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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/29/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 29, 2021

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  • Unicorn RiotHubbard County Barricades Private Property, Imprisons Water Protectors
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveHubbard County Sheriffs Barricade Access to Indigenous-led Private Property, Falsely Imprisoning Dozens of Water Protectors
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveCalling all Water Protectors: we need your urgent help! On Monday morning, Hubbard County sheriffs illegally blockaded the driveway to Indigenous-led private property
  • Facebook: Red Lake Treaty CampDon’t mess with Red Lake!
  • Associated Press2 Line 3 oil pipeline workers fired after sex sting arrests
  • Park Rapids EnterpriseLine 3 foes worry increased pumping could threaten Minnesota water
  • Politico‘Horribly Chilling Effect’: D.C. Circuit Ruling Could Stall New Pipeline Projects
  • Appalachian VoicesArmy Corps gives Virginia more time on Mountain Valley Pipeline permit
  • S&P GlobalFERC repeats it cannot assess gas project’s climate impact in expanded review
  • E&E NewsGlick: ‘Great Sense Of Urgency’ To Reform Pipeline Approvals
  • Spectrum NewsLG&E plans natural gas pipeline near Bernheim Forest




  • Cheyenne PostEastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho take ownership of Circle Ridge Field
  • NOLA.comPoverty, air pollution cause cancer spike in Louisiana industrial areas, Tulane study says
  • NBC News2 dead, 2 injured in Texas gas pipeline explosion
  • Bismarck TribuneOil field spill reported in Bottineau County
  • E&E NewsXcel To Ditch Natural Gas Plant, Boost Renewables


  • KCALUCLA Researchers To Lead Public Health Assessment Of Communities Surrounding Inglewood Oil Fields
  • CBCCarbon removal study suggests arithmetic to achieve net-zero emissions isn’t so simple
  • InsideClimate NewsAs the US Pursues Clean Energy and the Climate Goals of the Paris Agreement, Communities Dependent on the Fossil Fuel Economy Look for a Just Transition
  • Greenpeace UnearthedThe oil and chemical industry is lobbying against landmark global regulation of microplastic chemicals


  • New RepublicHow Tax Breaks for Fossil Fuel Companies Inflated Profits for Oil and Gas Drilling
  • The TyeeBC Spends More Subsidizing Fossil Fuels than on Fighting Climate Change: Report
  • Unitarian Universalist AssociationPublic Statement from Young Adults at General Assembly on the 2021 Responsive Resolution: “Creating a More Just Future Through Divesting from Pipelines and Investing in Young People”


  • Yale Environment 360Amid Troubles for Fossil Fuels, Has the Era of ‘Peak Oil’ Arrived?
  • Globe and MailOn petroleum, First Nations are shifting from conflict to co-operation
  • OilPrice.comPresident Biden’s Pipeline Paradox
  • Casper Star TribuneEditorial board: Judge’s order offers time to lessen pain from leasing pause
  • Colorado SunAnother factor to keep in mind in Colorado’s oil and gas communities — healthy minds
  • Wall Street Journal‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Is the Future: Fracking techniques could be used to generate energy with no carbon emissions.
  • The Hill: Oil and gas exports give the US a strategic geopolitical tool


Alleen Brown, 6/28/21

“A MINNESOTA SHERIFF’S office blocked access Monday morning to one of the protest encampments set up to resist the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline,” The Intercept reports. “In a notice delivered at 6 a.m. to pipeline opponents, who own the property, the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office stated that it would no longer be allowing vehicular traffic on the small strip of county-owned land between the driveway and the road. Sheriff’s deputies arrived with trucks carrying building materials, a witness told the Intercept. “I was handed a notice that states the sheriff will be installing a physical barricade across the driveway to our private property,” said Tara Houska, an Anishinaabe co-founder of the anti-pipeline Giniw Collective, which organized the camp. “He’s saying that we have no right of access to our private property by vehicle.” The pipeline opponents, also known as water protectors, plan to take legal action. “This is quite simply nothing less than an overt political blockade,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney for the pipeline opponents and director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s Center for Protest Law and Litigation, told the Intercept. “This is an outrageous and unlawful effort to blockade people who are engaged in protected First Amendment activity and to punish them for their opposition to the Enbridge pipeline, where Enbridge is serving as the paymaster for Hubbard County sheriff.”

Unicorn Riot: Hubbard County Barricades Private Property, Imprisons Water Protectors
By Alex Binder, 6/28/21

“At around 6 a.m. Monday, Hubbard County Sheriff’s deputies delivered a notice to the Namewag Camp, a privately-owned property of water protectors, stating that the sole entrance would not be “open to vehicular traffic per Hubbard County’s Land Use Ordinance,” Unicorn Riot reports. “The trail will be barricaded beginning on June 28th 2021 at 10:00am. Vehicles will not be allowed to enter for any reason after this time. Vehicles driving on this Hubbard County owned trail are in violation of the Hubbard County Land Use Ordinance and enforcement action will be taken by the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office.” We spoke with Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark ‘Chip’ Lohmeier to find out more details pertaining to this abrupt notice. “Hubbard County is classified as limited [in terms of tax forfeiture] which means if there is not a specific sign posted on that road then that road is closed to motor vehicle traffic. There is no sign on that road, therefore motor vehicle traffic is not allowed.” When we pressed him about the timing of the notice, he told us that “there hasn’t been a sign on that road ever,” which alludes to there being more reason as to why this apparent lack of an easement is only being enforced now. Tara Houska, founder of the Indigenous women and two spirit-led Giniw Collective, told us that “it appears Minnesota is willing to deny right of access to private property in its defense with the private oil company, Enbridge, it’s currently billing to.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: Hubbard County Sheriffs Barricade Access to Indigenous-led Private Property, Falsely Imprisoning Dozens of Water Protectors

“At 6am today, Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department escalated state repression when it served a notice to Namewag camp, located on private property, stating that the sole entrance to the property will be barricaded with no one allowed in or out. “This is a blatantly unlawful attempt to target and repress Indigenous-led efforts to defend our land and water. The state of Minnesota appears to not understand treaty law, it also seems Minnesota doesn’t understand U.S. property law either,” said Tara Houska, Giniw Collective. Updates will be provided as the situation unfolds. The Giniw Collective is an Indigenous women and two spirit-led collective to protect the land and water.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: Calling all Water Protectors: we need your urgent help! On Monday morning, Hubbard County sheriffs illegally blockaded the driveway to Indigenous-led private property

“Calling all Water Protectors: we need your urgent help! On Monday morning, Hubbard County sheriffs illegally blockaded the driveway to Indigenous-led private property, blocking water protectors from returning to their home. Police are now arresting water protectors and threatening to enter Namewag camp illegally. We call on Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan & Governor Tim Walz (651) 201-3400 to intervene in this unfolding human rights crisis and blatant state repression.  Sample script: Hello, my name is _________ and I’m calling on Gov Walz/Lt Gov Flanagan to immediately halt Hubbard County’s escalated and unlawful attacks on private citizens. All people must be allowed in and out of their private property. Stop the blockades and release all arrestees! Shame on Minnesota! #StopLine3 #waterislife #protectthewildrice #SupportNamewag #warrriors2thefront”

Facebook: Red Lake Treaty Camp: Don’t mess with Red Lake!

“Although MNDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher rescinded the trespassing order on Red Lake Treaty Camp (which is officially permitted, on public and 1863 treaty land), she has since put up arbitrary limits on the camp with the intention of isolating its leaders. MNDOT is putting an ungrounded and unreasonable burden on the camp by not allowing individual tents. Please call and tweet the MNDOT commissioner to rescind these disingenuous and arbitrary rules designed to harass the camp and its indigenous leaders. @MAKMinnesota, 651-366-4800,”

Associated Press: 2 Line 3 oil pipeline workers fired after sex sting arrests

“Enbridge Energy officials said Monday that two of its employees who were working on the Line 3 oil pipeline in northern Minnesota were fired after they were arrested in a sex sting,” the Associated Press reports. “The two men were among six men arrested after responding to an ad on a sex advertisement website, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said. The suspects were apprehended after showing up at an arranged meeting place. “Enbridge and our contractors have zero tolerance for illegal and exploitative actions,” the company said in a statement. “That is why we are joining with our contractors and unions to denounce the illegal and exploitive actions of those who participate in sex trafficking.”

Park Rapids Enterprise: Line 3 foes worry increased pumping could threaten Minnesota water
Kirsti Marohn, 6/28/21

“To build the new Line 3 pipeline across northern Minnesota, the Enbridge Energy company needs to dig a trench — and temporarily pump groundwater out of the construction area, in a process called dewatering,” Park Rapids Enterprise reports. “Enbridge originally asked for permission to pump about 510 million gallons of water from the pipeline corridor, as it builds the replacement to the current Line 3 pipeline along a new, 340-mile route across northern Minnesota. But as construction moves forward, the company encountered more groundwater than it anticipated and requested to significantly increase the amount it’s authorized to pump, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. On June 4, the DNR issued an amended permit that allows Enbridge to pump up to nearly 5 billion gallons — almost 10 times more than the original amount the company had requested — for the remaining 145 miles of pipeline it has left to build. Opponents of the project worry that the pumping could reduce the overall quantity of groundwater and potentially affect sensitive wetlands, lakes and streams along the route, which are already under stress due to current drought conditions statewide.” “…Regulators’ larger concern, Doneen said, is how Enbridge will store and replace that volume of water, making sure that — when it’s released — it doesn’t contain sediment that could harm aquatic ecosystems. “That’s what we’ve seen with pipeline construction in the past,” he told the Enterprise. “That’s a lot of water, and you have to be able to manage it carefully.”

Politico: ‘Horribly Chilling Effect’: D.C. Circuit Ruling Could Stall New Pipeline Projects

“The D.C. Circuit’s decision to strike down the approval of a Missouri pipeline could slow projects and potentially choke off new gas production,” according to Politico. “The court’s decision to vacate a permit for the 65-mile Spire STL Pipeline more than two years after it was issued casts doubt on the validity of a key tool pipeline operators deployed to demonstrate need. It also introduces significant uncertainty into the ability of operators to secure necessary regulatory approvals and pipeline investments, experts say. ‘The notion that you can build a pipe and have the certificate order overruled later on — that has a horribly chilling effect on the industry and the ability to raise money for pipelines at all,’ Rick Smead, managing director for advisory services for RBN Energy, an energy consultancy, told Politico. ‘Having clarity and certainty at the FERC level, really as quickly as they can do it, is very important.’ In reaching its decision, the D.C. Circuit endorsed then-Commissioner, and now chair, Rich Glick’s dissent in FERC’s 2018 approval of the pipeline, which has experts questioning whether FERC will frown on the use of affiliate agreements to demonstrate need for other pipeline projects going forward… ‘I think the case sets out some pretty clear guideposts on what’s acceptable and what’s not,’ Natalie Karas, counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund and lead attorney on the Spire case, who said FERC’s decision to award the Spire STL permit imposed a significant economic burden on customers, told Politico. ‘These decisions have implications for people and we should be protecting their interests.”

Appalachian Voices: Army Corps gives Virginia more time on Mountain Valley Pipeline permit

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today partially granted a request from Virginia for additional time to review a water-crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Under the Corps’ original timeline, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality would have had just four months to decide whether to approve or deny the permit, or waive its prerogative to review. In a March 25 letter to the Corps, the DEQ said that under Virginia law, the project would require a Virginia Water Protection Permit for the water crossings. The DEQ requested a March 3, 2022 deadline in order to both study the project’s impacts on the hundreds of individual streams, rivers, wetlands and other waterways the pipeline would cross in Virginia, and to meet public notice, comment, hearing and other procedural requirements for making a decision on the permit. The Corps has given the DEQ until December 31, 2021, to decide whether to authorize the MVP to cross Virginia water bodies. MVP developer Equitrans Midstream Corp. told its shareholders on May 4 that it was delaying its estimated in-service date to summer 2022 and increasing cost estimates to $6.2 billion because it “expected” such a time extension. That’s three-and-a-half years past its original target date and almost double the project cost since the MVP was announced in 2014.”

S&P Global: FERC repeats it cannot assess gas project’s climate impact in expanded review
Corey Paul, 6/28/21

“The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released the draft version of an additional climate review of a pending Columbia Gulf Transmission pipeline project in Louisiana, finding once more that agency staff could not draw conclusions about the significance of natural gas projects’ contributions to climate change,” S&P Global reports. “The pipeline developer’s eight-mile, 725 MMcf/d East Lateral XPress Project is one of five pending gas projects that received a May 27 notice from FERC, saying the regulator planned to perform additional environmental assessments of their potential contributions to climate change. The draft environmental impact statement issued by FERC on June 25 marked the third draft review issued for projects on track to receive the additional consideration of climate change impacts. The conclusions reached by FERC staff are similar in the three draft reviews released so far, underscoring the uncertainty for developers of gas projects as the regulator develops its approach to assessing climate change impacts.”Commission staff conclude that construction and operation of the project would not result in significant environmental impacts, with the exception of climate change impacts, where FERC staff is unable to determine significance,” the draft review for the East Lateral XPress Project said.

E&E News: Glick: ‘Great Sense Of Urgency’ To Reform Pipeline Approvals
Niina H. Farah and Miranda Willson, 6/28/21

“The head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is feeling pressure to ‘move as quickly as possible’ to reform how the agency reviews natural gas pipeline projects following a major courtroom loss,” according to E&E News. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit slammed the commission last week for its overreliance on so-called precedent agreements to show there is a need to build a proposed pipeline. Such agreements demonstrate that customers are ready to reserve capacity on a given line. ‘I think there is a great sense of urgency in the aftermath of the decision in the D.C. Circuit,’ FERC Chair Richard Glick (D) told E&E News last week following the ruling.. “Glick did not give a timeline for revising the policy but noted the court ruling ‘put a spotlight’ on how the agency considers the need for a natural gas pipeline. ‘Clearly we need to update the policy statement, and my goal is to get it out, hopefully soon,’ he said. The commission will also look at other concerns like greenhouse gas emissions, Glick told E&E.

Spectrum News: LG&E plans natural gas pipeline near Bernheim Forest
By Joe Ragusa, 6/28/21

“The state’s largest utility company is planning a new natural gas pipeline in Bullitt County, KY, Spectrum News reports. “Louisville Gas and Electric is planning a new natural gas pipeline They have acquired 12 miles of land to build the pipeline in Bullitt County. Nearby landowners, including Bernheim Forest, are involved in separate lawsuits with the utility company LG&E spokeswoman Natasha Collins told Spectrum it’s needed for a couple of big reasons, the primary one being to prepare for potential problems with the existing lines. “So if there was something that happened to that existing line, there is the potential for service interruption for those customers,” Collins said. The growth of Bullitt County is another factor: Census data shows the county grew about 10% over the last decade. “And so we want to continue to support that growth and expansion within our community,” Collins said. “And that’s serving our customers, supporting the Commonwealth and Bullitt County, and it’s growth and expansion. We take all of those commitments seriously.” “…Opponents also contend the project only and unfairly benefits Jim Beam, and court filings indicate LG&E discussed the pipeline project with the company before going public with it.”


E&E News: Watchdog: Agencies use outdated systems to track oil and gas
Heather Richards, 6/28/21

“The Interior Department’s use of outdated, aging data systems to track information like oil and gas permit approvals compromises its oversight responsibilities, according to a Government Accountability Office report released today,” E&E News reports.

Politico Morning Energy: SLOW-TUS WOTUS
Matthew Choi, 6/28/21

“Greens and progressive Democrats are not happy about the pace of the administration’s reversal of Trump-era Clean Water Act movers,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “EPA announced earlier this month that it plans to reverse Trump-era rollbacks of protections, but the last administration’s rule is poised to stay on the books for months — potentially allowing hundreds of projects to go forward without federal water permitting requirements. “This should be a top priority for the administration and we understand rulemakings take time, but repealing this unlawful rule — that action should be taken more urgently and the agencies have what they need today to begin that process,” Kelly Moser, lead water attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, told Politico.


Palm Springs Desert Sun: Oil bankruptcies leave environmental cleanup bills to California taxpayers
Mark Olalde, 6/25/21

“Oil shaped modern Southern California. With dreams of black gold and not content to merely drill on land, a company called Atlantic Richfield built a 2.3-acre artificial island in the late 1950s just off the coast of Ventura County. Today, surfers skim past Rincon Island’s crown of palm trees and 50 oil wells near Mussel Shoals — but the site will never pump oil again,” the Palm Springs Desert Sun reports. “Over the years, production on Rincon Island waxed and waned, the manmade polygon changing hands multiple times. A 2002 bankruptcy sale ultimately handed it off to Greka Energy Corp., which restarted production through a subsidiary called Rincon Island Limited Partnership (RILP). But the boom years were drawing to a close. Rincon Island would erode, rust and fall into disrepair, eventually becoming a sign of the Golden State’s declining oil industry — and a lesson in how taxpayers are on the hook for cleanup costs… “But RILP and HVI Cat Canyon are just two of more than 260 oil and gas exploration and production companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in North America since 2015, according to law firm Haynes and Boone. Also among them was California Resources Corp., one of the state’s three major oil and gas producers. In Chapter 11 bankruptcies, companies try to restructure and resume operations, but some are ultimately converted to Chapter 7 bankruptcies where their businesses are liquidated. Those roughly 260 bankrupt businesses combined to carry more than $175 billion in aggregate debt into the filings, most of it unsecured.”


Cheyenne Post: Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho take ownership of Circle Ridge Field
Nate Perez, 6/27/21

“After decades of leasing Circle Ridge Field, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho have taken full ownership of the oil and gas field on the Wind River Reservation,” the Cheyenne Post reports. “Both tribes agreed to let the lease with Merit Energy Company expire in January of this year after months of failed negotiations. “Taking over (Circle Ridge Field) was very historic for the Northern Arapaho and the Eastern Shoshone tribes because it is us being truly sovereign,” Northern Arapaho Business Chairman Jordan Dresser told the Post. “…We realize that fossil fuels are on the way out, and there will probably be less demand for the product as time goes by,”  Eastern Shoshone Business Chairman John St. Clair told the Post. “So, we’re taking the income that we have from this and looking toward renewable energy, the development of our economy and other areas.” Historically, the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho have relied on oil and gas production to beef up the economy on the reservation.” Poverty, air pollution cause cancer spike in Louisiana industrial areas, Tulane study says

“The combination of air pollution and poverty is triggering higher rates of cancer in Louisiana, according to a new study led by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic,” reports. “Released this week, the study indicates low-income communities with high levels of toxic air pollution had average cancer rates of about 515 cases per 100,000 residents. That’s statistically higher than the 482-case average statewide and the 487-case average for low-income areas with less air pollution. “These communities are already burdened with socioeconomic challenges, and on top of that are the clear effects of toxic air pollution,” Kimberly Terrell, a Tulane clinic research scientist and the study’s lead author, told “People living in impoverished communities might not get the preventive medical care that can help avoid cancer. Add toxic air to these communities, and it seems inevitable that cancer rates would be high, Terrell said. “We’re exposed to lots of different things [that cause cancer], but living in a polluted area could be the thing that pushes you over the edge and results in a cancer outcome,” she said… “The study provides scientific backing for the clinic’s own advocacy work on behalf of residents of the industrial corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and other industrialized communities such as Mossville near Lake Charles. Many people who live near chemical plants and refineries have long maintained their communities suffer disproportionately from health problems that they say are rooted in chronic exposure to pollution.” The concentration of chemical plants and refineries in mostly poor, Black areas of Louisiana drew international attention in January when President Joe Biden mentioned “Cancer Alley” in a speech about a series of executive orders targeting climate change and industrial pollution in areas with large non-white populations. Some Louisiana leaders bristled at the president’s use of the term, which many residents use to describe the Mississippi River corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge; Sen. Bill Cassidy called it “a slam upon our state.”

NBC News: 2 dead, 2 injured in Texas gas pipeline explosion
By Phil Helsel, 6/28/21

“Two people were killed and two others were injured in a gas explosion on Monday northeast of Dallas, officials said,” NBC News reports. “The accident occurred at around 3:30 p.m. as workers were conducting pipeline maintenance at a site in Collin County, north of Farmersville, the sheriff’s office told NBC. The scene is safe, but officials asked people to avoid the area. The people killed were not identified. The explosion occurred as subcontractors for Atmos Energy were conducting maintenance, the sheriff’s office said… “The FBI was asked to help because they have expertise in processing scenes after an explosion, the sheriff’s office said.”

Bismarck Tribune: Oil field spill reported in Bottineau County

“Scout Energy Management has reported an oil field spill at one of its well sites in Bottineau County,” according to the Bismarck Tribune. “The spill was discovered Thursday 6 miles west of Maxbass. Scout Energy estimated that 500 barrels of saltwater and 500 barrels of emulsion spilled when a tank overflowed. Five hundred barrels is equal to 21,000 gallons… “A fuse failed that powers an alarm indicating a high level of fluid within a tank, and the tank ran over, according to a report Scout Energy filed with the state. The fluid was contained to the site within a dike, the report said.”

E&E News: Xcel To Ditch Natural Gas Plant, Boost Renewables
Jeffrey Tomich, 6/28/21

“Responding to criticism of a proposal for new fossil fuel generation, Xcel Energy Inc. scratched plans for an $800 million natural gas-fired power plant and added more renewable electricity and storage in revisions to its 15-year energy plan,” E&E News reports. “Minneapolis-based Xcel, which has pledged to make its electricity system carbon-free by midcentury, submitted the changes to its integrated resource plan filed Friday with state regulators. A decision on the Xcel proposal is expected later this year. Instead of an 800-megawatt ‘central station’ gas plant at the site of its Sherburne County (Sherco) coal plant, which will be shut down by the end of the decade, Xcel now plans to add two new peaking gas plants in Minnesota and North Dakota and repower two existing gas plants to cover periods when there’s not enough renewable generation available to meet demand. But renewable energy remains the foundation of Xcel’s plan. Overall, the utility proposes to add 3,150 MW of utility-scale solar and 2,650 MW of wind by 2034 — 27% more renewables than in the original filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.”


KCAL: UCLA Researchers To Lead Public Health Assessment Of Communities Surrounding Inglewood Oil Fields

“Los Angeles County public health officials will conduct a health assessment and environmental justice study for the communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Fields,” KCAL reports. “The Inglewood Oil Field, which includes 675 active wells, is the largest urban oil field in the nation. It sits next to schools, homes, hospitals, parks, and churches, and more than 1 million people live within five miles of its boundaries. “After decades of oil drilling, the negative health impacts on nearby residents, who are disproportionately Black and Brown, must be fully examined,” LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell said in a statement. “The oil drilling in Baldwin Hills is an issue of health equity and environmental justice that acutely impacts the Black community. The full spectrum of oil drilling-related health impacts on vulnerable communities have been neglected for far too long.” Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, and View Park/Windsor Hills are among the most affluent Black communities in the nation, with high median education and employment levels, but residents in these areas still suffer disproportionately from the effects of patchy standards and loose regulatory controls on polluting industries, according to county public health officials. Meanwhile, oil production sites at other facilities, such as those in Beverly Hills, are subject to stricter design and mitigation measures.”

CBC: Carbon removal study suggests arithmetic to achieve net-zero emissions isn’t so simple
Emily Chung, 6/28/21

“Countries around the world are counting on the net-zero strategy of removing carbon to cancel out an equal amount of emissions to help them meet climate targets. But a new study by researchers in British Columbia suggests the math might not be that simple,” the CBC reports. “Net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality means that any emissions of greenhouse gases produced are “offset” or cancelled out by the removal of emissions… “The assumption is that a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is balanced by a tonne removed from the atmosphere,”  Kirsten Zickfeld, professor of climate science at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. and lead author of a new study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change, told CBC. Zickfeld suspected that this might not be the case. So she and her colleagues did some climate modelling experiments that were specially designed to test that idea. Why did researchers think removing a tonne might not cancel out emitting a tonne? Because they know many processes in the Earth’s climate system are “non-linear,” Zickfeld said. For example: As carbon dioxide increases, so does plant growth. But plants can only speed up their growth so much before it levels off, no matter how much extra CO2 is added.”

InsideClimate News: As the US Pursues Clean Energy and the Climate Goals of the Paris Agreement, Communities Dependent on the Fossil Fuel Economy Look for a Just Transition
By Judy Fahys, 6/28/21

“Perhaps the proudest achievement of Michael Kourianos’ first term as mayor of Price, Utah was helping to make the local university hub the state’s first to run entirely on clean energy. It’s a curious position for the son, brother and grandchild of coal miners who’s worked in local coal-fired power plants for 42 years,” InsideClimate News reports. “Kourianos sees big changes on the horizon brought by shifts in world energy markets and customer demands, as well as in politics. The mines and plants that powered a bustling economy here in Carbon County and neighboring Emery County for generations are gone or winding down, and Kourianos is hoping to win reelection so he can keep stoking the entrepreneurial energy and partnerships that are moving his community forward. “That freight train is coming at us,” he said. “You look at all the other communities that were around during the early times of coal, they’re not around. “That’s my fear,” he said. “That’s my driving force.” New research from Resources for the Future points out that hundreds of areas like central Utah are facing painful hardships because of the clean-energy transformation that will be necessary if the United States hopes to reach the Paris agreement’s goals to slow climate change. Lost jobs and wages, a shrinking population and an erosion of the tax base that supports roads, schools and community services—they’re all costs of the economic shift that will be paid by those whose hard work fueled American prosperity for so long.”

Greenpeace Unearthed: The oil and chemical industry is lobbying against landmark global regulation of microplastic chemicals
Emma Howard, 6/28/21

“Trade groups representing the world’s biggest oil and chemical companies – including BASF, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Ineos, BP and Shell – are opposing the global regulation of toxic and persistent chemicals in microplastics, according to documents obtained by Greenpeace Unearthed. ”The industry argued that there is still insufficient evidence to justify the incorporation of the plastic additive UV-328 into the Stockholm Convention, the UN’s global treaty on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) – chemicals which, once released, do not easily break down in nature. Its inclusion would lead to bans on its production and use – and could be a landmark for the regulation of chemicals that spread around the world via microplastics and plastic waste. The Biden administration appears to be supporting the industry position on UV-328. Microplastics now seem to be ubiquitous, with particles detected in food, water, air and animals, and even human stools. Much less is known about their impact and relatively little research has been done on UV-328, but scientists are concerned that it does not break down easily in the environment, accumulates in organisms and may cause harm to wildlife or human health. “


New Republic: How Tax Breaks for Fossil Fuel Companies Inflated Profits for Oil and Gas Drilling
Kate Aronoff, 6/25/21

“During infrastructure negotiations, Republicans have been eager to frame any and all green spending as a wasteful add-on that picks winners and stifles competition. But the United States already picks winners—and a new report from the Stockholm Environmental Institute, a nonprofit think tank, provides one of the first-ever estimates for just how much these subsidies have been worth to one of the world’s most harmful industries,” according to the New Republic. “By boosting projected earnings by billions of dollars a year, government policy has been meddling in supposedly free markets—and driving up emissions—for years. Strikingly, the researchers estimate that these tax breaks are worth billions more to firms than the government itself admits. “Subsidies are about what we as a society choose to support,” study co-author Ploy Achakulwisut told TNR. “We’ve identified two major subsidies that are basically going to excess profits, or helping to create excess production from fields that wouldn’t otherwise be economically viable.” The problem, Achakulwisut and co-author Peter Erickson argue, isn’t the existence of these gargantuan subsidies so much as where they’re going. Redirecting the vast support already flowing to polluters could be an invaluable tool for scaling down drilling and building up zero-carbon power.”

The Tyee: BC Spends More Subsidizing Fossil Fuels than on Fighting Climate Change: Report
Michelle Gamage, 6/25/21

“Over the past year, the BC NDP have given away $1.3 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, which is more than the $1.1 billion it pledged to fight climate change, according to a new analysis by,” The Tyee reports. “The report looks at B.C.’s “runaway” fossil fuel subsidies, which have been on the rise since the new government took over in 2018. The subsidies provided in 2020-21 ($1.3 billion) are more than double what they were the last year the BC Liberals were in power ($557 million), the report says. predicts subsidies will surpass $1.8 billion in the next three years, which would be triple what the Liberals spent in 2016–17. B.C. is only outdone by Alberta when it comes to the “generosity” of subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry, the report says… “By analyzing the province’s budget, the report found that in 2020–21, B.C. earned $282 million in oil and gas royalties. The same budget says the province spent $1.3 billion on fossil fuel subsidies.”

Unitarian Universalist Association: Public Statement from Young Adults at General Assembly on the 2021 Responsive Resolution: “Creating a More Just Future Through Divesting from Pipelines and Investing in Young People”
June 27, 2021

“The community of Young Adults at General Assembly are thrilled at the passage of the Responsive Resolution “Creating a More Just Future Through Divesting from Pipelines and Investing in Young People.” This resolution was born out of emergent Young Adult organizing after seeing the UUA Common Endowment Fund invested in several institutions not only backing the Line 3 tar sands pipeline but responsible for multiple human rights violations. Divesting fully and immediately from the financial institutions backing the Line 3 tar sands pipeline is an important and urgent action in solidarity with Indigenous leadership. This decision aligns the UUA’s financial resources with our shared values and theology — on the path to divesting fully from all extractive industries, and re-investing in a just energy transition, as per the 2014 Business Resolution on Fossil Fuel Divestment.”


Yale Environment 360: Amid Troubles for Fossil Fuels, Has the Era of ‘Peak Oil’ Arrived?
FRED PEARCE, 6/24/21

“May was arguably the worst month ever for big oil — and the best for its opponents — as courts and corporate shareholders sided with environmental activists to humble the biggest of the fossil-fuel giants, culminating in “Black Wednesday,” Fred Pearce writes for Yale e360. “…The moment when the century-long advance in global consumption of oil ceased has been predicted by industry analysts for a while now. But their trend graphs always suggested peak oil would not happen until the 2030s or beyond. No longer. The coronavirus pandemic drove a 9 percent slump in oil demand in 2020 that many economists think will never be recouped. “Fallout from the pandemic may mean 2019 was the year of peak oil demand,” Mark Lewis, head of sustainability research at asset manager BNP Paribas, concluded in a blog post last June. Peter Nagle, an economist at the World Bank, said in a blog post that “a shift in people’s behavior” means that consumption is likely to “remain well below its pre-pandemic trend.” “…The game-changer for oil is set to be electric vehicles, which entirely eliminate demand for oil to fuel autos. At the end of 2020, there were an estimated 10 million electric cars on the roads, plus more than 600,000 buses and trucks, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an intergovernmental body. That is less than 1 percent of all vehicles, but 5 percent of new cars being bought worldwide are now electric. Rystad Energy, a Norwegian energy consultancy, says that the rise of electric vehicles is happening “sooner and faster” than expected. Virtually all the world’s large vehicle manufacturers are developing new, cheaper models with longer ranges between battery recharges. Rystad expects electric vehicles to make up 23 percent of global sales by 2025. Its senior partner Per Magnus told Reuters that their spread will “dig into global oil demand in a very significant way.”

Globe and Mail: On petroleum, First Nations are shifting from conflict to co-operation
Tom Flanagan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary. The Fraser Institute recently published his new paper, First Nations and the Petroleum Industry – From Conflict to Co-operation, 6/28/21

“There are many signs of growing co-operation between Indigenous people and the oil and gas industry,” Tom Flanagan writes in the Globe and Mail. “Production of hydrocarbons on reserve land is economically important to dozens of First Nations. Although some First Nations opposed the Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain expansion and Coastal GasLink pipelines, large majorities were willing to sign transit agreements offering them substantial benefits in cash, employment and contract opportunities. First Nation leaders now routinely join petroleum executives in public forums to encourage support for the industry. First Nations are even taking an ownership stake in the industry by investing in pipelines and other projects. Two main factors are involved in this increase in co-operation. One is the growth of organized opposition to pipeline construction. The Tar Sands Campaign, organized by climate activists in the United States and Canada, has opposed all pipeline construction in an attempt to landlock Canadian production, especially from the oil sands. Seeing their royalties and jobs threatened, many First Nations have made common cause with the petroleum industry in their own self-interest… “From the industry’s point of view, an Indigenous ownership share can help to overcome political obstacles to pipeline construction. That hope is not always fulfilled, however, as shown by the failure of the Mackenzie Valley, Northern Gateway and Keystone XL proposals. Climate activists and other objectors have shown that they do not place top priority on the economic interests of First Nations.” President Biden’s Pipeline Paradox
By Irina Slav, 6/28/21

“That action on climate change would be the top priority for the Biden administration became obvious on the campaign trail. That other priorities of an even more political nature might occasionally trump it was not so obvious then. It is only now that some of these realities are beginning to emerge, with seemingly inconsistent action on projects such as Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 and TC Energy’s Keystone XL,” Irina Slav writes for… “This has prompted another letter by Republican legislators. According to this letter, what the Biden administration is doing is basically serving Europe’s energy security on a plate to Moscow, with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy saying in a tweet, “Given your open hostility to domestic pipelines like the Keystone XL pipeline, it is baffling that you are willing to green-light Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Put simply, you are prioritizing Russian jobs over American jobs.” It is obvious that a parallel between Nord Stream 2 and Keystone XL is not exactly fair: one is a foreign project for foreign consumers while the other is a U.S. project. For all the might of the U.S. financial system that has allowed it to punish nations and businesses across the world, the sanction weapon is not universal, as proved by the move to lift sanctions on German participants in the project.”

Casper Star Tribune: Editorial board: Judge’s order offers time to lessen pain from leasing pause

“Days after taking office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands. The decision, which was part of the administration’s efforts to address climate change, produced immediate concern across Wyoming,” the Casper Star Tribune Editorial Board writes. “The state is heavily reliant on the energy sector — particularly fossil fuels — to fund government services. The industry is also a key source of jobs, both directly and through the myriad welding, machining and transportation companies that serve the industry… “As the administration works to address climate change, it’s important for the president to recognize that decisions in Washington can cause pain 1,700 miles away in Wyoming. If the administration wants to change how American produces energy, it must not forget that there are thousands of workers in oil-producing states whose livelihoods will be affected. And whether their political leaders should have seen this coming doesn’t make the economic fallout any less painful for Wyoming families… “The administration should use this halt to focus on how it can support energy-producing states during a time of transition. Compensating them for the losses caused by the pause would be a start, but there’s more to consider. Promises of task forces and job retraining feel hollow when they are offered as possibilities and not decisive action.”

Colorado Sun: Another factor to keep in mind in Colorado’s oil and gas communities — healthy minds
Vincent Atchity is the president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, the state’s leading advocate for promoting mental well-being, ending shame and discrimination, and ensuring equitable access to mental health and substance use care, 6/26/21

“She woke up in the middle of the night, terrified. Her immediate thought was that a truck had just rammed into her home, and her family was in danger. After the adrenaline had passed and the fog of sleepiness cleared, she realized it was just the oil and gas trucks again, heading down the street to the new job site, right across from her blind great uncle’s ranch,” Vincent Atchity writes in the Colorado Sun. “She’s a family member of a Mental Health Colorado staff member, and a member of our grassroots advocacy network. And she’s not alone in her distress. According to a 2020 study of “unconventional” oil and gas production in Colorado, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, development activity near local communities and homes can trigger chronic stress. Ninety percent of respondents reported experiencing chronic stress, with a key cause being their inability to influence where industrial development projects are placed, and how close they can be situated to community members’ homes or their children’s school. Perceived bureaucratic bias towards oil and gas companies in the local decision-making process can also be a strong driver of feelings of institutional hopelessness and chronic stress. Individuals and families can feel powerless.”

Wall Street Journal: ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Is the Future: Fracking techniques could be used to generate energy with no carbon emissions.
By Andy Kessler, 6/27/21

“Remember the cringeworthy “Drill, baby, drill” slogan from the 2008 Republican Convention? Maybe they were on to something, but not what you think. We’re bombarded daily with calls for sustainable, renewable and carbon chewable technologies to meet our energy needs. But the solution may be just underfoot,” Andy Kessler writes in the Wall Street Journal. “…We already have a good-sized surface geothermal industry in the U.S. For $15,000 to $30,000, you can hire someone to dig a few hundred feet and install a heat pump that circulates heated water to keep your house cozy. But that’s just scratching the surface. There is huge upside to digging down miles and injecting water into underground reservoirs—think radiators—and then the heated water is pushed back out to generate steam and electricity. It’s carbon-free—clean, green and mostly unseen. The trick is to get a large enough surface area to do the heat exchange. A typical vertical oil well might have 1,000 to 10,000 square feet of surface area. But it turns out that the same thing that’s been perfected over the past 30 years to make America energy independent can also increase that surface area—horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.”

The Hill: Oil and gas exports give the US a strategic geopolitical tool
Ellen R. Wald is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, and president of Transversal Consulting, a global energy and geopolitics consultancy, 6/28/21

“Earlier this month, Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana lifted the Biden administration’s attempt to halt lease sales for oil and gas production on federal lands and waters. Doughty issued a preliminary injunction on the administration’s plan after 13 states sued. The lease of federal lands for oil and gas production provides millions of dollars of revenue for the states and local governments and economies. Beyond the legal arguments, though, the resumption of federal land leases is critical to pursuing America’s geopolitical goals,” Ellen Ward writes in The Hill. “The United States is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, among them plentiful reserves of oil and natural gas. We can either use these resources to our own advantage, both domestically and as exports, or we can cripple our own energy production, limiting our potential. In this decision, we must consider that exported fuel is not only a source of wealth; it is also a powerful tool of geopolitical influence… “Energy exports aren’t just about trade and growing the U.S. economy. In oil and gas exports, the U.S. holds a critical strategic geopolitical tool. For example, the Trump administration, in its Phase 1 trade deal with China, negotiated a requirement for China, the world’s largest oil importer, to purchase large amounts of American oil and petroleum products. In another part of the world, America’s abundance of natural gas can be used to counteract Russia’s influence on Europe. Through deals like the one recently concluded between the U.S. and Poland, we can halt Russian geopolitical encroachment on a Europe desperate for fuel… “The future of oil and gas production on federal lands and waters likely will face additional legal wrangling. However, from a strategic perspective, the answer is clear. We must continue to lease federal land for oil and gas production — both for the U.S. economy and to maintain American power and influence around the world.”

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