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Extracted: Daily News Clips 5/28/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips May 28, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

EXTRACTION

  • Alaska Journal of CommerceUK explorer says it’s made a billion-barrel oil discovery along the Dalton Highway in Arctic Alaska

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • BloombergEnvironmental Justice Advocates Seek Changes to Permitting Law

IMPACT LITIGATION & CLIMATE FINANCE

  • ReutersEyes on U.S. climate lawsuits after landmark Dutch ruling
  • Politico Morning EnergyOIL MAJORS’ ROUGH DAY
  • CNN.comActivist investor ousts at least two Exxon directors in historic win for pro-climate campaign
  • Reuters/NBC News [VIDEO]Climate activists score wins against Exxon, Shell and Chevron
  • NPRIn A Landmark Case, A Dutch Court Orders Shell To Cut Its Carbon Emissions Faster
  • EartherShell Just Got Wrecked in Dutch Court
  • Oil Change International“Tears of Joy:” Activists Win Landmark Climate Case against Shell in the Netherlands

RESEARCH & SCIENCE 

OPINION

  • WSJGov. Whitmer Was Right to Shut Pipeline Down
  • CBC(Mis)understanding Vivian Krause: The inspiration behind Jason Kenney’s inquiry into un-Albertan activities didn’t say what you thought she said
  • Albuquerque JournalEditorial: Refineries need monitoring
  • BloombergInvestors to Big Oil: Energy transition is happening, and there’s no going back
  • HuffPostIs This A Turning Point For Big Oil?
  • The New YorkerBig Oil’s Bad, Bad Day

PIPELINE NEWS

Law360: Tribes, Green Groups Push For Win In Enbridge Pipeline Fight
5/27/21

“Two tribes and several environmental groups seeking to stop a $2.9 billion Enbridge pipeline replacement project urged a D.C. federal court to vacate federal water quality permits for the project, arguing that it needlessly puts the environment at risk and will contribute to climate change,” Law360 reports. “The Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and White Earth Band of Ojibwe, as well as advocacy groups Sierra Club, Honor the Earth and Friends of the Headwaters asked the court to grant summary judgment in their favor on Wednesday…”

Bloomberg: Green Groups Seek Speedy Halt to Enbridge Minnesota Pipeline
5/27/21

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consider greenhouse gas emissions and overlooked the potential harm to American Indians when it approved Enbridge Energy LP’s pipeline project in Minnesota, environmental and tribal groups tell a Washington, D.C., federal court,” according to Bloomberg. “The Corps’ improper review of the project violates the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act, according to the filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The final decision should be vacated, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Sierra Club, and two other groups say in their motion for summary judgment.”

Washington Post: Biden administration wants to give more power back to states to block pipelines
By Dino Grandoni, 5/27/21

“Plans to build massive ports for shipping coal abroad, seaside terminals for supercooling gas and thousands upon thousands of miles of pipelines cutting through rivers and streams across the United States will all soon be getting extra scrutiny as the Biden administration prepares to give states and tribes more authority to block energy projects,” according to the Washington Post. “The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it will rewrite a rule finalized last year under President Donald Trump that upended the way the Clean Water Act had worked for half a century. The Trump administration tried to clear away regulatory hurdles for fossil fuel development after New York and other left-leaning states halted gas pipelines and other projects they feared may contaminate rivers, lakes and other waterways within their borders. Now, in an about-face, the agency is preparing to rework those regulations, potentially allowing state officials to take a broader array of environmental concerns — including climate change, an increasing concern among officials in blue states — into account when deciding whether to approve major construction that could defile bodies of water. “We have serious water challenges to address as a nation and as EPA Administrator, I will not hesitate to correct decisions that weakened the authority of states and Tribes to protect their waters,” Michael Regan, President Biden’s EPA chief, said in a statement. While the Biden administration did not offer specifics on how it will amend the rule, the decision comes as the construction of new oil and gas pipelines has emerged as a major point of tension in Biden’s infrastructure push.”

Montana Free Press: Oil spill reported on Crow Indian Reservation
by Amanda Eggert, 5/26/21

“An oil spill of unknown size and duration has been reported on the Crow Indian Reservation. Richard Mylott, a spokesperson for Region 8 of the Environmental Protection Agency, said his understanding is that the spill is coming from a gathering line, a pipeline used to transport crude oil from a wellhead to a central collection point. Gathering lines generally transport a lower volume of oil than transmission lines. He said there are currently no known impacts or threats to surface waters. “EPA will continue to monitor reports and will respond to any requests or needs for assistance,” Mylott told MTFP… “Montana Free Press first learned of the spill through communication with Richard White Clay, who has been active with the Crow Allottee Association, an organization that advocates for the interests of landowners on the Crow reservation. He said another association member with an allotment near Soap Creek reported the spill to him. “They found an oil spill in their creek and they sent some photos over,” he said.

Daily Local: Water main break near pipeline leaves hundreds without water
By Bill Rettew, 5/27/21

“I’m fed up with Sunoco!” exclaimed Glen Riddle Station Apartment resident Miriam Magovet,” the Daily Local reports. “Magovet has been pouring water into her toilet and brushing her teeth with bottled water for more than a day. Water service to her complex was interrupted after the water main failed, near the site where pipeline builder Sunoco/Energy Transfer has been installing the Mariner East 2 pipeline. Management was notified at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday that water service to 124 apartments and approximately 220 residents at Glen Riddle Station Apartments was impacted… “Pipeline construction and the right of way runs directly through the apartment complex. Many residents live mere feet away from building-tall sound barriers… “After learning of the waterline break, Glen Riddle management asked Sunoco to provide hotel rooms for residents. “They refused,” Steve Iacobucci, Glen Riddle asset manager, told Daily Local. “Approximately more than 250 people were affected. Sunoco’s solution was to offer a few water bottles and two porta potties – on an evening where many in our region experienced severe weather. This is beyond insufficient and unacceptable. We will continue to work with the Department of Environmental Protection, the township, the State Police, and the Delaware County District Attorney to work in the interest of our residents and our entire community.”

Facebook: Citizens’ Report: Middletown Township, Delaware County
5/27/21

“Update on the Aqua water line break at Glen Riddle Apartments from the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction for plastics… Today the Glen Riddle residents continue to have no water. It appears Energy Transfer did not strike the aqua pipe, but it cracked from all the weight of all the cement /flowable fill placed on top. The parade of cement trucks, one after another can be seen in the photo below. The huge concern here is how are the other pipes in this same easement holding up to this weight when they are vintage pipes carrying highly explosive fracking gases to make plastics oversees?  This construction needs to be halted till the structural integrity of all these pipes can be ascertained and the safety of the community assured !!!”

Facebook: Power Past Fracked Gas: Will you send a message to Pembina CEO Mick Diliger to urge him to officially cancel Jordan Cove LNG?
5/27/21

“After a decade of community opposition, Pembina Pipeline Corporation has put a “pause” on the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and fracked gas pipeline. But that’s not enough! Our neighbors, waterways, climate are still threatened until Jordan Cove LNG is CANCELLED for good.  Will you send a message to Pembina CEO Mick Diliger to urge him to officially cancel Jordan Cove LNG?
https://nolngexports.good.do/stopjordancove/cancelLNG

Facebook: NowThis [VIDEO]: This Memphis community is rallying together to stop an oil pipeline that would devastate a neighborhood already plagued by environmental racism
5/26/11

“VIDEO: This Memphis community is rallying together to stop an oil pipeline that would devastate a neighborhood already plagued by environmental racism. In partnership with Emerson Collective.”

Bloomberg: Kinder Plans Trading Move to Become Even Bigger Force in Fuels
By Gerson Freitas Jr and Sheela Tobben, 5/27/21

“Kinder Morgan Inc., the pipeline giant that made almost $1 billion selling natural gas during the Texas freeze, now plans to also trade fuels like gasoline to squeeze more profits from its vast shipping and storage network,” according to Bloomberg. “The company, which gets most of its revenue from pipeline and storage fees, will seek to also gain from buying and selling petroleum products, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be named because the plan isn’t public. In a job post on LinkedIn, the company is looking for someone with at least seven years of experience in marketing and trading refined petroleum products who will be “responsible for developing profitable commercial opportunities.” …”Major U.S. pipeline companies don’t usually trade petroleum products. Rivals like Plains All American Pipeline LP and Enterprise Products Partners LP, for instance, trade mostly crude and natural gas liquids on a regular basis. Energy Transfer LP, however, owns Sunoco LP, which actively trades fuels like gasoline and diesel.”

EXTRACTION

Alaska Journal of Commerce: UK explorer says it’s made a billion-barrel oil discovery along the Dalton Highway in Arctic Alaska
Elwood Brehmer, 5/26/21

“The leaders of a small British explorer insist they have struck an oil accumulation measured in the billions of barrels that is also conveniently located alongside the Dalton Highway. Pantheon Resources intersected two reservoirs near the bottom of its Talitha-A exploration well that, combined, likely hold roughly 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable light oil and more than 12 billion barrels of oil in place, according to Technical Director Bob Rosenthal.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Bloomberg: Environmental Justice Advocates Seek Changes to Permitting Law
Stephen Lee, 5/27/21

“Environmental justice leaders are urging the White House to force agencies to address the needs of low-income communities of color when making permitting decisions for big projects,” Bloomberg reports. “Two former Trump administration officials, however, say the permitting process already covers many of their concerns—and that further changes could slow attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The timing is ideal for making changes, environmental justice leaders say, because several factors are coming together at once. The White House Council on Environmental Quality is already contemplating reversing Trump-era changes to the National Environmental Policy Act’s implementing regulation, and President Joe Biden also has made environmental justice a top priority. Finally, Biden and Senate leaders are trying to button up a massive infrastructure bill that would authorize the building of many projects that could either help or hurt environmental justice communities. Those projects must be permitted under NEPA, such as highways that may slice through communities of color and new housing units that could shelter millions of low-income Americans. “We know that vulnerable communities are the ones that have traditionally gotten the short end of the stick,” Mustafa Santiago Ali, a former environmental justice official at the EPA, told Bloomberg. “Let’s make sure that’s no longer true.”

IMPACT LITIGATION & CLIMATE FINANCE

Reuters: Eyes on U.S. climate lawsuits after landmark Dutch ruling
5/27/21

“A landmark ruling on Wednesday by a Dutch court ordering Royal Dutch Shell to drastically cut its planned greenhouse gas emissions could impact the United States where most of the world’s climate cases are being litigated,” according to Reuters. “About 1,375 lawsuits seeking relief from climate change have been filed in U.S. courts, compared to about 425 in other various countries, according to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. The following is a summary of how litigation of the most significant cases is playing out across the United States: About two dozen lawsuits have been filed by local governments and states who have accused major oil and gas companies of contributing to the effects of global warming by selling fossil fuels whose burning generates greenhouse gases. States who have sued these companies include Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut. The lawsuits, which are pending, target companies including BP Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp. The businesses deny the allegations and say that the suits do nothing to address the challenge of climate change. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages to pay for sea walls and other infrastructure to guard against extreme weather and rising sea levels brought on by climate change.”

Politico Morning Energy: OIL MAJORS’ ROUGH DAY
Matthew Choi, 5/27/21

“Three oil supermajors — Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell — suffered rebukes on climate change on Wednesday in what experts say could be a major inflection point for the industry,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “At Exxon Mobil, at least two of activist shareholder group Engine No. 1’s dissenter candidates managed to secure spots on the board of directors at the company’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday… “Over at Chevron’s annual meeting , a majority of shareholders backed a resolution requiring the company to reduce the emissions caused by the oil and gas it sells, the so-called scope 3 emissions, over the opposition of the company’s board. And a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions, including those from its suppliers and customers, by a net 45 percent by the end of 2030 compared to 2019 levels (Shell plans to appeal the decision), saying the company’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gases were too modest… “This is one of those days that will be seen in retrospect as when everything changed, or at least the beginning of a period when everything changes and a time when investors seem to have run out of patience with this sector,” Andrew Logan, senior director of oil and gas at Ceres, told reporters Wednesday.”

CNN.com: Activist investor ousts at least two Exxon directors in historic win for pro-climate campaign
By Matt Egan and Alexis Benveniste, 5/26/21

“A hedge fund that’s criticized ExxonMobil’s climate strategy won enough shareholder support to oust at least two directors from the oil giant’s board, a major loss for the once-mighty company,” CNN.com reports. “For the first time in modern history, America’s largest oil company faced a credible challenge from an activist investor, Engine No. 1. Upset with Exxon’s financial performance and its foot-dragging on climate, the hedge fund sought to oust four directors at the company’s annual shareholder meeting… “The vote is a major milestone in the climate battle because it’s the first proxy campaign at a major US company in which the case for change was built around the shift away from fossil fuels… “We’ve been actively engaging with shareholders and received positive feedback and support, particularly for our announcements relating to low-carbon solutions and progress in efforts to reduce costs and improve earnings,” Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil said in a statement. “We heard from shareholders today about their desire to further these efforts, and we are well positioned to respond.”

Reuters/NBC News [VIDEO]: Climate activists score wins against Exxon, Shell and Chevron
By Reuters/NBC News, 5/27/21

“It has not been a good few days for Big Oil. Shareholders Wednesday rebuked the top two U.S. oil companies for dragging their feet on fighting climate change, while a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell needs to accelerate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters/NBC News reports… “On Thursday, an Australian court ruled that the country’s environment minister has an obligation to children to consider the harm caused by climate change as part of her decision-making in approving the expansion of a new coal mine…” The votes signal a new sense of urgency, Mark Van Baal, who leads a climate advocacy group that placed resolutions calling for emissions cuts at Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66, told Reuters. “All got at least 58% support. Investors are saying: “we want you to act by decreasing emissions now, not in the distant future.”

NPR: In A Landmark Case, A Dutch Court Orders Shell To Cut Its Carbon Emissions Faster
JEFF BRADY, 5/26/21

“Climate change activists have won a big legal victory against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell,” NPR reports. “A Dutch court ruled Wednesday that the company must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, based on 2019 levels. The case could set a precedent for similar lawsuits against huge oil companies that operate across the globe. “Our hope is that this verdict will trigger a wave of climate litigation against big polluters, to force them to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels,” Sara Shaw from Friends of the Earth International told NPR… “The decision comes after scientists have said most of the known fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to avoid the worst effects of climate change. This month the U.S. Supreme Court sided with major oil companies in a climate change lawsuit brought by the city of Baltimore. Justices delivered a victory to the oil giants on a technical issue — that the case should be heard in federal court instead of state court, as the city preferred. There are about a dozen similar lawsuits that U.S. state and local governments have brought.”

Earther: Shell Just Got Wrecked in Dutch Court
Brian Kahn, 5/26/21

“A court in the Netherlands just handed down a landmark ruling, ordering Shell to slash its carbon pollution 45% by 2030. It’s hard to overstate how radical the ruling is and the far-ranging impacts it could have not just for the Dutch oil giant but oil companies around the world,” according to Earther. “While Shell could challenge the ruling, its enforceable in the interim. It’s the second monster climate ruling in less than two years from courts in the Netherlands. In late 2019, courts ruled in favor of environmental group Urgenda, which sued the government for failing to address climate change and set much more expedient climate targets for the country. “Like Urgenda, it’s absolutely historic,” Harro van Asselt, a law professor at the University of East Finland, told Earther, referring to the Shell case. Just as that case had ripple effects in courtrooms in other countries, so could the Shell ruling. Roger Cox, one of the lawyers on the case, told Dutch news site NU that “a Dutch judge can impose a judgment that should be enforced in the eighty countries where Shell is active.” He also noted that it could follow in the footsteps of the Urgenda, setting a precedent that could lead to more suits like it around the world. “These kinds of cases can create momentum of their own.”

Oil Change International: “Tears of Joy:” Activists Win Landmark Climate Case against Shell in the Netherlands
BY ANDY ROWELL, 5/27/21

“Sometimes the word historic or landmark is overused. But not in this case. In a legal judgement that will be equally celebrated by climate activists worldwide and feared in Big Oil boardrooms, for the first time in history, a judge has held a corporation liable for causing dangerous climate change. And that company is Shell… “The Judge in the case, Larisa Alwin, ruled that the oil giant must “at once” reduce its CO2 output, adding that the case would have “far-reaching consequences” for Shell, maybe even curbing “the potential growth of the Shell group”.She added that even if the obligation might have far-reaching consequences for Shell, “the interest served with the reduction obligation outweighs the Shell group’s commercial interests.” This historic verdict will have serious and far implications for Shell and other big polluters globally. Roger Cox, lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands, was esctatic at the vedict: “This is a turning point in history. This case is unique because it is the first time a judge has ordered a large polluting corporation to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement. This ruling may also have major consequences for other big polluters.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE 

North Carolina State University: Natural Gas Pipeline Density Higher Overall in More Vulnerable U.S. Counties
Laura Oleniacz, 5/27/21

“An analysis led by North Carolina State University researchers found counties with more socially vulnerable populations had a higher density of natural gas pipelines overall,” according to a report from North Carolina State University. “The findings suggest counties that are more socially vulnerable are also at greater risk of facing water and air pollution, public health and safety issues, and other negative impacts associated with the pipelines. “We know that the network, as it stands today, is already distributed in such a way that any negative impacts fall disproportionately on vulnerable communities,” said the study’s lead author, Ryan Emanuel, a professor of forestry and environmental resources at NC State. “Right now, when regulators evaluate the social impacts of these projects, they are treated in isolation, and not as part of a massive network that affects more than 70 percent of all the counties in the U.S.” …“For the 2,261 counties with pipelines in them – about 72 percent of U.S. counties – researchers found a correlation between counties with higher scores of social vulnerability, and the density of pipeline infrastructure. “In general, the denser the pipeline network, the higher the social vulnerability score,” said study co-author Louie Rivers III, associate professor of forestry and environmental resources at NC State. “The indication is the most vulnerable populations are also vulnerable to exploitation in terms of what people do with the land near them.” …“For planning the path of future projects, researchers say more nuance is needed in the regulatory process to evaluate communities. While population density is used as a factor used by regulators in assessing the severity of negative impacts of pipelines, density alone could overlook ways in which rural communities may be more vulnerable. “When you evaluate the pipeline project for a rural area, you can’t just assume that the concerns of a rural community are just going to be low-density versions of urban concerns,” Emanuel said. “Rural issues are not less intense versions of urban issues. We also know from past research that these projects can have a destabilizing influence on rural communities.” Researchers also highlighted impacts of pipeline infrastructure on Indigenous communities in the U.S. They noted the Dakota Access, Keystone XL, Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge Line 3 pipelines cross, or are proposed to cross, Indigenous territories in the U.S. and Canada. This raises concerns for communities about not only pollution or risks for health, but also for cultural harm to places with religious, historical or cultural significance.”

NPR: Earth Is Barreling Toward 1.5 Degrees Celsius Of Warming, Scientists Warn
Rebecca Hersher, 5/16/21

“The average temperature on Earth is now consistently 1 degree Celsius hotter than it was in the late 1800s, and that temperature will keep rising toward the critical 1.5-degree Celsius benchmark over the next five years, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization,” NPR reports. “…The authors of the new report predict there is a 44% chance that the average annual temperature on Earth will temporarily hit 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming at some point in the next five years. That likelihood has doubled since last year. “We’re seeing accelerating change in our climate,” Randall Cerveny, a climate scientist at Arizona State University and a World Meteorological Organization rapporteur who was not involved in the report, told NPR. “…Years with record-breaking heat offer a glimpse of the future. For example, 2020 was one of the hottest years on record. Last year, global temperatures were about 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter than the late 1800s, according to the WMO. Millions of people suffered immensely as a result. The U.S. experienced a record-breaking number of billion-dollar weather disasters, including hurricanes and wildfires. Widespread droughts, floods and heat waves killed people on every continent except Antarctica. Recent climate disasters underscore the extent to which a couple degrees of warming can have enormous effects. For example, during the last ice age the Earth was only about 6 degrees Celsius colder than it is now, on average. An increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius “is a very, very, very, very big number,” Cerveny told NPR. “We need to be concerned about it.”

E&E News: Poll: Fossil fuel phaseout unpopular across age, party divide
Nick Sobczyk, 5/26/21

Younger Americans are significantly more likely to be engaged on climate change policy, but the issue is still plagued by massive partisan divides, according to new survey data from the Pew Research Center,” E&E News reports. “Overall, 64% of those polled said addressing climate change should be a priority, but the majority also oppose phasing out fossil fuels entirely, preferring a mix of energy resources for the future… “The survey found that millennials and Generation Z are more likely to be concerned about climate change and more likely to be engaged with the issue in activism and on social media compared with baby boomers, Generation X and the silent generation. Sixty-seven percent of Gen Z respondents and 61% of millennials said they had talked about the need for climate action in the last few weeks, compared with 53% of Gen Xers and 50% of boomers. Those generational divides also cut across party lines, with younger Republicans significantly more likely than their older peers to be engaged on climate issues. According to the survey — which had a margin of error of 1.4 percentage points — 49% of Gen Z and 48% of millennial Republicans said climate action should be prioritized, compared with 30% among Gen X and 26% among those in the baby boom generation and older… “Most Republicans — 58% — said addressing climate change is not important for them. By contrast, climate change was among the most important issues to Democrats, with half saying it is a top personal concern.”

Center for Economic and Policy Research: The Employment Impact of Curtailing Fossil Fuel Use
DEAN BAKER, AIDEN LEE, 5/27/21

“President Biden has indicated his intention to promote policies that radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit damage to the environment from climate change. This implies a substantial reduction in the use of fossil fuels in the coming decades. Cutbacks in the use of oil and natural gas will inevitably lead to job loss in these industries. This study projects the amount of displacement that can reasonably be anticipated. It breaks down these projections into the loss of jobs where skills can be readily transferred, (for example, accountants and salespeople) and the loss of jobs where the skills are largely industry specific (such as oil field roustabouts). The study also attempts to put this projected job loss in a context that makes it more meaningful. Specifically, it compares these projected annual losses to the jobs lost in manufacturing during the rise of the trade deficit between 2000 and 2007, and to the normal amount of job loss the economy sees in a day. These comparisons show that even assuming an aggressive schedule of phasing out these fossil fuel industries over two decades, the annual job loss will be an order of magnitude smaller than the average number of jobs lost in manufacturing between each year between 2000 and 2007. The projected annual job loss will also be less than the number of workers that employers typically fire or lay off in a single day.”

OPINION

WSJ: Gov. Whitmer Was Right to Shut Pipeline Down
Letter, 5/27/21

“The Line 5 shutdown is the right call. David Jacobson and Gary Doer’s “Pipeline Politics Threatens Energy Up North” (op-ed, May 18) is misleading about Enbridge’s Line 5. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is right, Line 5 is “a ticking time bomb,” according to a letter in WSJ. “This 68-year-old pipeline was designed to operate for only 50 years. It has already reported 33 polluting spills, some close to the Great Lakes. Its protective coating is incomplete and its supports are sinking. It is particularly vulnerable in the busy shipping channel in the Straits of Mackinac, where it was recently dented by an anchor. An oil spill in the Straits would be disastrous. Did we learn nothing when Enbridge devastated the Kalamazoo River with a gigantic spill from a 41-year-old pipeline?”

CBC: (Mis)understanding Vivian Krause: The inspiration behind Jason Kenney’s inquiry into un-Albertan activities didn’t say what you thought she said
Andrew Leach, 5/28/21

“Vivian Krause, the erstwhile detective who inspired Premier Jason Kenney’s beleaguered inquiry into un-Albertan activities, was back in the news this week,” Andrew Leach writes for CBC. “A series of Twitter posts seemed to cast doubt on what many have assumed was her narrative all along: that U.S. commercial interests were somehow behind the now-infamous Tar Sands Campaign to slow or halt development of Alberta’s oilsands. And yet, Krause was emphatic that no such narrative was ever present in her work, as tempting as such a link might be… “Those who feel under attack, who have seen projects cancelled and delayed in Canada, and who don’t see the breadth of environmental campaigns continentally or globally, will be predisposed to a feeling of victimhood, which Krause’s information readily affirms. It’s really no wonder that people think that Vivian Krause has spent years advocating for a conspiracy theory of a disproportionate attack on Alberta’s oil and gas industry by foundations with ties to the U.S. oil industry. She’s given them all the pieces of the puzzle and she gives the appearance of understanding how people have been putting those pieces together. If it really bothers her, she could give people the information they need in ways which would allow them to make better judgments.”

Albuquerque Journal: Editorial: Refineries need monitoring
BY ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD, 5/27/21

“With 650 employees, the HollyFrontier Navajo Refinery in Artesia is the town’s biggest private employer. The refinery also has a record of emitting high levels of benzene, making it the town’s biggest environmental threat. State and federal regulators found “unauthorized emissions” of benzene at tanks in a 2019 inspection of the Main Street refinery. Benzene, a natural constituent of crude oil, is a human carcinogen. Even tiny amounts can be harmful. The Artesia refinery and HollyFrontier’s other New Mexico refinery, near Lovington, were among 13 U.S. sites that exceeded the federal action level last year, according to a recent report from the Environmental Integrity Project. The report says pollution emitting from the Artesia facility is a public health hazard for nearby residents. High benzene levels at the refinery in a sparsely populated area south of Lovington are attributed to a large off-site oil spill last year…”

Bloomberg: Investors to Big Oil: Energy transition is happening, and there’s no going back
By KEVIN CROWLEY, 5/27/2021

“Fresh from striking a hammer blow in the boardrooms of the world’s biggest oil companies, the climate movement has a clear message: the energy transition is happening and there’s no turning back,” according to Bloomberg. “Just five years ago, environmental activists were limited to waving placards outside of annual meetings and to the odd shareholder proposal, inevitably rebuffed by the boards and management teams. On Wednesday by contrast, stock investors ousted two Exxon Mobil Corp. directors seen as insufficiently attuned to the threat of climate change, while Chevron Corp. shareholders voted for a proposal to compel the company to reduce pollution by its customers. Royal Dutch Shell Plc was ordered to slash emissions harder and faster than planned by a Dutch court… “Tuesday’s events mark a rude awakening for Big Oil’s powerful executives, who long marched to the beat of their own drum, with little need to take advice from shareholders on how to run their businesses. For much of the decade before the 2014 oil crash, energy companies were among the biggest cash cows in the stock market and the cornerstone of most major pension funds. At the heart of their power was one iron-clad macroeconomic rule of the last half-century: the developed world’s thirst for energy was growing, and Big Oil had it. But in the past decade, the U.S. shale revolution and the climate movement disrupted that trend from the supply and demand sides, respectively. For too long, Exxon — and to a large extent, its rivals — missed them both. Oil and gas stocks now make up a tiny share of the overall market.”

HuffPost: Is This A Turning Point For Big Oil?
By Alexander C. Kaufman, 5/26/11

“Three of the world’s largest oil companies faced a reckoning over climate change Wednesday as shareholder revolts and a landmark court ruling added new pressure to slash emissions,” Alexander C. Kaufman writes in HuffPost. “Royal Dutch Shell suffered the first blow, as a civil court in the Netherlands ordered the company to cut its carbon dioxide emissions 45% below 2019 levels by the end of the decade. Then, at the annual shareholder meeting of Exxon Mobil Corp. in Dallas, a comparatively tiny activist hedge fund seeking to shift the oil giant away from fossil fuels and toward renewables won two seats on the board of directors. That afternoon, climate-concerned shareholders at Chevron Corporation’s annual investor confab voted to force the company to make a plan to cut emissions generated from the use of its product ― making the Texas firm responsible for the pollution its customers create when burning oil and gas. “This really is the start of a new era for Big Oil,” said Clark Williams-Derry, an oil analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, an energy research outfit. “You can’t shrug this off as having had a bad day. This is all three largest supermajors taking it on the chin from shareholders or the courts… “It’s going to be similar to what happened to Big Tobacco in the mid-1990s, [where it’s] still one of the better performing sectors, but not investing in growth, just reaping cash flow,” Fernando Valle, an oil analyst at the energy consultancy BloombergNEF, told HuffPost. “People kept smoking, albeit fewer of them and in far fewer environments. To make oil consumption a thing of the past, you still have to change societal needs.”

The New Yorker: Big Oil’s Bad, Bad Day
By Bill McKibben, 5/26/21

“In what may be the most cataclysmic day so far for the traditional fossil-fuel industry, a remarkable set of shareholder votes and court rulings have scrambled the future of three of the world’s largest oil companies,” Bill McKibben writes in The New Yorker. “…The action at ExxonMobil’s shareholder meeting was fascinating: the company, which regularly used to make the list of most-admired companies, had been pulling out all stops to defeat the slate of dissident candidates, which was put forward by Engine No. 1, a tiny activist fund based in San Francisco that owns just 0.02 per cent of the company’s stock, but has insisted that Exxon needs a better answer to the question of how to meet the climate challenge… “The decision by the Dutch court, which Shell has already said it expects to appeal, is at least as remarkable. Drawing, in part, on European human-rights laws, it finds that, though Shell has begun to make changes in its business plans, they are not moving fast enough to fall in line with the demands of science, and that it must more than double the pace of its planned emissions cuts. “The court understands that the consequences could be big for Shell,” Jeannette Honée, a spokeswoman for the court, said in a video about the ruling. “But the court believes that the consequences of severe climate change are more important than Shell’s interests.” Honée continued, “Severe climate change has consequences for human rights, including the right to life. And the court thinks that companies, among them Shell, have to respect those human rights… “It’s clear that the arguments that many have been making for a decade have sunk in at the highest levels: there is no actual way to evade the inexorable mathematics of climate change. If you want to keep the temperature low enough that civilization will survive, you have to keep coal and oil and gas in the ground. That sounded radical a decade ago. Now it sounds like the law.”

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