecting the counties’ wishes, we’re ready to ensure a viable path forward for our route, collaboratively navigating challenges, and envisioning a prosperous future together… “Summit Carbon Solutions is not just a company; it’s a community-centric initiative, setting new standards in collaboration, transparency, and dedication for South Dakota’s sustainable energy future.”

Bismarck Tribune: Pipeline invests in tech, North Dakota’s farmers, state’s economy and future
Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, is a state senator and Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, is a state representative, 9/11/23

“For many years, North Dakota’s strength has been its commitment to balanced and forward-looking policies, particularly in the realms of agriculture and energy. As long-serving members of North Dakota’s legislative body — a state senator and a state representative —we take pride in having contributed to this robust policy environment, and understand what a delicate balance it is. No one knows better than we do, if farmers are doing well, everyone is doing well,” Terry Wanzek and Mike Brandenburg write for the Bismarck Tribune. “…The future is here, and it demands that we incorporate innovative solutions like carbon capture and storage (CCS) to ensure the continued prosperity of our leading industries… “This project could position North Dakota as a leader in CCS technology, while also supporting our critical ethanol, agricultural, and energy industries. It’s worth noting that 80% of landowners and farmers along the pipeline’s proposed route have already approved easements, many of whom are our constituents. After some initial glitches, the pipeline company is offering competitive easement prices, accommodating drain tile and insurance requirements, and coordinating with landowners to mitigate construction impact… “Contrary to some narratives that differentiate CO2 emissions from coal and ethanol, the reality is that capturing and storing carbon is beneficial irrespective of the source… “.It is our hope that the Public Service Commission will carefully review any remaining concerns and ultimately approve this critical project. This isn’t just an investment in technology; it’s an investment in North Dakota’s farmers, in our state’s economy, and in our future.”

Journal Courier: Carbon capture can enable realistic path to net zero emissions 
Hugh Daigle is associate professor of petroleum and geosystems engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, 9/12/23

“As governments implement ambitious policies and invest hundreds of billions in new technologies to decarbonize their economies in the lead-up to the United Nation’s COP28 climate change conference, the European Union recently joined 17 other countries in calling on world leaders to prioritize “a total phaseout of fossil fuels by 2050”and warning that carbon capture and storage is no substitute for “an urgent and just transition to renewables,” Hugh Daigle writes for the Journal Courier. “…That is the goal of the seminal COP21 Paris Agreement and everyone — from the IPCC to the International Energy Agency, U.S., UAE, China, Canada and even, ironically, the EU’s executive cabinet, the European Commission — agrees: We cannot achieve it without carbon capture and storage… “To achieve net zero goals, however, the IEA says we’ll need to significantly increase this capture capacity to 7.6 billion tons of carbon per year by 2050… “Research and development of clean alternatives is ongoing, but current innovations are nowhere near ready or capable of being effectively deployed at the scale necessary to rapidly decarbonize these industries. In the meantime, carbon capture and storage provides a realistic, immediately viable pathway to decarbonization as we continue to explore economically feasible fossil fuel alternatives… “Carbon capture and storage is by no means the only solution, but it is an important and well-established one. Provably capable of immediate, large-scale emissions reductions, accelerated deployment will give us a fighting chance in avoiding the most devastating consequences of climate change by enabling a realistic path to net zero as we scale-up clean energy alternatives.”

The Hill: Labeling innovation as ‘greenwashing’ diminishes the climate fight
Sarah E. Hunt is president of the Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy and director of policy and strategy at the Arizona State University Rob & Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service. Previously, she ran clean energy and climate change programs at the American Legislative Exchange Council… 9/9/23

“…Unfortunately, we’re seeing that dynamic play out in the environmental space, where a particular subset of activists is working to denigrate and undermine climate progress in the private sector rather than supporting actual climate action,” Sarah E. Hunt writes for The Hill. “…Already, these firms have invested in nearly 80 carbon capture and storage projects that will soon allow energy operations to tap and utilize carbon dioxide rather than release it… “You’d think every environmental activist would applaud news that these considerable investments are creating meaningful results. And many do. But, sadly, some are responding with public condemnation and lawsuits instead… “Environmental groups can’t have it both ways. Critics of energy firms first disparaged them for taking insufficient action on climate change and now dismiss their robust discussion of climate-conscious plans as greenwashing. These lawsuits and the associated “greenwashing” claims may be designed to raise the profile of certain activists and groups in D.C., but they are not cost-free. They actually present a very serious danger to legitimate efforts to advance climate action. And it’s not hard to see why. They disincentivize energy producers from developing the low-carbon innovative technologies we’ll need to win on climate. They also create clouds of liability for companies that publicly showcase the good work they’re doing in this area… “The truth is that environmental groups and energy firms today are natural allies in the fight against climate change… “And getting there will require serious cooperation between environmental groups and energy firms. ”

AgWeb: John Phipps: Are Farmers For or Against Carbon Pipelines in the U.S.?
John Phipps, 8/29/23

“Many are concerned about the safety of the pipeline and underground storage of the CO2.  Also is this project really necessary?” It’s hard to answer this without being perceived as insensitive, but like most Americans and farmers, I am largely indifferent,” John Phipps writes for AgWeb. “For projects involving voluntary or involuntary use of private land, the public has three basic attitudes: NIMBY – not in my backyard, where landowners directly affected oppose vehemently; YIMBY – yes in my backyard. This is a new and small attitude in areas where either economic development needs like a factory or high-density housing such as apartments are desperately needed to ensure any future; and YIOBY – yes in other backyards. This is the largest group. Projects like pipelines, transmission line or solar arrays are bitterly and usually unsuccessfully opposed, but only by those affected. My experience is you don’t see any citizens who live out of eyesight of a project at public meetings when such projects are proposed. And no neighbor in his right mind would speak up in support… “We’ve farmed ground when a pipeline was installed, and my experience is it takes over a decade or more for the strip to not be noticed on the yield map. Subterranean storage of CO2 has a long history of minimal risks. Summing up, pipelines affect less than one percent but affect them 100 percent. The reality is the rest of us are YIOBYs.”

Daily Kos: If the pipeline breaks: the Great Lakes are in peril
Alonso del Arte, 9/11/23

“It is a miracle that the Ambassador Bridge hasn’t collapsed,” Alonso del Arte writes for Daily Kos. “On September 11, 2001, as the World Trade Center in New York collapsed, many people in Michigan and Ontario worried that the Ambassador Bridge would be targeted next. Destroying that bridge would have been a crippling blow to commerce between Canada and the United States… “It’s also a miracle that Enbridge’s Line 5 hasn’t ruptured. It’s a much older light crude oil pipeline than pipelines that have already broken. It is a certainty that Line 5 will break. Enbridge is not to be trusted. The only reason they told us about the 2018 anchor strike is because they wanted to sue the shipping company. We don’t know when Line 5 will break nor how bad it would be. But it can be bad enough to destroy the Great Lakes, if it breaks under the Mackinac Straits… “An oil spill in a small lake that’s walled off from other lakes — like maybe Walled Lake? — would be quite bad enough. But an oil spill under the Mackinac Straits would be devastating… “Enbridge doesn’t give a damn about Michigan jobs and they don’t care all that much about the common man’s energy costs either. Enbridge stock dividends are getting close to paying 90¢ dividends per share. That’s the kind of thing Enbridge cares about… “Enbridge has pledged billions of dollars for clean up if Line 5 breaks. But all the money in the world can’t replace the Great Lakes if we lose them. That is something I don’t want to be proven right on. The Enbridge executives can survive a Great Lakes catastrophe, they have the means to flee somewhere far away enough that still has water. I don’t. Do you?”

Resource Works: The world still needs Canadian oil
Josiah Haynes is the Director of Content at Resource Works, an educational advocacy not-for-profit supporting responsible natural resource development, 9/11/23

“Canada’s oilsands producers began the summer looking forward to increased oil sales produced with lower emissions,” Josiah Haynes writes for Resource Works. “…Market-watcher S&P Global Commodity Insights forecast oilsands production of 3.7 million barrels per day by 2030, which is half a million barrels per day more than today… “The expected opening of Trans Mountain’s TMX pipeline expansion in 2024 would give the producers another route to reach US and overseas customers, contributing to S&P’s “debottlenecking.” “…If the emissions targets prove too stringent, unrealistic or unattainable, further investment, jobs and economic benefits to Canadians could be at risk… “Yet the federal government has spoken of an ambitious 42 percent reduction from 2019 levels by 2030 in carbon emissions from the oil and gas sector, which S&P suggested may require the oilsands to cut potential production by up to 1.3 million barrels per day. That, said S&P, could kill 5,400 to 9,500 jobs… “In a further step, Minister Guilbeault recently released guidelines that will limit when public funds are used to support oil and development in an effort to crack down on what the federal government is calling “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” “…Indeed, considering the enormous cost of emissions reduction plans currently proposed by the Pathways Alliance, a partnership between Canada’s six largest oilsands producers, the case could be made for further government investments… “The Alliance plans to spend around $24 billion on a CCS (carbon capture and storage) network and other technologies to achieve net-zero emissions in the oilsands by 2050… “Achieving Canada’s net-zero goals will require a Herculean effort to attract the capital needed to rebuild or create that infrastructure, as the Pathways Alliance is now doing. Government support is not enough. Who will pay for the transition, if not the transitioning industries? And if that is the case, federal policies must not simply convince companies to relocate to where they don’t have emissions caps or other punitive regulations… “Or, to put it another way, the oilsands can only invest in decarbonization if the government doesn’t force them into decline or tax them out of business… “Efforts to reduce emissions should not prematurely cut Canadian oil and gas production. The world continues to rely on fossil fuels, and it should be Canada, not Russia, Iran or others who benefit. Lowering the emissions intensity of the products we sell on global markets is the objective – not merely replacing Canadian oil and gas products with those produced in other, less climate-conscious jurisdictions.”

Reuters: Time to target fossil fuel demand, not supply
Hugo Dixon, 9/10/23

“Just stop oil production – and, for that matter, gas and coal supply. Then there will be hardly any greenhouse gas emissions. Mission accomplished,” Hugo Dixon writes for Reuters. “It’s a seductive theory. With global emissions still rising and the northern hemisphere suffering the hottest summer on record, many climate change activists want companies to stop pumping crude. They also want investors to stop funding the fossil fuel industry – and to put an end to coal, gas and oil-fired power generation. Campaigners are, of course, right that the world needs to cut its use of fossil fuels. But focussing on curbing supply is not as effective as pushing for measures that cut demand – such as carbon taxes, faster permissioning of renewable energy and green subsidies. International climate negotiators are also wrangling over whether to “phase down” fossil fuels. The diplomatic texts don’t spell out whether it is supply or demand that should be cut. Though politicians sometimes talk about phasing down “use”, which puts the emphasis on reducing consumption, the ambiguity of the official language may not be helpful. After all, big fossil fuel producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia are opposed to any suggestion that they need to cut production. They have so far stymied various attempts to get a global deal to phase down fossil fuels, including at COP27, last year’s United Nations climate change conference and last weekend’s Group of 20 summit… “Some climate campaigners don’t like anything that would let the producers off the hook. They argue it is necessary to have a pincer movement – driving down both supply and demand… “Insofar as governments are willing to push up the costs of energy for their consumers, it would be better to tax consumption of fossil fuels more. That way, they would capture the extra revenues. They could use the money to cushion the blow for their most vulnerable citizens – and help poorer countries grow in a green way. Curbing demand is the best way to cut supply. Investors and banks would stop funding the industry because they would lose money from doing so – not because they thought it bad for the planet. The fossil fuel industry would cut back on production… “Many economists favour taxing greenhouse gas emissions – on the “polluter pays” principle. Demand for fossil fuels will fall if they are more expensive – and economies will have a strong incentive to switch to renewable energy… “Such measures are cutting fossil fuel use from what it would have been. But it’s too little, too late. Maybe it’s time for climate campaigners to chain themselves to their countries’ parliaments and demand higher carbon taxes.”

Houston Chronicle: To fight climate change, stop offshore drilling. Now. (Opinion)
Armon Alex and Maggie Peacock are co-founders of the Gulf of Mexico Youth Climate Summit and Youth Leadership Council, and are members of EarthEcho International. They live in Corpus Christi, 9/9/23

“This summer set all kinds of records, but they aren’t the kind of records we should be proud of,” Armon Alex and Maggie Peacock write for the Houston Chronicle. “…The reality is, we know exactly what’s making these life-threatening heat waves worse and more common: fossil fuel-driven climate change. And despite the widespread data, reports and studies that all confirm the root of the issue, we have leaders in the United States and across the world ignoring the solutions and continuing to push us to the point of no return. We’ve been given a dire warning — the continued reliance on fossil fuels is incompatible with a liveable future. But despite this clear instruction from the world’s leading scientists, the Biden administration has issued numerous oil and gas permit approvals, including liquefied natural gas projects, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Willow project and multiple leases for offshore drilling… “This month, the Biden administration will release its Five Year Plan for offshore oil and gas drilling in Alaskan and Gulf waters. The draft plan proposed anywhere from zero to 11 potential leases — 10 here in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Cook Inlet of Alaska — which is in direct opposition to President Joe Biden’s campaign commitments to end new drilling on our public lands and waters. If Biden and his administration decide to move forward with all 11 leases, the result could be anywhere from the same amount of carbon emissions as the Willow project to 10 times as much. Even though Biden has the authority to include no new leases in the final plan, many — including us  — are worried that this won’t be the case, especially given recent remarks by the plan’s head. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that when it comes to drilling for oil and gas, “I’m not running this department for the progressives who want to keep it (oil) in the ground. This is for the whole country.”  “…The vast majority of us will not experience any benefits from new leasing in the Five Year Plan. Instead, the oil and gas companies that are driving our planet to destruction and making record-breaking profits while doing so will win from the continued use of fossil fuels… “We cannot continue to accept the status quo of drilling for oil and gas, especially when our communities here in Texas and nationwide face record heat, extreme weather disasters and deadly air conditions exacerbated by the continued use of fossil fuels… “We urge Biden, Haaland and the rest of the administration to choose to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and finalize a plan with no wiggle room for new leases for offshore drilling. Our oceans, climate, communities and future depend on it.”

The Hill: Don’t sacrifice sacred lands to the oil industry
Mark Mitchell is chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, comprised of the 20 federally recognized Indian tribes in New Mexico, 9/11/23

“The Greater Chaco Region, an irreplaceable tapestry of history and sacred significance to the Pueblos and other tribes, stands threatened by the newly introduced H.R. 4374 “Energy Opportunities for All Act,” Mark Mitchell writes for The Hill. “Veiled as a measure to create economic opportunities, this act seeks to nullify the Department of the Interior’s Public Land Order No. 7923, which withdrew federal land and minerals within an approximately 10-mile withdrawal area encircling the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico from new mineral leasing and development for 20 years. The Greater Chaco Region is not merely a tract on a map; it is a sacred repository of our shared cultural heritage. Our ancestors lived and thrived there, establishing intricate ceremonial roads, astronomical observatories and a vast trade network that spread across the continent. The ancestral remnants, petroglyphs and countless other cultural and archaeological resources within the region tell us their stories and form a vital link to our past. We continue to visit this sacred place through song, prayer and pilgrimage and important spiritual beings remain rooted there… “United, we testified before the very congressional committee where H.R. 4374 was heard. So, it was with deep regret that we observed the sudden pivot by the Navajo Nation… “The real economic threat to the interests of Navajo allottees comes not from the withdrawal but from the oil and gas industry itself… “H.R. 4374 presents a false choice: economic prosperity through mineral extraction but at the expense of our sacred sites and shared cultural landscape. It falsely claims the withdrawal will harm the Navajo allottees’ existing oil and gas payments, while sidestepping the enormous environmental and health impacts already affecting those local communities… “If a significant cultural site like Chaco Canyon is at risk, so are other sites held sacred by America’s first people. Only by standing united can we truly honor the past, serve the present and safeguard the future.”

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