Skip to Content

News

EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 6/1/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 1, 2022

image

PIPELINE NEWS

  • NWIowa.com: State watchdog wary of Summit pipeline

  • Law360: $3.5B Pipeline Developers Want Fresh 4th Circ. Panel

  • TheEnergyMix: Ontario Regulator Refuses New Pipeline, Tells Enbridge to Plan for Lower Gas Demand

  • Natural Gas Intelligence: Enbridge Advancing Pair of Natural Gas Pipeline Expansions for Plaquemines LNG Facility

  • Bloomberg: Pipeline Inspection Company Loses Appeal to Force Arbitration

  • MassLive.com: Demonstrators take to City Hall steps to protest planned Eversource natural gas pipeline through Springfield and Longmeadow

  • Associated Press: Libya oil company says broken pipeline causes crude spill

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E News: Experts to White House: EJ screening tool should consider race

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: Oil and gas threatens lizard native to southern New Mexico. Here’s what’s being done

  • Friends of the Earth: State Department sued over Amos Hochstein FOIA request

STATE UPDATES

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan: ‘Recurring negligence’: Larimer County files complaint against oil company after fire

  • Minot Daily News: Crude oil release occurs near Stanley

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: How much does oil and gas spend to oppose environmental rules in New Mexico?

  • Insider: A Los Angeles teen led a fight to shut down urban oil wells, survived cancer, and won a ‘Green Nobel’

  • Carlsbad Current-Argus: Do you live in the ‘threat radius?’ Permian Basin at high risk of oil and gas health impact

EXTRACTION

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Washington Post: Bills in blue states target the fossil fuel industry for climate damage

  • National Observer: Canada’s biggest banks quietly prop up TMX

  • Common Dreams: Canada’s Big Banks Are Secretly Supporting Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

  • Stand.earth: Royal Bank of Canada, TD, Scotia, CIBC, BMO, National Bank front $10 billion to finance financially risky Trans Mountain pipeline, analysis reveals

OPINION

  • Ted Glick: Memories and Memorials on the Walk for Appalachia’s Future

  • Asia Times: ‘Ethical oil’ rhetoric pushes Canadian petro-state

PIPELINE NEWS

NWIowa.com: State watchdog wary of Summit pipeline
Elijah Helton, 5/31/22

“Public watchdogs say that Summit Carbon Solutions has not provided enough evidence that its carbon dioxide pipeline is safe in a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board,” NWIowa.com reports. “The Office of Consumer Advocate, a division of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, filed a motion last month urging the IUB to require more of Summit before the company gets approval. “Given the scope of Summit’s proposed project and the novelty of carbon dioxide pipelines in Iowa, it is important to not rush to establish proceedings before Summit has prepared information necessary to evaluate the pipeline and its route,” the OCA motion concluded. Essentially, it calls on Summit to provide more documents, research and other exhibits to prove its project is worth it… “The OCA’s document clarifies that it is calling for Summit to provide more information and that the office is not simply against the pipeline… “An application hearing will be in Fort Dodge on a date yet to be determined but is expected to be in early 2023… “Some, including the state’s Office of Consumer Advocate, have raised additional concerns such as safety and the science behind carbon capture. Anna Ryon is one of the OCA attorneys based in Des Moines who signed the motion. “There’s a lot that we don’t know,” Ryon told NWIowa.com. “We just think that Summit needs to do a little more work to show us what we’re looking at, what might happen.” “…Summit says their project will be less damaging because its line is smaller, between 6 and 24 inches in diameter in Iowa… “Contrarily, the OCA uses the oil project as an example for what is wrong with Summit’s carbon dioxide plan. “Summit talks a lot about Dakota Access and how they didn’t have to do these things, but Dakota Access was carrying something whose properties were well known,” Ryon told NWIowa.com. “We really don’t know with carbon dioxide, so that’s where — we really have no clue what would happen.” “…At least 19 of the 30 counties on the Summit route have filed their own objections with the IUB on behalf of their residents opposing eminent domain… “Ryon said there needs to be “good faith and good dealing” in those negotiations. She echoed claims from some landowners that Summit has been harassing and pressuring them into easement deals. “We think this is the right time in the proceeding for the utilities board to look at whether Summit is adhering to that duty. This is the time we can do something to correct that. Down the road, that is a reason to deny them the right to eminent domain,” Ryon told NWIowa.com… “Ryon told NWIowa.com it would be “unusual” for the OCA to come out fully against a private entity this early in any project, but she said the office plans to prepare written testimony. For now, Ryon said it’s up to Summit to build a better case for itself. “They’re the ones requesting the permit. They have the burden of proof,” she said.

Law360: $3.5B Pipeline Developers Want Fresh 4th Circ. Panel
Morgan Conley, 5/31/22

“The developers of the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline urged the Fourth Circuit to shake up which three judges are tasked with deciding a challenge of its state-issued water permit,” Law360 reports. 

TheEnergyMix: Ontario Regulator Refuses New Pipeline, Tells Enbridge to Plan for Lower Gas Demand
Mitchell Beer, 5/29/22

“The Ontario Energy Board sent minor shock waves through the province’s energy regulatory and municipal energy communities earlier this month with its refusal to approve the final phases of a $123.7-million pipeline replacement project in Ottawa proposed by Enbridge Gas,” TheEnergyMix reports. “Several observers said this was the first time the OEB had refused a “leave to construct” application from a gas utility, laying bare an operating model in which the companies’ revenue is based primarily on the kilometres of pipe they can install, rather than the volume of gas their customers actually need. The OEB’s written order cites plans to reduce fossil gas demand across the City of Ottawa as one of the factors in the decision, along with Enbridge’s failure to show that a pipeline replacement was necessary or the most affordable option available. Major drivers of that reduction include Ottawa’s community energy plan, Energy Evolution, as well as the federal government’s effort to convert its Cliff Street heating and cooling plant from steam to hot water—changes that Enbridge did not factor into its gas demand forecasts. “Nobody expected them to lose. Zero expectation,” veteran energy regulatory lawyer Jay Shepherd of Shepherd Rubinstein told The Energy Mix. But “having the city give evidence that everybody is cutting back on their carbon in Ottawa, the OEB was hard pressed,” he added. “If Enbridge had had any other proof that the existing pipeline was failing, they might have won. But when the city goes in and says it won’t be using as much gas anymore, you can’t just ignore it.” The implications of the decision could reverberate far beyond Ottawa, Richard Carlson, director of energy policy at the Pollution Probe Foundation, and Gabriela Kapelos, executive director of the Clean Air Partnership, told the Mix… ““The OEB finds that Enbridge Gas has not demonstrated that the risk associated with the subject pipelines warrants complete replacement at this time,” the commissioners wrote. They found that the company had only demonstrated a “very low likelihood” of serious issues with the existing pipe, based a statistical survey of pipelines across its service territory rather than an assessment of the infrastructure at St. Laurent, and changed up its evidence in the course of the regulatory hearing as questions about the application began to accumulate.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Enbridge Advancing Pair of Natural Gas Pipeline Expansions for Plaquemines LNG Facility
LETICIA GONZALES, 5/31/11

“Enbridge Inc. is moving forward with a pair of pipeline expansion projects that would deliver 1.5 Bcf/d of natural gas to the Plaquemines liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal recently sanctioned by Venture Global Inc.,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The Gator Express Meter (GEM) and Venice Extension projects would involve 36-inch diameter pipeline, metering and compressor station additions and improvements to the 8,580-mile Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) system. They would deliver feed gas to the Plaquemines terminal in Louisiana. GEM is expected to be in service in 2023, with the Venice Extension to follow in 2024. Enbridge pegged the cost for both projects at $400 million, which is underpinned by long-term take or pay contracts… “Venture Global’s positive final investment decision on Plaquemines is the first since August 2019, when the company also pushed forward with its Calcasieu Pass terminal in Louisiana. That project is currently being commissioned. In addition to Plaquemines, Golden Pass LNG in Texas also has been sanctioned and is under construction. Meanwhile, Cheniere Energy Inc. could reach an FID this summer for the proposed expansion of its Corpus Christi LNG facility in South Texas. The projects are among a group of several proposed export projects that are gaining momentum as buyers are coming to the table seeking long-term supply agreements.”

Bloomberg: Pipeline Inspection Company Loses Appeal to Force Arbitration
5/27/22

“Neither Cypress Environmental Management nor its client, Phillips 66 Co., can force the pipeline inspection company’s employees to arbitrate a wage dispute, the Fifth Circuit affirmed Friday,” Bloomberg reports. “The ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is another loss for Cypress in its attempt to force its employees to arbitrate with its clients. Here, one of its inspectors filed a collective action against Phillips 66 alleging he was owed overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act after working at its facilities for …”

MassLive.com: Demonstrators take to City Hall steps to protest planned Eversource natural gas pipeline through Springfield and Longmeadow
Patrick Johnson, 5/31/22

“Some 35 opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline through Springfield and Longmeadow took to the steps of City Hall on Tuesday to call for the project to be scrapped,” MassLive.com reports. “With demonstrators holding signs reading “stop the toxic pipeline,” speaker after speaker called the $35 million to $45 million Eversource pipeline unnecessary, potentially dangerous to the environment, and ultimately a cost that Eversource customers will bear.”

Associated Press: Libya oil company says broken pipeline causes crude spill
Samy Magdy, 6/1/22

“A pipeline rupture in Libya is spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the desert, as workers scramble to seal off the leak, authorities said Wednesday,” the Associated Press reports. “…The Arabian Gulf Oil Company, which operates the pipeline, estimates that some 22,000 barrels a day were being lost from the leak, which started Tuesday. It posted footage of the spill and said efforts to stop it were still underway. The company, which is an affiliate of the state-run National Oil Corporation and based in the eastern city of Benghazi, blamed lack of pipeline maintenance for the leakage.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Experts to White House: EJ screening tool should consider race
Jean Chemnick, 6/1/22

“The Biden administration must tackle race directly in its new tool to identify “disadvantaged” communities — or risk falling short in its environmental justice efforts,” E&E News reports. “That was the message that ran through the more than 2,000 public comments on the beta version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. When finalized, CEJST will help the administration identify the disadvantaged communities in line for extra investment from last year’s infrastructure law and other federal programs… “White House officials have previously expressed concern that the inclusion of race would cause the Justice40 initiative to get bogged down in litigation… “Commenters told CEQ that there is no substitute for race when identifying communities that have experienced the worst cumulative impacts from climate change, pollution and disinvestment. “The experiences of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian-American and Pacific Islander and People of Color in this nation have been predicated along systemic and institutional racism that permeates every aspect of where we live, where we work, where we go to school and how we experience our daily lives,” wrote the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge, an environmental justice initiative. “Any tool that seeks to reverse and address injustices and deliver benefits to address environmental harms including to public health must account for these truths.” “…But while the correlation between race, income and environmental and health burdens is strong, it’s incomplete, according to some members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. The Biden administration established WHEJAC to help guide construction of the tool and other aspects of its environmental justice agenda… “It’s very hard, if not impossible, to account for all the impacts of race if you don’t use it directly,” Nicky Sheats, a WHEJAC member and director of the Center for the Urban Environment at Kean University’s John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research, told E&E.

Carlsbad Current-Argus: Oil and gas threatens lizard native to southern New Mexico. Here’s what’s being done
Adrian Hedden, 5/25/22

“A lizard species native to southeast New Mexico was the subject of a lawsuit filed last week against the federal government which the plaintiffs contended failed to protect the animal from extinction,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “The dunes sagebrush lizard is native to the Permian Basin region in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties and parts of West Texas. It dwells in sand dunes around the region, which are mined by the oil and gas industry in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which sees a mixture of water, chemicals and sand pumped underground to break up shale rock and extract fossil fuels. The Permian Basin is the U.S.’ most active oil patch, the suit argued, and as the industry grows in the region so too does the threat to the sagebrush lizard. The Center for Biological Diversity announced its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year for failing to act on a 2018 petition the lizard be listed for protection as either endangered of threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Center officially filed the suit May 19, hoping to compel the federal agency to list it for protection. In the suit, plaintiffs accused the Fish and Wildlife Service of delaying action that could protect the sagebrush lizard from extinction as more oil and gas development was expected amid the animal’s habitat in the coming years.

Friends of the Earth: State Department sued over Amos Hochstein FOIA request
5/31/22

“Friends of the Earth has sued the U.S. Department of State for refusing to expedite a records request targeting potential fossil fuel influence over the Biden administration’s response to the crisis in Ukraine. Recent U.S. commitments to increase liquified natural gas (LNG) exports threaten to worsen the climate crisis and delay the transition to renewables. The organization filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on May 12 in an attempt to shine a light on potential bias that Amos Hochstein, a former LNG executive, might be bringing to his current role as Senior Advisor for Energy Security at the State Department. “This is not the climate leadership President Biden promised,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “A former LNG executive in charge of increasing LNG exports is like something out of the Trump administration. This is a blatant conflict of interest and it won’t stand.” Hochstein officially rejoined the State Department in August 2021 after working as an executive at Tellurian, a LNG export developer. He has since become a leading voice in the Biden administration’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, overseeing the new EU-US Task Force on Energy Security, whose mandate includes increasing LNG exports to Europe. “We are deeply disappointed that the State Department outright denied our urgent request,  unlawfully failing to acknowledge our evidence supporting expedited processing,” said Hallie Templeton, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth.

STATE UPDATES

Fort Collins Coloradoan: ‘Recurring negligence’: Larimer County files complaint against oil company after fire
Jacy Marmaduke, 5/31/22

“Larimer County officials are asking state agencies to hold Prospect Energy accountable for a series of air pollution violations and a recent fire at the operator’s oil storage sites near Fort Collins,” the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports. “The county filed a complaint against Prospect Energy with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and called on the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division to investigate the May 9 fire, which occurred less than 300 feet from homes in the Hearthfire neighborhood. County officials said in the COGCC complaint that they suspect Prospect Energy’s poor maintenance practices caused the fire. In their letter to the state air pollution division, county staff accused Prospect of “recurring negligence” and encouraged the state to invoke serious penalties against the operator, potentially going as far as revoking its permit or assessing penalties of up to $47,357 a day for each law broken. “The county’s position is that if this operator is not able to conduct its operations safely, it should not be allowed to operate at all,” Larimer County principal planner Matt Lafferty wrote in the county’s May 24 letter to the Air Pollution Control Division. The county also requested an update from the Air Pollution Control Division on their investigation of Prospect Energy’s Krause tank battery site north of Fort Collins, where regulators and environmental advocates have repeatedly documented air pollution that violates state law. Prospect’s list of suspected regulatory violations has continued to grow over the course of the monthslong state investigation, but the operator has yet to face penalties.”

Minot Daily News: Crude oil release occurs near Stanley
5/28/22

“Whiting Oil and Gas Company recently notified state agencies of a crude oil release occurring about nine miles south of Stanley,” the Minot Daily News reports. “Whiting has initiated the cleanup. The exact origin of the release has yet to be determined and is still under investigation. Initial estimates from the operator indicate about 924 gallons of crude oil discharged, impacting a wetland area. Personnel from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality and various other agencies are inspecting the site and will continue to monitor the investigation and remediation.”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: How much does oil and gas spend to oppose environmental rules in New Mexico?
Adrian Hedden, 5/27/22

“New Mexico’s oil and gas industry spent thousands of dollars this year to block regulations intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from extraction operations across the state,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “A lobbyist from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) spent $256,000, per a report from New Mexico Ethics Watch, for “paid advertising in opposition to House Bill 6,” also known as the Clean Future Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Nathan Small (D-36) would have set emission reduction targets to be 50 percent less than 2005 levels by 2030, and 90 percent less by 2050. It passed two committees during the 2022 Legislative Session, which ran from January to February, the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee but never saw a vote on the House Floor and died before the session ended. While the bill was being considered, NMOGA ran multiple ads online describing the industry’s problems with the bill and arguing it would raise energy prices for New Mexicans, while urging voters to voice opposition for such reasons… “In total, the ad campaign cost NMOGA “six figures,” records show. This opposition came amid widespread support for the bill from environmental groups throughout the state and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham along with her cabinet members… “Another oil and gas industry advocacy group Power the Future joined the Association in opposing the bill. Power the Future’s Santa Fe-based spokesman Larry Behrens told the Argus aside from lobbying efforts by the industry, the Clean Future Act was itself flawed… “Against accusations of the industry’s “outsized” voice in New Mexico politics through its lobbying efforts, Behrens told the Argus national environmental groups also spent millions to push their agendas in the state. “It’s completely laughable to watch them bemoan funds spent by the energy industry but completely ignore the millions in campaign donations and lavish parties spent on the part of the radical environmental movement,” Behrens told the Argus. “They’re not upset about ethics; they’re upset about their agenda.” But Kathleen Sabo, executive director of New Mexico Ethics Watch told the Argus the problem with the industry’s efforts was that they put public health at risk by fighting legislation that could reduce pollution.”

Insider: A Los Angeles teen led a fight to shut down urban oil wells, survived cancer, and won a ‘Green Nobel’
Morgan McFall-Johnsen, 5/25/22

“When she was 9 years old, Nalleli Cobo got a nosebleed that changed her life,” Insider reports. “It was the first of many, soon accompanied by headaches, heart palpitations, stomach pain, spasms, and asthma. Cobo lived in an apartment in South Los Angeles with three siblings, her great-grandparents, and her mother, who had immigrated there from Mexico. Talking with their neighbors, they learned that many people in the building were experiencing similar health issues. They suspected the oil-drilling site across the street… “From the age of 9, despite her health problems, Cobo organized her neighbors and led a tireless campaign against the wells, resulting in the site’s permanent closure and criminal charges against AllenCo executives. Legal disputes between the company and the city are ongoing. “They chose the wrong community,” Cobo, who is now 21 and has been cancer-free for a year and five months, told Insider. The work didn’t stop with AllenCo. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest urban oil fields in the country. Roughly 580,000 residents live within a quarter-mile of an active well. Cobo’s continued activism added to a chorus of voices from neighborhoods across the city, where residents said wells were making them sick. In January, Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to ban new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones over a five-year period. Cobo’s efforts earned her a 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the “Green Nobel,” on Wednesday.”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: Do you live in the ‘threat radius?’ Permian Basin at high risk of oil and gas health impact
Adrian Hedden, 5/25/22

“Emissions from the oil and gas industry threaten the health of more than a third of the people who call Eddy County home, and environmentalists are calling for stricter federal rules to protect the air they breathe,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “A “threat map” was published Tuesday by national environmental group Earthworks showing 23,292 Eddy County residents live within half a mile of oil and gas extraction – an area the group referred to as the “threat radius.” That’s 39 percent of the county’s population of about 60,000, per the latest U.S. Census data. Neighboring Lea County, New Mexico’s other county within the Permian Basin – the U.S.’ most active oilfield – had 25,532 people in the threat radius, about 35 percent of that county’s population of about 73,000. Statewide, 144,377 New Mexicans live within a threat radius, per the report, which encompasses 8,799 acres. While that total ranks New Mexico, one of the U.S.’ most oil-productive states, at 15th for the population in the radius, it also means 7 percent of the state’s population is within the threat radius. Kayley Shoup, a Carlsbad resident and organizer with local environmental group Citizens Caring for the Future told the Argus “frontline” communities like her own alongside oil and gas development said that while the industry supports the local economy, its profits should not be prioritized over public health. “In the Permian, it feels like we’re living on a runaway train,” Shoup told the Argus. “We have geopolitics that are pushing production. The health issues can feel very overwhelming.” Those issues can include cancers, respiratory illness, birth defects and even death from heavy exposure to pollutants like benzene, a volatile organic compound (VOC) known to be a main product of oil and gas extraction. Anne Epstein, a clinical associate professor at Texas Tech University who works as a consultant on oil and gas pollution, told the Argus benzene’s health impacts are well documented and worsen the closer one lives to extraction facilities.

EXTRACTION

Wall Street Journal: Companies Rush To Cash In On EPA Rules For Capturing Methane Emissions
5/31/22

“New Environmental Protection Agency rules promise to give a significant boost to what is becoming known as the methane mitigation industry,” the Wall Street Journal reports.The EPA rules are expected to be finalized within the next year and would affect hundreds of thousands of wells, storage tanks and natural-gas processing plants. They could require companies to replace leaky, older equipment and buy new monitoring tools to sharply reduce emissions of methane, a planet-warming gas that traps more heat than carbon dioxide. The proposed regulations have divided the U.S. oil-and-gas industry. Broadly supporting the initiative is the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group that represents Honeywell, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes as well as large oil-and-gas producers who are already investing in ways to leakproof their operations. They have backed issuance of new rules while asking the EPA to change parts of the proposal. Smaller well operators generally oppose the EPA’s plans, saying they won’t be able to afford the compliance costs. The Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents thousands of companies in the oil-and-gas-extraction business, said the EPA rules would raise the costs of operating low-production wells, which pull less than 15 barrels of oil or an equivalent of natural gas a day and contribute about 10% of U.S. production. The association told the EPA that shutting down such wells could hurt local economies. ‘While the citizens of these rural parts of the country are certainly concerned with the ‘climate and health impacts of pollution’ … they are also concerned with their livelihood and putting food on the table,’ the letter said, referencing a phrase EPA used to describe the rule’s benefits.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Washington Post: Bills in blue states target the fossil fuel industry for climate damage
Maxine Joselow, 5/31/22

“Democratic lawmakers in two of the nation’s most populous states are pushing legislation to punish the fossil fuel industry for its apparent role in causing droughts, wildfires and other disasters exacerbated by climate change,” the Washington Post reports. “In California, the state Senate last week passed a measure that would prohibit the state’s public pension funds from investing in the largest oil, gas and coal companies within a decade. And in New York, Democratic lawmakers last week introduced a bill that would require the biggest fossil fuel firms to help pay for infrastructure investments necessary to adapt to mounting climate disasters. The action in both blue states comes as Democrats in Congress continue to struggle to pass President Biden’s stalled Build Back Better Act, including its investment in combating climate change and boosting clean energy… “Senate Bill 1173, California’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, would require the state’s public pension funds to divest from the 200 largest fossil fuel companies by 2030. The funds would need to report annually on their divestment progress starting in 2024. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System are the two biggest public pension funds in the country, with an estimated $9 billion invested in oil, gas and coal. If passed, the measure would prevent the retirement savings of the state’s teachers, firefighters, and other public employees from being used to finance fossil fuels at a time when California faces climate-change-driven extreme drought and a relentless wildfire season… “Senate Bill 9417, the Climate Change Superfund Act, would impose a fee on the fossil fuel companies that have historically emitted the largest amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If passed, it would generate an estimated $30 billion over 10 years, chipping away at the companies’ soaring profits amid the war in Ukraine. The proceeds would be used to pay for a portion of climate adaptation projects, such as efforts to build sea walls, raise the elevation of roads and bridges, and repair damage caused by floods… “The bill shares the same goal as lawsuits brought by Democratic-led states and municipalities seeking to hold the fossil fuel industry financially responsible for climate damage. So far, the lawsuits have been tied up in procedural wrangling over whether they belong in state or federal court, although Baltimore’s case made it to the Supreme Court last year on a narrow technical question.”

National Observer: Canada’s biggest banks quietly prop up TMX
John Woodside, 5/31/22

“Canada’s six largest banks quietly financed the $10-billion loan to Trans Mountain that was secured only after Finance Canada guaranteed taxpayers would pick up the tab should anything go wrong,” the National Observer reports. “Finance Canada has repeatedly refused to disclose who is behind the massive loan to the contentious, publicly owned oilsands pipeline. However, data obtained from a Bloomberg Terminal on Monday and reviewed by Canada’s National Observer shows TD, RBC, CIBC, BMO, Scotiabank and the National Bank of Canada are all listed as lenders. Guaranteed returns on a loan that size are a pretty sweet deal. Even if Trans Mountain fails to pay back the entire amount, the federal government’s promise means there is no risk of losing money for the banks involved. The exact amount loaned by each bank was not disclosed, however, if the $10 billion was shared equally, each bank would have put in $1.67 billion, representing the upper end of Canadian banks’ lending to fossil fuel companies in recent years. The deal was inked on April 29 — the same day the federal loan guarantee was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, as first reported by Politico. It matures in one year, and TD serves as the lead co-ordinator. Stand.earth climate finance director Richard Brooks told the Observer those dates aligning shows “the federal cabinet approval was a rubber stamp.” Moreover, a $10-billion loan co-ordinated across six banks is a complex deal that would have been in the works for months, raising questions about Finance Canada’s transparency. “Why is this deal being hidden from the Canadian public?” Brooks told the Observer. “Particularly because this is a publicly owned Crown corporation, and it’s being financed in part by taxpayer dollars, and so there should be an intense level of transparency, not this type of opaqueness.” Brooks told the Observer he believes the secrecy comes from the department’s determination to build the pipeline even though there aren’t credible arguments in favour of doing so… “But because it’s a boondoggle from a financial standpoint, because it’s literally a carbon bomb that’s being built across the mountains, because it is a project that is violating Indigenous rights and goes against all the climate science, including the International Energy Agency and their modelling around what we need to do to reach net-zero emissions and keep temperatures under 2 C, nobody is proud of this project.

Common Dreams: Canada’s Big Banks Are Secretly Supporting Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
BRETT WILKINS, 5/31/22

“An analysis published Tuesday revealed that six of Canada’s largest banks are financing the construction of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion, partially fulfilling a promise by the center-left government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to secure private funding for the highly controversial project while calling into question the administration’s pledge to cap oil and gas emissions,” Common Dreams reports. “Based on data from Bloomberg Terminal, the grassroots advocacy group Stand.earth found that the banks—TD Securities, RBC Capital Markets, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, BMO Capital Markets, Scotiabank, and National Bank of Canada—quietly agreed last month to lend CAD $10 billion (U.S. $7.9 billion) to Trans Mountain Corporation after the country’s Department of Finance guaranteed taxpayers would foot the bill if anything went wrong. The government then waited three weeks to inform the public of the deal and has refused to confirm who is behind the loan… “All six of the banks named in the new report also claim they are committed to climate action. TD, for example, declares it is “continually working to embed responsible business practices,” including “working toward achieving our target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions associated with our operations and financing activities by 2050,” while CIBC says it is “committed to collaborating with carbon-intensive sectors for a successful transition to net-zero” and Scotiabank proclaims it is “ensuring we are lowering our environmental footprint in our operations.”

Stand.earth: Royal Bank of Canada, TD, Scotia, CIBC, BMO, National Bank front $10 billion to finance financially risky Trans Mountain pipeline, analysis reveals
5/31/22

“New analysis from Stand.earth revealed today that Canada’s top banks have stepped in to finance the next stage of construction of the over-budget Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. Notably, there are seemingly no non-Canadian banks willing to backstop this financially risky and repeatedly delayed project. The financiers include: RBC Capital Markets – Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers; TD Securities – Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers, Global Coordinators and Lead Agent; BMO Capital Markets – Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers; Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – Co-Lead Arrangers; National Bank Financial Inc – Co-Lead Arrangers; Bank of Nova Scotia – Co-Lead Arrangers.Due to a lack of transparency from the banks as well as the federal government, it is unclear what the total loan amounts per individual bank are. If equally parsed out, each bank would be responsible for $1.67 billion, suggesting these would be amongst the largest loans to fossil fuel companies delivered by each of these banks in recent years. “Once again, we see that Canadian banks are leading the world in financing climate destructive, Indigenous rights violating projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project,” said Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Director for Stand.earth. “It’s time for them to choose sides – are you going to help us reach our national climate goals, or do everything possible to hold us back?”

OPINION

Ted Glick: Memories and Memorials on the Walk for Appalachia’s Future
5/31/22

“Without question, one of the high points of the 12-day Walk for Appalachia’s Future, now in its 8th day, was the visit a big group of us made to the site of the 932-straight-days, heroic Yellow Finch tree sit on land in Elliston, Va. where the Mountain Valley Pipeline destroyers planned to put an essential part of their more than 300 mile, fracked gas pipeline,” Ted Glick writes. “The MVP destroyers were able to finally bring the tree sit down about 14 months ago, but soon after that time all of the other actions and organizing and lawsuits made it impossible for the MVP’ers to do any more destruction or construction at this site or any others. As some of us sat in downed trees where the tree sit had been, listening to people who had taken part in it, it was impossible not to be awed by what they had accomplished through their sacrifice. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is in deep trouble. Another high point of the Walk was the memorial service Sunday morning, May 29 organized by leading pipeline fighter Maury Johnson with Russell Chisholm and Donna Pitt of Preserve Giles in Newport,Va. Rev. Morris Fleischer of the local Methodist church led a service on a village green. The service commemorated the many fighters against the MVP, mountaintop coal removal and other injustices in West Virginia and Virginia who are no longer with us… “The Walk for Appalachia’s Future is primarily about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We are following its projected route from central West Virginia through southwest Virginia down to north central North Carolina.We will end the Walk with actions June 3 and 4 in Virginia’s capital city, Richmond. But in addition to demanding “Cancel MVP,” we are also calling for “Jobs and Justice” and “Renewable Energy.” In the leaflet we are passing out by the thousands along the way we say it’s time to “get serious about creating good jobs for working people in Appalachia in 21st century industries like wind and solar energy!” We are trying to connect the dots between the issues, calling for “corrupt politicians to stop doing the bidding of the coal,oil and gas industries” and all the rest of the big money interests that dominate governments everywhere. Our children and grandchildren need leadership for the just and sustainable future that is possible if we fight for it. Learn more, including about the June 3/4 actions, at Facebook: WalkForAppalachiasFuture”

Asia Times: ‘Ethical oil’ rhetoric pushes Canadian petro-state
Sibo Chen is an assistant professor at the School of Professional Communication, Toronto Metropolitan University, 6/1/22

“Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has brought fossil fuels and geopolitics to the forefront of public discussion,” Sibo Chen writes for the Asia Times. “…The escalating energy crisis has reignited calls to increase the production and export of Canadian oil and gas to diversify Europe’s energy supply. Pro-bitumen think tanks such as the Canadian Energy Center and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute have made similar arguments accusing opposition to pipelines of dooming western countries’ energy security. In essence, these arguments repackage the ethical oil rhetoric that frames investment in bitumen as morally superior to oil from non-democratic regimes. But the significant expansion of bitumen infrastructure comes with economic uncertainties and contradicts Canada’s COP26 commitment to decarbonization. Moreover, it diverts public attention away from the inconvenient reality that Canada and Russia are petro-states that share numerous similarities in energy policymaking… “The resurgence of “ethical oil” narratives, which moralize bitumen extraction and demonize critics, aims to frame resource dependence as part of Canadian identity. Put differently, the bitumen industry and its allies are pushing for “petro-nationalism,” which symbolically celebrates bitumen while obfuscating the unequal distributions of bitumen’s economic benefits and its environmental costs… “However, building more pipelines to increase the Canadian economy’s reliance on fossil fuels is not the only option. Norway, whose economy is currently reliant on the oil and gas industry, is a shining example of how to overcome the petro-state curse. As policy analyst Bruce Campbell has written, instead of the denial, delay and division that characterize current Canadian climate policy, Norway’s path to net-zero is built on climate action, close collaboration with labor unions and NGOs and strong government leadership in collecting and redistributing energy revenues. If Canada is truly concerned about becoming a moral energy producer, then our public conversations need to focus on exploring immediate policy actions aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector and planning for its phaseout.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub