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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/1/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 1, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • APEnbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline enters critical month in June
  • KARELine 3 pipeline work ramps up again
  • Facebook: Giniw Collective: Direct action is essential to stopping this pipeline!
  • KVRRProminent pipeline opponent expects thousands to join Line 3 gathering
  • WCCO [VIDEO]: Winona LaDuke’s Fight Against The Line 3 Oil Pipeline
  • Canadian PressTrans Mountain pipeline begins construction of tunnel in Burnaby, B.C.
  • Facebook: Sara RossWe stopped Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) work for the day today with no arrests!
  • Roanoke TimesMountain Valley Pipeline resumes work on steep slopes in Roanoke area
  • Roanoke TimesPhotos: Mountain Valley Pipeline tackles steep slopes
  • Blue VirginiaEnviro Groups Argue: Mountain Valley Pipeline Drilling Proposal Requires Virginia Clean Water Act Review
  • StateImpact PA NPRMariner East pipeline construction leaves hundreds without drinking water in Delaware County
  • Grid MagazineSunoco’s Mariner East 2 ruins quality of life in Delaware County through eminent domain
  • Politico Morning EnergyDEMCORATIC AGs ASK FERC TO ANALYZE PIPELINE EMISSIONS
  • E&E News‘Self-dealing’ loophole could upend FERC pipeline reviews

EXTRACTION

  • E&E NewsKXL, oil companies hire first lobbyists for ‘green’ hydrogen
  • Canadian PressAbandoned oil and gas wells will be cleaned up despite backlog: Alberta regulator

CLIMATE FINANCE & IMPACT LITIGATION

  • BloombergEngine No. 1’s Exxon Win Provides Boost for ESG Advocates
  • TIME‘Change is Coming.’ Activists Just Scored Big Wins Against ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell
  • ReutersCanada’s Alberta province back in favor with bond investors as oil rallies

WASHINGTON UPDATES

STATE UPDATES

  • Colorado Sun87 Front Range oil and gas wells ordered to shut down after operator KP Kauffman fails to clean up spills
  • The Advocate$110 million in tax breaks approved for plastic-maker Shintech by Iberville Parish
  • HuffPostEmails Show Oil Lobby Mobilized Democratic Governors’ Opposition To Biden Energy Order

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

  • The TyeeChange BC Fracking or Expect Damaging Earthquakes: Report

OPINION

  • The New RepublicJay Inslee and the American Desire to Put Tribes in Their Place
  • Environmental Defense FundI’m an Asian American environmentalist. My story is a familiar one
  • WSJBig Oil’s Tough Clean-Energy Transition
  • Sierra ClubRepublicans Want to Make Protesting a Crime
  • Ted GlickWalking For Our Grandchild
  • USA TodayChemicals, pipelines destroying Black communities today. And poor of color are dying

PIPELINE NEWS

AP: Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline enters critical month in June
By STEVE KARNOWSKI, 5/28/21

“June will be a critical month for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline as the company resumes construction and opponents mobilize for large-scale protests and civil disobedience,” the AP reports. “One prominent opponent, Winona LaDuke, founder of the Indigenous-based environmental group Honor the Earth, said she expects thousands of people from across the state and country to join the protests along the route in northern Minnesota. Both sides are also waiting for a major ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals in June on a legal challenge by environmental and tribal groups that are seeking to overturn state regulators’ approval of the project. The opponents also hold out hope that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and President Joe Biden will intervene. “I expect that unless Walz stops the project over 1,000 people are going to get arrested,” LaDuke told AP. “That adds to the urgency for opponents, who are organizing a “Treaty People Gathering” for June 5-8 and preparing for mass arrests. More than 250 “water protectors” already have been arrested since major construction began in December… “We will gather in Northern Minnesota to put our bodies on the line, to stop construction and tell the world that the days of tar sands pipelines are over,” organizers say in appeal on their website. “Only a major, nonviolent uprising — including direct action — will propel this issue to the top of the nation’s consciousness and force Biden to act.”

KARE: Line 3 pipeline work ramps up again
John Croman, 5/28/21

“The relative calm of the spring thaw in northern Minnesota will soon give way to the sounds of heavy machinery putting huge segments of pipe into the ground,” KARE reports. “Enbridge Energy will resume major construction activity next week on its $4 billion Line 3 pipeline… “Many environmental organizations and some Native American Minnesota communities remain opposed. Three lawsuits aimed at stopping the project and blocking it from being used after it is built are still being debated in federal and state court. Others are planning to stop or delay construction through acts of civil disobedience… “We’re all extremely concerned about the impacts of climate change,” Carol Rothman, who traveled from California this week to take part in a “1,000 Grandmothers for Future Generations” protest outside the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul, told KARE. “As grandmothers and mothers, we are very concerned about the world we’re leaving for future generations if we don’t stop getting fossil fuels out of the ground.” Another protester, Madonna Thunder Hawk of South Dakota, said Indigenous persons have a special connection to the earth and a duty to save it from environmental calamities. “As Indigenous people it’s our responsibility to stand up and protect Mother Earth,” Thunder Hawk, a longtime civil rights activist from South Dakota, told KARE. “And as elders it’s our responsibility to support the young people and what they’re doing.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: Direct action is essential to stopping this pipeline!
5/29/21

“Four Water Protectors who locked to each other through an excavator just outside Huntersville, MN, are asking other Water Protectors around the nation to join them on the frontlines! “If we allow this to be put in, water will be poisoned and people will die,” one water protector said, stressing the importance of acting in solidarity and alongside Indigenous Water Protectors. “This is a multi-billion dollar project and every one of those dollars is a dollar spent on the destruction of life” said Chris, speaking of Enbridge, the company with one of the worst track record of spills and water contamination. “We do not need anymore fossil fuel infrastructure, we’re already in a moment of global climate apartheid,” Matthew said, as they brought together the direct connection between the wrecklessness of expanding fossil fuel capacity, as a primary benefactor of the current climate crisis.”

KVRR: Prominent pipeline opponent expects thousands to join Line 3 gathering
5/28/21

“June will be a critical month for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline as the company resumes construction and opponents mobilize for large-scale protests and civil disobedience. One prominent opponent, Winona LaDuke, founder of the Indigenous-based environmental group Honor the Earth, said she expects thousands of people from across the state and country to join the protests along the route in northern Minnesota,” KVRR reports. “Both sides are also waiting for a major ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals in June on a legal challenge by environmental and tribal groups that are seeking to overturn state regulators’ approval of the project. The opponents also hold out hope that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and President Joe Biden will intervene. “I expect that unless Walz stops the project over 1,000 people are going to get arrested,” LaDuke told KVRR. “The opponents aren’t disclosing many specifics about their plans for protests because law enforcement also is getting prepared, but they say they’re determined to step up the fight as the final construction push approaches. “I expect there will be pretty strong resistance,” LaDuke told KVRR. “I really have no idea what it will look like.”

WCCO [VIDEO]: Winona LaDuke’s Fight Against The Line 3 Oil Pipeline
5/31/21

“Two sides divided by a 300-mile pipeline. Erin Hassanzadeh looks at where the project stands, and what hangs in the balance,” WCCO reports.

Canadian Press: Trans Mountain pipeline begins construction of tunnel in Burnaby, B.C.
5/27/21

“Construction has begun on the 2.6-kilometre tunnel in Burnaby, B.C., for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project,” the Canadian Press reports. “The company says in a news release the work on the tunnel connecting the Westridge Marine and Burnaby terminals began Wednesday. It says the start of construction of the tunnel represents one of the major components of the expansion project in the Lower Mainland and is expected to take a little over half a year to complete. The tunnel construction began after a year of preparation and more than six years of planning, design and regulatory processes.”

Facebook: Sara Ross: We stopped Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) work for the day today with no arrests!
5/31/21

“We stopped Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) work for the day today with no arrests! There is a second group that has now entered the worksite and continues to hold it down. SUPPORT NEEDED! It’s right near Braid Skytrain station. UPDATE: the RCMP arrived and enforced the injunction for a second time tonite. No arrests, but now Trans Mountain is onsite and we are not.”

Roanoke Times: Mountain Valley Pipeline resumes work on steep slopes in Roanoke area
Laurence Hammack, 5/29/21

“On the back side of Bent Mountain, a 125-foot-wide strip of reddish-brown earth cuts a downhill gash through the forest,” Roanoke Times reports. “From the valley below, Bobby Amerson focuses his binoculars on a construction crew that is building the Mountain Valley Pipeline. They are on a mountainside so steep that heavy equipment must be tethered together with cables. “We’re looking at five bulldozers, hooked to two trackhoes,” Amerson, who lives nearby, told the Times. “It looks like they’re clearing out the timber that was cut and making way for the pipe to come in. I’ve never seen equipment on a steep slope as they are now.” As work on the natural gas pipeline resumes this spring, Mountain Valley faces some of its toughest topography. About 67% of the terrain along the pipeline’s 303-mile route is susceptible to landslides, according to an environmental impact statement conducted in 2017 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Jacob Hileman, an environmental scientist and hydrologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, has conducted an analysis that puts that figure at 74% — which he says is more than any other major pipeline approved by FERC since 1997. “When the project was first announced, I was scratching my head and saying, ‘You can’t be serious,’” Hileman, who is from the Roanoke area and has examined the pipeline on numerous trips back home, told the Times. “If I had to say one thing about the wisdom, it would be that I don’t see any.”

Roanoke Times: Photos: Mountain Valley Pipeline tackles steep slopes
DAVID HUNGATE, 5/28/21

“Mountain Valley Pipeline has begun construction on some of the steepest slopes of the project, including work near the Roanoke County/Franklin County line,” according to the Roanoke Times.

Blue Virginia: Enviro Groups Argue: Mountain Valley Pipeline Drilling Proposal Requires Virginia Clean Water Act Review
5/20/21

“Today representatives from thirteen organizations sent the attached letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Office of Attorney General Mark Herring. The groups are calling on state officials to tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is required to obtain a water quality certification from Virginia before FERC can approve a proposal now under review,” Blue Virginia reports. “MVP has applied to FERC for an amendment to the company’s certificate, seeking approval to change its previously proposed method of crossing 83 waterbodies in Virginia. MVP had wanted to make “open cut” crossings through the waters but, having twice lost ­Corps of Engineers’ approval to do so, MVP is now proposing drilling to push the pipe under the streams and wetlands. These operations would present new and different hazards to the resources and the people who use them, as well as threatening discharges that may contain a variety of damaging substances to streams. The letter’s signatories make clear that Virginia’s authority and duty to perform its Clean Water Act Review and issue or deny certification “is not a matter of opinion. Section 401 certification is required by law and DEQ must respond to FERC accordingly.” David Sligh of Wild Virginia stated: “The Northam administration has stood up for state authority and citizens’ rights recently in demanding adequate time from the Corps of Engineers to do a separate water quality review on MVP, and we applaud that. We fully expect they will do the same here.”

StateImpact PA NPR: Mariner East pipeline construction leaves hundreds without drinking water in Delaware County
Susan Phillips, 5/28/21

“About 250 people living at the Glen Riddle Station apartment complex in Media, Delaware County, are without drinking water, two days after construction on Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline project likely broke the water line,” according to StateImpact PA NPR. “While water service has been restored, residents have been advised not to drink it. Pipeline construction has been disrupting residents’ lives since November, according to the apartment management. The latest incident occurred Wednesday afternoon, when Sunoco informed the property owner, Steve Iacobucci, that a water line had ruptured in an area where workers were putting in backfill. Iacobucci said that residents of the complex were without any water for at least 24 hours, and that his pleas for Sunoco to house them in hotels was rejected by the company. “It’s an interesting solution to bring two port-a-potties when it’s 90 degrees out and have 250 residents use them,” he told NPR. Iacobucci, who unsuccessfully fought condemnation of his land for the natural gas liquids pipeline, said Sunoco has wreaked havoc since Day One, splitting the apartment complex in half with construction of the line. Residents have complained of poor air quality from the dust and materials, as well as noise pollution that disrupts sleep and has interrupted online schooling for children during the pandemic. A steady stream of truck traffic carrying out water from the construction site has also affected the residents’ quality of life, he told NPR.”

Grid Magazine: Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 ruins quality of life in Delaware County through eminent domain
By Jason N. Peters, 5/27/21

“Along the long, winding roads of Glen Riddle, a small unincorporated community nestled in Delaware County near Media, sits Glen Riddle Station Apartments, a 124-unit complex that has found itself at the center of yet another Mariner East pipeline controversy,” Grid Magazine reports. “On May 26 more than two hundred residents of Glen Riddle found themselves without water and Pennsylvania State Police launched an investigation into the actions of a Sunoco representative. For residents, this is the latest episode in what they see as chronic carelessness and the malevolent indifference by Sunoco to people living near their work.

Politico Morning Energy: DEMCORATIC AGs ASK FERC TO ANALYZE PIPELINE EMISSIONS
Matthew Choi, 5/28/21

“Nine Democratic attorneys general, led by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, filed comments with FERC insisting that the commission measure the downstream emissions of natural gas pipelines,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “FERC is in the middle of overhauling its requirements for approving new pipelines, and greenhouse gas emissions have long been a sore point among the commissioners. “The States continue to urge the Commission to robustly analyze proposed pipeline projects’ contribution to climate change as part of its public interest and environmental reviews,” the AGs wrote.

E&E News: ‘Self-dealing’ loophole could upend FERC pipeline reviews
Miranda Wilson, 5/28/21

“As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission weighs changes to its natural gas pipeline reviews, it’s grappling with a key question: How should it determine whether a project is needed?” E&E News reports. “For years, the agency has signed off on proposals if developers could prove they had customers ready to reserve capacity on their pipeline. But critics say these so-called precedent agreements have a glaring loophole: Different units of the same company can act as both seller and buyer — winning a green light from FERC in the process. The commission’s reliance on precedent agreements is one of many topics included in FERC’s ongoing review of how it considers and approves new natural gas pipelines. The outcome could shape the future direction of the independent agency, which regulates power markets and large-scale energy projects. Analysts say FERC’s approach to large-scale natural gas projects could make or break many of the Biden administration’s clean energy goals. “For as much attention as the commission’s climate reviews have gotten, FERC’s dependence on precedent agreements is the single most problematic part of its reviews today,” Gillian Giannetti, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Sustainable FERC Project, told E&E News.

EXTRACTION

E&E News: KXL, oil companies hire first lobbyists for ‘green’ hydrogen
David Iaconangelo, 5/28/21

“The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline and multiple fossil fuel companies are hiring lobbyists for the first time to support low-carbon hydrogen, refueling a debate about how useful the technology will be in addressing climate change,” E&E News reports.

Canadian Press: Abandoned oil and gas wells will be cleaned up despite backlog: Alberta regulator
5/27/21

“The head of Alberta’s energy regulator says his agency has all the tools it needs to be able to clean up the province’s massive backlog of abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells,” the Canadian Press reports. “…More than half the province’s wells are no longer producing and the regulator has predicted the number of those wells would double between 2019 and 2030. But Alberta Energy Regulator president Laurie Pushor says new rules coming this fall, which will force companies to spend a certain amount on reclamation every year, will make a big difference. In the oilsands, he says the province’s plan to collect clean-up payments toward the end of a mine’s life will answer criticism that Alberta’s environment is inadequately protected.”

CLIMATE FINANCE & IMPACT LITIGATION

Bloomberg: Engine No. 1’s Exxon Win Provides Boost for ESG Advocates
By Alastair Marsh and Saijel Kishan, 5/27/21

“The rejection of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s management team marks one of the most significant victories for shareholders who have been pushing for drastic action on climate change,” according to Bloomberg. “The movement to transform Exxon’s board of directors was led by a previously little-known hedge fund called Engine No. 1, which has just a 0.02% stake in Exxon and no history of activism in oil and gas. The firm gained at least two board seats at Exxon’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday and promised to push the crude driller to diversify beyond oil. Engine No. 1 was backed by two of the largest U.S. pension funds and some of the world’s biggest asset management firms, including BlackRock Inc. The Exxon vote sends an important message not only to Exxon and the other big oil companies, but “also to ESG investors at large,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Rob Du Boff. “The fact that asset managers such as BlackRock were swayed by Engine No. 1’s cause is another sign that ESG issues, and climate change in particular, are now mainstream.” “…ESG advocates said the rebuke of Exxon is going to make it much easier for sustainability investors. “Just a few years ago we were ignored, but now companies know that they have to pick up the phone and speak with ESG investors,” Kristin Hull, founder of Nia Impact Capital in San Francisco, told Bloomberg.

TIME: ‘Change is Coming.’ Activists Just Scored Big Wins Against ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell
BY JUSTIN WORLAND, 5/27/21

“The questions about climate change for ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods came in rapid succession during Wednesday’s virtual meeting for shareholders,” according to TIME. “How does the company view a recent report saying the world doesn’t need new investment in oil exploration? Why isn’t the company jumping into renewable energy? And why is ExxonMobil investing in carbon capture and storage—which has been largely unprofitable to date? Woods’ answers to these questions—on the call and in previous months—have failed to satisfy investors. A few minutes later, a preliminary vote count showed shareholders decisively rejected ExxonMobil’s management and elected at least two new board members committed to shifting the company’s direction on climate change. “Change is coming,” said Charlie Penner, an investor whose hedge fund Engine No. 1 led the activist campaign, on the investor call ahead of the vote. The transition away from fossil fuels has come in fits and starts in recent years. On Wednesday, it took a giant lurch forward. At the same time that ExxonMobil investors met, a majority of Chevron investors voted to require that company to slash emissions from consumer use of the company’s products. A few hours earlier, a Dutch court had ruled that Royal Dutch Shell needs to cut its own emissions to align with the Paris Agreement. These decisions—along with a slew of others in recent months—bring into focus the evolving answer to a simmering question: what does it mean to be an oil company in the time of climate change?”

Reuters: Canada’s Alberta province back in favor with bond investors as oil rallies
By Fergal Smith, 6/1/21

“Investors see less risk in Alberta’s bonds, brushing aside a recent credit rating downgrade, as surging energy prices boost the outlook for the province’s finances and oil sands operators begin to address the sustainable investment trend,” according to Reuters. “Alberta, which accounts for about 80% of Canada’s crude output, has seen its fiscal position deteriorate since the 2014-16 collapse in oil prices, with matters made worse by the coronavirus crisis and last year’s historic oil price fall. Last month, S&P Global Ratings lowered the province’s credit rating to A from A+… “The province’s high-carbon oil sands have uncertain long-term prospects, particularly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in April Canada’s new plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45% within nine years… “Meanwhile, efforts by oil sands producers to reduce their carbon footprint could assuage the worries of some investors. Last week, Suncor Energy Inc said it plans to cut its emissions by more than one-third. Moves to cut emissions could “make Alberta very attractive” for institutions that may not have previously included the province in their provincial bond holdings,” Earl Davis, head of fixed income and money markets at BMO Global Asset Management, told Reuters.

WASHINGTON UPDATES

S&P Global: EPA urges FERC to consider gas pipelines as stranded assets, ‘carbon lock-in’
Corey Paul, Maya Weber, 5/27/21

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staked out a new position on federal reviews of interstate natural gas pipelines, advising the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to weigh the potential for “carbon lock-in” and the “costly irreversibility” of building such infrastructure,” S&P Global reports. “The EPA, as a representative of the Biden administration, has the potential to shake up debate on a key FERC policy. The recommendation for a broad expansion of climate considerations would mark a sharp departure from the commission’s historical approach. The EPA comment was a major one among a flood of filings from energy companies, environmental nonprofits, and others responding to the commission’s updated notice of inquiry on how it might alter its 1999 natural gas pipeline certificate policy (PL18-1)… “The EPA letter, signed by Associate Administrator Victoria Arroyo, echoed a sentiment of environmental groups that FERC should be careful about locking in long-lived infrastructure that releases greenhouse gas emissions or creates the potential for stranded assets. The environmental agency backed the idea that FERC could seek mitigation of a project’s climate and environmental justice impacts, and offered possible options, such as considering compressor stations with electric turbines.”

Politico Morning Energy: HOW THE WILLOW DECISION HAPPENED
Matthew Choi, 5/2821

“Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) told ME it was months of relentlessly pressing the importance of the Willow oil project in Alaska with every member of Cabinet, including the Labor and Defense secretaries during their confirmations, that paid off when the administration backed it. That includes Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who disapproved of the ConocoPhillips project as recently as last year,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “I appreciate her listening,” he said late Thursday. “It was the number one issue we raised with her every time we met with her and we met with her a lot.” He noted Alaskan indigenous and building trade groups strongly supported the project… “BTW: Not everyone is convinced. House Natural Resources Chair Raúl Grijalva urged Thursday a thorough environmental review to accompany the administration’s support for the project. Grijalva signed onto a letter — with Haaland — in 2020 pushing then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to suspend the project. “Locking in 30 years of fossil fuel production in this location must be done with eyes open and with a credible public input process,” Grijalva said in his Thursday statement.

STATE UPDATES

Colorado Sun: 87 Front Range oil and gas wells ordered to shut down after operator KP Kauffman fails to clean up spills
Mark Jaffe, 5/28/21

“KP Kauffman, an independent oil and gas operator on the Front Range, has been ordered to shut 87 of its wells and clean up 29 sites after a litany of violations, ranging from fouling farm fields to covering the road in front of a high school with oily waste,” Colorado Sun reports. “The wells, located in Adams and Weld counties, “require immediate attention to protect public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife resources,” the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission order says. Many of the spills and releases are serious threats, the order says, but the company, referred to as KPK, has not taken necessary steps to avoid, minimize or mitigate their potential impacts… “Between Jan. 1, 2015, and March 30, KPK reported about 85 spills and releases and opened approximately 73 remediation projects in Colorado, according to the order. Still, KPK “repeatedly failed” with basic requirements for spills, the order said, citing 10 cases where remediation took more than six months and four cases where it took more than two years. The company’s action put homes, schools and groundwater at risk, the order said.”

The Advocate: $110 million in tax breaks approved for plastic-maker Shintech by Iberville Parish
BY YOUSSEF RDDAD, 5/26/21

“Plastic-making giant Shintech Louisiana can skip paying Iberville Parish nearly $110 million in local taxes after a majority of council members approved a sizable tax break for the company,” The Advocate reports. “The parish council on Tuesday OK’d the industrial tax exemption by an 11-2 vote that drew opposition from some residents who say they worry about worsening air pollution in the area. The tax forgiveness will support three Shintech projects and expansions throughout the parish totaling nearly $1.3 billion… “At its current size, Shintech’s Plaquemine plant accounts for a third of Louisiana’s volatile organic compound emissions. When those combine with nitrogen oxide, they can produce ground-level ozone, or smog. The facility is also the state’s only emitter of vinyl bromide, which is likely cancer-causing and can lead to liver harm, environmentalists said while calling to revoke the company’s permits. In addition to those concerns, some residents also criticized the tax break for siphoning dollars away from public services. “I don’t like giving tax breaks for international companies,” Plaquemine resident Luke Avants told the Advocate. “They treat us like a Third World country.”

HuffPost: Emails Show Oil Lobby Mobilized Democratic Governors’ Opposition To Biden Energy Order
By Chris D’Angelo, 5/27/21

“Fossil fuel trade groups in Louisiana and New Mexico rallied Democratic governors in opposition to President Joe Biden’s executive order pausing new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and in offshore waters, newly released emails show,” HuffPost reports. “The Biden administration paused new leases on Jan. 27 and launched a major review of the federal oil and gas leasing program. Interior Department officials have said the program currently is “not serving the American public well.” The behind-the-scenes lobbying included the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association (LMOGA) introducing top energy officials in Louisiana and New Mexico to each other. LMOGA also provided the Louisiana official with industry talking points about how restricting oil and gas development would hurt the state’s economy, and it helped ghostwrite a letter that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) sent to Biden arguing, among other things, that confronting climate effects depends on continued offshore fossil fuel development. The communications highlight the growing role regional industry associations play in fighting climate action as pressure mounts on big-name companies and highly visible national groups to put a softer face on regulatory obstruction.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

The Tyee: Change BC Fracking or Expect Damaging Earthquakes: Report
Andrew Nikiforuk, 5/26/21

“Since 2005, British Columbia’s experiment with hydraulic fracturing of gas wells has changed the geology of the province’s northeast. It is now home to some of the world’s largest fracking-induced earthquakes outside of China,” The Tyee reports. “In 2018, one magnitude 4.6 tremor tied to fracking even rattled buildings in Fort St. John and stopped construction on the Site C dam. It was followed by two strong aftershocks. Now, a comprehensive new scientific study warns that stress changes caused by the technology could trigger a magnitude 5 earthquake or greater in the region, resulting in significant damage to dams, bridges, pipelines and cities if major regulatory and policy reforms aren’t made soon… Allan Chapman, the author of the paper, served as a senior geoscientist for the BC Oil and Gas Commission and as its first hydrologist from 2010 to 2017, and says the commission’s current system for managing tremors, known as a “traffic light protocol,” can’t prevent larger magnitude earthquakes because it ignores how cumulative fracking over time destabilizes shale formations with high pressures and increases seismic risk. “To protect people and infrastructure, we are going to have to avoid fracking in some areas,” he told The Tyee.

OPINION

The New Republic: Jay Inslee and the American Desire to Put Tribes in Their Place
Nick Martin, 5/27/21

“Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a series of historic climate-focused bills,” Nick Martin writes in The New Republic. “…Tucked down at the very bottom of the announcement heralding Inslee’s signing of these bills was a single sentence: “The governor also signed partial vetoes for sections of HB 1091 (veto) and SB 5126 (veto).” The latter of the two bills, SB 5126, was also known as the Climate Commitment Act. The Climate Commitment Act was the first successful piece of state legislation to establish a net-zero carbon emissions goal of 2050, albeit with an offset market designed to please the polluting powers that be at BP. But it was also crafted to address the state’s existing consultation process with the 19 tribal nations that hold lands in the state, particularly with regard to sacred sites and burial grounds. Consultation is the process by which state agencies must meet with tribes affected by upcoming development projects to ensure that any environmental, cultural, economic, or religious concerns or issues raised by affected tribal nations are weighed by developers and regulators as they determine whether to greenlight a particular project. But the consultation sessions, which are also mandated and carried out by federal agencies, have thus far been designed by state and federal agencies alike to function as little more than a box to be checked, consistently leaving Indian Country open to exploitation… “Section 6 of the Climate Commitment Act was designed to address this shortcoming, as it added the requirement of consent to the consultation process. That is, if a future project brought by the state or private developers encroached on tribal lands in a way that a nation viewed as intrusive or overly cumbersome, the state would recognize the tribe’s ability to decline the project full-stop. This is what is known as Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, a standard set by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 that is only just now being considered by governments in the United States and Canada. It is what it looks like when settler policy actually respects tribal sovereignty. And this is what Inslee opted to remove from the bill.”

Environmental Defense Fund: I’m an Asian American environmentalist. My story is a familiar one.
By Lumi Youm, 5/26/21

“In a way, it was inevitable that I would become an environmentalist. My parents met while trekking up Mount Odae, a popular getaway a few hours by train from Seoul, South Korea. Growing up in Georgia, we probably never went any longer than a month or two without spending a day exploring some hiking spot,” Lumi Youm writes for Environmental Defense Fund. “…My story is a familiar one: Asian Americans are overwhelmingly environmentalists. According to a survey last year, 80% of Asian Americans consider the environment to be a very or extremely important political issue; 77% support stronger federal legislation to address the climate crisis. An earlier survey found that 86% of us agree that acting on climate change now would provide a better life for our children and grandchildren.So why aren’t we represented in the environmental movement? It’s worth stating that people of color have been excluded from environmentalism for a long time. From the beginning, underrepresentation of people of color in environmental groups and their boards has led to priorities that reflect those of white, wealthier people — even at the cost of everyone else… “What research is available makes it crystal clear that environmental justice issues — including access to clean air and water — are also Asian American issues. For example, a 2017 study found that Asian Americans rank just below Black people and above Hispanic people in the U.S. in terms of cancer risk from hazardous air pollutants. And when we expand the conversation to include the U.S. territories of the Pacific Islands, you don’t need studies to see the impacts of environmental injustice. Having survived colonization and military occupation, islands such as Guam are now at the forefront of the climate crisis and face a real existential threat in rising sea levels. The environmental movement must recognize that Asian American and Pacific Islander — or AAPI — communities are valuable and necessary allies in the fight to address the climate crisis, allies who could wield the kind of political power key to environmental progress. And it needs to include us in efforts to right the historical wrongs of environmental injustice.”

WSJ: Big Oil’s Tough Clean-Energy Transition
By Rochelle Toplensky, 5/27/21

“Despite the drama of a watershed week for big oil, change will likely be slow and painful,” according to WSJ. “On Wednesday, an activist shareholder won its bid to install climate-friendly directors on Exxon XOM -0.50% Mobil’s board. Earlier in the day, Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A -0.52% was ordered by a Dutch court to reduce its total carbon emissions. Last week, the International Energy Agency, a longtime industry advocate, said investments in new fossil-fuel projects must cease to reach a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Pressure on the petroleum industry to decarbonize is building on multiple fronts. U.S. oil giants that look at their more forward-thinking peers across the Atlantic for inspiration will find some lessons, but not easy ones… “The most promising areas for the U.S. majors to invest are those where they have transferable skills. Refineries can process biofuels as well as petroleum; liquefied fuels can be natural gas or hydrogen; and captured carbon dioxide can be used for enhanced oil recovery or sequestered. The European players are investing here too. Investors should expect write-downs, both of capital invested in newly uneconomic petroleum projects and speculative clean-energy projects that don’t pan out. Selling off suboptimal oil-and-gas assets could become more difficult.”

Sierra Club: Republicans Want to Make Protesting a Crime
BY JEREMY MILLER, 5/25/21

“A half-year after Donald Trump’s drubbing at the polls, the right-wing effort to criminalize dissent and protest among environmental and social justice activists continues to gain momentum,” Jeremy Miller writes for Sierra Club. “In early May, Montana governor Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill designed to protect “critical infrastructure,” including gas and oil pipelines. The law defines infrastructure broadly, from wireless towers to prisons. Individuals who trespass, or merely “impede or inhibit operations” at these sites could face as much as 18 months in prison and $4,500 fines. Under the new law, protesters who cause more than $1,500 in damage could be faced with a maximum of $150,000 in fines and 30 years in prison. Organizations found to be involved in coordinating with the protesters could be required to pay a maximum fine of $1.5 million. The Montana law is one of a host of copycat bills that have been introduced in Republican-led states over the past several years. Critics say these “anti-protest” bills have little to do with protecting infrastructure but are thinly veiled crackdowns on lawful protests of controversial gas and oil pipeline projects, many of which are led by Indigenous groups, including those fighting the construction of Line 3 in Minnesota.”

Ted Glick: Walking For Our Grandchild
5/28/21

“A little more than three weeks from now, my wife Jane Califf and I will head west to Scranton, Pa. to join with others in the eight-day, 2021 Walk For Our Grandchildren and Mother Earth: Elders and Youth on the Road to Climate Justice. The Walk begins in Scranton on June 20, Father’s Day, and will end in Wilmington, De. on June 28. On that day we will take nonviolent direct action at a major corporate headquarters of Chase Bank, the world’s leading financial supporter of the fossil fuel industry. Eight years ago I helped to organize the 2013 Walk For Our Grandchildren, from Camp David in Maryland to the White House via Harpers Ferry. That one ended with about 60 people being arrested at the offices of Energy Resources Management, the greenwashing company that did the KXL oil pipeline’s official environmental impact statement. Many of the people who I met and walked with in 2013 ended up joining together the next year to take nonviolent direct action at the headquarters of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, out of which emerged the organization Beyond Extreme Energy. BXE is still going strong, supporting frontline groups fighting new fracked gas infrastructure and advocating with increasing effectiveness for FERC to be replaced by FREC, a Federal Renewable Energy Commission.”

USA Today: Chemicals, pipelines destroying Black communities today. And poor of color are dying
The Rev. William J. Barber II is the president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, Opinion contributor, 5/31/21

“Along the Mississippi River in Louisiana, land where Black people were once enslaved on plantations is now being poisoned by petrochemical plants that have given the place a new name: Cancer Alley,” the Rev. William J. Barber IIwrites in USA Today. “In the fall of 2019, Robert Taylor told a Poor People’s Campaign gathering there about the toll of watching his family and neighbors die. Taylor’s daughter has a rare disease that her doctor told her she had a 1 in 5 million chance of contracting. She has since learned that three other neighbors are dying of the same disease. Four hundred miles north in Memphis, Tennessee, Black residents invited the Poor People’s Campaign to support their organizing to stop the Byhalia Pipeline. The proposed crude oil pipeline would repeat the systemic racism of the 1970s urban renewal by running the line through Memphis’ African American communities. In this place where Ida B. Wells once challenged the lies used to justify lynching, Black Memphians are again resisting lies that would harm their community… “Neighborhoods of color across the country are hit by industrial waste and air pollution and deprived of green spaces at significantly higher rates than white communities. Poverty, redlining (a practice that segregated housing) and the overwhelming lack of diversity in the environmental space keep the cycle of pollution and community destruction concentrated in Black America. In fact, whites in America experience 17% less air pollution than they cause. Black people experience 56% more than their consumption causes, according to a 2019 study.”

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