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Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/19/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 19, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Press release: Warner & Kaine Reintroduce Bill to Make FERC Pipeline Permitting Process more Transparent and Fair

  • Press release: Appalachian Voices Statement on Kaine-Warner FERC Pipeline Permitting Bill

  • Roanoke Times: ‘Trojan Duck’ pipeline protest brings suspended sentences, order to pay police

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Fatal Tetco Incident in 2019 Said Combination of Pipeline Defect, Degraded System

  • KPHO: New details on the Coolidge pipeline explosion that killed a father and daughter (VIDEO)

  • OurQuadCities.com: Panelists talk risks, rewards of carbon dioxide pipeline from Iowa to Illinois (VIDEO)

  • India Infoline: Welspun receives order for a carbon capture pipeline in US; stock up 3%

  • Globe and Mail: TC Energy looks to Mexico for growth with US$4.5-billion pipeline

  • Financial Post: Pipeline push likely after U.S. midterms (VIDEO)

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Permitting overhaul in peril as funding deadline looms

  • Axios: Klain presses progressives on permitting reforms

  • Bloomberg: Manchin Says He May Need 20 GOP Votes for Energy Permitting Plan

  • The New Republic: Why Resolving Democrats’ Internal War on Climate Policy Will Be Hard

  • E&E News: Interior: ‘NEPA no longer applies to Lease Sale 257’

  • Washington Examiner: Inside green groups’ legal war to dismantle oil and gas leasing

  • WildEarth Guardians: Tribal, environmental justice, health, and climate coalition calls on U.S. Interior Secretary to protect Greater Chaco Region from fracking

STATE UPDATES

  • E&E News: Climate law spurs CCS at new West Virginia gas plant

  • Press release: Governor Newsom Signs Sweeping Climate Measures, Ushering in New Era of World-Leading Climate Action

  • Law360: Texas Aims To Take Charge Of Carbon Capture Projects

  • Chicago Sun Times: Indiana refinery to pay $2.75 million in air pollution case

  • InsideClimate News: Drought-Wracked California Allows Oil Companies to Use High-Quality Water. But Regulators’ Error-Strewn Records Make Accurate Accounting Nearly Impossible

EXTRACTION

  • Guardian: Criticism intensifies after big oil admits ‘gaslighting’ public over green aims

  • The New Republic: Shell’s Internal Emails Show Just How Cynical Oil Companies’ Emissions Promises Are

OPINION

  • The Gazette: Questions require a carbon pipeline pause

PIPELINE NEWS

Press release: Warner & Kaine Reintroduce Bill to Make FERC Pipeline Permitting Process more Transparent and Fair
9/15/22

“Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine reintroduced the Pipeline Fairness, Transparency, and Responsible Development Act, legislation to strengthen the public’s ability to evaluate the impacts of and provide input on natural gas pipelines being considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). “Communities and landowners who would be impacted by an energy project deserve to have their concerns heard—especially if a green light from FERC means their land would be taken away,” said the Senators… “The senators’ legislation would make it easier for the public to offer FERC input and would clarify the circumstances under which eminent domain may be used. The bill would also require public comment meetings to be held in every locality through which a pipeline would pass at every stage of the review process, in order to minimize situations where individuals are forced to commute long distances with very little time to comment. Additionally, the legislation would strengthen local landowners’ rights by improving the process by which landowners are notified of a pipeline application and bolstering their ability to ensure any concerns about their property are given fair consideration… “The Appalachian Trail Conservancy applauds Senators Kaine and Warner for their efforts to protect our National Scenic Trails,” said Sandra Marra, President and CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “The Pipeline Fairness Act requires regulators like FERC to examine the large and lasting impacts proposed developments could have on our irreplaceable public lands. We look forward to continuing our work with the Senators and other elected officials on behalf of all National Scenic Trails, ensuring that they continue to benefit millions of visitors, thousands of volunteers, and hundreds of trailside communities.”

Press release: Appalachian Voices Statement on Kaine-Warner FERC Pipeline Permitting Bill
9/17/22

“On Thursday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) reintroduced the Pipeline Fairness, Transparency, and Responsible Development Act, a bill that would add meaningful notice, public participation and landowner rights protections to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permitting process for interstate gas pipelines. The changes would help ensure that impacted citizens are heard by decision makers and that their concerns are addressed in a timely fashion, allowing residents directly affected by a proposed pipeline to be treated more fairly during the process. “The Virginia senators’ bill creates much more reasonable rules regarding the way FERC works with landowners in the path of methane gas pipelines, and it improves the permitting process by giving communities near proposed pipelines more rights and input,” said Appalachian Voices Virginia Policy Director Peter Anderson. Residents who have had the misfortune of being in the path of major fracked-gas pipelines, such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Mountaineer XPress and the canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline know firsthand that the system is rigged against them. This bill is a move towards a system that is much more fair to people who have the misfortune of living in the path of a proposed pipeline. We urge members of Congress to reject the Manchin-Schumer side deal that attempts to complete the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline and would weaken our bedrock environmental laws. Congress should support the Pipeline Fairness, Transparency, and Responsible Development Act instead.”

Roanoke Times: ‘Trojan Duck’ pipeline protest brings suspended sentences, order to pay police
Mike Gangloff, 9/18/22

“Giles County’s case of the “Trojan Duck,” an avian-themed protest against construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, wrapped up this month with misdemeanor convictions and suspended jail sentences — and orders that three protesters perform community service and repay the cost of police officers’ time spent cutting the defendants free from a giant wooden bird,” the Roanoke Times reports. “Speaking after hearings for three defendants — charges against a fourth were resolved earlier — Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly called the case “one of the more colorful” ones that his office has handled recently. Called the Wood Duck by protesters and Trojan Duck by Lilly and others, the 12-foot-by-8-foot bird was made from two plywood cutouts of a huge duck, seen in sideview and realistically painted. The group Appalachians Against Pipelines posted on Facebook that the duck model was meant to symbolize habitat loss and to highlight that the pipeline’s route passed through ecosystems important to birds… “On Sept. 9, Bremner, Hughes and Hahn were each convicted of trespassing, a misdemeanor, and given 12-month jail sentences with the entire term suspended. Charges of entering property to cause damage were dropped. Charges of obstructing justice filed against all three were held until March, to be dismissed then if the protesters avoid further trouble and each carries out 50 hours of community service. Before their March hearings, Hughes, Hahn and Bremner also must pay their court costs, and together, pay a total restitution of $2,566.85 — an amount calculated as the cost of the officers’ time spent removing the sleeping dragons, Lilly told the Times. The protesters were ordered to stay off all Mountain Valley Pipeline property, Lilly told the Times.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Fatal Tetco Incident in 2019 Said Combination of Pipeline Defect, Degraded System
MATTHEW VEAZEY, 9/16/22

“A manufacturing defect, a degraded coating and an ineffective corrosion prevention system contributed to a fatal explosion and fire on Enbridge Inc.’s Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) natural gas pipeline near Danville, KY, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Wednesday,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The August 2019 Tetco Line 15 rupture and subsequent fire caused one death and sent six people to the hospital. NTSB noted the incident burned about 30 acres of land, destroyed five homes and damaged 14 other residences. The accident also raised market concerns about potential limits on Appalachian Basin gas flows reaching the Gulf Coast. Investigators concluded “that the combination of a pre-existing manufacturing defect – known as a hard spot – together with a degraded pipeline coating and ineffective cathodic protection, led to hydrogen-induced cracking at the outer surface of the pipe.” “…According to NTSB, Enbridge’s integrity management program contributed to the accident by failing to accurately assess the 30-inch diameter pipeline’s condition or estimating the risk from interacting threats. NTSB said its accident report concluded that “Enbridge underestimated the risk posed by hard spots because its processes and procedures were inconsistent” with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) guidance, as well as “industry knowledge of hard spot threat interaction.”

KPHO: New details on the Coolidge pipeline explosion that killed a father and daughter (VIDEO)
9/16/22

“Reports show that the blast from the Coolidge pipeline explosion was equivalent to more than a ton of TNT,” KPHO reports.

OurQuadCities.com: Panelists talk risks, rewards of carbon dioxide pipeline from Iowa to Illinois (VIDEO)
Linda Cook, Jim Niedelman, 9/18/22

“A whistleblower brings concerns to Congress about your security on social media. The president makes a big re-commitment to fight cancer. And a pipeline to transfer carbon dioxide from Iowa to Illinois generates concerns from environmentalists. We talk about that this morning with a couple of former Iowa state representatives: Democrat Elesha Gayman and Republican David Millage,” OurQuadCities.com reports. “It’s clear from every resounding corner of everywhere that climate change is happening, and we’ve got to act now,” Gayman said. “We should have been acting quite aggressively several years ago.” “This is going to displace 2.6 million vehicles on the road each year, from the sources I’ve been reading,” Millage said. “That’s a significant dent in air pollution.”

India Infoline: Welspun receives order for a carbon capture pipeline in US; stock up 3%
9/19/22

“Welspun Corp. announced in a regulatory filing that it has received a sizable order for a carbon capture pipeline project in the United States,“ India Infoline reports. “The filing also stated that the order was for the provision of 100,000 MT (roughly) or 785 miles (1,256 km) of high-frequency induction welding (HFIW) pipes, which would be used to transport captured carbon dioxide… “The company’s Little Rock plant in the US will manufacture the pipes for this order, which will be completed in FY 23–24. However, the business omitted to indicate the order’s projected value… “Welspun Corp, headquartered in Mumbai, is the division of the Welspun Group and the world’s second-largest manufacturer of large-diameter pipes.”

Globe and Mail: TC Energy looks to Mexico for growth with US$4.5-billion pipeline
ANDREW WILLIS, 9/19/22

“TC Energy Corp., which is constructing the contentious $11.2-billion Coastal GasLink natural-gas pipeline in British Columbia, appears to be finding an easier path to success in Mexico than in Canada,” the Globe and Mail reports. “In August, the Canadian company and Mexico’s state-owned electricity producer Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) announced the launch of a US$4.5-billion pipeline that will deliver natural gas from the southwestern U.S. to southern Mexico. TC Energy said the CFE’s decision to take a 15-per-cent stake in the project – the 715-kilometre, offshore Southeast Gateway pipeline – is a landmark transaction for the Mexican utility, as its first public-private partnership… “Smooth sailing on Southeast Gateway stands in sharp contrast to the choppy waters at what TC Energy describes as its latest “nation-building” project in Canada, Coastal GasLink… “TC Energy projects Coastal GasLink will be operational by the end of 2023. However, the project’s history of protests and blockades beg the question of whether a brand new pipeline gets built in Mexico before a landmark piece of Canadian energy infrastructure is completed… “In a report, analyst Robert Kwan at RBC Capital Markets said: “We believe having the CFE as a partner should help improve investor sentiment with respect to the political risk“ of operating in Mexico.”

Financial Post: Pipeline push likely after U.S. midterms (VIDEO)
Larysa Harapyn, 9/18/22

“Gregory Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments Inc., talks with the Financial Post’s Larysa Harapyn about how political shifts in the United States will impact Canada,” the Financial Post reports. 

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Permitting overhaul in peril as funding deadline looms
Timothy Cama, Jeremy Dillon, George Cahlink, 9/19/22

“The Democrats’ permitting overhaul plans hangs in the balance this week as lawmakers inch toward the Sept. 30 deadline to pass a government funding bill to prevent a shutdown,” E&E News reports. “The final permitting plan has yet to be released, but progressives and many other Democrats continue to line up in opposition. They are under increasing pressure from environmental groups hoping to kill the bill’s momentum. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a prominent progressive, added his name to the list of opponents Friday, saying in a statement that while he may be open to the concept of permitting reform, he’s not ready to support including such legislation in a continuing resolution to fund the government past the Sept. 30 fiscal year deadline… “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was optimistic last week that enough Democrats could oppose the measure to block it. “As small as our margin is — we only need, what, three, four or five? So we’ll see if we have that,” she told reporters. “And here’s the thing, this isn’t just the House side,” she added. “I don’t know how many senators will support it. It’s a question of how many Republicans the Senate has to support that.” “…Should negotiations move past the threat of a government shutdown and a wider embrace of discussions with other lawmakers get included, it remains open for inclusion in other must-passed bills this year, Grijalva told E&E. Any effort would need to “redefine what we mean by permitting reform,” he told E&E. “Right now, its very much what has been the Republican wish list forever,” Grijalva told E&E. “I don’t know Democrats should be delivering on that wish list.”

Axios: Klain presses progressives on permitting reforms
Hans Nichols, 9/16/22

“The White House is privately pressuring House progressives to support Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting reform proposal, people familiar with the matter tell Axios. “Driving the news: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain called Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.), the chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday to urge her to support Manchin’s proposal to make it easier to get regulatory approval for energy transmission and pipeline projects, people familiar with the matter said… “Jayapal mentioned some of the White House’s concerns to fellow progressives on their weekly zoom call Thursday morning. So far, many progressives aren’t budging and continue to stare down the Senate — and now the White House — daring them to send over a funding bill that they could potentially vote down. What they are saying: “We don’t like it. We didn’t agree to it,” Jayapal told Axios, adding that she wants to pass a “clean” CR and consider other avenues for the permitting measure, like the National Defense Authorization Act. “We understand the White House’s consternation,” Grijalva told Axios. “Maybe they are upset about the fact that this has not been going as it was planned.” “The White House has to realize that there was no inclusion on the part of rank and file members,” he told Axios. “That the issue of NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) is huge, and that many members are very protective about that.” “…Klain has been in touch with Jayapal, as well as other lawmakers across the political spectrum, on the permitting issue, a person familiar with the matter told Axios. Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Steve Ricchetti, a counselor to the president, Terrell and other member of legislative affairs are also in contact with lawmakers.”

Bloomberg: Manchin Says He May Need 20 GOP Votes for Energy Permitting Plan
9/15/22

“Senator Joe Manchin said Thursday he needs as many as 20 Senate Republicans to vote for his plan to streamline the federal approval for energy projects to counter Democratic defections — further casting doubt on the effort to tie his bill to a must-pass spending bill this month,” Bloomberg reports. “Manchin told Bloomberg he was hopeful Republican West Virginia colleague Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who introduced a GOP permitting reform bill that has 46 GOP co-sponsors earlier this week, would be able to convince 15 to 20 Republicans to vote for his bill, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said would be …”

The New Republic: Why Resolving Democrats’ Internal War on Climate Policy Will Be Hard
Kate Aronoff, 9/16/22

“Last month, Senator Chuck Schumer struck a deal. Now the majority leader seems determined to see it through, despite ever more Democrats expressing their skepticism,” The New Republic reports. “…Climate activists, as well as progressives in the House and Senate, are now in open revolt. Seventy-seven Democrats, including several committee chairs, have signed a letter led by Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva proposing to excise permitting reform from the continuing resolution. The letter reportedly came as a surprise to Democratic leaders. The signatories extend well beyond The Squad, including a number of New Democrats seemingly aggravated by Schumer taking their votes for granted. House leaders’ tone regarding the deal has turned noticeably chilly in the past few days: “It’s simply a fact that this was not our agreement,” House Whip Steney Hoyer said on Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that she’d whip the House to vote for a continuing resolution that included permitting reform but that the continuing resolution might or might not include this provision… “Climate groups, however, worry that the sweeping negative impact of slimming down NEPA and Clean Water Act checks on new projects will handily outweigh any benefits furnished by new transmission… “The best hope for those looking to stop the side deal now is for Democratic leaders to spurn Manchin with a “clean C.R.,” punting off permitting reform to a future routine, must-pass bill like the National Defense Authorization Act, where they might have more leverage. But the GOP could also easily kill the bill on their own, denying Manchin and Schumer the 10 votes they need unless Democrats agree to abolish the concept of federal land and other maximalist demands. If a deal does go ahead, it’s possible that opponents could work on amendments to it; a spokesperson for the Congressional Progressive Caucus told TNR it was “too hard to say” where it would stand on amendments at this point, saying it was “something we’d have to evaluate down the line.”

E&E News: Interior: ‘NEPA no longer applies to Lease Sale 257’
Niina H. Farah, 9/16/22 

“The Biden administration Friday urged a federal appeals court to end litigation over a massive lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico after the sale was reinstated under the Inflation Reduction Act,” E&E News reports. “…In compliance with a 30-day deadline set by the new climate law, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Wednesday announced that it would reinstate the more than 80-million-acre sale… “Because it was impossible for Interior to comply with both NEPA and the statute’s 30-day mandate, NEPA no longer applies to Lease Sale 257,” BOEM told the D.C. Circuit in a court filing. BOEM noted that even if Congress had given the agency some discretion, NEPA compliance must yield to a more specific “statutory command” — in this case, the 30-day timeline under the Inflation Reduction Act to reinstate the sale. That tight deadline made it “inconceivable” that BOEM could issue a final supplemental environmental impact statement that included opportunity for public comment, the agency said. “The Inflation Reduction Act withdraws Interior’s discretion to do anything other than issue these leases on the terms specified by Congress, irrespective of NEPA,” BOEM told the court. BOEM’s position is at odds with environmental groups’ arguments that concerns about NEPA compliance could overrule Congress’ direction to revive the sale, since lawmakers didn’t explicitly exempt it from review under the environmental law.”

Washington Examiner: Inside green groups’ legal war to dismantle oil and gas leasing
Jeremy Beaman, 9/15/22

“Environmental groups are waging a war of attrition against the Department of the Interior’s oil and gas leasing programs. They’re unleashing an onslaught of court challenges and scoring legal settlements to stop federal mineral leasing in its tracks in an effort to staunch climate change,” the Washington Examiner reports. “…Even so, green groups unhappy with what they view as Biden’s insufficiently restrictive administration of the onshore and offshore leasing programs have carried over their strategy from previous, less “green” presidencies. That includes leveling a host of legal actions against new leases and drilling permits. In June, green groups sued the Bureau of Land Management over its approval of more than 3,500 drilling permits since March 2021 on leases in New Mexico and Wyoming. The complaint argued the permits threaten to damage ecosystems and threaten “climate-imperiled” species in violation of the Endangered Species Act. It also accused the Bureau of Land Management of violating the National Environmental Policy Act in approving the applications by “[failing] to take a hard look at cumulative GHG emissions.” “…Days later, a cohort of 10 green groups, including two parties to the drilling permitting suit, filed a complaint against the government for holding lease sales covering acreage in eight Western states… “More specifically, they argued the BLM’s establishment of distinct environmental assessments for each sale, rather than putting them together in a single, comprehensive environmental impact statement, violated NEPA “by diluting the impacts of these leases in the context of its Leasing Program while also failing to take a hard look at the cumulative climate impacts from these sales.” “…What this all boils down to is the agency is failing to account for the cumulative, big-picture impacts of its oil and gas leasing and drilling permitting program,” Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians, a Western lands-focused environmental NGO that is participating in both lawsuits, told the Washington Examiner. “This is not a matter of one well or one lease. It’s a matter of the agency’s collective leasing program and its collective drilling permitting program.”

WildEarth Guardians: Tribal, environmental justice, health, and climate coalition calls on U.S. Interior Secretary to protect Greater Chaco Region from fracking
9/15/22

“Today a coalition of more than 50 groups, joined by nearly 10,000 people, called on the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Deb Haaland, to live up to the Biden administration’s promise to Honor the Greater Chaco region of northwest New Mexico and halt new oil and gas leasing and fracking in the held-sacred landscape. The call comes as the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management recently upheld the Trump administration’s sale of nearly 45,000 acres of oil and gas leases in the region. A coalition originally sued the agency for illegally approving this leasing and the Bureau ultimately agreed to reconsider its decisions. Despite its promise to reconsider the past leasing in response to litigation, the Bureau of Land Management completely re-approved the Trump-era sale in early August, opening the door for a massive surge in oil and gas extraction and fracking.  In the letter, the coalition stated: “Given the Interior Department’s pledge to honor the Greater Chaco region, this decision is especially disconcerting. The 45,000 acres of oil and gas leasing approved under the Trump administration was not only illegal, it was the result of fast-tracking for the oil and gas industry at the expense of public notice, environmental justice, community outreach, the climate, and the region’s air and water.”

STATE UPDATES

E&E News: Climate law spurs CCS at new West Virginia gas plant
Carlos Anchondo, 9/19/22

“Competitive Power Ventures Inc. announced plans Friday to build a multibillion-dollar natural gas power plant in West Virginia with carbon capture technology, saying the project would not be possible without the new climate and energy law,” E&E News reports. “The 1,800-megawatt project will be operational later this decade, according to CPV, a Maryland-based power generation development company. It joins a handful of power plants worldwide aiming to be equipped with carbon capture, which traps carbon dioxide emissions before they enter the atmosphere… “Manchin and CPV pointed to the importance of the 45Q tax credit, which was expanded under the Inflation Reduction Act. For industry and power, the credit’s value increased from $50 to $85 per metric ton of CO2 stored through secure geological storage, and from $35 to $60 per metric ton of CO2 stored via enhanced oil recovery. “That makes the difference that makes a project like this work,” Manchin said Friday. “That’s the purpose, and that’s the reason.” Mahmoud Abouelnaga, a solutions fellow at the environmental think tank Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told E&E no operational natural gas combined-cycle facilities currently use carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)… “Multiple companies are planning to outfit natural gas power plants with carbon capture, according to a database maintained by the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental group… “The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law last month, will likely spur more CCS projects, according to the Carbon Capture Coalition, which includes more than 100 businesses, unions and environmental policy organizations that support the greater deployment of carbon management technologies. “The 45Q enhancements contained within the IRA will close the cost gap for deployment in higher-cost sectors, including industry, power, and direct air capture,” Jessie Stolark, the public policy and member relations manager at the coalition, told E&E.

Press release: Governor Newsom Signs Sweeping Climate Measures, Ushering in New Era of World-Leading Climate Action
9/16/22

“Today, California enacted some of the nation’s most aggressive climate measures in history as Governor Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping package of legislation to cut pollution, protect Californians from big polluters, and accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy. The Governor partnered with legislative leaders this session to advance groundbreaking measures to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2045 and 90% clean energy by 2035, establish new setback measures protecting communities from oil drilling, capture carbon pollution from the air, advance nature-based solutions, and more… “PROTECT COMMUNITIES AGAINST OIL DRILLING: SB 1137 by Senators Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) protects communities from the harmful impacts of the oil industry. Establishes a setback distance of 3,200 feet between any new oil well and homes, schools, parks or businesses open to the public. Ensures comprehensive pollution controls for existing oil wells within 3,200 feet of these facilities… “CAPTURING AND REMOVING CARBON POLLUTION: SB 905 by Senators Anna Caballero (D-Merced) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and SB 1314 by Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) advance engineered technologies to remove carbon pollution, while banning the use of those technologies for enhanced oil recovery.”

Law360: Texas Aims To Take Charge Of Carbon Capture Projects
Keith Goldberg, 9/14/22

“Texas oil and gas regulators have crafted an overhaul of carbon capture and sequestration rules with the hopes of convincing the federal government to let them take the lead in overseeing long-term underground carbon storage in the Lone Star State,” Law360 reports. “The Railroad Commission of Texas recently approved the first major changes to state carbon injection rules in more than a decade. The shift moves the state’s rules closer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s federal regulations covering the injection of carbon dioxide in deep subsurface rock formations. Experts say the move is part of a bigger plan, with the RRC’s eyes on the next step: Texas submitting an application to the EPA to give the state regulatory primacy over permitting and monitoring CCS injection wells, known as Class VI wells. Currently, only North Dakota and Wyoming have been granted regulatory primacy over Class VI wells… “Watching Wyoming and North Dakota going through the primacy process kind of signaled to the Railroad Commission and the commissioners that, ‘If we want to get it approved in short order, we have to make sure we don’t deviate from the federal Class VI regulation in any significant way,'” Dobbins told Law360… “Dobbins of Vinson & Elkins told Law360 the rules also give well operators additional flexibility by allowing them to petition the RRC to shorten the amount of time they must monitor a well post-injection… “But Scott Anderson, the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior director for energy transition, told Law360 there are areas where the approved regulations could offer more robust protections, including more forcefully addressing environmental justice concerns over increased development of Class VI wells and related CCS infrastructure. “We think there’s a lot more that could and should be done by agencies to make a concerted effort to address environmental justice concerns,” Anderson told Law360.

Chicago Sun Times: Indiana refinery to pay $2.75 million in air pollution case
Brett Chase, 9/15/22

“BP, one of the world’s largest oil companies, agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle accusations that its massive Northwest Indiana refinery repeatedly broke the law by polluting the air,” the Chicago Sun Times reports. “Environmental groups sued the oil giant in federal court in Indiana alleging that BP spewed dangerous levels of particulate pollution into the air between 2015 and 2018. Particulate pollution can lodge deep into the human lungs, potentially causing sickness and death. The settlement is actually the second announced in just the past nine months. In December, BP settled for $500,000 for a similar issue with another part of the 1,400-acre operation in Whiting, Indiana, along Lake Michigan and a short drive from Southeast Chicago. “We are thrilled to see BP held accountable for its dangerous pollution and lack of regard for our communities,” Amanda Shepherd, director of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, told the Sun Times. The Sierra Club is the plaintiff in the federal “citizen lawsuit,” filed in 2019, and was represented by a Washington-based advocacy organization, the Environmental Integrity Project. The Sierra Club alleged that BP Whiting’s boilers emitted an illegal amount of particulate pollution, violating the U.S. Clean Air Act.”

InsideClimate News: Drought-Wracked California Allows Oil Companies to Use High-Quality Water. But Regulators’ Error-Strewn Records Make Accurate Accounting Nearly Impossible
Liza Gross, Peter Aldhous, 9/18/22

“Last month, with California in the grips of a megadrought, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan centered on “the acute need to conserve water” in the face of a drier, hotter future caused by climate change. The plan outlines actions to “transform water management” and calls on California residents to step up and do their part to conserve water,” InsideClimate News reports. “Yet the plan does nothing to limit use of California’s dwindling water supplies by one of the primary drivers of climate change: the oil and gas industry. An Inside Climate News analysis of data collected by the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, shows high-quality water is being diverted from state domestic and agricultural supplies, predominantly in Kern County, to extract viscous crude from some of the world’s most climate-polluting oilfields. The analysis also reveals deep problems with the quality of the data collected by CalGEM that make it very difficult to establish the quantities of water used to produce oil—despite a 2014 law that was supposed to overhaul the industry’s water-use reporting in order to provide greater transparency. Oil and gas extraction in California uses tens of billions of gallons of water each year. It also generates massive amounts of wastewater, known as “produced water,” which returns to the surface with extracted fuels. This produced water is laced with cancer-causing chemicals added to facilitate oil extraction, harmful petroleum-derived compounds and naturally occurring toxic elements such as arsenic and radium. Although most of the water the industry injects into wells to help extract oil is recycled produced water that is used again to pry out more oil, some extraction techniques require high-quality water. Under these circumstances, it can be cheaper to buy clean water from municipal suppliers than it is to treat produced water to remove contaminants.”

EXTRACTION

Guardian: Criticism intensifies after big oil admits ‘gaslighting’ public over green aims
Oliver Milman, 9/17/22

“Criticism in the US of the oil industry’s obfuscation over the climate crisis is intensifying after internal documents showed companies attempted to distance themselves from agreed climate goals, admitted “gaslighting” the public over purported efforts to go green, and even wished critical activists be infested by bedbugs,” the Guardian reports. “The communications were unveiled as part of a congressional hearing held in Washington DC, where an investigation into the role of fossil fuels in driving the climate crisis produced documents obtained from the oil giants ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they wish bedbugs on you, then you win,” Varshini Prakash, executive director of Sunrise, told the Guardian. The organization accused Shell of a “legacy of violence and of ignoring the wellbeing of communities across the globe”. “…The new documents are “the latest evidence that oil giants keep lying about their commitments to help solve the climate crisis and should never be trusted by policymakers”, Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, told the Guardian… “Ro Khanna, co-chair of the committee, told the Guardian the new documents are “explosive” and show a “culture of intense disrespect” to climate activists. The oil giants’ “climate pledges rely on unproven technology, accounting gimmicks and misleading language to hide the reality,” he added. “Big oil executives are laughing at the people trying to protect our planet while they knowingly work to destroy it.” Several of the emails and memos within the released trove of documents appear to show executives, staffers and lobbyists internally contradicting public pronouncements by their companies to act on lowering planet-heating emissions.”

The New Republic: Shell’s Internal Emails Show Just How Cynical Oil Companies’ Emissions Promises Are
Kate Aronoff, 9/19/22

“Yes, we finally unloaded that piece of crap in Denmark we’ve been trying to sell for decades,” Shell’s Steve Lesher told California lobbyist Gavin McHugh last spring. “I wouldn’t put that in this GHG-sensitivity category. That was just a crappy facility.” This exchange appears in a trove of emails and other materials recently made public by a House Oversight Committee investigation into oil industry greenwashing,” The New Republic reports. “And the “piece of crap in Denmark” Lesher refers to was probably referring to a refinery in Fredericia owned by Shell’s Danish subsidiary, which was sold to Postlane Partners, a Connecticut-based private equity firm, in early 2021. GHG stands for greenhouse gas, and Lesher’s email indicates he didn’t think selling the refinery would make the company more climate-friendly. But the company’s press release on the matter had a decidedly greener spin: “This exit supports our ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society.” Lesher’s email offers a window into one way multinational oil companies are trying to present themselves as engines of emissions reduction. Under pressure to cut greenhouse gasses in line with “net-zero” targets and maintain their social license to operate—something Shell executives fret openly about in private emails—these companies have come up with a neat trick for making themselves look more climate friendly: selling their worst-offending properties off to someone else.”

OPINION

The Gazette: Questions require a carbon pipeline pause
Bonnie Ewoldt is a Crawford County property owner who lives in Milford, 9/17/22

“Summit, Navigator, and Wolfe investors are currently seeking permits to trench in thousands of miles of CO2 pipelines across Iowa. Their main selling point is the need to keep the state’s ethanol competitive with California’s strict carbon emission standards. However, regulators in the Golden State recently voted to ban the sale new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. When demand for ethanol falls with the transition to EVs, the multi-billion-dollar C02 pipelines will become obsolete. This, alone, should make Iowa pause the permitting process,” Bonnie Ewoldt writes for The Gazette. “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? Have CO2 pipeline companies documented pipeline safety? Are regulations in place to oversee the pipelines? Simply put, the answer to all of the above is, “No!” “…In the aftermath of Sartatia, PHMSA plans to write new regulations for the design, construction, and operation of CO2 pipelines. All hazardous CO2 pipeline permit requests should be suspended until PHMSA has the new safety regulations in place. Before being granted a permit, every company must be required to submit documentation of compliance. California’s new EV standard is but one of several reasons to stop the “full steam ahead” approach to CO2 pipeline development. Too many questions remain unanswered regarding the power grid, product safety, and regulatory authority. It’s time to press ‘pause’ on granting permits for these nebulous projects.”

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