Skip to Content

Extracted

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/23/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 23, 2022

image

PIPELINE NEWS

  • Associated Press: Woman gets 6 years in prison for damaging pipeline

  • Des Moines Register: Former Des Moines woman sentenced to 6 years for attacks on Dakota Access Pipeline sites

  • WDBJ: Legislation requiring pipeline approval prompts strong reaction

  • Galesburg Register-Mail: A 1.3K mile C02 pipeline coming through western Illinois? Here’s what you need to know

  • MPR: CO2 pipeline proposal draws mixed reactions in SW Minn.

  • Siouxland News: “I knew that I was going to fight this”: Woodbury Co. woman fights against CO2 pipeline

  • KMCH: Northwest Iowa Judge Sets Initial Hearing Over Navigator Pipeline Dispute

  • Sioux City Journal: Woodbury County Judge sets hearing on injunction request from Navigator Heartland Greenway CO2 pipeline company

  • KCCI: Iowa pipeline project moving forward with permits as landowners worry about property values

  • KELO: Land is focal point of legal disputes with CO2 pipeline

  • SDPB Radio: Analysis: Meatpacking plants and carbon pipelines in South Dakota

  • WNAX: South Dakota Easement Team Forms

  • WKSU: NEXUS windfall was less than expected for Northeast Ohio schools. A local auditor is fighting back

  • The Press: A pipe cuts through the Brentwood City Council

  • Globe and Mail: Moving mountains: Is the Coastal GasLink pipeline a saviour or scourge?

  • CFNR: Williams Lake First Nation Members Asked to Provide Input on Joining Indigenous-led Pipeline Group

  • Associated Press: Federal judge approves $230M settlement in 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill case

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Washington Post: Climate activists protesting Manchin’s permitting bill arrested in D.C.

  • People vs. Fossil Fuels: Environmental Leaders Arrested on Capitol Hill to Protest Schumer/Manchin Permit Deal

  • E&E News: Lawmakers want to change permitting bill. Will they succeed?

  • Press release: Merkley, Colleagues Highlight Environmental Justice Concerns on Permitting Legislation, Need for Standalone Floor Consideration

  • Guardian: Schumer and Manchin’s ‘dirty side deal’ to fast-track pipelines faces backlash

  • Common Dreams: Climate Leaders Arrested Outside Senate During Protest Against Manchin’s Dirty Deal

  • POWHR: Leading Frontline Groups Resisting MVP Respond to Manchin Pipeline Bill Text

  • Press release: 400+ Scientists, Health Professionals Oppose Manchin’s Fossil Fuel Permitting Bill

  • Guardian: How the gas industry capitalized on the Ukraine war to change Biden policy

  • NPR: U.S. Congress reaches a milestone in Indigenous representation

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN): Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry in North America and Complicit Financial Institutions

  • Globe and Mail: Canada’s oil sands are making billions – and very little of it is going to net-zero commitments

  • OilPrice.com: Failing To Invest In Oil And Gas Would Be The “Road To Hell For America”

  • Bloomberg: Why Wall Street’s Top Banks Are Betting Oil Will Stage a Recovery

  • Associated Press: First public global database of fossil fuels launches

  • AFP: Pressure grows after World Bank chief dodges climate questions

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Associated Press: Woman gets 6 years in prison for damaging pipeline
DAVID PITT, 9/23/22

“A federal judge sentenced an Arizona woman on Thursday to six years in prison for using a cutting torch to damage the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa and setting fire to pipeline equipment in three counties in 2016 and 2017,” the Associated Press reports. “The judge also ordered Ruby Katherine Montoya, 32, to pay nearly $3.2 million in restitution together with Jessica Reznicek, a woman who helped her. Montoya pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage an energy facility. She admitted to helping Reznicek and others damage the pipeline in several locations in Iowa. “The sentence imposed today demonstrates that any crime of domestic terrorism will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the federal government,” U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal said in a statement… “Reznicek was sentenced to eight years in prison in June 2021 after pleading guilty to a similar charge. She appealed the sentence, but it was upheld by a federal appeals court in June… “Environmental groups opposed the pipeline, which they said risked an oil spill disaster. Some landowners also opposed the use of eminent domain to force farmers to allow its construction on their land, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fought the pipeline, claiming the environmental impact review was inadequate.”

Des Moines Register: Former Des Moines woman sentenced to 6 years for attacks on Dakota Access Pipeline sites
William Morris, 9/22/22

“The second of two women charged with sabotaging the Dakota Access Pipeline has been sentenced to six years in prison after the judge found her actions constituted a crime of terrorism,” the Des Moines Register reports. “A Des Moines resident at the time, Ruby Montoya, alongside fellow climate activist Jessica Reznicek, was charged with committing multiple acts of vandalism against the then-under-construction pipeline in late 2016 and early 2017. The sabotage included using torches to burn holes in pipe junctions as well as setting fire to heavy construction equipment and other gear at pipeline sites. Both publicly claimed responsibility in July 2017 in a speech outside the Iowa Utilities Board building. They described the attacks as “direct action” in response to the failure of nonviolent means to persuade government officials to halt the project. Both were associated with the Catholic Worker movement in Des Moines… “She and Montoya were charged in 2019 with nine felonies related to attacks on the pipeline in South Dakota and Iowa, and each pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility. Reznicek was sentenced in June 2021 to eight years in prison. Montoya switched attorneys and mounted an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to withdraw her plea, which delayed her case for nearly a year. After several more delays, she finally appeared this week before Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger, who found that Montoya’s actions, like Reznicek’s, were “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct” and therefore constituted a crime of terrorism… “On the question of whether the attacks constituted terrorism, Griess noted that the women explicitly addressed their public statements about the attacks to the government. “The defendants in this case didn’t go to (pipeline owner) Energy Transfer Partners to make their statement. They went to the Iowa Utilities Board,” Griess said. “It’s clear by their conduct and primarily their words that this was not targeted solely at private industry.”

WDBJ: Legislation requiring pipeline approval prompts strong reaction
Joe Dashiell, 9/22/22

“Legislation that would clear the way for completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline prompted a strong reaction, after the text of the measure was released this week,” WDBJ reports. “It is as bad as we thought it could be,” David Sligh, Conservation Director of the group Wild Virginia, told WDBJ. An opponent of the 300-mile natural gas pipeline, he said the text of the legislation is disturbing. “It’s unthinkable that we would allow the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Policy Act to be just voided for this one company,” Sligh told WDBJ7 in an interview. “And that’s what this bill seems to do.” US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said he supports permitting reform and found some good ideas in the proposed legislation, but not in the final section that deals specifically with the Mountain Valley Pipeline. “To take one named project in my state out of all of the permitting improvements and just say they get permits and nobody can review them and we’ll strip jurisdiction away from the hometown court that has been supervising this case, it’s just a bridge too far,” Kaine said during a teleconference with reporters Thursday morning. “And I’m going to oppose it.” “…Pipeline opponents dispute the claim that the project is 94% complete. In a written statement, Mountain Valley Watch Coordinator Russell Chisholm said the group will oppose the legislation. “For eight years we have tirelessly fought the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other fossil fuel projects in West Virginia and Virginia. Nearly a decade of our lives and our health has been shaped by fighting these unnecessary projects as the climate crisis escalates and pummels our homes with intensified storms and floods. Manchin’s dirty pipeline deal is an insult to his constituents and furthers a fossil-fueled death sentence to many people and the planet. We demand more public input and a livable future. That is why we are mobilizing to stop this bill.”

Galesburg Register-Mail: A 1.3K mile C02 pipeline coming through western Illinois? Here’s what you need to know
Samuel Lisec, 9/23/22

“If you live in western or central Illinois, there’s a chance a 1,300 mile-long pipeline could be built nearby,” the Galesburg Register-Mail reports. “…While the company that plans to build it, Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC, affirms it would pay landowners well and offset the emissions of 15 million metric tons of CO2 every year, critics are concerned the pipeline could permanently damage farmland and threaten the safety of residents in its path… “But the 2011 law qualifies CO2 pipelines as “in the public interest, and a benefit to the welfare of Illinois,” which means a certificate of authority would also grant Navigator the power to exercise eminent domain over private land in the pipeline’s route, regardless of whether landowners formally sign over their property to the project… “County governments have the option to file to participate in the ICC’s review, create a six-month long moratorium to pause construction until they finish studying the impact the pipeline could have in their county, or draft zoning laws that would govern how closely the pipeline could be built next to residential areas… “On Aug. 19, the Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline, a non-profit representing a collection of landowners and residents, also filed to intervene in the ICC’s review. John Feltham, 65, is a retired Marine who owns, operates and resides on 222 acres of farmland outside Williamsfield in Knox County. He was first contacted by Navigator in December 2021 as the company’s route showed the Heartland Greenway pipeline would run through his property. Feltham was a judge advocate during his career in the military and has since become president of the Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline nonprofit. He told the Mail he is concerned that in constructing the pipeline, Navigator would cut through water-tiles buried beneath his corn and soy fields — tiles that help drain water and prevent soil erosion… “Kathleen Campbell is not a farmer like Feltham, but she also became concerned after she learned her home in Glenarm — an unincorporated township in Illinois’ Sangamon County —  stands in Heartland Greenway’s path… “Campbell has since become vice president of Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline, as she is concerned about the pipeline’s proximity to residential areas in the event of a leak or rupture… “Pam Richart is co-director of the Eco-Justice Collaborative, another advocacy group involved in encouraging local counties to adopt moratoriums or zoning laws. Richart told the Mail she is worried the Heartland Pipeline could contaminate water aquifers, induce earthquakes, sustain the life of fossil fuel industries that power ethanol plants and pointed to the fact the project would be the larger than any CO2  pipeline the ICC has ever reviewed before. “I think the whole carbon capture sequestration technology is a great concern,” Richart told the Mail. “It’s not proven and it’s fraught with places that can go wrong.” 

MPR: CO2 pipeline proposal draws mixed reactions in SW Minn.
Hannah Yang, 9/23/22

“A proposal to build a pipeline across five states to connect biofuel plants with permanent carbon storage is drawing mixed reactions in southwestern Minnesota, where one leg of the project would run,” MPR reports. “…But some landowners and environmental groups say they’re worried the pipeline could break and pollute water and farmland… “The company is seeking voluntary easements from landowners to run the pipeline through their properties. Those conversations have been mostly positive, CEO Lee Blank told MPR… “Peg Furshong works for the grassroots environmental organization CURE River based in Montevideo. She’s concerned pipeline ruptures could expose groundwater to carbon dioxide, creating carbonic acid in local water supplies. The gas is odorless and colorless. It’s also an asphyxiant for humans.  “There’s been no information shared with the public, like there would be if a school was being built, or a hospital or anything big in a major rural community,” Furshong told MPR. “And so that lack of transparency and lack of agency for rural communities is really important. That democracy point is missing.” About 35 miles north of Lamberton in the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the tribal council is also concerned about the potential risks of the project. Though the pipeline won’t go through the reservation, it will cross the Minnesota River upstream from the community. Kevin O’Keefe, treasurer for Lower Sioux, worries about potential risks to wildlife and water quality if the pipeline leaks or bursts. He also is concerned about whether emergency responders are trained or equipped to manage a leak or rupture, leaving rural communities vulnerable if proper safety precautions aren’t in place. “We do want to encourage green energy sources. We do want to encourage less burning of fossil fuels,” O’Keefe told MPR. “I think this is a poor solution for it.” “…Larry Liepold farms land in Heron Lake more than 30 miles south of Lamberton. Summit Carbon Solutions approached him about an easement several months ago, but Liepold told MPR he rejected the offer.”

Siouxland News: “I knew that I was going to fight this”: Woodbury Co. woman fights against CO2 pipeline
Katie Copple, 9/22/22

“It’s a beautiful piece of farmland in Woodbury County and sits along the Plymouth County line and like many Iowa farms, it’s a family heirloom,” Siouxland News reports. “And now Vicki Hulse of Moville, Iowa is fighting to keep her and her husband’s land out of the hands of a carbon capture pipeline. “We have worked hard to pay for our land,” Hulse told Siouxland News. “We bought the farm from his dad’s estate, and he worked two jobs. I work two jobs to pay for this farm. And we have two children that we want to hand the farm down to. And I’m fighting against eminent domain for private gain.” “…This fight is personal for Hulse, not just because this pipeline would run through three of her four parcels of land, but because her husband William can’t fight alongside her… “My husband is a Vietnam veteran. He was exposed to Agent Orange and he’s in the Iowa veterans home in Marshalltown,” she told the News, “and I am his voice and I am doing exactly what I feel he would want me to do fighting for your land, fight for our land. He fought for our country and I am fighting for our land.” And fighting she is. Hulse has twice denied surveyors access to her farmland. In response, Navigator is suing Hulse to gain access citing eminent domain. She has filed a countersuit seeking an injunction of her own. “They’re a private company,” she told the News. “And so no private company should have the right to be able to claim eminent domain.” “…There are over 130 other landowners also fighting against the Navigator Pipeline, plus the two other proposed pipelines, Summit Carbon Solutions and Wolf Carbon Solutions, that would run through Iowa. But Hulse is one of the few taking legal action against them now… “She told the News this fight isn’t just hers or even the landowners who have been targeted by Navigator and these other pipelines, but it’s Iowa’s fight.

KMCH: Northwest Iowa Judge Sets Initial Hearing Over Navigator Pipeline Dispute
Janelle Tucker, 9/21/22

“A northwest Iowa judge has scheduled a hearing within two weeks on a couple’s request that a carbon pipeline developer be at least temporarily barred from conducting surveys on their Woodbury County land,” KMCH reports. “Navigator has sued William and Vicki Hulse of Moville, accusing the couple of violating a state law that allows its agents to access to land along its proposed pipeline route. The Hulses have filed a counter claim, arguing the law is an unconstitutional taking of private land… “Brian Jorde is the couple’s attorney. He told the judge there’s no legal deadline for completing the land surveys along the pipeline route… “Navigator’s attorney accused pipeline critics of using the court to try to slow down the project… “Jorde is the attorney for the couple refusing to let pipeline surveyors on their property. He told the judge he’ll be citing a recent Supreme Court opinion on property rights. Jorde has filed similar claims for landowners in Clay and Butler Counties. Navigator is suing a Sioux Rapids man and two Butler County property owners who have refused to allow the pipeline’s surveyors on their property.”

Sioux City Journal: Woodbury County Judge sets hearing on injunction request from Navigator Heartland Greenway CO2 pipeline company
NICK HYTREK, 9/22/22

“Carbon dioxide pipeline developers will have a chance to argue next week for a judge’s order to prevent two Woodbury County landowners from interfering with attempts to enter their land to survey the proposed pipeline route,” the Sioux City Journal reports. “District Judge Roger Sailer on Wednesday scheduled a hearing for Sept. 30 to hear Navigator Heartland Greenway’s request for an injunction against Moville, Iowa, property owners William and Vicki Hulse, who have twice denied the company’s agents access to their land that lies in the pipeline’s proposed route. Navigator sued the Hulses last month and is seeking a ruling that will keep them from denying access to their land.”

KCCI: Iowa pipeline project moving forward with permits as landowners worry about property values
Andrew Mollenbeck, 9/22/22

“A new C02 pipeline could eventually stretch more than 800 miles across Iowa. But before the company planning it can apply for a permit, it needs to finish meeting with local communities,” KCCI reports. “A meeting for Polk County property owners was the last of 12 in-person meetings over the last month… “It decreases the value of the property,” said one landowner. “And it decreases land process with crops. So you do have some digging and other things — and you do have tiles and other amenities do get ruined by digging through the dirt.” The proposal is personal to anyone who may be affected – and it was common to hear concerns about safety… “Now that the outreach meetings are over, the company can begin the permitting process in 30 days.”

KELO: Land is focal point of legal disputes with CO2 pipeline
Rae Yost, 9/22/22

“The land that Summit Carbon Solutions may need to survey and eventually need to install its proposed carbon dioxide is a point of contention in several legal actions,” KELO reports. “We always held the belief out here in the country in the state of South Dakota that we had the ability to keep those who we wanted off our land and let those who we wanted to onto our land,” Mark Lapka of rural Leola told KELO. But farm land owners like Lapka have learned that’s not so when Summit Carbon Solutions wanted to enter their land to do surveys related to a prosed CO2 pipeline that will travel about 460 miles across the state. A 2016 law allows companies that have projects under the state Public Utilities Review (PUC) to enter property without landowner permission to do surveys. “That caught people by surprise,” JD Wangsness, a Republican candidate for South Dakota House District 23, told KELO… “Wangsness said the 2016 law on surveys needs another look and so does any possible use of eminent domain as it relates to the proposed CO2 project… “Lapka, and other farmers in several counties including McPherson, Brown, Edmonds and Spink, don’t believe Summit Carbon should be able to survey without permission. “We formed a group of people that are trying to get that law changed because we really don’t believe that’s right,” Lapka told KELO. The group doesn’t believe the 2016 law on surveys is constitutional. Civil cases filed in those counties seek to prevent Summit Carbon from surveying without landowner permission. Summit Carbon Solutions has filed its own lawsuit against landowners in several counties. A 5th Judicial District judge has combined the suits in McPherson, Spink, Brown,and Edmonds counties, according to landowner Bruce Mack. A hearing on that combined case is set for Nov. 1… “Eminent domain is a strong enough concern and possible issue that the two prospective lawmakers believe it will be part of the upcoming session. “It will absolutely get addressed in the next session,” Wangsness told KELO. “I think we will see some legislation coming forward on eminent domain,” Moore told KELO.

SDPB Radio: Analysis: Meatpacking plants and carbon pipelines in South Dakota
Lori Walsh, Chris Laughery, 9/22/22

“Today we have Michael Card Ph.D., emeritus professor of public policy & management at the University of South Dakota and Jonathan Ellis is a reporter with The Dakota Scout,” SDPB Radio reports. “…Secondly, the panelists discuss the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline. This conversation is about landowners and the use of eminent domain.”

WNAX: South Dakota Easement Team Forms
9/20/22

“A group called the “South Dakota Easement Team” has been formed to counter the development of underground liquid carbon dioxide pipelines,” WNAX reports. “Spokesman Brian Jorde says he has been involved in pipeline battles for years. Jorde told WNAX Summit Carbon Solutions, the company planning the pipeline across eastern South Dakota, is attempting to intimidate landowners. Jorde told WNAX landowners need to take steps to protect themselves. Jorde is a member of the Domina Law Group in Omaha, which has been active in opposing eminent domain cases.”

WKSU: NEXUS windfall was less than expected for Northeast Ohio schools. A local auditor is fighting back
Anna Huntsman, 9/22/22

“The NEXUS natural gas pipeline was completed in 2018 across parts of Northeast Ohio amid much controversy and environmental concerns. One of the main selling points was that it would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for public entities near its path – primarily, school districts,” WKSU reports. “But after years of appeals and negotiations between NEXUS and the state’s tax officials about how much the pipeline is actually worth, that windfall isn’t panning out exactly the way it was supposed to. Now, one county auditor is taking action… “Schools and other public entities, including libraries and municipal governments, receive tax revenue when utilities like pipelines are constructed nearby. When the NEXUS pipeline was completed in 2018, the state tax commissioner set the value of the pipeline at $1.4 billion statewide… “But NEXUS appealed the state’s valuation multiple times over the course of several years, disputing how much the pipe was actually worth. During that time, it paid schools just about 40% of the valuation. The state ordered an appraisal and settled with NEXUS in late June of this year, revaluing the pipeline for $950 million – about 58% of the initial valuation. That didn’t seem quite right to Snodgrass. Snodgrass appealed the settlement in September to give him more time to request documents and try to better understand how they got to that agreement, he told WKSU… “If they find enough evidence to support Snodgrass’s suspicion that the pipeline is worth more, they’ll present their argument to the board of tax appeals. If they are successful, school districts could get closer to the revenues they were initially promised.”

The Press: A pipe cuts through the Brentwood City Council
Chris Campos, 9/22/22

“The City Council this week tackled the combustible lease for a 3.5-mile oil and gas pipeline that cuts through the city,” The Press reports. “Amid the heated controversies over hydrocarbon pollution, climate change and gas pipeline safety, what used to be a routine lease renewal has turned into the proverbial “hot potato” for local governments. Public fears over pipeline risks were heightened by the deadly San Bruno Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) gas pipeline explosion in September 2010 that claimed eight lives. Currently, Brentwood has a franchise agreement with PG&E approved in 1948… “To ensure that the City Council had sufficient information before any final decision is made, city staff sought an independent third-party pipeline safety specialist to review the condition, inspection and maintenance of the CRPC pipeline… “Based on their inspection and analysis, BEAR believes the CRPC pipeline is in good condition, is well-inspected and well-maintained… “Despite their reputation and experience. Dr. Stevick and Zheng came under fire during some of the public comments. Resident Danny Dorfman called in and called the hearing “a total waste of time.” He also asked, “why should we trust these gas industry experts?”.. “Council member Jovita Mendoza also asked the BEAR representatives, “Why are these pipeline accidents still happening?” Mendoza also expressed concerns about the pipeline’s close proximity to Heritage High School. She added, “No one has told me it’s 100 percent safe.”

Globe and Mail: Moving mountains: Is the Coastal GasLink pipeline a saviour or scourge?
PAUL CHRISTOPHER WEBSTER, 9/22/22

“From the valley below, the pipeline crews up on the mountainside above are seldom visible through the clouds. Today, though, it’s brilliantly clear in the coastal mountains of northwest British Columbia. High in the alpine icefields, tiny specks of yellow are faintly identifiable as earth-moving machines digging the path for one of the most ambitious—and embattled—infrastructure projects in Canadian history,” the Globe and Mail reports. “For Carlos Pardo, construction manager on the toughest section of the $11.2-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline that will connect the natural gas fields of eastern B.C. to the Pacific coast, it’s a rare sunny day… “Pardo is under enormous pressure to get the pipeline—now more than two-thirds complete—through the mountains to a $40-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant under construction in the coastal city of Kitimat… “Environmental activists adamantly oppose the project both because it will eventually transport five billion cubic feet of natural gas each day at a time when the world’s scientists agree we need to stop burning fossil fuels, but also for the potential destruction of otherwise pristine territory… “Opposition to B.C.’s gas fracking and pipeline boom has solidified the long-time alliance between environmentalists and Indigenous activists, and has brought to the foreground divisions between modern elected Indigenous leaders and traditional non-elected ones in many communities, Nagata told the Mail. Of the more than 30 Indigenous entities consulted by Coastal GasLink, all 20 along the project route with elected leaderships have signed agreements with TC Energy. But the CGL project, and the plans for more of its kind in northern B.C., continue to generate intensifying objections regarding the environmental harms, contribution to global carbon emissions and routing through unceded Indigenous territories. This past March, TC Energy and its partners in the CGL took a telling step toward possibly cultivating greater Indigenous buy-in by announcing the signing of option agreements to sell a 10% equity interest in the pipeline to Indigenous communities across the project corridor. That move—whether it results in a firm Indigenous ownership stake or not—signals the terrain is shifting for resource companies working on Indigenous territories in Canada.”

CFNR: Williams Lake First Nation Members Asked to Provide Input on Joining Indigenous-led Pipeline Group
Jeff Blagden, 9/22/22

“Members of the Williams Lake First Nation are being asked to participate in a survey over a potential partnership with a pipeline group,” CFNR reports. “Western Indigenous Pipeline Group is looking to purchase a major stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline to benefit impacted Indigenous communities. They say that by acquiring a stake in the company, Indigenous communities can ensure their environmental, economic, and cultural goals are met. While it doesn’t lie directly along the pipeline route, the Williams Lake First Nation has been identified as a Nation impacted by the pipeline. Now, the Nation is asking members for their input on whether or not to join the group.”

Associated Press: Federal judge approves $230M settlement in 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill case
9/23/22

“A judge has approved a $230 million lawsuit settlement by the owners of a pipeline that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean off California in 2015, lawyers announced Thursday,” the Associated Press reports. “A federal judge in Los Angeles gave final approval on Tuesday to a settlement of a class-action suit that blamed All American Pipeline, L.P. and Plains Pipeline, L.P. for the May 2015 spill off the Santa Barbara coast. The corroded undersea pipeline ruptured north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles. All American Pipeline later estimated that 142,800 gallons were spilled. It was the worst California coastal oil spill since 1969. It blackened popular beaches for miles, killing or fouling hundred of seabirds, seals and other wildlife and hurting tourism and fishing… “People who believe they may be entitled to some of the money have until Oct. 31 to submit claims. The companies didn’t admit liability in the settlement agreement, which was reached in May following seven years of legal wrangling. Federal inspectors found that Plains had made several preventable errors, failed to quickly detect the pipeline rupture and responded too slowly as oil flowed toward the ocean.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Washington Post: Climate activists protesting Manchin’s permitting bill arrested in D.C.
Ellie Silverman, 9/22/22

“U.S. Capitol police arrested 11 people protesting Thursday at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington after they entered a vestibule and refused to leave, Capitol police spokesman Tim Barber said,” the Washington Post reports. “The demonstrators, climate advocates protesting legislation that would expedite the nation’s permitting process for energy projects, stood in a line and passed around a megaphone, each speaker decrying the “dirty deal” and demanding lawmakers vote no on any legislation that further invests in polluting infrastructure, according to a live stream of the protest. Those arrested were all directors with national environmental groups, protest organizers told the Post… “After demonstrators on Thursday delivered speeches criticizing this bill, they sat in a circle and remained in the vestibule, despite orders to disperse. Capitol Police arrested them for unlawful entry, Barber told the Post.

People vs. Fossil Fuels: Environmental Leaders Arrested on Capitol Hill to Protest Schumer/Manchin Permit Deal
9/22/22

“A group of 11 environmental and community leaders were arrested today calling on the Senate to reject Senator Manchin’s proposal to undermine environmental and community review and fast-track oil, gas, coal and mining projects. Those participating in civil disobedience are all directors of prominent organizations, including national and regional environmental groups, community organizations, and labor unions. The protest came one day after Manchin formally released his Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, which had been first announced in July. Since the bill’s released late Wednesday, it has been widely criticized by civil rights and environmental justice advocates, and members of Congress. Organizations participating in the protest include Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Popular Democracy, Earthworks, Familias Unidas por La Justicia, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, Indigenous Environmental Network, Just Transition Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Oil Change International, Step Up Louisiana, Sunrise Movement, Climate Justice Alliance, and United Steelworkers Local 675… “Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network: “Manchin’s permitting reform bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act is a direct threat against the inherent sovereignty and jurisdictional authority of our Indigenous nations and its peoples to protect ourselves from this accelerating climate crisis. The content of the bill strips critical NEPA provisions that Indigenous and other environmental justice communities need in order to take action on destructive projects like pipelines. Pipelines like the Mountain Valley Pipeline will be built with impunity under this bill. This dirty deal will set a precedent for more destructive projects to be implemented without review. We must uplift and protect our Mother Earth, not repeal the minimal provisions that do exist. We must continue to fight against climate greenwashing and false solutions. We must take real action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” 

E&E News: Lawmakers want to change permitting bill. Will they succeed?
Jeremy Dillon, Nick Sobczyk, Kelsey Brugger, 9/23/22

“The new permitting reform proposal is already facing calls from skeptical lawmakers who want to dramatically change it,” E&E News reports. “Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wants to alter language for a natural gas pipeline that runs through his state. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wants to speed up offshore wind projects. Republicans have doubts about the bill granting new powers to the nation’s top energy regulator and want the legislation to be closer to one introduced by one of their colleagues. Those gripes span the political spectrum and leave in serious doubt the fate of the legislation, which was introduced Wednesday by Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Despite those doubts, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has set a test vote next week. The intention is to tie the permitting bill to stopgap spending legislation. Schumer pledged to hold a vote on permitting as part of Manchin’s support for the climate-focused Inflation Reduction Act… “The effort picked up a crucial ally yesterday in Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the ranking member on ENR. For her, the inclusion of a provision that would speed approval of Mountain Valley pipeline, a controversial West Virginia to Virginia natural gas project mired in environmental reviews and lawsuits, was key. Her vote is also seen as critical to bringing skeptical Republicans on board… “Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) threw her name into the list of Democrats skeptical of the reform language, although she was less precise in her concerns… “It clearly falls short of Capito’s bill,” Sen. Thom Tills (R-N.C.), who specifically pointed to Mountain Valley as a positive, told E&E. “So we’ve got to see whether or not it really is a step forward or window dressing. And there have been arguments on both sides of the proceeding.” GOP lawmakers are also objecting to provisions that would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission more authority over transmission permitting… “More than 10 Republicans indicated Thursday they were still undecided on the Manchin bill… “Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said Thursday it is “definitely in trouble” with Republicans. Hard-line budget hawks like Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) are already saying they will oppose the continuing resolution regardless of its provisions.”

Press release: Merkley, Colleagues Highlight Environmental Justice Concerns on Permitting Legislation, Need for Standalone Floor Consideration
9/22/22

“Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) expressing concerns regarding the impact that the recently released proposal to change the federal permitting process for fossil fuel projects will have on communities of color, frontline communities and other disadvantaged communities. “For many years, siting decisions for big infrastructure projects have essentially prioritized the perceived societal benefits of fossil energy over the very real costs disproportionately borne by communities of color, low-income communities, and others who have traditionally been marginalized,” wrote the Senators. “The result has been the destruction of homes and neighborhoods, lost wealth in those communities, long-lasting health consequences, and premature deaths. Environmental justice advocates are pushing policymakers to remedy our nation’s failure to take the input of environmental justice communities more seriously, but there is far more work for us to do.” The Senators’ letter notes the environmental justice community’s concerns over the proposed reforms and the implications of these permits. “We also share the environmental justice community’s concerns that the proposed reforms could reduce the ability of affected stakeholders and state, federal, and tribal governments from thoroughly analyzing proposed projects and undermine judicial review,” they continued. “Given our country’s history of environmental inequity, any changes to the permitting processes should strengthen—not steamroll over—public participation and add protections for frontline communities.”

Guardian: Schumer and Manchin’s ‘dirty side deal’ to fast-track pipelines faces backlash
Nina Lakhani, 9/22/22

“Scientists, health experts and environmental groups have condemned new legislation negotiated in secret by the fossil-fuel-friendly Democratic senator Joe Manchin and the Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, which will fast-track major energy projects by gutting clean water and environmental protections,” the Guardian reports. “…Critics say the bill is a giveaway to the fossil fuel lobby, paving the way for oil and gas production that will stop the US meeting its obligations to cut greenhouse gases and lead to further environmental injustices for people of color, Indigenous communities and low-income areas. It slashes judicial and state powers and oversight, handing Washington greater control over major projects… “On Thursday, more than 400 scientists, doctors and nurses delivered a letter imploring Schumer and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to reject the deal. “The scientific consensus is now crystal clear … fossil fuel projects carry enormous risks to public health … we need to leave oil, gas and coal in the ground and turn off the spigot of carbon pouring into the air.” Jennifer K Falcon, an Indigenous environmentalist from the Ikiya Collective, said: “Our communities have already lost so much from environmental racism but there is so much to save. [They] are not sacrifice zones for corrupt politicians like Manchin and Schumer who benefit from big oil’s windfall profits. “The science is clear about the worsening climate crisis. We have no time to waste on dirty side deals.” “…According to Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, the bill contains the most significant loss of protections under the bedrock National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa) and the Clean Water Act since at least the last Bush administration, when Republicans had full control of Congress. “Any member of Congress who claims this disastrous legislation is vital for ramping up renewables either doesn’t understand or is ignoring the enormous fossil fuel giveaways at stake,” Hartl told the Guardian.

Common Dreams: Climate Leaders Arrested Outside Senate During Protest Against Manchin’s Dirty Deal
JULIA CONLEY, 9/22/22

“Several leaders of climate justice organizations on Thursday were arrested after peacefully protesting at a Senate building on Capitol Hill, demanding that Congress reject Sen. Joe Manchin’s so-called permitted reform bill, which would make it easier for fossil fuel companies to secure approval for fracking, pipeline, and other extraction projects. Eleven executive directors of climate justice groups entered the building before Capitol Police began making arrests. Demonstrators assembled outside chanted, “Stop the dirty deal!” as the leaders were led away by the police. “You can arrest us, but you cannot shut us up!” said one of the campaigners as he was arrested. Greenpeace co-executive director Ebony Twilley Martin, who was among those detained, told supporters after the demonstration that deals like Manchin’s “are contributing to the rise in tornadoes in the Midwest, stronger and deadlier hurricanes and typhoons impacting small island nations, wildfires out West, and so many more climate catastrophes that are happening now. Not in our future, but right now.” “That’s why I, along with other executive directors of some of the biggest environmental, labor, and progressive groups in the country, are engaging in civil disobedience today by staging a sit-in at a Senate building and risking arrest,” she added. “We know that the window for defeating the Dirty Deal is quickly closing, so we decided to do something about it. We will be HEARD.” “…Ahead of the Capitol Hill protest, where demonstrators risked arrest, Greenpeace USA co-executive director Ebony Twilley Martin said Wednesday that Manchin and Schumer’s “dirty deal” will perpetuate the status of low-income, Black, and Brown communities across the U.S. as “sacrifice zones.”

POWHR: Leading Frontline Groups Resisting MVP Respond to Manchin Pipeline Bill Text
9/22/22

“Today, Senator Joe Manchin released the text of the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022”, a backdoor attempt to gut environmental regulations and fast track his pet project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). He struck a deal with Top Democrats to solicit their support for this fossil fuel wishlist in exchange for his vote to pass the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill includes accelerating agency reviews, amending permitting laws like the Clean Water Act, and requires the completion and operation of the MVP, regardless of delays and obstacles, and eliminates further judicial review of the project. In response, Russell Chisholm, Mountain Valley Watch Coordinator, said: “For eight years we have tirelessly fought the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other fossil fuel projects in West Virginia and Virginia. Nearly a decade of our lives and our health has been shaped by fighting these unnecessary projects as the climate crisis escalates and pummels our homes with intensified storms and floods. Manchin’s dirty pipeline deal is an insult to his constituents and furthers a fossil-fueled death sentence to many people and the planet. We demand more public input and a livable future. That is why we are mobilizing to stop this bill.” Dr. Crystal Cavalier-Keck and Jason Crazy Bear Keck, co-founders of 7 Directions of Service, said: “We have seen time after time our sacred places, water and land destroyed for fossil fuel greed with little thought or acknowledgment of the cultural and legal connections of tribes to these lands,” said Dr. Cavalier-Keck. “State recognized tribes like mine rely on NEPA and the Clean Water Act as the only legal mechanisms we have to engage the energy corporations threatening our communities, and to ensure basic regulatory review and accountability. We cannot allow such precious laws to be replaced by greed-driven legislation penned by the Fossil Fuel Industry and championed by the short-sighted officials on their payroll.”

Press release: 400+ Scientists, Health Professionals Oppose Manchin’s Fossil Fuel Permitting Bill
9/22/22

“In a letter delivered to House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer today, more than 400 scientists and health professionals urged Congress to reject the energy permitting reform bill released yesterday by Senator Joe Manchin. The letter cites grave public health and climate threats associated with the fast-tracking of fossil fuel development that the bill prioritizes.  The letter was written by noted biologist and climate expert Sandra Steingraber, PhD [Science and Environmental Health Network] and circulated in conjunction with Food & Water Watch. Initial signers include noted health and climate experts Peter Kalmus, PhD [UCLA], Robert W. Howarth, PhD [Cornell Univ.],  Philip Landrigan, MD [Boston Col.], Farhana Sultana, PhD [Syracuse Univ.], Ted Schettler MD, MPH [Science & Environmental Health Network], Michael E Mann, PhD [Univ. of Penn.], Barbara Sattler, RN, DrPH, FAAN [Univ. of San Fran.], Mark Jacobson, PhD [Sanford Univ.], and Katie Huffling, DNP, RN, CNM, FAAN [Physicians for Social Responsibility]. The letter states in part: Fossil fuel projects also carry enormous risks to public health that include not only diverse widespread health impacts from an overheated climate but also direct harm to those living near them. As is now documented in more than 100 studies, public health harms linked to living near oil and gas wells and associated infrastructure include asthma, heart problems, early death, and impairments to infant health… More than 17.6 million U.S. residents live within a mile of an active oil or gas well. These Americans include our patients. “The climate crisis is a public health crisis, with people living on the frontlines of oil and gas extraction suffering the most. Scientists who document the evidence for harm and health professionals who treat the harm are now speaking out with one voice,” said Sandra Steingraber, PhD, senior scientist at the Science and Environmental Health Network and author of the letter. “We call on House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer to reject Senator Manchin’s dirty deal that will expedite further fossil fuel build-out.”  

Guardian: How the gas industry capitalized on the Ukraine war to change Biden policy
Oliver Milman, 9/22/22

“The Russian tanks and armored vehicles had barely begun to roll into Ukraine before the fossil fuel industry in the US had swung into action. A letter was swiftly dispatched to the White House, urging an immediate escalation in gas production and exports to Europe ahead of an anticipated energy crunch,” the Guardian reports. “The letter, dated 25 February, just one day after Vladimir Putin’s forces launched their assault on Ukraine, noted the “dangerous juncture” of the moment before segueing into a list of demands: more drilling on US public lands; the swift approval of proposed gas export terminals; and pressure on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, to green-light pending gas pipelines. By the winter of 2022, there should be “virtual transatlantic gas pipelines” flowing from the US to Europe, the authors envisioned. Six months on from the letter, Russia’s invasion has stalled and in places retreated, but the US gas industry has achieved almost all of its initial objectives. Within weeks, Joe Biden’s administration adopted the gas industry’s major demands as policy. They paved the way for new pipelines and export facilities, established a new taskforce to boost gas exports to Europe and approved $300m in funding to help build out gas infrastructure on the continent. “I can’t even begin to tell you how much the momentum has changed for companies in the United States that have wanted to bring their projects forward and just haven’t been able to get long-term contracts,” a jubilant Fred Hutchison, president of LNG Allies, the industry group that sent the letter, told the Guardian just three weeks after both the military and lobbying pushes started… “The fact that just weeks after those demands were laid out, president Biden was turning industry wishes into policy is a damning indictment of a president who had promised to tackle the climate crisis,” said Zorka Milin, senior advisor at Global Witness, which shared a new report on the escalation in gas infrastructure with the Guardian.

NPR: U.S. Congress reaches a milestone in Indigenous representation
JACLYN DIAZ, 9/20/22

“Rep. Mary Peltola’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives made history in several ways,” NPR reports. “With her recent swearing-in, it became official for the first time in more than 230 years: A Native American, an Alaska Native and a Native Hawaiian are all members of the House — fully representing the United States’ Indigenous people for the first time, according to Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele of Hawaii. Now, there are six Indigenous Americans who are representatives in the House… “It’s a historic moment,” Lani Teves, an associate professor at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, told NPR. Indigenous peoples in the United States have been disenfranchised on many levels throughout history, Teves told NPR. “Having different Indigenous communities represented shows the growing power of Native people across the United States and across the world,” she told NPR… “Beyond that, she noted, having members who come from Indigenous communities can mean issues important to those communities — like climate change and violence against Native women — get more play in Congress.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN): Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry in North America and Complicit Financial Institutions
9/22/22

“The Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry in North America and Complicit Financial Institutions (second edition), is a report that addresses the disproportionate gender and race-specific health and safety impacts as well as human and Indigenous rights issues of fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure in the United States and selected parts of Canada— interlocking issues that have been sorely neglected in the discourse regarding fossil fuel extraction. The report spotlights the role that a specific set of financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, and insurance companies, play in preserving and perpetuating negative gender and racial impacts through focusing on eight case studies in North America. The report explicitly exposes the role that financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, and insurance companies, play in preserving and perpetuating negative gender and racial impacts through focusing on 8 regional case studies, from the fracking fields Kern County in California to Cancer Alley in Louisiana. The report spotlights Vanguard, BlackRock, Capital Group, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of America, and Liberty Mutual as primary financiers of harmful fossil fuel projects within the regional case studies. All seven of these financial institutions have voiced support of the Paris Agreement and human rights via statements or by signing various international frameworks, yet, these financial institutions continue to fund companies whose operations are disproportionately harming women and communities of color, while also violating Indigenous rights and furthering the climate crisis… “The report advocates for financial institutions to immediately transition away from fossil fuels, and instead invest in a Just Transition, clean regenerative and renewable energy, accountability and justice within institutions, and community-led solutions.”

Globe and Mail: Canada’s oil sands are making billions – and very little of it is going to net-zero commitments
EMMA GRANEY, 9/23/22

“Canadian oil sands companies have done little to follow through on their public pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, despite raking in historic profits in 2022, a new analysis shows,” the Globe and Mail reports. “Instead, companies have spent big on share repurchases and dividend payments, forgoing investments in emissions-lowering technologies that could help future-proof their operations in a net-zero world. Competition for the supply of low-emissions energy is set to heat up this decade, as more countries make net-zero commitments and shift to greener economies. Thus, energy companies that undertake deep emissions reductions now are likely to be more competitive in a low-carbon future – including Canada’s oil sands producers. The study, released Friday by the Pembina Institute, comes more than a year after an industry group representing about 95 per cent of production in Canada’s oil sands announced its plan to get operations to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The institute examined the decarbonization promises made by each company in the Pathways Alliance, and compared them with actions the companies are taking to reduce their carbon footprint… “While the pledges and promises of the Pathways Alliance may give the impression that action on this front is imminent or already underway, our analysis here demonstrates that oil sands companies have yet to make the necessary investment decisions – or even release sufficiently detailed project plans, with information about allocation of capital expenditure, timelines and individual company GHG reduction targets – to provide proper reassurance about the likely pace of decarbonization in the sector,” the report says.

OilPrice.com: Failing To Invest In Oil And Gas Would Be The “Road To Hell For America”
Irina Slav, 9/22/22

“Cutting off investments in fossil fuels would be the road to hell for the United States. This is what JP Morgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon said during a congressional hearing on a range of topics,” OilPrice.com reports. “Please answer with a simple yes or no, does your bank have a policy against funding new oil and gas products, Mr. Dimon?” Rep. Rashida Tlaib asked JP Morgan’s chief executive, after laying out net-zero plans that require a shift away from fossil fuels. “Absolutely not, and that would be the road to hell for America,” Dimon said in response. He went further, as well, saying the country needed to invest more not less in oil and gas. “We aren’t getting this one right. The world needs 100 million barrels effectively of oil and gas every day. And we need it for 10 years,” Dimon said, adding “To do that, we need proper investing in the oil and gas complex. Investing in the oil and gas complex is good for reducing CO2. We’ve all seen, because of the high price of oil and gas — particularly for the rest of the world — you’ve seen everyone going back to coal.” Dimon’s statements come amid rising opposition among banks to increasingly stringent decarbonization rules, with some, including JP Morgan considering an exit from the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, according to a recent report by the FT.”

Bloomberg: Why Wall Street’s Top Banks Are Betting Oil Will Stage a Recovery
Yongchang Chin, 9/22/22

“Oil is set to rebound in the fourth quarter, according to some of Wall Street’s leading banks, as low inventories and sustained demand underpin a recovery despite growing concerns of a global slowdown,” Bloomberg reports. “JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts London’s Brent oil at $101 a barrel for the final three months of 2022, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sees $125 and Morgan Stanley targets $95. The global crude benchmark was last near $90… “We’ve had a very tight picture over the summer, where every single indicator suggested a very bullish market,” Martijn Rats, global oil strategist at Morgan Stanley, told Bloomberg. “Prices had risen due to the post-Covid demand recovery, and we had the supply side not recovering fast enough in tandem.” That could mean oil markets remaining in an “unsustainable deficit” at current prices, Nikhil Bhandari, Goldman Sachs’ co-head of APAC natural resources and clean energy research, told Bloomberg… “There have been “years of underinvestment,” Parsley Ong, head of Asian energy and chemicals at JPMorgan, told Bloomberg. “In the US, we aren’t seeing rig counts high enough to offset natural decline rates — drilled-but-uncompleted wells are at the lowest since 2014 — while OPEC spare capacity is very thin.” “…Fundamentals point to a deficit in the oil market, yet prices are not necessarily reflecting that deficit, one of the reasons being the strong US dollar,” JPMorgan’s Ong told Bloomberg. “So in that sense, the futures market might not fully reflect the tight fundamentals.” Morgan Stanley’s Rats took a different tack, however. “It’s true that liquidity is quite low, and thus the volatility is unusually high,” he told Bloomberg. “However, what I don’t think is the case is that the broad level of prices is disconnected from the fundamentals. Brent at around $90 is broadly reflective of the fundamentals. So, no, the futures market isn’t broken.”

Associated Press: First public global database of fossil fuels launches
DREW COSTLEY, 9/19/22

“A first-of-its-kind database for tracking the world’s fossil fuel production, reserves and emissions launched on Monday to coincide with climate talks taking place at the United Nations General Assembly in New York,” the Associated Press reports. “The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels includes data from over 50,000 oil, gas and coal fields in 89 countries, covering 75% of global reserves, production and emissions. The tool is available for public use, a first for a collection this size… “The registry was developed by Carbon Tracker, a nonprofit think tank that researches the energy transition’s effect on financial markets, and Global Energy Monitor, an organization that tracks a variety of energy projects around the globe. It allows anyone with a computer and internet access to look at coal, oil and gas reserves with a resolution that hasn’t been possible before. Users can see the carbon dioxide emissions they would generate if burned — at a global, country or field level. They can get a sense of the role fossil fuel production has played in different economies. They can simulate transitioning away from fossil fuels under four scenarios: continuing current trends, governments keeping pledges they’ve made, governments following sustainable development goals set by the United Nations, and the world achieving net zero by 2050… “Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker, told AP he hopes the registry will empower groups to hold governments accountable, for example, when they issue licenses for fossil fuel extraction.” “…Campanale told AP the hope is the investment community, “who ultimately own these corporations,” will use the data to begin to challenge the investment plans of companies still planning to expand oil, gas and coal projects.”

AFP: Pressure grows after World Bank chief dodges climate questions
9/22/22

“Climate groups called Wednesday for the World Bank’s president to be removed after he refused multiple times to say if he believed man-made emissions contributed to global warming,” AFP reports. “Activists have previously called for David Malpass to resign or be removed for what they say is an inadequate approach to the climate crisis. The head of the World Bank is traditionally an American while the other big international lender in Washington, the IMF, tends to be European. Malpass is a veteran of Republican administrations in the United States and was appointed in 2019 while Donald Trump, who famously and repeatedly denied the science behind climate change, was president. The chorus against Malpass grew louder after his appearance Tuesday at a New York Times conference on climate finance… “After another attempt failed to get a straight answer, the journalist, David Gelles, said: “Let me just be as clear as I can: Do you accept the scientific consensus that the man made burning of fossil fuels is rapidly and dangerously warming the planet?” Malpass again pointed to the World Bank’s work on the issue, at which point multiple people in the audience shouted: “Answer the question!” “I don’t even know. I’m not a scientist,” responded a clearly frustrated Malpass. The Big Shift, a consortium of climate groups, called Wednesday for the World Bank’s board to remove Malpass over the comments. “For the World Bank to maintain any shred of decency Malpass cannot remain as President,” Tasneem Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network, a Big Shift member group, told AFP. A separate group of activist organizations told AFP they would on Thursday unveil a banner at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington that reads: “The World Bank Group is Run by a Climate Denier.”

OPINION

Food & Water Watch: I Got Arrested to Stop Manchin’s Pipeline Deal. Here’s Why.
Wenonah Hauter, Founder and Executive Director, Food & Water Watch, 9/22/22

“People across the country are standing up to stop the backroom fossil fuel permitting deal from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. On Thursday, I went to Capitol Hill to stand with a group of leaders in the environmental movement. Our demand: Reject the dirty pipeline deal Manchin struck during negotiations over the Inflation Reduction Act. For making that demand, we were arrested,” Wenonah Hauter writes for Food & Water Watch. “Stopping Manchin’s side deal is worth it… “If passed, Manchin’s pipeline deal will mean more pollution and more dirty energy projects in communities already hard-hit by big environmental burdens. And it will change the National Environmental Policy Act, making it harder for regulators to do their jobs and harder for threatened communities to voice concerns about new projects. It’s simple — and terrible. Manchin’s deal would gut environmental protections, endanger public health and silence communities. If that’s not worth getting arrested to stop, I’m not sure what is… “Even more importantly, the grassroots movement demanding real action grows more powerful every day. Over 700 organizations oppose the bill. There have been sit-ins at Congressional offices across the country. Scores of frontline community members from Appalachia, to the Gulf Coast, to the Midwest converged on Capitol Hill to demand that Congress reject the deal… “The coordinated and loud opposition to the deal shows that power is shifting. Our fight against Joe Manchin’s pipeline deal is critical, but this is about more than a single senator. Time is running out for the fossil fuel interests that brought us Joe Manchin and his side deal. They can arrest us, but they can’t defeat us. The climate movement will win.”

Washington Post: Don’t force the Mountain Valley Pipeline on Virginia
R. Creigh Deeds, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s 25th state Senate District, lives in Charlottesville, 9/22/22

“Communities across Virginia that have been battling the Mountain Valley Pipeline for years have been holding their breath since the news broke about a backroom deal tied to passage of the Inflation Reduction Act,” R. Creigh Deeds writes for the Washington Post. “The deal is a wish list for the fossil fuel industry that would eradicate all the efforts by community members, state legislators and advocacy groups to receive fair consideration of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and stack the deck in favor of future projects.The effort by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) to undermine the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act simply is not good policy. The proposal would sacrifice communities and the environment and sabotage vital climate change mitigation efforts for short-term profits for the fossil fuel industry. Manchin’s plan guts 50 years of bipartisan environmental protections, mandates how the judiciary handles certain cases and forces federal approval on a controversial project… “Among many other provisions, Manchin’s proposal would usurp executive authority by attempting to force administrative agencies to come to predetermined conclusions about permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Our federal agencies should not be forced to give preferential treatment to a specific project… “These unpopular and consequential policy changes should not be rammed through Congress by attaching them to must-pass legislation. I urge every member of Congress to join Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and stand up for good governance — stand up for the people they represent — and tell Schumer and Manchin that they will not approve this fossil fuel giveaway. If the only way to get this deal through Congress is through this backroom maneuver, then it has no business becoming law.”

Chatham Star Tribune: MVP’s commitment to safety rings hollow
William Limpert, Smithsburg, Md., 9/22/22

“Laurence Hammock’s article in the Roanoke-Times Dispatch regarding the significant threat to public safety from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) points out the fear and danger that people living near it will endure every day if the project is completed. MVP has been reckless with their pipe, and federal regulatory agencies have been missing in action in their failure to protect nearby residents,” William Limpert writes for the Chatham Star Tribune. “…The MVP evacuation zone, where escape in minutes is needed to avoid death or serious injury is 1.4 miles wide. The total evacuation zone for the 303-mile MVP is around 242 square miles, or about 1/3 the size of Rhode Island. That’s a large number of our fellow citizens in harm’s way. MVP is well aware of the danger in leaving pipe exposed. They used this issue in court to “quick take” property from 300 landowners, and then let the pipe degrade nearly another five years without adequately protecting it… “MVP’s misleading statement that the pipe will be inspected and repaired as needed rings hollow as well. The “holiday” detector they say they will use will not detect failed coating flexibility, or uptake of corrosion causing chemicals. These are coating deficiencies that are also caused by leaving the pipe exposed. A pipeline expert advises that if the coating is not flexible, it won’t stand a chance during pipe bending, or other pipe stresses. The presence of chlorides and other corrosive substances in the coating would also indicate that it is unacceptable. MVP misleads the public once again in saying that any damaged coating or thin spots will be repaired prior to installing the pipe. It’s not that easy. Expert Richard Kuprewicz’ statement that the pipe must be in terrible shape indicates that field repair is not enough to assure the public safety. Damaged pipe, in the ground or on the surface must be discarded or returned to the factory for recoating.”

Forbes: Permitting Reform Needed At Every Level Of Government
Adam A. Millsap, 9/21/22

“It is way too difficult to build things in America, and politicians from both parties know it. In return for Senator Joe Manchin’s (WV) support of the poorly named Inflation Reduction Act, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) promised Manchin a vote on a federal permitting reform bill by the end of September. Meanwhile, Manchin’s West Virginia counterpart, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV) has her own permitting reform bill that is supported by nearly all the other Republican senators,” Adam A. Millsap writes for Forbes. “It is unclear whether either of these bills will become law, but what is clear is that permitting reform at every level of government is desperately needed… “The NEPA process is the punishment. Environmental Assessments (EA) or the longer Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) can be several thousand pages long and take years to complete, as shown in the figure below. This raises costs since projects are typically not allowed to move forward until the analyses are finished. Meanwhile, loans must be paid and materials must be stored. There is also the opportunity cost—money invested in a project waiting to break ground could be invested somewhere else earning a bigger return… “Cheap energy is the lifeblood of the modern economy. Without it, living standards would collapse… “America is in a better position than Europe. We produce much of our own energy domestically and are even a net exporter of natural gas. For the most part, we do not rely on autocracies like Russia for energy—yet. But as the battery example shows us, we could easily find ourselves relying on China or similar countries if we refuse to build more mines and increase energy production. Permitting and other regulatory reforms are not a panacea, but they are a necessary step toward a future of energy abundance.”

Minton Daily News: It’s time to recognize importance of pipeline workers
Suzanne Walker is a pipeline welder affiliated with Pipeliners Local Union 798, 9/23/22

“Since his first days in office, President Biden has undermined the hard-working women and men in the oil and gas sector who strive to make energy affordable and reliable across the nation,” Suzanne Walker writes for the Minton Daily News. “I began my career as a pipeline welder in 2008. Over the past 14 years, I’ve worked on numerous energy infrastructure projects across the country. Here in North Dakota, I worked on the now canceled Keystone XL pipeline, on a spread which spanned from Grafton to Fargo. I can personally attest to the jobs Keystone created and its economic benefits to communities throughout the state. The cancelation resulted in hundreds of layoffs, including my own… “One way for President Biden to support pipeline workers is to support the Dakota Access Pipeline, a critically important energy project. This pipeline transports up to 750,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil per day from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota to Illinois. Additionally, the construction created 12,000 jobs that offered family-sustaining wages and benefits… “President Biden should recognize the work all workers do. That means embracing the work of American workers in the natural gas and oil industry and supporting their valuable contributions to keep our country powered.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub