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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 9/8/23

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

By Mark Hefflinger

September 8, 2023



  • KSFY: Landowners react to Navigator’s CO2 pipeline denial

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: South Dakota’s Navigator pipeline decision might jeopardize Summit proposal

  • Iowa Capital Dispatch: North Dakota groups oppose Summit’s permit ‘do over’

  • Radio Iowa: Exec says Summit doesn’t plan to amend its proposed carbon pipeline route

  • Houston Chronicle: Exclusive: Donors tied to pipelines accused of triggering blackouts gave 7 top Texas officials $6.3M

  • Reuters: Canadian Natural expects Trans Mountain expansion project to be delayed -letter

  • CKPG Today: Coastal GasLink nearing completion, could be ready to transport natural gas by the end of 2023


  • Washington Post: Biden will put a fee on methane emissions, but oil companies are underreporting them

  • E&E News: ‘Sickening’: GOP explodes at Biden over ANWR decision

  • Associated Press: Environmentalists lose latest court battle against liquified natural gas project in Louisiana

  • Bloomberg: Gulf Of Mexico Oil Lease Sale Will Harm Rice’s Whale, Groups Say 

  • InsideEPA: Chevron Loses Second Bid To Challenge EPA Offshore Permitting Decision 


  • WyoFile: Wyoming poised to take on carbon dioxide, pump it underground

  • InsideClimate News: As Federal Money Flows to Carbon Capture and Storage, Texas Bets on an Undersea Bonanza

  • InsideClimate News: New Pennsylvania Legislation Aims to Classify ‘Produced Water’ From Fracking as Hazardous Waste

  • Politico: California’s break with the holy trinity of hydrogen


  • NPR: When Big Oil Gets In The Carbon Removal Game, Who Wins?

  • National Observer: Report finds carbon capture’s ‘stubbornly high’ prices are likely here to stay

  • Associated Press: What is green hydrogen and why is it touted as a clean fuel?

  • Guardian: US ‘university’ spreads climate lies and receives millions from rightwing donors

  • New Scientist: Electrically charged mist could help capture carbon from power plants


  • Washington Post: Senate Democrats press Treasury on insurance industry and climate

  • E&E News: The Democratic battle plan on ESG



KSFY: Landowners react to Navigator’s CO2 pipeline denial
Beth Warden, 9/7/23

“Landowners are still processing the unanimous decision by the Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday to deny a CO2 pipeline in South Dakota,” KSFY reports. “All this was a victory not only for us but for all South Dakotans,” Valley Springs resident Rick Bonander told KSFY. “We’re extremely pleased with the PUC for the decision that they’ve made.” Navigator also requested that the PUC override the setback rulings set by counties in the state. That request was also denied. “We’re happy with both Minnehaha County and Moody County for putting in ordinances,” Bonander expressed. “And the best government is local government closest to the people.” “…Bonander believes the decision in South Dakota, coupled by a denial in North Dakota for Summit Carbon Solutions, could reveal a lack of support to move the projects forward. “This is a big deal because we are now at the high ground,” Bonander told KSFY. “With the strong decision that the PUC made yesterday, three to nothing, both these companies might as well pack their bags and go home.” “…Dakota Rural Action is thankful for the hard work done by our allies, members and organizers in bringing the grassroots together to make sure the PUC heard the message that CO2 pipelines are corporations exploiting citizens and local governments,” said Paula Antoine and Stacy Roberts, co-chairs of Dakota Rural Action.

Iowa Capital Dispatch: South Dakota’s Navigator pipeline decision might jeopardize Summit proposal

“Utility regulators in South Dakota declined this week to overrule county ordinances that restrict carbon dioxide pipelines when they denied Navigator CO2 a permit for its project,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “Summit Carbon Solutions has also asked that state’s Public Utilities Commission to give it a permit despite local restrictions, including in Minnehaha County, where the restrictions were upheld. A final evidentiary hearing for Summit’s permit in South Dakota is poised to start Monday… “James Powell, the company’s chief operating officer, testified this week that the pipeline would not be built in Iowa without permits in the Dakotas. “Given they declined to strike down the Minnehaha ordinance, I see no reason why they would change that decision,” Brian Jorde, an attorney who represents more than 100 landowners affected by the pipeline projects in multiple states, told the Dispatch. “It would be wise for Summit to either pull its application or state they are suspending their request for application — which they can do at any time — until they come up with a route that can comply with all applicable laws and ordinances.” “…In August, Summit asked commissioners to use their authority to “preempt” ordinances in four South Dakota counties: Brown, McPherson, Minnehaha and Spink… “Summit argues that the restrictions are so severe its project would be blocked, including in Minnehaha… “The route in South Dakota is not physically necessary for the routes in other states, including Iowa. A Navigator spokesperson declined to say whether the project would proceed in the other states without South Dakota.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch: North Dakota groups oppose Summit’s permit ‘do over’

“North Dakota utility regulators should deny Summit Carbon Solutions’ request to reconsider its pipeline permit application because it was the company’s fault it didn’t supply sufficient evidence for it, according to several groups that oppose the company’s proposal,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. “Summit alone is to blame for squandering its opportunities during the evidentiary phase of this matter,” attorney Randall Bakke, who represents the project’s opponents in the Bismarck, North Dakota area, wrote in a recent commission filing. “Summit disregarded requests and failed to provide the commission, the intervenors, and the public, relevant and probative evidence throughout the proceedings. It should not be rewarded with a ‘do-over.’” The state’s three-person Public Service Commission unanimously denied the company a route permit last month because there was not enough evidence that its proposed carbon dioxide pipeline would be located, constructed and operated with “minimum adverse impacts upon the welfare of the citizens of North Dakota,” the commission decided… “The North Dakota rejection led to a rallying cry of “pipeline to nowhere” among the project’s opponents, who have been unsuccessful in Iowa of using that decision to delay Summit’s permit proceedings… “The commission’s decision on Summit’s request is expected in the coming weeks.”

Radio Iowa: Exec says Summit doesn’t plan to amend its proposed carbon pipeline route
O. Kay Henderson, 9/6/23

“An executive with Summit Carbon Solutions says the proposed pipeline route the company has presented to state regulators is final, unless the Iowa Utilities Board orders more negotiations as a condition of granting a construction permit,” Radio Iowa reports. “James Powell, Summit’s chief operating officer, is in charge of design, construction and operation of the pipeline. “It’s very difficult to move the pipeline within this application,” Powell said Tuesday, “and I don’t intend to amend this application.” Powell said it’s too late to adjust the route through Charles City, for example. “It parallels two natural gas pipelines and I believe other than the Charles City Economic Development Group, every easement is signed along that route,” Powell said. Summit has changed the pipeline route around Bismarck in its new permit application after North Dakota regulators rejected the company’s initial application. “It’s a much bigger area with a much broader economic development footprint,” Powell said of Bismarck.”

Houston Chronicle: Exclusive: Donors tied to pipelines accused of triggering blackouts gave 7 top Texas officials $6.3M
Chris Tomlinson, 98/23

“Donors tied to 36 natural gas pipeline and trading companies, accused of causing or profiteering from the 2021 blackouts, have given $6.3 million to the top seven elected officials overseeing the industry since 2017, a new analysis from Texas for Public Justice revealed Friday,” the Houston Chronicle reports. “Perhaps that explains why no Texas official is looking into fraud and market manipulation accusations that attorneys general in Kansas and Oklahoma find so concerning. Or maybe Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been too busy doing other things to read the lawsuit brought by CirclesX, a Houston energy data firm… “Texas is sick with oil money,” Public Citizen Texas Office Director Adrian Shelley told the Chronicle. “There’s no other explanation for lawmakers downplaying the role of fossil fuels in the Winter Storm Uri disaster while cashing six- and seven-figure checks from the industry.” “…Why do Texas-based pipeline companies make such huge donations? Because Texas is a very special place when it comes to pipeline regulation… “Texas uniquely allows pipeline companies to own what’s inside the pipe, giving them monopoly powers… “The CirclesX and Kansas lawsuits, and the Oklahoma investigation, allege these companies took their market manipulation too far ahead of Winter Storm Uri in 2021. Not enough gas reached power plants when the temperatures dropped, and hundreds of people died due to the blackouts. But these companies made $11 billion in excess profits in a week.”

Reuters: Canadian Natural expects Trans Mountain expansion project to be delayed -letter
Nia Williams, 9/7/23

“Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO), a major shipper on the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion (TMX), expects the project will be delayed until at least the second quarter of 2024, the company said in a letter to Canadian regulators on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “Trans Mountain Corp (TMC), the Canadian government-owned corporation building the long-delayed project, has said the expanded pipeline will start shipping oil late in the first quarter of next year… “Canadian Natural said it expected the pipeline’s start date to be delayed because TMC is asking regulators for a route deviation on a 1.3-km (0.8 mile) section just south of Kamloops, British Columbia. “Although Canadian Natural hopes for an earlier Commencement Date, unfortunately, it is probable that the Commencement Date will be delayed into Q2 or later in 2024,” the letter to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) said.”

CKPG Today: Coastal GasLink nearing completion, could be ready to transport natural gas by the end of 2023
Adam Berls, 9/7/23

“The Coastal GasLink pipeline project is nearing completion, with the potential for natural gas to start flowing by the end of the year,” CKPG Today reports. “After TC Energy was first selected by LNG Canada to design, build, own and operate Coastal GasLink back in 2012, the project is nearing completion. With 93.4% overall progress, including engineering, procurement and construction activities, it has been a busy summer for construction. 97% of the pipe has been installed, and there have been 5,007 workers across the project route as of July 30, 2023. “At this point, 97% of the pipe is actually installed on the project. So that’s over 650 kilometers of this 670 kilometer project,” said Kiel Giddens, Project Director, Public Affairs, Coastal GasLink… “Our project needs to be in service before LNG Canada can is ready to accept gas. So we’re working to actually have the project ready to accept gas by the end of this year.”


Washington Post: Biden will put a fee on methane emissions, but oil companies are underreporting them
Maxine Joselow, 9/7/23

“President Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, largely offers carrots for polluting industries to cut their emissions. But it also has a powerful stick: the Methane Emissions Reduction Program,” the Washington Post reports. “Starting next year, the program will require oil and gas companies to pay the first-ever federal fee for their emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The charge starts in 2024 at $900 per ton of methane, increasing over time to $1,500 per ton by 2026. Yet for years, oil and gas companies have significantly underreported their methane emissions to the Environmental Protection Agency, according to numerous scientific studies and a recent congressional report.If not implemented properly, the program could incentivize companies to continue underreporting their emissions to avoid hefty fees, environmentalists say. “It’s inevitable that companies will have an incentive to underreport from a purely financial perspective,” Hannah Story Brown, a senior researcher who co-leads the Revolving Door Project’s climate and environmental work, told the Post. Josh Eisenfeld, corporate accountability communications manager at Earthworks, agreed. “Why would a company not underreport if it meant saving them tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars?” he told the Post… “Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), whose panel crafted the methane program, applauded the agency’s quest for more accurate data. “We included the first-ever fee on excess methane pollution from the oil and gas sector in the Inflation Reduction Act because reducing methane emissions is a critical part of meeting our climate goals and slowing global warming,” Carper told the Post. “Still, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

E&E News: ‘Sickening’: GOP explodes at Biden over ANWR decision
Emma Dumain, Heather Richards, 9/7/23

“Republicans and irate Alaska lawmakers slammed the Biden administration Wednesday after the White House said it would cancel the last remaining oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” E&E News reports. “The move, which came alongside new limits on oil leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, prompted cheers from most Democrats, but a furious response from the GOP and the bipartisan Alaska delegation, who said the cancellation not only broke legal contracts but would weaken the United States and lead to higher energy prices. Some, like Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), could barely contain their anger. He told E&E he was “livid,” while calling the decision “sickening.” Rep. Mary Peltola, the state’s lone Democrat in Congress, told E&E she was “frustrated.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday evening that it was “incredible to think that people are going to trust this administration on anything related to oil in Alaska again.”

Associated Press: Environmentalists lose latest court battle against liquified natural gas project in Louisiana

“Environmentalists opposed to a planned liquified natural gas terminal and pipeline in southwest Louisiana lost a court battle Wednesday over a federal permit for the project,” the Associated Press reports. “The Sierra Club and the Healthy Gulf organization had asked an appeals court in New Orleans to review and vacate the permit granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Driftwood project. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned back the effort in a Wednesday afternoon ruling. A panel of three appellate judges rejected multiple arguments against the permit in a 26-page ruling, saying the Corps had complied with requirements of the federal Administrative Procedures Act and the Clean Water Act.”

Bloomberg: Gulf Of Mexico Oil Lease Sale Will Harm Rice’s Whale, Groups Say 
Shayna Greene, 9/6/23

“Environmental groups pushed back against industry groups and the Interior Department in their challenge to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas Lease Sale 259, saying allowing it would ignore science and harm wildlife,” Bloomberg reports. “Healthy Gulf, the Sierra Club, and others told the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 1 that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ignored evidence of the critically endangered Rice’s whale habitat in the western and central Gulf. It instead focused only on the core habitat in the eastern part ‘while failing to consider current science.’”

InsideEPA: Chevron Loses Second Bid To Challenge EPA Offshore Permitting Decision 

“A federal appeals court has dealt a second legal defeat to oil company Chevron’s attempt to reinstate a Trump-era determination that the firm does not need air permits for decommissioning work at two disused oil platforms off California’s coast, finding that the Biden EPA’s rejection of the Trump finding is not ‘final action,’ InsideEPA reports. “In its Sept. 1 unpublished memorandum opinion in Chevron USA, Inc., v. EPA, the U.S Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit finds that an April 2021 letter to Chevron from top EPA air official Joe Goffman, rejecting the Trump EPA’s determination, does not constitute ‘final agency action’ and the court therefore cannot hear the case. ‘Because the April letter was not final agency action … we lack jurisdiction to review any conclusions that EPA expressed in it,’ the 9th Circuit now finds. The court’s finding follows an earlier decision by the D.C. Circuit over the same permit questions, dismissing a suit in that court over incorrect venue, and leaving litigation to proceed in the regional court instead. The ruling was expected after the panel doubted Chevron’s claims that the judges can review EPA’s decision because they did not believe it to be final.”


WyoFile: Wyoming poised to take on carbon dioxide, pump it underground
Dustin Bleizeffer, 9/7/23

“Backed by the promise of billions in federal dollars, energy companies are lining up to accept an invitation by Wyoming officials to collect industrial sources of carbon dioxide and pump it deep underground,” WyoFile reports. “…Wyoming, according to Gov. Mark Gordon and other state officials, is primed to launch the industry. Not only has the state spent years testing its subterranean capacity to permanently store carbon dioxide, it has devoted more than a decade to building a legal and regulatory framework to win the federal government’s approval. Only Wyoming and North Dakota have won primacy over the federal program to permit such activities. Now, the state’s top environmental regulator is considering the first in what many expect to be a wave of permit applications to drill the deep wells necessary to launch the new industry. “Since 2010 [Wyoming has] been working on how to ensure this particular program could get off the ground and be protective of the environment with a lot of the risks that are involved with these kinds of projects,” Lily Barkau, natural resources program manager at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, told WyoFile. The agency is soliciting public comments on three carbon dioxide injection well permit applications submitted by Frontier Carbon Solutions. Two more “Class VI” permits are under review at the agency, but not yet ready for public feedback… “While Wyoming still hopes to expand “enhanced oil recovery” via carbon dioxide injection, officials are also eager for companies to pump the gas deeper underground into saline formations. Here, at depths of 10,000 to 15,000 feet, carbon dioxide — compressed into liquid form — can be pumped and stored permanently, according to state and industry officials… “There are skeptics, however, and many questions about the logistics of deep carbon dioxide “sequestration,” as well as whether all of the public resources invested are justified… “Billions of dollars have been wasted trying to prove that this technology is real,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, told the Associated Press in May. “And all we have to show for it are a series of spectacular failures.’’ “…Tallgrass Energy is also seeking a Class VI injection well permit for its Eastern Wyoming Sequestration Hub in Laramie County. That permit is not yet up for public comment. However, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment regarding the company’s application for rights-of-way on federal surface in Laramie County… “Tallgrass was awarded $4.1 million for the project from the Wyoming Energy Authority in 2022, which the company will match in full, according to the agency. The grant comes from a $10 million legislative appropriation for carbon capture, storage and utilization projects.”

InsideClimate News: As Federal Money Flows to Carbon Capture and Storage, Texas Bets on an Undersea Bonanza
Amal Ahmed, 9/8/23

“Over the last century, the state of Texas has reaped billions of dollars by allowing companies to burrow into the floor of the Gulf of Mexico to extract oil and gas. Now, the General Land Office—the state agency tasked with protecting the vulnerable Texas shoreline and other natural resources—is eyeing carbon sequestration as the next industry to develop in the Gulf,” InsideClimate News reports. “Angling for a share of $12 billion in federal funding for such projects under the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, companies are competing to build carbon capture plants next to onshore oil wells, gas wells and other polluting facilities along the coast. At the same time, they are applying for offshore leases that will allow them to store that heat-trapping carbon dioxide deep beneath the seafloor. Crucial to the effort are a stream of U.S. government grants, followed by generous tax credits for every ton of carbon stored… “But environmentalists and scientists argue that CCS does not live up to those claims. So far, the technology has yet to be widely deployed and the results have been mixed, meaning that emissions continue to increase even as billion-dollar plants for carbon capture and sequestration are built out. Relying on the oil and gas industry’s data, the nonprofit Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reported last September that 10 of 13 major CCS projects around the globe had failed or underperformed by wide margins. “It doesn’t work for as long as people claim it does, and there are significant uncertainties about how long it can be stored underground,” Dennis Wamsted, an energy analyst at the institute, told ICN… “Scientists, environmentalists and frontline communities also worry that the pipelines that transport pressurized carbon dioxide to storage wells could explode, putting nearby communities at risk: Three years ago in Satartia, Mississippi, dozens of people were hospitalized and hundreds evacuated after a CO2 pipeline ruptured. Emergency responders were impeded when the heavy concentration of carbon dioxide in the air prevented their vehicles from working… “Globally, there are no uniform guidelines for how long CCS wells need to be monitored, even though their reliability remains uncertain, Wamsted told ICN.”

InsideClimate News: New Pennsylvania Legislation Aims to Classify ‘Produced Water’ From Fracking as Hazardous Waste
Jake Bolster, 9/6/23

“Katie Muth knew it would be a long shot. This January, the Pennsylvania state senator reintroduced three pieces of legislation aimed at closing loopholes in the laws governing how the oil and gas industry disposes of its solid and liquid waste,” InsideClimate News reports. “In Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate, Muth told ICN any legislation hampering business as usual for oil and gas companies would garner little to no bipartisan support. Still, there is utility in getting “a lot of legislators on the record voting down clean water,” she told ICN. Together, SB26 and SB28, which have since been referred to the chamber’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, would add language to Pennsylvania’s Solid Waste Management Act that would classify oil and gas waste as hazardous, and compel companies to more thoroughly test that waste prior to its disposal. This waste is comprised of solids, called tailings, and liquids, known as produced water, or brine, which contains proprietary chemical additives, hydrocarbons, heavy metals and salt concentrations sometimes seven times higher than sea water, and can be radioactive… “Residents in Pennsylvania and across the country have expressed concerns about oil and gas waste disposal landfills, holding ponds and storage wells being located in their communities, and researchers and journalists have uncovered instances in which drinking water and freshwater species have been poisoned by produced water.” 

Politico: California’s break with the holy trinity of hydrogen

“If you’re into the hydrogen scene, you likely know there’s a robust debate going on at the national level about how “green hydrogen” should be defined in order to qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act’s lucrative $3-per-kilogram credits,” Politico reports. “…California officials weighed in late last month — in favor of weaker environmental standards than climate scientists, environmental groups and certain hydrogen producers are pushing for… “When it comes to making hydrogen from electricity, climate scientists, environmentalists and some industry players are advocating for three pillars that would require 1. hydrogen generators to be powered by new sources of zero-emissions electricity that 2. directly supply the grid the electrolyzers are connected to and 3. do so at the same time that the generators are running. ARCHES — the state-led public-private partnership tasked with establishing a hydrogen market in the state and coordinating California’s application for over a billion dollars in regional hydrogen hub funding from the DOE — is arguing against all three pillars. It’s saying that stricter guidelines would put hydrogen at too much of a disadvantage to get off the ground compared to other technologies. “It is critical that pathways for market liftoff not single out and overburden one technology or resource with onerous geographic, time matching, and “additionality” requirements,” said the Aug. 23 letter, signed by Tyson Eckerle from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Chris Hannan, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, Scott Brandt from the University of California, and ARCHES CEO Angelina Galiteva, a Newsom appointee to the state’s grid operator. Some say the ARCHES letter is at odds with California’s environmental leadership. “Their position is completely out of line with the administration’s policies,” Leah Stokes, a climate policy professor at UC Santa Barbara who also serves as senior policy counsel to Rewiring America, a nonprofit, told Politico. “It will lead to massive increases in carbon pollution.”


NPR: When Big Oil Gets In The Carbon Removal Game, Who Wins?
Camila Domonoske, 9/6/23

“Giant machines sucking carbon dioxide out of the air to fight climate change sounds like science fiction, but it’s close to becoming a reality, with billions of dollars of support from the U.S. government,” NPR reports. “And a key player in this growing industry is a U.S. oil company, Occidental Petroleum. With a major petroleum company deploying this technology, it begs the question, is it meant to save the planet or the oil industry?”

National Observer: Report finds carbon capture’s ‘stubbornly high’ prices are likely here to stay
Natasha Bulowski, 9/7/23

“Canada’s oil and gas industry says costly technology it plans to use to reduce its climate footprint requires more investments from the federal government. If governments lend a hand now, the industry maintains the technology will become more affordable over time as more projects proceed, but a new analysis casts doubt on that claim,” the National Observer reports. “Carbon capture and storage is expensive, and the costs are not likely to come down in the timeframe needed to meet our climate targets,” Laura Cameron, one of the report’s three authors and a policy adviser for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, told the Obsserver… “We see a couple of factors that are influencing the stubbornly high prices for CCS, the first being that the technology is really complex,” Cameron told the Observer. Secondly, she said, the technology “needs to be developed specifically for each application,” so even if there’s an effective CCS project in the agriculture sector, for instance, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be applicable for the oil and gas sector. Because of these factors, the institute’s analysis deems carbon capture technology “unlikely to capture the benefits of mass manufacturing” the way solar technology has, for example. The institute’s findings run counter to the claims of the Pathways Alliance, a group of Canada’s six largest oilsands companies that aims to cut 22 million tonnes of carbon from upstream operations by 2030… “Industry wants more generous government subsidies for the technology to keep Canada competitive with incentives offered through the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.” 

Associated Press: What is green hydrogen and why is it touted as a clean fuel?
SIBI ARASU, 9/5/23

“Green hydrogen is being touted around the world as a clean energy solution to take the carbon out of high-emitting sectors like transport and industrial manufacturing,” the Associated Press reports. “Hydrogen is produced by separating that element from others in molecules where hydrogen occurs. For example, water — well known by its chemical symbol of H20, or two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom — can be split into those component atoms through electrolysis. Hydrogen has been produced and used at scale for over a century, primarily to make fertilizers and plastics and to refine oil. It has mostly been produced using fossil fuels, especially natural gas. But when the production is powered by renewable energy, the resulting hydrogen is green hydrogen… “However, critics say the fuel is not always viable at scale and its ‘green’ credentials are determined by the source of energy used to produce it… “Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who also sits on New York’s Climate Action Council, told AP green hydrogen is being oversold in part due to lobbying by the oil and gas industry.”

Guardian: US ‘university’ spreads climate lies and receives millions from rightwing donors
Peter Stone, 9/6/23

“A rightwing media outlet promoting climate-crisis denialism and other “anti-woke” staples to young students and adults via social media has become a fundraising Goliath, raking in close to $200m from 2018 to 2022 with big checks from top conservative donors, tax records reveal,” the Guardian reports. “Founded in 2009 by the conservative talkshow host Dennis Prager, the eponymous Prager University Foundation is not an accredited education organization. But via online media its PragerU Kids division has become a key tool in spreading false claims to young people with short videos aimed at undercutting widely accepted science that climate crisis disasters are accelerating due, largely, to fossil-fuel usage. PragerU’s influence in pushing false narratives about climate change and other far-right shibboleths such as airbrushing the brutal reality of American slavery gained ground when the Florida board of education in July gave the green light to using its videos and other materials in classrooms, a move that PragerU is trying to capitalize on in Texas and other states. On Tuesday, Oklahoma’s school system also approved the use of PragerU’s materials… “Among PragerU’s leading financiers are the oil and gas fracking billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who have ponied up at least $8m over the past decade, according to Texas financial records. Other top conservative donors to PragerU, which styles itself as alternative to the “dominant leftwing ideology in culture, media and education”, include the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the National Christian Charitable Foundation and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Tax records also reveal that PragerU has flourished financially in recent years as the Prager University Foundation raised $196m from 2018 through 2022. That growth is underscored by revenues rising from $17.9m in 2018 to $65.1m in 2022.”

New Scientist: Electrically charged mist could help capture carbon from power plants
Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, 9/7/23

“Carbon capture systems could become less expensive and more compact by using a mist of electrically charged droplets,” New Scientist reports. “Capturing carbon dioxide from industrial facilities like power plants is seen as an important way to tackle climate change, but carbon capture technology is expensive. Simon Rufer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues devised a way to slash the price of the technology and make the devices smaller by fundamentally redesigning them.”


Washington Post: Senate Democrats press Treasury on insurance industry and climate
Maxine Joselow, 9/7/23

“Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) yesterday urged the Treasury Department to collect comprehensive data on how climate change is upending the insurance industry, according to a letter shared exclusively with the Washington Post. In the letter to Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and Federal Insurance Office Director Steven Seitz, the lawmakers pointed to recent decisions by insurance companies to reduce coverage in disaster-prone areas, saying they could leave consumers more vulnerable to climate-related financial risks. “Despite recent climate disasters highlighting the risks of skyrocketing insurance costs and insurer retreat, the Treasury Department’s Federal Insurance Office (FIO) has, to date, failed to collect comprehensive and transparent data about the impact of climate change on the insurance industry, leaving vulnerable communities, consumers, and the economy at greater risk from the climate crisis,” the senators wrote. The Democrats asked the agency to respond to a list of questions by the end of the month about its plan to solicit data from major insurers “to better assess the impact of climate change on insurance availability and affordability, including in communities that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”

E&E News: The Democratic battle plan on ESG
Emma Dumain, 9/8/23

“When Republicans began trumpeting plans to crack down on green-minded investments following their House takeover, Democrats started preparing a counterattack,” E&E News reports. “The result was the mobilization of the Sustainable Investment Caucus, conceived of as an educational clearinghouse for members of both parties on environmental, social and governance investing, known as ESG. With Republicans wanting to make policy and political gains against the practice, the caucus has become a de facto messaging war room for Democrats. “I think we beat the snot out of them, from a political perspective,” co-chair Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill. Told E&E). “We made them answer to the truth.” “…Republicans see ESG investing as a progressive campaign to force corporate America to support left-leaning positions, including shunning fossil fuels and ultimately making retirement accounts less stable… “But throughout the sessions, Democrats characterized Republican opposition to ESG as anti-capitalist, discouraging market choice and investor freedom by suggesting ESG factors should not be taken into account. They accused Republicans of endangering retirement accounts by denying financial managers access to critical data, and berated them for ignoring the realities of climate change as a serious financial risk. The talking points came from a 32-page memo the Sustainable Investment Caucus prepared and distributed among Financial Services Committee Democrats. The group also held a series of staff and member briefings, and office-to-office outreach over several months to educate and prepare lawmakers. As a result, many Republicans had to use their speaking allotments during the hearings and markup to defend themselves against comparisons to communist leaders or dispute characterizations that their party had abandoned President Ronald Reagan. With the House poised to return to session next week, it’s not clear what plans Republican leaders have for the ESG debate going forward.”


Food & Water Watch: Why Carbon Storage Is a Bad Idea
Mia DiFelice, Oakley Shelton-Thomas, 9/6/23

“Big Oil wants us to bet that it can curb climate change by burying carbon underground. Here’s why we shouldn’t. Our National Forests are home to treasured natural wonders and a diversity of plants and animals. But this June, the National Forest Service announced plans to allow companies to bury their carbon pollution under these forests,” Mia DiFelice and Oakley Shelton-Thomas write for Food & Water Watch. “The rule, if passed, would let private companies take out their trash on public land — and build all the dangerous pipelines, injection wells, and roads required to do so. Supporters of carbon capture and storage claim this is for the good of the climate. They’re selling the idea that polluters can capture their carbon emissions and store them deep underground, preventing them from warming the planet.  But carbon capture is a scam. The technology has devoured public funds, only to release more emissions than it’s removed. Moreover, carbon “storage” methods are unproven and unpredictable. There’s no guarantee that all that carbon will stay put — plus the process creates all kinds of harms and risks… “Earthquakes aside, carbon storage is very unpredictable. Shoving CO2 underground creates a lot of pressure. It can also cause chemical reactions with the minerals underground. As a result, many storage sites have seen the surrounding geology do things scientists were never expecting, jeopardizing the projects… “Despite all these risks and unknowns, carbon capture and storage is getting a lot of political support. As a result, the federal government has presented public resources on a platter to Big Oil. Notably, 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act will dole out billions in taxpayer funds to carbon capture. We see this transfer of public resources to private polluters in the National Forest Service’s proposal, too. Our government should be protecting and preserving these public lands; lands that belong to everybody. Instead, they’ve proposed letting companies dump their waste there… “Carbon capture allows oil and gas companies to continue profiting off their polluting operations, with a new, bogus “green” badge and an extra helping of public resources. This is all just a dodgy distraction from the real solutions we need to turn the tide on climate change. Instead of investing in carbon capture and storage, our government needs to be supporting — and only supporting — renewable energy, battery storage, and energy efficiency.”

Common Dreams: Biden Is Turning US Towns Into Test Subjects for Climate Scams

“The Biden administration has betrayed its climate and environmental justice commitments in order to let the fossil fuel industry continue its dangerous and dirty practices,” Michael Esealuka writes for Common Dreams. “…Once billed as the climate president, Joe Biden is now letting rural communities become test subjects for climate scams like carbon capture and “chemical recycling.” Despite the environmentally friendly branding, these are dangerous, unproven technologies that the fossil fuel industry sees as a way to boost its profits under the guise of going green. Whether ranchers in South Dakota, farmers in Nebraska, fisherfolk in Louisiana, or small-town residents in Mississippi, all rural communities need the Biden administration to up and protect them from false climate solutions… “The problem is that carbon capture is enormously expensive, and it simply doesn’t work. The technology has a decades-long history of failure. Research shows that carbon capture has actually added more carbon emissions into our atmosphere. Apart from the fact it just doesn’t work, carbon capture is dangerous. Ask the people of Sataria, Mississippi. In 2020 a sudden leak from a carbon pipeline led to dozens of residents collapsing into seizures in a scene described as akin to zombie apocalypse. The town’s 200 residents had to be evacuated, with 45 hospitalized. As first responders arrived on the scene, their cars shut off because there was so little oxygen in the air. The only reason no one died, residents say, is because the incident happened during the daytime. Neither plastic burning nor carbon capture will help our climate change problem, but both are false solutions that threaten the health and safety of America’s rural communities. Yet the Biden administration plans to spend over $2 billion on carbon capture and transport. That means the nation’s existing 5,300 miles of carbon pipelines could grow to a 65,000 mile network, with opportunities for carbon leaks at every point. These pipelines would crisscross rural America, from Iowa to South Dakota, in Louisiana and to Georgia. Don’t want carbon piped through your land? Too bad. The Department of Energy plans to use eminent domain so it can seize property from farmers and hand it to private companies… “Biden talks a good game about his commitment to environmental justice, but our communities are under threat. We need action.”

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