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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/16/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 16, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Mlive.com: Wisconsin Line 5 trespass ruling may influence Michigan legal fight

  • Minnesota Reformer: 24 states have considered harsher penalties for pipeline protesters since DAPL standoff

  • NRDC: Illinois Dakota Access Pipeline Expansion Approved in Misguided Decision

  • WHYY: Catholic nuns seek damages against pipeline company, citing religious freedom

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: Landowners say forced pipeline surveys are unconstitutional

  • Fort Madison Daily Democrat: Community members share concerns about C02 pipeline

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • The Hill: GOP expresses hostility to Manchin permitting reform campaign

  • E&E News: W.Va. vs. Va.: Permitting overhaul a backyard brawl

  • Bloomberg: Business Group Pushes for Time Limit on Permitting Lawsuits 

  • E&E News: How oil companies could thrive under the climate law

  • E&E News: D.C. Circuit Leans Toward FERC In NEPA Dispute

  • E&E News: Democrats shame Big Oil in hourslong hearing

  • Reuters: Biden administration reinstates bids from Gulf of Mexico oil auction

STATE UPDATES

  • E&E News: Oil companies funded underground bid to beat Colo. referendum

EXTRACTION

  • E&E News: Oil And Gas Emissions Raise Cancer Risk For Millions — Report

  • Science Daily: Popular sport fish are behaviorally impaired from exposure to crude oil, study finds

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Natural Gas Suppliers Tout Certified Gas, RNG as ‘Bridge Products’ to Decarbonization

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Enbridge: Cultural and Ecological Stewardship Along the Des Plains Trail

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Mlive.com: Wisconsin Line 5 trespass ruling may influence Michigan legal fight
Sheri McWhirter, 9/14/22

“A federal judge said Enbridge has been trespassing for years with its Line 5 pipeline on sovereign tribal lands in Wisconsin, and some believe elements of the ruling eventually may be felt in Michigan,” Mlive.com reports. “Experts suggest multiple legal arguments about the Line 5 oil and gas pipeline in a federal case in Wisconsin could potentially influence the outcome of an ongoing legal fight over the same pipeline in Michigan’s Great Lakes waters… “Experts suggest arguments in the Wisconsin case over legal jurisdiction and liability for trespass might come into play in the Michigan case. It is also possible the federal Wisconsin judge’s coming decision about the magnitude of economic disruptions from a pipeline shutdown could be important for the case in Michigan. Attorney Andy Buchsbaum with nonprofit National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said a ruling on Sept. 7, 2022, by federal District Judge William Conley in Wisconsin supported the tribe’s sovereignty over its own lands and “demolished” Enbridge’s argument that it was not trespassing on tribal land. It may also be germane for the Michigan case, he told Mlive… ‘One watcher of the Wisconsin legal case told Mlive the part of the recent ruling about Enbridge trespassing yet being allowed to continue to operate the pipeline while a new route is pursued might spell trouble for the efforts of Line 5 opponents in Michigan. The concern is federal District Court Judge Janet Neff in Michigan – presiding over the case between Enbridge and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel – might similarly agree the state can revoke the Great Lakes bottomlands easement and that Enbridge may be trespassing, yet allow the company to continue to operate the pipeline while pursuing an underground tunnel beneath the lakes. “That would almost be a nightmare scenario because it would put the state and all of the state’s friends here in the position of having to choose really between supporting the tunnel in order to get rid of something that’s more dangerous, or fighting like hell to appeal,” Zach Welcker, legal director for nonprofit For Love Of Water, an environmental advocacy group based in Traverse City, told Mlive.”

Minnesota Reformer: 24 states have considered harsher penalties for pipeline protesters since DAPL standoff
MAIA IRVIN, 9/15/22

“Lawmakers in two dozen states — including Minnesota — have taken up bills that ratchet up penalties for pipeline protesters since the 2016 standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock reservation,” Minnesota Reformer reports. “The bills were drafted with the help of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council and succeeded in passing in 17 states controlled by Republicans, according to a new report by the progressive environmental lobbying group Climate Cabinet. The laws are aimed at deterring people from disrupting “critical infrastructure,” with harsher penalties, including felony charges, for trespassing and vandalism. In some states, a felony charge can be up to a $100,000 fine and 10 years in jail. The laws are also meant to deter organizations from providing protesters with support by charging associated organizations with vicarious liability. If a protester is fined, a court can charge an organization associated with the individual ten times the protester’s fine. If a protester is arrested and found innocent, a pipeline company can still sue associated organizations… “But opponents say the laws have a chilling effect on people’s First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly… “Meanwhile, tougher penalties on pipeline protesters have passed in South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin… “Even without the harsher penalties, activists tell the Regormer local prosecutors in Minnesota have been heavy-handed in charging protesters of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline with felonies, including for “attempted assisted suicide.”

NRDC: Illinois Dakota Access Pipeline Expansion Approved in Misguided Decision
9/15/22

“The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline expansion in the Prairie State today. The approval comes after a court decision vacating the previous approval, because the prior approval did not demonstrate how the expansion benefited Illinoisians and the ICC failed to consider the troubling record of the pipeline operator. In January 2022, the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court vacated the approval of the pipeline expansion and remanded it back to the ICC. The suit was brought by Save Our Illinois Land (SOIL), the Sierra Club, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and area landowner William Klingele.  “This decision shows the ICC’s continued favoritism toward business interests at the expense of Illinois citizens. It endangers us all,” said Deni Mathews, chairperson of Save Our Illinois Land. “Instead of evaluating the full impact of such projects, we are left to grapple with the continued effect of carbon pollution on our air, water, and soil. Carbon emissions increase while our earth’s climate systems are providing clear evidence that we must stop.”  

WHYY: Catholic nuns seek damages against pipeline company, citing religious freedom
Susan Phillips, 9/15/22

“A group of Catholic nuns argued Thursday in federal court in Philadelphia that the Transco Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline, which runs through land the company took from them through eminent domain, violates their religious beliefs and commitment to care for the Earth,” WHYY reports. “Every day since October 2018 when the pipeline construction was completed …Transco continues to add to the profits of its $40 billion dollar corporation,” said Adorers of the Blood of Christ Sister Dani Brought outside the courthouse. “Every day since October 2018, as fossil fuel gas flows through our farmland in Lancaster County, so also flows Transco’s blatant disregard and trampling of the Adorers’ religious beliefs.” A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the case that pits the Natural Gas Act against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While the Adorers’ stressed their religious beliefs and the threats of climate change in their briefs to the court, the judges were more interested in legal issues surrounding jurisdiction and regulatory procedures. They asked no questions about the nuns’ faith or the impacts of fossil fuel development on a warming climate… “This lawsuit is the second case brought by the Adorers, who had previously sought to halt construction by challenging the permit based on their religious convictions… “Somehow our land is complicit in allowing fossil fuels to perpetuate in the United States and that’s so against what we believe and what we would hope for our Earth,” McCann told WHYY. “It’s a daily sadness for me to know that’s going on on our property.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Landowners say forced pipeline surveys are unconstitutional
JARED STRONG, 9/15/22

“An Iowa law that allows hazardous liquid pipeline companies to access private property for land surveys violates the state’s constitution, several landowners are arguing in state court,” Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “That argument is a response to lawsuits that Navigator CO2 Ventures filed against them last month that claim the landowners have barred the company’s agents from conducting the surveys and, in two instances, threatened them with physical harm. The company seeks a judge’s order to compel the landowners to comply with the law, which says, in part: “a pipeline company may enter upon private land for the purpose of surveying and examining the land” without fear of being charged with trespassing… “But landowners in Butler, Clay and Woodbury counties are challenging the law and want a judge to nullify it. “Inherent in any landowner’s property rights is the right to exclude others from their land,” wrote Brian Jorde, an Omaha, Nebraska attorney who is representing at least three of the four sets of landowners, according to court records. He argues that a section of the state constitution pertaining to eminent domain guarantees those property rights. That section also requires “just compensation” when private property is taken for public use. The law that allows the pipeline surveys does not include a requirement for such compensation, and so it should be voided, Jorde argues… “Navigator seeks a court order that grants it access to the Hulses’ property with the assistance of the sheriff’s office. The Hulses seek an injunction that would prohibit the company from going onto the property and a ruling that the survey law violates the constitution.”

Fort Madison Daily Democrat: Community members share concerns about C02 pipeline
Angie Holland, 9/15/22

“A second meeting with representatives from Navigator C02 Ventures Heartland Greenway carbon dioxide pipeline and the Iowa Utilities Board was attended by not only landowners and community members but local elected officials as well as anti-pipeline activists,” the Fort Madison Daily Democrat reports. “…Lee County Supervisor Chuck Holmes was first to step up to the microphone. He said, in effect, that it seems the carbon sequestration enterprise would only reduce carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by 0.04%. “The analogy could be made to purifying a gallon of water and dumping it in the lake and the lasting effect on the lake is essentially zero,” he said… “People spoke with concerns about safety hazards related to C02 and the risks associated with a pipeline, about eminent domain being used, and about the necessity for C02 capture and sequestration to begin with… “Seyb said he was concerned with the idea that county boards and landowners can file as many comments they want but ultimately, the IUB – three people – can ultimately say yes or no. “It’s not going to be 100% but theoretically, if 100% of the landowners say no, I’m concerned that money, i.e. reward, risks do not equal out,” he said. “Very few people are going to receive the reward but a lot of people are going to get the risk and that concerns me.” Jess Mazour, conservation program coordinator for the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club also spoke out against the pipeline. “I am appalled at how much this company downplays the danger. You realize you are wanting to put a pipeline in our state that could kill people. You’re talking about ‘we’ll take it out of high risk areas,’ but that basically means some of us are disposable.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

The Hill: GOP expresses hostility to Manchin permitting reform campaign
RACHEL FRAZIN AND ARIS FOLLEY, 9/14/22

“Some Republicans are expressing hostility to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) campaign to use a government funding bill to advance permitting reform, adding to doubts about the effort’s future,” The Hill reports. “Republicans have long lamented the length of time it takes to advance fossil fuel and other energy projects. And Manchin’s efforts could be the best shot they’ve had in years to speed up the environmental review process for energy projects. But Republicans are also upset over the party-line passage of the sweeping climate, tax and health care bill passed under budget reconciliation rules that sidestepped the filibuster — an effort made possible by Manchin. And they have no interest in making things easier ahead of the midterms for fractious Democrats already struggling to unify behind the plan. Many liberals strongly oppose the Manchin permitting reform deal, and nearly 80 House Democrats have come out against the plan. “If you’re now looking for Republicans to support and give you more cover than you have right now, you’re not going to find it with us,” Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), No. 3 Senate Republican, told reporters this week… “So far what Joe’s put out is a one-page template — I haven’t seen anything else — and like I said, it’s not very ambitious in my view. It’s not enough for me to get to ‘yes,’ because frankly I don’t know why I would want to facilitate mediocrity,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told The Hill.  Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a frequent ally of Manchin’s, also raised concerns about using government funding to pass such significant legislation.  “I think putting it on a CR is problematic. It’s a major policy issue,” Collins told The Hill. In the House, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), head of the largest House conservative caucus, issued a memo questioning whether the Manchin deal will be right-wing enough to win Republican support this week. “Republicans historically have strongly supported permitting reform, but the permitting reform text in the CR hasn’t been released and it may favor Green New Deal projects to appease Chairman Grijalva and the 70+ Democrats who’ve pledged to vote against it,” the memo said, referring to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)… “Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters on Tuesday that a lot of the GOP conference has doubts “any of this will ever get implemented.” 

E&E News: W.Va. vs. Va.: Permitting overhaul a backyard brawl
Jeremy Dillon, George Cahlink, 9/16/22

“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wants a contested natural gas pipeline in his state to be part of his permitting reform effort. But Virginia lawmakers who might typically support a permitting overhaul are balking at the deal, in part because of the pipeline that would run between the two states,” E&E News reports. “…Virginia’s two Democratic senators have been circumspect on permitting reform, with one saying Thursday that congressional action could unfairly wade into the complicated political battle over the pipeline in his state. “For years, I have taken the position to both pipeline opponents and proponents that Congress should not be making pipeline decisions,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told reporters. “We should be setting up a permitting process that works and then have any project go through them.” Kaine added that when a deal is eventually released, “I would not like something that would have Congress doing this.” “…A shift away from the venue is among the issues Virginia lawmakers are worried about. “I don’t know exactly what the final outcome of that is going to be, but I would have deep concern about stripping jurisdiction away from the 4th Circuit on this or any other manner,” Kaine added. Kaine told E&E he was scheduled to receive a briefing Thursday afternoon to get a better feel for what is contained in the actual language of the proposed permitting reform bill. He also said he’s discussed his concerns with Schumer and wants to talk with Manchin in the future… “Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — long seen as a proponent of permitting reform and a central cog in the moderate-led bipartisan infrastructure law last year — has held off on endorsing the permitting agreement until he better understands what is in the text… “At the same time, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a vulnerable moderate whose district spans southern Virginia, has also expressed reservations over the permitting legislation, although she did not specifically cite Mountain Valley. Spanberger joined a group of 78 other House Democrats pressing House leadership to drop the permitting reform agreement from riding on the upcoming stopgap government funding resolution expected to be considered in the coming weeks.”

Bloomberg: Business Group Pushes for Time Limit on Permitting Lawsuits 
9/14/22

“The Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of the largest US corporations, is lobbying for a time limit for lawsuits stemming from environmental permit decisions,” Bloomberg reports. “The permitting process often takes longer than the actual work,” Joshua Bolten, the group’s CEO, told reporters at a Wednesday briefing. “That is a common experience across our membership, and a lot of that is a product of endless and unnecessary litigation that is not related to the protection of the environment and the public.” Bolten, a former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, didn’t specify a time limit for lawsuits. Lynn Good, chair of Duke Energy Corp. and chair of the Business Roundtable’s smart regulation committee, also spoke at the briefing but declined to comment on details of a permitting agreement recently negotiated between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)., which has drawn opposition from Democrats… “But that cap is liable to backfire on its proponents because it will motivate parties to sue the government “without knowing if they have an actual claim or not,” Raul Garcia, legislative director for healthy communities at Earthjustice, told Bloomberg… “Garcia also said the 150-day limit is “meant to shut out the public,” and would be most hurtful to residents of affected communities that “have to go to two or three jobs, and on top of that, analyze some of the most complicated statements that exist.”

E&E News: How oil companies could thrive under the climate law
Mike Lee, 9/15/22

“At first glance, the Inflation Reduction Act would seem like a financial problem for the U.S. oil and gas industry. The fine print suggests otherwise,” E&E News reports. “The bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden last month, imposes a new minimum tax on high-earning companies and a tax on corporations that buy back shares of their own stock. It came just weeks after top U.S. oil producers reported record earnings and billions in share purchases. A funny thing happened on the way to the president’s desk, though. Lawmakers shaved off the tax provision’s rough edges and added a couple of breaks that will allow oil producers to benefit — potentially — from one of the industry’s worst-ever years. “It gives them a gimme for one year,” Trey Cowan, an oil and gas analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which aims to accelerate an energy transition, told E&E. The upshot is that some companies that lost money during the oil price crash of 2020 will be able to use those losses to ease their tax liability in 2022, when the industry has reported record profits. It’s unclear how many companies will benefit because many of them will pay their taxes under the conventional tax law, rather than the Inflation Reduction Act’s minimum-tax provision… “But the law allows companies to take a couple well-known tax breaks when calculating their minimum-tax payments, including one that former President Donald Trump used in his real estate business. And it also calculates the $1 billion earnings threshold based on a three-year average, which could significantly cut oil companies’ liabilities for 2022. Companies will be able to use a maneuver called the net operating loss carryover when they calculate their bills under the minimum tax. The loophole allows a company that has a loss in one year to “carry” the loss into a future year and reduce its taxable income by the same amount.”

E&E News: D.C. Circuit Leans Toward FERC In NEPA Dispute
Niina Farah, 9/15/22

“Federal judges Wednesday pressed energy regulators for an update on their plans to use a contested metric to evaluate the costs of spewing planet-warming emissions from natural gas projects,” E&E News reports. “During oral arguments over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s assessment of the climate risks of a liquefied natural gas export facility in Alaska, three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appeared skeptical of green groups’ argument that the agency should have explained its views on the social cost of greenhouse gas estimates in its National Environmental Policy Act review. ‘There is a lurking question here, and that is: whose estimate?’ said Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph. ‘The Obama administration was the first to introduce the concept, and they estimated $43 per ton.’ Meanwhile, he said, the Trump administration set the social cost estimate — which assigns a dollar value to the damage caused by a metric ton of emissions — at $3 per ton, and the Biden administration set the cost at $51 per ton. ‘Which social cost of carbon should prevail?’ asked Randolph, a George H.W. Bush appointee.” 

E&E News: Democrats shame Big Oil in hourslong hearing
Corbin Hiar, 9/16/22

“Between April and June, Exxon reported almost $18 billion in earnings. Chevron and Shell reported more than $11 billion. And BP reported $8.5 billion,” E&E News reports. “Printed on a large poster and placed behind the seat of House Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), those numbers loomed in the background for almost the entirety of the panel’s four-hour Thursday hearing on the oil and gas industry. Maloney’s message: While gas prices soared, so did oil and gas company profits. “…But with no oil company board members willing to show up for this week’s follow-up, the committee turned to data, subpoenaed documents and expert testimony. Late Wednesday, committee Democrats released an initial batch of internal oil company documents that showed executives mocking climate activists and American consumers… “Then Ocasio-Cortez turned her attention to oil and gas company advertisements, particularly in political newsletters that “are very targeted towards members of Congress, staff and other policymakers here on the Hill.” Such newsletter advertising did not come up Wednesday, at the House Natural Resources Committee’s hearing on the industry’s public relations campaigns. Ocasio-Cortez cited an October 2021 story from Gizmodo and the climate newsletter Heated, which found that oil and gas interests had sharply increased their newsletter advertising ahead of the Oversight and Reform Committee’s first hearing on oil and gas influence efforts. The story focused on popular energy-related newsletters from POLITICO, Axios and Punchbowl. How do those sorts of ads influence the “negotiating environment and political and legislative outcomes of what’s happening in Congress?” Ocasio-Cortez asked Occidental College environmental studies professor J. Mijin Cha. “They have a direct influence,” Cha said. The ads, she explained, can mainstream oil industry talking points that may be misleading or counter to its lobbying efforts.”

Reuters: Biden administration reinstates bids from Gulf of Mexico oil auction
9/14/22

“The Biden administration on Wednesday said it had reinstated bids from a November 2021 Gulf of Mexico sale of offshore oil and gas drilling rights, a requirement buried in U.S. President Joe Biden’s new climate change and drug pricing law,” Reuters reports. “The move comes after a federal judge in January vacated the sale’s results, saying the administration had failed to properly account for the auction’s impact on global warming. The Inflation Reduction act, which President Joe Biden signed into law last month, contains nearly $370 billion for climate change and clean energy initiatives such as incentives for solar and wind power. But it also contains protections for the powerful oil and gas sector… “An oil industry trade group told Reuters it was pleased with the reinstatement and urged the administration to include 11 auctions in its final five-year offshore drilling plan.”

STATE UPDATES

E&E News: Oil companies funded underground bid to beat Colo. referendum
CORBIN HIAR, 9/15/22

“Oil and gas companies provided tens of millions of dollars to two Colorado nonprofit groups, which then directed the vast majority of that money to a public relations firm that campaigned against an environmental ballot initiative, according to a new congressional report,” E&E News reports. “The effort by Chevron Corp., Noble Energy Inc., Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and other oil producers helped to defeat a proposal that would have restricted drilling in the Centennial State. The Pac/West Communications-led campaign was one of several detailed in the House Natural Resources Committee report released Wednesday as part of a hearing on PR firms that have worked to prevent climate action. “Oil and gas firms’ creation and use of these nonprofits allowed them to effectively purchase the services of high-profile public relations firms to push their agenda while creating a concealing buffer between the firms themselves and the public relations campaign,” the panel’s Democratic staff wrote in the report.”

EXTRACTION

E&E News: Oil And Gas Emissions Raise Cancer Risk For Millions — Report
Carlos Anchondo, 9/15/22

“A growing number of Americans are at an increased risk of developing cancer because of toxic air pollution from U.S. oil and gas operations, according to new research,” E&E News reports. “In a report released Thursday, the environmental nonprofit Clean Air Task Force finds that nearly 14 million people live in counties that face a cancer risk that exceeds EPA’s ‘1-in-a-million’ threshold of concern, up from 9 million people in 2016. The report attributes the elevated risk — in 236 counties across 21 states — to pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde that are emitted from oil and gas facilities alongside methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In 33 counties, the cancer risk is about 1 in 250,000; in three, it exceeds 1 in 100,000, according to the report. The analysis is an update to the original 2016 ‘Fossil Fumes’ report and finds that the industry has grown in ‘many more locations than it shrank’… “The report finds that the areas with greatest health risk are states with the largest amount of oil and gas infrastructure, like Texas and New Mexico. Five hazardous air pollutants — acetaldehyde, benzene, ‘1,3-butadiene,’ ethylbenzene and formaldehyde — make up 99 percent of the cancer risk from oil and gas facilities, according to the report.”

Science Daily: Popular sport fish are behaviorally impaired from exposure to crude oil, study finds
9/15/22

“A first-of-its-kind research experiment led by researchers at University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science confirmed that a popular sport fish exposed to sublethal levels of crude oil and released back into the wild exhibits altered behavior, decreased survival, and reduced spawning,” Science Daily reports. “The findings suggest that during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, mahi-mahi in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean exposed to crude oil, experienced behavioral impairment such as decreased survival and spawning frequency… “Analysis of data from satellite tags revealed altered temperature and depth distributions in oil-exposed fish that result in increased predation rates for the first 8 days fish were at liberty and decreased spawning compared to unexposed wild fish for up to 37 days. Gene expression data showed that these behavioral changes may be underlain by muscular, sensory, and central nervous signaling systems. In the lab, exposed fish show impaired vision, olfaction and swimming performance with some evidence for both sensory system and central nervous system impairment. This research shows that behavior is affected both in lab and wild fish after oil exposure and for the wild fish it translates to higher predation mortality and reduced spawning… “Understanding the direct impacts of oil exposure on wild fish is critically important as deeper and riskier offshore oil drilling operations increase.” Martin Grosell, professor and chair of the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the Rosenstiel School and co-author of the study, told ScienceDaily.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Natural Gas Suppliers Tout Certified Gas, RNG as ‘Bridge Products’ to Decarbonization
ANDREW BAKER, 9/14/22

“Decarbonizing natural gas consumption is considerably more complex than doing so for electricity, but U.S. gas suppliers are up for the challenge, industry players said this week,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The ultimate goal to neutralize the climate-warming impact of natural gas is large-scale deployment of low-carbon hydrogen, along with carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), said BP plc’s Mark Aufmuth, managing director for low carbon and cross commodity origination. However, these technologies are still in the emergent phase.  In the meantime, “gas consumers could consider incorporating some bridge products into their gas procurement strategies,” Aufmuth said at LDC Gas Forums’ Midcontinent Forum in Chicago. The bridge products include renewable natural gas (aka RNG or biogas), certified or differentiated gas and carbon offset natural gas. The use of these products “could show stakeholders that you are engaged in planning for the energy transition that is already underway,” Aufmuth said. RNG refers to naturally occurring methane captured from sources including landfills and dairy farms, which is then cleaned up and injected into the natural gas supply network. Certified gas denotes pipeline gas with an independent, third-party accreditation of a producing facility’s methane emissions intensity. Southern Company’s Christa Markgraff, vice president of gas operations, told NGI on the sidelines of the forum that the utility is pursuing certified gas procurement across all of its jurisdictions. Through its subsidiaries, the Atlanta-based firm supplies natural gas to 4.3 million customers in Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, along with gas marketing services in California, Georgia and Texas.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Enbridge: Cultural and Ecological Stewardship Along the Des Plains Trail
9/15/22

“It’s believed to be the first effigy mound built by Native Americans in North America in the past 500 years,” according to Enbridge. “Erected near the shores of the Des Plaines River, just four miles east of O’Hare International Airport in Cook County, the earthwork is a tribute to an ancient form of wayfinding used by Indigenous people of the region hundreds of years ago… “When Enbridge heard about the invasive plants overtaking Schiller Woods, we wanted to help return the space to its natural habitat. Enbridge’s Fueling Futures program supports sustainability projects that help improve, grow and nurture our environment, and our $20,000 Fueling Futures donation to the Forest Preserve Foundation has helped with the removal of invasive species—and the addition of 40,000 native plants, including tallgrass and wildflowers… “Part of Enbridge’s funding will help the foundation develop community programming to share the stories and culture of the Indigenous people of the region.”

OPINION

Carroll Times Herald: Several reasons to pause permits for hazardous C02 pipelines in Iowa
Bonnie Ewoldt, 9/15/22

“Three investment companies, Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator, and Wolfe Carbon Solutions (in partnership with Archer Daniel Midlands), are seeking permits to develop thousands of miles of fluid CO2 pipelines throughout our state. Their main selling point is the notion that Iowa’s ethanol will only remain competitive if it meets California’s strict low-carbon emission standards,” Bonnie Ewoldt writes in the Carroll Times Herald. “Even so, a recent vote in California will take CO2 emission standards to an even higher level by 2035 when the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles will be banned in the Golden State. Several more states have indicated plans to follow suit. With the transition to EV’s, demand for ethanol will fall, and the multi-billion-dollar C02 pipelines may become obsolete a decade after disrupting thousands of acres of Iowa farmland. This alone should make Iowa pause the permitting process. However, the dwindling California market isn’t the only reason to suspend CO2 pipeline permits. Many important questions remain unanswered. Is Iowa’s power grid ready for the huge increase in demand needed to power the pipelines?  Have CO2 pipeline companies documented their claims of CO2 pipeline safety?  Are regulations in place to oversee CO2 pipelines? Simply put, the answer to all of the above is, “No!” “…In the aftermath of Sartatia, PHMSA is writing new plans for oversight of CO2 pipelines. The agency will implement rules, including emergency preparedness and response requirements. The IUB should suspend all hazardous CO2 pipeline permit requests until PHMSA has new safety regulations in place and every CO2 pipeline company has submitted documentation showing they are in compliance… “Iowa needs to pause hazardous CO2 pipeline permits until these critical questions are answered. It’s time to stop and think through the ramifications of going forward with these nebulous projects.”

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