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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/3/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 3, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Canadian PressLine 5: Michigan says Canada has no legal basis to invoke cross-border pipeline treaty
  • WDETMichigan’s Top Environmental Regulator Defends New PFAS Standards, Line 5 Permits
  • CBCInstalled Keystone XL pipe will remain underground, for now
  • E&E NewsJudge overrides Biden admin on Keystone XL permit
  • CBS12Moody joins fight for Keystone pipeline
  • Facebook: Protect the Planet Stop TMXBREAKING! TMX work STOPPED! The Community Nest Finding Network has stopped work, again
  • Facebook: Appalachians Against PipelinesAll 4 baby duck pipeline protesters have been arrested after blockading a Mountain Valley Pipeline easement and equipment yard for nearly 7 hours
  • WV Gazette MailWater quality impact to be key consideration as Mountain Valley Pipeline hangs in limbo
  • Natural Gas IntelligenceFERC Green Lights 1.7 Bcf/d Gulf Run Pipeline
  • Natural Gas IntelligenceTC Energy Urging Swift Regulatory Approval of LNG Canada Pipeline Deal
  • S&P GlobalNo clear winner yet in bidding war over oil sands transporter Inter Pipeline
  • WOWTCompany proposes carbon-capture pipeline across Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • BloombergBiden Era Brings Legal Disappointments for Environmental Groups
  • Indian Country TodayTreaties offer new aid in environmental fights
  • New York TimesBiden Aims to End Arctic Drilling. A Trump-Era Law Could Foil His Plans
  • E&E News‘Outrageous’: Alaska Lawmakers Respond To ANWR Drilling Halt
  • E&E NewsAGs battle at FERC over social cost of carbon
  • E&E NewsHouse Lawmakers Team Up For Bipartisan Orphaned Wells Bill
  • Politico Morning EnergyWHAT WHEJAC WANTS
  • Grist“Death by a thousand cuts”: How Congress continues to whittle away at a critical environmental policy
  • New York TimesThe Promise and Pressures of Deb Haaland, the First Native American Cabinet Secretary

STATE UPDATES

  • The InterceptCORPORATE SUBSIDY QUIETLY DIES IN TEXAS — TOPPING OFF BAD WEEK FOR BIG OIL
  • VoxThere’s a ticking climate time bomb in West Texas
  • Public HeraldAmerica Is Building Mountains of Radioactive Fracking Waste & the One in Joe Biden’s Hometown Is Under Criminal Investigation

EXTRACTION

  • BloombergChevron CEO Signals He’s Open to Selling Canada Oil Sands Stake
  • New York TimesHere Are America’s Top Methane Emitters. Some Will Surprise You
  • WESAReport Shows Rebound For Natural Gas As Production, Prices Rise
  • Utility DiveTransition away from natural gas necessary to meet climate goals but creates equity concerns, experts say

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • BloombergExxon May Be Corporate America’s Canary in the Coal Mine
  • Stand.earthRBC Revealed: HOW CANADA’S BIGGEST BANK IS FUNDING THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

Canadian Press: Line 5: Michigan says Canada has no legal basis to invoke cross-border pipeline treaty
6/2/21

“The dispute over the cross-border Line 5 pipeline is entirely for Michigan to deal with, the state’s attorney general argues in a legal brief released Wednesday that flatly rejects Canada’s depiction of a foreign-policy matter that Ottawa and the White House must resolve,” the Canadian Press reports. “In a sternly worded 21-page legal filing, Attorney General Dana Nessel excoriates the arguments of the pipeline’s owner, Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., as “meritless” and “baseless,” and waves away the submissions of the federal Liberal government, neighbouring states and various industry stakeholders as little more than policy-based window-dressing… Michigan is “invoking powers that are unique to a state sovereign,” it says, and asserting claims under Michigan laws “over a strip of land that is owned by the state, located within the state, and held in trust by the state for the public benefit of its people.” …”In a court filing of its own, known as an amicus brief, the [Canadian] federal government tried to up the ante, warning of damage to the relationship between Canada and the U.S. and the risk of undermining the future credibility of American foreign-policy decisions. The court should instead set aside the case and give the two countries a chance to negotiate a settlement under the terms of a 1977 treaty that specifically governs pipelines that cross the border, Canada argued.”

WDET: Michigan’s Top Environmental Regulator Defends New PFAS Standards, Line 5 Permits
by Jake Neher, Cheyna Roth, 6/1/21

“…The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has faced criticism from some environmentalists recently for approving permits sought by Enbridge Energy to build a tunnel under the lake bed in the Straits of Mackinac to replace the Canadian company’s controversial Line 5 oil and gas pipeline,” WDET reports. “Environmentalists generally oppose the project to replace Line 5 in a buried tunnel because they say it represents a significant new investment in fossil fuels, and could allow the current 67-year-old pipeline to continue to operate for years while the tunnel is being constructed. Activists want the pipeline shut down completely, which is what the Whitmer administration is pursuing. EGLE Director Liesl Clark says the decision to approve those permits should not be interpreted as a political position or opinion on the part of her department. “Those permits were issued based on the statutory constraints that permits are issued under,” Clark told WDET. ”Permits are not about anybody’s opinion, permits are about what is actually filed with us. And then what is in [the] statute in terms of how do we respond. And so that’s the work that we do. It’s fairly cut and dry, frankly, and perhaps maybe even a little bit boring from some respects… “Our role, really, was looking at the wetlands and the water discharge. We are agnostic as to why the permits are being sought. That’s not a question that we can ask, if that makes sense, based on statute.”

CBC: Installed Keystone XL pipe will remain underground, for now
Kyle Bakx, 6/3/21

“Hundreds of workers are back in southeast Alberta to work on the Keystone XL pipeline project, although instead of construction activity, crews will spend the summer fixing up the land,” CBC reports. “TC Energy suspended the project in January after U.S. President Joe Biden pulled the presidential permit for the proposed pipeline, which would have transported oil from Alberta to the American Midwest. About 150 km of pipe was installed in Alberta and — for now — TC Energy plans to leave it underground. In a regulatory filing last week, the company said it will work to preserve the pipe and two constructed pumping stations to maintain their integrity. “Our first priority is to make sure we wind down construction activities safely and with care for the environment and that is what we continue to focus on,” TC Energy said in an email to CBC News. “A longer-term plan is being developed to deal with the assets that have already been constructed and we continue to evaluate our options… “They’re going to now try to restore the topography back to what it looked like before they dug the trench. The only difference being, they will still leave the pipe in the ground, for now,” Dennis McConaghy, an author on energy issues and a former TC Energy executive, told CBC. He suspects the pipe may be left underground permanently, since that’s usually what happens when pipelines are no longer in service. “You never know when something might become useful again, or that the costs of actually taking it out, are really not justified relative to just leaving it in the ground.”

E&E News: Judge overrides Biden admin on Keystone XL permit
Niina H. Farah, 6/2/21

“A federal judge last week overrode the objections of the Biden administration and kept alive a lawsuit challenging presidential authority to issue cross-border permits for pipelines,” E&E News reports. “Chief Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana said the case against former President Trump’s 2019 permit for the now-suspended Keystone XL pipeline to traverse the U.S.-Canada border can continue — even after President Biden issued an executive order axing the approval. Biden’s Jan. 20 order revoking Keystone XL’s permit does not prevent the federal government from reinstating the approval later, Morris wrote. “Although President Biden revoked the 2019 Permit, the possibility remains that he, or a future president, could issue unilaterally another permit,” Morris wrote in a Friday order. A decision to revive Keystone XL’s permit, he added, could come without any warning. “In fact, President Biden exercised such unilateral and unchecked authority in his revocation of the 2019 Permit,” continued Morris, an Obama appointee. “That revocation included no mention of the lawfulness of the underlying 2019 Permit, but instead noted that the 2019 Permit ‘disserves the U.S. national interest.'” …”Even though the Biden administration had said it does not plan to reauthorize Keystone XL, Morris last week asserted that the court still had authority over a “live dispute,” since the case involves a physical pipeline that he could order TC Energy to remove. The Biden administration could have instead issued a declaration that the president lacked authority under the Constitution to “personally issue a cross-border pipeline,” which would have blocked similar action, even by a future White House, Morris said. “Such relief goes beyond the injunctive relief of the court-ordered removal of a physical pipeline infrastructure,” he said.

CBS12: Moody joins fight for Keystone pipeline
6/2/21

“Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has joined a multi-state lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s decision to revoke a permit for the long-controversial Keystone XL pipeline,” CBS12 reports. “A coalition of states filed the lawsuit in March, and Moody was included in an amended complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Galveston, Texas. The lawsuit raises a series of arguments challenging Biden’s decision to revoke a permit that former President Donald Trump had approved in 2019… “The amended complaint, in part, argues that Biden overstepped his authority in revoking the permit. “The decision to provide or withhold permission to construct and operate an oil pipeline across the international border with Canada is a regulation of international and interstate commerce,” the amended complaint said. “Under the Constitution, the power to regulate international and interstate commerce resides with Congress — not the president.” In a prepared statement Wednesday, Moody said Biden’s decision threatens jobs, including in Florida.”

Facebook: Protect the Planet Stop TMX: BREAKING! TMX work STOPPED! The Community Nest Finding Network has stopped work, again
6/2/21

“On unceded Kwikwitlem, Tsleilwaututh, Kwantlen, Qayqayt & Musqueam lands. On North Rd in “Burnaby.” At 7am this morning a Black-capped Chickadee momma was spotted going to & fro her nest cavity. A large TMX crew has been forced to down tools.  We’re not sure how long the stop work will go on for yet.  It’s unfolding.  We will keep you updated. There are currently 2 active worksites in “Burnaby”. (🥰✊🏼minus one), so only Burnaby Mountain right now. We previously stopped a 3rd worksite with a hummingbird & her nest in mid March until the end of August. “Coquitlam” has 2 active worksites: Brunette Interchange (we participated in a 16+ hour shut down on Monday) & Colony Farms where TMX hopes to drill under the Fraser River to Surrey. The TMX pipeline will never be finished!”

Facebook: Appalachians Against Pipelines: All 4 baby duck pipeline protesters have been arrested after blockading a Mountain Valley Pipeline easement and equipment yard for nearly 7 hours
6/2/21

“One person, Zach, has already been released on PR (personal recognizance), after being charged with 2 misdemeanors (trespassing and interference). Ethan, a 48 year-old former marine biologist and father of two young children, was one of the folks locked to the model Wood Duck at today’s action. For Ethan, the Wood Duck placed in the path of the pipeline represents the loss of three billion birds globally since 1979 due to habitat destruction and contamination of their ecosystems. “Some areas that the MVP passes through are protected areas for birds. All living beings on this planet have a right to live and thrive. How low must the bird population drop before we say, ‘Enough!’?” Ethan said. “This is a pivotal moment for all of us. It is all of our responsibility to do all that we can to protect what we love. Yes, it takes sacrifice, but it is meaningful to know that I am giving up something of lesser value for something of greater value.”

WV Gazette Mail: Water quality impact to be key consideration as Mountain Valley Pipeline hangs in limbo
By Mike Tony, 6/1/21

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline faces a consequential summer. So do the streams and wetlands that the pipeline’s developers are seeking permission to cross,” according to WV Gazette Mail. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will decide by July 2 whether to grant or deny additional time to West Virginia and Virginia environmental regulators to consider water permit requests from the joint venture that owns the pipeline, according to Corps Huntington District spokesman Brian Maka. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, the joint venture that owns the pipeline, still has applications pending with West Virginia and Virginia state environmental regulators for about 300 water crossings while it seeks approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to tunnel under 120 additional waterbodies… “Based on what I’ve seen thus far, I don’t know how they can permit this activity knowing that there are going to be additional impacts to water resources because of MVP’s track record,” West Virginia Rivers Coalition staff scientist Autumn Crowe told WV Gazette Mail.

Natural Gas Intelligence: FERC Green Lights 1.7 Bcf/d Gulf Run Pipeline
BY CHRISTOPHER LENTON, 6/2/21

“Enable Midstream Partners LP has received FERC approval to construct and operate the 1.7 Bcf/d Gulf Run natural gas pipeline, designed in part to serve the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project being built by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum on the Texas coast,” according to Natural Gas Intelligence. “The $540 million pipeline project is backed by a 20-year commitment for 1.1 Bcf/d from cornerstone shipper Golden Pass LNG and is expected to be placed into service in late 2022. Golden Pass is underway in Sabine Pass on the upper Texas coast… “Gulf Run makes significant use of existing assets, reducing the project’s cost and environmental impact,” CEO Ron Sailor said. With Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval “and the demand for LNG increasing globally, the project is well-positioned to add new customer commitments.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Urging Swift Regulatory Approval of LNG Canada Pipeline Deal
BY GORDON JAREMKO, 6/2/21

“TC Energy Corp. has secured second place, behind Enbridge Inc., in a pipeline race to gain prized high-volume traffic bound for liquefied natural gas exports (LNG) from the northern Pacific coast of British Columbia (BC),” according to Natural Gas Intelligence. “Time is of the essence,” said TC subsidiary Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) in a request for swift approval by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) of a delivery bargain with LNG Canada partner Petronas Canada Ltd. NGTL seeks approval by Dec. 31 to a “competitive alternative” devised after Enbridge’s BC Westcoast network won a Petronas contract to transport 510 MMcf/d for the first of two LNG Canada terminal phases. Phase one is under construction at Kitimat, along with the terminal’s Coastal GasLink (CGL) supply conduit across 670 kilometers (416 miles) of BC from the Montney shale region where Petronas and other LNG Canada partners are developing production. NGTL and Westcoast both span the Montney to the CGL route.”

S&P Global: No clear winner yet in bidding war over oil sands transporter Inter Pipeline
Allison Good, 6/2/21

“While Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP’s revised offer to take Inter Pipeline Ltd. private is a formidable alternative to Pembina Pipeline Corp.’s proposal, midstream industry experts disagreed over which party has the upper hand in the bidding war for the Canadian oils sands transportation company,” according to S&P Global. “After Pembina announced a C$15.2 billion share-for-share agreement to acquire Inter Pipeline on June 1, Brookfield countered June 2 with a cash and share-based consideration valued at C$19.75 per Inter Pipeline share. The partnership said its improved offer represents a 4.4% premium to Pembina’s offer, based on a value of C$18.91 per share as of market close June 1. The cash component of Brookfield’s offer represents 74% of the total consideration, while Pembina does not have a cash component in its offer, Brookfield said. Even more importantly, Credit Suisse managing director Andrew Kuske told S&P, Brookfield proposed closing the deal in about 20 days as opposed to the Pembina deal close in the fourth quarter.”

WOWT: Company proposes carbon-capture pipeline across Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa
By Kelli Kellogg, 6/1/21

“A Dallas-based company wants to build a 1,200-mile pipeline system across five Midwestern states — including Nebraska and Iowa — that would carry liquefied carbon dioxide to permanent storage sites,” WOWT reports. “Navigator CO2 said in a statement Tuesday the project would provide its industry partners a “holistic” approach” to shrinking their carbon footprints.Navigator said in the statement it had a partnership with BlackRock Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Fund to develop the pipeline across Minnesota, Illinois, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Bloomberg: Biden Era Brings Legal Disappointments for Environmental Groups
Ellen Gilmer, 6/1/21

“Environmental advocates hoping for a complete reversal of Trump-era legal positions have faced a series of disappointments in the first months of the Biden administration—generating some early tension between the president and green groups,” Bloomberg reports. “Government lawyers have opposed efforts to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline, supported a massive oil project in the Arctic, and preserved an environmental review rule despised by activists. It’s common for a new administration to defend many of its predecessor’s actions in court—either for institutional reasons inside the executive branch or simply because a previous policy isn’t controversial enough to merit a change in position. But several recent defenses of Trump-era decisions stand out as President Joe Biden launches ambitious environmental plans and erases other parts of the last administration’s legacy. The contrast has left many environmentalists confused and angry. “It’s worse when your friends disappoint you,” Vermont Law School professor Patrick Parenteau told Bloomberg… “We were really baffled by DOJ’s position defending these illegally issued Trump-era leases,” Earthjustice lawyer Mike Freeman, who argued against the government that day, told Bloomberg. “The arguments went directly against the environmental goals that President Biden ran on.” “…Some advocates are pushing the Biden administration for a bolder approach. Courts are likely to be more accepting of flip-flopped arguments after the Trump administration staked out many positions that were considered extreme, Vermont Law School’s Parenteau told Bloomberg.

Indian Country Today: Treaties offer new aid in environmental fights
MARY ANNETTE PEMBER, 6/2/21

“Treaties are not just for tribes anymore. Native treaty rights are becoming powerful tools for protecting the environment against government mismanagement and destructive private industries, as worldwide efforts intensify to halt climate change and protect the environment,” according to Indian Country Today. “With the right to hunt, fish and gather on lands ceded to the federal government, treaties also offer growing leverage on state and federal governments to ensure the health of the habitats upon which those rights were granted. “Tribes exercising treaty rights is not a one-sided thing,” Paul DeMain, citizen of the Oneida and Ojibwe tribes and a board member of Honor the Earth, an Indigenous environmental advocacy organization, told ICT. “Non-Native citizens also benefit from natural resources being protected and preserved for tribal subsistence hunting, gathering and fishing.” Treaty rights are already surfacing in the fight against Enbridge’s Line 3 and Line 5 pipelines that stretch from Canada into northern Minnesota and Michigan and back again. Honor the Earth is one of several groups involved in organizing the Treaty People Gathering on June 5-8 in northern Minnesota in opposition to Enbridge’s construction of Line 3. One of the goals for the gathering is to educate people about the scope and authority of Indian treaties. “Treaty education and protection are not the sole duty of Native people,” according to the Treaty People Gathering website. “It is the responsibility of non-Native people to know and respect the obligations included in federal and state treaties. Treaties protect all of us.”

New York Times: Biden Aims to End Arctic Drilling. A Trump-Era Law Could Foil His Plans
By Coral Davenport and Henry Fountain, 6/2/21

“President Biden may be forced to hold a new lease sale for oil drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, despite his vows to slash fossil fuel pollution and his action this week to suspend Arctic drilling leases that had been awarded in the final days of the Trump administration,” according to the New York Times. “A law passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 requires the president to hold two lease sales in the refuge before the end of 2024. President Donald Trump held the first; now legal experts say the Biden administration could be locked into holding a second sale.”

E&E News: ‘Outrageous’: Alaska Lawmakers Respond To ANWR Drilling Halt
Emma Dumain, 6/2/21

“Last week, Alaska’s three-member all-GOP congressional delegation was giddily celebrating the Biden administration’s seeming reversal in its stance on a controversial home-state oil project — and claiming credit for securing the victory. Yesterday, the same lawmakers were excoriating the president for moving to suspend oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and saying they weren’t at all surprised by the affront,” according to E&E News. “‘Not unexpected but … outrageous nonetheless,’ said Sen. Lisa Murkowski. ‘A naked political move … to pay off [Biden’s] extreme environmental allies,’ Sen. Dan Sullivan said in agreement. The political and policy whiplash of the last week could be a sign that bipartisan goodwill when it comes to energy policy will likely be short-lived in the Biden era. The events also illustrate the much larger tensions at play as administration officials seek to pacify lawmakers, environmentalists and industry stakeholders.”

E&E News: AGs battle at FERC over social cost of carbon
Miranda Wilson, 6/2/21

“Comments submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over pipeline approvals are exposing a deep rift between states over the social cost of carbon and its role in assessing natural gas projects,” according to E&E News. “Democratic attorneys general from eight East Coast states and the District of Columbia last week urged FERC to assess the economic damage of greenhouse gas emissions from proposed natural gas projects using “best available” estimates for the social cost of carbon. The comments contrasted with those from 22 Republican state attorneys general in April calling for the commission to avoid using any social cost of carbon analyses in its pipeline review process. Doing so would run counter to FERC’s mandates under the Natural Gas Act and inflate the costs of natural gas, the Republican attorneys general wrote. Both sets of comments were submitted as part of an ongoing review of FERC’s 1999 Certificate Policy Statement, which guides how the agency approves new interstate gas pipelines. The inquiry involves FERC’s consideration of landowner interests, environmental justice communities and other issues relating to the commission’s pipeline approval processes, and has attracted thousands of comments from industry groups, environmental advocates, federal agencies and others. FERC has previously declined to use the social cost of carbon — an estimate of the economic damage incurred due to a project’s greenhouse gas emissions — when considering various proposals, the Republican attorneys general said.”

E&E News: House Lawmakers Team Up For Bipartisan Orphaned Wells Bill
Heather Richards, 6/2/21

“Two oil-state lawmakers are calling for a national orphaned well program to clean up the bevy of abandoned oil and gas relics on federal lands,” E&E News reports. “Texas Democratic Rep. Lizzie Fletcher and North Dakota Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong said their bill, H.R. 3585, the ‘Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act,’ would address an oil patch environmental challenge while sustaining industry jobs. ‘With more than fifty thousand abandoned oil and gas wells in the United States, cleaning them up is not only the right thing to do, but it will create and retain tens of thousands of jobs for workers in the oil and gas sector across the country,’ Armstrong said in a statement. The bill would create a federal program tasked with tracking thousands of oil and gas wells on public lands that no longer have a solvent company or individual responsible for their cleanup. The bill would open up $4.275 billion for cleanups, establish emissions tracking and provide $400 million in federal monies for states and tribes seeking assistance with abandoned energy infrastructure. ‘Orphaned wells can harm our environment and create public health risks for neighboring communities,’ Fletcher said in a statement.”

Politico Morning Energy: WHAT WHEJAC WANTS
Matthew Choi, Kelsey Tamborino, 6/2/21

“Peggy Shepard, co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, chatted with E&E News’ David Iaconangelo last week and cleared some air about the panel’s resistance to including carbon capture and nuclear technology in the administration’s EJ efforts,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “Certainly, we want to support research and development. It’s needed in certain areas,” Shepard said, noting that she was not speaking on behalf of the rest of the panel. “But we don’t want to support R&D [like carbon capture] that we already believe will not help our communities and that is very, very expensive. We’re going to work to ensure that these projects are not happening in communities of color.”

Grist: “Death by a thousand cuts”: How Congress continues to whittle away at a critical environmental policy
Ysabelle Kempe, 6/1/21

“A bipartisan transportation bill moving through Congress contains provisions that would significantly undermine the federal environmental review process for infrastructure projects like highways, railroads, and bridges, environmentalists and policy experts say,” according to Grist. “Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021. Buried in the bill’s 540 pages of text are rollbacks to one of the country’s most important environmental laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. The rollbacks excuse certain categories of infrastructure projects from the environmental review process, establish time and page limits on environmental reviews, and expand a program that gives individual states authority over reviews. Taken separately, the provisions seem to only tweak NEPA, but critics say they are part of a long-term effort by Republicans to whittle away at the law’s authority and could have significant impacts on communities across the country. “It’s making swiss cheese of the NEPA statute by putting an increasing number of holes in it,” Deron Lovaas, a senior policy advisor at the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, told Grist.

New York Times: The Promise and Pressures of Deb Haaland, the First Native American Cabinet Secretary
By Elizabeth Williamson, 6/2/21

“Six members of the Laguna Pueblo community gathered last week in the cool, fragrant kitchen of an adobe house, discussing their hopes for “Sister Deb” — Deb Haaland, a Laguna citizen, former congresswoman from New Mexico and now secretary of the interior,” the New York Times reports. “Over homemade red chile stew and green chile chicken enchiladas, Julliene Reed-Tso, an informal cultural adviser to Ms. Haaland, said she wanted greater protection of sacred lands and better federal cooperation with sovereign tribal governments. Rebecca Ray, whose ancestors built the house in Paraje, and Rebecca Touchin hope Ms. Haaland’s success inspired Native Americans to vote in the special election on Tuesday for her empty House seat. Rachael Lorenzo sees in her an important advocate for female, queer and transgender tribal citizens. “I’m so excited about her,” Rachael Lorenzo, who identifies as nonbinary, told the Times. “But it’s a little heartbreaking to hang all our hopes on one person.” It is difficult to overstate the significance to Native people of Ms. Haaland’s role as the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency, specifically an agency once responsible for eradicating the homes, culture and often the lives of Indigenous people.”

STATE UPDATES

The Intercept: CORPORATE SUBSIDY QUIETLY DIES IN TEXAS — TOPPING OFF BAD WEEK FOR BIG OIL
Alleen Brown, 6/1/21

“When organizers set out to overturn Texas’s giveaway program for the oil and gas industry, they had a long game in mind. Over 20 years, the tax exemption program known as Chapter 313 had delivered $10 billion in tax cuts to corporations operating in Texas — with petrochemical firms being the biggest winners. This year, for the first time in a decade, the program was up for reauthorization. Organizers decided to challenge it for the first time,” The Intercept reports. “At the beginning of last week, as Texas’s biennial legislative session approached its end, the aims of organizers remained modest. “We thought it would be a victory if the two-year reauthorization passed so we could organize in interim,” said Doug Greco, the lead organizer for Central Texas Interfaith, one of the organizations fighting to end the subsidy program. At 4 a.m. last Thursday, it became clear that something unexpected was happening: The deadline for reauthorization passed. “The bill never came up,” Greco told The Intercept. Organizers stayed vigilant until the legislative session officially closed on Monday at midnight, but the reauthorization did not materialize… “The Texas Chapter 313 defeat is the second recent win against multibillion-dollar oil and gas industry subsidies in fossil fuel states. Last fall, organizers in Louisiana beat back a ballot initiative designed to counteract dramatic reforms to the state’s industry giveaway program. In a state that leans heavily Republican, people voted down the constitutional amendment by a landslide.”

Vox: There’s a ticking climate time bomb in West Texas
By Rebecca Leber, 6/1/21

“Around 265 million years ago, much of modern-day Texas was underwater, and the vast region known as the Permian Basin was a flourishing coral reef. Today, the organisms that once thrived there have been transformed into enormous deposits of fossil fuels — and they have made the area one of the most treacherous front lines in President Joe Biden’s domestic fight against climate change,” according to Vox. “The Permian Basin, which stretches hundreds of miles across West Texas and southeast New Mexico, accounts for 40 percent of US oil production and 15 percent of its natural gas, according to February data. Less than a year after oil prices dipped into negative territory because of the Covid-19 pandemic, production in the region has bounced back almost to pre-pandemic levels. Already, the region is the nation’s No. 1 source of methane, a greenhouse gas that warms the planet far more efficiently than carbon dioxide in the short term.The US oil and gas industry has pinned much of its future hopes on the region, especially in the next decade: If it gets its way, the Permian Basin will still grow through 2029, outranking every country except for Saudi Arabia in liquid fuel production, according to one analysis from Oil Change International. At this rate, by 2050, it would account for 39 percent of the world’s new oil and gas emissions. The world can’t afford this if it is to meet international climate goals.”

Public Herald: America Is Building Mountains of Radioactive Fracking Waste & the One in Joe Biden’s Hometown Is Under Criminal Investigation
by Emma Lichtwardt and Joshua Boaz Pribanic, 6/1/21

“In the heart of President Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Friends of Lackawanna are fighting the massive expansion of Keystone Sanitary Landfill, a waste dump that accepts radioactive material created by fracking for oil and natural gas,” Public Herald reports. “This is the future of our community at stake,” Michele Dempsey from Friends of Lackawanna told Public Herald. “Our community lives or dies on this [expansion] decision, and so we gave it our hearts and souls.” Dempsey’s community is just one of many across America where, since fracking began, state and federal regulators have sent radioactive material to residual waste sites. As this waste piles up in public and private landfills, the size and risk of these “TENORM Mountains” looms large.”

EXTRACTION

Bloomberg: Chevron CEO Signals He’s Open to Selling Canada Oil Sands Stake
By Robert Tuttle, 6/2/21

“Chevron Corp. would consider selling its 20% stake in a Canadian oil sands mine as its faces investor pressure to do more to curb emissions and fight climate change,” Bloomberg reports. “The oil producer’s stake in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s Athabasca oil sands project generates “pretty good cash flow” without needing much capital “but I wouldn’t deem it a strategic position,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Wirth said at Bernstein’s 37th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference. “We’re not in the kind of fire-sale mentality,” Wirth said. “But if we got what we think is fair value for an asset like that, we’ve been willing to transact on things that are of that scale and kind of relative importance in the portfolio.” Oil sands are among the most challenged energy assets because of the volume of emissions created when producing crude from mines and from underground wells that require steam injection. Facing increased pressure to cut carbon emissions, multiple international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ConocoPhillips have divested of their Canadian oil sands holdings in recent years.”

New York Times: Here Are America’s Top Methane Emitters. Some Will Surprise You
By Hiroko Tabuchi, 6/2/21

“As the world’s oil and gas giants face increasing pressure to reduce their fossil fuel emissions, small, privately held drilling companies are becoming the country’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, often by buying up the industry’s high-polluting assets,” the New York Times reports. “According to a startling new analysis of the latest emissions data disclosed to the Environmental Protection Agency, five of the industry’s top ten emitters of methane, a particularly potent planet-warming gas, are little-known oil and gas producers, some backed by obscure investment firms, whose environmental footprints are wildly large relative to their production… “The largest emitter, Hilcorp Energy, reported almost 50 percent more methane emissions from its operations than the nation’s largest fossil fuel producer, Exxon Mobil, despite pumping far less oil and gas. Four other relatively unknown companies — Terra Energy Partners, Flywheel Energy, Blackbeard Operating and Scout Energy — each reported emitting more of the gas than many industry heavyweights. These companies have largely escaped public scrutiny, even as they have become major polluters. “It’s amazing how the small operators manage to constitute a very large part of the problem,” Andrew Logan, senior director of oil and gas at Ceres, a nonprofit investor network that commissioned the study together with the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental group, told the Times. “There’s just no pressure on them to do things better. And being a clean operator, unfortunately, isn’t a priority in this business model.”

WESA: Report Shows Rebound For Natural Gas As Production, Prices Rise
By Rachel McDevitt, 6/1/21

“Natural gas prices in Pennsylvania shot up in the first three months of 2021, a sign that the industry may be rebounding as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, WESA reports. “The latest production report from the commonwealth’s Independent Fiscal Office shows the state’s average natural gas price from January to March was 64 percent higher than the same time last year… “Pennsylvania’s gas industry drilled 133 new wells from January to March, according to data from the Department of Environmental Protection. Companies drilled 153 wells in the first quarter of 2020. The IFO said it’s the first quarter-to-quarter rise since early 2020 when drilling started to slow because of record-low gas prices and a drop in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Utility Dive: Transition away from natural gas necessary to meet climate goals but creates equity concerns, experts say
By Emma Penrod, 6/2/21

“Many U.S. communities won’t reach their climate targets without transitioning away from natural gas, a panel of regulators and lawmakers agreed during a Thursday discussion hosted by the New York University School of Law. However, they said there’s no clear path to eliminating the fuel,” according to Utility Dive. “Each of the most obvious paths forward comes with its own challenges, according to David Danner, chair of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Electrification can be costly and could leave lower-income ratepayers holding the bag, but repurposing gas infrastructure for use with renewable fuels relies on unproven technology not yet ready for mass deployment. “The standard — not the moral standard, but the only way it will work — is it has to be practical,” said John Rhodes, former chair of the New York Public Service Commission. “If we’re going to demand that large chunks of society adopt a solution, it has to work.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Bloomberg: Exxon May Be Corporate America’s Canary in the Coal Mine
By Tim Quinson, 6/1/21

“Last week’s shakeup of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s board of directors is by most accounts a clear signal to corporate America that ambivalence and greenwashing will no longer be enough when it comes to addressing the climate crisis,” according to Bloomberg. “The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) called the election of at least two new members to Exxon’s board against the wishes of management “historic.” Moody’s Investors Service said the shareholder vote, which cannot be appealed, likely presages similar results in future board elections at other U.S. oil companies. And Andrew Behar, chief executive officer of As You Sow—a corporate accountability nonprofit that’s acted on the behalf of shareholders since 1992 and filed 21 climate-related resolutions with Exxon over the past decade—called the vote a turning point. “When companies don’t listen, shareholders will take action,” Behar told Bloomberg. “For over a decade,  Exxon has ignored our requests for capital discipline and climate transparency; this is long overdue. All board directors should be on notice that if they don’t fulfill their duty of independent oversight, their tenure will be challenged.” Until last week, it was always assumed that an investor would need to hold a 3%-to-5% stake in a company to run an activist campaign, he said. “That myth has been overturned.”

Stand.earth: RBC Revealed: HOW CANADA’S BIGGEST BANK IS FUNDING THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS

“RBC is a global banking giant, and Canada’s second-largest company. It serves 17 million customers with a smile, commits to “creating a positive social impact,” and promises a bright future for local communities,” according to Stand.earth’s RBC Revealed. “RBC says all the right things. But its climate and human rights practices are dead wrong. RBC is deceiving us. As we face global catastrophe, Canada’s biggest fossil bank pours billions into the very companies driving climate change and violating Indigenous rights. And it only gets worse. COASTAL GASLINK: The 420-mile pipeline threatens Wet’suwet’en land and disregards Indigenous sovereignty. Five Wet’suwet’en clans have NOT provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal GasLink. The pipeline will also transport FRACKED gas, increasing emissions, risking contaminated community drinking water, and endangering human health. LINE 3 PIPELINE: Expansion violates Indigenous treaties that gave the Ojibwe people permanent rights to hunt, fish, and gather from the lands and waters the pipeline threatens to destroy (treaties of 1837 and 1855). Line 3 is being challenged in court by three Minnesota First Nations, and arrests of Indigenous protesters continue to this day. The project will also release an annual 193 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Ignoring Indigenous rights is not reconciliation. RBC needs to honour its commitments to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from Indigenous peoples in all the projects it finances.”

OPINION

Park Rapids Enterprise: LETTER: Line 5 is safe, ensures energy security of the region
Written By: Mike Koby, Enbridge Vice President, U.S. Operations, 6/2/21

“Contrary to intent, Winona LaDuke’s May 24 opinion piece highlights the integral role Enbridge Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac plays in our daily lives,” Enbridge Vice President Mike Koby writes in Park Rapids Enterprise. “That includes producing the transportation fuel, as well as the raw product essential to manufacturing the planes, buses, cars, and other vehicles Ms. LaDuke uses for cross-country travel to protest Line 5 and other energy infrastructure projects.Counter to the often-repeated irresponsible claims of doom and gloom perpetuated by Ms. LaDuke, Line 5 continues to operate safely ─ a fact reiterated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The U.S. federal regulator that oversees Line 5, PHMSA said in January that it is “presently aware of no unsafe or hazardous conditions that would warrant shutdown of Line 5.”

Crookston Times: Letter to the Editor: Line 3 pipeline is a threat to Minnesota
by Chuck Goyette, 6/2/21

“Soon, the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction will resume. I am firmly opposed to this corporate act of greed and plunder,” Chuck Goyette writes in Crookston Times. “Enbridge has a ghastly pipeline spill history. Enbridge promises safety but they have had over 800 spills, including 840,000 gallons into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010. Line 3 was also the largest inland spill in the U.S. on March 3, 1991 when 40,000 barrels (1,680,000 gallons) spilled near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. For typical spills, cleaning up spills is an inherently difficult task. For typical oil spills – oil spills into water – only a fraction of the spilled oil can be recovered by deploying booms, skimmers or with some other method. The Line 3 crosses over 200 waterways. New pipelines also spill. Line 3 carrying 760,000 barrels per day would pose a serious danger daily. For Native Americans, this Line 3 is another act of genocide. In violation of treaties, the new pipeline crosses through land where Native Americans have hunted, fished and gathered for centuries – land dotted with some of the cleanest lakes in the state, some of the richest-yielding wild rice waters, and the headwaters of the Mississippi. The U.S. government has a responsibility to honor the treaty rights guaranteed to tribal members in their treaties.”

Policy Options: After Big Oil’s very bad week, the message for Alberta is clear
by Mitchell Beer, 6/2/21

“Alberta’s predictably hostile, defensive reaction to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) landmark Net Zero by 2050 roadmap shows it no longer matters what the Kenney government or its fossil fuel industry allies think about the drive to decarbonize the global economy and hold average global warming to 1.5 degrees C,” Mitchell Beer writes in Policy Options. “The IEA’s call for no future investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure was reinforced scarcely a week later, when three of the world’s biggest oil companies faced deeply humbling challenges from the courts and their own shareholders. The combined impact is crystal clear: If Alberta’s own policy-makers don’t move to diversify the province’s economy and plan for a managed fossil fuel decline, financial and other institutions that make future fossil fuel development possible will make the decision for them… “Just as important as the IEA’s top-line conclusion – and just as challenging for Alberta’s vision of a fossil fuel future – was a tectonic change in the agency’s modelling approach. “This is a backcast, not a forecast, and that’s a major shift,” Corporate Knights research director Ralph Torrie told Policy Options. “Typically, forecasters start with historical fossil fuel consumption and investment trends, project them into the future and decide how far they dare bend the curve. This time, the IEA’s analysts situated themselves in 2050, cast their minds back to today and asked themselves what could realistically be done to get from here to there. “Asking what has to happen to stay within 1.5 degrees C is a real game-changer,” Torrie said. “That question makes a world of difference in where you end up, because now you have no choice but to push really hard on anything that will help you get to 1.5.”

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