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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/14/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 14, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • E&E News: Manchin deal might not save Mountain Valley pipeline

  • Star Tribune: Judge rules Hubbard County can’t blockade protest camp near Enbridge Line 3 pipeline

  • Aberdeen News: Judge combines 5th circuit cases involving Summit Carbon Solutions

  • KTIV: Carbon pipeline company sues Iowa residents for survey access

  • Radio Iowa: Delaware County residents raise concerns about pipeline surveyors

  • KMA: Montgomery County pipeline ordinance on hold

  • Manchester Press: Council rallies against pipeline

  • Breeze Courier: Pipeline resolution passes county committee

  • KCCR: Barth Opposes Carbon Pipeline As Campaign For PUC Continues

  • Compressor Tech: Hearing to consider pipeline expansion project

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Politico: ‘Sleazy backroom deal’: Progressives tangle one more time with Manchin

  • Vox: The Democratic infighting over Joe Manchin’s “side deal,” explained

  • Bloomberg: Manchin Enlists Oil CEOs to Get GOP Support for Permitting Bill

  • InsideEPA: To Shape Democrats’ Permit Plan, GOP Seeks To Roll Back EPA Power

STATE UPDATES

  • E&E News: FERC Review Puts Proposed La. LNG Terminal Under EJ Scrutiny

  • Capital and Main: As EPA Fails to Fine Oil and Gas Polluters, New Mexico Officials Demand Answers

  • San Jose Mercury News: Residents near oil fields hope Gov. Newsom signs state bill that creates community safety buffer zone

EXTRACTION

  • E&E News: Big Oil’s new strategy in climate cases: Cite Captain Planet

  • Reuters: The U.S. oil executive making a big bet on combating climate change

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Star Tribune: Climate change and state investments

  • Reuters: BlackRock courts investors ahead of Aramco gas pipelines bond sale -sources

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • WV News: United Way celebrates Born Learning Trail with Ribbon Cutting

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

E&E News: Manchin deal might not save Mountain Valley pipeline
Mike Soraghan, 9/14/22

“The Mountain Valley pipeline may never be finished — even if Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting revamp becomes law,” E&E News reports. “Legislation from the West Virginia Democrat could give a boost to the beleaguered project by steering legal challenges to a different court. But regulatory experts caution that the proposal, as described by Manchin, won’t guarantee the project gets completed. “It doesn’t necessarily direct an outcome,” Ted Boling, a former longtime career federal official who served as associate director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) under former President Donald Trump, told E&E. Boling is now a partner at Perkins Coie LLP… “But Manchin’s initial plan didn’t appear to free it from all legal challenges. By contrast, the Republican permitting proposal rolled out Monday would direct an outcome. Announced by West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, it says Mountain Valley’s new permits would not be “subject to judicial review.” And “judicial review” is what has stymied MVP. In particular, the project has been slowed by the reviews of a three-judge panel at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The delays have caused some investors to question whether the pipeline can be completed… “First, his plan would direct agencies to “take all necessary actions” to issue new permits for the pipeline. And it would give all jurisdiction on any further litigation to a different court: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The order to the agencies wouldn’t ensure the permits could survive court challenges. And while the D.C. Circuit might be more favorable, analysts told E&E directing future challenges there implies that there will be more legal battles… “Legislating approval of a controversial project by prohibiting judicial review, as Capito and other Republicans have proposed, is a rarely undertaken move in Congress. But it’s not unprecedented. Such measures were passed for the Trans-Alaska pipeline and to allow construction of some facilities for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. But that doesn’t appear to be what Manchin is trying to do in ordering agencies to “take all necessary actions” to permit the pipeline. “I don’t see that as waiving any law,” Boling told E&E.

Star Tribune: Judge rules Hubbard County can’t blockade protest camp near Enbridge Line 3 pipeline
John Reinan, 9/13/22

“Protesters in Hubbard County were using a private driveway — not a county trail — to gather in opposition to the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline last year, a judge has ruled, concluding that the county was wrong to block their way,” the Star Tribune reports. “In an order issued Tuesday, Hubbard County District Judge Jana Austad barred county officials from interfering with people coming and going from the Giniw Collective’s Line 3 Camp Namewag near Menahga… “In 2018, Indigenous activist Winona LaDuke bought a parcel of land near Menahga and secured an easement to reach it across county-managed land, using an existing driveway. The site became a gathering place for pipeline protesters. In June 2021, Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes served notice on LaDuke and Tara Houska, who manages the site, that the road to the camp — which Aukes called a county-owned “trail” — would be barricaded and no vehicles would be allowed in or out. LaDuke and Houska sued, leading to Tuesday’s decision. In her order, Austad wrote that the easement and driveway clearly were linked to the property, which would be landlocked without them, and the county had no right to blockade the drive. “Today’s ruling is a testament to the lengths Hubbard County was willing to go to criminalize and harass Native women, land defenders and anyone associated with us — spending unknown amounts of taxpayer dollars and countless hours trying to convince the court that the driveway to Namewag camp wasn’t a driveway,” Houska said in a statement. “This is a piece in the long game and we aren’t afraid.” In a statement, LaDuke said she is “grateful to Judge Austad for recognizing how Hubbard County exceeded its authority and violated our rights. Today’s ruling shows that Hubbard County cannot repress Native people for the benefit of Enbridge by circumventing the law. This is also an important victory for all people of the north, reinforcing that a repressive police force should not be able to stop you from accessing your land upon which you hunt or live.”

Aberdeen News: Judge combines 5th circuit cases involving Summit Carbon Solutions
Elisa Sand, 9/13/22

“Several of the civil lawsuits involving landowners and Summit Carbon Solutions in the 5th Judicial Circuit have been combined,” the Aberdeen News reports. “This includes the civil cases filed in Brown, McPherson, Edmunds and Spink counties. While four of the lawsuits were filed by landowners against Summit Carbon Solutions, two are civil lawsuits filed by Summit Carbon Solutions against landowners in MicPherson and Edmunds counties. Following a court hearing Monday in Aberdeen, the lawsuits were officially combined and a Nov. 1 court hearing date has been set. In June, a group of McPherson County landowners represented by Brian Jorde, an attorney with Domina Law Group in Omaha, Nebraska, filed a lawsuit against Summit. It alleges a state law allowing companies to survey private land without consent is in violation of both the South Dakota and U.S. constitutions. Under the law, companies that have applied for a permit with the PUC can survey land without consent as long as a 30-day notice is provided to the landowner. That should be unconstitutional, the McPherson County landowners believe. They also filed for a preliminary injunction, which would essentially stop Summit from surveying until the lawsuit is settled. Since that initial lawsuit, more civil suits were filed in several other counties, some of which are in the 5th Judicial Circuit… “But several other civil lawsuits were filed this month by Summit Carbon Solutions against landowners in 11 more counties that include Beadle, Lincoln, Spink, Brown, Clark, Codington, Hamlin, Hand, Hyde, Kingsbury, Miner, Edmunds and McPherson.”

KTIV: Carbon pipeline company sues Iowa residents for survey access
Matt Hoffmann, 9/13/22

“A carbon pipeline company is suing two Siouxland landowners because they refused to allow a survey of their land,” KTIV reports. “…Previously these pipeline companies have said they’ll work with landowners on a voluntary basis, but the Navigator Heartland Greenway pipeline sued for survey access in Woodbury and Clay Counties… “But the landowners’ lawyer says the Iowa law conflicts with the state constitution and must be struck down. “So Navigator’s position is they’re allowed to enter onto land against the will of the landowners to conduct any type of surveys that they don’t have to disclose, potentially removing items from the property. And the landowners have no say; we think that’s a problem,” Brian Jorde, an attorney representing hundreds of landowners, told KTIV… “While the pipeline company says it hopes to build the pipeline on a voluntary basis, they could ask the Iowa Utilities Board to authorize the company to use eminent domain. “‘Well, honey, it looks like they’re going to take it from us anyway. Gosh, golly, what did we do?’ No, they shouldn’t even have this right to begin with. It’s preposterous. And we have to restore landowner rights in Iowa, they’re so watered down. It’s just pitiful. And so that’s what we’re fighting to do,” Jorde told KTIV… “Either way, a ruling in district court is likely to be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.”

Radio Iowa: Delaware County residents raise concerns about pipeline surveyors
9/13/22

“Surveyors who were hired by a company that wants to build a carbon capture pipeline across Iowa are running into opposition when they try to gain access to some properties in northeast Iowa,” Radio Iowa reports. “Delaware County Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs says at least 18 property owners or residents called the sheriff’s office last week with complaints about survey crews trespassing on their land — but their claims had to be rejected. “If the surveyors come out and go on their property, by Iowa code, it is not deemed trespassing,” Helmrichs told Radio Iowa, “but the landowners can say, ‘We’re not going to allow you on,’ and that sends them back to get a court-ordered injunction, then they can go on.” Helmrichs told Radio Iowa most residents she’s heard from are barring the pipeline surveyors from entering their property. “So far, I’ve just heard of one landowner that did give them permission to come on,” she says. “The rest are saying, ‘Go get your injunction.’” Landowners are voicing concerns over eminent domain, loss of quality farmland, the mission of this project, and safety. Some residents may claim that they haven’t been properly notified about the pipeline project, but Helmrichs told Radio Iowa they may’ve gotten something in the mail. “If they get a certified letter, they have to sign a form that’s attached to the front that shows they accepted that letter, but a lot of them did not sign for the letters, they went back to the post office, but the company had proof that they had mailed them,” Helmrichs told Radio Iowa. “So that that’s considered their 10 day notice, which, it still rather shocks me and I know it shocked a lot of people that there were people roaming around the roads and the fields.”

KMA: Montgomery County pipeline ordinance on hold
Mike Peterson, 9/13/22

“Montgomery County officials are throwing the brakes on a proposed ordinance governing carbon pipeline projects,” KMA reports. “Recently, the county’s planning and zoning board approved a recommendation to present an ordinance similar to language drafted in Shelby County covering proposed CO2 pipeline projects, such as Summit Carbon Solutions proposed Midwest Express Pipeline. However, County Attorney Drew Swanson told the county’s board of supervisors Tuesday morning adopting the resolution as written is premature for a number of reasons… “I think the more research and the more input from other entities we can obtain, the better,” said Swanson. “This is a really important subject, so I think it’s very important to get it right the first time.” Supervisors Donna Robinson and Charla Schmid recently attended seminars regarding pipeline projects at ISAC’s annual convention in Des Moines. Robinson suggested sharing videos of those presentations with the other supervisors. She also reacted to statement from Summit Carbon Solution officials, calling the county’s proposed ordinance “overly restrictive.” “That’s the privilege and the right of other counties to do that,” said Robinson, “because we are the ones that are putting this in place. It’s our responsibility to be as restrictive as we can be to protect our citizens, their land, their neighbors all around.” County Zoning Administrator Barry Byers says he has reservations over the proposed ordinance following last week’s zoning board meeting, and that he’s in a “wait and see” mode.”

Manchester Press: Council rallies against pipeline
Dylan Kurt, 9/14/22

“The fear of a public health disaster should a proposed pipeline rupture has prompted action from the Manchester City Council, who unanimously supported a resolution that calls for the Iowa Utility Board to deny an application for the Navigator Greenway CO2 pipeline,” the Manchester Press reports. “…Mayor Connie Behnken said the resolution was a way for the City to show its support for those fighting against the pipeline. “We stand behind our farmers and don’t want to see this come about,” Behnken told the Press… “The presence of the pipeline and the dangers it presents would require the city to create “additional emergency services, evacuation plans, disaster mitigation and the accompanying budgetary expenses associated with those requirements.” Additionally, the council cited that CO2 is dangerous and can be toxic, causing sickness and death if released during a rupture. Several residents also voiced concerns about this potential safety hazard, stating that since CO2 is an element heavier than oxygen, it will move to low-laying areas if released, which in Manchester’s case would funnel toward the schools. Matt Schulte said according to his measurements, in Manchester, the pipeline would be about 8,369 feet away from West Delaware Middle School. “I think it’s really, really important for people to understand that the middle school sits in a low-lying area and that’s where (CO2) would push to,” Schulte told the Press. “And that would happen really fast.” Jason Hoeger added that any escaped CO2 would basically follow the city’s flood map, which covers a good portion of Manchester and would find its way to Saint Mary’s School.”

Breeze Courier: Pipeline resolution passes county committee
Lucas Domonousky, 9/13/22

“The Executive, Personnel, Liquor and Legislative Committee met Monday night and they discussed the CO2 pipeline, ARPA Funds and Christian County Economic Development,” the Breeze Courier reports. “Resolution (R2022 CB 011) opposing Eminent Domain for the CO2 Pipeline was recommended to the full Board. “This pipeline is not providing anyone with electricity, this pipeline is not providing anyone with water.” Christian County Board Chairman Matt Wells said. “Forcing it through someones land that doesn’t want it is something I have no problem opposing one-hundred percent.” Many landowners are concerned about the prospect of Navigator CO2 Ventures seeking eminent domain for this project. Christian County is requesting that the Illinois Commerce Commission formally oppose eminent domain for the Heartland Greenway CO2 Pipeline… “The Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline formed a corporation that Bryan Sharp and the committee has heard. Sharp attended the meeting about a week or so prior to the Monday night gathering. “So I guess that’s my ask,” Sharp said. “Citizens not go along and use this to take a stand against this project.”

KCCR: Barth Opposes Carbon Pipeline As Campaign For PUC Continues
9/13/22

“The Democratic candidate for Public Utilities Commission was in Pierre Tuesday at the state County Commissioners Convention. Jeff Barth is opposed to Summit Carbon Solutions carbon transport pipeline under consideration by the P-U-C,” KCCR reports. “Barth is also concerned about the threat of eminent domain even though the P-U-C doesn’t directly deal with the action. Barth says there’s a better way to capture carbon. Barth is challenging current P-U-C chairman Chris Nelson.”

Compressor Tech: Hearing to consider pipeline expansion project
Keefe Borden, 9/13/22

“Pennsylvania environmental regulators have scheduled a public hearing to consider a proposed expansion of an existing natural gas pipeline from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey,” Compressor Tech reports. “The virtual public hearing, hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is scheduled for 7 pm Oct. 5. Williams has applied for authorization to boost the capacity of its Transco Gas Pipe Line in what it calls the Regional Energy Access Expansion Project. Once approved and completed, it would improve the link between Marcellus Shale gas and multiple natural gas delivery points in New Jersey. The project will consist of new pipelines, a new gas-fired turbine driven compressor station, addition of gas-fired turbine driven compressor units at existing compressor stations, modification and uprate of existing compressors, abandonment of existing gas-fired compressors, modifications to existing compressor stations, modifications to existing pipeline tie-ins, addition of regulation controls at an existing valve setting, and modifications to existing regulators… “The Project will not require earth disturbance in Delaware and York counties. The project requires several permits from DEP. In March 2021, Transco asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for authorization to expand its natural gas transmission system in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland and to replace and upgrade some of its compression stations in the region.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico: ‘Sleazy backroom deal’: Progressives tangle one more time with Manchin
SARAH FERRIS, BURGESS EVERETT, 9/12/22

“After nearly two years of watching Joe Manchin tank some of their biggest priorities, House progressives finally have sway over one of his. And they have every intention of using it,” Politico reports. “Dozens of House Democrats are now threatening Manchin’s proposal to streamline energy project permits — even if it breaks a commitment that paved the way for the party’s massive climate, tax and health care victory earlier this summer. Now that President Joe Biden has signed that legislation into law, House liberals insist they have the numbers to at least force a negotiation on a Manchin side deal they see as too fossil fuel-friendly. Led by Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, many of those progressives are ready to take a stand: Dozens are leaning on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to separate this month’s must-pass stopgap funding bill from the Manchin-crafted permitting measure that she and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had already agreed upon.”

Vox: The Democratic infighting over Joe Manchin’s “side deal,” explained
Li Zhouli, 9/13/22

“Whether the government is forced to shut down at the end of the month may hinge on Democrats’ approach to permitting reform, an issue that has divided the party in recent weeks,” Vox reports. “…For now, it’s uncertain if Democratic opposition to the permitting reforms would be sufficient to sink a CR altogether. Although 76 House members have expressed their opposition, they have not indicated whether they would block the bill if it was put on the floor. Depending on how many lawmakers are willing to vote down the bill in the lower chamber, there could be enough Republican support to make up for those losses. Similarly in the Senate, Republican support could neutralize Sanders’s vote in opposition. It’s also possible that progressive pressure affects the final legislative text of the permitting reform, which has yet to be released. “I don’t know how a CR vote will go if it includes the permitting rider, but the opposition is loud and only getting louder,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, told Vox. “I encourage leadership to listen to its caucus and keep us out of a shutdown standoff that nobody wants.” “…A separate memo shared among Senate Democrats has stressed how an expedited permitting process could help certain renewable energy projects, though Su told Vox permitting reform would be more likely to benefit fossil fuel projects, which typically face more extensive permitting delays because of the degree of review needed… “Democrats opposed to Manchin’s proposal, however, seem largely unswayed by this claim, and are more focused on how its provisions could boost fossil fuel projects… “If the final legislative text addresses some of the expressed concerns, lawmakers could potentially become more open to passage, especially as they seek to avoid a government shutdown. At this point, however, they remain focused on trying to get the permitting policies out of the CR and into a standalone vote.”

Bloomberg: Manchin Enlists Oil CEOs to Get GOP Support for Permitting Bill
9/12/22

“Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is enlisting the help of energy-industry executives to marshal Republican support for his plan to speed up the process of getting federal approvals for energy projects, according to people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reports. “The outreach, which has included companies in the mining, utilities and oil-and-gas industry, underscores the fraught political path for his permitting-overhaul bill. Passing the legislation would mark a big win for the industry and its long-sought efforts to accelerate permitting and scale back environmental reviews that can take years. Among projects that could benefit is a stalled $6.6 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline …”

InsideEPA: To Shape Democrats’ Permit Plan, GOP Seeks To Roll Back EPA Power
9/12/22

“Over three dozen Senate Republicans are floating legislation that would broadly roll back an array of EPA and other environmental permitting authorities and bar use of federal estimates of climate damages from carbon emissions, in an effort to shape debate on Democrats’ promised legislation to ease permitting for energy projects,” InsideEPA reports. “The package, introduced Sept. 12 by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), offers a response to Democratic pledges that their new budget reconciliation law would be followed with separate legislation to speed permitting of high-priority energy projects and accelerate approval of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline favored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). But introduction of the Republican permitting proposal could signal that the GOP might not support Democratic leaders’ goal of including their own permitting deal in soon-to-be-introduced stop-gap government funding legislation that must pass by the end of the month, according to one observer. The Republican bill would go much further than the emerging Democratic plan in easing permitting burdens for various types of projects, with many of its provisions likely to draw significant opposition from Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups. For example, it includes controversial language that would codify several Trump administration Clean Water Act (CWA) rules; repeal a statutory requirement for EPA to review other agencies’ environmental analysis for major projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); and scale back the number of pollution sources subject to EPA’s preconstruction new source review (NSR) permitting requirements for major air pollution sources.”

STATE UPDATES

E&E News: FERC Review Puts Proposed La. LNG Terminal Under EJ Scrutiny
Miranda Wilson, 9/12/22

“A major liquefied natural gas export project on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana would result in ‘disproportionately high and adverse’ impacts for nearby environmental justice communities if completed, staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded in an analysis last week,” E&E News reports. “The finding could influence the independent commission’s decision on the proposed Commonwealth LNG project, one of eight gas export facilities being developed or under construction in the southwestern corner of Louisiana. The conclusion — included in the agency’s final environmental impact statement for Commonwealth LNG — suggests a potential turning point in FERC’s consideration of equity and environmental justice effects, according to activists who oppose the project… “It’s not necessarily unusual for FERC staff to conclude that the impacts of a proposed natural gas project would be ‘disproportionately high and adverse,’ Christi Tezak, a managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, told E&E. But staff will often caveat such language by adding that the impacts would be temporary, or that the project developer could mitigate those impacts so that they could be deemed ‘not significant’ for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Tezak told E&E. Such language regarding environmental justice impacts was absent in this case, she noted.”

Capital and Main: As EPA Fails to Fine Oil and Gas Polluters, New Mexico Officials Demand Answers
Jerry Redfern, 9/12/22

“New Mexico officials are asking the federal government to explain why it decided not to impose fines on oil and gas producers it caught violating the Clean Air Act in the state,” Capital and Main reports. “In May, Capital & Main reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that 24 companies had 111 leaks from wells and other equipment, following an airborne monitoring program over New Mexico’s portion of the Permian Basin in 2019. However, only 11 companies were given violation notices, and only one received a fine for Clean Air Act (CAA) violations. Another company was fined for a permitting violation. Now, James Kenney, secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich have asked the regional EPA office to explain the paltry number of violation notices and fines… “For the story published in May, an EPA spokesperson explained the lack of fines by saying that “an administrative settlement is based on several factors, including the number and type of violations as well as a facility’s compliance history.” But Kenney shared an email exchange between the senator’s office and the EPA Region 6 office, which covers New Mexico. In it, the senator’s office asked the EPA to “explain why a penalty was not assessed” for most of the violations. The EPA regional office responded, “Our enforcement efforts specific to the 2019 flyovers focused on returning facilities to compliance quickly through the issuance of nonpenalty administrative compliance orders. Such orders are for compliance and only consist of corrective action and do not include penalty authority.” But Kenney, who worked for years at the EPA before heading NMED, told Capital and Main, “There’s penalty authority that EPA has, in and of itself, on its own — period. EPA can do that.” “…A state employee who regularly works with the EPA said on background that this nonenforcement was a product of informal, Trump era policies to favor oil and gas operators. “I was told that EPA was instructed in the prior administration to not collect penalties,” the source told Capital and Main… “EPA Region 6 did not answer questions about whether there were official or unofficial policies discouraging local or national administrators from levying fines against oil and gas companies.”

San Jose Mercury News: Residents near oil fields hope Gov. Newsom signs state bill that creates community safety buffer zone
OLGA GRIGORYANTS, 9/12/22

“Growing up in Wilmington, a heavily Latino community in the Harbor area of Los Angeles, Ashley Hernandez always felt the presence of the massive oil field near her home,” the San Jose Mercury News reports. “As a child when she played with neighbors, she often brought a tissue to cover her nose to stop it from bleeding. Every time she touched a car or windowsill, it was covered with dark dust. When her doctor learned that she lived near noxious oil rigs and suffered from eye problems, he recommended she keep her windows shut. Hernandez, 29, who is now a community organizer for the nonprofit Communities for a Better Environment, tried to understand what might be triggering her symptoms and began to connect the dots. She discovered that many children in her neighborhood had nose and eye problems and that a refinery near her school emitted toxic fumes. Her house sat within a walking distance from the Wilmington Oil field, one of the largest oil sites in the country. When state legislators approved a new bill in late August that would set up 3,200-feet buffer zones between oil fields and neighborhoods like hers, Hernandez called it “a monumental moment.” Today that bill is on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, and he can veto it or agree to make it law. “We need to protect communities and make sure these kinds of sites are not around schools, daycares and churches,” she told the Mercury News… “Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president and CEO of the Western States Petroleum Association, a petroleum trade association representing oil and natural gas producers, told the Mercury News the bill on Newsom’s desk is “a direct attempt by the Governor to shut down oil and gas production in California.” She called the proposal “a one-size-fits-all, political mandate for the entire state that does little to protect health and safety, will make us more dependent on foreign oil and will likely increase costs for fuel and energy.” Ashley Hernandez, in Wilmington, told the Mercury News she hoped Newsom would back the bill and address the “traumatic impact of the oil and gas industry.” “We are tired of our community being disregarded. This is such a sweet moment. … It’s transformational for all of us.”

EXTRACTION

E&E News: Big Oil’s new strategy in climate cases: Cite Captain Planet
Lesley Clark, 9/14/22

“The oil and gas industry is citing “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in an effort to dismiss one of nearly two dozen lawsuits that accuse the industry of deceiving the public about the dangers of burning fossil fuels,” E&E News reports. “If the 1990s sitcoms knew climate change was happening, then the lawsuits that accuse the industry of hoodwinking the public aren’t credible, Chevron Corp. argues in a sweeping new court filing. The filing seeks to document — through scientific studies, newspaper and magazine articles and TV and movie scripts — the industry’s contention that the dangers of climate change have long been widespread knowledge. The 160-page brief — so large that it was filed in two sections — is replete with pictures of national and local newspaper stories about climate change, along with Time and National Geographic magazine covers from the early 2000s featuring climate coverage… “Another argues that “widely popular TV shows” — including “Captain Planet” and the “Power Rangers” — “referenced global warming and climate change, including their potential causes.” “…The Center for Climate Integrity, which backs the lawsuits, noted the filing comes as six appeals courts have rejected the industry’s efforts to move the lawsuits to federal court, where the industry believes it would get a more favorable hearing. “Courts roundly rejected Big Oil’s repeated attempts to escape trial, so now Chevron is reduced to quoting sitcoms in order to distract from the mountain of evidence that shows the polluter and its peers engaged in a decadeslong campaign to lie to the public about climate change,” center president Richard Wiles told E&E. “They are desperate to escape accountability for their actions, and they are growing more desperate by the day.”

Reuters: The U.S. oil executive making a big bet on combating climate change
Liz Hampton, 9/14/22

“The chief executive of a small U.S. oil company has jumped to the forefront of the energy industry’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts, recruiting high-profile firms to his vision of striking it big by selling access to carbon storage developments,” Reuters reports. “Tim Duncan, the founder of Talos Energy Inc (TALO.N), a decade-old offshore oil firm with fewer than 450 employees, has pulled together partners at four U.S. sites to compete against multi-billion dollar projects from Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Occidental Petroleum Corp. These alliances have made Duncan’s company one of the largest potential beneficiaries of the Biden administration’s climate, tax and health care bill. The law provides tax credits and cash payments for companies that target industrial-produced climate warming gases… “He is one of our fiercest competitors,” Charles Fridge, chief executive of CCS startup Verde CO2, who left the oil and gas sector after losing a key investor to climate worries, told Reuters… “Duncan has made Talos “a leader among public companies in building up a carbon capture unit,” Fridge, whose Verde CO2 has five projects under development, told Reuters… “CCS is staunchly opposed by environmental groups who view it as ineffective, but has emerged as a preferred approach by the oil industry to combat climate change and as a way they might get to zero emissions by 2050… “The history of CCS adaptation in the United States has not been a good story,”  Tyson Slocum, energy program director at consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, told Reuters. “My fear is CCS is just going to become the next generation of ESG tomfoolery.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Star Tribune: Climate change and state investments
By Editorial Board Star Tribune, 9/12/22

“Minnesota Auditor Julie Blaha is pushing for the state to adopt what are known as ESG investment guidelines, short for Environmental, Social, Governance,” the Star Tribune Editorial Board writes. “Quietly, more corporations of all sizes have begun adopting these same principles to guide their investment portfolios. It’s a welcome development. So what does ESG investment mean? Like all investments, it’s about calculating risk and return. Increasingly — especially when it comes to climate — corporations are viewing fossil fuel investments as having increased risk… “The State Board of Investment (SBI) manages state assets and is also responsible for several statewide retirement systems and other investment plans. Recently, the board introduced formal recommendations that respond to climate change. A three-part SBI report on climate change lays out evidence that rising global temperatures are changing the level of risk for some investments and recommends that factoring in climate change is a critical long-term strategy for protecting investment funds… “But ESG’s growing popularity has set off a severe backlash. States with significant fossil fuel interests, particularly Republican-led states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Florida, have labeled such practices “woke investing” and are aiming to punish such companies… “Blaha, a Democrat running for re-election against Republican Ryan Wilson, argues that corporations aren’t weighing climate change impact because they’re particularly “woke” but instead because it “makes good financial sense.” Blaha favors the nuanced recommendations in the report SIB commissioned. “It boils down to three simple things,” she said. “Take a climate-aware approach to investing, aim ultimately for a net-zero carbon portfolio and, as a last resort, the divestment approach.” There are no guarantees in the stock market, ever. But the growing realization that flouting climate change carries considerable risk is long overdue.”

Reuters: BlackRock courts investors ahead of Aramco gas pipelines bond sale -sources
Yousef Saba, 9/13/22

“BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) has held meetings with investors in London to drum up interest in a bond sale to begin refinancing a $13.4 billion loan that backed the asset manager’s deal to buy a stake in Saudi Aramco’s (2222.SE) gas pipelines network, two sources said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “A consortium led by BlackRock agreed to a $15.5 billion lease-and-leaseback agreement with Aramco last year which gives the investors a 49% stake in newly formed subsidiary Aramco Gas Pipelines Co, which will lease usage rights in Aramco’s gas pipelines network and lease them back to Aramco for 20 years. BlackRock held meetings with investors in London, both sources, who are familiar with the matter, told Reuters. The world’s biggest asset manager also held meetings in Dubai and New York, one of the sources told Reuters. BlackRock ran the investor meetings itself, without the help of a bank, the second source told Reuters.”.

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

WV News: United Way celebrates Born Learning Trail with Ribbon Cutting
Rebecca Young, 9/13/22

“The United Way of Gilmer, Lewis, and Upshur Counties recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Born Learning Trail at Jane Lew Park,” WV News reports. “The Born Learning Trail is a series of educational and activity based signs stationed around the walking trail to engage families… “The trail was made possible through a donation from TC Energy.”

OPINION

Washington Post: There are no reasons for the Mountain Valley Pipeline
Sally Courtright, Albany, N.Y., 913/22

“I applaud the hundreds of protesters, who vehemently opposed the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. This 303-mile proposed pipeline involves about 400 stream, river and wetland crossings and comes with a nearly $7 billion price tag. This infrastructure to move fracked gas is a travesty,” Sally Courtright writes in the Washington Post. “Fracking pollutes water and soil. Transporting this fossil-fuel gas involves leaks of methane, especially at the very noisy compressor stations. When this gas is burned for energy, it releases climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels adversely affect human health and are responsible for many premature deaths… “A sane society would just say no to these fuels, especially when clean options such as wind and solar are available. A sane society would not spend $7 billion on a product shown to be just awful. A sane society would want to protect its water, land and citizenry. How much longer will this abuse continue?”

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