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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 5/4/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips May 4, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Associated Press: Mountain Valley Pipeline to Seek New Permits, Boosting Cost

  • Bloomberg: Key U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Delayed as Costs Grow to $6.6 Billion

  • Press release: Equitrans Midstream Announces First Quarter 2022 Results

  • Globe and Mail: Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline faces second shutdown risk in the Great Lakes after Indigenous band asks U.S. court for injunction

  • Reuters: Energy Transfer to supply LNG to SK Gas for 18 years

  • KELO: Pipeline moratorium in Minnehaha Co. to be considered

  • Pipeline Fighters Hub: Does Federal Law Prohibit Counties from Imposing Setbacks on CO2 Pipelines?

  • Mississippi Valley Publishing: Supervisors urge IUB to revise pipeline inspectors’ rules

  • NWIowa.com: Lyon County board airs pipeline concerns

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Sees North American LNG Exports Swelling 90% by 2030

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: LNG Demand Driving Williams’ $1.5B Investment in Natural Gas Pipeline Expansions

  • Wilsonville Spokesman: New federal rules for automatic shutoff valves don’t apply to Wilsonville pipeline

  • Houston Chronicle: Are pipeline companies too powerful? Texas’ unusual gas market faces fight over winter storm costs

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Alaska senator slams Biden rollback of Arctic oil access

STATE UPDATES

EXTRACTION

  • Guardian: How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage

  • Axios: Get ready to start hearing about “certified natural gas”

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Insure Our Future: Arch Becomes Eighteenth Insurer to Sever Ties with the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline

  • The Tyee: What Haunts Canada’s Banks? A Green Pivot from Oilsands

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Associated Press: Mountain Valley Pipeline to Seek New Permits, Boosting Cost
5/3/22

“Mountain Valley Pipeline will seek new permits that courts have rejected twice, increasing the cost for the proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through Virginia and West Virginia and delaying its completion, officials said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports. “…The pipeline’s cost is now projected to be $6.6 billion and its completion would be delayed to 2023. “After engaging with the federal agencies and evaluating all options, we believe the best path forward for MVP’s completion is to pursue new permits,” said Thomas Karam, chairman and chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh company. Four other energy companies, including a subsidiary of Roanoke Gas Co., are building the 303-mile (487-kilometer) pipeline that would transport natural gas drilled from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations through West Virginia and Virginia. “We are still all lockstep in agreement with our partners in terms of the path forward and what our costs will be,” Diana Charletta, Equitrans’ president and chief operating officer, said during the call.

Bloomberg: Key U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Delayed as Costs Grow to $6.6 Billion
Gerson Freitas Jr., 5/3/22

“A major U.S. natural gas pipeline project has been delayed again as developer Equitrans Midstream Corp. pursues new permits for the troubled conduit,” Bloomberg reports. “The Mountain Valley Pipeline is now estimated to start up in the second half of 2023 and will cost $6.6 billion, the company said Tuesday in a statement. That’s up from a previous forecast of $6.2 billion. Until late last year, Equitrans expected the pipeline to start operating by this summer. It was originally expected to be in service in 2018, and the cost estimate has roughly doubled since the project was announced in 2014. Equitrans is trying to get new permits for the project after a U.S. appeals court earlier this year tossed the federal government’s approval for Mountain Valley to go through Jefferson National Forest in the Virginias… “Equitrans, which owns 48% of the 303-mile (488-kilometer) conduit, has funded about $2.6 billion of the project and expects to spend $3.4 billion.”

Press release: Equitrans Midstream Announces First Quarter 2022 Results
5/3/22

“Equitrans Midstream Corporation, today, announced financial and operational results for the first quarter 2022… “The FERC’s unanimous approval of MVP’s Certificate Amendment was an important step forward for the MVP project,” said Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans chairman and chief executive officer. “After engaging with the federal agencies and evaluating all options, we believe the best path forward for MVP’s completion is to pursue new permits. While we continue to believe that the Fourth Circuit Court’s opinions related to MVP’s forest crossing permit and Biological Opinion were wrong and represent a significant departure from traditional judicial deference, we are confident the agencies can and will produce even more comprehensive documentation to address the court’s concerns. To reflect the time required for permit re-issuance and to ensure safe, responsible project construction, we have revised our MVP in-service target to the second half of 2023.” “…After evaluating legal options and consulting with the relevant federal agencies, MVP JV plans to pursue new permits from the agencies and ETRN is now targeting a full in-service date during the second half of 2023 at a total project cost of approximately $6.6 billion. Through March 31, 2022, ETRN has funded approximately $2.6 billion and, based on the total project cost estimate, expects to fund a total of approximately $3.4 billion and to have an approximate 48.1% ownership interest in MVP… “The MVP JV continues to evaluate the MVP Southgate project, including engaging in discussions with the shipper regarding options for the project, which includes potential changes to the project design and timing in lieu of pursuing the project as originally contemplated. As originally designed, MVP Southgate is estimated to cost approximately $450 million to $500 million and is backed by a 300 MMcf per day firm capacity commitment from Dominion Energy North Carolina. In 2022, ETRN expects to make capital contributions related to MVP Southgate of approximately $5 million.”

Globe and Mail: Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline faces second shutdown risk in the Great Lakes after Indigenous band asks U.S. court for injunction
STEVEN CHASESENIOR, 5/3/22

“The Line 5 energy pipeline is facing another threat of shutdown: a Wisconsin Indigenous band has asked a U.S. court for a quick judgment on an application to evict the pipeline from its land,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa, which filed its application earlier this year, is asking a U.S. federal court for a permanent injunction that would require owner Enbridge Inc. ENB-T to “cease operation of the pipeline and to safely decommission and remove it.” This latest risk to Line 5 is on top of an effort by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to cease the pipeline’s operations over fear of an oil spill in the Great Lakes. The Canadian government is trying to quash that attempt via negotiations with the United States… “Easements granted for Line 5 to cross the Bad River Band’s reservation have expired, and while Calgary-based Enbridge has proposed to reroute the pipeline around the land, the Indigenous group is not prepared to wait… “The application for summary judgment in Wisconsin asks the court to rule on the Bad River Band’s lawsuit without a trial. Mr. Semko told the Mail the company filed its opposition to the summary judgment request in late April. He noted that the Wisconsin band granted permission via a signed agreement 1992 for Enbridge to operate on the reservation until 2043… “The Canadian government said it would not file a brief opposing the Bad River Band’s application.”

Reuters: Energy Transfer to supply LNG to SK Gas for 18 years
5/3/22

“U.S. pipeline operator Energy Transfer LP (ET.N) said on Tuesday it will supply 0.4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year to South Korea’s SK Gas Trading LLC for 18 years,” Reuters reports. “Long-term LNG contracts are ramping up as sanctions on Russian fuel squeeze an already tightly supplied market and increase global demand for U.S. LNG. Energy Transfer said first deliveries are expected to begin in 2026 from its Lake Charles export facility in Louisiana. This is Energy Transfer’s fourth supply deal announced in the last four weeks, bringing the total LNG contracted from its Lake Charles project to 5.1 million tonnes per year.”

KELO: Pipeline moratorium in Minnehaha Co. to be considered
Kelli Volk, 5/3/22

“The Minnehaha County Commission is expected to consider a moratorium on new pipelines at its next meeting,” KELO reports. “The moratorium would be aimed at giving the county more time to develop regulations for pipelines that carry hazardous gasses or liquids. Commissioner Dean Karsky thinks the moratorium should be no more than a year. “And why do we have a moratorium? It’s not just to have a moratorium, but to truly dig into the issues of hazardous pipelines and what are the setbacks that currently exist? Are they adequate? What are the depths of pipelines?” Minnehaha County Commissioner Dean Karsky told KELO. Commissioners will see a first draft of the moratorium at their next meeting on May 17th.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub: Does Federal Law Prohibit Counties from Imposing Setbacks on CO2 Pipelines?
Paul Blackburn, 5/3/22

“As landowners and counties are being inundated with carbon pipeline companies wanting to take land by eminent domain, a common concern raised by many county officials is whether or not federal law allows their county to impose setbacks on pipelines. The short answer is that it depends on the type of pipeline,” according to the Pipeline Fighters Hub. “The federal Natural Gas Act (NGA) does preempt county setbacks for interstate natural gas pipelines, but this act does not apply to oil and CO2 pipelines. Instead, no federal law authorizes the federal government to generally determine the route or location of an oil or CO2 pipeline. More specifically, the federal Pipeline Safety Act does not prohibit county setbacks for or county routing of oil and CO2 pipelines… “If a state law does not prohibit a county from regulating the route of a pipeline, the county may determine its location just like it can any other land use, including via setbacks or determining the route of the pipeline through the county. If neither a state nor a county regulate route, and the state has given pipeline companies the power of eminent domain, then a pipeline developer can by itself choose the route, and landowners have no say in this decision. The issue of whether or not state law allows a county to issue a setback for oil and CO2 pipelines varies by state, and for some states determining the scope of county authority requires an analysis that can’t be squeezed into a single blog post… “Ultimately, county officials should consult with their county attorneys about the scope of county authority over CO2 pipeline setbacks and route. This blog post will give them a head start. They should request a formal written memorandum rather than a shoot-from-the-hip opinion, because pipeline law is obscure and complex, so sometimes even lawyers are misinformed.” 

Mississippi Valley Publishing: Supervisors urge IUB to revise pipeline inspectors’ rules
Robin Delaney, 5/4/22

“In response to recent complaints from residents, Lee County Supervisors approved a letter of support for revisions to the Iowa code giving more discretion and authority to pipeline inspectors at their regular meeting Monday,” Mississippi Valley Publishing reports. “The letter signed by all supervisors references the county’s involvement with the Dakota Access Pipeline Project and dissatisfaction some property owners had with how their land was treated. “We have heard from many landowners that are not satisfied with how their land was restored during and after construction,” the letter states. At last week’s Lee County Board meeting, resident Kevin Hohl spoke up about the upcoming pipeline installations and how the last construction by Dakota Access was what he called a “disaster.” “…The ability for the inspector to halt operations during wet conditions would prevent rutting or further damage to the soil and we are very much in favor of this,” the letter states. Supervisor Ron Fedler said the letter does not discourage or oppose the construction of the pipelines, but supports giving inspectors more control to protect landowners’ rights… “Other proposed revisions pending the IUB’s approval are: A detailed in-field topsoil survey prior to construction that requires multiple measurements every 500 feet; Deep tillage at least 18 inches deep on crop ground and 12 inches deep on pasture ground prior to topsoil replacement to alleviate compaction concerns; Topsoil stockpile stabilization using seeding and mulch or soil tackifier to protect topsoil quality.”

NWIowa.com: Lyon County board airs pipeline concerns
Elijah Helton, 5/3/22

“Local governments have no legal power to stop carbon dioxide pipelines, but that didn’t stop the Lyon County supervisors from making their objections clear,” NWIowa.com reports. “…The board had a slew of problems with Summit. Supervisor Cory Altena, a farmer in rural George, said that land from previous pipeline construction has decreased the quality of farmland many years after. The base deal Summit offers only covers crop damage for three years and only 60 percent in the final year. Drain tile damage would have lifetime coverage. “That’s not enough. You’re going to be looking at six, seven, eight years before that crop gets back to normal, if it ever does get back to normal,” Altena said… “Fellow supervisor Jerry Birkey questioned the deal’s fairness. “They’re going to make money. The ethanol plants are making money. The contractors are making money. The only people not making money are the farmers,” Birkey said… “We have eminent domain rights,” said Troney Langston, the lead construction manager for Summit Carbon Solutions. “That is not what we want to do here.” Supervisor Steve Herman was not satisfied with how the state is handling the issue. To him, it should not even be a possibility, as he remarked at Tuesday’s meeting. “This is not a public utility. I can’t believe it is,” Herman said.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Sees North American LNG Exports Swelling 90% by 2030
ANDREW BAKER, 5/3/22

“TC Energy Corp. now expects liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from North America to reach 25 Bcf/d by 2030, up more than 90% from current levels, according to CEO Francois Poirier,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “…TC connects about 25% of gas supply apportioned for U.S. LNG exports through its extensive pipeline network, according to Poirier… “So far this year, the second phase of TC’s 1.1 Bcf/d Grand Cheniere Xpress pipeline has entered service, while the 800 MMcf/d Louisiana Xpress pipeline is expected to be fully in service over the coming months. The pipelines serve Lousiana’s Calcasieu Pass and Sabine Pass LNG export facilities, respectively. In addition, over the last several weeks, TC has obtained approval from FERC for three pipelines with combined capacity of about 1.4 Bcf/d, all of which are designed to serve LNG exports as well.  The projects greenlit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission include the 700 MMcf/d East Lateral XPress project on TC’s Columbia Gas Transmission system, which would support the proposed second phase of Venture Global Inc.’s Plaquemines liquefaction terminal. The 200 MMcf/d Alberta XPress project is designed to deliver gas to Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass LNG facility. TC’s proposed North Baja Xpress project would support Sempra’s Energía Costa Azul liquefaction project planned for Mexico’s west coast. These projects are “just a start,” Poirier said. “Our unparalleled pipeline network is critical to the delivery of LNG volumes today and it underlines the tremendous opportunity that we have to connect supply to the growing LNG export market.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: LNG Demand Driving Williams’ $1.5B Investment in Natural Gas Pipeline Expansions
LETICIA GONZALES, 5/3/22

“Midstream giant Williams is spending about $1.5 billion to grow its natural gas transportation capacity by nearly 2 Bcf/d over the next few years to accommodate growing demand, particularly for exports, according to management,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “One of the six transmission projects the Tulsa-based midstreamer is developing is a 364 MMcf/d expansion on the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. (Transco) system, the country’s largest gas system. Williams management said Tuesday it has secured customer commitments for the Texas to Louisiana Energy Pathway Project to serve liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand… “Meanwhile, Williams last week closed on its acquisition of Quantum Energy Partners’ Trace Midstream. The purchase more than doubled its Haynesville Shale footprint to 4 Bcf/d-plus from 1.8 Bcf/d… “We are optimistic that regulators recognize the need for a reliable permitting process to support natural gas infrastructure,” Armstrong told NGI. “Importantly, key legislative leaders have renewed their focus on streamlining permitting in our country to ensure we’ve got the necessary midstream infrastructure to support our country’s LNG build-out goals.” Williams also is “encouraged” by recent discussions with FERC and “their clear desire to see good projects that reduce emissions in the markets they serve,” said the CEO. Elsewhere across the Lower 48, Williams reached an agreement on two gathering expansions for the rich Utica and Marcellus shale regions. The midstreamer also is expanding its reach in the Gulf of Mexico. The company during the quarter clinched a transportation and processing agreement with Salamanca producers in the deepwater, with first production expected by mid-2025.”

Wilsonville Spokesman: New federal rules for automatic shutoff valves don’t apply to Wilsonville pipeline
Corey Buchanan, 5/4/22

“A couple years after the energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan added automatic shutoff valves to the portion of its Sante Fe Petroleum Pipeline near Wilsonville, the federal agency responsible for regulating pipelines across the United States — the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — is adding a shutoff valve requirement for all new or replaced pipeline infrastructure,” the Wilsonville Spokesman reports. “Far too many Americans have experienced the consequences of pipeline failures,” United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a press release March 31. “Today we are taking an important step to protect communities against hazardous pipeline leaks — helping to save the lives, property, and jobs of people in every part of the country while preventing super-polluting methane leaks.” This decision comes a few months after the department discovered 2,700 anomalies along Kinder Morgan’s pipelines across the country, including the one that runs from Eugene to Portland. The report stated that the deficiencies could pose a “significant integrity threat, placing the pipelines at heightened risk of failure, threatening harm to people and the environment.” The federal agency’s new rules would not apply to the Sante Fe pipeline because it is not new or being replaced, to the chagrin of Wilsonville resident Shawn O’Neil — who initially raised the issue of the need for shutoff valves near Wilsonville. “Essentially, it is our opinion this PHMSA rule definition is code for- ‘you do not have to do these safety upgrades until after you have a catastrophic event which takes out a 2 mile stretch of your pipeline,'” O’Neil wrote.

Houston Chronicle: Are pipeline companies too powerful? Texas’ unusual gas market faces fight over winter storm costs
James Osborne, 5/4/22

“On a February morning in 2021, a trader at the San Antonio utility CPS Energy messaged his counterpart at the pipeline company Energy Transfer to get a price for natural gas to run CPS power plants over the coming weekend. On a typical day, CPS might have expected to pay $2 or $3 per million British thermal units. But 90 minutes later, the Energy Transfer trader wrote back, “Ok, are you sitting down?” before quoting $150 per mmbtu — five times Texas’s previous record for gas, according to a court document filed by CPS in September,” the Houston Chronicle reports. “Nine minutes later, before the CPS trader had even responded, Energy Transfer — Texas’s largest gas supplier — raised the price to $225. Three days later, with a frigid winter storm sweeping across Texas and leaving millions of Texans without electricity, Energy Transfer raised the price to $500 per mmbtu. The massive increase in natural gas prices during last winter’s blackout has set off a wave of litigation in state and federal courts and prompted an investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, casting a spotlight on the workings of Texas’s complex, opaque and lightly regulated natural gas market. The Texas market, unlike any other in the United States, provides opportunities for pipeline companies such as Energy Transfer to exercise vast market — sometimes monopoly — power to demand whatever prices they want in times of gas shortages, resulting in soaring costs for customers and profits for the companies, according to experts and legal filings.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Alaska senator slams Biden rollback of Arctic oil access
HEATHER RICHARDS, 5/2/22

“Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the Biden administration’s decision to ban potential oil drilling across half of the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska ignored Alaska Native input and will undercut future American energy production,” E&E News reports. “It was a political decision to make it more difficult for the people of the North Slope to develop,” he said today in a call with reporters. The Interior Department last week published a new record of decision for the reserve’s management plan, reinstating a 2013 plan that allows potential drilling on just less than half of the 23 million-acre reserve that lies on Alaska’s Arctic coast… “Sullivan criticized Interior’s decision as “shortsighted,” noting how critical development in the reserve can be to remote communities and their economies.”

STATE UPDATES

San Francisco Chronicle: California wants 100% renewable power. It just hit that milestone — briefly
Julie Johnson, 5/2/22

“California hit a major clean energy milestone over the weekend when the state’s renewable power sources like solar and wind generated essentially as much electricity as the state needed,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “The record occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday, as solar power production soared before late-afternoon power demand kicked in. “California achieved 100% renewable energy today. Very clear we can achieve clean energy everyday before 2030 if we cut the fossil fuel subsidies and political inertia,” Daniel Kammen, an energy professor at UC Berkeley, wrote on Twitter. The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s grid, said that the share of renewable energy peaked at 99.87% — marking a record for the state, albeit a fleeting one. A brief time period does not reflect the overall electricity picture in California. Spring is a time of relatively low power demand, because moderate temperatures outside mean less need for heating or cooling, and longer days bring high solar power production. Californians still rely heavily on natural gas throughout the year. Natural gas provided 37% of energy in the state in 2020 — more than the 33% of all renewable energy sources combined, the latest data from the California Energy Commission. Solar power provided 13% and wind 11% of the state’s electricity. Still, clean power advocates viewed Saturday’s marker as brief but stunning proof of the energy shift made over the past several decades. California must get 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045 if it is to meet a goal signed into law nearly four years ago by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.”

EXTRACTION

Guardian: How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage
Leanna First-Arai, 5/4/22

“The oil and gas industry wants to play a word-and-picture association game with you. Think of four images: a brightly-colored backpack stuffed with pencils, a smiling teacher with a tablet tucked under her arm, a pair of glasses resting on a stack of pastel notebooks, and a gleaming school bus welcoming a young student aboard,” the Guardian reports. “What do all of these have in common?” an April 6 Facebook post by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), asked. “They are powered by oil and natural gas!” Here in New Mexico – the fastest-warming and most water-stressed state in the continental US, where wildfires have recently devoured over 120,000 acres and remain uncontained – the oil and gas industry is coming out in force to deepen the region’s dependence on fossil fuels. Their latest tactic: to position oil and gas as a patron saint of education. Powerful interest groups have deployed a months-long campaign to depict schools and children’s wellbeing as under threat if government officials infringe upon fossil fuel production. In a video spot exemplary of this strategy, Ashley Niman, a fourth grade teacher at Enchanted Hills elementary school tells viewers that the industry is what enables her to do her job. “Without oil and gas, we would not have the resources to provide an exemplary education for our students,” she says. “The partnership we have with the oil and gas industry makes me a better teacher.” The video, from September last year, is part of a PR campaign by NMOGA called “Safer and Stronger”. It’s one of many similar strategies the Guardian tracked across social media, television, and audio formats that employs a rhetorical strategy social scientists refer to as the “fossil fuel savior frame”. “What NMOGA and the oil and gas industry are saying is that we hold New Mexico’s public education system hostage to our profit-motivated interests,” Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center, told the Guardian. “There’s an implied threat there.”

Axios: Get ready to start hearing about “certified natural gas”
Alan Neuhauser, 5/2/22

“The nonprofit MiQ wants to create the standard for certifying so-called low-emissions natural gas,” Axios reports. “Why it matters: In theory, the effort could create a shared playbook — and new market incentives — for natural gas suppliers and consumers to reduce the sector’s emissions. Yes, but: It might also create a natural gas version of the “organic” sticker on produce, a label that doesn’t mean nearly as much as consumers might think. Driving the news: Last month, Alan reported that fuel-cell maker Bloom Energy planned to use only “certified natural gas,” sourced from the country’s largest natural gas supplier, EQT. They’re far from the only ones adopting the label: ExxonMobil in September, for example, declared that it would certify natural gas produced in New Mexico… “The big picture: The approach is based on the growing recognition that fossil fuels, and natural gas in particular, are going to remain integral parts of the global economy, even as companies and countries push to address the climate crisis. What they’re saying: MiQ intends to create a free-flowing market for the certificates — and, it hopes, ultimately a shared regulatory framework for reducing emissions from the natural gas sector… “The truth is that [responsibly sourced gas] on a large scale is just another false solution that the fossil fuel industry is pushing to try to stay relevant and extend the lifespan of its product at a time when the science is clear that we need to be winding down production of all fossil fuels, including gas, if we want to avert the worst of the worst of the climate crisis,” Patrick Grenter, associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, tells Axios.

CLIMATE FINANCE

Insure Our Future: Arch Becomes Eighteenth Insurer to Sever Ties with the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline
5/3/22

“Trans Mountain insurer and Lloyd’s of London syndicate Arch Insurance has committed to no longer insure the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline after its current insurance policy expires this summer. Arch joins seventeen insurance companies, including fellow Lloyd’s syndicate Aspen most recently, that have dropped Trans Mountain or vowed not to insure the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Amid pressure from activists to break ties with the tar sands pipeline expansion, in an email to Coal Action Network, a spokesperson for Arch stated: “We can confirm that Arch Capital Group Ltd, on behalf of its underwriting operations, will not issue any future insurance policies covering the Trans Mountain Pipeline.” “As the 18th insurer to rule out Trans Mountain, Arch is confirming that fossil fuel projects without Free Prior and Informed consent are a material risk, and Trans Mountain’s steps to keep their insurers secret will not stop the momentum towards a safer and more just world. Trans Mountain is currently looking for more financing to continue construction, but who will fund such a risky project?” said Charlene Aleck, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative… “Lloyd’s of London has increasingly been the target of protests in the UK for its connection to the pipeline in the lead up to Lloyd’s of London actual Annual General Meeting on May 19. Resistance has included 60 people from Extinction Rebellion blocking the entrances at their iconic headquarters last month and a climate memorial led by Pacific Islanders and youth strikers from climate change-affected communities.”

The Tyee: What Haunts Canada’s Banks? A Green Pivot from Oilsands
Geoff Dembicki, 5/4/22

“In late April, Royal Bank of Canada put out a report claiming that oil and gas production in Canada could rise by 500,000 barrels per day without compromising the country’s climate targets. This would be possible, the financial institution explained, by capturing the emissions from oilsands projects and burying them underground,” The Tyee reports. “The largest and most influential bank in Canada deems this a “new climate bargain,” and under its terms federal and provincial policy-makers must lay off on environmental regulations that limit the oil and gas industry’s growth. RBC warned politicians to “avoid emissions policy that restricts or cuts near-term production.” The technology for capturing emissions is highly expensive and not widely in use. Which has some wondering why RBC is so adamant that its version of the future is essential… “Under a scenario where Canada makes relatively conservative progress towards its Paris Agreement climate goals, the risk of oilsands projects defaulting on their financial obligations skyrockets. RBC is not only aware of this ticking financial bomb, it’s actually attempted to quantify the potential damage. That’s according to internal projections it helped produce along with the Bank of Canada and federal regulators. And even while measuring and acknowledging those risks, RBC provided $5.4 billion worth of financing for the oilsands last year alone. The contradiction that grips RBC — public pressure to signal awareness of the climate threat and internal pressure to finance projects that hasten the crisis — is shared by other banks, who also stand to lose big if their oil investments tank in the shift to a low-emissions economy. “The transition risk for RBC and the other Canadian banks from climate change is massive,” Matt Price, director of corporate engagement for the advocacy and research organization Investors for Paris Compliance, told The Tyee… “To climate experts like Richard Brooks, director of the climate finance program at the advocacy group Stand.earth, RBC’s current climate strategy is merely an excuse to keep fossil fuel profits flowing as long as possible. “RBC says it wants to achieve net zero by 2050,” he told the Tyee. “But you scratch slightly below the surface, not very far, and you can see that they have no plan to get there.”

OPINION

Quad City Times: Letter: Who pays for the pipeline?
Thomas Cook, Iowa City, 5/4/22

“The Iowa Legislature has failed to block the use of eminent domain for a $4.5 billion pipeline project to capture millions of tons of carbon dioxide from 32 Midwest ethanol plants and send it to an underground storage site in North Dakota,” Thomas Cook writes in the Quad City Times. “…Who will really pay for more taxpayer-subsidized infrastructure to support practices that are destroying the only Earth we have? Iowa farmers fear they will pay with reduced yields, lower property values, and safety threats when (not if) the pipeline leaks. Occupants in the Gulf Region’s “dead zone” will pay by losing even more of their fishing livelihood from chemical runoff on Iowa farms. Globally, vulnerable populations in low-lying areas will pay with increased displacement and hunger as sea levels continue to rise due to emissions from fossil and so-called “bio” fuels. Our children and grandchildren will pay with increased respiratory diseases and environmental cancers from a progressively more hostile climate. Taxpayers will pay through pipeline subsidies that could instead go to proven carbon-reducing technologies like solar and wind. Eminent domain is “the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use with payment of compensation.” But who will really be paying for this pipeline and for how long?”

Keepers of the Water: Alberta’s “Treated” Tar Sands Tailings Have No Place in the Deh Cho River
Daniel T’seleie is K’asho Got’ine Dene from Radili Ko (aka Fort Good Hope). He is a retired lawyer who currently works with Indigenous communities and organizations on issues relating to Indigenous rights and land protection, 5/2/22

“Treated tailings from Alberta’s tar sands operations may be flowing into NWT waters as early as 2025,” Daniel T’seleie writes for Keepers of the Water. “Tailings are a toxic, liquid by-product of bitumen extraction and upgrading. This industrial waste is stored in man-made lakes that have grown to an unfathomable size of 1.1 trillion litres. Southern contaminants entering the water ultimately make their way to the Deh Cho (Mackenzie River). We drink this water, we eat the fish, and we need the vast ecosystems supported by the River. It is the main artery of our land and culture. For years industry and government have failed to properly deal with the growing tailings crisis, and now Canada’s federal government is proposing to permit treated tailings to be released directly into the Athabasca River watershed in accordance with new regulations under the Fisheries Act. Treated tailings are not as toxic as untreated tailings, but still will contain high levels of salinity and naphthenic acids that could pose risks to aquatic environments and human health… “The GNWT has publicly stated its opposition to the release of the tailings. There is no federal environmental assessment planned, and it’s unclear whether or how Canada will determine or mitigate the severity of the potential impacts of this release on water that we all rely on. Any process that excludes the participation of downstream Indigenous peoples and public governments is not only illegitimate but a recipe for potential legal challenges. Negative impacts to waters sustaining downstream ecosystems and Indigenous peoples could lead to court cases on the basis of Aboriginal and Treaty rights… “It is the position of Keepers of the Water that no tailings, treated or not, should ever be released to the watershed… “This is a cost-saving measure for industry, being backed by the Government of Canada. As usual industry saves money and downstream Indigenous peoples pay the price.”

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