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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/23/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 23, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Twitter: Indigenous Environmental Network [PHOTO}: Just like at #StandingRock the authorities have brought in a dog to terrorize #StopLine3 water protectors at the Red Lake Treaty Camp
  • Aitkin AgeProtesters removed from Palisade site
  • Facebook: Red Lake Treaty CampLEGAL FUNDS NEEDED FOR Red Lake Treaty Camp
  • Facebook: Red Lake Treaty Camp: Today Red Lake Nation had a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers
  • Facebook: Friends of the Headwaters: Friends of the Headwaters is getting reports from supporters who are seeing the preparations necessary for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) under water bodies in northern Minnesota.
  • Star TribuneLine 3 contractor cited for serious safety lapse, fined $25,000 in worker’s death
  • Mlive.comU.S., Canada in ‘biweekly’ meetings over Enbridge Line 5 dispute
  • KTVG‘It’s terrifying’: Toledo Refining Co. workers on edge as fate of pipeline remains uncertain
  • ReutersFederal court closes Dakota Access case, but allows for fresh challenges
  • Canadian PressTrans Mountain tree cutting can resume as stop-work order on pipeline route lifts
  • Associated PressUS appeals court ruling setback for St. Louis-area pipeline
  • E&E NewsCourt’s ‘historic’ FERC slap-down shifts pipeline war
  • Delaware Valley JournalSupporters Outnumber Opponents At Mariner East Public Hearing
  • Law360Energy Transfer Calls $20M FERC Fine ‘Outrageous’
  • Indianz.comThe death of the ‘Zombie Pipeline’: Indian Country rejoices
  • Virginia MercuryA 303-mile hole in claim new gas pipelines are critical to energy security
  • Natural Gas IntelligenceTellurian Looking to Build Natural Gas Pipeline System to Serve Demand in Southwestern Louisiana
  • Prairie Public RadioNew pipeline project to ease natural gas ‘bottleneck’

WASHINGTON UPDATES

STATE UPDATES

  • Culver City ObserverCity Council Votes to End Oil Drilling in Culver City by 2026
  • Press releaseWildEarth Guardians to file suit over thousands of illegal oil and gas wells in New Mexico
  • Capital and MainWar of Words Over New Mexico’s Oil Fields

EXTRACTION

  • RigzoneSchlumberger Makes Net Zero Commitment

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

  • Friends of the EarthNew analysis reveals that the cost of CO2 is at least 15 times the amount that Biden currently supports
  • E&E NewsMicrobes From Biological Sources Driving Methane Surge
  • The ConversationHow engineered bacteria could clean up oilsands pollution and mining waste

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • VoxThe weird argument that offshore oil is good for the climate, debunked

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • IEFFAVanguard Group: Passive About Climate Change
  • E&E NewsDemocrats Probe JPMorgan’s Oil And Gas Investing
  • Wall Street JournalSEC Wants More Climate Disclosures. Businesses Are Preparing for a Fight

OPINION

  • Audubon MagazineBiden’s Silence on Minnesota Oil Pipeline Frustrates Advocates
  • Resource WorldThe folly of cancelling pipelines vital for energy supply
  • Shoreview PressLetters to the Editor: We need to protect the Mississippi River

PIPELINE NEWS

Twitter: Indigenous Environmental Network [PHOTO}Just like at #StandingRock the authorities have brought in a dog to terrorize #StopLine3 water protectors at the Red Lake Treaty Camp
6/22/21

“Just like at #StandingRock the authorities have brought in a dog to terrorize #StopLine3 water protectors at the Red Lake Treaty Camp. @JoeBiden @POTUS @Gina_McCarthy @alizaidi46 are breaking the Old Crossing Treaty of 1863 to build Line 3. Violating the Red Lake treaty rights.”

Aitkin Age: Protesters removed from Palisade site
6/22/21

“A heavy police presence from the Northern Lights Task Force was reported Monday morning near the Palisade portion of the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project,” Aitkin Age reports. “Activists were told Saturday that they had two days to vacate the area along the Mississippi River in the Enbridge easement through the 1855 Treaty land. The people occupying the lodge began to get scrutiny from law enforcement last week after the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the latest appeal of the state’s permitting process. According to a press release from Honor the Earth, three arrests were made Monday morning but as of Monday afternoon, only one had been booked. Law enforcement also threatened more arrests. Activists in the lodge said it was not removed… “The Honor the Earth release also stated that the work in the area violates a stay on construction from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer from last December, but Enbridge said Monday that there is no stay of construction. “It is not true,” Enbridge’s Little told the Age.

Facebook: Red Lake Treaty Camp: LEGAL FUNDS NEEDED FOR Red Lake Treaty Camp
6/22/21

“Today, one person was tackled and suffered injuries while being arrested for trespassing, as Enbridge continues to drill for the Line 3 pipeline near the Red Lake River without a tribal monitor. Things continue to escalate with the Sheriff showing up with dogs at the site, the last time this tactic was used water protectors were hurt at Standing Rock. Enbridge has continuously ignored the law and done work without a tribal monitor present. The Red Lake Tribal Council recently appointed tribal member Sasha Beaulieu to serve as the Band’s Tribal Cultural Resource Monitor with respect to the Line 3 pipeline construction project, this appointment has been ignored by the company and Ms. Beaulieu has not been allowed to monitor the work. The Tribal Council previously permitted a Treaty Camp, which is in Pennington County on public land within the territory that was ceded to the United States by the Red Lake and Pembina Bands through the Old Crossing Treaty of 1863. “We will continue to fight for the water, the land and the treaties,” said Sasha Beaulieu. “Our future generations depend on us stopping Line 3.” Venmo: Stars_on_stone Paypal: bit.ly/HelpRedLake

Facebook: Red Lake Treaty CampToday Red Lake Nation had a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers
6/21/21

“Today Red Lake Nation had a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers today same guy who requested to Biden that KXL be shut down. Of all the things that were brought to his attention. The lack of tribal monitor and our continued ignored requests of our tribal appointee is the one that concerns him most. He is taking it all the way up the chain of command to Bidens office so we are in a watch and wait phase. We are building camp, helping sister camps, and keeping a watchful eye as ever. We will know more in the coming days of the decision once it reaches his office. If they continue to work we will continue documenting their ignorance of tribes requests. Keep it up Enbridge, your gonna chop the head off your own snake and we’ll be recording it”

Facebook: Friends of the HeadwatersFriends of the Headwaters is getting reports from supporters who are seeing the preparations necessary for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) under water bodies in northern Minnesota.
6/22/21

“THE LIKELIHOOD OF FRAC-OUTS FROM HORIZONTAL DIRECTION DRILLING (HDD): Friends of the Headwaters is getting reports from supporters who are seeing the preparations necessary for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) under water bodies in northern Minnesota.Enbridge would bore a large-diameter hole underneath our rivers or wetlands while pumping drilling mud under pressure through the inside of the drill pipe. Enbridge has plans for HDD at over 20 sites on its route for a new and expanded Line 3 in northern Minnesota. Drilling frac-outs occur when there is an unintentional return of drilling fluids to the surface.The drilling fluid can be toxic with particles that smother plants and animals. Frac-outs can also damage infrastructure or create sinkholes. Frac-outs are common on projects like Enbridge’s Line 3 boondoggle. Illustrations enclosed in the comments might assist you in understanding why Friends of the Headwaters is concerned about HDD and the likelihood of frac-outs on a new Line 3.”

Star Tribune: Line 3 contractor cited for serious safety lapse, fined $25,000 in worker’s death
By Mike Hughlett, 6/22/21

“The employer of a man who died in December working on Enbridge’s new Line 3 oil pipeline has been cited for a serious safety violation and fined $25,000,” the Star Tribune reports. “Construction worker Jorge Villafuerte III was killed when he was run over by a large forklift near Hill City on Dec. 18, a few weeks after Enbridge began building the $3 billion-plus pipeline across northern Minnesota. In May, the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MnOSHA) cited Eau Claire-based Precision Pipeline, a general contractor on the Line 3 project. Precision, which did not return requests for comment Tuesday, is contesting the citation… “The day of his death, the 45-year-old Villafuerte was at a construction yard in the predawn hours, checking a list of materials while standing behind a “telehandler,” which is an industrial forklift, according to the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office. As the forklift started backing up, Villafuerte was struck almost immediately by the rear passenger tire. Before the operator stopped the vehicle, “the machine’s tire had backed over the full length of his body,” the sheriff’s report said.

Mlive.com: U.S., Canada in ‘biweekly’ meetings over Enbridge Line 5 dispute
By Garret Ellison, 6/22/21

“The U.S. and Canadian governments are meeting biweekly to discuss how the state-ordered closure of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac comports with a 1977 treaty, according to a letter filed with a federal judge in Grand Rapids this week,” Mlive.com reports. “Attorneys for Canada disclosed regular high-level talks between U.S. Cabinet officials and their Canadian counterparts, in a Monday, June 21 letter to U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff, who is presiding over litigation between Enbridge and the state of Michigan. The filing comes after state attorneys questioned whether formal treaty negotiations were occurring and a U.S. State Department spokesperson denied formal talks were happening. According to Canadian attorneys, “official discussions” have resulted in the “establishment of a bi-lateral process in which representatives of the two countries are meeting bi-weekly to address the potential shutdown, including in the context of the 1977 Treaty.” Canada has not formally invoked dispute provisions in the treaty, but the possibility remains, wrote Gordon Giffin, attorney for the Canadian government… “In a June 2 filing, Nessel questioned whether treaty talks were actually occurring, writing that, “while there have apparently been communications between officials of each government, there is no evidence that negotiations under the Treaty itself are in progress.” According to Giffin’s letter, discussions have taken place between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden, as well as between Canadian foreign minister Marc Garneau and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken; Canadian justice minister David Lametti and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland; Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg; and Canadian natural resources minister Seamus O’Regan and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor. “While the possibility remains of formally invoking the dispute resolution mechanism of the 1977 Treaty, initiating such proceedings is not necessary to conduct official and meaningful consultations between the Parties regarding the Treaty,” Giffin wrote.

KTVG: ‘It’s terrifying’: Toledo Refining Co. workers on edge as fate of pipeline remains uncertain
By Josh Croup, 6/18/21

“Tim Marshall moved to Toledo 20 years ago to take a job at the Toledo Refining Company. He met his wife in the Glass City, where they now raise their two teenage daughters. Justin and Jacob Donley followed in their father’s footsteps to work at the refinery where he’s been now for three decades. Tira Houston relies on her job at the refinery to provide for her daughter and extended family. All of them worry that any day could be their last at the refinery that relies heavily on the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline for its daily operations,” KTVG reports. “…Elected officials in Canada and Ohio are both urging Whitmer to keep the pipeline open. Enbridge, a Canadian company, provides oil through Line 5 to refineries in Ontario and Quebec. It also supports energy efforts in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. The Ohio Senate this week unanimously passed a resolution urging Whitmer to stand down. “We need to send a message to Michigan’s governor not to mess with Ohio,” said Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Lawmakers are concerned about the economic impact the state would suffer without the pipeline, including significant job loss. “I lose sleep not just for me, my girls, my wife, and my family, but for all of the people that this will touch,” Marshall said. “It will harm hundreds, if not thousands of people.”

Reuters: Federal court closes Dakota Access case, but allows for fresh challenges
6/22/21

“A U.S. district court closed a long-running case against the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Tuesday, but allowed for Native American tribes and other opponents of the line to file additional actions against it, court documents showed,” according to Reuters. “The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in May denied a request by the Standing Rock Sioux and other adversaries of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to shut the pipeline, saying the tribes had failed to prove the line’s continued operation would cause irreversible harm. The decision allowed the 570,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) pipeline out of North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin to continue operating at least until an environmental review of the line is completed, a process that is expected to take until March 2022.”

Canadian Press: Trans Mountain tree cutting can resume as stop-work order on pipeline route lifts
6/22/21

“A federal regulator has lifted a stop-work order on tree cutting and grass mowing along the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project,” the Canadian Press reports. “The Canada Energy Regulator says in a statement Trans Mountain has submitted a plan to correct deficiencies in the oversight of its contractors that could pose threats to nesting birds. The regulator, which enforces safety and environmental guidelines for pipeline projects, issued a stop-work order on June 3 following investigations of tree-clearing work in suburban Vancouver area that could have impacted nesting birds. The regulator says Trans Mountain’s plans now include improving field procedures to protect nesting birds and increasing direct supervision of its contractors.”

Associated Press: US appeals court ruling setback for St. Louis-area pipeline
By JIM SALTER, 6/22/21

“A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday struck down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a natural gas pipeline that runs through parts of Missouri and Illinois,” the Associated Press reports. “A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FERC “failed to adequately balance public benefits and adverse impacts” in approving the 65-mile-long (105-kilometer-long) Spire STL Pipeline, and failed to prove that it was really needed. A statement from Spire, a St. Louis-based natural gas company with 1.7 million customers in Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi, called the ruling disappointing and said the company is considering its next move. The statement said the ruling jeopardizes “reliable and critical energy access to 650,000 homes and businesses throughout the St. Louis region.” But the appeals panel wrote that the evidence showed the pipeline “is not being built to serve increasing load demand and that there is no indication the new pipeline will lead to cost savings.” The ruling vacated approval of the already-operational pipeline and sent the matter back to the FERC.”

E&E News: Court’s ‘historic’ FERC slap-down shifts pipeline war
Niina H. Farah, Mike Soraghan and Miranda Willson, 6/23/21

“A federal court ruling yesterday could influence how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reviews and approves pipelines, with major implications for the gas industry, emissions and legal cases around the country, analysts say,” according to E&E News.

Delaware Valley Journal: Supporters Outnumber Opponents At Mariner East Public Hearing
Michael Graham, 6/22/21

“More supporters than opponents showed up last Wednesday for the state Department of Environmental Affairs public hearing on proposed modifications to the last few miles of the Mariner East 2 pipeline — a sign, some say, that passions over the project have cooled as it reaches its final stages,” the Delaware Valley Journal reports. “Thirty-five people signed up to testify, although not all showed,” according to Kurt Knaus of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. “By the end of the night, 14 individuals testified in favor of the plan, recognizing the significant economic benefits and environmental protections that the modifications will bring, while 11 opposed the alterations, with many simply using the venue to rail against pipelines generally.” The online hearing was in response to a modified plan from Energy Transfer to switch from horizontal drilling to an open-trench process in Upper Uwchlan, as well as an adjustment to the pipeline’s path. The lack of participation is even more surprising given the marketing efforts by pipeline activists and opponents like state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D- Exton) who, in addition to promoting the hearing via social media, used her official office budget to mail thousands of dollars worth of fliers to encourage turnout.” “…The public comment period on the Mariner East 2 project runs through June 23.”

Law360: Energy Transfer Calls $20M FERC Fine ‘Outrageous’
6/22/21

“The “outrageous” $20 million fine that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff proposes to levy against Energy Transfer Partners LP for demolishing an allegedly historic building while constructing the $4.2 billion Rover pipeline project “displays a reckless disregard for the law and facts, the company has said,” Law360 reports.

Indianz.com: The death of the ‘Zombie Pipeline’: Indian Country rejoices
By Talli Nauman, 6/22/21

“Asking tolerance for starting this news story in first-person, I just couldn’t resist when I received a letter June 10 saying, “Talli Nauman, the Keystone XL Pipeline has been officially terminated!”, Indianz.com reported. “I have been at the helm of the media coverage on the Native-led resistance to this megaproject, its predecessor Keystone I, and the proliferation of oil pipeline undertakings since then. So, I know that this particular one has garnered a reputation in Indian country as the “Zombie Pipeline”. Could it really be dead this time, after so many reversals of permit status over the decade that the Canadian TC Energy Corp. has sought to complete it across 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty territory? Sure enough: An announcement from corporate headquarters June 9 stated, “The company confirmed today that after a comprehensive review of its options, and in consultation with its partner, the Government of Alberta, it has terminated the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.” All 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty tribes, as well as the National Congress of American Indians, are on record in opposition to KXL. TC Energy Corp., previously TransCanada Corp., gave up the ghost one-half year after U.S. President Joe Biden’s inaugural day revocation of KXL’s presidential permit. During that sixth-month period, the company continued seeking local easements. Native pipeline fighters remained on alert, monitoring activity at supply and construction facilities to prevent permit violations along the soon not-to-be-built pipeline section from Canada through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska.”

Virginia Mercury: A 303-mile hole in claim new gas pipelines are critical to energy security
By Jacob Hileman, 6/22/21

“After the recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, fossil fuel industry advocates have redoubled their efforts to frame the completion of other U.S. pipeline projects as a critical energy security issue. However, there is a 42-inch wide, 303-mile long gaping hole in this line of argumentation: the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP),” the Virginia Mercury reports. “Originally slated to be completed in 2018, the MVP is now $2.5 billion over budget and nearly four years behind schedule. New state and federal policies only undercut the project’s already nonexistent need. While MVP has predictably blamed delays and ballooning costs on project opponents, the uncomfortable truth that MVP would rather avoid spotlighting is that the project’s ongoing collapse is entirely self-inflicted. Perhaps the largest thorn in MVP’s side at present is its inability to cross approximately half of the 1,000+ streams and wetlands along the pipeline’s route.

Natural Gas Intelligence: Tellurian Looking to Build Natural Gas Pipeline System to Serve Demand in Southwestern Louisiana
BY JAMISON COCKLIN, 6/22/21

“Tellurian Inc. is looking for approval from FERC to build a 37-mile, dual 42-inch pipeline system in Louisiana to meet natural gas demand in the Lake Charles area and potentially serve its proposed export terminal,” according to Natural Gas Intelligence. “The Line 200 and 300 project would pair supplies from various production regions with growing industrial, petrochemical, manufacturing, power generation, residential and liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand. The system would plug a supply gap between Lake Charles and a pipeline network about 30 miles north. Subsidiary Driftwood Pipeline LLC launched a binding open season earlier this year to secure firm transportation on Line 200 and 300. In its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing, Tellurian said it signed a 20-year transportation agreement for 4.6 million Dth/d with an undisclosed foundation shipper.  The dual system would pick up supplies from existing pipeline infrastructure in the state near Ragley in Beauregard Parish and terminate near Carlyss in Calcasieu Parish at a new meter station near Tellurian’s proposed Driftwood LNG export terminal.”

Prairie Public Radio: New pipeline project to ease natural gas ‘bottleneck’
By DAVE THOMPSON, 6/21/21

“The director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the North Bakken Extension Pipeline project is important for natural gas development in the Bakken, north of Lake Sakakawea,” Prairie Public Radio reports. “That’s the choke point in their natural gas capture scenario,” Authority director Justin Kringstad told PPR. He said that area has been constrained in its ability to receive and process natural gas. “Without incremental pipeline capacity, north of Lake Sakakawea, it’s really challenging for new projects to be developed,” Kringstad said. “You could not just stick a new gas plant north of Lake Sakakawea, because you had no place for the tailgate of that gas plant to move its gas.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico Morning Energy: OIL PRESSURE
Matthew Choi, 6/22/21

“A surge in oil prices threatens to add a little more heat to the Biden administration energy policy. The U.S. spot futures price for WTI jumped nearly $2 a barrel to move above $73 on Monday, nearly double the low it hit in October, and Bank Of America analysts are predicting it could touch $100 this year,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “The rebounding economy is spurring demand, but refineries are struggling to keep production apace. But no matter — as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) showed yesterday by blaming “President Biden’s economy” for higher prices at the gas pump, opposition lawmakers likely to blame the White House for any hike in gasoline prices. Psaki slapped down Jordan’s attack, noting that the economy at this point last year fuel demand wasn’t exactly in great shakes. But ME still expects some Republicans to wield higher prices as a cudgel against the Biden administration’s promotion of ESG investing standards and green energy projects. Higher crude prices could also affect infrastructure talks if lawmakers think too much money is being thrown at green energy projects that won’t start producing for years and not enough going to help fossil fuel companies cover the here-and-now, a theory some investors are putting money behind. Higher gasoline prices could also be a nail in the coffin for lawmakers calling for raising the gasoline tax to cover the bill’s cost.”

Politico: Judge Tosses ‘Speculative’ Lawsuit Over Trump NEPA Rule
6/22/21

“A federal judge on Monday cited procedural reasons to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center over the Trump administration’s rule changing how agencies conduct environmental studies of new pipelines, highways and other infrastructure,” Politico reports. “Background: SELC and other groups challenged the Council on Environmental Quality rule (Reg. 0331-AA03) that amended for the first time in decades how federal agencies evaluate their actions under the National Environmental Policy Act. Disputed provisions included a two-year limit for NEPA reviews and changes to how greenhouse gas emissions were counted. Several lawsuits were filed against the Trump rule in other courts around the U.S., but this case advanced the most quickly. After taking power, the Biden administration launched a plan to rewrite the rule and asked for it to be remanded without being vacated. Environmentalists complained that will leave the Trump rule on the books for the year or more such a rewrite would take.”

E&E News: Biden admin fires back at red states in Juliana
Maxine Joselow, 6/23/21

“Republican-led states shouldn’t be allowed to participate in — and potentially block — the settlement of the landmark kids’ climate case, the Biden administration told a federal court yesterday,” E&E News reports.

STATE UPDATES

Culver City Observer: City Council Votes to End Oil Drilling in Culver City by 2026
6/17/21

“The Culver City Council voted 4-1 on Thursday night to end oil drilling and remove all the gas wells in the city’s 78-acre portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (OIF) by July 2026,” the Culver City Observer reports. “The dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Goran Eriksson. At a special session, the council approved the Oil Drilling Subcommittee’s recommendation to prohibit any drilling of new wells, remove all active wells, properly cap them, clean up and remediation of the site within the next 5 years. The new ordinance also directs staff to “refine preliminary implementation procedures and just transition” strategies for OIF workers… “During the evening, various stakeholders addressed the Council on the topic. Most of them were in favor of the amortization, including the Sierra Club. But representatives of the California Independent Petroleum Association, spoke against the “irresponsible amortization plan,” claiming the removal of oil wells would result in the “loss of good paying jobs at OIF.” After the meeting, the Sierra Club tweeted the Council vote was a “landmark victory for public health and climate justice.”

Press release: WildEarth Guardians to file suit over thousands of illegal oil and gas wells in New Mexico
6/22/21

“WildEarth Guardians today notified New Mexico officials of its intent to file suit to compel the clean up of more than 3,350 idle oil and gas wells threatening the state’s clean air and water, health, and public lands. “For too long, oil and gas companies have saddled New Mexicans with the cost of abandoned wells and the risks of contamination,” said Daniel Timmons, Staff Attorney for WildEarth Guardians. “It’s time for the oil and gas industry to be held accountable for cleaning up its mess and we aim to drive that accountability.” In a filing with the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, Guardians put the agency on notice of its intent to file suit against companies over widespread violations of the state’s oil and gas regulations. At issue is the failure of more than 350 companies to clean up non-producing oil and gas wells, also known as “inactive” wells, as required by Oil Conservation Division rules. According to the Oil Conservation Division’s own records, there are currently 3,357 oil and gas wells in New Mexico that have not produced any oil or gas for more than 15 months. These wells are located throughout the state, but primarily in northwestern New Mexico’s San Juan Basin and southeast New Mexico’s Permian Basin. Many of these inactive wells have not produced for decades. In some cases, last production was reported in 1980.  Many of these wells are effectively abandoned, posing serious environmental, health, and safety risks.  Inactive wells are more likely to fall into disrepair, leading to leaks, spills, and other harmful releases.”

Capital and Main: War of Words Over New Mexico’s Oil Fields
By Jerry Redfern, 6/21/21

“In mid-June, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration’s 5-month-old pause on new oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and waters. But in New Mexico, where the state’s Democratic governor had requested an exemption to the pause, the tension over leases highlights how tricky it is for petroleum-dependent states to transition away from the historically rich revenue stream,” Capital and Main reports. “It’s not yet clear how the judge’s order will play out, but the pause had already led to a dustup among state legislators and an unusual alliance across the upper levels of the state’s deeply polarized political parties. “There’s not a whole lot of common ground, at least with myself and the governor,” says state Sen. Greg Baca, the Republican minority floor leader. “But on this one thing, I can agree that we need to continue these leases.” He is the lead signatory on a letter fired off earlier in June to the Biden administration and signed by all of the state’s Republican legislators. In it, they denounced an earlier letter two dozen state Democrats sent to the president. State Democrats asked that the lease moratorium be kept in place to protect the environment and allow for further review of the leasing process on federal lands, crossing the state’s most prominent Democrat, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Just as our Democratic Governor requested in March 2021,” the Republicans wrote to Biden, “we respectfully ask that New Mexico’s fossil fuel production and any associated federal permitting and leasing activities be exempt from all future regulatory moratoriums.”

EXTRACTION

Rigzone: Schlumberger Makes Net Zero Commitment
by Andreas Exarheas, 6/23/21

“Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) has announced a commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050,” Rigzone reports. “The company, which noted that it is guided by climate science, said it has spent 18 months conducting extensive analysis and working with experts to produce a decarbonization plan… “There is a new industry imperative to address climate change while meeting the demand for energy both today and in the long term, sustainably,” Olivier Le Peuch, Schlumberger’s chief executive officer, said in a company statement. “We have a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions ambition which I believe is unique in our industry due to our capabilities as a technology company and our culture grounded in science. This reinforces our commitment to unlocking access to energy, for the benefit of all,” he added.

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

Friends of the Earth: New analysis reveals that the cost of CO2 is at least 15 times the amount that Biden currently supports
6/22/21

“A new analysis found that the social cost of CO2 calculates to at least 15 times the amount that the Biden Administration currently supports, which is $51/ton,” according to Friends of the Earth. “The analysis was submitted in a comment to the Office of Management and Budget as part of a process to determine the social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG), which represents a monetary calculation of the cost to society of one additional ton of greenhouse gas emissions. “The social cost of greenhouse gases is one of the most important numbers that no one has ever heard of,” said Karen Orenstein, Climate and Energy Program Director at Friends of the Earth U.S. “If the U.S. were to assume its fair share of the global effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the cost of one ton of GHG emissions would be so high that government support for climate polluting investments would be a non-starter.”

E&E News: Microbes From Biological Sources Driving Methane Surge
John Fialka, 6/22/21

“A sudden increase in atmospheric methane since 2007 has given scientists a new challenge: Pinpoint sources of this potent global warmer,” E&E News reports. “For over 200 years, methane levels, which are less plentiful than carbon dioxide but 28 times more powerful when measured over a century, have been rising. This was largely due to emissions from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gasoline since the Industrial Revolution. Last week, a panel of atmospheric experts assembled at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory reported that a new increase in methane appears to be coming from emissions made by microbes. Over the years, researchers have learned to distinguish between different sources of methane in the atmosphere because the gas from fossil fuel emissions contains carbon isotopes that are slightly heavier than the methane emissions seeping from wetlands, shallow lakes and rivers. ‘When we first started to see the change in the carbon isotope ratios in 2008 in the data, we thought there might be something wrong with our calibrations,’ explained Sylvia Michel, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She joined a team of others assembled by NOAA that determined the data was right. That meant the most likely source of the methane increase had come from microbes in biological sources. These sources include natural wetlands, shallow lakes and rivers, which raise new concerns, explained Xin Lan, a scientist for the Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences (CIRES), which is a partnership between the University of Colorado and NOAA.”

The Conversation: How engineered bacteria could clean up oilsands pollution and mining waste
Vikramaditya G. Yadav, Associate Professor of Chemical, Biological & Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia, 6/22/21

“Rampant industrialization has caused our planet to warm at an unprecedented rate. Glaciers are melting away and sea levels are rising. Droughts last longer and are more devastating. Forest fires are more intense. Extreme, once-in-a-generation weather events — such as Category 5 hurricanes — seem to be occurring on an annual basis,” according to The Conversation. “The environment is indeed in grave health and urgent action is desperately needed. But there is genuine optimism that solutions to some of the largest environmental challenges may finally be at hand. Take, for example, the decades-long problem of oilsands tailings ponds in Canada, the third-largest reserve of crude oil in the world. The recovery of this oil consumes nearly threefold its volume in water and leaves behind a slurry of water, solids and organic contaminants as waste. Oilsands operations are into their seventh decade, and more than a trillion litres of wastewater now resides in tailings ponds. But a rapidly growing collective of engineers, scientists, activists and entrepreneurs are delivering some of the biggest gains in environmental remediation in recent decades by blurring the lines between physical, biological and digital sciences. We call ourselves synthetic biologists.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Vox: The weird argument that offshore oil is good for the climate, debunked
By Rebecca Leber, 6/22/21

“When President Biden took office in January, a peculiar idea about oil and gas started to make the political rounds: that certain parts of the industry are more environmentally responsible and can actually reduce emissions, compared to other parts of the industry that are worse for the Earth,” Vox reports. “If you want to reduce emissions, the offshore arena is better,” Scott Angelle, who was the top environmental regulator of offshore energy under the Trump administration, told the trade publication Offshore in late January. Questionable claims about the climate might be expected from a Trump administration official who rolled back oil and gas regulations, but the same argument has also seeped into Democratic politics. “Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production produces substantially fewer greenhouse gas emissions than oil and gas production in any other region of the world,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, testified to the Senate Energy Committee in May. Documents show that these claims originated with a little-known lobbying group that advocates for offshore oil — and experts told Vox that they’re dubious at best. By focusing on the emissions of oil and gas production, the industry is ignoring the much larger share of pollution that comes from the burning of fossil fuels. This is a clear attempt at greenwashing: Parts of the oil industry are arguing, perversely, that more fossil fuels can help solve the climate crisis.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

IEFFA: Vanguard Group: Passive About Climate Change
6/22/21

“Vanguard Group Inc. (“Vanguard”), the mutual fund giant with over US$7.2 trillion in assets under management (AuM) has committed to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, publicly pledging to slash its emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions across all of its investment products by 2050. Considering Vanguard’s significant share and bond holdings in fossil fuel exposed companies, and its corporate governance record to date, Vanguard has historically demonstrated a passive attitude towards climate change,” according to the IEFFA. “Without any formal coal exit policy and no proactive plans to address environmental issues, the group also appears to be significantly trailing its peers on the road to net zero. As the largest shareholder of almost every listed company in the United States (Vanguard averages a 9.6% stake across companies in the S&P 500)3, the group holds enormous power to shape management decisions which reduce climate impact and enforce accountability against these goals. By and large however, studies have demonstrated that Vanguard has sided with management on the vast majority of shareholder propositions4, and last year, the group opposed all of the Climate Action 100+ climate-critical votes which were proposed.”

E&E News: Democrats Probe JPMorgan’s Oil And Gas Investing
Nick Sobczyk, 6/22/21

“Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are demanding information about oil and gas from one of the world’s leading fossil fuel financiers,” E&E News reports. “Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) wrote a letter yesterday to JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon asking for a slew of documents related to the company’s oil and gas clients. The two are also seeking information on orphaned wells, many of which were spawned in an industrywide downturn brought on by the pandemic (Energywire, May 5, 2020). ‘This crisis is accelerating, with nearly 200 U.S. oil and gas companies predicted to go bankrupt between 2020 and 2022,’ the lawmakers wrote. ‘Congress must have confidence that JPMC will not make taxpayers responsible for the bank’s high-risk investment in the oil and gas industry.’ JPMorgan has long been the target of green groups’ ire at a time when major financial firms are under pressure from activists and investors to step away from fossil fuels.”

Wall Street Journal: SEC Wants More Climate Disclosures. Businesses Are Preparing for a Fight.
By Dave Michaels, 6/21/21

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing to require public companies to disclose more information about how they respond to threats linked to climate change—and businesses are gearing up for a fight, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The SEC’s new chairman, Biden administration appointee Gary Gensler, has said climate-related disclosure is a top priority, and President Biden met Monday with Mr. Gensler, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and other top financial regulators to discuss the issue. The SEC has already sought industry input, much of which arrived last week, for a rule proposal that could be issued by October. Technology companies such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. , which have long touted their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, say they support the initiative. Energy and transportation companies have told the SEC that climate disclosures could be misunderstood by investors who lack experience with the data or put too much weight on one factor, like a company’s total greenhouse-gas emissions… “Without a mandatory disclosure requirement, we expect to see a continuation of the current hodgepodge of disclosures in which issuers oftentimes cherry-pick which disclosure to adhere to, or in some cases, simply choose to avoid disclosure altogether,” Pacific Investment Management Co. managing director Scott Mather wrote to the SEC… “My view is there’s comparatively little climate disclosure in periodic reports,”  Democratic SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee told the Journal. “We need to get something mandatory in place but provide enough flexibility to give businesses an opportunity to learn how to get it right.”

OPINION

Audubon Magazine: Biden’s Silence on Minnesota Oil Pipeline Frustrates Advocates
By Cody Nelson, 6/22/21

“Joe Biden wasted no time canceling the highly controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline once he became president. On inauguration day, he revoked one of the project’s key federal permits, leading Keystone’s developer to cancel the project earlier this month. The new administration’s opposition to the pipeline and its subsequent cancellation made headlines around the world,” Cody Nelson writes in Audubon Magazine. “But deep in Minnesota’s northwoods lies another massive pipeline project that’s been called a “doppelganger” of Keystone XL: Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline. Like Keystone XL, Line 3 would carry toxic, carbon-intensive tar sands crude from Canada into the U.S., crossing more than 300 bodies of water—including the ecologically rich Mississippi River headwaters and thousands of acres of wild rice waters that are a critical lifeway to several Native tribes. The entities behind the pair of pipelines are multi-billion-dollar Canadian companies headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Both lines have faced years of resistance and protests by Indigineous and environmental activists. But despite reports of behind-the-scenes pressure, Biden hasn’t taken a public stance on Line 3 the way he did with XL, much to the chagrin of environmental advocates. “The silence from the Biden administration on Line 3 is conspicuous and disappointing and really shocking,” says Brett Benson, spokesperson for MN350, a Minnesota climate advocacy group. “When you consider every rational reason the administration had for canceling Keystone XL on the first day in office, that applies to Line 3 as well.”

Resource World: The folly of cancelling pipelines vital for energy supply
By Bruce Lantz, 6/22/21

“The oil and gas industry is facing more pressure as anti-pipeline opponents, perhaps buoyed by U.S. President Joe Biden’s revoking of the permit for Keystone XL and TC Energy Corp.’s [TRP-TSX] subsequent termination of the project, gear up for a summer of protest,” Bruce Lantz writes for Resource World. “…But protestors quick to oppose the pipelines should be careful what they ask for — in case they get it — says an official of the company under attack for building them. Enbridge Corporation spokesperson Michael Barnes said protestors who rallied recently to oppose the firm’s Line 3 pipeline extension through Minnesota and those, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who oppose Line 5 through Michigan are ignoring the benefits those pipelines will bring to the American people. “Both Line 3 and Line 5 are vital to the energy supply and to the economies of both the U.S. and Canada, and have operated safely and reliably for decades,” he told Resource World Magazine. “…The Line 3 benefits are obvious: a $334-million payroll for 8,600 jobs, at least half to be filled locally; a $2-billion boost to the Minnesota economy; boosting Enbridge property taxes in Minnesota to nearly $50 million; and, more than $4 million in community investment.

Shoreview Press: Letters to the Editor: We need to protect the Mississippi River
Sharon Coombs, 6/22/21

“I never planned to spend my retirement driving 400 miles in my un-airconditioned car to protest, in 95-degree heat, a tar sands pipeline poised to burrow under our beloved Mississippi River, 22 other Minnesota rivers and 67 bodies of water in all, in northern Minnesota. Yet that’s what I did this week,” Sharon Coombs writes in Shoreview Press. “And I’m so glad I did! The peacefulness, courage and generosity of the young and old, Native and non-native people around me, moved me. Together we learned how to exercise civil disobedience in an effort to move President Biden to cancel the permits issued hastily to the Canadian corporation, Enbridge, in the last months of the previous administration… “I hope others join in by taking 5 minutes to email President Biden at Whitehouse.gov, asking him to revoke the Line 3 permits. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to live in the state that gives rise to one of the 10 greatest rivers in the world.”

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