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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/11/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 11, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Politico Morning EnergyOFFICIALLY DEAD
  • Associated PressFight over Canadian oil rages on after pipeline’s demise
  • The HillKeystone defeat energizes anti-pipeline activists
  • Indian Country TodayThe Keystone XL Pipeline’s end
  • EsquireThe Keystone Pipeline Defeat Is a Rare Example of Democratic Political Dexterity in the Heartland
  • NTVPipeline fight leaves mixed legacy in Nebraska
  • CTVAlberta NDP calling for independent investigation into Kenney’s Keystone XL deal
  • KFYRNorth Dakota industry leaders react to sponsor of Keystone pipeline terminating project
  • MPROfficials: More than 200 arrested in northern Minnesota Line 3 protests
  • EartherCops Are Using Facebook to Target Line 3 Pipeline Protest Leaders, New Documents Reveal
  • Esperanza ProjectTreaty People Gathering boosts pressure on disputed oil pipeline
  • Associated PressSmall Minneapolis event eyes Klobuchar to help stop Line 3
  • Media Matters [VIDEO]: Fox News Primetime hosts white nationalist Stephen Miller to accuse Jane Fonda of treason
  • Star TribuneNative American contractors’ letter seeks end to ‘destructive and unlawful protests’ over Line 3 pipeline
  • Pine JournalMinnesota Court of Appeals weighs Line 3 water permit challenge
  • Chicago Sun-TimesOver opposition, pipeline moves a step closer in Black farming community in Kankakee County
  • Fort Worth Business PressPermian Basin increasing natural gas pipeline capacity

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E NewsDems to Biden: ‘No climate, no deal’
  • E&E NewsChatterjee is leaving FERC. Here’s who could replace him
  • E&E NewsNominee backs tribal control of energy development
  • The HillInterior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less
  • E&E NewsAgency Axes Trump-Era Changes To Permit Protests

STATE UPDATES

  • Santa Fe New MexicanNew Mexico commission weighs rule to prevent oil, gas drillers from making spills

EXTRACTION

  • Common DreamsThe ‘Big Con’ Revealed: Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry’s Deceptive ‘Net Zero’ Strategy
  • BloombergCanada’s oil industry will still be here decades from now: Suncor CEO
  • Financial PostMost of the world’s proposed LNG projects unlikely to be built as investors fall out of love with natural gas
  • E&E NewsJudge Nixes 600 Oil And Gas Leases In Sage Grouse Country
  • DeSmogExxon is Telling Investors its Permian Fracking Projects are ‘World Class’. The Data Says Otherwise
  • E&E News: Earthquakes In U.S. Oil Fields Set 4-Year Record

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • The HillEnvironmental groups call on members to leave Chamber of Commerce over climate stances

OPINION

  • New YorkerA Biden Climate Test on the Banks of the Mississippi
  • OilPrice.comCan Oil Sands Be Banned?
  • CNBCCramer on cancellation of Keystone pipeline after Biden revokes key permit
  • Arkansas Democrat Gazette: EDITORIAL: Death of a pipeline: Better headline: Earth to Joe
  • Duluth News TribuneMN Rural Counties: State needs to fix property-tax repayment problem it created
  • Environmental Working GroupNone of the Above: The False Energy ‘Solutions’ America Doesn’t Need

PIPELINE NEWS

Politico Morning Energy: OFFICIALLY DEAD
Anthony Adragna, 6/10/21

“After the seemingly endless battles over its fate, the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline formally pulled the plug on the project on Wednesday, Politico Morning Energy reports. “GOP lawmakers immediately blamed Biden . Senate Energy ranking member John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a statement Biden “killed” the project and lamented that “at a time when gasoline prices are spiking, the White House is celebrating the death of a pipeline that would have helped bring Americans relief.” Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org and a leader of the first sit-ins against Keystone XL, took a victory lap in a statement: “When this fight began, people thought Big Oil couldn’t be beat. But when enough people rise up we’re stronger even than the richest fossil fuel companies. And by the way, the same climate test that ruled out Keystone should do the same for Line 3.”

Associated Press: Fight over Canadian oil rages on after pipeline’s demise
By MATTHEW BROWN, JOHN FLESHER AND MATTHEW DALY, 6/10/21

“The Keystone XL is dead after a 12-year attempt to build the oil pipeline, yet the fight over Canadian crude rages on as emboldened environmentalists target other projects and pressure President Joe Biden to intervene — all while oil imports from the north keep rising,” according to the Associated Press. “…Activists and many scientists had warned that the pipeline would open a new spigot on Canada’s oil sands crude — and that burning the heavily polluting fuel would lock in climate change. As the fight escalated into a national debate over fossil fuels, Canadian crude exports to the U.S. steadily increased, driven largely by production from Alberta’s oil sands region. Even before the cancellation, environmentalists had turned their attention to other projects, including Enbridge Energy’s proposal to expand and rebuild its Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, the target of protests this week that led to the arrest of some 250 activists “Don’t expect these fights to go away anytime soon,” Daniel Raimi, a fellow at Resources for the Future, an energy and environmental think tank in Washington, told AP. “This is going to encourage environmental advocates to do more of the same.” “…Another question: What to do with pipe already in place at the U.S.-Canada border and other infrastructure along its route. Jane Kleeb, a pipeline opponent in Nebraska, said state regulators should revoke the permit they approved for a route through the state. Otherwise, she said, TC Energy might try to sell the easements to another company. Until the state acts, farmers and ranchers will continue to face TC Energy attorneys in court, “protecting their property from an eminent domain land grab by a foreign corporation,” she told AP.

The Hill: Keystone defeat energizes anti-pipeline activists
BY RACHEL FRAZIN, 6/11/21

“Anti-pipeline activists feel energized after the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline announced it would terminate the project following a more than decade-long battle,” according to The Hill. “The news that the fight over that pipeline ended in victory for environmental and Native advocates left opponents of another major pipeline feeling optimistic. Keystone’s termination came amid an intensifying fight over Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, which likewise pits some indigenous and environmental groups against a Canadian firm. “Activism is the only thing that works. If people don’t get plugged in and step up and stand up, then they wouldn’t even be talking about this on the news. They wouldn’t be talking about KXL,” Frank Bibeau, who has represented some of Line 3’s opponents in court, told The Hill. “You have to get involved because the entire system is set up to permit these activities,” he added… “Opponents of Line 3 warned that just because Biden handed one victory to the environmental movement doesn’t mean they’re going to slow efforts elsewhere. In fact, some anticipate that the victory will attract more supporters to the fight against the pipeline. Biden hasn’t taken a position on Line 3. Protests against the Enbridge vessel have escalated this week, with activists saying that more than 160 people were arrested on Monday… “That sense of hopefulness and forward momentum will draw more people to the movement because if there’s a sense that there’s a possibility of success, more people will come,” Simone Senogles, food sovereignty program coordinator of the Indigneous Environmental Network, told The Hill, referring to the Keystone announcement.

Indian Country Today: The Keystone XL Pipeline’s end
6/10/21

“Faith Spotted Eagle is a land defender and water defender. For 13 years she’s been on the frontline in the battle against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Today she’s celebrating. News came late Wednesday that TransCanada Energy is terminating Phase 4 of the Keystone pipeline. Faith joins us to talk about her journey and this victory,” Indian Country Today reports. “Well, when I heard the news, everybody started texting me and calling me and messaging me and I felt really very thankful,” she tells ICT. “Tears of joy. I felt surreal. My pipeline fighting life flash before me, I could smell all the food, the fires, the people that were together. The last 13 years, wherever we met on the river in community centers, during snow storms, it just all came before me… And I immediately went to the river because during the period of time, when we’d sit through the brutal hearings where the people on the panel would listen to us with deaf ears and it drove me crazy. And every time I came home, I went to the river shed. My peers did my prayers. So I went to talk to the river and of course she already knew that was my first response thankfulness.”

Esquire: The Keystone Pipeline Defeat Is a Rare Example of Democratic Political Dexterity in the Heartland
By Charles P. Pierce, 6/10/21

“Not long after we opened the shebeen here along the docks of Blogistan, I walked around the fields owned by a Nebraska farmer named Randy Thompson. One day a few months earlier, Thompson had seen a couple of strangers out on his property taking measurements with surveying equipment. Thompson quickly learned they weren’t surveying his property so much as casing the joint,” Esquire reports. “The strangers were in the employ of TransCanada, a Canadian energy behemoth and the force behind the Keystone XL pipeline, a continent-spanning death funnel that proposed to connect the environmental hellscape of northern Alberta with refineries on the American gulf coast of Texas so as to facilitate the transportation of tar sands oil, the world’s dirtiest and most loathsome fossil fuel. What Thompson learned was that, with the blessing of the Nebraska governor’s office and its state legislature, TransCanada had been granted the power of eminent domain to seize land for the purpose of building its pipeline. Randy Thompson failed to see the logic in this and got mad. He signed on with an apparently hopeless fledgling citizen effort to stop construction of the pipeline. He became one of the faces of that movement, a fascinating coalition of ranchers, farmers, environmental activists, and Indigenous nations. Cowboys and Indians, the people in the coalition joked. The mainspring behind it was Jane Fleming Kleeb, now the Democratic state chairman for Nebraska, and she was the one who found the common ground of opposition for the disparate concerns of the ranchers and the environmentalist community, a feat of political dexterity of a kind that has eluded the national party for too long a time. For a decade, the fight over the pipeline went on. The project was on, then it was off again. Egregious lies were told, especially about the economic benefits of the death funnel. Dire predictions were made about the consequences of a leak in the pipeline so close to the Ogallala Aquifer, the massive freshwater source for almost all the arable farmland of the Great Plains. (TransCanada’s other pipelines have leaked because they were pipelines, and pipelines leak.) There were hearings and votes and the national government changed twice. And late Wednesday afternoon, Randy Thompson and all the other people who took on this hopeless fight…won… “One hesitates to declare this project dead because it has rolled back the stone a number of times over the past 10 years, but this seems final. TC Energy, TransCanada’s latest nom de pillage, seems to have surrendered. Republican politicians, however, are birthing bovines all over the place over the death of their fetish object… “At a time in which nothing seems to be moving in the correct direction, especially as regards the climate crisis, this is an underdog’s victory over which to rejoice. I am happy for Randy Thompson, who can look out over his fields again and not worry about somebody with a clipboard.”

NTV: Pipeline fight leaves mixed legacy in Nebraska
by Steve White, 6/10/21

“Pipeline fighters say Keystone XL may be dead but the decade long battle could impact Nebraska for years to come. Tom Genung is proud to wear that label as a pipeline fighter with a button that’s a constant reminder,” NTV reports. “12 years of rust,” he told NTV, taking the button from his shirt. “The memories go back to 2009,” he said of the time he got connected with Bold Nebraska and its leader Jane Kleeb as he was one of the cowboys in the co-called Cowboy and Indian alliance that brought together ranchers and tribal leaders concerned about the pipeline that would have crossed what they felt were sensitive areas of the Sandhills. The proposed route at the time would have crossed Genung’s family land. He joined what he calls “the resistance” and says that brought together people who have stayed together and now advocate for other causes. “We’ve been able to get acquainted with people and work with people we never would have imagined. Absolute privilege and honor to be part of this movement,” he said… “On the other hand Tom Genung said it’s hard to compete with a well funded developer. He balks at Gov. Ricketts’ characterization of pipeline opponents as environmental radicals. “I’m just a guy from the Sandhills along with rest of landowners and tribal folks we’ve been able to get acquainted with,” he said. They took the fight to the legislature, State Department, Public Service Commission, and courts. Pres. Biden’s decision in January seemed to be the writing on the wall and now with TC Energy’s announcement that the project is done, they celebrate. “We’re grateful that time has come,” Genung said.

CTV: Alberta NDP calling for independent investigation into Kenney’s Keystone XL deal
Jay Rosove, 6/10/21

“Alberta’s official opposition leader Rachel Notley is calling for an independent review of the Jason Kenney government’s failed Keystone XL deal,” according to CTV. “The Alberta NDP leader declared her intentions during a news conference on Thursday afternoon. “Jason Kenney’s incompetence has cost Alberta taxpayers $1.3 billion, at least,” said Notley. “He made an incredibly reckless gamble with Albertans money and he lost it.” Notley’s remarks come a day after Alberta’s UCP government and energy infrastructure builder TC Energy officially terminated the Keystone XL pipeline deal… “Joe Biden’s position on KXL was well known by everyone,” she said, “and it was always a strong possibility that he would win the election.” In March of last year, Alberta committed $7.5 billion to Keystone XL, a $1.5 billion investment and $6 billion in backstop loans. On Thursday, Notley blamed Kenney’s desire for a “photo op” for motivating the Alberta premier to make the deal. “Now that the government has reached an exit agreement with TC Energy, the time has come for an independent investigation of this disaster,” she said… “Premier Jason Kenney was asked about Notley’s claims after Thursday afternoon’s COVID-19 update. “The real reason the NDP opposed our investment to get Keystone XL built is because they’ve always opposed Keystone XL,” Kenney told CTV. “We made a strategic decision to invest in the project, to keep it alive, so it could move forward.” The Alberta premier also reiterated his intent to pursue legal action to recoup the province’s losses. “We are confident that we’ll be able to reclaim our investment or to get damages out of the legal process. That has always been part of our contingency when we entered into this, eyes wide open.”

KFYR: North Dakota industry leaders react to sponsor of Keystone pipeline terminating project
By Erika Craven, 6/10/21

“The Keystone XL pipeline was effectively shut down when President Joe Biden revoked the permit on his first day in office, but now the sponsor of the project, TC Energy, seems to have nailed the coffin shut by stepping away. Industry leaders worry the announcement may cost North Dakota,” KFYR reports. “It certainly just adds a cloud to all new pipeline projects, and certainly any international crossings between the US and Canada,” Justin Kringstad, director of North Dakota Pipeline Authority, told KFYR. While industry leaders say they aren’t losing existing transportation capacity or planned capacity but say development in the future could be limited. “Your companies are going to lose that incentive or desire to invest or plan these projects just because they become so difficult to complete,” Kristen Hamman, director of regulatory and public affairs for the North Dakota Petroleum Council, told KFYR.

MPR: Officials: More than 200 arrested in northern Minnesota Line 3 protests
Dan Gunderson and Kirsti Marohn, 6/9/21

“Hundreds of people blocked access to an Enbridge pipeline pumping station being built a few miles south of Itasca State Park during a day of protests Monday,” MPR reports. “Some locked themselves to construction equipment on the Two Inlets pump station site or to a boat that protesters were using to block a road that leads to the station. A total of 247 people were arrested, according to a release from the Northern Lights Task Force, a coalition of northern Minnesota law enforcement agencies created to address pipeline-related protests… “The statement said most were charged with gross misdemeanor trespass on critical infrastructure, or public nuisance and unlawful assembly. A few dozen protesters have continued to camp along the Mississippi River about 20 miles east of the pump station site. The location marks a spot where Line 3 is slated to cross the river, a few miles from the headwaters… Dawn Goodwin, a member of the White Earth Nation and one of the organizers of the event, told MPR the opponents plan to remain at the Mississippi site for at least four days, to complete a spiritual ceremony. “It’s a constant flow of people coming and going,” she said. “Our relatives from all over the country have come — all over the world.” Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson told MPR law enforcement has no immediate plans to remove the protesters from the site.”

Earther: Cops Are Using Facebook to Target Line 3 Pipeline Protest Leaders, New Documents Reveal
Molly Taft, 6/10/21

“Protests against Enbridge’s Line 3 have been ramping up in Minnesota—and so has the response from authorities,” Earther reports. “A video went viral this week of a Department of Homeland Security helicopter sandblasting protesters following mass arrests. But some police tactics are far less visible while causing long-term hardship. Much like the Dakota Access protests in 2016, social media has become central to getting the word out about the pipeline’s opposition, with leaders livestreaming or posting about their opposition. Police, however, have turned to social media to target activist leaders and, in some cases, charge them with crimes, according to public records obtained by Earther. The records, which include thousands of emails and documents from Enbridge, local law enforcement, and state authorities spanning from 2019 to 2021, show that sheriff’s officers in one Minnesota county at the epicenter of the fight over the pipeline have used social media activity on at least one occasion to target key protesters weeks or months after protests take place with trumped up charges… “But summonses Earther obtained from the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office show that police used videos streamed and posted to Facebook to charge high-profile leaders in the Line 3 movement with several misdemeanor counts, including harassment, trespass, unlawful assembly, and public nuisance. These charges were filed January 27, two weeks after the actual protest occurred. (Charges against protesters arrested on the scene, separate summonses show, were filed two days later.) Two charges for the January 9 protest that used livestreamed video as a basis were filed against some of the most visible Indigenous women leaders of the anti-Line 3 movement, including Winona LaDuke, arguably the most central figure in the opposition, and Tania Aubid, who went on a hunger strike in March to protest the pipeline. Another summons related to a charge of aiding and abetting trespassing was sent to organizer Shanai Matteson in late May, more than five months later, based on her Facebook activity and a livestreamed video also available on Facebook. Per Matteson’s summons, an officer watched a livestream recording of a separate January 9 event where Matteson encouraged protesters to be arrested “if that’s what it comes to today,” and offered resources for jail support. Matteson told Earther that she did not even attend the January 9 protest at the pipeline site.”

Esperanza Project: Treaty People Gathering boosts pressure on disputed oil pipeline
Eric Warren, Angel Amaya, Jessica Plance, Talli Nauman, 6/8/21

“Massive direct actions to stop Line 3 tar-sands crude-oil pipeline construction here in Native Anishinaabe ancestral territory launched a weeklong Treaty People Gathering on June 7,” according to the Esperanza Project. “Attracting an estimated 2,000 participants, the occasion was “the beginning of a summer of resistance,” according to Indigenous-led groups, communities of faith, and climate justice organizations hosting it.  Lockdowns were the order of the day as water protectors chained themselves to construction equipment. They also brought in a boat — appropriately named “Good Trouble” — which impeded access to the pump station… “I am here fighting for my children and my grandchildren—for when they come here for clean water,” Silas Neeland from White Earth Nation, told EP. “Our elders are going to get sick of fighting, so we need to step up. And where we’re from, we have a thing called wild rice. It’s one of our important foods, and the pipeline is 13 miles away, which is very bad, because the wild rice grows in the water. So, if that pipeline contaminated it (the water), we can never have wild rice ever again from it.” Neeland is one of many young people who are fighting for generations that don’t yet exist.”

Associated Press: Small Minneapolis event eyes Klobuchar to help stop Line 3
By Mohamed Ibrahim, 6/10/21

“About 100 people gathered at a Minneapolis park Thursday before marching to Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office to promote shutting down reconstruction of an aging oil pipeline in northern Minnesota,” the Associated Press reports. “The half-hour program at Gold Medal Park included singing and speeches by activists insisting that Klobuchar pursue at least a delay on the final segment of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 project. One prominent opponent, Winona LaDuke, founder of the Indigenous-based environmental group Honor the Earth, mentioned Klobuchar by first name on several occasions and said the senator should demand a more thorough environmental impact study for the project. “You need to be the woman who stands up for the water, Amy,” LaDuke said… “Marco Hernández, a community organizer and member of Gov. Tim Walz’s climate change council, criticized the Democratic governor and Klobuchar for “turning a blind eye” on the hazards of the project. The pipeline’s path through Native American lands is “breaking not just one, but multiple treaties,” he told AP… “Thursday’s small gathering came on the heels of the largest resistance yet to the project, when at least 1,000 marched to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, one of the pipeline protesters, and nearly 250 people were arrested for shutting down an Enbridge pump station in the area on Monday.”

Media Matters [VIDEO]: Fox News Primetime hosts white nationalist Stephen Miller to accuse Jane Fonda of treason
6/9/21

“Fox News Primetime hosts white nationalist Stephen Miller to accuse Jane Fonda of treason,” Media Matters reports.

Star Tribune: Native American contractors’ letter seeks end to ‘destructive and unlawful protests’ over Line 3 pipeline
By Brooks Johnson and Mike Hughlett, 6/10/21

“Native American contractors working on the controversial Enbridge Line 3 pipeline across Minnesota say the Indigenous-led protests that escalated Monday do not speak for them,” the Star Tribune reports. “Protests that disrupt work, damage property and threaten our employees while claiming to be on behalf of our Native people is creating additional tension and consequences within our tribal communities,” six contractors wrote in a letter being sent to Minnesota tribal leaders this week. “They also intentionally create a false narrative that there is no Native American support for this project and the economic impacts and opportunities it brings to our people.” “…As protesters locked themselves to equipment and blocked the access road with debris, Enbridge said it evacuated 44 employees, 10 of whom work for White Earth Reservation-based Gordon Construction. Owner Matt Gordon was one of those who signed the letter calling for “leaders of tribal communities across Minnesota to renounce these actions and call on these groups to stop future destructive and unlawful protests that endanger our Native workers and divide the communities in which we work and live.” “…The contractors’ letter will be sent to tribal leaders who supported the removal of the old Line 3 from the Leech Lake Reservation, said Jim Jones, owner of Dirt Divers and a member of the Leech Lake Band. Other contractors who signed the letter will be sending it to other tribal councils, especially those they are affiliated with, including Fond du Lac, Bois Forte and Leech Lake. “Not everyone is against the pipeline,” Jones told Star Tribune. The new pipeline “provides economic opportunities and jobs to our [tribal] members.”

Pine Journal: Minnesota Court of Appeals weighs Line 3 water permit challenge
Jimmy Lovrien, 6/11/21

“As construction on Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline resumed this month and protests against the project intensified, court cases challenging the 340-mile pipeline across northern Minnesota continue,” the Pine Journal reports. “The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Thursday heard oral arguments over a case opponents filed in December arguing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency erred in awarding the project a 401 certification, a permit awarded by a state’s regulators if the project’s impact on water falls within the state’s standard. Such a state permit clears the way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a 404 permit if construction-related impacts to U.S. water comply with federal laws and regulations, which the Army Corps said Line 3 met in November. The permit allows Enbridge to discharge dredged and fill material into rivers and streams. Scott Strand, attorney for Friends of the Headwaters, told the three-judge panel that the MPCA failed to consider route alternatives, wetland restoration, the pipeline’s operational impact and effects on climate and tribes before granting its certification… “Within the next two weeks, the Court of Appeals is expected to issue its decision on a separate case challenging Line 3. And unlike the case argued Thursday, it has clearer possible ramifications. Pipeline opponents and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, under the direction of Gov. Tim Walz, have appealed the Public Utilities Commission decision to grant Line 3 a certificate of need because, they argue, Enbridge did not demonstrate a long-range demand for oil. Therefore, they haven’t actually proven the pipeline is needed. If the court sides with them, activists and lawyers say the decision could halt construction on the project, which is more than 60% complete, at least until Enbridge and the PUC could reissue the project’s certificate of need using the correct demand forecast or the decision is reversed by the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Over opposition, pipeline moves a step closer in Black farming community in Kankakee County
By Brett Chase, 6/11/21

“With a big push from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Nicor natural gas pipeline proposed for a Black farming community in Kankakee County has moved a step closer even as some who live in the area and environmentalists continue to fight the project,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “…If Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signs the measure into law — he hasn’t said whether he will — it would move the community into a decades-long fossil fuel commitment at the same time Illinois political leaders promise they’re working toward a clean energy future. The pipeline is opposed by a small group of farmers who say they are worried about the environmental impacts and have safety concerns. The farmers found support from environmentalists in opposing the $10 million plan, which needed legislative approval for taxpayer and gas customer subsidies… “Among the leading opponents of the plan have been Wright-Carter and her husband Fred Carter. They work to promote sustainable agriculture through their nonprofit Black Oaks Center. Wright-Carter said the community — which was founded by Black farmers in the late 1800s and is believed to have been a terminal for the Underground Railroad — has a long history of environmental stewardship… “State Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, said he sees the plan as a threat to Black farmers and the environment. “My fear with the pipeline is it could jeopardize the habitat,” Simmons, who voted against the bill, told the Sun-Times. “More importantly, it could provide an environmental hazard for the farmers. This is something that threatens to replace the last community of African American farmers in Illinois.”

Fort Worth Business Press: Permian Basin increasing natural gas pipeline capacity
6/10/21

“Once constrained by a lack of natural gas pipeline capacity, the Permian Basin has seen a spate of recent completions that have increased shipments to the Gulf Coast and Mexico,” according to the Fort Worth Business Press. “…Two completed projects in Texas, along with two completed projects in Mexico, all help improve connectivity between neighboring markets and the Permian Basin, an area in which production has exceeded available takeaway capacity during the past few years, according to a June 8 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The recently completed projects include: Kinder Morgan’s 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP), which entered service in January… “Whitewater/MPLX’s Agua Blanca Expansion Project, which entered service in late January… “Carso Energy’s 0.5 Bcf/d Samalayuca – Sásabe pipeline, which had its first commercial flows of natural gas in late January… “Fermaca’s 0.9 Bcf/d Villa de Reyes-Aguascalientes-Guadalajara (VAG) pipeline, which began commercial operations in October 2020… “The additional takeaway capacity from these recently completed projects has contributed to U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico rising 0.55 Bcf/d (9.9% increase) to 5.9 Bcf/d from March 2020 to March 2021, according to the latest data available from the Natural Gas Monthly.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Dems to Biden: ‘No climate, no deal’
Nick Sobczyk, Geof Koss and Emma Dumain, 6/10/21

“Progressives yesterday ramped up a pressure campaign on the White House to deliver on climate legislation, with several Democrats signaling they would not vote for an infrastructure bill absent significant provisions to slash greenhouse gas emissions,” E&E News reports. “Talks have entered a new phase on Capitol Hill after President Biden this week dropped negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and moved on to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that is crafting its own infrastructure proposal. But any deal with Republicans, including the bipartisan negotiating group, is unlikely to include the kind of sweeping climate provisions Biden laid out in his initial $2.2 trillion-plus American Jobs Plan. The progressive line in the sand could further complicate those conversations and offer a reminder to the White House that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) isn’t the only swing vote in the 50-50 Senate. “If you’re going to pass an infrastructure plan, there aren’t many Republicans at the table, so you’re going to need every single Democratic vote to pass an infrastructure plan,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said yesterday during a virtual event with Climate Power. “And I think there is little appetite in the Democratic caucus for an infrastructure plan that ignores the greatest crisis, the most existential crisis that we face… “The line was amplified across social media yesterday by prominent lawmakers, including Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) offered an even starker version of the warning: “No climate, no deal.” By last night, he was doubling down even further.”

E&E News: Chatterjee is leaving FERC. Here’s who could replace him
Miranda Wilson, 6/10/21

“The names of current and former state utility regulators are being floated in Washington energy policy circles as possible nominees to fill Republican Neil Chatterjee’s seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” according to E&E News. “When Chatterjee’s term expires at the end of the month, President Biden will have an opportunity to add a third Democrat to the five-member commission, swinging the majority back to the party that controls the White House and Senate… “Among the potential nominees: Willie Phillips, chair of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia; Ann Rendahl, commissioner at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission; and Joshua Epel, former chair of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, according to multiple sources including Christi Tezak, an analyst with ClearView Energy Partners LLC. Lauren Azar, a former member of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission under a Republican governor who also served as a senior adviser to former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, is also a potential nominee, Mike McKenna, a top energy policy adviser in former President Trump’s White House, told E&E.

E&E News: Nominee backs tribal control of energy development
Michael Doyle, 6/10/21

“Bryan Newland, the Biden administration’s nominee to oversee myriad Indian programs, pledged yesterday to empower tribes across a number of areas including energy production,” E&E News reports. “During his confirmation hearing yesterday, Newland told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that as assistant Interior secretary for Indian affairs he would work to strengthen federal-tribal relations. “I believe that tribal governments, rather than federal agencies, are best suited to respond to the challenges their communities face. Our job is to be a collaborative trustee and ensure that Indian Country drives our work,” Newland said…  “I know how important oil and gas and development is to tribes in Oklahoma,” Newland told the state’s Republican Sen. James Lankford. Newland added that his “priority, if confirmed at this job, is to make sure the tribes have control of whether, when and how to develop their energy resources, be it renewable energy or other resources they have on their land.” “…Newland is a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community (Ojibwe) and was raised on the Bay Mills reservation on the southern shore of Lake Superior.”

The Hill: Interior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less
BY RACHEL FRAZIN, 6/10/21

“The Interior Department has proposed a rule to withdraw a Trump-era regulation that was expected to lessen the amount of money that companies pay the government to drill on public lands and waters,” The Hill reports. “The Biden administration in a swipe at Trump’s said the rule would “shortchange” taxpayers, in light of findings that it would benefit oil and gas companies by millions of dollars. “After thoughtful consideration, the Department of the Interior is proposing to withdraw an attempt by the previous administration to shortchange American taxpayers for the resources that oil and gas companies extract from public lands,” an Interior Department spokesperson said in a statement.  “The Department’s ongoing review of the 2020 rule ensures that communities receive a fair return from onshore and offshore energy development,” the spokesperson added.  The Trump rule in question changed the way that royalties are calculated that companies pay to the government for drilling on federal property. A new economic analysis justifying the proposed withdrawal said that getting rid of the Trump rule will allow the federal government to collect an additional $64.6 million in fees annually.”

E&E News: Agency Axes Trump-Era Changes To Permit Protests
Kelsey Brugger, 6/10/21

“EPA took steps yesterday to ditch Trump-era changes to its Environmental Appeals Board, an avenue for communities and environmental groups to protest environmental permits,” E&E News reports. ‘Achieving greater transparency and maintaining the public trust are among my top priorities and reestablishing the EAB as an impartial review body is an important step to deliver on those commitments,’ EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. ‘This rule promotes accountability and meaningful public participation in the appeals process and reinstates long-standing authority to the EAB to consider environmental justice in the context of its decisions,’ he added. The new rule begins to unravel a Trump action finalized last summer that sped up industry appeals, including shortening deadlines to 60 days, with a one-time extension, and limiting the page count of briefs filed in court. The new rule objected to the Trump ‘streamlining’ effort, saying the review process ‘not only provides a meaningful opportunity for affected communities to have their concerns addressed, it also expedites the process of obtaining a final, valid permit by facilitating a process that is faster and more certain for the applicant.’ The Trump rule also gave the EPA administrator power to intervene in a case, a provision that critics charged gave room for political meddling. EPA rescinded that provision, but the new rule continues to give power to the Office of the Administrator, reasoning that the agency must maintain discretion to carry out policy objectives such as environmental justice.”

STATE UPDATES

Santa Fe New Mexican: New Mexico commission weighs rule to prevent oil, gas drillers from making spills
By Scott Wyland, 6/9/21

“A rule that forbids drillers from spilling oil or liquid waste would seem a given in New Mexico, which has one of the nation’s largest fossil fuel industries,” the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. “But the state has no actual rule barring operators from spilling oil or “produced water,” the toxic liquid byproduct from hydraulic fracturing. Instead, companies must report a spill and then work with regulators to clean it up — a system that critics say is woefully inadequate because it’s reactive rather than preventive, and it relies on an honor system that some operators don’t adhere to. The state Oil Conservation Division, which regulates oil and gas activity, teamed up with the environmental group WildEarth Guardians to propose a rule change that makes spills from drilling unlawful. Conservationists, industry representatives and residents in affected communities all back the proposal. They spent most of Wednesday testifying before the Oil Conservation Commission, the division’s rule-making body. The commission will decide Thursday whether to adopt the amended rule. “The vast majority of spills are preventable,” Norman Gaume, a retired water engineer, told the panel. “Spill control in New Mexico is currently voluntary. Some operators invest to control their spills. Others don’t.” Gaume and others argued that the agency must go further, establishing penalties for polluters and beefing up enforcement. That was in contrast to industry representatives who said leeway should be given to operators who sustain spills because of weather events, vandalism, equipment breakdowns and other things beyond their control.”

EXTRACTION

Common Dreams: The ‘Big Con’ Revealed: Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry’s Deceptive ‘Net Zero’ Strategy
BRETT WILKINS, 6/9/21

“A new report published Wednesday by a trio of progressive advocacy groups lifts the veil on so-called “net zero” climate pledges, which are often touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency, but which the paper’s authors argue are merely a dangerous form of greenwashing that should be eschewed in favor of Real Zero policies based on meaningful, near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The report—titled “The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a “Net Zero” Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny” (pdf)—was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by over 60 environmental organizations…” However, the report asserts that “instead of offering meaningful real solutions to justly address the crisis they knowingly created and owning up to their responsibility to act beginning with drastically reducing emissions at source, polluting corporations and governments are advancing ‘net zero’ plans that require little or nothing in the way of real solutions or real effective emissions cuts.” “Furthermore… they see the potential for a ‘net zero’ global pathway to provide new business opportunities for them, rather than curtailing production and consumption of their polluting products,” it says.

Bloomberg: Canada’s oil industry will still be here decades from now: Suncor CEO
6/10/21

“Suncor CEO Mark Little joins BNN Bloomberg to break down the details of a new climate coalition formed of some of Canada’s biggest hitters in the oil sands. The Oilsands Pathways to Net Zero pledges to reduce GHG emissions to net-zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Financial Post: Most of the world’s proposed LNG projects unlikely to be built as investors fall out of love with natural gas
6/9/21

“LNG projects with double the capacity of current production levels are being planned across the world, but most will fall by the wayside, according to the International Gas Union,” the Financial Post reports. “There are currently 892.4 million tonnes per annum of “aspirational” liquefaction capacity in the pre-final investment decision stage, the IGU estimates, compared to the current capacity of 452.9 MTPA. “However, a large portion of the pre-FID projects are likely not to progress. Given the weak economic landscape in 2020, developers have pushed back on capital-intensive pre-FID liquefaction projects and reinstated their strategies,” the IGU said in its latest report on the global LNG industry. “This puts small-scale LNG in the spotlight as it remains a growing segment within the wider LNG sector with significant potential.” The new report comes as the role of natural gas in energy transition hangs in the balance.”

E&E News: Judge Nixes 600 Oil And Gas Leases In Sage Grouse Country
Niina H. Farah, 6/11/21

“The Bureau of Land Management must revisit 605 leases in greater sage grouse habitat in Wyoming and Montana, a federal court ordered this week,” E&E News reports. “The agency under the Trump administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it offered 400,000 acres of land for development within the bird’s habitat, said Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush of the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in a ruling issued Wednesday. ‘This is a big win for sage grouse,’ said Michael Saul, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the conservation groups that opposed the leasing in 2018. Bush found that BLM had failed to consider other options like deferring leases from priority sage grouse habitat and had not provided an estimate of the number of birds that could be affected by drilling. The agency also failed to look at leasing’s cumulative impact on the birds, the judge said. All new drilling and surface disturbing activities on the leases are on hold until BLM can address the deficiencies in a more thorough analysis, Bush said.”

DeSmog: Exxon is Telling Investors its Permian Fracking Projects are ‘World Class’. The Data Says Otherwise
By Nick Cunningham, 6/10/21

“ExxonMobil’s production numbers in the Permian basin in West Texas and New Mexico appear to have deteriorated in 2019, according to new analysis, calling into question the company’s claims that it is an industry leader and that its operations are steadily becoming more efficient over time,” DeSmog reports. “Chastened by years of poor returns and rising angst among its own shareholders, ExxonMobil narrowed its priorities in 2020 to just a few overarching areas of interest, focusing on its massive offshore oil discoveries in Guyana and its Permian basin assets, two areas positioned as the very core of the company’s growth strategy. Exxon has long described its Permian holdings as “world class,” and the company prides itself on being an industry leader in both size and profitability. “For our largest resource, which is in the Delaware Basin, we’re only just about to unleash the hounds,” Neil Chapman, the head of Exxon’s oil and gas division, said at its March 2020 Investor Day conference. The Delaware basin is a subset of the Permian basin, stretching across West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. But while the pandemic and the oil market downturn forced cuts in spending, the company’s belief in the Permian and its assurances about its quality remain unshaken. This is despite ExxonMobil’s wells in the Permian producing less oil on average in 2019 than they did in 2018, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The decline raises “troubling questions about the quality” of those assets, the report states, and the company’s “ability to sustain the industry-leading production that the company has been touting to investors.”

E&E News: Earthquakes In U.S. Oil Fields Set 4-Year Record
Mike Soraghan, 6/11/21

“The rate of earthquakes in major U.S. oil-producing regions is at a four-year high, according to a new report that concludes the trend may lead to more treatment of the wastewater that causes the shaking,” E&E News reports. “In an analysis it calls ‘worrying,’ Rystad Energy reported yesterday that the number of earthquakes each year in the south-central United States quadrupled from 2017 to 2020. The area is on track to have even more this year. Rystad looked at earthquakes greater than magnitude 2 in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. The review found 242 in 2017, growing to 491 in 2018, 686 in 2019 and 938 in 2020. This year, around 570 have been recorded in the first five months. Much of that growth has been in West Texas, rising with a surge in oil production and wastewater injection in the Permian Basin (Energywire, May 28). The industry has long disposed of the waste by injecting it into oil-bearing rock layers or by drilling specially designed disposal wells that reach into saline aquifers. But research in Texas and Oklahoma has indicated some of those aquifers are beginning to fill up. The rising pressure has been linked to earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

The Hill: Environmental groups call on members to leave Chamber of Commerce over climate stances
BY ZACK BUDRYK, 6/10/21

“A coalition of 28 environmental groups called on major corporate members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to leave the trade group unless it ends lobbying on behalf of the fossil fuel industry,” The Hill reports. “In a letter shared with The Hill, signatories said that despite lobbying on climate issues by some members, the Chamber’s actions on climate issues have been predominantly “some limited rhetoric.” It cites a report by Royal Dutch Shell that noted the Chamber has not taken a position on either net-zero emissions goals or carbon pricing, and has also not issued a statement on carbon capture. The signatories added a list of actions by the Chamber in the first quarter of 2021 it said were contrary to climate actions. The actions listed include asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to curtail its Climate and ESG Task Force and filing an amicus brief in support of pipeline firm PennEast, which is suing New Jersey for the right to seize state-owned land for pipeline construction. It also cites the Chamber’s public opposition to the White House’s halt of the Keystone XL pipeline and its joint press conference with the American Petroleum Institute in opposition to the administration’s moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public lands.”

OPINION

New Yorker: A Biden Climate Test on the Banks of the Mississippi
By Bill McKibben, 6/9/21

“I suppose that, if I’d thought about it, I could have figured out that there had to be a place where you could jump across the Mississippi. But I’d seen its majestic flow at so many points along its course (ripping through Minneapolis, regal in St. Louis, oceanic by Baton Rouge) that I’d never imagined it as a mere trickle. Now I have—I’ve waded through that trickle, in fact—and on an epic day in recent American Indigenous and environmental activism,” Bill McKibben writes in the New Yorker. “The backstory is that a big Canadian company, Enbridge, has been trying to expand and replace a pipeline, called Line 3, that runs across northern Minnesota. It would be about the same size as the now vanquished Keystone XL pipeline, and carry seven hundred and sixty thousand barrels of regular crude and tar-sands oil from Canada each day. (Enbridge characterizes the project as a “replacement” of the existing pipeline, but it will double the current capacity.) Most of the activists are Indigenous, led by groups such as Honor the Earth and the Giniw Collective, and many of those are led by remarkable women—Winona LaDuke, Tara Houska, and Dawn Goodwin, among many others. They have waged a stout campaign through a bitter Midwestern winter, but it has been hampered by the pandemic. Now vaccines have freed others to join them, and Monday was the first big mobilization.”

OilPrice.com: Can Oil Sands Be Banned?
By Gerald Jansen, 6/10/21

“The boardroom wars around ExxonMobil, a district court in the Hague ruling Shell should speed up its emissions cutting above and beyond its own objectives, the International Energy Agency suggesting oil and gas exploration should come to a halt right now if we are to reach UNFCCC goals, all this seems to create a sense of agitation when everything is subject to revision and everything needs to be redefined to reflect the realities of 2021,” Gerald Jansen writes for OilPrice.com. “In this context, the oil sands of Athabasca (and presumably a slew of other similar projects, including but not limited to tar sands in the Orinoco Belt, of course were they to reach a similar scope) seem to be at an especially vulnerable crossroads – just when oil sands production could finally surge unimpeded with new pipelines allowing for higher exports abroad, their raison d’être might be called into question.  Oil sands owe their rather negative environmental reputation to several factors. In order to extract oil sands, oilmen must stimulate the reservoirs to decrease the viscosity of the bituminous oil in place, only for it to be further diluted (either with naphtha or lighter crude oils) to attain the final product, synthetic crude oil. Whilst doing this, the Athabasca region is brimming with toxic tailing ponds as water gets contaminated with metals and chemicals over the course of steam injection, CO2 gets emitted into the atmosphere, simultaneously running risks of soil toxification and deforestation. Steam injection triggers less CO2 emissions than surface mining – 138 barrels produced for 1 kg of CO2 equivalent vs 113 barrels/kg CO2), requiring twentyfold less water – and some 80% of Canada’s projects belong to the former category, though the overall emissions are still off the charts. That is not to say that Canadian companies do not set themselves binding objectives, oil sands firms are becoming increasingly wary of being caught on the wrong foot and started to get in line with the others. Suncor and Cenovus, two of Canada’s leading oil sands producers, target net-zero operations by 2050. The largest oil producer in all of Canada, Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL), was for a long time rather elusive on its quantifiable environmental goals. Some companies have even resisted the battle call for some time – for instance, Imperial Oil lobbied its shareholders to defeat a motion to set tangible net-zero emissions objectives in early May yet might well be compelled to do it nevertheless as its parent company, ExxonMobil, has become a battlefield of ideas with potential spillover effects all across the continent.”

CNBC: Cramer on cancellation of Keystone pipeline after Biden revokes key permit
6/10/21

“The Keystone pipeline, a $9 billion oil pipeline that became a symbol of the rising political clout of climate change advocates and a flash point in U.S.-Canada relations, was officially canceled on Wednesday. CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Carl Quintanilla and David Faber discuss.”

Arkansas Democrat Gazette: EDITORIAL: Death of a pipeline: Better headline: Earth to Joe
6/11/21

“After years of debate, after years of struggle, after years of approved permits and disapproved permits, after years of back-and-forth as the White House changed political hands again and again, the Keystone XL pipeline is officially dead. The obit was in the Business section. The Greens are thrilled. The Joe Biden administration wouldn’t reverse the permit cancellations (ordered on his first day as president) and so the sponsor of the Keystone XL pulled the plug this week,” the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Editorial Board writes… “So all this means something good for the environment, no? That there will be fewer emissions choking our lungs, no? That the oil in the Candian oil sands will stay underground, no? No. Well, likely no. The oil is coming out, and will be refined somewhere, most likely… “So in the name of . . . something … the administration has likely only made things worse from an environmental point of view. All this from a president who wants to be known as the man who built back our infrastructure “better.” That is, he wants good paying jobs and fewer fossil fuel emissions. He had it with the Keystone XL pipeline. He gave it up to please the radical left in his party. We fail to see how that helps the world.”

Duluth News Tribune: MN Rural Counties: State needs to fix property-tax repayment problem it created
Luke Johnson of Pipestone, Minnesota is chairman of MN Rural Counties and a Pipestone County commissioner. Dan Larson of St. Paul is executive director of MN Rural Counties (mnruralcounties.org), an advocacy organization that supports 34 member counties, 6/10/21

“Thirteen northern Minnesota counties got some bad news recently when they learned the clock is ticking on a court-ordered payback on tens of millions in overcharged property taxes covering half a decade of Enbridge pipeline assessments,” Luke Johnson and Dan Larson write in the Duluth News Tribune. “It was news they had been expecting and that has serious and unrealistic carry-over implications for affected local property taxpayers at the school district, township, and special taxing district levels along the alignment. The alignment is along the northern third of the state, through some of Minnesota’s poorest and most deeply rural areas. As local taxing authorities, those entities had nothing to do with assessing the properties or setting the values the tax court has now found faulty. The values were set solely by the state, and the state should solely be responsible for the payback. The payback order emanates from Enbridge Energy running the table on a multiple-year tax-court challenge to the Minnesota Department of Revenue pipeline assessment rates for tax years 2012 through 2016.”

Environmental Working Group: None of the Above: The False Energy ‘Solutions’ America Doesn’t Need
6/10/21

“America is at an energy crossroads. Over the past decade, the phenomenal growth of clean, cost-efficient, renewable energy sources has shown the environmental and economic folly of reliance on the dirty, dangerous and inequitable sources of the past. Although federal tax credits for wind and solar have played an important role in the clean energy revolution, it has largely been driven by state policies and market forces, as innovators, investors, consumers and forward-looking utilities embrace the future,” the Environmental Working Group writes. “…For too long, poorly coordinated federal energy programs have overwhelmingly propped up outmoded and wasteful sources, alongside comparatively tepid support for renewables. This approach, known as “all of the above,” is a threadbare grab bag of subsidies, tax breaks and other policies that have accreted over the years – more to accommodate vested economic and political interests than to advance a responsible, sustainable national energy policy. It’s time to turn that notion on its head. All of the above should mean an all-in commitment to the full array of clean, renewable energy sources. We should consign these dying relics – and the pipe dreams that only distract from and block energy systems we know will work, because they’re already working – to the ash heap of none of the above. At the same time, it is vitally important to institute and invest in robust programs to help workers and communities that will be disrupted by the shift to an energy economy built on renewables and efficiency. For far too long, “just transition” policies and assistance to affected communities have been paid lip service – stymied by the same vested interests that seek to preserve the status quo and cynically hide behind fake concern for displaced workers or communities whose very way of life will be disrupted by the sustainable energy transition.”

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