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EXTRACTED: Daily News Clips 6/20/22

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 20, 2022

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Pen City Current: Fort Madison couple gears up for fight with Navigator over Heartland-Greenway pipeline

  • Pipeline Fighters Hub: Is the IRS Ready to Wrangle the 45Q Tax Credit Hogs?

  • Huron Plainsman: Some answers to questions regarding carbon pipelines

  • KCHA: Floyd County Supervisors Get Update on Carbon Pipeline Project 

  • Fort Dodge Messenger: Area man wants to talk to Reynolds about pipeline woes

  • MassLive.com: Longmeadow residents displeased with Eversource pipeline project bring attention to environmental meetings

  • Sightline Institute: THE PIPELINE GIANT BEHIND KEYSTONE XL WANTS TO EXPAND A MAJOR FRACKED GAS PIPELINE IN CASCADIA

  • The Tyee: ‘Disaster Land Grabs’ Worldwide and in British Columbia

  • AFP: Photos shared online misidentify pipeline, gold mine

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • CNN: Biden administration invites oil CEOs to meeting next week on gas prices

  • Edmonton Journal: Kenney and Savage head back to Washington for energy talks

  • Politico: DEMS WADE INTO SACKETT FIGHT 

  • Politico: YOU GET THE HORNS: FERC 

  • CNN: Biden to announce new initiatives on curbing methane, zero-emissions vehicles at international climate meeting

STATE UPDATES

  • Hawaii Public Radio: Despite Hawaiʻi’s clean energy strides, oil keeps its grip on the islands

EXTRACTION

  • Bloomberg: Big Oil Bets That Green Hydrogen Is the Future of Energy

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Press release: Advocacy groups signal support for SEC climate disclosure rule

  • Grist: Canadians’ $100 billion oil and gas problem

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Pen City Current: Fort Madison couple gears up for fight with Navigator over Heartland-Greenway pipeline
Chuck Vandenberg, 6/19/22

“A Fort Madison couple is among many Lee County residents fighting to keep a carbon capture pipeline from being built in Lee County,” the Pen City Current reports. “…Ted and Carelle Stein of rural Fort Madison are just two of 156 objections that have been filed with the Iowa Utilities Board since the docket on the proposed pipeline was opened… “The trust farm is a Century Farm under the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Program and has been in Stein’s family for 121 years… “But Ted Stein’s, who’s filed an objection to the pipeline, has serious concerns about the safety of the pipeline. He told the Curre t company officials have indicated that 95% of the liquefied carbon is actually pure carbon dioxide, the other 5% could be extremely harmful. He said he has not received an answer as to what makes up the other 5%…  “Lee County has had multiple landowners approach the Board of Supervisors to oppose the pipeline construction in the county, prompting the board to send a letter in objection to the pipeline earlier this month, one of 16 counties along the route that have filed objections. A total of 156 objections have been filed on the IUB project docket – HLP 2021-003. Sixteen counties, including Lee, and three cities have filed formal objections to the pipeline. Other counties have filed comments on the pipeline and have shown support of changes to the state Inspector Manual to allow more authority to local inspectors. Land owners are concerned about the need for the pipeline, the safety of having liquefied carbon dioxide running through the county under high pressure, and many have a distaste for pipeline companies in the wake of the Dakota Access pipeline… “Carrelle Stein, a lawyer licensed in Iowa and Minnesota, filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Stein Trust on March 2, 2022. As one of Stein’s legal arguments, she claims Iowa Code 479B is void and violates the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. She also says the State has no authority to grant eminent domain to Navigator because the pipeline doesn’t serve a public interest, such as a natural gas line would… “On May 27th, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska filed a formal request with the IUB for an Environmental Impact Study to be conducted prior to the issuance of any permits for the Navigator Project… “Carelle told the Current that may now be the most important development in the opposition to the pipeline on June 2. “The Tribal group is requesting an environmental impact study, finally. And that could stop them. Carelle also told the Current there are two pipelines currently looking for permits, but she said IUB officials said there are three more requests coming to the board in the near future. “Three more are coming. That’s the faulty statute that says you can shift property rights to private investors. That’s what’s happening.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub: Is the IRS Ready to Wrangle the 45Q Tax Credit Hogs?
Paul Blackburn, 6/20/22

“Prior blogs have discussed how tax credits can be used by the government to give preferential treatment to the wealthy and powerful, how the 45Q tax credit is driving the carbon pipeline goldrush, and who benefits from this goldrush. This blog post investigates how hard is it to claim a 45Q tax credit, and whether or not the IRS will be able to herd the tax credit piggie pack so they don’t cheat,” Paul Blackburn writes for the Pipeline Fighters Hub. “…When the carbon emissions from multiple emitters are captured by mega-carbon projects such as the Summit, Navigator, and ADM/Wolf CCS projects, the amount of tax credit capture planned is in the billions of dollars each. Combined, these tax credits from these three projects alone will likely be in excess of $20 billion… “Given how much money is on the line, one would expect the IRS to set up an online reporting system and software to track and verify:the tons of CO2 captured, shipped, sequestered, and used in EOR and other facilities; and tax credit claims and transfers among the owners of capture, sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, and carbon use facilities. If the 45Q tax claims were to be stored in a database, it could be used to track and verify the credits as they bounce around the various corporations, partnerships, and joint ventures that will be making the claims. Is the IRS ready?”

Huron Plainsman: Some answers to questions regarding carbon pipelines
Benjamin Chase, 6/17/22

“A proposed carbon pipeline would run through sections of Beadle County and likely involve other areas of the Plainsman reading audience,” the Huron Plainsman reports. “A recent decision by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) pushed back the formal plans for the route of the pipeline indefinitely, but with the ethanol plant on the southwest of Huron, adjacent land owners are sure to be affected, no matter where the pipeline heads from that point… “While the reduction of carbon from the atmosphere is a positive thing, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson conducted multiple studies at a coal plant, using two different carbon capture technologies, and found that the non-biologic carbon removed from the atmosphere was very limited. After testifying in front of the Iowa legislature in March about proposed ethanol carbon capture pipelines, Jacobson stated to National Public Radio (NPR) that finding ways to produce ethanol and/or drive more efficiently will have a much larger impact on the carbon emissions than carbon capture would… “There have been incidents of carbon pipeline leaks, with the most notable being a pipeline owned by Denbury, Inc., which ruptured in February 2020 due to movement in the soil caused by heavy rain. That leak left 49 people hospitalized and 300 residents of Sartartia, Miss. were forced to evacuate… “Currently, South Dakota is not regulating carbon pipelines through the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR), which is the department tasked with such regulation. This means it is left to  individual counties to propose ordinances and guidelines within the county regarding pipeline depth and setback… “With the DANR not putting forth any standards and as the PUC has not set any deadlines for Summit to present a finalized pipeline route, landowners cannot truly know whether their land will even be impacted by the construction of a pipeline. This could make the signing of legally-binding easements for landowners premature until the DANR or PUC have a defined path or layout for what expectations may be for Summit, or any company, considering the construction of a similar pipeline in the future.”

KCHA: Floyd County Supervisors Get Update on Carbon Pipeline Project 
Mark Pitz, 6/19/22

“Representatives for a company looking to build a carbon capture pipeline through Floyd County provided an update this week to the Board of Supervisors,” KCHA reports. “… Floyd County is included in the path of the pipeline, if Summit’s application is approved by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). The company says getting landowners to agree to voluntary easements is preferred to utilizing eminent domain from the IUB to construct the pipeline. Summit’s Paul Phillips told Floyd County supervisors that they continue to negotiate voluntary easements. Phillips also outlined the revenue that could be generated for Floyd County over the next 25 years. The IUB is not expected to rule on Summit’s permit until early 2023. If approved, Phillips says the company could begin construction next summer.”

Fort Dodge Messenger: Area man wants to talk to Reynolds about pipeline woes
BILL SHEA, 6/18/22

“Homer Martz says he just wants to talk to Gov. Kim Reynolds briefly about the problems he experienced as a result of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the Fort Dodge Messenger reports. “He has not been able to secure such a meeting despite several years of trying, which adds to his frustrations that already include a failed well and an arrest for desecration of the flag. “I believe I’ve been what I call blackballed,” Martz, who lives south of Somers near the border of Calhoun and Webster counties, told the Messenger… “Alex Murphy, a spokesman for Reynolds, told the Messenger she “definitely has a full schedule.” “It’s not like any citizen can walk in and have a meeting with her.” State Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, told the Messenger he arranged a meeting between Martz and some members of Reynolds’ staff about two years ago. Martz still wants to see the governor. “You’ve got to feel sorry for the guy,” Sexton told the Messenger. “He’s tried to do everything. “All he wants to do is tell his story.” Martz is a regular visitor to the state Capitol in Des Moines. He said he goes there monthly and sits in the rotunda holding protest signs… “The chain of events that has led to Martz sitting in the Capitol with protest signs began in 2016. That’s when the Dakota Access Pipeline was built through Iowa to move crude oil from North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois. The pipeline passes between Martz’s home and his well, which is actually on a neighbor’s property. Martz contends that he received no notification of the pipeline work. To protest that, he began flying the American flag upside down on his property… “Then in July 2017, his well, which Martz said was 70 to 80 years old, went dry. He blames that on the pipeline construction. He said the well went dry six months after the pipeline was completed.”

MassLive.com: Longmeadow residents displeased with Eversource pipeline project bring attention to environmental meetings
Juliet Schulman-Hall, 6/20/22

“The more Bryant Miller learned about a proposed Eversource pipeline project set to be constructed in his neighborhood, the less he liked it,” MassLive.com reports. “In November, he joined an advocacy group that has been fighting the project for years, and is now raising awareness about upcoming meetings the company has with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office this coming week. “We don’t want this in our neighborhood. This shouldn’t be in anybody’s neighborhood, especially after what happened to Merrimack Valley,” Miller, referring to a series of gas explosions started in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover — killing an 18-year-old boy from Lawrence, injuring 22 people and damaging several homes in 2018, told MassLive. Miller’s group, the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group, along with other activist organizations such as Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, have for several years been fighting the construction of a pipeline that would run through the residential areas of Longmeadow, parts of downtown Springfield and through Forest Park. Most recently, on May 31, 35 demonstrators protested the pipeline at Springfield’s City Hall, speaking out against reliance on fossil fuels and the detriment to people’s properties near the project… “We have a single pipeline that is over 70 years old and it isn’t getting any younger, and that’s what’s delivering the gas to tens of thousands of customers and, as a priority, the company has proposed putting in a secondary pipeline,” Ress told MassLive. “It’s a backup; it’s a second source; it’s redundancy. It’s for safety and the reliable delivery of of gas.” “…Citing building plans associated with the project, Miller and Marantz expressed concern about how close the pipeline project could be from residential homes and Longmeadow’s Wolf Swamp Elementary School on Wolf Swamp Road. They were also worried about the danger of explosions, as happened in the Merrimack valley in September 2018.”

Sightline Institute: THE PIPELINE GIANT BEHIND KEYSTONE XL WANTS TO EXPAND A MAJOR FRACKED GAS PIPELINE IN CASCADIA
Emily Moore, 6/15/22

“TC Energy, the Canadian fossil fuel giant behind the failed Keystone XL project and the controversial Coastal GasLink project in British Columbia, is quietly preparing to expand the capacity of a major fracked gas pipeline in Cascadia,” the Sightline Institute reports. “… The expansion project, dubbed GTN Xpress, would grow GTN’s capacity by 250 million cubic feet per day (cf/d), which is equivalent to roughly a quarter of Washington State’s annual gas consumption.2 TC Energy justified its October 2021 request for federal approval of the project by claiming that it needs more pipeline capacity to “meet increased market demand [for gas]…in the Pacific Northwest.”3 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will release a draft environmental impact statement on the project in June 2022. But TC Energy is either not paying close attention to what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest or choosing to ignore it. Oregon and Washington are taking major steps to wean themselves off gas with some of the most ambitious policies in the United States. In that context, TC Energy’s stated rationale for hurtling more methane-spewing fracked gas across Cascadia hardly passes muster. Instead, GTN Xpress is the fossil fuel giant’s latest profit-making scheme—one it hopes no one will notice… “But the fact that GTN has more than enough capacity today to meet Oregon and Washington’s gas consumption calls into question TC Energy’s claim that it needs to expand GTN to meet demand in the Pacific Northwest. According to industry source Natural Gas Intelligence, the pipeline company does not actually think that Northwest gas demand will rise, despite what it told FERC. Instead, TC Energy is seeking to grab market share by pushing more Canadian gas onto the Pacific Northwest, displacing other gas sources. Either way, GTN Xpress would lock in expanded fossil fuel infrastructure for decades, making it harder for the region to achieve its decarbonization goals. TC Energy has already signed 30-year contracts for the project with gas utilities in the Pacific Northwest and gas extraction companies in Canada, meaning that it intends to ship fracked gas through the region past 2050.”

The Tyee: ‘Disaster Land Grabs’ Worldwide and in British Columbia
Amanda Follett Hosgood, 6/20/22

“On Jan. 4, 2020, as news began to spread about a novel coronavirus, Hereditary Chiefs from the Wet’suwet’en Nation felled trees across a snowy resource road and evicted the company that intended to build a pipeline through their traditional territory,” The Tyee reports. “…In the weeks that followed, the Hereditary Chiefs went into talks with the provincial and federal governments, by late February reaching an agreement to resume negotiations over Wet’suwet’en land title. Days later, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. Then B.C. declared a state of emergency. Wet’suwet’en communities went into strict lockdown. “Everything just stopped,” Molly Wickham, a member of the Gidimt’en Clan who holds the hereditary name Sleydo’, told the Tyee… “We basically just shut down for more than a year. I felt like we were paralyzed,” she told the Tyee. “It was a way for them to do the work without any Wet’suwet’en resistance and without any eyes on the significant increase in work.” As communities locked down, the B.C. government took steps to ensure the economy kept moving. Large industrial projects like Coastal GasLink were quickly declared essential services and camp-style accommodations were permitted to continue hosting hundreds of workers. The move, some argued, was an opportunistic claim to Wet’suwet’en territory, fitting the definition of a disaster land grab: a moment when calamity — whether storm, earthquake or disease — makes it easier for powerful interests to impose their will on local populations under intensified duress. “To the extent that this is Indigenous land, it is a land grab, because it is using a disaster to attempt to override the assertion of Indigenous rights and titles,” Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein, who recently became an associate professor of climate justice at the University of British Columbia, told the Tyee. “I think it’s fair to say that the B.C. government has taken full advantage of the pandemic to push through projects that are dividing Indigenous communities, that are highly contested, that have been the subject of mass demonstrations in B.C. and across Canada.” “…Now’s a great time to be building a pipeline because you can’t have protests,” Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said in a May 2020 interview, where she referred to “fringe radical left” and “nutbars” opposing fossil fuel development. “So, let’s get it built.” The term land grab provides a loose definition for the practice of governments paving the way for industry by handing over communally held parcels of land for economic development.”

AFP: Photos shared online misidentify pipeline, gold mine
6/16/22

“Posts shared tens of thousands of times on social media claim to show photos of the Keystone oil pipeline and a lithium mine. However, the images are mislabeled; one shows an oil pipeline in Alaska while the other shows a gold mine,” AFP reports. “The top picture is part of the keystone pipeline The bottom is a lithium mine,” says text in a June 15, 2022 Facebook post. “Those are the facts. Truth hurts doesn’t it FB.” The top image shows what appears to be a metal pipeline running through a verdant forest. The bottom photo shows the parched, red terraces of a deep open-cast mine. However, neither photo shows what the post claims… “The juxtaposition of the mislabeled images makes oil appear as a cleaner option than lithium — a key element for batteries in electric-powered vehicles — despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Scientists have acknowledged the environmental and social costs if metals for batteries are not mined responsibly. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says these could include emissions, pollution and biodiversity loss and has detailed ways to reduce them. Petroleum production has its own environmental risks such as oil leaks and high carbon dioxide emissions for transport and other uses. An expert for the International Council on Clean Transportation, Georg Bieker, noted in comments to AFP for a previous fact check that despite the negative impacts of mining, “saying that sticking to the fossil alternatives is better … is certainly not correct.” “…Critics accused Biden of surrendering US “energy independence” and blamed his policies for surging gasoline and crude oil prices. AFP Fact Check addressed both of those claims here and here. Biden’s climate plan also includes a target for zero-emission cars to make up half of all automobiles sold in the US by 2030, heralding a shift to electric vehicles. Online, skeptics have warned of the potential environmental impact of mining minerals for car batteries. AFP has fact-checked a series of claims about electric vehicles and renewable energy. Studies indicate electric vehicles produce fewer damaging greenhouse emissions over their lifetimes than gasoline-powered vehicles.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

CNN: Biden administration invites oil CEOs to meeting next week on gas prices
Matt Egan and Kate Sullivan, 6/16/22

“The Energy Department sent an invitation to oil industry executives Wednesday night to meet next week to discuss high gas prices,” CNN reports. “The official said the invitation went out to the same seven oil companies to which President Joe Biden wrote a letter on Tuesday: Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell. It’s not clear what the format of the meeting will be nor precisely when it will be held. A representative for the oil industry did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In the Tuesday letter, Biden called for oil companies to boost supply of gasoline and slammed the high profit margins as “unacceptable” at a time when families are grappling with record-high prices. Biden said he directed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to hold an emergency meeting on the issue and to engage with the National Petroleum Council, an advisory committee representing the oil-and-gas industry.  The oil industry quickly pushed back on the President’s arguments. “We are surprised and disappointed by the President’s letter,” Chet Thompson, CEO of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, said in a statement.  “Any suggestion that US refiners are not doing our part to bring stability to the market is false,” Thompson said. “We would encourage the Administration to look inward to better understand the role their policies and hostile rhetoric have played in the current environment.” The President and his team have acknowledged in recent weeks that there is not much Biden can do to immediately bring down the high gas prices. For the first time ever, a gallon of regular gas hit $5 on average nationwide, according to AAA’s Saturday reading. The issue is a major political problem for the President, who is grappling to bring down high consumer prices amid the worst inflation the nation has seen in decades.”

Edmonton Journal: Kenney and Savage head back to Washington for energy talks
Hamdi Issawi, 6/19/22

“Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage are headed back to the U.S. capital to talk energy strategy, as well as security and affordability in the long-run,” the Edmonton Journal reports. “The two are bound for Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., this week to join the IHS Oil Sands Dialogue as well as other meetings, the province said in a Sunday news release. A statement from Kenney promoted Alberta as the “logical choice”  to help meet the world’s energy demand, while Savage said Alberta is working to address global energy security concerns. “It is important for Alberta to have a seat at the table when those matters are being discussed,” she said in the release. The latest mission follows a similar trip in May that included Environment Minister Jason Nixon and saw Kenney speak to U.S. lawmakers about bolstering co-operation with Canada on energy security and climate change.”

Politico: DEMS WADE INTO SACKETT FIGHT 
Alex Guillén, 6/17/22

“A coalition of 167 current and former congressional Democrats today will file a “friend of the court” brief before the Supreme Court in the Sackett case to be heard in October that will decide the extent of federal jurisdiction over waterways and wetlands in the U.S.,” Politico reports. “The current “significant nexus” test that courts use “most closely respects” the policy choices Congress made in passing the Clean Water Act, the Democrats argue. “The Court should decline [the plaintiffs’] pleas to rewrite the Act and, through a jurisdiction-shrinking test, supplant waters-specific assessments that, under the Act, must be tested through the crucible of regulatory proceedings.”

Politico: YOU GET THE HORNS: FERC 
Alex Guillén, 6/17/22

“Chairman Richard Glick blasted a Wall Street Journal editorial speculating that he’d had improper talks with White House officials as “complete bull” and said administration officials had no influence in developing its plan to increase the environmental scrutiny the regulator applies to new natural gas projects,” Politico reports. “I take FERC ethics very, incredibly seriously,” Glick told reporters following Thursday’s monthly open meeting, adding he would “never ever” violate FERC rules that bar commissioners from discussing matters pending before the commission to outside parties.”

CNN: Biden to announce new initiatives on curbing methane, zero-emissions vehicles at international climate meeting
Ella Nilsen, 6/17/22

“President Joe Biden will announce several new initiatives Friday morning as he hosts the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, according to senior administration officials,” CNN reports. “It is the largest climate meeting of world leaders in the run-up to the United Nations climate summit, COP27, in November. Twenty-three of the world’s largest economies will be represented at the virtual meeting, as well as other countries participating in climate pledges, officials said. Several foreign nations are expected to announce strengthened climate targets in line with the Paris agreement. The US and European Union will launch the next step of their global methane pledge to reduce emissions of the planet-warming gas by 30% by 2030. The so-called energy pathway, the officials said, will focus on eliminating routine flaring in fossil fuel operations and focus on ways to cut methane pollution in the oil and gas sector… “Biden will also announce a new global initiative focused on raising $90 billion to develop and scale new clean technologies to decarbonize, officials said. The US will devote $21.5 billion to this effort, with funds already passed in Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law. The US will also invite other countries to join the president’s previously announced domestic goal that by 2030, half of vehicles sold in the US will be battery electric, fuel-cell electric or plug-in hybrid, officials said. Biden’s zero-emissions vehicles target is not binding and some other countries are moving more aggressively on it. For instance, the European Union is considering its own more stringent standards to ban the sale of new combustion engine cars by 2035. Senior administration officials told CNN that Friday’s meeting is a chance for the world’s major economies to reiterate their climate commitment amid the turmoil brought by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

STATE UPDATES

Hawaii Public Radio: Despite Hawaiʻi’s clean energy strides, oil keeps its grip on the islands
Savannah Harriman-Pote, 6/16/22

“Everything we eat, drink, drive, or otherwise use requires power. While Hawaiʻi has made strides to transition its electrical grid to renewable energy, the economy still overwhelmingly relies on fossil fuels,” Hawaii Public Radio reports. “When you look at Hawaiʻi’s total energy mix, and that’s everything, talking about electricity, transportation, all the stuff we use energy for, about 85% of our total energy use comes from petroleum-derived products,” Scott Glenn, the state Chief Energy Officer, told HPR. Each year, Hawaiʻi imports roughly 30 million barrels of oil to meet its energy needs… The price tag for this oil dependence? Glenn told HPR  the floor is $3 billion. “Every hotel room, rental car, tourist and a restaurant, all that economic activity adds up to about $17 billion a year. So if you compare that to our energy bill for the state, for our economy, we’re spending two or three months of tourism,” Glenn told HPR. “All the tourism in the state is turning around and going to Libya and some of these other countries to bring oil to Hawaiʻi.” So how does Hawaiʻi reconcile its dependence on oil with its goals as a leader in the fight against climate change? “Hawaiʻi having the most aggressive, renewable portfolio standard goals, and being the most petroleum-dependent state in the country are two things that really go hand in hand,” Glenn told HPR. “We also have an obligation to live the ask we’re making the rest of the world. We need the rest of the world to stop using fossil fuels so that we don’t drown here in the islands. And should we continue using fossil fuels as well while we’re asking the rest of the world to stop doing it?”

EXTRACTION

Bloomberg: Big Oil Bets That Green Hydrogen Is the Future of Energy
Will Mathis, Laura Hurst, and Francois De Beaupuy, 6/19/22

“After years of dabbling, major oil companies are finally planning the kind of large-scale investments that would make green hydrogen a serious business,” Bloomberg reports. “They’re chasing a very particular vision of a low-carbon future — multibillion dollar developments that generate vast concentrations of renewable electricity and convert it into chemicals or clean fuels that can be shipped around the world to power trucks, ships or even airplanes. “The oil majors have been building multibillion-dollar projects since forever,” Julien Rolland, head of power and renewables at commodities trader Trafigura Group Pte Ltd, told Bloomberg. “This green hydrogen, green ammonia stuff will be the new energy industry.” The plan is well suited to the companies’ natural strengths in project management and their financial heft, but even with those advantages they’re still making a big bet on an unproven technology that could fall short of its potential… “The size of these projects isn’t something done by a small startup,” Bogers told Bloomberg. “It requires deep pockets.” US giant Chevron Corp. is ready to spend billions on a mixture of green and blue hydrogen, which uses a chemical reaction to split natural gas and capture and store the carbon dioxide… “The global supermajors still spend the bulk of their money on oil and gas, but are devoting a growing proportion to low-carbon energy… “There’s a long way to go before one of these projects actually starts seeing significant capital investment,” Farruggio told Bloomberg. “It will possibly be a stretch to see this coming in prior to 2030.” That fits with the announced timetables for full expansion of the BP and TotalEnergies’ green hydrogen ventures, and is well within the 2050 deadline for the companies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Large-scale hydrogen, unproven though it may be, could represent the best chance for the current generation of oil majors to remain as key players in a mid-21st century, climate-compatible energy industry. “At some point, oil and gas will have to start declining to get on that Paris-aligned trajectory,” Ellacott told Bloomberg. Green hydrogen is the best fit for a new low-carbon profit center because it’s “such a big long-term growth market, it’s really in the majors’ sweet spot in terms of synergies with their existing businesses.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Press release: Advocacy groups signal support for SEC climate disclosure rule
6/17/22

“As the public comment period for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed rule on corporate climate disclosures comes to a close, the Sierra Club, along with dozens of advocacy groups and tens of thousands of individuals, have signaled their support for the federal regulatory agency’s move to require publicly traded companies to share information about their greenhouse gas emissions and the climate-related financial risks their businesses face. The Sierra Club and more than 70 allies submitted several comments to the SEC — including two-page and eight-page summaries outlining the key points of a longer technical comment — alongside nearly 15,000 comments submitted by the Sierra Club members and supporters. “Requiring companies to disclose standardized information on climate risks is an important step in providing investors and the public with clear, consistent, and comprehensive information to support more informed and sustainable investment decisions,” said Ben Cushing, campaign manager for the Sierra Club’s Fossil Free Finance campaign. “This is especially important given how many companies have made commitments to address their climate impacts without disclosing the full scope of their emissions, the risks their businesses face from climate change, or the steps they plan to take to meet their climate pledges. Understanding and mitigating growing climate risks is critical to building a stronger financial system and protecting investors and  communities from climate-related shocks.”  According to the comment grouping by the SEC, at least 75% of comments have been supportive of the proposal, highlighting how the rule is good for business, better for investors, and needed for the US economy.” 

Grist: Canadians’ $100 billion oil and gas problem
John Woodside, 6/20/22

“Canadians stand to lose over $100 billion in the energy transition as investors around the world continue to pour money into fossil fuel assets that will eventually become worthless, a recent international study finds,” Grist reports. “Many of the identified losses will come through people’s pension funds and investments. People with their retirement savings tied up in funds like the Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, or the Alberta Investment Management Corporation are at risk of seeing their savings threatened if an energy transition is not well managed given how deeply invested in fossil fuels many pension plans are… “The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, sought to understand who will take the financial hit as oil and gas production worldwide becomes unprofitable. By tracing more than 40,000 of these assets back to their ultimate owners, the authors found investors risk losing as much as $1.76 trillion globally. The study does not predict a crash but rather compares two scenarios — what investors currently expect from their investments and what it would take to hold onto the Paris Agreement’s goal of preventing the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius — to identify the amount of cash at risk of never materializing. It only considered resources used in oil and gas production, meaning that number could grow if things like pipelines and refineries were included. People living in global financial powers like the United States and the United Kingdom have the most money at risk from transition — an exposure of roughly $350 billion and just over $125 billion, respectively. The British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong came third and fourth, with Canada rounding out the top five. More than half the fossil fuel assets examined by the study — worth roughly $950 billion — are owned by individuals through vehicles like pension funds, the authors found… “In other words, financiers in rich countries are investing in fossil fuels to make money in the short term, but the more cash goes into these investments, the more those people stand to lose later on as the world stops using oil and gas.”

OPINION

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Deny eminent domain for pipeline
Rose Mather, Yankton, 6/19/22

“Co2 pipelines are just an opportunity for private businesses to take public money to make money and cover their own problems,” Rose Mather writes for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “Our taxpayer monies are not for private profit and bailouts. Eminent domain must be denied to protect the public. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says Co2 pipelines are extremely dangerous and we are not prepared for a worst-case scenario rupture. Winds can carry hazardous gas from leaks and explosions and it can sit in hollows for days. People can be unaware of small leaks, but their health can be affected. Alerting people and responding to problems takes time, while people, animals, fish, birds, and vegetation are affected and even killed. It can take up to 24 hours to close a frozen valve. Responding requires expert knowledge in addressing situations. Populated areas are especially at risk. Flushing out and cleanup take time. Health issues can continue for years. We need to question what Summit Carbon Solutions is doing. They don’t think Co2 gas and leaks are a problem. They intend to keep strips of 30,000 miles of easement land when their project is abandoned. Will they flush out the lines? Do they intend to make money from those abandoned strips of land? Will landowners be charged to place fences or buildings on their own property? Summit is busy donating to local organizations and causes. They stress how they will be paying taxes and providing work for locals. Those claims need to be closely examined. Will their safety checks for leaks be with drones to cover the many seams and valves? They don’t mention liability for damages. The gassing disaster at Satartia, Mississippi and other leaks are now a big concern.”

The Advocate: Beverly Wright: Carbon capture is an industry scam, let’s get the facts about it
Dr. Beverly Writes is the executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, 6/14/22

“Carbon capture and storage (CCS), the process of capturing carbon dioxide and storing it for centuries, has no place in Louisiana. And on Thursday, New Orleans became the first municipality to prohibit CCS and related infrastructure,” Dr. Beverly Writes writes for The Advocate. “I’ve seen firsthand the effects of the Mississippi River chemical corridor — otherwise known as Cancer Alley — on Black communities. As CCS is debated as an alternative to traditional oil and gas facilities, I worry about the same patterns of harm on Black communities repeating themselves in a different form… “President Joe Biden has been vocal about his commitment to environmental justice, but the administration must be willing to listen to those who will be most affected by potential solutions — or false solutions. No matter how they tout the benefits of CCS, oil and gas companies are looking for another method to boost profits without consideration for the human or environmental cost. Carbon capture is not a safe, sustainable solution. It will encourage growth of fossil fuel industries and continue the injustice of sacrificing communities of color for profits. We need a plan for Louisiana that cleans our air while prioritizing equitable investments in communities and training people for clean energy jobs. That’s why I am calling upon Congress to fund a CCS impact analysis conducted by relevant agencies.”

Globe and Mail: Why Canada can meet its oil and gas emissions targets
Jan Gorski is the director of the Pembina Institute’s oil and gas program, based out of Calgary, 6/19/22

“A confidential federal analysis obtained by The Globe and Mail recently shed doubt on whether the oil and gas sector can reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to the levels set out in Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan, calling into question whether the country’s climate goals are too difficult to achieve,” Jan Gorski writes for the Globe and Mail. “However, this analysis was preliminary and failed to assess the full potential within the sector to reduce the emissions it produces… “While it will take considerable effort, and Canada’s highest-emitting sector will need to pick up the pace, our analysis shows that the oil and gas industry can achieve even deeper emission cuts than what was modelled in the federal climate plan using existing technology – as much as 103 megatonnes from 2019 levels. Available technology includes capturing methane gas that is vented or leaked into the air, electrifying industrial engines, and using carbon capture and storage… “In Canada, oil-sands investors and shareholders are sending a clear message that they do not believe there is a growing market for bitumen. For the first time since the oil sands were unlocked, Alberta is experiencing a boom in terms of oil revenue, yet no major oil-sands expansions or new projects are being advanced… “The Canadian oil and gas sector is well positioned to do its fair share to meet the country’s climate goals by 2030. It is not only imperative to meeting our climate targets and international obligations, but critical in order for the industry to remain competitive in a global marketplace that’s shifting away from oil and increasingly placing value on low-carbon energy.”

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