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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/21/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 21, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Common DreamsIndigenous Women Invite Deb Haaland to See Devastation of Line 3 for Herself
  • Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) InternationalIndigenous Women Leaders Resisting Line 3 Invite Secretary Deb Haaland to Minnesota
  • Indian Country TodaySheriff, water protectors keep peace at Enbridge site
  • Facebook: Friends of the HeadwatersHow does this mega corporation from Canada, a company that has constructed many pipelines, screw up on something so basic as their estimated water requests?
  • KALWOne Planet- The Protests Continue Against Line 3 Pipeline: “We Cannot Stop. And We Will Not Stop”
  • The Guardian‘We will not stop’: pipeline opponents ready for America’s biggest environmental fight
  • InsideClimate NewsRequiem for a Pipeline: Keystone XL Transformed the Environmental Movement and Shifted the Debate over Energy and Climate
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveIn solidarity with Water Protectors north of us, there is a week of action to stop the companies from insuring another tar sands pipeline known as Trans-Mountain
  • Edmonton Journal‘We’re pretty resilient:’ COVID-19 a bigger blow to Oyen, Hardisty than killing Keystone XL pipeline expansion: Mayors
  • Edmonton JournalAnti-Alberta energy inquiry seeks responses from 40 groups, two years after UCP launch
  • E&E NewsLawsuit: FERC erred in climate review of gas project
  • Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline SafetyOn Wednesday Energy Transfer received yet another Notice of Violation related to the discharge of groundwater from the Briar Rd worksite near the Chester County Library
  • Nelson County TimesNelson officials recognize anniversary of pipeline’s demise as day of celebration

WASHINGTON UPDATES

STATE UPDATES

  • Cheyenne PostGovernor Gordon Welcomes Judge’s Ruling Blocking Biden Administration Oil and Gas Leasing Moratorium
  • Associated PressCitgo to Pay Additional $19.7M for Damage from Louisiana Refinery Spill
  • Colorado SunColorado doesn’t want to foot the bill for abandoned oil and gas wells. Here’s how it will avoid picking up the tab
  • Carlsbad Current-ArgusStudy: Fixing oil and gas methane emissions could create jobs in New Mexico, U.S.

EXTRACTION

  • The GuardianA US oil company cut nearly 2,000 jobs – and reaped $2.1bn in pandemic benefits
  • Washington PostNative Americans are transporting a 5,000-pound totem pole to D.C. from the Pacific Northwest

IMPACT LITIGATION

  • New York TimesSupreme Court Limits Human Rights Suits Against Corporations
  • BloombergThe Man Who Beat Shell: How an Unknown Lawyer Won Historic Suit
  • ReutersCalif. consumers sue over plastic bottles’ ‘deceptive’ recycling labels

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Public CitizenIn Global First, Connecticut Passes Bill Addressing Insurers’ Participation in Risky Fossil Fuel Finance

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Common Dreams: Indigenous Women Invite Deb Haaland to See Devastation of Line 3 for Herself
KENNY STANCIL, 6/17/21

“A group of Indigenous women opposed to the Line 3 pipeline on Thursday invited Interior Secretary Deb Haaland—the first Native American woman to hold her Cabinet position and a professed critic of fossil fuel infrastructure on public and tribal lands—to visit northern Minnesota and “learn more about the impacts” of the tar sands project first-hand,” Common Dreams reports. “”We would be honored to host you in our territories and share further about our treaty rights, the violation of free, prior, and informed consent now occurring, the importance of wild rice to our communities, and the impacts of Line 3,” reads the letter to Interior Secretary Haaland… “As the group noted, “Enbridge’s new pipeline route crosses the 1854 and 1855 Treaty territories, where Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather medicines, and harvest wild rice. The impact of construction—or worse, an oil spill—would permanently damage our people’s ability to exercise these rights.”

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International: Indigenous Women Leaders Resisting Line 3 Invite Secretary Deb Haaland to Minnesota
6/17/21

“Today, Indigenous women leaders resisting Enbridge’s Line 3 sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, inviting the Secretary to visit northern Minnesota and learn more about the impacts of the Line 3 pipeline project within Indigenous communities and for natural resources. The Line 3 tar sands pipeline is currently under construction, and is set to cross more than 200 waterways and cut through the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory where Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather medicines, and harvest wild rice. As stated in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” The invitation highlights concerns Indigenous leaders have with the pipeline project including violation of Treaty Rights, the violation of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and negative impacts for wild rice, local waterways, and Indigenous communities. “The Line 3 pipeline project poses a significant threat to water, Indigenous Treaty rights, and worsens the global climate crisis. Line 3 is being constructed in Minnesota on Indigenous lands without consent from local tribes and public officials, and without a federal environmental review…So far, President Biden and the Army Corps of Engineers haven’t listened to our voices — we are hoping they will listen to yours.”

Indian Country Today: Sheriff, water protectors keep peace at Enbridge site
MARY ANNETTE PEMBER, 6/17/21

“Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson spent a lot of time in the sun. By the time folks occupying the Fire Light camp finished their ceremonies and broke camp, his clean-shaven head was a bright shade of red,” Indian Country Today reports. “Despite a nasty sunburn and some sleepless nights, it was all worthwhile for the sheriff of this small Minnesota county bordering the White Earth Reservation. On the evening of June 14, Halverson quietly escorted about 50 water protectors from the camp out to Highway 40 where they were issued citations for trespassing on an Enbridge Line 3 work site. One of the water protectors was arrested at his own request, according to Halverson. It was a far cry from the large police presence and more than 100 arrests at an Enbridge pumping station in nearby Hubbard County. “Well,” he told ICT, diplomatically, “every county is different.” “…We decided we wanted to write our own narrative,” he told Indian Country Today later in an interview. “We would show the world that things can be done in a peaceful way.” Born and raised in the nearby town of Bagley, Halverson has lived in the area all of his life. He grew up and went to school with some of the water protectors. “I went to school with him,” Goodwin confirmed. “His mother was my lunchroom supervisor.” She also knew the sheriff from his attendance at the coalition’s educational events teaching people about treaties. Halverson and the water protectors talked and negotiated for seven days.“Sheriff Halverson uplifted our treaties,” Goodwin said. “This is what peace talks should be about.”Goodwin said Halverson helped avoid a mass arrest and convinced Enbridge to give the group more time to finish their ceremonies. “He could see we were there in prayer and ceremony; he honored that,” she said.

Facebook: Friends of the Headwaters: How does this mega corporation from Canada, a company that has constructed many pipelines, screw up on something so basic as their estimated water requests?
6/20/21

“Friends of the Headwaters wonders how anyone can imagine that Enbridge can be trusted or viewed as competent. How does this mega corporation from Canada, a company that has constructed many pipelines, screw up on something so basic as their estimated water requests?  Especially when they are planning a route through almost 80 miles of WETLANDS? This wasn’t a minor discrepancy or a rounding error. Enbridge grossly “underestimated” its water needs for Line 3 and now wants almost 10 times the amount the company initially requested. So, on June 4 (during a drought) an incredibly responsive MN Department of Natural Resources gave Enbridge permission to take another 4,472 million gallons for their construction.”

KALW: One Planet- The Protests Continue Against Line 3 Pipeline: “We Cannot Stop. And We Will Not Stop”
6/21/21

“In the second half of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we are getting the latest on the protests against Line 3 pipeline that would carry tar-sands from Alberta, Canada to a port in Superior, Wisconsin,” KALW reports. “Native Activists and their allies say the pipeline threatens pristine wetlands, violates tribal sovereignty, and worsen climate change Guest: Tara Houska, tribal attorney, the Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and founder of the Indigenous advocacy group Giniw Collective”

The Guardian: ‘We will not stop’: pipeline opponents ready for America’s biggest environmental fight
Sheila Regan, 6/20/21

“As the sun set, more than a dozen young people carried a wooden bridge toward a narrow section of the Mississippi River. The bridge allowed the group to cross more easily from their camp to where the immense oil pipeline was being built on the other side,” The Guardian reports. “They were cited for trespassing – but they had symbolically laid claim to the marshy landscape. That same day, Dawn Goodwin’s voice was soft but forceful as she spoke into the camera: “I’m calling on you, Joe Biden, to uphold our treaties, because they are the supreme law of the land.” Goodwin, an Ojibwe woman and environmental activist, was recording a livestream from a picturesque camp site amid northern Minnesota’s natural beauty – where she and dozens of others had come together to protest the construction of the Line 3 pipeline… “We’re done messing around with the process and trusting that the process is going to work, because in the end, it failed us,” she said. “What am I trusting instead? The power of the people, and the creator.” The proposed Line 3 pipeline – which, if expanded, would move crude oil from Alberta in Canada through Minnesota to Wisconsin – has quickly become the biggest target of US environmental advocates. In addition to attracting protesters from around the country, it’s bringing attention to Biden’s unfulfilled promises so far on the climate crisis, as advocates argue he could step in to stop an expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure but hasn’t.”

InsideClimate News: Requiem for a Pipeline: Keystone XL Transformed the Environmental Movement and Shifted the Debate over Energy and Climate
By Marianne Lavelle, 6/20/21

“It was meant to be an express line from North America’s largest proven oil reserve to its biggest refining center and to deepen the bond between Canada and the United States as petroleum partners,” InsideClimate News reports. “And it would have stood—or rather, lain—four feet underground, as a 1,700-mile steel monument to humanity’s triumph over the forces that at the time seemed to threaten the future of an oil-driven economy. Conventional oil reservoirs might be running out and alarms might be sounding over the damage that carbon dioxide pollution was doing to the atmosphere, but the Keystone XL pipeline would show America’s determination to carve out ever new oil corridors… “The 13-year fight over Keystone XL transformed the U.S. environmental movement, and dramatically shifted the political center of the American debate over energy and climate change. Instead of trying to get people to care about the future impact of a gas—carbon dioxide—that they couldn’t smell or see, environmentalists began focusing on the connection between climate change and the here-and-now effects of fossil fuel dependence: the takeover of land; the risk to air and water; and the injustice to those in the path of the fossil fuel industry’s plans. President Barack Obama’s presidency was a barometer of this change. Early on, his administration seemed poised to approve Keystone XL. Near the end of his second term, Obama became the first world leader to block a major U.S. oil infrastructure project over climate change.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: In solidarity with Water Protectors north of us, there is a week of action to stop the companies from insuring another tar sands pipeline known as Trans-Mountain.
6/17/21

“In solidarity with Water Protectors north of us, there is a week of action to stop the companies from insuring another tar sands pipeline known as Trans-Mountain. Land defenders (Secwepmec, Squamish, Tsleil-waututh) are calling for insurance companies to stop insuring the tar sands and the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Our struggles are interconnected – the oil that Enbridge wants to send through Line 3 and the oil that Trudeau wants to send through the Trans Mountain Pipeline both come from the tar sands in Canada: https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/stop-insuring-trans-mountain-week-of-action

Edmonton Journal: ‘We’re pretty resilient:’ COVID-19 a bigger blow to Oyen, Hardisty than killing Keystone XL pipeline expansion: Mayors
Lisa Johnson, 6/20/21

“The mayors of two Alberta towns that saw booms as a result of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion before it was formally killed this month say COVID-19 hit the communities harder than the cancellation of the project will,” the Edmonton Journal reports. “…In January, Calgary-based TC Energy, the pipeline’s owner, said it planned to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs as a result. Before then, Hardisty, 200 km southeast of Edmonton, had expected an influx of about 600 or so temporary workers spending locally during the construction season. However, Mayor Douglas Irving said in June it was the COVID-19 pandemic that really took its toll on the town of about 550 people… “During the height of work on Keystone XL last year in Oyen, 300 km east of Calgary, the number of temporary workers, many staying in camps just outside town, doubled its population of about 1,100 throughout the week. Mayor Doug Jones pegged their spending at roughly $3 million every month in the town’s grocery stores, hair salons, gas stations and local businesses. But Jones said that the section of the pipeline expansion near Oyen is complete and in his town too, it’s COVID-19 that has had a far more of a negative impact.”

Edmonton Journal: Anti-Alberta energy inquiry seeks responses from 40 groups, two years after UCP launch
Lisa Johnson, 6/20/21

“Alberta’s $3.5-million public inquiry into alleged foreign-funded anti-energy campaigns is asking 40 organizations to respond to its work, two years after its 2019 launch,” the Edmonton Journal reports. “The inquiry is reaching out to about 40 unnamed organizations to respond to its evidence and potential findings. The subjects of the inquiry are expected to keep the materials that pertain to each of them confidential until they become part of the public record. The organizations have until July 16 to submit responses to the inquiry, headed by commissioner Steve Allan. The inquiry, struck by the UCP government in July 2019, has been granted extensions four times, with the latest deadline now set for July 30. It’s final price tag is expected to be $3.5 million — $1 million more than initially budgeted.”

E&E News: Lawsuit: FERC erred in climate review of gas project
Niina H. Farah, 6/21/21

“A natural gas trade association is challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over its order to review the environmental impacts of an operational compressor station in Massachusetts,” E&E News reports.

Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety: On Wednesday Energy Transfer received yet another Notice of Violation related to the discharge of groundwater from the Briar Rd worksite near the Chester County Library
6/18/21

“On Wednesday Energy Transfer received yet another Notice of Violation related to the discharge of groundwater from the Briar Rd worksite near the Chester County Library. This is the third there this spring ( and the 123rd for Mariner East). The groundwater is being pumped at a rate of 1 million gallons per day to keep the bore pit dry and is laden with fine sediment. According to the NOV, “ the ongoing issues with the operations at the dewatering facility need to be addressed. DEP is concerned that Wetland B71 is being inappropriately used as a treatment facility for turbid, sediment laden water, and a depository for sediment and clay fill”, This sediment was dumped there during two discharge events that violated their permits and the Clean Streams Act. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was notified of both events and the sediment in wetland by residents. The illegal discharge of sediment in April was allowed to continue for 11 days before the DEP took action after persistence from residents and our state Senator Carolyn Comitta and attention from the press. Energy Transfer must  evaluate the wetland the submit a plan to remediate. The deadline is June 30 Meanwhile, the DEP is allowing the wetland to be used for the discharge of filtered groundwater from the worksite. In order for this discharge to continue, West Whiteland Township has permitted Energy Transfer to use our public sewer system for the muddy water (1 million gallons per day) if and when Energy Transfer’s filtration system fails again.”

Nelson County Times: Nelson officials recognize anniversary of pipeline’s demise as day of celebration
Nick Cropper, 6/16/21

“Nelson County will officially mark the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — July 5 — as a commemorative day of celebration,” according to the Nelson County Times. “… [I]n recognition of the success of these citizen-led efforts, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors resolves to publicly congratulate and thank those who put the interests of their fellow citizens at the forefront of their concerns in their successful campaign to defeat this misguided project,” the text of the resolution states. Approved during the June 8 meeting by the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in a 4-0 vote, the resolution in its current, slimmed-down state comes after a debate from board members over the exact language that should be included in the document… “South District Supervisor Robert “Skip” Barton said the document recognizes multiple reasons why Nelson County residents and others stood in opposition of the roughly 600-mile natural gas pipeline slated to go through parts of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina and would have cut through some 27 miles of Nelson. The controversial project sparked the formation of the nonprofit Friends of Nelson, a grassroots organization which would spend the next half-decade fighting the pipeline. “I think the key point is the people of Nelson County, for a variety of different reasons, stood up to a corporation that was manipulating the system in order to ensure a profit,” Barton said. “We can debate each of these [bullet points], but we should celebrate that we all got together to stand up to something that didn’t make sense.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Inside EPA: DOI Expected To Limit Oil & Gas Leasing Despite Ruling Blocking Pause
6/16/21

“The Department of Interior (DOI) appears poised to pursue new conditions for fossil-fuel extraction on public lands based in part on climate concerns, including a rulemaking raising royalties, despite a recent court decision blocking the Biden administration’s temporary pause on new oil and gas leasing,” Inside EPA reports. “Public indications from DOI of future actions — as well as predictions from observers — come amid fallout over a June 15 preliminary injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana blocking the leasing pause that was initiated by President Joe Biden’s Jan. 27 climate executive order calling for a review of leasing on federal lands and waters. The ruling represents at least an initial victory for the 13 states that challenged the Biden policy as violating a congressional mandate for the government to issue new leases. But it also comes as the Biden administration is expected to issue an interim report as soon as this month on administrative and legislative recommendations for reforming the federal leasing program.”

Politico: Tester Tells Interior To Wrap Up Oil Lease Review
6/17//21

“Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mon.) on Wednesday joined with Republicans to express his impatience over the Interior Department’s ongoing review of the federal oil and gas leasing program that Interior has said must be completed before it resumes the auctions it put on hold in January,” Politico reports. “Details: Tester, speaking to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the department’s $17.6 billion budget request, said that Interior’s failure to set a deadline for the review or outline of what it will include is causing ‘uncertainty’ for oil and gas workers in his state. Eastern Montana contains part of the Bakken oil shale field, a major site for oil and gas jobs. ‘As this review rolls on, a leasing pause gives folks working in the oil and gas industry a lot of uncertainty,’ Tester said during the hearing. ‘It’s getting harder and harder to extend that trust without hard information on the review, namely when we’re going to see the review, what’s it going to cover, is there going to be any concrete policy recommendations for Congress. Can you tell me when this review is going to be ready for prime time?’ Tester asked Haaland. Haaland responded that Interior’s plan was to have the review submitted by early summer. ‘Five days from now is the beginning of summer,’ Tester replied. ‘I’m taking that as it’ll be out in the next month, OK?’”

Politico Morning Energy: ESG BILL GOES FORWARD
Matthew Choi, 6/17/21

“The House narrowly passed a bill, H.R. 1187 (117), that would require companies to disclose a wider range of information to the SEC. No Republicans voted for the bill, and four Democrats voted against it. The bill would mandate corporations to regularly “disclose their environmental, social and governance standards, political spending, employee pay increases, climate change risks, and taxes paid in foreign countries. It now heads to the Senate,” according to Politico Morning Energy.

STATE UPDATES

Cheyenne Post: Governor Gordon Welcomes Judge’s Ruling Blocking Biden Administration Oil and Gas Leasing Moratorium
6/16/21

“Governor Gordon is welcoming a ruling by a federal judge in Louisiana blocking the Biden Administration’s oil and gas leasing “pause”, according to the Cheyenne Post. “The Governor has issued the following statement in response to the U.S. District Judge’s decision: This preliminary injunction is outstanding news for Wyoming and our energy workers. It confirms the position we have maintained since this “pause” was implemented. The Biden Administration has in fact put in place an unlawful, de-facto moratorium, causing economic harm  to states like ours that rely on lease sale revenue to fund our schools and critical functions of government. We were not consulted prior to the moratorium taking effect, further underscoring the fact that this administration is operating off of an imbalanced and myopic approach to tackling climate change. We are hopeful that a similar ruling will be issued in the case filed in the District Court of Wyoming.”

Associated Press: Citgo to Pay Additional $19.7M for Damage from Louisiana Refinery Spill
6/21/21

“Citgo Petroleum Corp. of Houston has agreed to pay $19.7 million for environmental damage from a 2006 spill at a Louisiana refinery, the U.S. Department of Justice said,” according to the Associated Press. “The agreement settles both state and federal environmental claims from the 2.2-million-gallon (8.3- million-liter) spill at the Lake Charles refinery’s wastewater treatment facility, a news release said. State and federal trustees will work together on restoration projects using nearly $19.2 million, the statement said. It said the remaining $528,000 will cover remaining costs of the damage assessment. “Oil companies have a responsibility to protect our waters, people, wildlife and diverse habitats from oil spills, and those who violate that duty will be held accountable for the harms they cause,” Jean E. Williams, acting assistant attorney general for the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, told AP.

Colorado Sun: Colorado doesn’t want to foot the bill for abandoned oil and gas wells. Here’s how it will avoid picking up the tab.
Mark Jaffe, 6/17/21

“Colorado oil and gas regulators looking to avoid a rash of abandoned and unplugged oil and gas wells are proposing to increase financial guarantees by operators for each of their wells — a price tag that could add up to billions of dollars,” the Colorado Sun reports. “The draft financial assurance regulations, released by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, cover all 50,000 oil and gas wells in the state and in general require a full-cost of plugging financial guarantee of $78,000 for each of a company’s wells. The rules, however, take particular aim at what the commission sees as the greatest risk of abandonment: the state’s inactive wells — those shut-in, temporarily abandoned or producing less than a barrel of oil a day, as well as low-producing wells yielding less than than five barrels a day. At the heart of the issue is the question of how great a risk these wells pose and whether there are adequate funds to insure sites are clean and wells are plugged. The industry maintains that the orphan well problem is small in Colorado.”

Carlsbad Current-Argus: Study: Fixing oil and gas methane emissions could create jobs in New Mexico, U.S.
Adrian Hedden, 6/16/21

“Cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas industry could create thousands of jobs across the country and in oil-producing states like New Mexico which is home to one of the most prolific fossil fuel regions in the Permian Basin,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “A report from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) released on Monday showed the methane mitigation industry nearly doubled in size since 2017 when oil production began booming in the basin of southeast New Mexico and West Texas, lead by the expanded use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling… “U.S. oil and gas companies emit up 16 million metric tons of methane each year, representing $3 billion worth of “waste” natural gas, the report read… ”About half of the largest sources of methane in the Permian were caused by malfunctioning equipment throughout the oilfield, per a study from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in collaboration with the University of Arizona and Arizona State University and published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. And fixing the worst leaks, the report read, could cut emissions by 55 tons per hour, the study read. That reduction could occur from repairing 123 sources consistently leaking methane during flights of sensor-equipped aircraft conducted for the study, which make up 5.5 percent of the EPA’s estimates for all methane emissions from the industry in the U.S.”

EXTRACTION

The Guardian: A US oil company cut nearly 2,000 jobs – and reaped $2.1bn in pandemic benefits
Christopher Staudinger for the Louisiana Illuminator and Floodlight, 6/18/21

“One morning in September, word of layoffs began to spread quickly through Marathon Petroleum’s refinery in the small industrial community of Garyville, Louisiana,” The Guardian reports. “Seven months into the pandemic, workers at the oil refining plant thought they would be spared the fate of their colleagues at other facilities, who had already been jettisoned into a daunting job market. “Through the morning, we were seeing people get the phone call and not come back,” said one maintenance engineer, who lost his job after nearly a decade at the facility. “Everybody was on pins and needles waiting for the call.” Last year, Marathon laid off 1,920 workers across the US despite taking $2.1bn in federal tax benefits meant to cushion the pandemic’s blow to the economy, according to a report from BailoutWatch. The worker interviewed for this story, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of difficulty finding a job, is still unemployed. He and his wife had plans to start a family, which are now on hold. And he is competing with more than 18,000 oil, gas and manufacturing workers in Louisiana who lost jobs last year. “I’m a born and raised Louisianan. So I’m very much trying to stay in the area,” he told the Guardian. Over a year after Congress approved the Cares Act to provide emergency economic relief in response to Covid-19, the oil and gas industry has emerged as a major recipient of stimulus funds, despite heavy job cuts. Marathon Petroleum received more tax benefits under the legislation than any other US oil company, according to BailoutWatch, while also cutting about 9% of its workforce, including 45 Garyville workers.”

Washington Post: Native Americans are transporting a 5,000-pound totem pole to D.C. from the Pacific Northwest
Dana Hedgpeth, 6/19/21

“A 5,000-pound totem pole that was hand-carved by Native Americans is coming from Washington state to be on display in the nation’s capital this summer after a journey that organizers hope will raise awareness about protecting land that is sacred to tribes,” the Washington Post reports. “The totem pole’s journey on a tractor-trailer, which organizers are calling the “Red Road to D.C.,” involves a two-week trek led by about a dozen people, many of whom are Native Americans and members of the Lummi Nation, a tribe of about 5,000 members west of Bellingham, Wash… “Native American organizers said they plan to “deliver the pole to the Biden administration in hopes that it gives a strong and important message.” Arrangements are being made to find a permanent home for it in D.C., organizers said. On their road trip to D.C., the caravan plans to stop at several spots of importance to Native Americans, including Chaco Canyon National Historic Park in New Mexico, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Each faces threats of development tied to natural resources or pipelines.”

IMPACT LITIGATION

New York Times: Supreme Court Limits Human Rights Suits Against Corporations
By Adam Liptak, 6/17/21

“The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in favor of two American corporations accused of complicity in child slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms. The decision was the latest in a series of rulings imposing strict limits on lawsuits brought in federal court based on human rights abuses abroad,” the New York Times reports. “The case was brought by six citizens of Mali who said they were trafficked into slavery as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, saying the firms had aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for an eight-member majority, said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses… “Nearly all the conduct that they say aided and abetted forced labor — providing training, fertilizer, tools and cash to overseas farms — occurred in Ivory Coast,” he wrote, while the companies were said to have made “major operational decisions” in the United States. “But allegations of general corporate activity — like decision-making — cannot alone establish domestic application” of the 1789 law, Justice Thomas wrote… If other kinds of suits are to be permitted under the law, Justice Thomas wrote, the authorization must come from Congress.”

Bloomberg: The Man Who Beat Shell: How an Unknown Lawyer Won Historic Suit
By Diederik Baazil and Hugo Miller, 6/15/21

“Royal Dutch Shell Plc hired a team of pricey lawyers for its defense against environmental activists in a Dutch court, and lost. A decade-old, $22 book might have upped their chances of winning,” according to Bloomberg. “Revolution Justified: Why Only the Law Can Save Us Now,” is no bestseller, ranking in the mid-600,000s in Amazon’s Kindle store. But the book, by environmental lawyer Roger Cox, laid out arguments that were integral to his landmark victory over the Anglo-Dutch oil giant on May 26. The book suggests two building blocks for a case such as the lawsuit against Shell. One is that there’s incontrovertible evidence that warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius will have dire consequences for the planet, and any company that ignores that is doing so consciously. The second is that companies have a clear duty to ensure a healthy environment for the world’s citizens. The urgency is compounded, Cox says, because even if we stop emitting CO2 today, the planet will suffer increasingly grave consequences for decades to come.”

Reuters: Calif. consumers sue over plastic bottles’ ‘deceptive’ recycling labels
Sebastien Malo, 6/17/21

“California consumers and the Sierra Club have sued the Coca-Cola Company and other companies that sell leading bottled-water brands in San Francisco federal court, accusing them in separate lawsuits of deceiving consumers in the state by claiming their bottles are “100% recyclable” while they are not,” Reuters reports. “Oaklander David Swartz and two other California residents in a class action lawsuit filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California also accuse BlueTriton Brands Inc and Niagara Bottling of violating the California Business and Professions Code (CBPC) because U.S. recycling facilities lack the capacity to recycle the types of plastic that make up the main parts of their single-use water bottles labeled as fully recyclable. The Sierra Club filed a separate lawsuit making similar allegations also on Wednesday.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Public Citizen: In Global First, Connecticut Passes Bill Addressing Insurers’ Participation in Risky Fossil Fuel Finance
6/17/21

“Today, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill implementing the state budget, which includes a provision requiring the Connecticut Department of Insurance to address the climate-related risks of insurers,” Public Citizen reports. “This provision, Section 346 of the bill, will be the nation’s first law requiring insurers to address climate risk. Section 346 incorporates the supervision and regulation provisions of SB 1047, a bill sponsored by the Insurance Committee and Real Estate Committee Chair Sen. Matt Lesser. It also requires the state insurance regulator to incorporate emissions reduction targets into its supervision and regulation of Connecticut insurers. These targets include a 45% reduction in the state’s emissions by 2030. The U.S. insurance industry has recently come under fire for failing to act on climate change  This legislation will impact insurers supervised by the Connecticut Insurance Department, including Travelers, The Hartford, WR Berkley, and more. Travelers is one of the top three oil and gas insurers in the world, and is one of the last major global insurers that underwrites coal with no restrictions. WR Berkley has no tar sands or oil and gas policy, but has not made a firm commitment to avoid underwriting coal. Tom Swan, Executive Director at the Connecticut Citizens’ Action Group, released the following statement: “This is an important provision that will protect shareholders, policyholders, and the general public. While Connecticut has taken action to fight climate change, the insurance industry has been slow to move. It continues to play a critical role in fueling the climate crisis by underwriting and investing assets in fossil fuel companies. It’s important that Connecticut, the insurance capital of the world, takes the lead on a serious approach to dealing with this threat.”

OPINION

Memphis Commercial Appeal: Why Memphis’ Black and brown communities have most to lose from Byhalia Pipeline
Attorney Ronald Newman is the ACLU’s national political director. He is from Memphis and still has family there today. Deborah N. Archer is a civil rights lawyer, scholar, teacher, and the ACLU national board president, 6/17/21

“The newly proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline that is slated to run through South Memphis would put the health and livelihoods of Black and brown communities in danger, Deborah Archer and Ronald Newman write in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “South Memphis and other communities of color are disproportionately exposed to environmental harms, leading to health disparities, economic disadvantage, and countless other problems… This history is part and parcel of America’s problematic pattern of building highways and other infrastructure projects in the way most likely to harm Black and Latinx neighborhoods, as shown by a wealth of recent research, including by one of this op-ed’s authors… “Byhalia representatives have claimed this route was chosen because it was the path of “least resistance,” which seems to have been defined as the path of “most pigmentation.” These communities have historically been marginalized in our political process, and Byhalia Pipeline, LLC seems to have assumed their views won’t matter. The Army Corps of Engineers is facilitating the discriminatory placement of this pipeline by allowing Byhalia Pipeline, LLC to bypass environmental impact and community review periods.”

Newsweek: Biden Cancels Economic Opportunity in Alaska
EDWARD REXFORD SR. AND GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY, 6/17/21

“President Joe Biden recently revoked congressional approval of oil and gas development in a small corner of Alaska’s North Slope known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). That probably doesn’t mean much to Washington D.C. bureaucrats without any skin in the game, but there are very real consequences for residents of the Last Frontier. The suffering caused by this decision will be borne by the Iñupiat people of the North Slope and, frankly, the entire state, Edward Rexford Sr. and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy write in Newsweek.  “As Alaska’s first governor with roots in the Arctic, and the tribal president of the only community within ANWR, the two of us have personally witnessed the tragedy that results when rural Americans are denied economic opportunity. The state of Alaska possesses more resource wealth than nearly any other place on the planet, yet in hundreds of roadless communities, jobs and opportunities remain scarce to nonexistent. Rural and Native Alaskans shouldn’t be forced to abandon their traditional lands in search of a better life, yet that’s exactly what occurs when outsiders deny Alaskans access to our own resources.”

Herald-Dispatch: Kelly Moss: We must invest in pipeline infrastructure
Kelly Moss is president and CEO of Apex Pipeline Services in Nitro, West Virginia, 6/20/21

“Natural gas is a dependable, affordable, clean-burning energy source. The U.S. has an abundance of natural gas, and its development has created a path to energy independence. But as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, reliable infrastructure is critical. We must have a way to safely and efficiently deliver it,” Kelly Moss writes in the Herald-Dispatch. “… The other point to make — natural gas is a critical commodity. We need more — not fewer — pipelines to deliver this vital resource that keeps people warm and the economy churning. Our industry is ready to invest in infrastructure. But many are committed to blocking our progress. For example, the decision to vacate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project last year after dozens of costly delays brought on by the anti-fossil fuel movement. Or the hurdles facing the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from these same opponents. Or President Biden’s executive orders halting pipeline construction. It’s time to move forward. Otherwise, weather and cyberattacks will lead to more severe consequences than they might if our infrastructure was more robust.”

Energy Humanities: LINE 5: DISMANTLING AS WORLD-BUILDING
Jeffrey Insko is Professor of English at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, 6/14/21

“On May 10, the Executive Council of the Bay Mills Indian Community, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, took the extraordinary measure of voting to formally banish Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline from the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron converge,” Jeffrey Insko writes in Energy Humanities. “The banishment, a customary but infrequently invoked form of tribal law, coincided with the May 13 deadline set in a parallel action by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Last November, Whitmer officially revoked Enbridge’s easement granting the company permission to locate and operate Line 5 on the Straits’ bottomlands, over which the state holds jurisdiction. Enbridge has disregarded both orders. As a result, the company is now in defiance of both state and tribal authority and is trespassing in Michigan and in Wisconsin, where the company also continues to operate Line 5 despite expired easements on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation and a demand by the Band to remove the pipeline from tribal lands and its watershed. Nearly seventy years into its operating life, Line 5 has thus become the locus of settler colonial historical reckoning, regional public debate over the energy future, and a potential U.S.-Canada geopolitical standoff.”

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