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Extracted: Daily News Clips 5/12/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips May 12, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • E&E News: Biden In Hot Spot Over Midwest Pipeline Standoff
  • Reuters: Enbridge to keep Great Lakes pipeline running, defy looming Michigan shutdown order
  • AP: Whitmer threatens profit seizure if pipeline keeps operating
  • Consumer Energy Alliance: Line 5 shutdown would cause at least $20.8B in losses to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, analysis finds
  • Michigan Radio: On eve of Line 5 shutdown deadline, Enbridge vows to defy Michigan order
  • Michigan Advance: Michigan tribes plan peaceful gatherings for Enbridge ‘eviction day,’ LaDuke to speak
  • RCI: Pipeline shutdown looms as international battle continues
  • Native American Rights Fund: Bay Mills Bans Enbridge Pipeline from the Straits
  • Bismarck Tribune: More legal wrangling plays out in Dakota Access dispute
  • FOX13Memphis.com: Pipeline setbacks ordinance advances at Shelby County Commission
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: Oil pipeline company agrees to pause project, Memphis City Council delays vote on ordinance
  • Globalnews.ca: Inside the oilsands site that has seen Canada’s largest workplace COVID-19 outbreak
  • Facebook: Appalachians Against Pipelines: This week a Montgomery County judge sentenced the Yellow Finch treesitters to spend as many days in jail as they spent in the trees blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
  • Facebook: Beyond Extreme Energy #BXE: On May 19-21 Beyond Extreme Energy is organizing three days of urgent outreach to members of Congress in a #BuildBackRenewableNow action.
  • CBS Philadelphia: ‘We Don’t Have Clean Water’: Nightmare Continues For Delaware County Family Battling Mariner East Pipeline Project
  • Farm and DairyMore details about Falcon pipeline investigation emerge

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Biden Looks To Restart Fracking On Ohio Public Lands
  • Reuters: Feds appeal court order that stalls gas drilling in Ohio national forest
  • AP: Interior drops Arctic offshore drilling proposal

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • AP: Utility-backed natural gas booklets spark backlash at school
  • DeSmog: Government Defends Praising Tar Sands Industry Figures as COP26 ‘Climate Champions’

OPINION

  • Toronto Star: Enbridge’s claims about a Line 5 shutdown need to be challenged

 

PIPELINE NEWS
E&E News: Biden In Hot Spot Over Midwest Pipeline Standoff
Carlos Anchondo and Niina H. Farah, 5/12/21

“A clash over a major Midwest pipeline is coming to a head this week, putting the Biden administration in a political bind and refueling a debate about U.S. reliance on fossil fuel infrastructure,” according to E&E News. “Enbridge Inc. today will blow past the deadline Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set for the Line 5 pipeline to shut down, the latest in a closely watched dispute over the oil and natural gas conduit linking U.S. and Canadian energy markets. Whitmer, a Democrat who was elected governor in 2018, warned Enbridge Inc. yesterday that its continued operation of the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac would amount to an ‘intentional trespass.’”

Reuters: Enbridge to keep Great Lakes pipeline running, defy looming Michigan shutdown order
Nia Williams and Arundhati Sarkar, 5/11/21

“CALGARY, Alberta, May 7 (Reuters) – Canada’s Enbridge Inc will continue to operate its Line 5 despite an order from the U.S. state of Michigan to shut down the crude oil pipeline, Chief Executive Al Monaco said on Friday,” Reuters reports. “Calgary-based Enbridge has been locked in a long-running battle with Michigan over Line 5, which ships 540,0000 barrels per day from Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario, and is a crucial link in Enbridge’s crude export network. Environmental campaigners say there is a risk a 4-mile underwater section of the 68-year-old pipeline could leak into the Great Lakes. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer last year revoked the pipeline’s easement, or permission to operate, and ordered it to shut down no later than May 12. Enbridge is challenging Michigan’s order in federal court. The two parties have started mediation and Monaco said he did not expect any imminent court ruling.”

AP: Whitmer threatens profit seizure if pipeline keeps operating
By JOHN FLESHER and ANNA LIZ NICHOLS, 5/11/21

“LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer threatened Tuesday to go after Enbridge’s profits from a Great Lakes oil pipeline if the company defies her order to shut it down,” the Associated Press reports. “The Democratic governor issued the warning in a letter to the Canadian energy transport company on the eve of a state-imposed deadline to halt operation of Line 5, which moves oil through northern Wisconsin and Michigan to refineries in Ontario. Enbridge repeated its intention to defy Whitmer’s demand… In her letter to Vern Yu, Enbridge’s executive vice president for liquids pipelines, Whitmer said continued operation of the line after Wednesday “constitutes an intentional trespass” and that the company would do so “at its own risk.” “If the state prevails in the underlying litigation, Enbridge will face the prospect of having to disgorge to the state all profits it derives from its wrongful use of the easement lands following that date,” Whitmer said.”

Consumer Energy Alliance: Line 5 shutdown would cause at least $20.8B in losses to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, analysis finds
5/11/21

“LANSING, Mich. – An unnecessary and premature shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline risks at least 33,000 jobs and a minimum of $20.8 billion in economic losses to consumers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, an independent third-party analysis requested by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) finds. Weinstein, Clower and Associates used the IMPLAN economic input-output model to examine the potential economic losses and business disruptions those states, others nearby and Canadian provinces would sustain as a result of the closure of Enbridge’s Line 5, a vital piece of regional energy infrastructure. Shockingly, two-thirds of the losses, or $13.7 billion, would come from Ohio. That is more than four times the impact to Michigan, according to the study.”

Michigan Radio: On eve of Line 5 shutdown deadline, Enbridge vows to defy Michigan order
By KELLY HOUSE & LESTER GRAHAM & BRIDGE MICHIGAN, 5/11/21

“Enbridge Energy technically has one more day to shut down the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, but even the pipeline’s most vocal opponents acknowledge slim odds that the oil actually stops flowing right away,” Michigan Radio reports. In the six months since Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave Enbridge 180 days to stop transporting petroleum across the tempestuous waterway that links Lakes Michigan and Huron, and the four months since Enbridge vowed to defy her, state officials have been adamant that the order still stands. But as for what Michigan can or will do if Enbridge keeps the oil flowing beyond midnight on Wednesday? That’s unclear.
Spokespeople for the governor declined to answer questions about their plans, but supplied a written statement noting that Whitmer “stands behind her decision” to cancel the easement that first gave Enbridge’s predecessor permission to build a pipeline along the sandy bottom of the straits 68 years ago. “We cannot risk the devastating economic, environmental, and public health impacts of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes,” the statement reads.”

Michigan Advance: Michigan tribes plan peaceful gatherings for Enbridge ‘eviction day,’ LaDuke to speak
By Laina G. Stebbins, 5/10/21

“Tribal citizens and environmental groups in Michigan are preparing for “Enbridge eviction” celebrations this week in honor of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Wednesday deadline for the Canadian oil company to shut down its controversial Line 5 pipeline,” according to Michigan Advance. “At the same time, Enbridge allies are gearing up for the deadline by arguing the 67-year-old pipeline has a positive economic impact. The nonprofit Consumers Energy Alliance — a front group for the energy industry that pushes pro-oil and gas messaging in the United States, according to SourceWatch — released a report Monday arguing that a Line 5 shutdown would devastate energy supplies of surrounding states. The two days of planned events near the Mackinac Straits on Wednesday and Thursday are being organized by Indigenous water protection group MackinawOde, Great Lakes Water Protector Group and the Oil & Water Don’t Mix coalition.”

RCI: Pipeline shutdown looms as international battle continues
By Marc Montgomery, 5/10/21

“The issue of pipelines and the environment has not gone away in Canada,” RCI reports. “There is the ongoing opposition to the Trans-Mountain pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands over the Rocky Mountain ranges to British Columbia and a Pacific port, the Biden administration cancelling the Keystone XL line from Alberta south through the U.S., and the gas pipeline in northern B.C. which had protests shutting down rail lines across the country causing massive disruption to the Canadian economy. The latest issue is an order by the governor of the state of Michigan to shut down a Canadian line that passes through the state. The Enbridge Line 5 is part of a network of pipelines from Alberta eastward, with Line 5 being a section across Michigan passing under the Straits of Mackinac, before continuing though the state and then back to the Canadian city of Sarnia… Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Kristen Hillman, told CBC that a shutdown of the line,” is not a threat to Canada’s national economic or energy security”, adding, “I think that it is an important dispute or disagreement that exists between Enbridge and the state of Michigan that needs to be taken very seriously. And we are taking it very seriously.”

Native American Rights Fund: Bay Mills Bans Enbridge Pipeline from the Straits
5/10/21

“Bay Mills Indian Community – On Monday, May 10, 2021, Bay Mills Indian Community’s Executive Council passed a resolution that banishes Enbridge Energy, Inc.’s Line 5 dual pipelines from the BMIC reservation and the lands and waters of their ceded territory—including the Straits of Mackinac. As part of the Treaty of 1836, BMIC reserved for all time the right to fish, hunt, and gather in the ceded land and waters of the state of Michigan—including the ceded waters of Lake Superior, Huron, and Michigan, which includes the Straits of Mackinac. Banishment is not a practice taken lightly by tribal government. Banishment is a traditional, historical, and customary form of tribal law that has existed since time immemorial and is only exercised by the tribe when egregious acts and misconduct have harmed tribal citizens, treaty rights, territories, and resources. “Enbridge’s continued harm to our treaty rights, our environment, our history, our citizens, and our culture, is a prime example of how banishment should be used,” said President Whitney Gravelle of the Bay Mills Executive Council. “Banishment is a permanent and final action that is used to protect all that we hold dear.”

Bismarck Tribune: More legal wrangling plays out in Dakota Access dispute
AMY R. SISK, 5/11/21

“The latest legal wrangling over the Dakota Access Pipeline focuses on whether an appeals court should end its involvement in the case while the line’s operator challenges the need for further environmental review with the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bismarck Tribune reports. “Dakota Access plans to appeal a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit requiring a lengthy environmental study and is making plans in case a lower court orders the pipeline to shut down while the study takes place… “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes fighting the pipeline oppose the procedural step known as a “stay of the mandate” that Dakota Access seeks.
“The only practical impact of a stay that the Tribes can determine is that future motions would go to the same panel that reviewed DAPL’s previous motion,” the tribes said in a court document filed Monday. “A preference for a particular panel of judges is not ‘good cause’ warranting issuance of a stay.”

FOX13Memphis.com: Pipeline setbacks ordinance advances at Shelby County Commission
By Kirstin Garriss, 5/10/21

“MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Commissioners are considering a new ordinance that could be another potential blow to the controversial Byhalia Connection Pipeline,” according to FOX13Memphis.com. “The project would weave through mostly Black neighborhoods in Southwest Memphis. “This is bigger than the pipeline. This is about our lives and about our futures,” said Justin J. Pearson, co-founder of the Memphis Community Against the Pipeline. Shelby County Commissioners are considering changes to the zoning code.”

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: Oil pipeline company agrees to pause project, Memphis City Council delays vote on ordinance
Brady Watson, 5/11/21

“The saga of the proposed Byhalia crude oil pipeline continued in the Memphis City Council Public Works committee last week, with the body ultimately deciding to delay the vote on a proposed ordinance which would present a roadblock to the pipeline.
The proposed ordinance that was scheduled for a third and final reading last week is a result of what has been identified by the Memphis City Council as a “regulatory gap” in the process for permitting and building pipelines. The ordinance, if passed, would give the City of Memphis additional regulatory authority over underground pipelines carrying crude oil and other toxic substances. The intention is to create an additional layer of protection for the Memphis Sand Aquifer, which is Memphis’ source of drinking water. Many Memphians are concerned that the proposed pipeline poses a risk to the drinking water supply as it would be routed through a wellhead protection zone, even as the pipeline presents minimal public benefits.”

Globalnews.ca: Inside the oilsands site that has seen Canada’s largest workplace COVID-19 outbreak
By Heather Yourex-West Global News, 5/11/21

“When a Calgary oilsands contractor — whom Global News has agreed not to identify in order to protect his employment — took a job last month at Canadian Natural Resources Horizon Oil Sands work site, he knew there was a chance he could get sick,” Globalnews.ca reports. “A lot of guys were saying, ‘I’m not going up there, they’re swabbing guys and a lot of guys are getting sick.’ That’s the story I heard going up there, but the money was good and I thought, ‘well, I’ll just be careful.’” The 65-year-old was one of thousands of tradespeople brought in by CNRL to perform maintenance on the site, a period of time known in the industry as a ‘shutdown’ or ‘turnaround.” Two weeks after arriving at camp, the Calgary worker had contracted COVID-19. “All I did was eat, sleep, work 13-hour shifts,” he said. “I know I got it there.” The worker was moved into an isolation room on site where he says he began experiencing flu-like symptoms, including a fever. He says being sick and alone was frightening. “I was scared, yeah… the thing is dying alone, nobody there to say bye to or nothing like that. It was scary; I thought I was done.”

Facebook: Appalachians Against Pipelines: This week a Montgomery County judge sentenced the Yellow Finch treesitters to spend as many days in jail as they spent in the trees blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
5/8/21

“This week a Montgomery County judge sentenced the Yellow Finch treesitters to spend as many days in jail as they spent in the trees blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Here is a message from Acre in Western Virginia Regional Jail after they were sentenced: “Hi everyone. You probably just saw my sentence in the paper. I want folks to know regardless of how I’ve been charged, I stand behind my actions. I’ll go day for day tree for jail any day of the week to stop the damn pipeline. I want people watching who may consider taking action against injustice to not be dissuaded by the law, to know the court is only there to protect the interests of wealthy corporate elite. That by jailing people for protecting the land and water, they show us time and time again how the judicial system is a right hand in colonialism and how it wears the blood of innocent life left in its wake.”

Facebook: Beyond Extreme Energy #BXE: On May 19-21 Beyond Extreme Energy is organizing three days of urgent outreach to members of Congress in a #BuildBackRenewableNow action.
5/9/21

“On May 19-21 Beyond Extreme Energy is organizing three days of urgent outreach to members of Congress in a #BuildBackRenewableNow action. Join us! On the 19th we will blitz Congress with emails and phone calls. On the 20th we’ll pressure FERC directly during their monthly meeting. And on the 21st we’ll tweet up a storm and use social media to make sure they get our message.”

CBS Philadelphia: ‘We Don’t Have Clean Water’: Nightmare Continues For Delaware County Family Battling Mariner East Pipeline Project
By Joe Holden, 5/5/21

“GLEN MILLS, Pa. (CBS) — The nightmare continues for a Delaware County family battling a pipeline project,” CBS Philadelphia reports. “It all started with a picture of brown water in their bathtub. This is not a normal life — that’s what John and Erica Tarr say when describing the quality of water that flows from their tap. “It’s been so long that we’ve been living like this, and it’s just not fair to us, it’s not fair to my child,” Erica said. The Glen Mills couple has been at odds with Sunoco’s Energy Transfer, the company installing the Mariner East 2 pipeline 1,000 feet behind their home. They claim the project fouled two wells, explaining testing showed the presence of volatile organic compounds. “During their construction is when our first original well, the water quality changed,” John said.”

Farm and Dairy:  More details about Falcon pipeline investigation emerge
Staff, 5/5/21

More details were released about the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s investigation into issues with Shell’s Falcon pipeline,” according to Farm and Dairy. “In a May 4 letter sent to FracTracker Alliance, PHMSA said that it looked at photos of the two pieces of pipe, but could not substantiate a whistleblower’s claims that the pipeline had been built with a defective corrosion coating. Falcon pipeline travels travels through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. “One photo showing a pipe with scratch marks on it, which PHMSA determined that the coating had indeed been damaged but did not constitute a safety issue,” said Erica Jackson, manager of community outreach and support with FracTracker Alliance, during a virtual public meeting, held May 4, hosted by The People Over Petro Coalition.
Another photo showed a pipeline coating damaged by a horizontal directional drill, Jackson said. “This letter left us with a lot more concerns and questions,” she said.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES
E&E News: Biden Looks To Restart Fracking On Ohio Public Lands
Niina H. Farah, 5/12/21

“The Biden administration is seeking to undo a court-ordered pause on hydraulic fracturing on leases in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest,” E&E News reports. “The Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Forest Service are appealing a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in March that blocked the agency from issuing new permits for fracking as it completes a new court-ordered assessment of the environmental impacts of leasing the 40,000 acres of public lands. The decision to bring the case to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as the Biden administration has sought to reevaluate the climate impacts of its federal leasing program. The federal government did not offer an explanation for its appeal of the lower court ruling.”

Reuters: Feds appeal court order that stalls gas drilling in Ohio national forest
Sebastien Malo, 5/11/21

“The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have appealed to a federal appeals court rulings in Columbus federal court that prohibit them from issuing new permits to drill on oil and gas leases in Ohio’s only national forest until they re-assess the environmental effects of fracking on that land,” according to Reuters. “The federal agencies on Monday appealed rulings that they violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when they failed to take a “hard look” at the environmental impacts, including on air quality, of eventual hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of underground shale when they offered for lease about 40,000 acres of land in the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio… Taylor McKinnon, a campaigner with co-plaintiff the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said: “There’s a wide and dangerous chasm between the Biden administration’s climate rhetoric and its defense of unlawful fracking.”

AP: Interior drops Arctic offshore drilling proposal
5/10/21

JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Interior Department said Friday that it would not pursue a Trump administration proposal that critics feared would have weakened rules for exploratory oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters,” AP reports. “A statement from the department said existing regulations released in 2016 remain in effect and “are critical to ensuring adequate safety and environmental protections for this sensitive ecosystem and Alaska Native subsistence activities.” Leah Donahey, Alaska Wilderness League legislative director, said the rules that have been in place incorporated lessons learned from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She also said there has not been a public push by companies showing interest in the region.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE
Environmental Health News: Living near fracking wells is linked to higher rate of heart attacks: Study
Kristina Marusic, 5/11/21

“Living among fracking wells is linked to higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths due to heart attacks, according to a new study,” Environmental Health News reports. “The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, compared heart attack rates in Pennsylvania counties with fracking to demographically similar counties in New York where fracking is banned. “There’s a large body of literature linking air pollution with poor cardiovascular health and heart attacks, but this is really the first study to look at this from a population level related to fracking,” Elaine Hill, a researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center and one of the study’s co-authors, told EHN. Hill and her colleagues looked at hospitalization and mortality records in 47 counties in New York and Pennsylvania from 2005-2014 (the most recent data available at the time the study was initiated) and found that heart attack hospitalization rates were higher on the Pennsylvania side of the border by 1.4–2.8 percent, depending on the average age and density of fracking wells in a given county. Living near a higher density of wells translated to a greater risk of heart attacks.
They also found that middle-aged men living on the Pennsylvania side of the border were 5.4 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than their counterparts in New York. The authors speculate that this link may be stronger in middle-aged men because they’re more likely to work in the industry and have higher levels of exposure as a result.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING
AP: Utility-backed natural gas booklets spark backlash at school
By Steve Leblanc, 5/10/21

“CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The father of a Cambridge, Massachusetts, elementary school student said Monday he was shocked when he pulled two activity booklets from his son’s backpack that had been distributed at his school, including one titled: “Natural Gas: Your Invisible Friend,” AP reports. “Both were published by the energy utility Eversource and paint a rosy picture of the fossil fuel. An inside page of one of the booklets declares “Natural Gas Is Great,” and encourages students to connect speakers like a popcorn plant manager and a bus rider to statements like “it’s a safe, clean, efficient fuel to use in our plant,” and “I like the fact that while I commute to work I am using a natural gas vehicle that reduces harmful air pollutants.”

DeSmog: Government Defends Praising Tar Sands Industry Figures as COP26 ‘Climate Champions’
By Adam Barnett and Rich Collett-Whiteon, 5/10/21

“The UK government has defended its decision to celebrate representatives of companies involved in Canada’s controversial tar sands industry as “Climate Champions”, ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit it is set to host later this year,” according to DeSmog. “A UK-Canada event last week praised 26 “exceptional individuals actively working to move Canada to net-zero emissions”, five of whom work for companies and investors involved in the fossil fuel industry, including the Canadian oil sands… Among the individuals celebrated are the Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canada’s biggest fossil fuel financer since the Paris Agreement, and the Chief Sustainability Officer of Suncor, a major player in the Canadian tar sands that was fined $40,000 for an offshore drilling fluid spill in 2018. When asked about the decision by DeSmog, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) defended the event and selection of champions. A spokesperson said: “The virtual event was part of the UK’s work to drive forward leadership on climate change, ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow later this year. The climate champions who attended were recognised for their individual efforts towards moving Canada to net-zero carbon emissions.”

OPINION
Toronto Star: Enbridge’s claims about a Line 5 shutdown need to be challenged
By Michelle Woodhouse, 5/10/21

“The Canadian government is going to bat for yet another pipeline — Enbridge’s Line 5. But before it goes too much further, the government should fact check Enbridge’s self-serving claims and think twice before it puts the Great Lakes in danger,” Michelle Woodhouse writes in Toronto Star. “…Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Seamus O’Regan has said ensuring Line 5 stays in operation is “non-negotiable.” But, has Canada critically examined Enbridge’s claims? For example, Enbridge claims that shutting down Line 5 would cause shortages of propane and crude oil for refineries in both Canada and the U.S. However, independent experts analyzed these claims and found that without Line 5, there is capacity in the system to meet most of, if not all of, Michigan and Ohio’s energy needs with additional capacity free to feed Canadian refineries. Enbridge’s fear mongering around price hikes isn’t well supported either. Research conducted by Gary Street, a former Dow Chemical engineer, found that in August 2020, after more than 50 days with at least one leg of Line 5 closed, gasoline prices and supply were unaffected in Michigan and Canada. Claims that Toronto Pearson flights would be grounded if Line 5 shut down have also proven false. A spokesperson for Pearson has verified that they have “diversified sources of fuel.”

 

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