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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 4/1/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips April 1, 2022



  • NPR: Landowners in Iowa resist companies’ plans to create carbon-capture pipelines

  • Dakota News Now: Government CO2 Pipeline rupture report not released until two years later

  • E&E News: Are CO2 pipelines safe?

  • Reuters: New U.S. rule requires pipeline operators to install valves to improve safety

  • WPLN: Tennessee bill to preempt local bans on fossil fuel projects nears finish line with modifications

  • Laurel Outlook: NWE prevails over pipeline appeal with commissioners

  • Wall Street Journal: Kinder Morgan’s Ruby Pipeline Files for Bankruptcy


  • FOX News: Democratic Sens. Kelly, Manchin press Biden over Gulf oil leases

  • Friends of the Earth: Report: Big Oil’s Public Leasing Shell Game



  • Mysterious methane clouds reported over Alabama coal mines

  • Press release: Groups Call for Oil Industry to Fund California’s Costly Oil Well Cleanup


  • Reuters: Alberta picks six proposals to develop Canada’s first carbon storage hubs

  • E&E News: Microplastics have been found in human blood. Now what?

  • Guardian: Inside Just Stop Oil, the youth climate group blocking UK refineries


  • Bloomberg: Bankers are still standing behind the dirtiest fossil fuel

  • The Tyee: Canadian Banks Keep Financing Fossil Fuels

  • National Catholic Reporter: Marquette University bars direct fossil fuel investments with its $929 million endowment


  • Triple Pundit: War in Ukraine Sparks Calls for Energy Conservation as Dakota Access Pipeline Clings to Life


NPR: Landowners in Iowa resist companies’ plans to create carbon-capture pipelines

“Three carbon capture pipelines have been proposed through five midwest states, but activists say proponents’ claims of helping the ethanol industry and curbing climate change are wrong,” NPR reports.

Dakota News Now: Government CO2 Pipeline rupture report not released until two years later
Beth Warden, 3/31/22

“As landowners in the midwest consider easement offers from a liquid carbon dioxide pipeline company, reports from a new independent study are providing more details about one of the worst CO2 pipeline leaks in our country,” Dakota News Now reports. “Meanwhile, experts continue to wait for the official government report on the leak in Mississippi two years after the fact. The report could greatly affect the plans for both Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator’s CO2 Heartland Greenway pipelines, here in South Dakota. “My heart does go out to the people of South Dakota that are being asked to bear this unknown risk in their backyards,” Bill Caram with Pipeline Safety Trust told DNN… “While many wait for a report from pipeline hazardous material and safety administration on the Satartia Mississippi leak in February 2020, The Pipeline safety trust has hired an engineer to assess the leak and publish the findings… “The report also suggests more regulations on what could be in the pipe in addition to CO2. Pipeline Safety trust claims there are no specific standards set for the impurities that could be found. Introducing water to liquid CO2 becomes highly corrosive. More control valves along the pipeline are also suggested…  “A group of landowners in South Dakota have joined to hire an attorney to keep the pipeline off their land and stand against what they believe to be possible eminent domain by a for-profit company… “While the Pipeline Hazardous Material and Safety Administration indicated that the report would be out last October, it still has not been released. We’ve e-mailed and called four times over the last month asking when the report would be ready and have not received a response.”

E&E News: Are CO2 pipelines safe?
By Mike Soraghan, Carlos Anchondo, 3/31/22

“Companies are striving to lay thousands of miles of pipeline to ship carbon dioxide to storage sites as part of an effort to make ethanol and other energy industries more environmentally friendly. But a prominent pipeline safety group is warning that the nation’s pipeline safety regulations, enforced by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), aren’t up to the task,” E&E News reports. “The Pipeline Safety Trust (PST), a Bellingham, Wash.-based safety advocacy group, says no regulations govern where the pipelines should be built, limiting dangerous impurities that could lead to accidents or building the pipelines to withstand the unique properties of carbon dioxide under high pressure. The group described the pipelines as “terribly under-regulated” on its website. “[We] call on PHMSA to close these regulatory absences as quickly as possible to make the upcoming buildout safer to the people who will live around them,” Bill Caram, executive director of the group, said in a statement. Along with its call for changes, the organization issued a 15-page report yesterday on alleged CO2 pipeline dangers by pipeline safety consultant Richard Kuprewicz… “Still, Mark Lapka, a farmer and rancher from South Dakota’s McPherson County, is worried about the safety of Summit’s Midwest Carbon Express, a pipeline that would cross about a mile of his property. In an interview yesterday, he said he’s concerned for livestock and people. “The top concern overall is safety, where you’re pumping such a huge amount of pressure on this pipeline system and the corrosiveness of the material to begin with,” Lapka told E&E… “CO2 gas is odorless, colorless, doesn’t burn, is heavier than air, and is an asphyxiant and intoxicant, according to Kuprewicz’s report. So rather than going up in the air like methane or hydrogen, it settles along the ground but is difficult to see. It displaces oxygen and can asphyxiate people caught in a plume. Shipping CO2 in a supercritical state, Kuprewicz said in his report, makes pipelines more susceptible to ductile fractures that essentially “unzip” the steel and open great lengths of the pipeline… “Pipeline operators should also update their operation and emergency procedure manuals to account for the difference between CO2 pipelines and traditional pipelines, the group said. It also said better rules are needed from governing the conversion of oil or gas pipelines to transporting CO2.”

Reuters: New U.S. rule requires pipeline operators to install valves to improve safety

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s pipeline regulator on Thursday announced a new rule that would require automatic or remotely operated shut-off valves to mitigate safety-related and environmental impacts due to pipeline failures,” Reuters reports. “The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) would require the valves or “alternative equivalent technologies” to be installed on new and replaced onshore natural gas, carbon dioxide, and other hazardous liquid pipelines, the regulator said in a release. The requirements were aimed at preventing the fallout from incidents such as in 2010, when Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline leaked 20,000 barrels of crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, one of the largest inland spills in U.S. history. Another accident in the same year in San Bruno, California, led authorities to fine PG&E for a deadly gas pipeline explosion, which killed eight people, injured 51 other and damaged several homes. The PHMSA’s new rule would apply to pipelines six inches in diameter or greater and operators would be required to ensure the closure of the valves to quickly isolate a ruptured pipeline segment, not exceeding 30 minutes after discovery of the rupture.”

WPLN: Tennessee bill to preempt local bans on fossil fuel projects nears finish line with modifications

“The preemption bill designed to expedite fossil fuel projects advanced Thursday after a 16-4 vote by the Tennessee House Commerce Committee — but not without changes,” WPLN reports. “The latest version of the bill offers communities some ability to protect their water through Tennessee’s drinking water program via new amendments. “We were pleased to see those amendments accepted. But ultimately, the goal of the bill was to preempt local control, so that’s why we stayed against it,” Sarah Houston, the executive director of Protect Our Aquifer, told WPLN. The nonprofit fought a proposed oil pipeline in Memphis last year because of its threat to local drinking water. Chairman Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, the bill sponsor, maintained that this bill, and thus new fossil fuel infrastructure, was necessary for the state’s energy reliability. “If you’re an opponent to fossil fuels or you want to see innovation and you want this country to change its energy policy, what better way than to seek a ban at a local level,” Vaughan told WPLN… “Environmental advocates also expressed concerns for the broad language in the bill. The interaction of local, state and federal laws regarding fossil fuel infrastructure is complicated, and this legislation would make it more complex, according to George Nolan, an attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.”

Laurel Outlook: NWE prevails over pipeline appeal with commissioners
Kathleen Gilluly, 3/31/22

“Despite finally having their say before Yellowstone County Commissioners during Tuesday morning’s public hearing, residents who live near NorthWestern Energy’s proposed methane-fed power generating plant left disappointed,” the Laurel Outlook reports. “Commissioners voted against their appeal for the company’s floodplain permit allowing them to drill and place a gas pipeline under the Yellowstone River just south of Laurel. Most of the 30-some people who spoke during the three-hour hearing opposed both the pipeline and the proposed plant because of the proximity of the site to their homes, farms and property. Others were upset NWE choose a site near the Yellowstone River, citing past pipeline breaches, pollution and keeping the river clean for drinking water… “Jenny Harbine, an attorney with Earthjustice represented the landowners. “They are just trying to protect their properties and families,” she said.

Wall Street Journal: Kinder Morgan’s Ruby Pipeline Files for Bankruptcy
Jodi Xu Klein, 3/31/22

“Ruby Pipeline LLC, backed by Kinder Morgan Inc., filed for chapter 11 protection on Thursday to restructure its debt,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “…Ruby, directly owned by Ruby Investment Company LLC, listed assets and liabilities of as much as $1 billion each, according to the court filing. U.S. pipelines have been challenged by cheap Canadian gas recently. Ruby had about $90 million in cash at the end of last year and wasn’t expected to repay roughly $475 million of the senior notes due on April 1, 2022, according to Fitch Ratings.Ruby Pipeline listed at least  200 creditors.”


FOX News: Democratic Sens. Kelly, Manchin press Biden over Gulf oil leases
Tyler Olson, 3/31/22

“Sens. Mark Kelly and Joe Manchin are pressing President Biden to encourage oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to help ease Americans’ long-term pain at the pumps,” FOX News reports. “The comments from Kelly, D-Ariz., and Manchin, D-W.Va., come as American energy production is put into sharp focus amid Russia’s war on Ukraine. The war exposed Europe’s reliance on Russian energy and highlighted the geopolitical importance of fossil fuels. “Americans are facing record-level gasoline prices every day when they commute to work, drive their children to school and buy groceries and medicine,” the senators said in a letter to Biden Friday. “The additional disruptions in the oil market caused by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine could drive prices up even further.” “…The senators asked Biden to establish a “five-year program” to sell oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, similar to one established by the Obama administration. But a new plan is not set to be rolled out by the time the Obama plan expires, according to Bloomberg, and the president’s budget this week doesn’t appear to include oil and gas leasing revenues in the Gulf until at least fall 2023.”

Friends of the Earth: Report: Big Oil’s Public Leasing Shell Game

“Friends of the Earth released a policy paper today outlining how President Biden and Congress can counteract the oil and gas sector’s disingenuous efforts to open up more public lands and waters to drilling. This comes as the industry and its lobby groups continue to use the Russian invasion of Ukraine to push for more public land and waters leasing, which would have zero impact on the current global energy crisis and high gas prices. “Big Oil’s Shell Game: A Highly Subsidized House of Cards” overviews how the industry already holds 23.2 million acres of unused, idle public leases – enough to last decades without new leasing. If developed, this stockpile of leased public resources would lock in at least a half century of climate change-inducing emissions, pushing the world beyond the climate tipping point.  Not only does the industry want cheap access to public lands and waters, leaving taxpayers to clean up its mess, but the sector is also stockpiling leases in order to artificially inflate its bottom line and appear more desirable to banks, shareholders, and investors. This allows oil and gas companies to reap billions in profits with little to no interest in increasing production.”

Catherine Morehouse, 3/31/22

“Louisiana and other red states on Wednesday asked the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a recent panel decision that stayed a district judge’s injunction against the social cost of carbon — if you haven’t had your coffee yet, that means they asked the appellate court to once again block the administration’s use of the analytical measure,” Politico reports. “In an en banc petition filed last night, the states argued that the panel had made several errors worthy of reversal. Somewhat ironically, that includes an argument that the panel failed to give the states their due “special solicitude” in determining whether they have standing to challenge the social cost of carbon — quoting the standard set by the Supreme Court in its landmark 2007 ruling on EPA’s climate authority in Massachusetts v. EPA. Further briefing likely will take at least a few weeks, and it’s unclear how long the 5th Circuit may take to act.” 

STATE UPDATES Mysterious methane clouds reported over Alabama coal mines
Dennis Pillion, 3/30/22

“European satellites have detected significant plumes of methane gas hovering over Alabama’s most productive coal region, leaving state environmental authorities and mining industry representatives stumped as to how so much gas is getting into the state’s air,” reports. “At least three different plumes of methane gas have been detected over the Black Warrior coal basin since mid-February, according to geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS, as first reported by Bloomberg Green. The plumes were observed by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite flying over active and closed coal mines in Jefferson, Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties. The Black Warrior basin to the west and northwest of Birmingham is Alabama’s main coal producing region… “Ron Gore, air division chief for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, told the department was notified of the findings, but could not determine a possible cause for the invisible cloud of methane. “The first thing we did was make sure that there was no major gas pipelines that could be leaking,” Gore told “And in all cases, there were no pipelines near enough to have been the source of the methane… ““It looks like it’s a combination of some coal mines that are no longer operating, and maybe some that are, even though none of them are exactly the same spot on the map where the methane plumes seem to come from,” Gore told

Press release: Groups Call for Oil Industry to Fund California’s Costly Oil Well Cleanup

“California climate, health and community groups sent a letter to the U.S. Interior Department today urging it to force polluters to pay for the cleanup of tens of thousands of dangerous abandoned oil and gas wells in the state. Interior is preparing to grant up to $165 million to California to clean up aging oil and gas wells in the state. But California regulators have so far been reluctant to hold oil companies to their legal requirements to plug abandoned wells and restore the surface to its natural state. Many oil companies attempt to walk away from these obligations or become insolvent and unable to perform the cleanup work, creating “orphan” wells. The California Geologic Energy Management Division has so far failed to use its full authority to crack down on the industry, potentially shifting the costs to taxpayers… “Californians absolutely need to see these leaking, dangerous wells cleaned up, and the state has all the authority it needs to make polluters pay for it,” said Kretzmann.


Reuters: Alberta picks six proposals to develop Canada’s first carbon storage hubs
By Nia Williams, 3/31/22

“Canada’s main oil-producing province Alberta on Thursday selected six proposals to move forward with developing Canada’s first carbon storage hubs, intended to help cut climate-warming emissions by permanently sequestering them underground,” Reuters reports. “The proposals are projects put forward by Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Shell (SHEL.L), Wolf Carbons Solutions, Bison Low Carbon Ventures, Enhance Energy and a joint-venture project from TC Energy (TRP.TO) and Pembina Pipeline Corp (PPL.TO). Thursday’s announcement is the latest step in Alberta’s efforts to grow a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry that the International Energy Agency (IEA) says is critical if the world is to hit net-zero emissions by 2050. The IEA estimates carbon storage capacity needs to reach 7.6 billion tonnes, up from around 40 million tonnes currently… “The process is prohibitively expensive for most emitters, while environmentalists say it prolongs the life of a fossil fuel industry that should be replaced by renewable sources of energy… “Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told Reuters that CCS is one of the top two tools the oil and gas sector can use to cut emissions, and individual projects would cost around C$1 billion ($801.3 million) each… “Given the cost involved in developing these hubs, Ottawa has promised a tax credit to incentivise CCS deployment, details of which will be released in next week’s federal budget. “(CCS) is an important piece, it obviously requires some partnership between the federal government and industry to ensure that those projects are economically viable,” Wilkinson told Reuters.

E&E News: Microplastics have been found in human blood. Now what?
By Ariel Wittenberg, 3/31/22

“A new study that found microplastics in human blood is being heralded as a scientific advancement in the small but growing body of research suggesting that the nanoparticles could affect human health,” E&E News reports. “Published earlier this month in Environment International, the research from the Netherlands is considered significant for two main reasons. First, it confirms what many scientists have hypothesized for some time: When people inhale or ingest microplastics, the particles don’t merely pass through the body but, rather, remain there. That’s especially significant given just how much humans are likely exposed to microplastics by accidentally inhaling or ingesting them. One 2019 analysis estimated that people take in roughly a credit card’s worth of microplastics every week, but, until now, there’s been limited research into whether the particles remain in the body, where they could potentially cause harm… “Do they travel to specific organs? If so, what, if any, damage do they do when they get there? Rat and mice studies have suggested that the physical presence of microplastics within the body can cause an aggressive immune system response that harms other organs. Those studies have yet to be replicated in humans. Just as important, it’s also still unclear whether that immune response to a foreign object is the most harmful aspect of microplastics exposure, or if the particles could also be leaching harmful chemicals into the bloodstream, too.”

Guardian: Inside Just Stop Oil, the youth climate group blocking UK refineries
Damien Gayle, 4/1/22

“Louis McKechnie is the face that launched a thousand British football memes. In March, the 21-year-old caused a stop to play when he ran onto the pitch at Goodison Park during a match between Everton and Newcastle and zip-tied himself to a goalpost by his neck,” the Guardian reports. “…Louis, Maddie and Kai are all young activists with a climate group called Just Stop Oil. They have called on the UK government to halt all new fossil fuel projects in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. If their efforts fail, they intend to paralyse the supply chain themselves, using non-violent direct action to disrupt the strategic oil and gas infrastructure that keeps the UK moving. The ambition is big. “We are mobilising upwards of 1,000 people,” one JSO activist told the Guardian. “This is going to be a fusion of other large-scale blockade-style actions you have seen in the past.” “…At a recruitment meeting last Thursday in Camden, north London, Larch Maxey, a veteran eco-campaigner, said the aim was “to build a community of civil resistance in response to the climate change science”. “When your house is on fire, you stop pouring petrol on the flames,” he said. “That’s basically the demand – no new licences. We are in a crisis. Let’s stop digging out new oil and gas.”


Bloomberg: Bankers are still standing behind the dirtiest fossil fuel
Tim Quinson, 3/30/22

“Granted it’s still early in 2022, but signs are emerging that the amount of financing going to coal-related projects is running at a rate that’s more than double last year’s pace,” Bloomberg reports. “With the first quarter coming to a close, banks (mostly based in China) have helped coal companies raise $9.9 billion via loans and bond sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. For comparison, the number was closer to $4.4 billion during the first three months of 2021… “The world’s 60 largest banks have helped raise about $4.6 trillion — in total — for oil, gas and coal companies since the Paris climate agreement was announced at the end of 2015, according to Rainforest Action, citing Bloomberg data among other sources… “The main conclusion from the Rainforest Action publication is that runaway funding for fossil-fuel extraction and infrastructure is “causing climate chaos and threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions.” “…Not too surprisingly, those that rank among the lowest have been lenders that extend the most funding to fossil fuels, namely JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. Wells Fargo & Co. has rated among the world’s top fracking banker and Barclays Plc has placed at the bottom of the pack in Europe.”

The Tyee: Canadian Banks Keep Financing Fossil Fuels
Michelle Gamage, 3/31/22

“Canada’s five biggest banks increased their fossil fuel financing by 70 per cent, or around $61 billion, last year, according to the annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, put together by several environmental organizations,” The Tyee reports. “During that same time 601 British Columbians lost their lives due to extreme weather linked to climate change, which is primarily caused by fossil fuels. Since Canada signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, where it pledged to keep global warming below 1.5 C, Canadian banks have funnelled $911 billion into coal, gas and oil, the report said. The report is put together by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, Sierra Club and urgewald. In 2021, RBC, Scotiabank, CIBC, TD and the Bank of Montreal all increased their fossil fuel financing and provided a combined $165 billion to fossil fuel clients, the report said. At the same time, all of the banks pledged to be “net-zero” by 2050. Over the same period, financing for Canada’s tarsands increased by 51 per cent to $23.3 billion, with RBC and TD facilitating the biggest increases. That statistic is “gut wrenching,” Melina Laboucan-Massimo, who is the co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action and the founder of Sacred Earth Solar, which helps connect Indigenous communities with renewable energy, told the Tyee… “Canadian banks are not the biggest fossil fuel financiers in the world — that title is held by American banks — but RBC, Scotiabank and TD are on the top 12 list, and all five major Canadian banks are part of the top 20 financiers… “Banks are looking at immediate returns and ignoring the long-term consequences of what fossil financing means for the entire world, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks, of the Tsayu clan, told the Tyee. RBC gives “major” funding to the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is being built on Wet’suwet’en territory without the consent of the Hereditary Chiefs, who have always retained authority over their traditional territories, Na’Moks told the Tyee.” 

National Catholic Reporter: Marquette University bars direct fossil fuel investments with its $929 million endowment
Brian Roewe, 3/31/22

“Marquette announced an update March 24 to its university investment policy that bars investments in public securities whose primary business involves the exploration and extraction of coal, oil and gas. The move was approved by its board of trustees,” according to the National Catholic Reporter. “In addition, the new policy formalizes measures the endowment office has been practicing for several years, including monitoring funds for indirect exposure to fossil fuels and moving to “wind down” other private investments in fossil fuel-related holdings “in accordance with the terms of the partnership agreements.” A spokeswoman told EarthBeat the university retains the ability to maintain fossil fuel exposure “on a case-by-case basis,” particularly with companies adapting their business models toward solutions to climate change. In a statement, Marquette president Michael Lovell connected the new policy to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” and the Society of Jesus’ four universal apostolic preferences, which also includes “care of our common home.” ”…Maddie Kuehn, a junior and member of Fossil Free Marquette that pushed for divestment, told EarthBeat the move was “really exciting” and an “incredible first step.” “I personally was really surprised. We had no idea that this was even on Marquette’s radar or something that they were even talking about.” Marquette becomes the seventh U.S. Catholic university to publicly announce plans to eliminate holdings in the fossil fuel sector from its endowments and investment portfolios. The others are University of Dayton (2014), Seattle University (2018), Georgetown University (2020), Creighton University (2020), Loyola University Chicago (2021) and University of San Diego (2021). Of the seven, five of them are Jesuit schools.”


Triple Pundit: War in Ukraine Sparks Calls for Energy Conservation as Dakota Access Pipeline Clings to Life
Tina Casey, 4/1/22

“A new series of legal setbacks have raised the chances that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline will finally be shut down. Advocates for the pipeline claim that the oil is needed now more than ever, but others argue that energy conservation is a more effective response to the twin crises of climate change and Russia’s murderous rampage through Ukraine,” Tina Casey writes for Triple Pundit. “…If Biden’s climate policies succeed in curtailing U.S. gas production, and if activists continue to block new pipelines and other gas infrastructure in the U.S., domestic gas producers will see their European opportunities shrink, leaving the field clear for Russia for years to come. In addition, just before Putin launched his invasion the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed new rules that will make it more difficult to build new gas pipelines in the U.S… “The energy conservation response has already begun to gain traction in Europe. Political considerations may prevent the conservation argument from gaining as much force in the U.S., but advocates for fossil energy projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline may still find themselves at risk of losing their case. In January, the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court ruled that the Illinois Commerce Commission overstepped its authority when it approved an expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and in February the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of a stakeholder lawsuit intended to block a new environmental review of the project… “In addition, a new, meticulously detailed analysis commissioned by the Indigenous-led organization NDN Collective makes the case that the pipeline has been operating illegally from the start… “A draft of the new environmental impact statement is expected this fall, with a public comment period to follow.”

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