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Extracted: Daily News Clips 5/26/11

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips May 26, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • S&P GlobalDakota Access Pipeline gains win-win with court ruling and Biden inaction
  • Bismarck TribuneJudge will not let North Dakota intervene in Dakota Access dispute
  • Burnaby NowDisco-themed dog walkers block crosswalk leading to Burnaby Trans Mountain site
  • The Laura Flanders ShowThe Future of Energy is Indigenous (and it won’t involve pipelines!)
  • Daily MemphianPipeline opponents cite Civil Rights Act in legal argument
  • E&E News‘Deception’ claims roil FERC climate fight
  • Natural Gas IntelligenceTense FERC Meeting Exposes Rift Over GHG Emissions, Natural Gas Pipeline Policy

EXTRACTION

  • Canadian PressCanadian crude-by-rail exports bounce back in March as pipeline capacity limited
  • BloombergCNRL reports two deaths amid COVID outbreak
  • ReutersIEA’s urgent fossil fuel warning earns mixed reception from producers
  • NRDCGas Pipelines: Harming Clean Water, People, and the Planet
  • ReutersSuncor Energy aims for net-zero emission target by 2050

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • WSJExxon vs. Activists: Battle Over Future of Oil and Gas Reaches Showdown
  • ReutersCanada’s top pension funds boost investments in high-carbon oil sands
  • Black Rock’s Big ProblemFrom Coast to Coast: Climate Protests in New York and San Francisco at BlackRock HQ Ahead of Exxon and BlackRock’s AGMs

OPINION

  • UpNorthLive/WPBNSpecial Report: The origins of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits
  • National ObserverHow’s Kenney going to explain his anti-energy inquiry now?
  • Journal TimesWeyker: Help stop Enbridge Line Three
  • Roanoke TimesHurst: Mountain Valley Pipeline is not the future Virginia needs
  • NRDCThe Future Has Spoken: It’s Time to Shut Down DAPL and Stop Line 3
  • InforumLaDuke: The struggle to evict Enbridge

PIPELINE NEWS

S&P Global: Dakota Access Pipeline gains win-win with court ruling and Biden inaction
Jordan Blum, Felix Clevenger, 5/24/21

“The future of the 570,000 b/d Dakota Access Pipeline is still at risk, but the primary crude artery out of the Bakken Shale is in a much stronger position after a federal court ruling kept the oil flowing and the Biden administration opted against intervening on an existing pipeline system,” S&P Global reports. “The May 21 court ruling essentially decided there is a minimal threat of oil spills from the four-year-old pipeline and the risk fails to rise to the necessary “irreparable harm” level needed to shutter the 1,200-mile pipeline, even though DAPL is basically being allowed to operate illegally without the necessary federal permitting that was previously yanked. The US Army Corps of Engineers — now under President Joe Biden — could have decided to close the pipeline for now while a court-ordered environmental review is conducted that could put DAPL back in good legal standing after it is completed in March 2022. But the Army Corps punted the decision to US District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia, who instead criticized the Army Corps for inaction. “That was essentially Biden’s chance to exert some influence and he didn’t take it,” Ajay Bakshani, analyst for East Daley Capital. told S&P Global Platts May 24. “It’s definitely positive for the Bakken.”

Bismarck Tribune: Judge will not let North Dakota intervene in Dakota Access dispute
AMY R. SISK, 5/24/21

“A federal judge will not allow the state of North Dakota to intervene in the lawsuit over the Dakota Access Pipeline,” according to the Bismarck Tribune. “The decision came in Friday’s order from U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who also declined to grant the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to shut down the pipeline during an ongoing environmental review. He denied North Dakota’s request “without prejudice,” which means the state could try to intervene again down the road. The attorney general’s office will watch how the case proceeds, said Troy Seibel, chief deputy attorney general for North Dakota. Boasberg “didn’t feel as though he needed us to be in the case right now, but he left the door open for us to get into the case in the future,” Seibel told the Tribune.

Burnaby Now: Disco-themed dog walkers block crosswalk leading to Burnaby Trans Mountain site
Chris Campbell, 5/25/21

“This morning at 6:15 a.m. the crosswalks on Burnaby Mountain were once again very busy and this time also very groovy,” Burnaby Now reports. “It seems some early morning disco-themed dog walkers taking the Burnaby Mountain trail are all using the pedestrian crosswalks at the same time and making it difficult for work trucks and equipment to enter the gates of the Trans Mountain worksite. “We absolutely know that fossil fuel expansion projects are detrimental to our taking the necessary steps to rapidly reduce emissions, in accordance with what we are being told by the global scientific community,” said May Morel, a member of Extinction Rebellion Vancouver. “In fact, the recent report by the International Energy Agency on how to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 warns against building any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Yet, this taxpayer funded $12 billion dollar pipeline is being built right now, in 2021, and is set to last for 50-plus years.”

The Laura Flanders Show: The Future of Energy is Indigenous (and it won’t involve pipelines!)

5/20/21

“As Canadian oil giant Enbridge defies orders to shut down their dangerous Line 5 pipeline in Michigan, indigenous environmental activists gain momentum in their fight to end reliance on fossil fuels,” The Laura Flanders Show reports. In Minnesota, Enbridge plans to build another pipeline, violating treaties and threatening the Mississippi Watershed. The company says its new pipeline is essential to our energy system. That’s big oil’s vision for the future. What is the indigenous one? What would the world look like if community, ecology, and sustainability were the guiding principles of our energy sector? In this episode, Laura speaks with indigenous activists who have answers, and not just in theory: for years, they’ve been developing programs for solar power and sustainable resource management so that future generations can thrive.
Guests
Judith LeBlanc, Director, Native Organizers Alliance
Winona LaDuke, Executive Director, Honor the Earth
Taysha Martineau, Anishinaabe Water Protector and Founder, Camp Migizi
Jason Goward, Anishinaabe Water Protector and Whistleblower, Former Enbridge Employee”

Daily Memphian: Pipeline opponents cite Civil Rights Act in legal argument
By Blake Fontenay, 5/22/21

“Yet another front has opened in the battle over a controversial oil pipeline project that would pass through several South Memphis neighborhoods,” according to the Daily Memphian. “A citizens group known as Memphis Community Against Pollution has petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency to force a state agency to revoke one of the permits needed for the project to move forward. In a letter to the federal agency, MCAP’s lawyers argue that the project, called the Byhalia Connection, would disproportionately harm minorities living in neighborhoods along the proposed pipeline’s path. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, MCAP’s lawyers said the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation should have taken that into consideration prior to issuing a permit… “Representatives from TDEC and Plains All American Pipeline, the company that wants to oversee the project, declined to comment on the letter, both describing it as a “pending legal matter.” Justin J. Pearson, one of MCAP’s co-founders, said the Civil Rights Act needs to be part of the discussion about the pipeline. “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was forged by the resilience of Black and African American people who believed the laws of this nation should protect them equally, which historically has never been the case,” Pearson told the Memphian.

E&E News: ‘Deception’ claims roil FERC climate fight
Miranda Wilson, 5/21/21

“Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members sparred over assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas pipelines and other policies during a tense meeting yesterday that included accusations of “deception” and unfairness,” E&E News reports. “The friction among the FERC commissioners reflects a high-stakes debate at the independent agency: What role should it play in regulating climate pollution tied to the energy projects it oversees? The outcome could have dramatic implications for President Biden’s zero-carbon goals, natural gas companies and the future of the U.S. energy mix. But FERC watchers said yesterday’s back-and-forth muddied the waters on where the commission will move next under Democratic Chairman Richard Glick.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Tense FERC Meeting Exposes Rift Over GHG Emissions, Natural Gas Pipeline Policy
BY JEREMIAH SHELOR, 5/24/21

“Policy differences over greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions provided the tinder that ignited a tense public debate over a pair of seemingly mundane natural gas certificate orders during last week’s FERC meeting,” according to Natural Gas Intelligence“A last-minute procedural move from Commissioner James Danly to amend orders on infrastructure expansions proposed by Northern Natural Gas (NNG) and Tuscarora Gas Transmission Co. seemed to take Chairman Richard Glick by surprise. The subsequent back-and-forth hinted at an ideological rift at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the agency’s approach to regulating natural gas infrastructure. Pipeline companies could find themselves straddling that political divide as FERC moves to update its 1999 policy statement on natural gas certificate orders. The looming revisions are almost certain to reflect broader directives to address climate change, with signs pointing to increased difficulty in obtaining the agency’s approval for natural gas capacity expansions moving forward FERC ultimately voted to approve the two orders during its meeting. One was a proposal by Tuscarora to replace a unit at its Wadsworth Compressor Station in Nevada. The other was a 45,693 Dth/d expansion of NNG’s system in Minnesota.”

EXTRACTION

Canadian Press: Canadian crude-by-rail exports bounce back in March as pipeline capacity limited
5/25/21

“The Canada Energy Regulator says Canadian crude-by-rail exports bounced back in March due to better oil production amid limited export pipeline capacity for heavy oil,” according to the Canadian Press. “It says exports rose 57 per cent to reach 175,580 barrels per day after 111,900 barrels per day were exported by rail in February. Exports in both months are down from 195,500 bpd in January and 350,570 in March 2020… “Rail transportation of crude oil is considered to be more expensive than shipping by pipeline so shippers tend to use it only when pipelines are full or if the destination market offers much higher prices than can be achieved in Canada.”

Bloomberg: CNRL reports two deaths amid COVID outbreak
5/25/21

“Alberta’s oilsands continue to reel from one of the nations’ biggest outbreaks of COVID-19, with Canadian Natural Resources Limited reporting two more worker deaths,” Bloomberg reports. “The two individuals, one who worked at the Horizon upgrader site and the other at the Albian oilsands mine, died from complications related to COVID-19, company spokesperson Julie Woo said by email. That brings the number of fatalities related to work camps to five since the pandemic began more than a year ago, according to government data… “A total of 684 people at 15 oilsands sites or camps are currently infected, with the highest rates at Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Mildred Lake Village, Canadian Natural’s Horizon and Suncor Energy Inc.’s Base Plant, provincial data show. Still, thousands of workers are flying into the region to perform maintenance on oilsands machinery even as some companies, including Suncor, delay necessary work.”

Reuters: IEA’s urgent fossil fuel warning earns mixed reception from producers
5/25/21

“A stark appeal by the world’s top energy body to stop investment in new fossil fuel projects by next year has met a mixed reception from the world’s top producers – from guarded praise and pledges to cut back on coal to outright defiance,” Reuters reports. “The International Energy Agency said in its “Net Zero by 2050” report last week that investors should not fund new oil, gas and coal supply projects beyond this year if the world wants to reach net zero emissions by mid-century and meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change… “Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the IEA’s roadmap as simply one of “many reports”, telling the NTB news agency it would not change the petroleum policy of Western Europe’s biggest oil producing country… “Asia’s third-largest carbon emitter in 2019, after China and India, Japan said the report did not align with its policy. Akihisa Matsuda, the deputy director of international affairs at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), said the government has no plans to immediately stop oil, gas and coal investments. “The report provides one suggestion as to how the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, but it is not necessarily in line with the Japanese government’s policy”, he told Reuters.

NRDC: Gas Pipelines: Harming Clean Water, People, and the Planet
Amy Mall, 5/24/21

“Oil and gas pipelines crisscross the United States, and new ones are still being built. It would take volumes to document all the dangers they pose to people, nature, and the planet, but here’s a start: greenhouse gas emissions, violations of indigenous treaty rights and sovereignty, destruction of endangered species habitat, taking of private property without public benefit, contamination of drinking water sources and streams and rivers, ruination of farms and landscapes, deaths and injuries from explosions, damage to wild ecosystems, and environmental injustice. The International Energy Agency has called for an immediate end to new investments in fossil fuel pipelines. With all the cleaner alternatives available, the only benefit of new pipelines is to increase the corporate profits of pipeline owners. Yet while the potential for harm is well known, government agencies keep rubber-stamping permits. FERC has approved dozens of new interstate gas pipelines over the past five years. Here are examples of the worst offenses associated with some of them (stay tuned for more on oil):”

Reuters: Suncor Energy aims for net-zero emission target by 2050
5/26/21

“Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) is aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the Canadian company said on Wednesday, as cash-rich oil sands firms come under pressure to meet the country’s goal on energy transition,” Reuters reports. “Suncor, which had previously set a target of a 30% cut to emission intensity by 2030, said it was expecting to reduce emissions by 10 megatonnes (MT) per year across its operations during that period. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set a goal of net-zero emissions for the country by 2050 as part of a global push for action on climate change. The company also said it would focus its planned C$5 billion ($4.14 billion) annual capital spend through 2025 on reducing costs and improving “carbon competitiveness”.

CLIMATE FINANCE

WSJ: Exxon vs. Activists: Battle Over Future of Oil and Gas Reaches Showdown
By Christopher M. Matthews, 5/25/21

“For years, Exxon Mobil Corp. didn’t have to pay much attention to investors because of its gargantuan profits. Yet on a Friday night in January, Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods was defending the company during a video call to an investor owning about 0.02% of the oil giant’s stock,” WSJ reports. “Tech investor Chris James’s Engine No. 1 had launched an activist campaign against Exxon in December, calling the company a fossil-fuel dinosaur that lacked a coherent plan for surviving a global transition to cleaner energy sources. On the call, Charlie Penner, a hedge-fund veteran helping lead the Engine No. 1 campaign, pressed Mr. Woods to commit to steering Exxon to carbon neutrality, effectively bringing its emissions to zero—both from the company and its products—by 2050. Mr. Woods refused, arguing that oil companies making such pledges had no real plans to achieve them. “They weren’t interested in having a conversation,” he said in a recent interview. “Frankly, they didn’t have a plan.” Messrs. Woods, James and Penner failed to come to any agreement in what ended in a contentious exchange, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Reuters: Canada’s top pension funds boost investments in high-carbon oil sands
By Maiya Keidan and Nia Williams, 5/26/21

“Canada’s biggest pension managers boosted their investments in the country’s major oil sands companies in the first quarter of 2021, raising questions about the funds’ recent commitments to greening their portfolios,” Reuters reports. “The cumulative investment by the country’s top five pension funds into the U.S.-listed shares of Canada’s top four oil sands producers jumped to $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021, up 147% from a year ago, a Reuters analysis of U.S. 13-F filings show… “Governments, companies and investors around the world have stepped up pledges to drastically reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Some large pension managers, including the New York State Pension Fund and Norway’s largest pension fund KLP, have exited oil sands companies. Canadian pensions face pressure to balance a mandate to be environmentally responsible with their fiduciary duty to maximise returns. Canada’s oil sands are a high-carbon industry, yet their rising shares prices are tempting for investors. Some Canadian pension funds say they favour continuing to invest in fossil fuel producers to help those firms transition toward producing cleaner energy.”

Black Rock’s Big Problem: From Coast to Coast: Climate Protests in New York and San Francisco at BlackRock HQ Ahead of Exxon and BlackRock’s AGMs
5/25/21

“As exclusive Reuters reporting details how BlackRock plans to vote at tomorrow’s ExxonMobil Annual General Meeting, activists from coast to coast spent the afternoon demonstrating outside of BlackRock’s offices, calling out its addictions to fossil fuels and pushing the giant asset manager to reverse course on climate change… “However, BlackRock is voting to retain Exxon board chairman/CEO Darren Woods and lead independent director Kenneth Frazier despite demands from climate activists and green investors, including the BlackRock’s Big Problem network. BlackRock’s Big Problem had listed voting against Woods and Frazier as one of eight “Key Votes” for BlackRock to take this shareholder season. In response to this report, BlackRock’s Big Problem releases the following statement: “BlackRock is trying to be too clever by half. Drastic changes at Exxon are long overdue, and hopefully some new leadership on the board can begin to deliver that. But accountability starts at the top, and the fact remains that under the leadership of Darren Woods, Exxon has accelerated the climate crisis while attempting to deny and greenwash the truth. BlackRock needs to set a higher bar for itself and the companies it invests in. By voting to retain Woods and Frazier, BlackRock has failed to follow through on yet another key climate test,” said Ben Cushing, Financial Advocacy Campaign Manager for the Sierra Club.

UpNorthLive/WPBN: Special Report: The origins of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits
by Marc Schollett, 5/24/21

“Michigan is made up of two peninsulas divided by the Straits of Mackinac. That is a fact that we can all probably agree on. But it’s something that runs deep in the Straits that has us probably equally divided. Line 5 is the controversial pipeline that has garnered praise by some and vigorous debate and outrage by others. It has sparked legal battles that are underway right now that may have hit a tipping point on May 12th when the state revoked the original easement which allowed for the pipeline in the Straits in the first place. With the division currently in place over the pipeline, we wondered how the easement and the pipeline were viewed back in 1953. “Back in the 50s, there was a push to change up how oil was being moved on the Great Lakes so that it wouldn’t be in those huge oil tankers out on the water. The push was to find a way to do it safer,” explains Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy.

National Observer: How’s Kenney going to explain his anti-energy inquiry now?
By Max Fawcett, 5/26/21

“For someone who likes to talk about the need to move “at the speed of business,” Jason Kenney is being remarkably patient with his public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns,” Max Fawcett writes in the National Observer. “The government of Alberta quietly granted commissioner Steve Allan a fourth extension on his long-overdue homework, originally scheduled to be submitted last July. The delivery date is now a full year later, and Allan is not the only one getting an extension. The government can take up to an additional three months after that — assuming it actually gets filed — before the report must be released to the public. From the very outset, the inquiry looked far more like an attempt to play the bully than a genuine effort to understand the nature and intent behind the campaigns that have targeted Alberta’s oilsands over the last decade. But after four extensions and an additional $1 million in funding, it’s clear that the only thing it’s turning up is excuses. And regardless of its provenance, the impact of the Tar Sands Campaign that the Allan inquiry is tasked with investigating will look positively quaint compared with the changes already underway in global energy markets.”

Journal Times: Weyker: Help stop Enbridge Line Three
Letter, 5/26/21

“The proposed Enbridge Line Three pipeline has been in the works for over seven years. That longer, enlarged line three is designed to carry 760,000 barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. Building that pipeline through untouched wetlands and treaty territory of the Anishinaabe peoples is an unsafe and unjust project. All pipelines spill at some point, polluting the air, water and land. One spill could ruin the wild rice fields that indigenous people depend on for their food, culture and spirituality.”

Roanoke Times: Hurst: Mountain Valley Pipeline is not the future Virginia needs
Del. Chris Hurst represents Giles County, Radford and parts of Montgomery and Pulaski counties in the House of Delegates
5/25/21

“Two years ago, I took part in a powerful event in Leesburg highlighting the continued fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project that has harmed my community, our region’s water, and the livelihoods of many of my constituents,” Del. Chris Hurst writes in the Roanoke Times. “People gathered that day to celebrate Appalachia and to bring our lived experiences and perspectives to the northern part of the state. We joined together in messages of solidarity for environmental and climate justice. What I shared with the crowd that day in Leesburg still rings true: There is no need for the MVP and it should be cancelled.”

NRDC: The Future Has Spoken: It’s Time to Shut Down DAPL and Stop Line 3
Nicole Greenfield, 5/24/21

“On April 1, Maya Monroe Runnels-Black Fox found herself back in downtown Washington, D.C., marching under the shadow of a giant black snake. It was her second trip from Standing Rock to the U.S. capitol in five years—the last time in July 2016—and one of dozens of pipeline protests she’s attended. For the 19-year-old president of the Standing Rock Youth Council, the call to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a cause she’s been championing for more than a quarter of her lifetime… “Their message for President Biden was clear: Be the climate leader you pledged to be and build back fossil-free. “It was really empowering to have a lot of support from not only our own people, but from people across the world,” says Runnels-Black Fox. Thousands of frontline Indigenous youth and organizers fighting DAPL and Line 3—as well as the Keystone XL, Enbridge Line 5, and Mountain Valley pipelines—showed up for the day of action, and allies showed their support both in person and virtually. “It was a positive feeling, but it was also kind of sad because, after five years, there is still no action on the government’s behalf.”

Inforum: LaDuke: The struggle to evict Enbridge
Winona LaDuke is executive director, Honor the Earth, and an Ojibwe writer and economist on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation. She is also owner of Winona’s Hemp and a regular contributor to Forum News Service
5/24/21

“I just returned from an Enbridge eviction party on May 12-13. People gathered at the Straits of Mackinac to enforce the state of Michigan’s orders to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline,” Winona LaDuke writes in Inforum. “The 70-year-old pipe was placed at the bottom of the straits separating Lake Michigan from Lake Huron in l953. The state says the pipe is a risk. Enbridge says it won’t shut it down, the state has no jurisdiction to revoke the easement. Hundreds of people gathered on the shores of Lake Michigan, following an international press conference, where both Canadian and U.S. citizens, tribal nations and businesses, called for Enbridge to abide by the law… “There’s a lesson or two for Minnesota counties to be learned from Michigan: One, Minnesota might want to check on how we get Enbridge to clean up its pipeline messes before it goes bankrupt. However, damages from an oil spill, in terms of life and Anishinaabe people, are unquantifiable.”

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