Skip to Content

News

Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/8/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 8, 2021

Subscribe in your inbox daily M-F via Substack:

PIPELINE NEWS

  • New York TimesPipeline Protest Tests Biden’s Pledges on Climate and Native American Lands
  • MSNBC [VIDEO]Activists Jane Fonda, Tara Houska battle Line 3 pipeline that could harm tribal lands, environment
  • Washington PostPipeline protesters seize Minnesota construction site in bid to stop $4 billion project
  • ReutersProtesters clash with police at Enbridge pipeline construction site in Minnesota
  • Associated PressOil pipeline foes protest Enbridge’s Line 3 in Minnesota
  • Native News OnlineTreaty People Gathering Draws Thousands, Pledges for Summer of Action Against Enbridge Line 3
  • MPRLine 3 opponents occupy Enbridge pump station as protest ramps up
  • Minnesota ReformerDemonstrators converge on Enbridge pipeline construction, dozens arrested
  • Duluth News TribuneHundreds of activists, allies protest Enbridge Line 3 pipeline at Mississippi River headwaters
  • InsideClimate NewsDawn Goodwin and 300 Environmental Groups Consider the new Line 3 Pipeline a Danger to All Forms of Life
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveHundreds of Indigenous Peoples, Allies, and Celebrities Blockade Line 3 Pump Station in Massive Direct Action
  • Press releaseMore than 1000 Water Protectors Will Join Indigenous Leaders for Treaty People March and Action as Enbridge Line 3 Construction Resumes 
  • Facebook: Unicorn Riot [VIDEO]Arrests have continued in the evening during the direct action
  • Facebook: Unicorn Riot [VIDEO]: A police raid has started on the Treaty People Gathering direct action aimed at stopping Line 3 pipeline construction in Northern Minnesota
  • Facebook: Unicorn Riot [VIDEO]A homeland security helicopter buzzed closely over hundreds of water protectors who are occupying and blockading the Two Inlets #Line3 pumping station
  • Facebook: NDNCollective [VIDEO]Hundreds Blockade Line 3 Pump Station in Mass Direction Action to #Stopline3
  • Facebook: Giniw Collective [VIDEO]Arrests are being made at Two inlets pump station in Northern Minnesota
  • Facebook: Giniw Collective [VIDEO]Line 3 pump station. 24 people locked down 250 people on site.
  • Facebook: Minnesota Interfaith Power & LightTonight, hundreds of people of faith, conscience, and spiritual practice gathered in witness and solidarity to #StopLine3
  • Facebook: Friends of the Headwaters: Friends of the Headwaters is preparing for Thursday’s oral arguments in the MN Court of Appeals
  • E&E NewsMemphis Pipeline Rekindles Eminent Domain Fight
  • Inside EPAStates Urge FERC To Reject Most Gas Pipelines Over Climate Concerns
  • Natural Gas IntelligencePHMSA Tells Pipeline Operators Deadline Looms for New Emissions Requirements

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E NewsHouse panel to review permitting, environmental justice bills
  • E&E NewsGroups Press EPA To Enact Tough Methane Emission Rules
  • InsideClimate NewsIn Two Opposite Decisions on Alaska Oil Drilling, Biden Walks a Difficult Path in Search of Bipartisanship

STATE UPDATES

  • StateImpact PA NPRPhiladelphia Energy Solutions refinery demolition to take four years, new owner Hilco says
  • Denver PostPetrochemicals in water near Suncor refinery raise concerns about state of underground wall

EXTRACTION

  • Argus MediaOil sands producers face climate wake-up call
  • EartherNASA Has Spotted Sneaky Methane Emissions From the Biggest Oilfield in America
  • KINYReport says Hilcorp emitting the most methane compared to other energy producers
  • ReutersAnalysis: Market for U.S. oil acreage booms along with crude price recovery

OPINION

  • The HillInfrastructure funding might throw environmental protections under the bus
  • The TyeeThe Shining Lies Canadians Are Told about Lowering Emissions

 

PIPELINE NEWS

New York Times: Pipeline Protest Tests Biden’s Pledges on Climate and Native American Lands
By Matt Furber, Hiroko Tabuchi and Coral Davenport, 6/7/121

“The protesters gathering in the boreal forests of Northern Minnesota have come from across the country — Native American tribes and their supporters, environmentalists and religious leaders — all to halt Line 3, a $9 billion pipeline that would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil through Minnesota’s delicate watersheds and tribal lands,” the New York Times reports. “Some said they had come ready to risk arrest by lying down in the path of construction. Others said they were here to support tribes that have been battling oil and gas pipelines for years, including the highly contentious Dakota Access Pipeline. Early Monday, dozens of activists used an old fishing boat, bamboo and steel cable to blockade the road to a construction site off Highway 71 north of Park Rapids. Several hundred others scaled the wall of a nearby work station and occupied the site, some climbing atop diggers and transformer boxes or chaining themselves to construction equipment, before starting to move up the highway as police deputies circled. “In hope and prayer, we find ourselves. In hope and prayer, here I am,” the protesters chanted to the beat of a drum. Over the weekend and into Monday, some 1,500 people took part in drum circles and prayer gatherings, and surveyed the network of construction sites that dot the woods. “Taking care of the water is our responsibility, and we take that responsibility seriously,” Winona LaDuke, executive director and a co-founder of Honor the Earth, a Native environmental advocacy organization that is a lead group opposed to the pipeline, told the Times. “We’ve been at this fight against Enbridge for seven years already. It’s like an invasion.”

MSNBC [VIDEO]: Activists Jane Fonda, Tara Houska battle Line 3 pipeline that could harm tribal lands, environment
6/7/21

“The Line 3 pipeline protest against the new pipeline, which would carry oil across Minnesota’s environmentally sensitive tribal lands, is discussed by actor and activist Jane Fonda and activist Tara Houska, who joins The ReidOut live from the protest site,” MSNBC reports.

Washington Post: Pipeline protesters seize Minnesota construction site in bid to stop $4 billion project
Joshua Partlow, 6/7/21

“The young climate activists met at the windmill shortly after sunrise,” the Washington Post reports. “There were several missions underway on Monday morning but “marmalade” and “peanut butter” were particularly high risk. Protesters using those code names planned to descend on an undisclosed location along a pipeline route known as Line 3. They were ready for arrests. Dozens of cars were soon caravanning down dusty dirt roads amid corn and soybean fields in the largest salvo yet in an ongoing civil disobedience campaign to try to stop a border-crossing oil pipeline running from Canada across the wetlands and forests of northern Minnesota. By midmorning, hundreds of protesters, led by Native American women and joined by celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener, had marched into a construction site operated by Enbridge, the Canadian company behind the pipeline, and strapped themselves to bulldozers and other heavy machinery. “Good morning water protectors!” Tara Houska, a Native American lawyer and a leader of the Line 3 protests, shouted to the group as she banged a drum and crossed into a pump station that organizers said is used to electrify the pipeline.”

Reuters: Protesters clash with police at Enbridge pipeline construction site in Minnesota
By Nick Pfosi, 6/7/21

“Environmental protesters clashed with police on Monday after occupying a pump station as they rallied against Enbridge Inc’s Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, while Enbridge said it had evacuated 44 workers from its site,” Reuters reports. “…Organizers of the protests in Hubbard County said the demonstrations were the largest to date against Line 3. The clashes came after a peaceful march early on Monday that drew hundreds of people. Between 50 and 100 demonstrators occupied the pump station and barricaded its entrances, chanting “Keep it in the ground” and “Stop Line 3”. At one point a police helicopter hovered low over activists, sending dust and debris flying.”

Associated Press: Oil pipeline foes protest Enbridge’s Line 3 in Minnesota
6/7/21

“Hundreds of protesters chanting “Stop Line 3!” and “Water is life!” gathered at the headwaters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota on Monday to resist a Calgary-based company’s plan to replace an aging pipeline that carries crude oil from Alberta to Wisconsin,” the Associated Press reports. “Environmental and tribal groups say Enbridge Energy’s plan to rebuild Line 3, which would carry Canadian oilsands’ oil and regular crude, would worsen climate change and risk spills in sensitive areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants and claim treaty rights. Protesters said the “Treaty People Gathering” was the largest show of resistance yet to the project. The Mississippi River is one of the water crossings for the pipeline. A group called Indigenous Environmental Network said on Twitter that protesters had blocked a pumping station. Opponents have said they will do whatever it takes to block completion of the project, including risk being arrested. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesota Public Radio News that he didn’t plan to deploy the National Guard, saying he doesn’t expect protesters to “interfere with lawful construction or lawful practices.”

Native News Online: Treaty People Gathering Draws Thousands, Pledges for Summer of Action Against Enbridge Line 3
BY DARREN THOMPSON, 6/7/21

“Thousands swarmed northern Minnesota over the weekend for the Treaty People Gathering, an event organized to stand against the ongoing construction of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project,” Native News Online reports. ”Crowds of well over 2,000 people gathered on Monday morning  at the headwaters of the Mississippi River for a treaty ceremony in the largest gathering yet against the pipeline since construction began in December 2020. Indigenous-led groups, communities of faith, and climate justice organizations organized the Treaty People Conference, which organizers say marks the beginning of a summer of resistance. “We have tried to stop this pipeline for the last seven years,” said Honor the Earth Executive Director and White Earth tribal citizen Winona LaDuke to Native News Online. “I join the White Earth Ojibwe Nation, the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, as well as environmental groups such as Friends of the Headwaters trying to stop this tar sands pipeline project.” “…The treaty ceremony at the headwaters, led by the RISE Coalition, was followed by remarks from the visiting celebrities alongside Bill McKibben, Dawn Goodwin, and Nancy Beaulieau. Participants are now holding space on the easement along the banks of the Mississippi, set up tents and are prepared to stay. “The Biden Administration has the power to stop the advancement of Line 3,” said actress and activist Jane Fonda to Native News Online. “Biden can reexamine the permit and demand the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a proper easement assessment, one that is more respectful to the Anishinaabe people.”

MPR: Line 3 opponents occupy Enbridge pump station as protest ramps up
Dan Kraker and Evan Frost, 6/8/21

“For several years now, environmental and tribal groups battling the Line 3 oil pipeline have fought the project in front of state regulators, in the courts and on the streets,” MPR reports. “They’ve dotted the route with resistance camps, and they’ve chained themselves to branches of banks with ties to the project. Their opposition so far hasn’t stopped the pipeline. Enbridge Energy says it is more than halfway through building the $4 billion project across northern Minnesota. So now activists are taking their protest to the next level. On Monday morning, hundreds of people trespassed onto the Two Inlets pump station site a few miles south of Itasca State Park to protest the ongoing construction of the new pipeline, which will replace a line that’s been carrying Canadian tar sands oil across northern Minnesota since the 1960s. Dozens locked themselves to bulldozers, excavators and other construction equipment using devices known as sleeping dragons, so law enforcement wouldn’t be able to easily cut them free. “To see people engaging in personal risk like this, and to see so many young people and folks of all walks of life, it’s so beautiful and powerful,” Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective, one of dozens of groups that organized the week’s actions, told MPR. “It’s an incredible moment.”

Minnesota Reformer: Demonstrators converge on Enbridge pipeline construction, dozens arrested
By Rilyn Eischens, 6/8/21

“Tarah Stangler locked herself to a barricade fashioned from lumber and other building materials as the sun dipped beneath the trees Monday,” Minnesota Reformer reports. “Stangler had been outside the pump station run by Canadian oil company Enbridge all day. She was ready to finish the day there too — seated on a coil of material normally used to control erosion, her arm inside a tube that ran through the middle of the makeshift barrier. “(I’ll be here) as long as it damn takes, or until they take me away,” she told MR. “Dozens of people were arrested at the pump station north of Park Rapids Monday evening after a day of demonstrations against Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline… “There were no workers at the Mississippi site. An Enbridge spokesperson told the Reformer the company had to evacuate 44 people from the pump station — a large area with equipment that keeps oil flowing through the pipe — after demonstrators arrived Monday morning. “The damage done today by protesters is disheartening. We respect everyone’s right to peacefully and lawfully protest, but trespass, intimidation, and destruction are unacceptable. Our first priority is the safety of all involved,” the spokesperson told MR. “To date protests, including today’s, have had relatively little impact on the project’s construction schedule which is on track.”

Duluth News Tribune: Hundreds of activists, allies protest Enbridge Line 3 pipeline at Mississippi River headwaters
Michael Achterling, 6/7/21

“Water protectors, indigenous leaders and activists showed up by the thousands in Clearwater County Monday, June 7, to protest continued construction of the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline through northern Minnesota,” according to the Duluth News Tribune.  “After marching for nearly 2 miles to the Mississippi River, activists were met with no resistance from the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office deputies who were on scene to keep the peace and protect the protestors on County Road 9. Those gathered remained peaceful throughout the afternoon and loudly voiced their concerns through chants and singing… “Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson told DNT he, and his deputies, knew the group was only trying to demonstrate their first amendment rights and wanted to allow them the space to do that. “We’ve been working with the local leaders throughout this whole project and we’ve let them, not to this scale, but we’ve let them come down and demonstrate in the past, and they’ve been very respectful, and that’s what I’m expecting today,” said Halverson. “It’s a large turnout.” “…The other site of protest appeared on Highway 71, north of Park Rapids, with protesters blocking an Enbridge pump station, according to an afternoon news release from the organizers. Protesters linked arms and created blockades of debris at the site. The number of arrests at the second site are unknown at this time, though MPR News reported that around two dozen protesters had locked themselves to equipment Monday.”

InsideClimate News: Dawn Goodwin and 300 Environmental Groups Consider the new Line 3 Pipeline a Danger to All Forms of Life
By Audrey Gray, 6/7/21

“…When Dawn Goodwin, an Anishinaabe woman who comes from many generations of ricers (and whose current partner is a leecher), was a young girl, her parents let her play in a canoe safely stationed in a puddle in the yard,” InsideClimate News reports. “She remembers watching her father and uncles spread wild rice out on a tarp and turn the kernels as they dried in the sun. She grew up intimate with the pine forests and waterways around Bagley, Minnesota, an area which was already intersected by a crude oil pipeline called “Line 3” that had been built a few years before she was born. Goodwin is 50 now, and that pipeline, currently owned and operated by the Canadian energy company Enbridge, is in disrepair. Local and Native Minnesotans still make their livings from the waterways and land throughout the Line 3 project area. They sell leeches, wild rice and a variety of vegetables depending on the season. Considered one of the cleanest lake regions in the country, the area draws tourists for swimming, fishing and boating as well. More than 150 species of fish swim in Northern Minnesota waters, and are considered safe to eat. Enbridge has spent years gathering the necessary permits to build a new Line 3 (they call it a “replacement project”) with a larger diameter that will transport a different type of oil—tar sands crude—from Edmonton, Aberta, through North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, terminating at the Western edge of Lake Superior where the thick, petroleum-laced sludge will be shipped for further refining. Despite lawsuits and pushback from Native people in Northern Minnesota and a variety of environmental groups, Enbridge secured permission to begin construction on Line 3 across 337 miles of Minnesota last December. The region is now crisscrossed with new access roads, excavated piles of dirt, and segments of pipe sitting on top of the land, waiting to be buried. Enbridge has mapped the new Line 3 to cross more than 200 bodies of water as it winds through Minnesota.  Goodwin wants the entire project stopped before a single wild rice habitat is crossed.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: Hundreds of Indigenous Peoples, Allies, and Celebrities Blockade Line 3 Pump Station in Massive Direct Action
6/7/21

“After a weekend of trainings at the Treaty Peoples Gathering, hundreds of water protectors descended by land and by air on an active Line 3 pump station near the Mississippi headwaters, climbing over large steel fences and creating multiple blockades. Some linked arms, some locked into a boat, others locked to equipment inside the pump station after scaling steel fences, and still others ascended into a large aerial structure. The Indigenous-led resistance against Line 3 grew steadily through a freezing winter, with well over 250 arrests of largely young people risking their bodies and freedom for a more just world. After the spring thaw and hold on wetland construction, Enbridge has resumed full-scale construction in northern Minnesota. Enbridge plans to drill through 22 rivers, over 800 wetlands, and many wild rice tributaries. “Our Mother is calling out, it’s time for us to listen or do the work to remember how. It’s also time for us to all stand with our words. The situation is urgent, it requires urgent response. Find your bravery, find your community, find your truth,” said Tara Houska, Giniw Collective. A call for a mass action came from the Line 3 fight and people responded by the thousands from all over Turtle Island. In her second visit on the ground to the Line 3 fight, Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda joined the demonstrations also, alongside actresses Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, and Taylor Schilling. Despite repeated calls from frontlines communities, multiple tribal lawsuits, and hundreds of arrests, President Biden has yet to comment on Line 3. The Treaty Peoples Gathering brought together thousands to learn about treaty obligations and stand up for Mother Earth. #StopLine3”

Press release: More than 1000 Water Protectors Will Join Indigenous Leaders for Treaty People March and Action as Enbridge Line 3 Construction Resumes
6/7/21

“On Monday, June 7th at 10 AM CT, Indigenous leaders, celebrities, and thousands of water protectors from around the country will march to the headwaters of the Mississippi River where the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline is proposed to cross the river. This march will follow a multifaith circle of prayer and ceremony guided by Indegenous spiritual leaders at 8:30 AM. More than 1,500 water protectors are traveling from around the country to join frontline Indigenous leaders resisting Line 3, including Winona LaDuke, Tara Houska, Dawn Goodwin, Taysha Martineau, Nancy Beaulieu, and Simone Senogles, as well as notable allies resisting Line 3, including Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, Taylor Schilling and Bill McKibben…” “We need to protect all that we have left of the sacred gifts and land. I said that I would do all that I could. And I have done all that I could in the legal system, thus far following that process. Now, they have failed us through regulatory capture and corporate financing. So now we need you,” said Dawn Goodwin of the RISE Coalition. Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective, said, “Our Mother needs us to be brave, to give voice to the sacred and future generations. We’ve elevated the national profile of Line 3 through people power. Biden hears our voices, but the wetlands and wild rice need action. We cannot mitigate the climate crisis and we cannot stand idly by as DAPL and Line 5 fossil fuels flow illegally, as young people chain themselves to the Mountain Valley pipeline and Line 3. Stand up for what is right, stand up for those not yet born.”

Facebook: Unicorn Riot [VIDEO]: Arrests have continued in the evening during the direct action
6/7/21

“Arrests have continued in the evening during the direct action. As summer approaches, and the wet season moratorium is over, construction for the new Line 3 tar sands pipeline is ramping back up during early June. This increase in work was expected by water protectors, who made a call-out for activists to gather in Indigenous Anishinaabe territory to escalate protests against the pipeline project to transport diluted bitumen (tar sands + toxic diluent).”

Facebook: Unicorn Riot [VIDEO]A police raid has started on the Treaty People Gathering direct action aimed at stopping Line 3 pipeline construction in Northern Minnesota
6/7/21

“A police raid has started on the Treaty People Gathering direct action aimed at stopping Line 3 pipeline construction in Northern Minnesota. We are live. For more: https://unicornriot.ninja/…/rising-up-to-the-heat…/ Support our work – https://unicornriot.ninja/donate

Facebook: Unicorn Riot [VIDEO]: A homeland security helicopter buzzed closely over hundreds of water protectors who are occupying and blockading the Two Inlets #Line3 pumping station
6/7/21

“A homeland security helicopter buzzed closely over hundreds of water protectors who are occupying and blockading the Two Inlets #Line3 pumping station in Minnesota around noon today. #TreatyPeopleGathering Watch it as it happened live in the stream around the 4hr 7min 30sec mark: https://www.facebook.com/unicornriot.ninja/videos/1519192401757340

Facebook: NDNCollective [VIDEO]: Hundreds Blockade Line 3 Pump Station in Mass Direction Action to #Stopline3
6/7/21

“We’re LIVE in Northern Minnesota as Enbridge continues construction on the Line 3 pipeline. Water protectors are taking action to defend the water for future generations. From action Press release: “Enbridge must stop construction Line 3 and be held accountable for the devastation they have caused to Indigenous communities and to the Earth.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective [VIDEO]: Arrests are being made at Two inlets pump station in Northern Minnesota
6/7/21

“Arrests are being made at Two inlets pump station in Northern Minnesota.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective [VIDEO]: Line 3 pump station. 24 people locked down 250 people on site.
6/7/21

“TAR SANDS = BLOODY HANDS Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuels in the world. Enbridge will tell you otherwise but for the water protectors, we know better. Wild rice beds, rivers, and wetlands are sacred, which is why we’re out here today blockading an active Line 3 pump station. 24 people locked down. 250 people on site. 0 injuries and 0 arrests. We are all affected by the destruction of the Earth and we must listen to our Mother calling for us to stand with her.

Facebook: Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light: Tonight, hundreds of people of faith, conscience, and spiritual practice gathered in witness and solidarity to #StopLine3
6/5/21

“Tonight, hundreds of people of faith, conscience, and spiritual practice gathered in witness and solidarity to #StopLine3. We gathered by the water, lead by the brilliant Winona LaDuke, in prayer and ceremony and intention to dream into being a world where water is sacred, where Native treaty rights and sovereignty, and where rural communities can prosper and thrive. It was an evening of magic and connection. From different lineages, beliefs, identities, geographies, and traditions, we came with shared purpose and with the collective power of hope. As we waited for three stars to appear in the sky, we sang our way into havdalah, opening ourselves to the lake and the wind and the gentle night, opening ourselves to fortitude and transformation. So much gratitude and so much joy.”

Facebook: Friends of the HeadwatersFriends of the Headwaters is preparing for Thursday’s oral arguments in the MN Court of Appeals
6/7/21

“Friends of the Headwaters is preparing for Thursday’s oral arguments in the MN Court of Appeals. Our case is disputing the MN Pollution Control Agency’s November decision to certify Line 3’s  401 water permit. Friends of the Headwaters contends that the MPCA’s certification ignored science and expert testimony regarding Line 3’s impacts on northern Minnesota’s wetlands and clean water. For the last 7 years, FOH legal strategies and procedural challenges have kept new Enbridge oil pipelines away from that clean water. WE EMBRACE SCIENCE. AND THE WISDOM OF RIVERS.”

E&E News: Memphis Pipeline Rekindles Eminent Domain Fight
Mike Soraghan, 6/7/21

“It’s four words that Wyatt Price probably wishes he could take back. Explaining why a planned oil pipeline was taking a roundabout path around Memphis through a Black neighborhood, Price, a land agent for the Byhalia Connection pipeline, last year told a gathering it was the ‘point of least resistance,’ E&E News reports. “To those fighting the Byhalia project, it was a moment of unguarded candor that revealed a strategy to bulldoze the project through a low-income Black community with little clout. That’s a natural consequence of handing over condemnation powers to a private company with next to no regulatory scrutiny, property rights advocates say. The oil and gas industry says condemnation powers are essential to building needed pipelines. But its critics say ‘blank check’ powers in the hands of private interests are ripe for abuse. ‘They go right where the land is cheapest, and that’s the poorest neighborhoods,’ David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center, a think tank that takes a libertarian approach to eminent domain and environmental issues, told E&E News. ‘That’s absolutely ridiculous.’ The companies behind the Byhalia project, Plains All American Pipeline LP and Valero Energy Corp., have used eminent domain, or the threat of it, to get about 97% of the land they need to lay 50 miles of pipe from one side of Memphis to the other. That includes land in predominantly white, wealthy areas in Mississippi. ‘The route was not driven by race, class, gender or any other demographic type — it wasn’t a choice to affect one group of people over another,’ Brad Leone, Plains’ director of communications and public affairs, told E&E News in a statement. The company has disowned the remarks of Price, a Byhalia contractor who could not be reached for comment.”

Inside EPA: States Urge FERC To Reject Most Gas Pipelines Over Climate Concerns
6/7/21

“A group of Democratic state attorneys general is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject the proposed construction of new interstate natural gas pipelines, with some exceptions, because they would be contrary to national and state-level emission reduction targets and climate policy goals,” Inside EPA reports. “‘The States urge the Commission to incorporate consideration of new national greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets into all future assessments of national emissions and adopt a general presumption that additional investment in gas pipeline infrastructure is inconsistent with those targets,’ the group of AGs from eight states and the District of Columbia says in May 26 comments to FERC. The comments were among more than 150 submitted to FERC in response to its Feb. 18 ‘notice of inquiry’ about revising the commission’s policies and procedures for reviewing proposed pipeline projects in light of the Biden administration’s climate agenda. FERC has emerged as a central player in the administration’s push toward a net-zero emissions economy with Chairman Richard Glick advocating for greater access to renewable energy. But potential revisions to FERC’s process for reviewing gas pipelines has become a flashpoint in the GOP-majority commission, where key commissioners continue to oppose efforts to consider greenhouse gas and climate impacts when considering new gas infrastructure.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: PHMSA Tells Pipeline Operators Deadline Looms for New Emissions Requirements
BY KEVIN DOBBS, 6/7/21

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on Monday submitted an advisory bulletin to the Federal Register, emphasizing to pipeline and pipeline facility operators requirements to reduce methane emissions,” according to Natural Gas Intelligence. “Minimizing methane emissions from pipelines will help improve safety and combat climate change, while creating jobs for pipeline workers,” said PHMSA Acting Administrator Tristan Brown. “Pipeline operators have an obligation to protect the public and the environment by identifying and addressing methane leaks.” The PHMSA noted the emissions requirements were signed into law as part of the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020. The law directs pipeline operators to update inspection and maintenance plans to eliminate hazardous leaks and minimize natural gas releases – both intentional and unintentional.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: House panel to review permitting, environmental justice bills
Jennifer Yachnin, 6/7/21

“A House Natural Resources subcommittee will examine how to expand access to public lands, including easing permits for tour guides and addressing infrastructure needs,” E&E News reports. “The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will take up a quartet of bills when it meets tomorrow. Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D), the subcommittee’s chair, is set to open the session by testifying on the “Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act.” Neguse co-sponsored the same legislation in the last Congress with then-New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (D), who is now Interior secretary. H.R. 3670 aims to streamline and improve recreational permitting processes for federal agencies by eliminating duplicative requirements and certain fees. The House panel will also review Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s “Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act.” According to Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D), the bill’s author in that chamber, the measure would require the Interior and Agriculture departments to “study the barriers that minority-owned businesses face when accessing our public lands recreation permitting system and how to best improve the current permitting process.’

E&E News: Groups Press EPA To Enact Tough Methane Emission Rules
Mike Lee, 6/4/21

“Fifteen public health organizations called on EPA to enact tough regulations on methane from oil and gas production, saying the pollution exacerbates climate change and causes lung disease and other illnesses among people living in energy-producing communities,” E&E News reports. “Methane traps more heat than carbon dioxide when it’s released into the atmosphere, making it a key driver of climate change. Cutting back on methane from oil and gas sites will also reduce pollution from volatile organic compounds and other toxic substances that are co-produced with fossil fuels, says the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. ‘Public health depends on a broader and more effective effort to significantly reduce emissions of methane and harmful air pollutants from oil and gas wells and infrastructure,’ says the letter signed by the American Lung Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Public Health Association, among others. Significantly, the organizations asked EPA to address pollution caused not just by oil and gas production but by long-distance gas pipelines and the local distribution networks that carry gas to homes and businesses.”

InsideClimate News: In Two Opposite Decisions on Alaska Oil Drilling, Biden Walks a Difficult Path in Search of Bipartisanship
By Marianne Lavelle, 6/7/21

“The political tug-of-war over President Joe Biden’s climate policy played out on the tundra-covered North Slope of Alaska last week,” according to InsideClimate News. “On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced it was suspending oil and gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), protecting, at least for the time being,  one of the nation’s few remaining untouched ecosystems from the energy development that President Donald Trump sought to initiate on the coastal plain. Environmentalists hailed that move. But the praise was coupled with concern over the administration’s decision to advance a massive oil project a few hundred miles to the west of ANWR: ConocoPhillips’ so-called “Willow” project in the National Petroleum Reserve, a $2 billion plan that got the go-ahead from Trump last fall. “We were definitely grateful that the Biden administration took this step and that they’re committed to preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Kristen Miller, acting executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, told ICN. “At the same time, it’s not going to work to address climate in some places and ignore it in others.”

STATE UPDATES

StateImpact PA NPR: Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery demolition to take four years, new owner Hilco says
Susan Phillips, 6/4/21

Demolishing the former PES refinery complex, now owned by Hilco Redevelopment Partners, will take four years and will include the removal of 35,000 tons of asbestos, 850,000 barrels of hydrocarbons, 100 buildings, and 950 miles of pipe, company officials told members of the public at a virtual meeting,” StateImpact PA NPR reports. “So it’s a massive undertaking,” Hilco executive vice president Jeremy Grey said. More than 100 people attended the Thursday night session, which had been requested by the grassroots environmental justice group Philly Thrive. The group’s members wanted answers about the complex nature of the cleanup, how current demolition activities would affect those efforts, and who among the former and current owners were responsible for carrying them out. Speaking after the event, some Philly Thrive members said they still had questions and were disappointed that they had not been able to engage in a dialogue, but instead had to submit questions via the Zoom Q&A. “They do all the talking, and we do all the listening,” Debbie Robinson, who lives near the refinery, told StateImpact. “We should have the right to look you in the face and talk to you like a human being.”

Denver Post: Petrochemicals in water near Suncor refinery raise concerns about state of underground wall
By BRUCE FINLEY, 6/7/21

“Two instances of oily muck within eight days on Sand Creek near the Suncor Energy oil refinery have state health officials concerned a 20-year-old underground clay wall that holds back toxic chemicals is failing,” according to the Denver Post. “More than a year ago, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ordered Suncor to replace the wall, which runs for 2,000 feet about 30 feet down parallel to the creek in Commerce City, records show. That mandate came after a similar oil slick, and Suncor is supposed to start designing a fix for the wall at the end of this July… “It’s a sensitive moment for Suncor. Colorado officials are reviewing the company’s applications to renew outdated operating permits. Equipment failures and other breakdowns at the refinery led to 15 incidents between March 27 and April 22 this year, and over the past five years, the refinery has had more than 100 malfunctions that caused air pollution to exceed permit limits. Colorado since 2011 has settled at least 10 enforcement cases against Suncor… “Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry told the Post commissioners “had to reach out to Suncor and ask ‘what’s going on’” with the recent oil slicks. “Suncor has always been a frustration for all of us. They need to start putting some money into infrastructure to stop these ridiculous leaks and breakdowns they have,” Henry said. “They really do not have any stake in our community at all. I feel that they really don’t care.”

EXTRACTION

Argus Media: Oil sands producers face climate wake-up call
6/7/21

“Watershed moments over climate issues for Shell and ExxonMobil last month should act as a wake-up call for Canada’s upstream oil and gas sector, as prominent Alberta oil sands producers try to keep pace with shareholders’ growing environment, social and governance expectations,” according to Argus Media. “Canadian integrated firm Suncor Energy last month committed to drive down its operational Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to zero by 2050, extending its ambition from a targeted 30pc reduction from 2019 levels by 2030. Suncor’s 2050 pledge puts it alongside rival integrated firm Cenovus. With combined output of 1.3mn b/d, the companies represent just under half of Canada’s 3mn b/d of oil sands production, with a diverse make-up of heavy crude, light crude, steam-assisted gravity drainage and mining recovery methods. But they remain firmly in the minority in terms of disclosing GHG targets. The country’s largest oil producer, Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL), says it supports the 2015 Paris climate agreement and aspires to achieve net zero emissions in its own operations, but does not provide a timeline for its ambition.”

Earther: NASA Has Spotted Sneaky Methane Emissions From the Biggest Oilfield in America
Molly Taft, 6/4/21

“There’s no such thing as easy climate fixes, but when it comes to methane emissions from oil and gas production, a couple of little patches could go a long way,” Earther reports. “A new study suggests that just 123 sites in the Permian Basin in Texas could be responsible for a huge chunk of the region’s accidental methane leaks—and that fixing the problems at those sites could slash emissions by an incredible amount… “When I look at animations of our methane plumes over the Permian Basin, it’s like watching invisible wildfires all over the landscape,” study coauthor Riley Duren, a research scientist at the University of Arizona and an engineering fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Earther. “Nobody knows it’s there, in most cases, because the measurements aren’t there.” To conduct the surveys, scientists flew planes over the 21,000-square-mile (54,000-square-kilometer) area of the Permian several times between September and November of 2019, using spectrometers to track methane emissions from around 60,000 active wells. This type of consistent monitoring allowed researchers to make key distinctions between types of methane emissions, whether they were occasional bursts like a well that flares a lot of methane at once versus long, slow leaks. The former are usually recorded by plant operators while the latter can be missed. “Surveying an area over and over again is critically important to understanding the true degree of the behavior of intermittency,” said Duren. “Understanding the behavior of emissions in time is an important tool for determining whether it’s expected or not.”

KINY: Report says Hilcorp emitting the most methane compared to other energy producers
6/4/21

“A report says Hilcorp Energy emits far more methane into the atmosphere than any other oil and gas producer in the United States,” KINY reports. “According to Alaska Public Media, Nationally Hilcorp produces far less energy than Exxon Mobil however Hilcorp emits nearly 50 percent more methane pollution, according to the report… “A leaking Cook Inlet pipeline contributed to Hilcorp’s high methane escapement, but Hilcorp’s larger methane problems are in the Lower 48. The spokesman said Hilcorp buys aging assets and improves them but he said the emissions data does not give the company full credit for the improvements.”

Reuters: Analysis: Market for U.S. oil acreage booms along with crude price recovery
David French, 6/7/21

“A recovery in the price of oil to more than two-year highs is offering a long-awaited opening to companies and private equity firms to shed unloved assets in the U.S. oil patch,” according to Reuters. “Sales of land parcels worth $6.9 billion have been announced in the first five months of 2021, almost eclipsing the $7 billion recorded in all of 2020, according to data vendor Enverus. Last year was the worst for U.S. acreage sales since at least 2006, after energy prices plunged due to coronavirus-related demand destruction. More deals are on the way. Land worth more than $12 billion is either up for sale or being prepared to come to market in the United States, according to more than a dozen investment bankers and industry sources interviewed by Reuters. A 43% rise in U.S. crude prices this year to their highest since October 2018 has made unloved acreage desirable enough for a small group of buyout firms, as well as some publicly listed energy companies with money to spend. Those seeking to sell are oil and gas exploration and production companies seeking to pay down debt and redeploy capital for new drilling, and buyout firms that are often nursing losses on bets that went sour.”

OPINION

The Hill: Infrastructure funding might throw environmental protections under the bus
BY CHERYL E. WASSERMAN, 6/6/21

“Congressional failure to pass major infrastructure legislation has come at a heavy cost. U.S. investment in infrastructure has fallen from 4.2 percent of GDP in 1930 to 1.5 percent by 2016, and is far below other developed countries. The funding gap, estimated to be as high as $2 trillion by 2025, might finally be addressed if Congress responds positively to President Biden’s jobs and infrastructure proposals,” Cheryl Wasserman writes in The Hill. “Smart solutions are essential to building with climate resilience and economic empowerment, responsive to environmental and social concerns. We should implement the environmental processes that deliver these smart solutions efficiently and effectively using good governance best practices decades in the making by a succession of Democratic and Republican administrations. History has demonstrated that draconian measures to curtail environmental processes will result in higher costs and lower benefits… “Improving the pace of public infrastructure construction from design to shovels in the ground is important — but fast is not always better. Remember: Haste makes waste.”

The Tyee: The Shining Lies Canadians Are Told about Lowering Emissions
Andrew Nikiforuk, 6/7/21

“Oh, the bright shining lies. When it comes to energy and climate change the political rhetoric promises four great and positive happenings,” Andrew Nikiforuk writes in The Tyee. “New oil and gas infrastructure will fund Canada’s energy transition. Emissions will be conquered by technologies that bury carbon in the ground at great cost or don’t yet exist. Canada will meet all of its climate change goals and ramp up oil and gas production at the same time. The energy transition will be effortless and orderly because there is lots of low hanging fruit to pick. These national assumptions, repeated daily by politicians and the media like some weird liturgy, give David Hughes, Canada’s foremost energy analyst, a headache.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub