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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/18/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 18, 2023



  • AgWeek: North Dakota regulators will reconsider Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline denial

  • South Dakota Searchlight: Carbon pipeline company has not ‘taken any state off the map’ after SD permit rejection

  • NBC News: A local struggle over carbon pipelines in Iowa is becoming a 2024 presidential flashpoint

  • WHBF: CO2 pipeline meeting to discuss risks of project

  • PBS: Market to Market

  • WSET: Pipeline fighter locks herself to lockbox at Roanoke Co. worksite

  • Appalachian Voices: Greenbrier River Watchdogs Alarmed as Mountain Valley Pipeline Drills

  • Reuters: Canada’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline’s faces hearing on route change dispute

  • Reuters: Canada-owned Trans Mountain asks regulator to approve oil pipeline tolls despite shipper complaints


  • New York Times: Climate Protesters March on New York, Calling for End to Fossil Fuels

  • NPR: Thousands march in New York to demand that Biden ‘end fossil fuels’

  • Guardian: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells climate marchers to be ‘too big and too radical to ignore’ – as it happened

  • FOX News: House Dems Cross Party Lines, Demand Biden Admin Expand Oil Drilling 

  • E&E News: Tribal Leaders Rallying Opposition To Chaco Drilling Bill 

  • E&E News: Republicans Introduce Bill To Stymie Biden ESA Rules 


  • New York Times: California Sues Giant Oil Companies, Citing Decades of Deception

  • Ohio to decide Monday whether to open state parks to oil and gas drilling


  • Guardian: New files shed light on ExxonMobil’s efforts to undermine climate science

  • PBS: Climate protesters worldwide call for end to fossil fuels amid escalating weather extremes

  • Guardian: Young people to take 32 European countries to court over climate policies

  • Bloomberg: Methane From Oil and Gas Are Worse Than Reported to UN, Satellites Show

  • Reuters: Rockefeller Foundation boosts climate funding to $1 billion over five years

  • Sierra Magazine: How Clean Is “Clean Hydrogen”?

  • CBS News: Apple CEO Tim Cook on creating a clean energy future


  • The Verge: ‘Bodies on the line’: why climate protesters risked arrest to block BlackRock


  • Los Angeles Times: Editorial: No more half measures on climate change. The next generation is right to demand an end to fossil fuels

  • High Plains Journal: ‘Pipeline to nowhere’ 

  • New Statesman: How London and Boston are using their financial muscle to divest from fossil fuels

  • DeSmog: A Push to Expedite Permits Fueled by Disaster Capitalism Threatens to Fastrack the Climate Crisis

  • The Hill: It’s time to put fossil fuels in the rearview mirror


AgWeek: North Dakota regulators will reconsider Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline denial
Jeff Beach, 9/15/23

“Summit Carbon Solutions will get a second chance to make its case for a carbon capture pipeline through North Dakota,” AgWeek reports. “The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Friday, Sept. 15, granted a request from Summit Carbon Solutions to reconsider their route permit application. The commission on Aug. 4 denied Summit’s application . Summit tried to remedy what the PSC pointed out as deficiencies, including a new route around Bismarck. Summit requested a one-day hearing for reconsideration. At a previous work session of the PSC, commission Chairman Randy Christmann said the PSC is not obligated to grant a timeline requested by Summit and will instead set its own schedule. “The company can now, I guess, prepare the evidence that they sought to provide to us to persuade the commission that the applicant’s (Summit) application meets the legal standard,” Christmann said. “And I will tell you that based on the deficiencies laid out in the previous denial, I’d say that evidence will need to be substantial.” “…After the 2-1 vote in favor of the re-hearing, Christmann said the commission will have to make a decision on whether county ordinances preempt the authority of the commission. Emmons and Burleigh are counties along the route that have passed ordinances that would limit where the pipeline could go… “Commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart voted against the rehearing, saying Summit could have addressed many of the issues as they were raised during public hearing on the pipeline. “They had ample time, six months when there was a question by a landowner or anyone, for them to submit rebuttal information,” Haugen-Hoffert said… “Christmann said a rehearing may still result in a denial of the controversial hazardous liquid pipeline… “For people who are concerned, I do want to point out, reconsideration does not grant either the corridor certificate or the route permit. It only allows additional evidence for the company to try to persuade us that they are addressing the deficiencies,” Christmann said.

South Dakota Searchlight: Carbon pipeline company has not ‘taken any state off the map’ after SD permit rejection

“A recently failed permit application is not necessarily the end of a carbon capture pipeline company’s goal of building in South Dakota and four other states, according to a company spokesperson,” the South Dakota Searchlight reports. “We have not taken any state off the map,” Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, of Navigator CO2, told South Dakota Searchlight in an interview Friday. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted Sept. 6 to deny Navigator’s application for a construction permit. Since then, Burns-Thompson told Searchlight, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company has released contracted land agents and walked back some business operations “in the South Dakota footprint.” The company is reallocating resources elsewhere, at least until it sees the written permit-denial order from the commission, which is due by Sept. 26. “It’s important for us to see that in black and white,” Burns-Thompson told Searchlight, adding she could not say what a new approach in South Dakota would look like “until we see that legal opinion.” Burns-Thompson told Searchlight speculation that Navigator is giving up on the South Dakota portion of its project is based on text messages between some landowners and recently released contractors who are not company employees… “Amy Solsma, whose land is in the path of Navigator’s project, is among those whose easement negotiations have been suspended. A land agent contracted by Navigator told her the “project is getting shut down permanently,” according to a text message exchange. “It’s a small win because, trust me, I don’t believe anything they ever do,” Solsma told Searchlight… “Summit has already sought reconsideration in North Dakota and has announced it plans to refine its proposal and reapply in South Dakota.”

NBC News: A local struggle over carbon pipelines in Iowa is becoming a 2024 presidential flashpoint
Jillian Frankel and Alex Tabet, 9/18/23

“Republican presidential hopefuls hitting the trail in Iowa are being peppered with questions about abortion, social issues and government spending — and also carbon dioxide pipelines and eminent domain,” NBC News reports. “The questions stem from efforts by three companies — Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator CO₂ Ventures and Wolf Carbon Solutions — that propose a series of underground pipelines to move carbon dioxide emitted from ethanol and other industrial plants in Iowa to either North Dakota or Illinois. But many landowners are not interested in the idea, which has led Navigator to seek permission in Iowa to use eminent domain, which allows the government to seize private land for public projects, The Gazette newspaper of Cedar Rapids reported in March. It has residents in small Iowa towns like Nevada and Glenwood in an uproar — and it has become the latest local political issue in one of the influential early-voting states to turn into a venue for presidential politics.  Ahead of 2024, the pipeline issue is forcing GOP candidates to strike a delicate balance among protecting landowners’ rights, supporting the ethanol industry and demonstrating an understanding of the critical role agriculture plays statewide. In Council Bluffs, Iowa, in July, former President Donald Trump quickly talked his way past a question about how he could help Iowans save their farmland from CO₂ pipelines… “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faced a similar question about the scope of eminent domain at a stop in Algona, Iowa, late last month… “And North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum had a tense exchange with crowd members at an event in Nevada, Iowa, on Sept. 9 over using eminent domain to install carbon capture pipelines… “Karen, a family farmer who lives in Iowa but has a farm in Hamilton County, Nebraska, spoke to NBC News about the pipelines but asked to withhold her last name because her family is concerned about upsetting neighbors. She said she is prioritizing 2024 presidential candidates who support individual property rights.  “We’ve kind of been burned by wind companies, solar companies, all making these big promises, and ‘Oh, all these tax dollars that will be going to your little counties,’” Karen told NBC. “This is just like the third strike.” “…Carbon capture is just a scheme that’s been developed by the fossil fuel industry to keep themselves going,” Mark Jacobson, the director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy Program, told NBC. Jacobson published a study in the journal Energy and Environmental Science that suggests carbon capture harms the environment. “It has no benefit to anybody. It just raises prices for all consumers,” he told NBC.

WHBF: CO2 pipeline meeting to discuss risks of project
Sharon Wren, 9/17/23

“The risks of high pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines are among the issues that will be discussed at a free public informational meeting on September 18th at 6:30 p.m. at the Geneseo Community Center, 541 E. North Street,” WHBF reports. “Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant that is heavier than air. A CO2 cloud from a leak can travel long distances, depending on weather conditions and land topography. A CO2 cloud in Sitartia, Mississippi in 2020 led to hundreds of people evacuating and several dozen more going to hospitals. Because carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it displaces oxygen. People and livestock exposed to high concentrations of CO2 may have minutes to escape before confusion, loss of consciousness and even coma or death can occur. When water and carbon dioxide combine, the result is carbonic acid. This acid can deteriorate the insides of pipelines or potentially contaminate water resources. “What happens if there is a carbon dioxide line rupture in a far-flung rural area,” asked Bill Davies, a volunteer with the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. “How long will it take for emergency responders to reach homes where residents might be sleeping, or are otherwise unaware of what was happening?” This meeting is being presented by members of the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance and the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines.” 

PBS: Market to Market

“On this edition of Market to Market … Congress returns to D.C. with several deals needing to be done. Renewable fuels get a boost. Several states navigate the pipeline regulation process,” PBS reports.

WSET: Pipeline fighter locks herself to lockbox at Roanoke Co. worksite
Kaylee Shipley, 9/17/23

“Early Saturday morning, a pipeline fighter locked herself to a buried lockbox at a Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) worksite in Roanoke County, according to the Appalachians Against Pipelines,” WSET reports “According to this group, she is preventing pipeline workers from clearing vegetation on the top of Poor Mountain. She has been preventing work on the site since before 6:00 a.m. on Saturday… “According to the group, folks have been disrupting MVP construction regularly since construction restarted on July 5, with many stoppages occurring at the sites where MVP still plans to cross difficult, dangerous terrain. At least two dozen work stoppages have occurred since work restarted, including walk-ons, rallies, and multiple other lockdown protests. Poor Mountain, where this action was happening, is where the Yellow Finch Treesits blocked the MVP’s path for two and a half years from 2018-2021.”

Appalachian Voices: Greenbrier River Watchdogs Alarmed as Mountain Valley Pipeline Drills
Dan Radmacher, 9/15/23

“Mountain Valley Pipeline has begun boring to place pipe under the Greenbrier River near Talcott, West Virginia, in Summers County — and local residents and protectors of the river are incredibly concerned about the risks that poses,” Appalachian Voices reports. “The Greenbrier flows into so many other rivers,” Deni Elliott, board member of the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, told AV. “It’s an important part of the water system for the Eastern United States. Do you really want to mess with this? It’s precious.” For Autumn Crowe, program director for West Virginia Rivers Coalition, the most looming concern is the number of ways that boring could lead to sediment pollution in the river. “Water crossings are the most technical part of the construction process,” she told AV. “We’ve already seen crossings go wrong in previous construction, which doesn’t lead to much confidence — especially now that they are rushing through to complete the process, cutting corners and overworking their employees. That’s a recipe for disaster.” “MVP is pumping out up to a million gallons of water out of the Greenbrier, which is in low-flow conditions as it is,” she told AV. “They are mixing that with bentonite mud to lubricate the drill rig. They then have to properly handle that slurry. The bore pits are below the water table. They’ll fill up with water, and that muddy water will have to be pumped out of the pits.” But one scenario keeps Crowe up at night. “My worst fear is a bentonite blowout where the drill bit encounters fractured bedrock and that bentonite lubrication would move through that fractured bedrock and enter the stream bed.” When that happened while Energy Transfer was constructing the Rover pipeline under an Ohio wetlands, it resulted in the release of 2 million gallons of drilling mud. A similar incident beneath a Pennsylvania lake spilled 200,000 gallons of mud during construction of the Mariner East Pipeline.”

Reuters: Canada’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline’s faces hearing on route change dispute
Nia Williams, 9/18/23

“Canadian regulators on Monday kicked off a two-day hearing to weigh up a controversial route change request from the Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) project that has sparked Indigenous opposition and may lead to further delays for the key oil pipeline,” Reuters reports. “…But last month Tran Mountain Corp (TMC), the crown corporation building the expansion, asked the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to change the approved route on a 1.3-kilometre (0.8 mile) section of pipeline near Kamloops, British Columbia, to avoid planned micro-tunneling construction that it now says is unfeasible. TMC’s proposal to instead lay the pipeline through a different area nearby, using horizontal directional drilling and a conventional open trench, is being opposed by the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) First Nation, whose territory the pipeline crosses… “Earlier this year, TMC estimated the entire expansion project would cost C$30.9 billion, more than four times its original budget, and warned the price tag could rise further. Concerns about TMX being delayed have already started weighing on Canadian crude prices, as traders worry rising oil sands production could get bottlenecked in Canada. The dispute will also likely complicate the Canadian government’s plan to sell the pipeline once construction is finished. Trans Mountain was bought by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government from Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N) in 2018 to ensure it got built. “It truly is a nightmare come true for the Canadian government,” Morningstar analyst Stephen Ellis told Reuters. “The response of the SSN First Nation seems quite compelling and detailed, and lays out Trans Mountain’s shortfalls in a very clear fashion.” In letters already filed with regulators, the Indigenous group says altering the route would disturb lands that hold “profound spiritual and cultural significance”, and it only agreed to allow TMX to cross its territory in the first place because of assurances the micro-tunneling would work. “Any support or consent that SSN has provided for the Project has been based on conditions that explicitly protect the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) Corridor from disturbance or harm,” the SSN said in an August filing. Ellis told Reuters it seemed likely the expansion project would be delayed even if regulators grant TMC’s request, echoing a letter filed last week by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO), a major shipper on the pipeline.”

Reuters: Canada-owned Trans Mountain asks regulator to approve oil pipeline tolls despite shipper complaints
Rod Nickel, 9/15/23

“Trans Mountain Corp, the oil pipeline company owned by the Canadian government, asked a regulator on Thursday to approve the proposed tolls it wants to charge shippers, who have said they are too high,” Reuters reports. “In a filing to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), Trans Mountain also said the interim toll proposal would result in the pipeline operator absorbing two-thirds of the construction cost increases for its long-delayed expansion project… “Construction has been beset by delays and a nearly quadrupling of its costs to C$30.9 billion ($22.84 billion). Trans Mountain wants to recoup some of those costs from shippers and set tolls based on a formula outlined in an earlier agreement. “The approved toll methodology is essentially a cost risk-sharing framework, and Trans Mountain’s applied-for interim fixed tolls would result in Trans Mountain bearing more than two-thirds of the construction cost increases for the project since 2017,” Trans Mountain’s lawyer Sander Duncanson said in the filing… “The Trans Mountain expansion could be delayed by up to nine months if regulators do not approve a route deviation request, Trans Mountain told the CER this week.”


New York Times: Climate Protesters March on New York, Calling for End to Fossil Fuels
Somini Sengupta, Hilary Howard and Delger Erdenesanaa, 9/17/23

“Tens of thousands of people, young and old, filled the streets of Midtown Manhattan under blazing sunshine on Sunday to demand that world leaders quickly pivot away from fossil fuels dangerously heating the Earth,” the New York Times reports. “Their ire was sharply directed at President Biden, who is expected to arrive in New York Sunday night for several fund-raisers this week and to speak before the United Nations General Assembly session that begins Tuesday. “Biden, you should be scared of us,” Emma Buretta, 17, a New York City high school student and an organizer with the Fridays for Future movement, shouted at a rally ahead of the march. “If you want our vote, if you don’t want the blood of our generations to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.” The Biden administration has shepherded through the United States’ most ambitious climate law and is working to transition the country to wind, solar and other renewable energy. But it has also continued to approve permits for new oil and gas drilling, in most instances because it was required by law. That has enraged many of Mr. Biden’s traditional supporters, as well as politicians on the left flank of the Democratic Party, who want him to declare a climate emergency and block any new fossil fuel production… “Sunday’s protest aimed at stopping fossil fuels suggested a more focused target on the part of climate advocates, who have grown increasingly frustrated by the continued expansion of drilling and mining. The industry has argued that emissions, and not the fuel, are the problem, and that it can use nascent technology to capture carbon dioxide from the air and bury it underground… “The turnout in New York surprised organizers, and followed a weekend of climate protests demonstrations in Germany, England, Senegal, South Korea, India and elsewhere. They are the largest such protests since before the Covid-19 pandemic. And they come on the heels of the hottest summer on record, exacerbated by planetary warming, and amid record profits for oil and gas companies. In New York, some protesters came in wheelchairs; others pushed strollers. They traveled to the city from around the country and around the world. There was puppetry and song and thousands of homemade signs and banners. They were health care workers and antinuclear activists, monks and imams, labor leaders and actors, scientists and drummers. And students, so many students.”

NPR: Thousands march in New York to demand that Biden ‘end fossil fuels’
Rachel Waldholz, 9/17/23

“Helen Mancini remembers the last major climate march in New York City, when then-teenage activist Greta Thunberg spoke to a crowd of thousands, demanding world leaders take action on global warming,” NPR reports. “Mancini was in middle school at the time. She remembers turning to her parents in frustration. “And I just looked at them and I was like, How could you not dedicate your lives to stopping this?” she told NPR…. “Now, four years later, protesters are again gathered in the city, and this time Mancini, now 16, is helping organize it. This time, protesters are marching with a specific message for President Biden: it’s time for the U.S. to move away from oil and gas. “[This] march is piercingly clear about what needs to be done to actually solve climate,” Jean Su, energy justice director with the Center for Biological Diversity and one of the march organizers, told NPR. “It’s actually seeking the end of fossil fuels.” Protesters are calling on Biden to stop federal approvals of new fossil fuel projects, phase out oil and gas drilling on public lands, and declare climate change a national emergency. They want the U.S. to halt oil and gas exports, and transition to a reliance on renewable energy… “Organizers hoped Sunday’s march would be the biggest climate protest in the U.S. since the 2019 strike, which brought tens of thousands of people into the streets in Manhattan while millions more marched worldwide… “And it comes just days before a “Climate Ambition Summit” hosted by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, aimed at pressuring world leaders to commit to more rapid emissions cuts. Guterres has said only countries that present credible new plans – including the phase-out of fossil fuels – will be invited to participate. Biden does not plan to attend… “Organizers say they’re especially disappointed Biden hasn’t kept a campaign promise to halt new drilling on federal lands. The administration has allowed oil and gas projects to move forward, notably the Willow project, a major oil development in Alaska, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will carry natural gas from West Virginia.”

Guardian: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells climate marchers to be ‘too big and too radical to ignore’ – as it happened
Maya Yang, 9/17/23

“The crowd cried out in cheers for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who thanked them for showing up and highlighting the urgency of the climate crisis,” the Guardian reports. “This issue is the issue, one of the most important issues of our time,” she said, adding: “We must be too big and too radical to ignore.” Climate action requires a democratic restructuring of the economy, she said. “What we’re not gonna do is go from oil barons to solar barons,” she told the crowd.

FOX News: House Dems Cross Party Lines, Demand Biden Admin Expand Oil Drilling 

“A group of House Democrats penned a letter Thursday to several top Biden administration and White House officials, demanding the immediate continuance of uninterrupted offshore oil and gas leasing,” FOX News reports. “The Democrats — led by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas — called for the Department of the Interior (DOI) to immediately issue its legally mandated plan for offshore fossil fuel lease sales, which the agency has delayed for more than 12 months. The lawmakers noted that the Inflation Reduction Act tethers new wind leases to oil and gas leases, meaning the former could be threatened without consistent fossil fuel leasing. “As members of Congress representing Americans across six districts in three states, we write to urge the U.S. Department of the Interior to take immediate action necessary to hold uninterrupted offshore oil and gas lease sales under the pending 2023-2028 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program to avoid the now expected offshore wind leasing cliff,” they wrote in the letter.”

E&E News: Tribal Leaders Rallying Opposition To Chaco Drilling Bill 
Heather Richards, 9/15/23

“Leaders of several Native American tribes lobbied Congress this week in hopes of blocking a House bill from Arizona Republicans that would allow oil and gas drilling near lands sacred to the Pueblo tribes in northern New Mexico,” E&E News reports. “Sponsored by Reps. Eli Crane and Paul Gosar, the ‘Energy Opportunities for All Act,’ H.R. 4374, would reverse a 20-year mineral withdrawal greenlit earlier this year by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. That move closed new leasing for oil and gas within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The bill passed along party lines in the Republican-controlled House Natural Resources Committee in July. Several Pueblo governors told E&E News the debate over the legislation has spread ‘disinformation’ in New Mexico, including that tribes were not consulted before the Biden administration enacted the 20-year moratorium on new oil sales and that private landowners would lose their right to drill. “We’re really here to request support from everyone that’s going to have a hand in voting and try to make people understand that this is something that is significant for our survival,”Arden Kucate, governor of the Pueblo of Zuni, told E&E.” 

E&E News: Republicans Introduce Bill To Stymie Biden ESA Rules 
Nidhi Prakash, 9/15/23

“House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation Thursday to prevent the Biden administration from finalizing three Endangered Species Act rules intended to walk back Trump-era policies,” E&E News reports. “Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, told E&E his bill was intended to push back against “radical environmental activists” and protect “farmers, ranchers, landowners and rural communities.” The Biden team wants to make it illegal to kill or injure threatened species — not just endangered ones. The administration also wants to give agencies more guidance on ESA consultations and make sure regulators prioritize species protection over economic interests. Newhouse told E&E he wants to “prevent these egregious rules from taking effect and to steer the ESA back to its intended purpose of helping species recover without being a barrier to prosperity for our rural communities.”


New York Times: California Sues Giant Oil Companies, Citing Decades of Deception
David Gelles, 9/15/23

“The state of California sued several of the world’s biggest oil companies on Friday, claiming their actions have caused tens of billions of dollars in damage and that they deceived the public by downplaying the risks posed by fossil fuels,” the New York Times reports. “The civil case, filed in superior court in San Francisco, is the latest and most significant lawsuit to target oil, gas and coal companies over their role in causing climate change. It seeks creation of an abatement fund to pay for the future damages caused by climate related disasters in the state. The lawsuit targets five companies: Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, which is headquartered in San Ramon, Calif. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group based in Washington, is also listed as a defendant. Seven other states and dozens of municipalities have filed similar lawsuits in recent years. But the California lawsuit immediately becomes one of the most significant legal challenges facing the fossil fuel industry. Beyond being the most populous state in the country, California is a major producer of oil and gas, and its attorney general’s office has a track record of bringing landmark cases that are emulated by smaller states. California is also on the front lines of climate-change-fueled extreme weather, with wildfires, floods, sea-level rise, searing heat and even tropical storms battering the state. “California’s case is the most significant, decisive, and powerful climate action directed against the oil and gas industry in U.S. history,” Richard Wiles, the president of the Center for Climate Integrity, a nonprofit organization that tracks climate litigation, told the Times… “In a statement, Ryan Meyers, general counsel of the American Petroleum Institute, told the Times: “This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources. Climate policy is for Congress to debate and decide, not the court system.” “…It claims that starting in the 1950s, the companies and their allies intentionally downplayed the risks posed by fossil fuels to the public, even though they understood that their products were likely to lead to significant global warming. It alleges that Exxon, Chevron and the other companies have continued to mislead the public about their commitment to reducing emissions in recent years, boasting about minor investments in alternative fuels while reaping record profits from the production of planet-warming fossil fuels.” Ohio to decide Monday whether to open state parks to oil and gas drilling
Jake Zuckerman, 9/18/23

“A newly created arm of state government could decide Monday whether to open two of Ohio’s state parks and two protected wildlife areas to oil and gas development,” reports. “The Oil and Gas Land Management Commission’s agenda for its Monday meeting includes discussion and “possible action” on 10 applications to open Salt Fork State Park, Wolf Run State Park, Valley Run Wildlife Area, and Zepernick Wildlife Area to drilling… “The gas industry is keenly interested in the outcome and the stakes are high… “State records show a whopping 95 lobbyists are registered to lobby the OGLMC on behalf of companies including Encino, EQT Corp., Ascent Resources, Calpine Energy Solutions, Marathon Petroleum, TC Energy, Shell, BP, Gulfport Energy Corp, the Ohio Association of Realtors, and more… “Others have fought to stop the drilling before it starts. The Ohio Environmental Council filed a lawsuit in April seeking to stop the new law from taking effect. The case is pending, but a Franklin County judge denied a request to halt the leasing process in the interim. Meanwhile, Save Ohio Parks, a grassroots organization comprised of several environmental activists, has waged a public relations and letter-writing campaign seeking to stop or slow the leasing process. “We want the commission to deny all the fracking nominations before them. They can do it and they should do it,” Roxanne Groff, Save Ohio Parks steering committee member, told “Thousands of people have asked them to do so. The commission needs to listen to the people.”


Guardian: New files shed light on ExxonMobil’s efforts to undermine climate science
Dharna Noor, 9/15/23

“ExxonMobil executives privately sought to undermine climate science even after the oil and gas giant publicly acknowledged the link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change, according to previously unreported documents revealed by the Wall Street Journal,” the Guardian reports. “The new revelations are based on previously unreported documents subpoenaed by New York’s attorney general as part of an investigation into the company announced in 2015. They add to a slew of documents that record a decades-long misinformation campaign waged by Exxon, which are cited in a growing number of state and municipal lawsuits against big oil. Many of the newly released documents date back to the 2006-16 tenure of former chief executive Rex Tillerson, who oversaw a major shift in the company’s climate messaging. In 2006, Exxon publicly accepted that the climate crisis posed risks, and it went on to support the Paris agreement. Yet behind closed doors, the company behaved differently, the documents show. In 2008, Exxon pledged to stop funding climate-denier groups. But that very same year, company leadership said it would support the company in directing a scientist to help the nation’s top oil and gas lobbying group write a paper about the “uncertainty” of measuring greenhouse gas emissions… “The documents also show Exxon’s displeasure with scientific warnings from top authorities… “Tillerson also wanted to engage with the scientists “to influence [the group], in addition to gathering info”, the Exxon researcher told colleagues in a 2012 email about the findings. Years later, Tillerson expressed doubt about the United Nations’ Paris accord months before it was signed… “After a climate science presentation to Exxon’s board of directors in April 2015, Tillerson called the 2C goal “something magical”, according to a summary of the meeting. “Who is to say 2.5 is not good enough?” he said, noting that meeting such targets would be “very expensive”… “When asked by the Journal about the new documents, the Exxon chief executive, Darren Woods, told the Guardian: “When taken out of context, it seems bad.” “…Tillerson declined to comment, the Wall Street Journal said.”

PBS: Climate protesters worldwide call for end to fossil fuels amid escalating weather extremes

“Tens of thousands of climate activists around the world are protesting Friday and through the weekend to call for an end to the burning of planet-warming fossil fuels as the globe suffers dramatic weather extremes and record-breaking heat,” PBS reports. “The strike — driven by several mostly youth-led, local and global climate groups and organizations, including Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement — is taking place in dozens of countries and in hundreds of cities worldwide. In one strike in Quezon City in the Philippines, activists lay in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in protest, and held signs demanding fossil fuels — from coal to natural gas — be phased out. Outside the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources office in Jakarta, Indonesia, protesters held signs calling for end to dirty fuels and greenwashing as police officers looked on… “Another major strike is planned to take place Sunday in New York, to coincide with the city’s Climate Week and the U.N. climate summit.”

Guardian: Young people to take 32 European countries to court over climate policies
Sandra Laville, 9/14/23

“Six young people are preparing to appear at the European court of human rights to try to compel 32 nations to rapidly escalate their emissions reductions in the world’s largest climate legal action to date,” the Guardian reports. “Aged from 11 to 24, the six Portuguese claimants, say they were driven to act by their experiences in the wildfires that ripped through the Leiria region in 2017, killing 66 people and destroying 20,000 hectares of forest… “Crowdfunded by people around the world, who have donated more than £100,000, they are seeking a binding ruling from the judges to force the countries to rapidly escalate their emissions reductions in what would be a historic milestone in climate litigation. “This case is unprecedented in its scale and its consequence. Never before have so many countries had to defend themselves in front of any court anywhere in the world,” Gearóid Ó Cuinn, of Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), which is supporting the claimants, told the Guardian. One of the claimants, André dos Santos Oliveira, 15, said: “These European governments are failing to protect us. We are living in the face of climate impacts across Europe. In Portugal this summer we experienced heatwaves which are getting worse and worse. Our ability to do anything, to live our lives, is becoming restricted. The climate crisis is affecting our physical health and our mental health; how could you not be scared?”

Bloomberg: Methane From Oil and Gas Are Worse Than Reported to UN, Satellites Show
Aaron Clark, 9/14/23

“Observed methane releases from global oil and gas operations are 30% higher than what countries estimate in reports to the UN, according to a new study that analyzed satellite observations of the potent greenhouse gas,” Bloomberg reports. “The world’s four largest oil and gas emitters, the US, Russia, Venezuela and Turkmenistan, account for most of the overall discrepancy, according to the report published last month in Nature Communications. The satellite data challenges figures reported to the UN…”

Reuters: Rockefeller Foundation boosts climate funding to $1 billion over five years
Isla Binnie, 9/15/23

“The Rockefeller Foundation will invest $1 billion over the next five years in projects providing poor communities around the world with resources like electric buses, power grids, and ways to practice more sustainable agriculture, its president said,” Reuters reports. “Originally endowed with money American magnate John D. Rockefeller made through his Standard Oil refining business, the foundation was worth about $5.7 billion at the end of 2022. “We are going from spending around 25% over the previous five years on climate solutions to channelling around 75% of our resources over the next five years towards fighting humanity’s greatest threat,” foundation President Rajiv Shah told Reuters. “The billion we are announcing is exclusively new financial commitment that doesn’t account for prior commitments made.” “…The Rockefeller Foundation decided in 2020 to stop investing in fossil fuels. A spokesperson told Reuters exiting those investments cost the fund $80 million in 2021, and that fossil fuel exposure was now equal to less than 1% of the endowment.”

Sierra Magazine: How Clean Is “Clean Hydrogen”?
Marilyn Berlin Snell, 9/13/23

“Today, thanks to billions of dollars in clean energy tax incentives and other funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, hydrogen, the most common element in the universe, is being fast-tracked as a means to resolve our fossil fuel dependence,” according to Sierra Magazine. “…Energy justice is at risk in the hydrogen rush, though. Among hydrogen’s strongest advocates are methane-gas utilities seeking to leverage federal dollars to preserve their businesses as cities phase out gas and expand solar, wind, and battery storage… “DIRTY HYDROGEN IS already in wide use in Wilmington and around the world, mainly in oil refining, chemical sectors like fertilizer manufacturing, and steel production. Since hydrogen doesn’t exist freely in nature, it needs to be produced from other energy sources… “And all forms of hydrogen suffer from the same elemental problems. Hydrogen carries one quarter the energy per unit volume of methane gas, meaning it requires a lot more hydrogen to get the same amount of power as using methane… “Hydrogen is also exceedingly flammable, so leaks are no joke. And since remote hydrogen-sensor technology is not commercially viable, leaks are hard to detect. Pure hydrogen can’t be safely transported through existing metal gas pipelines because it degrades and embrittles the steel, making it more prone to leaks. To enable pipeline transport, hydrogen is commonly blended with gas. But according to a 2022 study by the California Public Utility Commission, only blends of no more than 5 percent hydrogen are safe, which means that a whole lot of methane gas will continue to flow… “The federal government considers both green and blue hydrogen to be clean, and it’s their production and use that the Biden administration and utility boosters are attempting to turbocharge in order to bring down their cost. The Sierra Club resists conflating “clean” with “green.” According to Monica Embrey, until recently the LA-based West Coast energy campaign director, the Sierra Club takes a “hard no” position on blue hydrogen: “No steam methane reform with carbon capture and storage, no biomass or biogas.”

CBS News: Apple CEO Tim Cook on creating a clean energy future

“In Brown County, Texas – flat, dry, near the geographical center of the state – Apple has invested in a joint venture to power 100,000 homes with clean energy. This four-mile-long stretch of solar panels – nearly a million of them – will look to some like a bold step towards a clean-energy future, and to others like marketing disguised as social conscience, what cynics would call “virtue signaling,” CBS News reports. “I don’t do virtue signaling, at all,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told CBS. “I don’t believe in it. We want to do hard work.” …Cook wants to match every bit of carbon released by Apple products with clean energy and carbon capture (what’s called “carbon neutral”), from mining, manufacturing, shipping, even recycling. He has pledged to get there in just seven years, and hopes Apple’s lead will inspire others to follow… “This past week Apple announced its first totally carbon-neutral product, its new Apple watch. The company sold about 50 million watches last year, compared to more than 200 million iphones. A carbon-neutral iPhone is the company’s holy grail, and according to Kristina Raspe, who manages Apple projects like the Texas solar panel farm, getting to carbon neutral includes Apple’s customers as well. “Right now we’re focused across the company, and my department in particular, on ensuring every device that our customers own and operate, the electricity they use to charge it, is offset by renewable energy,” she told CBS. Cook added, “This is all about putting one watt in the system for every watt that our customers use to power our devices.”


The Verge: ‘Bodies on the line’: why climate protesters risked arrest to block BlackRock
Justine Calma, 9/14/23

“Alfredo Angulo is the last person standing in the middle of the street, defying police to block the entrance to BlackRock headquarters in New York City yesterday,” The Verge reports. “…I could see the refinery from my kitchen window, see the smokestacks,” Angulo, who’s in New York City for events surrounding United Nations conferences this month, tells The Verge. “I’m here as a frontline community member to say that we will not be a sacrifice for the benefit of the rich.” It’s Wednesday, and Angulo and some 50 protesters are blocking traffic in front of BlackRock headquarters in New York City to push the world’s largest money manager to stop financing new fossil fuel projects. The hour-long blockade eventually leads to several arrests, including Angulo’s. “Climate leaders from across the country are here to disrupt business as usual and demand that the world’s largest investor in climate destruction clean up their act,” Angulo told The Verge. They’re pushing for an end to fossil fuel projects ahead of a UN Climate Ambition Summit on September 20th and also as the UN General Assembly convenes in New York City. The aim is to put pressure on governments and companies to meet goals set under the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global warming to less than a degree Celsius more than the planet has already warmed since the Industrial Revolution… “BlackRock holds at least a 5 percent stake in nearly all of the world’s S&P 500 companies, according to a 2019 paper. That includes Chevron, the oil giant Angulo grew up seeing from their window. An explosion and fire at the refinery in 2012 sent 15,000 residents nearby to hospitals for medical treatment, mostly because of breathing issues, Angulo remembers. “We need to break this dependence that we have on Chevron, like many other communities around the United States,” Angulo, a campaign manager at the California-based organization Communities for a Better Environment, told The Verge. “[I see a future where] we don’t have a threat of explosions looming over our head.”


Los Angeles Times: Editorial: No more half measures on climate change. The next generation is right to demand an end to fossil fuels

“Thousands of people are mobilizing for what could be the biggest climate march in the U.S. in years in New York City on Sunday. It’s one of many protests across the globe over the next few days with a simple demand: President Biden and other world leaders must phase out fossil fuels,” the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board writes. “You have to respect the uncompromising clarity of the March to End Fossil Fuels message: Stop approving new fossil fuel projects, phase out drilling on public lands, declare a climate emergency and provide a just transition to renewable energy. Because you’re not seeing such a clear vision from the men and women with the power to do something about the climate crisis, only weak-kneed language and half measures… “This kind of double-speak is revealing, because it shows how many politicians are unwilling to buck powerful fossil fuel interests. Like oil and gas companies, they want to suggest we can have it both ways and fight the climate crisis without dismantling the fossil fuel based-system that is causing it. But that sets a dangerously low bar. If we don’t at least aim for the end of fossil fuels, where do you think we’ll actually end up a generation from now? By contrast the young people spearheading the climate protests are quite clear about what actions are required to ensure a livable planet for future generations. In addition to marches and rallies on Sunday, they are also staging a global, youth-led strike on Friday, actions that are timed to take place in advance of a U.N. Climate Ambition Summit in New York on Sept. 20… “Some will say that activists’ demands are unreasonable or that their focus on eliminating the fossil fuels causing climate change is naive. The world economy, after all, is still overwhelmingly powered by oil, gas and other fossil fuels and it may be impossible to replace 100% of them with pollution-free alternatives, at least in the near term. But this push for the end of the era of fossil fuels is a principled stand that has helped this important grassroots movement focus and gain traction recently. Youth climate activists scored a landmark victory last month in Montana, winning a case in which the judge found there is a “fundamental constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment” and climate. When we see people marching through the streets of Manhattan, we should all listen and join them in demanding a world without fossil fuels.”

High Plains Journal: ‘Pipeline to nowhere’ 
Trent Loos, 9/15/23

“The “CO2 Pipeline to Nowhere” is now at a crossroads; in fact, it feels a bit strange to be on the winning end of so many rulings. Right out the chute it is worth letting you know that not one single permit has been granted to the carbon dioxide pipeline project,” Trent Loos writes for the High Plains Journal. “…Sangamon County is putting the brakes on a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline that would run through farms and neighborhoods in the county. Heartland Greenway has proposed its Navigator Pipeline to transport CO2 from ethanol and fertilizer plants—from across the Midwest—and inject it underground in Sangamon and Montgomery Counties.” I might mention that this is vitally important because the best path to the Southern Illinois CO2 injection sites is through Sangamon County, Illinois… “That takes us to Aug. 31, when the Oliver County, North Dakota Planning and Zoning Committee denied a Summit permit to place three CO2 injection wells in Oliver County… “In addition to all that information I have been forwarded three letters from different insurance companies that tell policy holders that if they have a CO2 pipeline on their property, the risk of exposure is too great for the company to insure them. The three companies that have weighed in on this in the Dakotas have not minced words in telling policy holders they will no longer cover their operations and property. At the end of the day, the truth is becoming evident to everyone regarding the dangers of compressing CO2 to 2300 psi in a pipeline that currently has nowhere to go. This is not a time to be complacent or stop being vocal about the dangers of a CO2 pipeline across this country whether is it 3,500 miles or 60,000 miles. The moral of the story is this: Stand up for the truth because the future generations need us to fight for the truth and for our rights.” 

New Statesman: How London and Boston are using their financial muscle to divest from fossil fuels
Sadiq Khan and Michelle Wu, 9/14/23

“In the spirit of accelerating climate action, the upcoming UN Climate Ambition Summit holds the promise of a brighter, more sustainable future for our planet. As world leaders gather at the UN General Assembly, it is increasingly clear that cities will be at the forefront of efforts to protect our planet and build the new, green economy,” the New Statesman reports. “…Against this backdrop of escalating crisis, London and Boston are determined to lead through action, joining forces to champion a monumental initiative to preserve our future. C40, a global network of mayors of major cities, has established an agreement: divesting from fossil fuels, investing in a sustainable future, or the divest/invest accelerator. In this unprecedented collaboration, 19 cities, spearheaded by London, are advocating green finance, divesting from fossil fuels, and catalysing investment in climate solutions. Together these cities represent more than 50 million people and over $360bn in assets under management… “Across the Atlantic, Boston is embracing possibility with equal parts creativity and urgency. In 2021 – just two weeks into a new administration – the City of Boston signed an ordinance mandating the divestment of more than $1bn in trusts and invested assets from fossil fuels by 2025 – charting a course towards a greener future. And while Boston is on track to be fully divested from fossil fuels by the end of 2025, this divestment is just the first of many steps in a longer journey towards creating a broader, sustainable investment strategy that doesn’t just slash emissions, but creates jobs, empowers local businesses and stimulates green innovation… “At the core of this movement lies the understanding that city pension funds and investors wield enormous influence. In London, the London Pension Fund Authority, steering almost £8bn in pension savings, has sent a powerful message by eliminating extractive fossil fuel investments and committing to a net-zero portfolio by 2030 – making clear its priorities for a healthier planet… “As the mayors of Boston and London, we are committed to building a world where cities’ bold leadership on green finance paves the way for global change. We are sending a clear message that now is the time for action – and we invite cities across the globe to join us. Together, we have an opportunity to not only save the planet, but build a better version of it in the process.”

DeSmog: A Push to Expedite Permits Fueled by Disaster Capitalism Threatens to Fastrack the Climate Crisis
Julie Dermansky, 9/14/23

“I belong here,” I reminded myself, as I drove toward the checkpoint to gain entry to the groundbreaking event for the $2.9 billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) project, which was about to begin,” Julie Dermansky writes for DeSmog. “After holding up my press pass, I was allowed in, though I was not among the select media invited to the event by the state agency responsible for the project, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). As one of the few reporters to challenge the project’s feasibility, I was not surprised that I was not invited. I felt I should have been, since I signed up to get media advisories from the CPRA about it, but choose not to let that stop me from at least trying to document the historic event… “Private PR companies seeking to control access to information and public debate on behalf of the government about projects as consequential as the MBSD is dangerous — and is part of a larger concerning trend. A growing number of these PR and consultancy companies work for clients seeking permits as well as the agencies responsible for issuing them, offering a one-stop-shop for expediting permits, with a team of communication specialists, consultants, engineers, and lobbyists at the ready. Two scoping hearings I attending this year held by the U.S. Coast Guard for floating LNG projects off Grande Isle, Louisiana, were moderated by third-party contractors who offer permit expediting services for industry… “In a release celebrating Beightel’s appointment, HDR boasted how its former employee “worked with clients to identify where and how public sector infrastructure agencies and private enterprises could leverage the new regulations and funding.” It also described how the company provided guidance on behalf of the firm’s clients — which include CPRA and several fossil fuel companies — to Congress and federal agencies to influence legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  The company has a history of trying to steamroll opposition. HDR was in the hot seat in 2021 when a Vice investigation showed that the firm, on behalf of the government, monitored the public and private social media accounts of activist groups who opposed its plans to build jails and highways.  A document HDR had on its site was removed after Vice’s article shed light on the firm’s “social listening” program, which “provides 24/7 monitoring of social media platforms to determine trends and key influencers and identify or mitigate risk,” according to Vice.

The Hill: It’s time to put fossil fuels in the rearview mirror
Marcene Mitchell is senior vice president of climate change at the World Wide Fund, 9/18/23

“This week, climate leaders and activists from across the globe will converge in New York for the annual Climate Week activities on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting,” Marcene Mitchell writes for The Hill. “…Fossil-fueled power plants are responsible for some 40 percent of all carbon dioxide pollution. By comparison, in 2022, renewable energy from sources like wind and solar prevented 600 million tons of carbon emissions. Our path is clear: We need to quickly pivot and make renewable energy the mainstay, not the alternative. And as the second-largest annual emitter after China, and historically the largest cumulative contributor, the U.S. can and must lead the way. But first we need to win hearts and minds. Today, a mere 31 percent of U.S. adults advocate for completely transitioning away from fossil fuels. The younger generation is more supportive, with 42 percent in favor of decarbonization. But that means a solid majority still envisions a future where fossil fuels coexist with renewables. To sway them, our energy transition narrative must highlight the broader benefits: job opportunities, health improvements and energy security… “The sooner more companies recognize the precompetitive nature of this crisis and pool their resources and know-how just as RTC has, the faster Americans can put fossil fuels in their rearview mirror. We know where we need to go. We have the means to get there. Now we need to listen to the science, come together and run — not walk — to the finish line.” 

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