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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/13/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 13, 2023



  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowa utility regulators want to finish Summit hearing by month’s end

  • Pipeline Fighters Hub: Witnesses for Summit Carbon Pipeline Testify at Iowa Utilities Board [VIDEO]

  • KMA: Summit official quizzed on South Dakota pipeline developments

  • Radio Iowa: Summit VP says permits denials in Dakotas shouldn’t impact Iowa process

  • KELO: Summit pipeline denial sets stage for legislative battle

  • KCHA: Presidential Hopeful Binkley Takes Stand Against Carbon Pipelines

  • E&E News: D.C. Circuit dismisses Mountain Valley lawsuit

  • InForum: Environmental review leaves fate of Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota hanging

  • Law360: Enbridge Urges 7th Circ. To Axe $5M Pipeline Removal Order

  • Northern Journal: Amid natural gas crunch, an Alaska utility asks to resurrect in-state gas pipeline

  • Liberation News: Coalition unites to stop gas pipeline expansion in Pacific Northwest

  • WPLN: Justin J. Pearson awarded Sierra Club’s highest honor for leadership stopping oil pipeline in Memphis


  • OpenSecrets: Carbon capture draws millions in lobbying, billions in federal subsidies

  • Washington Post: Biden’s climate law will curb power-sector emissions, EPA projects

  • E&E News: Trump vows to block climate litigation against Big Oil

  • S&P Global Platts: There She Blows: Interior Whales On Oil Industry With Offshore Leasing Restrictions



  • Bloomberg: Big Oil’s Climate Fix Is Running Out of Time to Prove Itself

  • E&E News: Carbon capture to spur surge in CO2 shipping — report

  • Reuters: Alberta expects to unveil carbon capture incentive program in months

  • CBC: ‘They’re ramming it down our throats,’ Cold Lake First Nation Chief says of Pathways carbon capture project

  • Guardian: ‘Beginning of the end’ of fossil fuel era approaching, says IEA


  • Guardian: New York University will divest from fossil fuels in win for student activists

  • E&E News: Senators to question SEC chair on upcoming climate rule



Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowa utility regulators want to finish Summit hearing by month’s end

“The Iowa Utilities Board seeks to complete an evidentiary hearing for Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline proposal by the end of September, according to a recent board order,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “…The board has not previously indicated a timeline to complete the hearing, but it fits with a potential end date laid out by a Summit attorney last month… “The abbreviated schedule of about six weeks that would result from finishing in September — along with the board’s decision to start the hearing two months earlier — has led pipeline opponents, state legislators and others to criticize the process as rushed. Some allege that elected leaders have quietly advanced the project over objections from their constituents. The board revealed in its Monday order that it has rented a facility in Fort Dodge to host the hearing until Sept. 28. “The IUB’s Summit Carbon Solutions hearing was planned to continue until completed,” Don Tormey, a spokesperson for the board, told the Dispatch. “When contractual arrangements were made with the venue, it was undetermined how many non-intervening landowners would wish to testify and how long cross-examination of witnesses would take.” It’s unclear how the hearing might proceed after September, Tormey tol the Dispatch. The IUB is reviewing its other commitments “to determine when additional hearing dates can be scheduled,” he told the Dispatch. “There is virtually no chance all testimony is concluded by end of day Sept. 28,” Brian Jorde, an attorney for more than 100 landowners affected by Summit’s proposal in multiple states, told the Iowa Capital Dispatch… “Jorde has also criticized the IUB’s reluctance to establish a concrete schedule for testimony and noted the difficulty of ensuring his witnesses will be available. Some affected landowners and expert witnesses do not live in Iowa. “The very frustrating aspect is the board has known the time constraints of reserving the Fort Dodge venue for months and could have and should have told the parties of the start date and the end date,” he said… “Also on Tuesday, a group of Republican state lawmakers joined a pending motion to subpoena Bruce Rastetter, the co-founder of Summit. His testimony is sought to elaborate on the ownership of the company. The Republican Legislative Intervenors for Justice “believe the general public and, particularly, all citizens of Iowa have a right to know the identity of the persons who are to be in control of the pipeline, should it ever be constructed and caused to be operational,” wrote Rep. Charley Thomson, R-Charles City, who is an attorney.

Pipeline Fighters Hub: Witnesses for Summit Carbon Pipeline Testify at Iowa Utilities Board [VIDEO]

“Executives from Summit Carbon Solutions have begun to take the witness stand before the Iowa Utilities Board along with other expert witnesses testifying in favor of the company’s proposed hazardous CO2 pipeline project currently seeking a permit and eminent domain authority to seize Iowa farmers’ land,” according to the Pipeline Fighters Hub. “Bold Alliance is capturing video recordings of the proceedings, which are streamed live but not archived by the Iowa Utilities Board. Last week, Summit Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Powell testified for several hours. Also taking the stand last week were Summit CCO James Pirolli; Erik Schovanec, Summit’s Director of Pipeline & Facilities; and Micah Rorie, Summit’s VP of Land & Right-of-Way. Along with executives from the company, Summit also called expert witnesses including Andrew Phillips, who testified on an economic study of the benefits of the pipeline Summit commissioned from Ernst & Young; James Broghammer, CEO of Summit-partnered ethanol plant Pine Lake Corn Processors; Jeremy Ellingson, COO of drainage tile contractor Ellingson Companies; and Aaron Dejoia, of Soil and Ecological Solutions. This week, testimony from Summit executives and witnesses continued with additional testimony from Summit’s Micah Rorie; Dr. Jon Schmidt, VP, Environmental and Regulatory Services, EXP Energy Services, who testified on Summit’s efforts to acquire environmental permits; Bryan Loque, VP, Asset Integrity & Corrosion, Audubon Companies, who testified on plume modeling; and Dr. Michael Lumpkin, a toxicologist called by Summit to downplay the risks of CO2 exposure to humans. Yet this week, Summit is expected to call witnesses including Kent Muhlbauer, Rod Dillon, Brigham A. McCown, and John Godfrey.”

KMA: Summit official quizzed on South Dakota pipeline developments
Mike Peterson, 9/12/23

“Developments in nearby states are impacting testimony in the Iowa Utilities Board’s continuing pipeline hearing,” KMA reports. “Micah Rorie, vice president of land and rights of way with Summit Carbon Solutions, was the latest in a series of company officials taking the witness stand at the IUB’s evidentiary hearing concerning Summit’s permit application for the proposed Midwest Express CO2 pipeline. Storm Lake attorney John Murray represents landowners opposed to constructing the pipeline through a 700-mile path across western Iowa. During cross examination Tuesday morning, Murray quizzed Rorie about the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission’s rejection Monday of a similar application for the project. “We know that not only has North Dakota denied this permit,” said Murray, “but now we learned over the weekend–or at least yesterday (Monday) that South Dakota has not granted its permit to Summit, correct?” “…Murray asked Rorie how the company knows that the South Dakota commission will eventually approve Summit’s application… “So, isn’t it possible that South Dakota won’t grant Summit a permit–isn’t that a posibility?” asked Murray. “I don’t like to think that way, but I guess it’s a possibility,” said Rorie. Rorie acknowledged that there’s also no guarantee North Dakota’s PSC will okay the company’s amended application… “Given the application rejections in North and South Dakota, Murray asked Rorie whether Summit was building “a pipeline to nowhwere.” “I don’t see it that way,” said Rorie. 

Radio Iowa: Summit VP says permits denials in Dakotas shouldn’t impact Iowa process
O. Kay Henderson, 9/12/23

“A vice president for Summit Carbon Solutions says rejected requests to build the company’s carbon pipeline in North and South Dakota should not impact its pursuit of a construction permit in Iowa,” Radio Iowa reports. “Micah Rorie is in charge of land acquisition for the company and took the witness stand this morning at an Iowa Utilities Board hearing in Fort Dodge. “I was asked the question last week about whether I thought we ought to get a permit without other state permits in play,” Rorie said, “to which I responded, ‘Yes, I think we ought to seek a permit in Iowa regardless of what’s going on in other states.’” “…John Murray, an attorney from Storm Lake, also asked Rorie about last month’s denial of a permit to extend Summit’s pipeline through North Dakota, where the company plans to store its liquid carbon underground. “Isn’t it possible that you’re building a pipeline to nowhere?” Murray asked… “Rorie said over 1200 Iowa landowners have voluntarily signed easements that give Summit access to over 3300 parcels of land along its proposed route through Iowa. The company is asking the Iowa Utilities Board for eminent domain authority to force 469 Iowa landowners who object to the project to sign property easements.”

KELO: Summit pipeline denial sets stage for legislative battle
Tom Rooney, 9/12/23

“Pipeline opponents are riding high following the Public Utilities Commission decision to deny permits for two carbon capture pipelines in South Dakota,” KELO reports. “State Representative Karla Lems of Canton told KELO the counties that approved safety setback zones were key. Lems told KELO this will also give the Legislature another opportunity to consider eminent domain laws related to the pipelines… “Pipeline opponents were concerned the permits would be approved before the 2024 legislative session. Representative Lems told KELO the denials give them time to work on legislative strategy. Lems sponsored a bill in this year’s legislative session to protect landowner’s property rights, but the bill failed in the state Senate. Senate Majority Leader Casey Crabtree of Madison doesn’t see that changing next year… “That sets the stage for a legislative battle in Pierre in January.”

KCHA: Presidential Hopeful Binkley Takes Stand Against Carbon Pipelines
Mark Pitz, 9/12/23

“Republican presidential hopeful Ryan Binkley has come out against the construction of underground carbon capture pipelines,” KCHA reports. “Binkley recently hosted the Zoom meeting, Fighting for the Heartland, in response to pipelines that Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures want to build in Iowa, including in Floyd, Chickasaw, Mitchell, Butler, Bremer, Fayette, Franklin and Cerro Gordo counties. Many landowners impacted directly by proposed pipeline routes have been speaking out, but Binkley also encouraged those landowners to spread the message to all landowners… “Binkley, who campaigned in Charles City in early July, admits he was not aware of the carbon pipeline issue until he came to Iowa… “Binkley says the pipeline companies’ efforts to use eminent domain to acquire the land needed for their projects issue is about constitutional rights, which extends beyond the state and the Midwest. He’s also collecting online signatures to show overwhelming opposition to the pipelines.”

E&E News: D.C. Circuit dismisses Mountain Valley lawsuit
Niina H. Farah, 9/11/23

“A federal appeals court has sidestepped making a decision on whether Congress acted unconstitutionally when it required completion of the Mountain Valley pipeline as part of the debt ceiling deal,” E&E News reports. “On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted environmental groups’ requests to voluntarily dismiss their challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of extensions for construction of the 303-mile project through West Virginia and Virginia… “The company claimed in a filing this summer that the lawsuit was moot after President Joe Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act into law in June. A provision of the law directed agencies to issue permits necessary for the pipeline’s construction and stripped federal courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to those approvals. Passage of the law prompted critics of the pipeline to call Congress’ actions unconstitutional. They launched an unsuccessful challenge against the legislation in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Virginia and has heard multiple lawsuits against the Mountain Valley pipeline.”

InForum: Environmental review leaves fate of Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota hanging
Patrick Springer, 9/13/23

“The fate of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline remains uncertain as federal officials have outlined alternatives ranging from taking no action to abandoning or rerouting the pipeline,” InForum reports. “…The Corps did not select a preferred option among five alternatives it considered and will make its selection after reviewing public and agency comments… “North Dakota officials are urging the Corps to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they said provides important transportation infrastructure to carry oil to market. “The Dakota Access Pipeline is vital energy infrastructure for our nation that has been safely operating for six years,” Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. told InForum. “This pipeline transports nearly half of the light, sweet crude oil produced by our state and the Three Affiliated Tribes to consumers throughout the Midwest.” “…The Dakota Access Pipeline saga has gone on for nearly a decade, almost as long as I have been serving North Dakotans in Congress,” Sen. Kevin Cramer told InForum. “I fundamentally disagree with the need for an Environmental Impact Statement especially after the pipeline has been safely operational for several years.” Gov. Doug Burgum rejected three of the options, which would outright or effectively shut down the pipeline, which he said alleviates the need for thousands of trucks and hundreds of rail cars to carry the crude oil. “This is simply unacceptable and would only force oil onto other modes of transportation that are more costly to consumers, less safe and less friendly to the environment,” Burgum told InForum. “The Corps should bring an end to this unnecessary and costly process by reaffirming the existing easement,” which allows the pipeline to operate.”

Law360: Enbridge Urges 7th Circ. To Axe $5M Pipeline Removal Order
Tom Lotshaw, 9/12/23

“Enbridge Energy wants the Seventh Circuit to undo an order directing it to pay $5.2 million for trespassing and remove its “Line 5” pipeline from Wisconsin tribal lands in three years, claiming the tribe breached an agreement for continued operations and a judge failed to weigh harms a shutdown could have,” Law360 reports. 

Northern Journal: Amid natural gas crunch, an Alaska utility asks to resurrect in-state gas pipeline
Nathaniel Herz, 9/12/23

“For the past several years, Alaska’s elected leaders have largely set aside a proposed natural gas pipeline that would connect the state’s huge North Slope oil fields solely with urban homeowners and electric utilities, dismissing the idea as too expensive,” Northern Journal reports. “Instead, they’ve prioritized a much larger project that would export liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Asia… “Enstar Natural Gas, which serves some 60% of the state’s population, recently asked for permission to take over the proposal from the Alaska government agency that currently owns it, according to a copy of Enstar’s request reviewed by Northern Journal… “Despite Enstar’s enthusiasm, the in-state pipeline project faces a major hurdle: its cost, last estimated — several years ago — to be some $10 billion. A report commissioned by Enstar earlier this year said that without subsidies, the project would supply gas at no less than $28 per thousand cubic feet. That’s more than three times the $8 that utilities pay now. And it’s still more than twice as expensive than the $12 utilities expect to pay for imported LNG.” “…If state government subsidizes the project or builds it itself, that could reduce the price of in-state pipeline gas to as little as $7.30, the report found. But the expense could be enormous — a fact that Enstar’s own chief executive, John Sims, acknowledged in an interview last month, before his company’s request was made public. “In order to make it cost-competitive, unless there’s additional demand that comes on that pipeline over and above what’s existing today, it’s going to have to have about an $8 billion grant,” Sims told the Journal. He added: “I don’t think there’s any interest from the state Legislature to give a few billion dollars for a pipeline.”

Liberation News: Coalition unites to stop gas pipeline expansion in Pacific Northwest
Mitchell Malloy, Alice Martel, and Landis Hanson, 9/12/23

“On July 27, just two days after TC Energy’s Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline exploded in Strasburg, Virginia, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delayed its vote to approve the energy giant’s Gas Transmission Northwest Xpress pipeline expansion project,” according to Liberation News. “The Strasburg explosion is just one in a long line of dangerous pipeline failures in TC Energy’s portfolio, with the GTN expansion threatening safety risks and environmental damage even as the states of Washington and Oregon move to reduce their carbon footprints. The project has been opposed by environmental justice groups and activists, tribal governments, and even the Attorneys General of Washington, Oregon and California… “FERC has rejected only two of the 425 gas project proposals it has considered between 2000 and 2021. Perhaps this is why the commission is still considering the GTN Xpress proposal even after TC Energy and its partners failed to disclose conflicts of interest in the creation of their environmental impact statement… “With pressure mounting from environmental groups and a renewed spotlight on TC Energy’s shoddy record following July’s pipeline explosion in Virginia, FERC has delayed their review of GTN Xpress, likely until their next open meeting on September 21. The Stop GTN Xpress Coalition plans to protest the hearing as soon as the item is announced on FERC’s agenda.”

WPLN: Justin J. Pearson awarded Sierra Club’s highest honor for leadership stopping oil pipeline in Memphis

“In 2021, Justin J. Pearson led people in protests against billion-dollar fossil fuel companies. Together, they helped stop an oil pipeline that would have cut through mostly Black neighborhoods in Memphis,” WPLN reports. “In 2022, Pearson spoke out against the Tennessee state legislature’s bill to preempt local governments from blocking fossil fuel projects — which came in direct response to the failed pipeline project in Memphis. Less than a year later, Pearson was elected into the legislature. For this work, Pearson was recognized last weekend with the most prestigious honor from the nation’s largest environmental organization: The Sierra Club selected Pearson for their Changemaker of the Year award. “Justin has already proved himself to be a unique and powerful advocate for climate action, environmental justice and equity,” Sierra Club President Allison Chin said in a statement. “His successful campaign to stop the Byhalia Pipeline and his leadership in the corridors of power shows how community organizing can succeed against the most daunting odds.” “…California isn’t the test of how good we’re doing as a nation, neither is New York or Massachusetts,” Pearson said. “It is where the people are most oppressed and are facing the most resistance.” He pointed to the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is currently building new gas plants that will require more than 150 miles of pipelines carrying fracked methane, a planet-warming gas that leaks from pipelines and pollutes air and water near fracking sites… “On Saturday, Pearson accepted the Sierra Club’s honor, though he said it “is truly Memphis’ award,” and suggested that now is a critical time to accelerate efforts on climate change and protect people from pollution. “This is the fight,” he said.


OpenSecrets: Carbon capture draws millions in lobbying, billions in federal subsidies
Jimmy Cloutier, 9/12/23

“Occidental Petroleum’s federal lobbying spending soared to nearly $5.9 million in the first half of 2023 as it sought government funding for a commercial-scale plant to vacuum carbon dioxide (CO2) from atmosphere, according to an OpenSecrets analysis of lobbying disclosures. The new federal lobbying totals for the first and second quarters of 2023 represent an increase of more than 40% compared to the same point in 2022, when adjusted for inflation. The fossil fuel company’s supplier of carbon removal technology, Carbon Engineering, spent an additional $72,000 on federal lobbying in 2023. Less than six weeks after the latest lobbying disclosures were filed, the Department of Energy on Aug. 11 announced up to $1.2 billion in funding for two direct air capture hubs in Texas and Louisiana — one developed by Occidental, the other by the nonprofit research institute Battelle and carbon capture technology suppliers, Climeworks and Heirloom Carbon Technologies… “Occidental was not the only company to lobby the federal government on direct air capture… “In 2022, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank, spent nearly $3.1 million lobbying the federal government on issues, including direct air capture. Three years earlier, the Bipartisan Policy Center formed a direct air capture advisory council to advance public policies promoting the commercial deployment of the technology. The council’s members have included top executives at Occidental, 1PointFive, Carbon Engineering and Climeworks, as well as four former lawmakers… “Battelle, which spent $460,000 on lobbying during the first half of 2023, did not mention direct air capture by name in lobbying disclosures but did seek to influence the Energy Department on issues related to research and development. Meanwhile, Heirloom spent $100,000 in the first half of 2023 lobbying the federal government on direct air capture and other issues. In addition to direct subsidies, the Biden administration has raised the tax credits for capturing carbon — with the most generous write-offs going to direct air capture projects that store CO2 underground permanently.  Several of the largest and most profitable oil and gas companies in the U.S. lobbied for the change, including Occidental, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. The American Petroleum Institute, which spent nearly $4.4 million lobbying the federal government in 2022, counted raising the tax credit for carbon capture among its top 10 priorities last year.” 

Washington Post: Biden’s climate law will curb power-sector emissions, EPA projects
Maxine Joselow, 9/12/23

“The Inflation Reduction Act will dramatically lower carbon emissions from the power sector and across the U.S. economy, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report shared first with The Climate 202,” the Washington Post reports. “The report projects that the climate law will: Reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 49 to 83 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade; Lower economy-wide carbon emissions, including those from electricity generation and use, by 35 to 43 percent below 2005 levels by 2030; Reduce emissions from sectors that use a lot of electricity, especially residential and commercial buildings. In an important caveat, the EPA said the analysis only reflects the impact of the climate law, and does not account for the impact of proposed regulations. The EPA has recently proposed ambitious limits on planet-warming emissions from vehicles and power plants.”

E&E News: Trump vows to block climate litigation against Big Oil
Lesley Clark, 9/11/23

“Former President Donald Trump has said that if he is reelected, he will continue his effort to block lawsuits that aim to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for the ravages of climate change,” E&E News reports. “In the energy plan he unveiled last week, Trump pledged to “stop the wave of frivolous litigation from environmental extremists,” promised to roll back energy efficiency measures and said he would build “hundreds” of new fossil-fuel-fired power plants… “The former president’s plan does not identify which climate lawsuits Trump would seek to block, but the document links to a blog post by Energy in Depth, a political advocacy campaign run by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, that accuses organizations led by the Rockefeller Foundation of encouraging municipalities to take oil companies to court. Energy in Depth singled out the Washington-based Center for Climate Integrity for working with more than 40 cities, counties and states to sue oil companies for compensation for the cost of dealing with floods, wildfires and other climate impacts.”

S&P Global Platts: There She Blows: Interior Whales On Oil Industry With Offshore Leasing Restrictions
Jasmin Melvin, Binish Azhar, 9/11/23

“The Interior Department is set to hold Lease Sale 261 on Sept. 27, but oil and gas producers are not happy with the leasing terms and stipulations that Interior has put forth for this sale,” S&P Global Platts reports. “Their main issue is with a voluntary settlement agreement the Biden administration entered into with environmental groups in July intended to protect the endangered Rice’s Whale. The settlement puts restrictions on oil and gas vessels and prompted the department to take millions of acres off the table for leasing. Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, joined the podcast to discuss the upcoming lease sale and hurdles the oil industry faces in acquiring the federal acres he says are needed to boost domestic production and help lower oil and gasoline prices. He also touched on the obstacles the offshore wind industry could face from delays in oil and gas leasing as the Inflation Reduction Act created new links between renewable and fossil fuel development. Stick around for Binish Azhar with the Market Minute, a look at near-term oil market drivers.”


Associated Press: California lawmakers approve the nation’s most sweeping emissions disclosure rules for big business

“Major corporations from oil and gas companies to retail giants would have to disclose their direct greenhouse gas emissions as well as those that come from activities like employee business travel under legislation passed Monday by California lawmakers, the most sweeping mandate of its kind in the nation,” the Associated Press reports. “The legislation would require thousands of public and private businesses that operate in California and make more than $1 billion annually to report their direct and indirect emissions. The goal is to increase transparency and nudge companies to evaluate how they can cut their emissions… ”The legislation was one of the highest profile climate bills in California this year, racking support from major companies that include Patagonia and Apple, as well as Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations convention behind the 2015 Paris climate agreement… “Companies would have to report indirect emissions including those released by transporting products and disposing waste. For example, a major retailer would have to report emissions from powering its own buildings, as well as those that come from delivering products from warehouses to stores… ”Cullenward told AP the disclosure bill could lead to similar proposals in other states as federal regulators, faced with possible lawsuits in the future over disclosure mandates, “are going to be under pressure to not overreach.”

San Jose Mercury News: Oil lobby pressure dooms bill aimed at curbing California refinery pollution

“A bill that would have tripled the fines paid by oil refineries for emitting toxic pollutants, like those released last year in Martinez, has stalled in the California Legislature,” the San Jose Mercury News reports. “The bill would have served as a way to hold companies accountable for incidents such as the one last November in which residents woke up to a layer of fine white dust on their gardens and cars from a toxic chemical release by the Martinez Refining Co. Instead, the bill, AB 1465, was unceremoniously pushed to 2024 after Democratic Sen. Nancy Skinner sent it to the “inactive file” last Thursday… “The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the regional agency that regulates air pollution, said the “factors at play” primarily refer to opposition from the Western States Petroleum Association. The powerful corporate fossil fuel lobbying group has spent millions trying to influence policy decisions by the California Legislature and state officials over the past half decade. Officials with the air quality agency said Wicks agreed earlier this year to expand the bill from exclusively covering refineries to include any facilities with the potential to emit a large amount of pollutants, a change sought by the petroleum group. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District agreed and submitted that revised language, along with additional wording they believed strengthened the bill’s protections. But the bill soon ran into further difficulties when the petroleum association demanded language that would protect refineries from being subject to potentially higher penalties after releases like last year’s in Martinez, Kristine Roselius, the district’s communications director, told the Merc.  “In our view, the purpose of the bill is to strengthen penalties for those types of events, not to protect (the companies responsible for them),” wrote Roselius in an email.”

Associated Press: Indigenous tribes urge federal officials to deny loan request for Superior natural gas plant

“Indigenous tribes in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have asked federal officials to deny a utility’s request for a loan to help build a natural gas-fired power plant on the shores of Lake Superior, calling the project unthinkable in the face of climate change,” the Associated Press reports. “Chippewa tribes located across the northern third of the three states sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture officials on Sunday asking them to deny Dairyland Power Cooperative’s request for a $350 million public loan. The request is intended to cover the utility’s share of the cost of building the Nemadji Trail Energy Center power plant. “As our shared climate rapidly continues to destabilize, it is unconscionable that Dairyland Power Cooperative has not canceled its request for a $350 million public loan and permits to build Nemadji Trail Energy Center,” the tribes said in the letter. It added later, “In short, this location was never the place, and now is obviously not the time, to build new fossil fuel infrastructure of any kind.” Dairyland Power Cooperative, Minnesota Power and Basin Electric Cooperative have been working to gain permission to build the $700 million power plant for more than three years. Plans call for the facility to be built near an Enbridge Energy pipeline hub on the banks of the Nemadji River, which flows into Lake Superior, in the city of Superior, Wisconsin… “The Chippewa tribes — including the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Michigan, the Fond du Lac of Minnesota and the Bad River and Red Cliff of Wisconsin — said in their letter that “there is no version of physical reality on Mother Earth” that building such a plant when greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced serves the public interest. They added that the environmentally sensitive lakeshore is no place for such infrastructure.”

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa: $4M for UH-led marine carbon removal projects

“At the nexus of ecosystem conservation and climate mitigation, two groundbreaking research projects led by University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa oceanographers received funding totaling nearly $4 million from the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). The pioneering research is poised to transform the understanding of a potential ocean-based tool to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—ocean alkalinity enhancement. The projects are among 17 funded through a recent NOPP investment to better understand marine carbon dioxide removal for mitigating climate change and ocean acidification. Led by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOPP facilitates partnerships between federal agencies, academia and industry to advance ocean science research and education. Led by Melissa Meléndez, oceanography researcher in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), a team of diverse oceanographers from UH Mānoa, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, will assess how coral and crustose coralline algae (a red seaweed that accumulates calcium carbonate) respond to the innovative approach to removing carbon dioxide from the ocean. The technique, referred to as ocean alkalinity enhancement, involves the addition of substances such as quicklime to seawater to enhance the ocean’s capacity to buffer ocean acidification and potentially increase the ocean’s ability to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Supported by nearly $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, the effort seeks to unravel the potential benefits and intricacies of leveraging ocean alkalinity enhancement as a potent tool.”


Bloomberg: Big Oil’s Climate Fix Is Running Out of Time to Prove Itself
Stephen Stapczynski, 9/5/23

“Get within a few dozen meters of one of the world’s biggest carbon capture projects on Australia’s remote Barrow Island, and normal conversation quickly becomes impossible,” Bloomberg reports. “Emanating from the dense maze of pipes and towers the size of a city block is the roar of carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere — exactly what Chevron Corp.’s ambitious $2.1 billion system was supposed to stop… “Chevron received approval to develop the site into a major liquefied natural gas export facility on the basis they could capture and store 80% of the CO2 mixed in with the fuel, instead of releasing it. Since LNG production started in 2016, they mostly haven’t. Mitigation operations started late, ran in spurts and were beset with technical issues. Right now, while the facility is successfully capturing CO2, it is only storing 1.6 million tons per year, under half its 4 million tons capacity, after struggling to inject the gas into the ground reliably. Carbon capture and storage is one of the most contentious solutions in the drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In the last three decades, according to BloombergNEF data, governments and corporations have poured over $83 billion into projects. Last year the technology captured just 0.1% of global emissions… “Many environmentalists say the technology should be abandoned, arguing it is simply a way for the fossil fuel industry to justify its continued existence and to avoid having to write down the value of its assets… “But after decades of slow progress, time is quickly running out. As projects normally take five to seven years from announcement to commissioning, that gives the industry just two years to build trust in CCS and significantly scale-up investment. Some $4.5 trillion is needed by 2030, according to BloombergNEF… “For decades, the industry has had something to point at to say the technology works. Yet despite these accomplishments, it’s not currently operating at a large enough scale to make a meaningful impact in slowing down climate change.”

E&E News: Carbon capture to spur surge in CO2 shipping — report

“The carbon capture industry could drive rapid growth in transporting greenhouse gas globally by ships this decade, building up a massive global business, according to a new report,” E&E News reports. “Rystad Energy, an energy research and business intelligence company, forecasts that more than 90 million cubic tons of carbon dioxide will be transported by sea by 2030, mostly to end up being injected in offshore carbon sequestration sites. That volume of gas would require 48 new terminals globally to handle importing and exporting the greenhouse gas, as well as a fleet of 55 carriers by the end of the decade to transport gas to storage sites. There currently are no operational terminals for large-scale offshore carbon sequestration, nor are the vessels to take the carbon dioxide to those planned projects. Several oil companies are setting up shipping routes and contracts to transport the greenhouse gas via ships and are working to finish the first terminal for offshore sequestration in Norway… “The carbon dioxide industry is expected to be centered outside the U.S. this decade, in places like the North Sea and the Pacific Ocean between Australia and Japan. Lein Mann Bergsmark, vice president of carbon capture, utilization and storage and hydrogen supply chain research with Rystad Energy, told E&E almost all offshore carbon dioxide storage in the U.S. is expected to develop along the Gulf Coast by Louisiana and Texas, where greenhouse gas is slated to be carried by pipeline… “Although the shipping projects aim to sequester millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually, the vessels likely will be fueled with fossil fuels in the near term, Bergsmark said. Rystad estimated that vessels traveling long distances will likely emit the equivalent of about 5 percent of the carbon dioxide they’re seeking to take to an injection site — or about 1,250 cubic meters of emissions for 25,000 cubic meters of carbon dioxide being transported.”

Reuters: Alberta expects to unveil carbon capture incentive program in months
Nia Williams, 9/12/23

“Alberta, Canada’s largest oil-producing province, will finalize an investment incentive program for emissions-cutting technologies like carbon capture and storage in “coming months,” the province’s energy minister, Brian Jean, said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a key tool in helping Canada’s high-polluting oil and gas industry slash emissions without cutting back on production, but companies are holding back on final investment decisions because of the high costs involved and have been lobbying for more government support… “A number of companies including Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), TC Energy (TRP.TO) and a group known as the Pathways Alliance, consisting of Canada’s six largest oil sands producers, are proposing to build major CCS storage hubs. Alberta Premier Danielle Smith instructed Jean in a mandate letter in July to develop an incentive program for technologies including CCS, lithium for batteries and geothermal development… “Since last year, Ottawa and the Alberta government have been urging each other to contribute more public funding to support CCS technology.”

CBC: ‘They’re ramming it down our throats,’ Cold Lake First Nation Chief says of Pathways carbon capture project
Paula Duhatschek, 9/13/23

“The Chief of the Cold Lake First Nation said his community has concerns about a proposed carbon capture and storage network that’s the centrepiece of a plan by major oilsands producers to hit net zero by 2050,” CBC reports. “The plan by the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of Canada’s largest oilsands producers, is to build a 400-kilometre pipeline that would transport carbon from more than 20 oilsands facilities to an underground hub near Cold Lake for safe underground storage… “It just seems like they’re ramming it down our throat,” said Chief Kelsey Jacko, who spoke to CBC News on the sidelines of the Carbon Capture Canada convention in Edmonton… “Jacko told CBC his community has been burned by resource extraction projects before, which have left the region with tailings pond issues and a diminished caribou population. He believes the carbon capture and storage project will be more of the same. In particular, Jacko told CBC he’s concerned about the long-term consequences of injecting CO2 into the pore space and the possibility of leakage. The proposed network would run through around 100 kilometres of their traditional territory, he told CBC, while the proposed storage hub would be close to their reserve land.  “It’s frustrating because that’s a 400-kilometre line, and [leakage] could happen [along] the pipeline or it could happen right at the storage [area],” Jacko told CBC. Jacinta Janvier, a council member with Cold Lake First Nations, echoed that point.  “I want my children and my grandchildren and their children to have a beautiful place to live, a safe place to live,” she told CBC. “I think people need to really think about what can happen and the consequences.”

Guardian: ‘Beginning of the end’ of fossil fuel era approaching, says IEA
Jillian Ambrose, 9/12/23

“The world’s demand for oil, gas and coal will begin to decline this decade in “the beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era, according to the global energy watchdog,” the Guardian raptors. “The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected for the first time that fossil fuel consumption will peak before 2030 and fall into permanent decline as climate policies take effect. However, the forecast downturn is still “nowhere near steep enough” to put the world on a path to limiting temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrialised levels, which is considered crucial to avoiding a climate catastrophe. The IEA’s influential energy outlook report, due to be published next month, will show that oil, gas and coal are on course to hit a peak this decade under existing climate policies, earlier than many have anticipated. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s head, wrote in the Financial Times on Tuesday that the projections would show that “the world is on the cusp of a historic turning point”. “Peaks for the three fossil fuels are a welcome sight, showing that the shift to cleaner and more secure energy systems is speeding up and that efforts to avoid the worst effects of climate change are making headway,” he wrote.


Guardian: New York University will divest from fossil fuels in win for student activists
Dharna Noor, 9/12/23

“New York University plans to divest from fossil fuels, the Guardian has learned, following years of pressure from student activists. The move from one of the US’s largest private universities, whose endowment totals over $5bn, represents a significant win for the climate movement, organizers told the Guardian. The university first formalized the commitment in an August letter from William R Berkley, chair of NYU’s board of trustees, which was seen by the Guardian, addressed to a student activist group. “New York University commits to avoid any direct investments in any company whose primary business is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels, including all forms of coal, oil, and natural gas, and not to renew or seek out any dedicated private funds whose primary aim is to invest in the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels,” he wrote… “The commitment will apply to the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies, an NYU spokesperson, Joseph Tirella, told the Guardian… “Some activists have also called on NYU to remove certain members of its board of trustees, including Larry Fink, CEO of the asset manager BlackRock, a major investor in oil and gas whose fossil fuel investments have been the subject of public scrutiny, and the Fox Business News journalist Maria Bartiromo, who last year said that declining investments in oil and gas are an “emergency”. Fink declined to comment; Bartiromo was not immediately available for comment… “Some 250 US educational institutions have divested from fossil fuels, according to data from and Last year, students at five leading universities – Yale, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Vanderbilt – filed official legal complaints accusing their colleges of breaking the law by investing in coal, oil and gas companies.”

E&E News: Senators to question SEC chair on upcoming climate rule
Emma Dumain, 9/11/23

“Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler will testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday, where he will likely face questions about his support for sustainable investing and a forthcoming rule requiring companies to disclose their climate impacts,” E&E News reports. “Ranking member Tim Scott’s participation could set the tone for the GOP’s line of inquiry. The South Carolina Republican, who is seeking his party’s nomination for president in 2024, has repeatedly taken aim at the Biden administration’s support for allowing money managers to incorporate environmental, social and governance — or ESG — factors into investment decisions around federal retirement accounts. Gensler’s appearance before the committee this week will also give Senate Republicans the chance to deliver sound bites bashing ESG investing, a touchpoint in the conservative “culture wars.” House Republicans on the Financial Services Committee enjoyed two weeks of taking the practice to task over the course of six hearings and a markup of anti-ESG legislation in July, coordinated by the GOP majority of that chamber.”


Storm Lake Times Pilot: Pipeline problems
Art Cullen, 9/13/23

“A while back we would have bet you that the Summit and Navigator CO2 pipelines planned for Iowa were a done deal,” Art Cullen writes for the Storm Lake Times Pilot. “They are designed to capture carbon (and tax credits) for the ethanol industry, our sacred cow. It would be disingenuous for a state that clamors constantly for more ethanol not to allow pipelines to ship away the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide the stills generate. All the leading Iowa names are aboard the ethanol train, from Branstad to Vilsack. What could go wrong? South Dakota. What’s in it for South Dakota, so the CO2 can reach its terminus in a spent fracking hole deep beneath North Dakota? Nothing. And there’s not enough in it for North Dakota, either. Regulators in both states put the brakes on the Summit and Navigator pipelines, organized primarily to serve the ethanol industry in Iowa. That throws the routes into doubt… “Meantime, South Dakota has ruled that at least three counties can enforce their own zoning ordinances and block the pipelines… “If this were an oil or natural gas pipeline there is little doubt it would win approval in the Dakotas. Iowa regulators seldom have met a pipeline they didn’t like. These CO2 pipelines mainly benefit Iowa, and are organized primarily by Iowa interests. If you were in Sioux Falls, you might ask what happens to the pipelines when ethanol demand dries up. If you were in North Dakota, you might wonder about the feasibility of pumping poisonous gas into a hole, and what happens over time… “Skepticism of corporate grabs is not waning, especially among rural Iowans. Although most of the proposed route is already locked up with voluntary easements, a deep resentment of eminent domain — the taking of private land for a corporate purpose — exists in Iowa. The rulings in the Dakotas will energize the opposition to redouble their efforts before state commissions and the courts. That can’t be good for the pipeline prospects in Iowa.”

Cherokee Chronicle Times: A look at C02 pipeline upside
Paul Struck, 9/12/23

“What’s being lost in the controversies surrounding the proposed C02 pipeline through Iowa, including much of Cherokee County, are the undeniable financial benefits in store for Iowa agriculture if the project comes to fruition,” Paul Struck writes for the Cherokee Chronicle Times. “…Former USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Tom Dorr, also former president and CEO of the Washington, D.C., based U.S. Grains Council, has researched all sides of the proposed carbon capture and sequester projects in Iowa, including his former home base of Cherokee County (Marcus). Initially, he was against the pipeline over safety concerns but has studied its upside and is now a proponent… “The controversy and criticism surrounding the introduction of crop herbicides and pesticides 100 years ago ended up a boon to ag, increasing yields a hundredfold after passing the same scrutiny as ethanol production and now C02 capture and sequestration. Carbon capture would benefit producers, ethanol plants, labor force, and provide sizable tax revenues for counties and cities, including property tax, sales tax, and income tax dollars. Despite the eminent domain and land easement issue, and dangers associated with transporting toxic liquid through Iowa farm ground, Summit Carbon has been consistently forthright and accessible in answering its critics and defending its project… “Safety concerns must be addressed fully with attainable resolutions in place. And a tolerable compromise must be reached between opposing landowners and SCS before the IUB approves the permit to proceed. Overall, both sides must emerge from their current lose-lose proposition to a win-win for agriculture.”

Boston Globe: State’s pipeline system must be a bridge to reach climate goals
Michael P. Monahan, International vice president, IBEW Second District, 9/12/23

“The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is all in on helping to train the next generation of electrical workers. There is real opportunity to make generational change,” Michael P. Monahan writes for the Boston Globe. “At the same time, we can’t forget the workers we have — neighbors, friends, and family who help us keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter and make sure we can cook our food year-round. Investments in renewables and heat pumps most definitely will generate new jobs and create new opportunities. However, today, Massachusetts relies on an extensive pipeline network to heat more than half of its households. Supporting and maintaining this vital system are thousands of union members. Decarbonizing the existing pipeline system could be the missing link that helps maintain reliability of the system and jobs while also achieving climate goals. In the rush to essentially electrify everything, this reliable network has been brushed aside, as have the union members who keep it going. We must be realistic about how long this clean energy transition will take, what it will require to get there, and how to make it work for everyone.”

Calgary Herald: Will Trudeau’s climate zealots ever cut the ribbon on Trans Mountain pipeline?
Don Braid, 9/12/23

“The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion faces another delay — potentially nine months as they try to avoid digging a tunnel — but that’s a minor news story these days. The real question now is whether anything will ever flow through the bitumen pipeline,” Don Braid writes for the Calgary Herald. “A few years ago Trans Mountain was big news almost daily. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals bought it to avoid collapse when Kinder Morgan backed out in the face of relentless obstruction from the British Columbia NDP. Over time, the cost has risen to an eye-watering $30 billion. The regret in Liberal-NDP Ottawa is palpable. They wish they’d never heard of the thing, let alone funded it. So they don’t talk about it much. Selling off chunks to First Nations is the cover strategy. Who can object to that?… “And, by the way, how do you reconcile paying $30 billion for a pipeline whose sole purpose is to ship the product you most want to shut down? Oil is booming right now and that means more federal tax revenue, which the Liberals desperately need as they run continuing deficits. That is never recognized. Politicians like Guilbeault don’t seem to accept that there’s a continuing need for oil and gas tax money. They preach that green energy will quickly start generating its own replacement revenue. All the while, the Liberals constantly impose new targets. Coming soon is the big one — a hard cap on oil and gas emissions.”

Teen Vogue: March to End Fossil Fuels: Youth Activists Need Parents, Families to Join the Movement

“This September, thousands of youth will march through the streets of Manhattan to call on President Biden to end the era of fossil fuels and declare a climate emergency. But will their parents join them?” Helen Mancini and Eliza Clark write for Teen Vogue. “As a mother and daughter who both spend our free time on climate activism, we are unusual in the climate movement: a teen climate organizer with Fridays for Future and a parent organizer with Climate Families NYC, under one roof. While one of us — Helen — organizes high school students for school climate strikes or heads to Albany to lobby for climate legislation, the other — Eliza — organizes parents of younger children to pressure elected officials and protest financial institutions that continue to fund new fossil fuel projects. We’ve found hope, purpose, and family closeness by doing this work alongside each other. But the reason we do climate organizing is that we’re both deeply worried about the future, disappointed, and angry. We are disappointed that President Biden has not yet declared a climate emergency — a step that would unlock vast resources to mitigate the crisis — even as over a hundred million Americans have been exposed to extreme weather this summer. We’re angry that Biden continues to approve new fossil fuel projects like Willow and the Mountain Valley Pipeline while Hawaii burns and the skies in New York and elsewhere fill with wildfire smoke. And we’re frustrated that all too many adults watch the youth — their children and their children’s friends — fight to save the world from climate chaos while they act as if nothing is wrong or there is nothing they can do about it… “After a summer of record-breaking climate disasters, the March to End Fossil Fuels could not be more urgent. On September 17, we’ll join thousands of people to call on President Biden to end fossil fuel expansion and declare a Climate Emergency. This time, we hope to see not just young people, but also, parents, grandparents, educators and all adults who care out on the streets, demanding a liveable future for all. The climate future is uncertain and scary for all of us, but especially for young people. The best reassurance families can give their kids is to show up with them and fight for the future.”

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