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Extracted: Daily News Clips 6/9/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips June 9, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Facebook: RISE CoalitionWe’re still camped exercising our treaty rights on the Enbridge matting near the Mississippi headwaters with 200 relatives from the #TreatyPeopleGathering
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveUPDATE: 150+ #StopLine3 Water Protectors Arrested Denied Medications, Denied Phone Calls, Sent Throughout State in Minnesota
  • CNN [VIDEO]: Helicopter blasts pipeline protesters with dirt and debris
  • The InterceptLOW-FLYING DHS HELICOPTER SHOWERS ANTI-PIPELINE PROTESTS WITH DEBRIS
  • Associated PressProtesters maintain blockade at Line 3 site in Minnesota
  • BloombergEnbridge Returns Workers to Pipeline Site After Outcry, Arrests
  • Press releaseEnbridge: crews return to Two Inlet Pump Station, begin damage assessment
  • Pine and Lakes Echo JournalPipe meant for Line 3 project strewn in ditch from collision south of Pine River
  • CNN [VIDEO]: Jane Fonda calls on Biden to end Trump-approved pipeline projects
  • E&E NewsJane Fonda, hundreds more protest Enbridge’s Line 3 in Minn.
  • Democracy Now“Not Having It”: Winona LaDuke on Mass Protest by Water Protectors to Halt Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota
  • Truthout: Native Water Protectors Test Treaty Rights Strategy as Line 3 Fight Escalates
  • Associated PressEXPLAINER: Why a rural pipeline is a climate battleground
  • DeSmogHundreds Arrested at Line 3 ‘Treaty People Gathering.’ Water Protectors Vow To Continue Until the Pipeline is Canceled
  • Facebook: Jasilyn ChargerI am a 25 year old defender from the cheyenne river Sioux tribe, I will be sentenced tomorrow. For fighting against the KXL pipeline that tried to threaten our way of life
  • BloombergIndigenous Group Seeks Full Ownership of Trans Mountain Pipeline
  • The Detroit NewsCritics of Line 5 debut broadcast ads with actor Jeff Daniels saying ‘dangerous pipeline’ needs to go
  • E&E NewsCourt Denies FERC Request To Halt Ore. Pipeline Lawsuit
  • Pine JournalCarlton County requests state action on Enbridge tax settlement
  • ReutersPembina Pipeline to buy 50% stake in Canada’s proposed Cedar LNG

WASHINGTON UPDATES

STATE UPDATES

  • Colorado SunColorado governor, Democrats reach deal to move forward with most of greenhouse gas emissions proposal

EXTRACTION

  • ReutersCanada’s oil sands producers form alliance to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Rolling StoneU.S. Becomes Net Oil Exporter as World Burns
  • BloombergBP Expects Strength in Global Oil Demand to Last, CEO Says

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Stand.earthMaine becomes the first state to pass law to divest from fossil fuels
  • InsideClimate NewsWealthy Nations Continue to Finance Natural Gas for Developing Countries, Putting Climate Goals at Risk
  • Law360Insurance Brokers Urged To Weigh Climate Litigation Risks

OPINION

  • Toronto StarCanada’s hypocritical love of fossil fuels behind fight to keep dangerous Line 5 pipeline running through Great Lakes
  • Financial PostEric Nuttall: A ‘net zero’ oilsands production facility? Think of the implications

PIPELINE NEWS

Facebook: RISE Coalition: We’re still camped exercising our treaty rights on the Enbridge matting near the Mississippi headwaters with 200 relatives from the #TreatyPeopleGathering
6/8/21

“We’re still camped exercising our treaty rights on the Enbridge matting near the Mississippi headwaters with 200 relatives from the #TreatyPeopleGathering demanding @joebiden #StopLine3. We won’t stop pushing. Can you join us on the frontlines? DM for more info.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: UPDATE: 150+ #StopLine3 Water Protectors Arrested Denied Medications, Denied Phone Calls, Sent Throughout State in Minnesota
6/8/21

“After a mass action shutting down a Line 3 pump station, over 150 water protectors were arrested. Arrestees have since been transferred to Aitkin County, Kandiyohi County, Douglas County, Pine County, Todd County & Becker County. The counties are part of the 16-county Northern Lights Task Force, which has received significant funding from the Enbridge Corporation. To date, sheriffs have billed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Enbridge-funded and state-overseen Public Safety Escrow Account.  Some water protectors were held for 16 – 20 hours without being booked, denied medical prescriptions, denied medical attention despite multiple requests for aid, along with multiple violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In Kandiyohi County Jail, water protectors were denied their right to speak to an attorney, as friends and family members did not get to check in on the health and well-being of loved ones. One jail support volunteer said, “Attorney Keith Ellison and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan must intervene and not allow these county agencies to grossly misuse their power.”

CNN [VIDEO]: Helicopter blasts pipeline protesters with dirt and debris
6/8/21

“US Customs and Border Protection is investigating the use of a helicopter that flew low over people protesting the Enbridge Energy pipeline project in Minnesota,” CNNreports.

The Intercept: LOW-FLYING DHS HELICOPTER SHOWERS ANTI-PIPELINE PROTESTS WITH DEBRIS
Alleen Brown Sam Richards, 6/8/21

“THE LARGEST CIVIL disobedience yet against new pipeline construction in Minnesota was met by a furious response — and a cloud of debris. A Department of Homeland Security Border Patrol helicopter descended on the protest against the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, kicking up dust and showering demonstrators with sand, in an unusual attempt to disperse the crowd,” according to The Intercept. “I couldn’t see because it got in my eyes,” Big Wind, a 28-year-old Northern Arapaho organizer with the anti-pipeline Giniw Collective, who was there when the helicopter swooped over the civil disobedience action, told the Intercept. “After it pulled up there were a lot of people who were ducking, who were in the fetal position, just because they didn’t know what was going to happen and were trying to protect themselves from the sand.” “…The tactic — which was criticized because of the extremely low flyover — suggests that the multiagency law enforcement coalition overseeing the police response is willing to bend safety standards in order to break up demonstrations… “Authorities later claimed that the helicopter was being used to make an announcement for demonstrators to disperse, but the announcement was inaudible to many demonstration participants. “There were rumors that it was saying something, but I couldn’t hear anything,” Kate Sugarman, a 60-year-old pipeline opponent who was standing on the public road when the helicopter arrived, told the Intercept. “To those of us on the ground it felt like a scary encounter, and it was not a way to easily send a message.” Hours later, police, according to witnesses, used a sound amplification device called a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, at the site to make announcements — raising questions about why the helicopter was necessary at all. “After the helicopter attempt proved not to be feasible for repeat messaging, the LRAD was brought in,” John Elder, a spokesperson for the Northern Lights Task Force, which was set up to coordinate law enforcement’s response to the anti-pipeline movement, told the Intercept.

Associated Press: Protesters maintain blockade at Line 3 site in Minnesota
Dave Kolpack, 6/8/21

“Protesters fighting Enbridge’s push to replace an aging oil pipeline across northern Minnesota maintained a blockade at a pump station Tuesday as part of a summer drive to stop the project before it can go into service,” the Associated Press reported. “Two protesters spent the night locked down in a boat blocking the entrance to one construction site, while two others locked themselves down underneath, tucked in behind duffel bags, beach chairs, water bottles and clothing. A Hubbard County sheriff’s deputy and a handful of private security guards stood by in the morning, but other law enforcement officers arrived as authorities went to work cutting the protesters free. Deputies freed the two women in the boat early Tuesday afternoon and led them away. They worked into the afternoon to cut through the device that two men used to make it difficult to extract them from the trailer under the boat, which bore the name “Good Trouble” on its stern, a quote from the late civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who was known for encouraging people to get in “good trouble” in a worthy cause.”

Bloomberg: Enbridge Returns Workers to Pipeline Site After Outcry, Arrests
By Robert Tuttle, 6/8/21

“Enbridge Inc. returned workers to an oil-pipeline construction site in Minnesota a day after it was occupied by protesters, leading to violent confrontations with law enforcement officers,” Bloomberg reports. “The Canadian pipeline giant, which had evacuated 44 workers on Monday, said they have returned to the Two Inlet pump station, the only construction site disrupted by protests. “Construction is continuing without pause at all other work sites on Line 3 in Minnesota,” company spokesman Jesse Semko said by email Tuesday. More than a thousand people descended onto two locations along Enbridge’s controversial Line 3, which they say is a threat to indigenous land and the environment. About 200 people have been arrested, Cory Aukes, Hubbard County sheriff, told Bloomberg… “The coalition of indigenous and environmental protesters are asking the Biden Administration to intervene and stop Line 3’s construction, Big Wind, a member of the Northern Arapaho Nation and the Giniw Collective, told Bloomberg. Otherwise, the protesters are prepared to hunker down and keep blocking Enbridge’s work, just as indigenous groups in the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation did several years ago, delaying completing of the Dakota Access Pipeline. “The administration doesn’t want another Standing Rock to happen, but if they don’t stop this line, they are going to get another Standing Rock,” he said.

Press release: Enbridge: crews return to Two Inlet Pump Station, begin damage assessment
6/9/21

“Our crews were able to get back into the Two Inlet Pump Station today, to assess damages and start cleanup. We respect everyone’s right to peacefully and lawfully protest, but trespass, intimidation, and damage to property is unacceptable, and we will seek the full prosecution of all involved. Yesterday 44 workers were safely evacuated from the site, including ten employees of Native owned contractor Gordon Construction from the White Earth Reservation. Over 500 native workers are part of the Line 3 workforce. The project is already providing significant economic benefits for counties, small businesses, Native American communities, and union members – including creating 5,200 family-sustaining construction jobs, and millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues. Our first priority is the safety of all involved – our workers, men and women in law enforcement and the protestors themselves. It should be noted that protest affected work at just this site, and construction continued yesterday and today across dozens of worksites in the five construction zones that stretch across northern Minnesota. To date, protests have had little impact on the project’s construction schedule which is on track to be completed and in service in the fourth quarter of this year. Enbridge operations were unaffected. We hoped all parties would come to accept the outcome of the thorough, science-based review and multiple approvals of the project… “Many of the groups involved in the Treaty People Gathering were parties to the review process-and, during the past six years, have repeatedly provided input that was heard and acted upon.”

Pine and Lakes Echo Journal: Pipe meant for Line 3 project strewn in ditch from collision south of Pine River
6/6/21

“Several large pipes for the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project ended up strewn in the grass alongside the intersection of County Road 44 and State Highway 371 south of Pine River after a collision between a truck hauling them and a vehicle with a camper,” according to Pine and Lakes Echo Journal. “The collision occurred around 1 p.m. Saturday, June 5. A crew was working to collect the massive pipes from the ditch around 1:30 p.m. as Cass County deputies and State Patrol troopers provided traffic control as needed.”

CNN [VIDEO]: Jane Fonda calls on Biden to end Trump-approved pipeline projects
6/721

“Actress and climate change activist Jane Fonda speaks to CNN’s Brianna Keilar about the negative effects of the Trump-approved pipeline projects and how they contribute to the global climate change crisis,” CNN reports.

E&E News: Jane Fonda, hundreds more protest Enbridge’s Line 3 in Minn.
6/8/21

“Hundreds of protesters vowing to do whatever it takes to stop a Canadian-based company’s push to replace an aging pipeline blocked a pump station yesterday in northern Minnesota, with some people chaining themselves to construction equipment before police began making arrests,” E&E News reports.

Democracy Now: “Not Having It”: Winona LaDuke on Mass Protest by Water Protectors to Halt Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota
6/8/21

“In the largest act of civil disobedience to date to halt the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, more than 100 water protectors led by Indigenous women have been arrested in Minnesota,” Democracy Now reports. “We get an on-the-ground update on the day of action and how water protectors blockaded a pipeline pump station north of the town of Park Rapids, with many locking themselves to heavy machinery as authorities tried to disperse protesters by sending in a low-flying Customs and Border Protection helicopter which produced a sandstorm… “WINONA LADUKE: Yes. Aaniin. Hello out there. So, we’re here in northern Minnesota. First of all, I want to clarify: The pipeline is not 60% done; maybe 35 or 40% done. Enbridge is vastly overrating its work. They have 67 rivers to cross, including 22 with a giant drill, the same thing that they used at Standing Rock. They’re nowhere near those, and they can’t even move on those rivers until July. And so they are far from done. And as they relaunched about a week ago, after a month off because of road conditions, they’ve come back with a vengeance… The pipeline project has proceeded, but the thing is, is that there’s a court decision coming out at the end of June. And what Enbridge is hoping to do is to get as much of this pipeline constructed before a court might pull their permits. And what they’re trying to do is what they did with the Dakota Access pipeline, which is get the pipeline done and say, “Hey, it’s too late.” That’s not going to happen. And so, we’re up here. And, you know, thanks for looking at what’s going on in northern Minnesota, but this pipeline is the same one that goes to Michigan, the one that goes under the Straits of Mackinac, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer has pulled the permit and said that’s too risky to have a 63-year-old pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. Now is the time for us to look at what this Canadian corporation is doing, because that company said they aren’t going to allow — the state which issued the permit couldn’t revoke the permit. That’s what they said. They’ve denied Michigan’s ability to revoke the permit and kick them out. So we have a Canadian corporation coming in here trying to make a buck at the end of the fossil fuels era and run over a bunch of Indigenous people, and we’re not having it.”

Truthout: Native Water Protectors Test Treaty Rights Strategy as Line 3 Fight Escalates
CANDICE BERND, 6/8/21

“…That attorney is White Earth Band tribal lawyer Frank Bibeau, who not only represents LaDuke but a number of other Water Protectors facing charges for taking nonviolent direct action against the pipeline,” Truthout reports. “His civil motion to dismiss LaDuke’s charges argues Aitkin County lacks jurisdiction in criminal court because she is a tribal member, and so her trespass case should be handled in the tribe’s civil court. The motion to dismiss is just one part of a larger legal strategy he is pursuing which has its basis in a set of 19th-century federal and state treaties that expressly grant tribal access to ceded lands in order to hunt, fish and gather… “Early this month, Bibeau notified the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Northern Lights Sheriffs Task Force, funded by Enbridge through a public safety escrow account to police pipeline protests, of the White Earth Band’s intent to adopt several 1855 Treaty Authority codes and exercise off-reservation jurisdiction for them through the White Earth Tribal Court — including, most critically, violations related to trespass that fall under the 1855 Treaty Authority’s natural resource and conservation code. Under the conservation code, trespass is a civil violation traditionally used when someone presses charges against a tribe member who may have strayed onto private land while hunting. In asserting the tribal jurisdiction over such violations, Bibeau is arguing that any further application of state criminal law against tribal members for trespass-related violations — including those related to trespass on Enbridge pipeline easements — would deprive them of federally and tribally protected treaty rights, thus violating federal civil rights law.”

Associated Press: EXPLAINER: Why a rural pipeline is a climate battleground
By JOHN FLESHER, 6/8/21

“As Enbridge Energy prepares to finish rebuilding an oil pipeline across rural northern Minnesota, protesters are occupying part of the construction area and pledging a “summer of resistance” on the ground and in court,” the Associated Press reported. “Enbridge, which has obtained all necessary state and federal permits for the Line 3 project, says it will be finished by year’s end. The Canadian company describes it as essential for reliable oil supplies in both nations, saying the plan has undergone rigorous environmental permitting and will boost Minnesota’s economy. Opponents contend it endangers waterways, violates indigenous treaty rights and abets dependence on fossil fuels that will further overheat the planet. What’s beyond dispute is that the project fits into an escalating battle over the future of energy pipelines, which federal regulators say are generally safer than hauling fuels by rail or highway but pose their own hazards, particularly spills in ecologically sensitive places.”

DeSmog: Hundreds Arrested at Line 3 ‘Treaty People Gathering.’ Water Protectors Vow To Continue Until the Pipeline is Canceled
By Nick Cunningham, 6/8/21

“Nearly 200 people were arrested on Monday while protesting the Line 3 pipeline, a long-distance tar sands pipeline that runs across Indigenous land and threatens food and water resources, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River,” DeSmog reports. “Indigenous and environmental groups, and even some elected officials, condemned the aggressive use of a helicopter to disperse protesters… “We called this mobilization the Treaty People Gathering because we are all treaty people. Our non-native allies have a responsibility to stand with us against projects like the Line 3 pipeline that put our Anishinaabe lifeways at risk. Today, we’re taking a stand for our right to hunt, fish, and gather, and for the future of the climate,” said Nancy Beaulieau, Northern Minnesota Organizer with MN350 and co-founder of the Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging (RISE) coalition… “The events took an ominous turn around midday, when a helicopter with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a federal agency, approached the crowd. The helicopter swooped down low, hovering over a construction area that lacked vegetation. The aerial move kicked up a cloud of dust and debris that washed over people on the ground. The helicopter flew away and then circled back and repeated the action, once again shooting up debris at water protectors. As video of the incident shows, the debris whipped up by the low-flying helicopter risked inflicting injuries. More than a few people on social media, including Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), drew parallels to a very similar tactic used by the D.C. National Guard helicopters during the racial justice protests in Washington D.C. in June 2020. In that incident, military helicopters flew extremely low — as low as 45-55 feet above the ground — above a crowd of protesters. The use of a rotor wash, in which a burst of air from the helicopter’s rotors is used to disperse a crowd, is a common military tactic and was used to disperse crowds by the U.S. military in Iraq. Even the U.S. Army said that the shocking maneuver in D.C. last year was inappropriate and misguided. Monday’s aggressive use of a helicopter to intimidate protesters drew the ire of pipeline opponents, who also drew parallels between President Biden and President Trump. The federal government under both presidents, as Monday’s actions illustrated, responded to calls for justice with a show of force.”

Facebook: Jasilyn Charger: I am a 25 year old defender from the cheyenne river Sioux tribe, I will be sentenced tomorrow. For fighting against the KXL pipeline that tried to threaten our way of life
6/8/21

“I am a 25 year old defender from the cheyenne river Sioux tribe I stand for my tribe proudly I have court tomorrow at 1pm.in Philip SD haakon county I will be sentenced tomorrow. For fighting against the KXL pipline that tried to threaten our way of life. Please send your prayers if you can help for food for a covid safe gathering infront of the court house. venmo @jasilyn-charger. I will continue to stand for the people. Sending love to those on the front lines giving it all for the land and water. MNI WICONI water is life. Woplia #NoDAPL  #NoLine3  #NoKXL”

Bloomberg: Indigenous Group Seeks Full Ownership of Trans Mountain Pipeline
By Robert Tuttle, 6/9/21

“Project Reconciliation, a Canadian indigenous group seeking a stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, is now aiming for a path to full ownership, the group’s new chairman said,” Bloomberg reports. ““We are hopeful that we can get our position across,” Robert Morin, the group’s new chairman, told Bloomberg. The group has said it has funding lined up for the purchase, without revealing any lender. Canada’s federal government bought Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan Inc. for C$4.5 billion ($3.7 billion) in 2018 after the company threatened to scrap the line’s expansion amid fierce environmental opposition. Alberta’s oil sands industry badly needs more conduits to export its crude, and many hope that indigenous participation would help quell objections to the project… “Morin, a member of the Enoch Cree First Nation west of Edmonton, Alberta, assumed his position last month, replacing Delbert Wapass, the former chief of the Thuderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. Project Reconciliation had been criticized for being led by an indigenous leader from a province far removed from the communities in British Columbia and Alberta that would be most affected by the line.”

The Detroit News: Critics of Line 5 debut broadcast ads with actor Jeff Daniels saying ‘dangerous pipeline’ needs to go
Leonard N. Fleming, 6/9/21

“Environmental opponents of Line 5 on Tuesday unveiled ads on TV and radio featuring actor and Michigan native Jeff Daniels lambasting it as “an aging, dangerous pipeline” that needs to be shut down for good,” according to The Detroit News. “The six-figure statewide ads, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, are a direct response to the numerous ads run for months by Line 5 owner Enbridge warning the public of dire consequences if the pipeline is shut down at the behest of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. In a Zoom call with reporters, National Wildlife Federation officials said Enbridge is flouting the law, given that the governor has revoked the easement, and the misinformation campaign waged by the company has to be answered. “Jeff Daniels is a strong believer in our pure Michigan way of life … we know our pure Michigan way of life is at risk because of the threat Line 5 poses to the Great Lakes,” said Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes regional executive director for the federation. “NWF has been at the forefront of exposing the risks of Line 5 right from the very beginning.”

E&E News: Court Denies FERC Request To Halt Ore. Pipeline Lawsuit
Niina H. Farah, 6/8/21

“A federal appeals court is charging ahead with a challenge to a controversial West Coast natural gas export facility — despite calls to freeze the case,” according to E&E News. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday denied requests from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the developer of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project to stall litigation over a federal approval for a pipeline associated with the Oregon facility. Pembina Pipeline Corp., the developer, told the court in April that it was temporarily halting the $10 billion project after failing to gain the necessary permits for the Pacific Connector pipeline that would carry natural gas to the facility. The company argued that landowners challenging the project had not been able to show that they would be harmed by a pause in the legal proceedings. FERC had also asked the D.C. Circuit to put the case on hold, or alternatively to throw out the dispute altogether. ‘Landowner Petitioners do not meaningfully engage with the Project Developers’ commitment not to file any condemnation actions during an abeyance, or with this Court’s invitation to renew their request for interim relief if takings become imminent,’ Pembina wrote in a May brief. The focus of the litigation is whether FERC can convey its eminent domain authority to allow Pembina to seize private land to build its project. A ruling in the case could answer questions about whether FERC can grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a pipeline serving a project with a product that is destined for foreign markets, David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center and a lawyer for the landowner challengers, told E&E News.

Pine Journal: Carlton County requests state action on Enbridge tax settlement
Jamey Malcomb, 6/8/21

“The Carlton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution asking the state of Minnesota to cover the cost of the Enbridge tax settlement,” Pine Journal reports. “The case began after Enbridge appealed its state-assessed property tax valuation by the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) from 2012-2018 to the Minnesota Tax Court. The court ruled in favor of Enbridge for the years 2012-2016, while the case involving 2017 and 2018 is still making its way through the courts. Carlton County Assessor Kyle Holmes told the board in May a final decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court is expected in the next few months and the final bill for all entities in Carlton County could amount to more than $3 million for 2012-2016, including interest. Carlton County would be responsible for approximately 47% of the total. Holmes testified before the Minnesota Senate Subcommittee on Property Taxes and told the committee that having to repay that amount could be “crippling” for the county, school districts and townships affected by the decision.”

Reuters: Pembina Pipeline to buy 50% stake in Canada’s proposed Cedar LNG
6/8/21

“Pembina Pipeline Corp said on Tuesday it would buy a 50% stake in Canada’s proposed Cedar LNG Project to develop the floating liquefied natural gas facility in British Columbia in partnership with Indigenous group, The Haisla Nation,” according to Reuters. “Pembina expects to invest about $90 million into Cedar LNG over the next 24 months, including costs to acquire its interest in the project as well as development costs prior to the final investment decision (FID)… “The investment comes as investors have been pushing for clean energy alternatives to combat climate change. Demand for super-cooled LNG has surged in recent years as large, energy-consuming nations including China and India wean themselves off dirtier coal. Demand is expected to keep hitting fresh highs, but three North American projects have stopped development in the past few months, as customers remain hesitant to sign long-term purchase agreements needed for financing.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico Morning Energy: WITH THE WHITE HOUSE INFRASTRUCTURE TALKS LIMPING ALONG
Ben Lefebvre, 6/8/21

“WITH THE WHITE HOUSE INFRASTRUCTURE TALKS LIMPING ALONG. climate hawk Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse aired his fears that aggressive climate action might get pushed the side,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “The Rhode Island Democrat admitted on Twitter that he’s ” officially very anxious about climate legislation.” Partly to blame is the White House’s work to garner Republican in an effort to bring a bipartisan infrastructure package to Congress. That could mean the administration will have to strip out provisions tackling climate change to win over the GOP lawmakers, and there may not be enough time to take those provisions and write a separate climate-focused bill. “Climate has fallen out of the infrastructure discussion, as it took its bipartisanship detour,” he wrote. “It may not return. So then what?” Whitehouse isn’t the only one skeptical that there’s enough time to pass two bills. “In theory, Democrats could work with Republicans to pass a ‘conventional’ infrastructure passage (e.g., roads, bridges, etc.) and use the reconciliation process to enact the climate- and social-reform-related provisions of the Jobs and Families plans that seem unlikely to garner bipartisan support,” ClearView Energy’s Kevin Book wrote in an analyst note Monday. “Practically speaking, however, a short Congressional calendar may not allow for a two-step of this sort.”

Bloomberg: Biden’s Climate Chief Plans Oil-CEO Talk on Carbon Crackdown
By Jennifer A Dlouhy, 6/8/21

“Chief executives of some of the largest U.S. oil companies are set to meet with White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy on Wednesday as the Biden administration nears pivotal decisions on drilling and auto emissions,” according to Bloomberg. “The session will be at least the second meeting this year between top oil executives and McCarthy, who is coordinating the Biden administration’s efforts to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions from burning the industry’s core products. The meeting is set to involve McCarthy and members of the American Petroleum Institute’s executive committee, according to two people familiar with the matter… “The session comes as the Biden administration weighs a number of new regulations that will directly affect the oil industry. The administration is also asking Congress to impose a clean electricity mandate as part of a goal for a carbon-free grid by 2035, which could edge natural gas out of the nation’s power system.”

STATE UPDATES

Colorado Sun: Colorado governor, Democrats reach deal to move forward with most of greenhouse gas emissions proposal
Jesse Paul and Michael Booth, 6/7/21

“A deal reached between Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic state lawmakers on an effort to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions was finalized on Monday, with much of the proposal staying intact despite weeks of protracted negotiations and a veto threat,” the Colorado Sun reports. “House Bill 1266, a measure to create an environmental-justice task force, was amended in the Senate Finance Committee to include much of what was in Senate Bill 200, which was the focus of the intraparty debate among Democrats and will be killed. Polis threatened to veto Senate Bill 200, which would have placed the state’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Roadmap into law and given the Air Quality Control Commission oversight to enforce the mandates. The governor took issue with giving so much power to an unelected board, even though the panel’s members are appointed by him.  “I wanted 16 things,” Sen. Faith Winter, a Westminster Democrat who is a prime sponsor of both measures, told the Sun. “I got 13.” “…The three major elements left out of House Bill 1266 were provisions giving the Air Quality Control Commission enforcement power across all polluting sectors, and, more specifically, the ability to enforce reductions in the transportation and construction sectors. The transportation sector drives the most greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado.”

EXTRACTION

Reuters: Canada’s oil sands producers form alliance to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
6/9/21

“Canadian oil sands producers said on Wednesday they would form an alliance to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from their operations by 2050, as the cash-rich firms come under pressure to meet the country’s goal on energy transition,” Reuters reports. “Oil sands producers, which extract some of the world’s most carbon-intense crude, face investor pressure to reduce their environmental impact. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to raise Canada’s carbon price steeply over time to position the country for carbon-neutral status by 2050… “The companies said they would look to link oil sands facilities in the Fort McMurray and Cold Lake regions to a carbon sequestration hub, use carbon capture and storage technology, as well as clean hydrogen, fuel switching and other methods to reduce emissions. The companies will also tap into emerging emissions-reducing technologies including direct air capture and small modular nuclear reactors, among others.”

Rolling Stone: U.S. Becomes Net Oil Exporter as World Burns
By TIM DICKINSON, 6/7/21

“The United States became a net oil exporter in 2020 — marking the first time in the 70 years the government has tracked the trade in petroleum that America shipped more oil abroad than it imported,” Rolling Stone reports. “This sea change, highlighted this week by the Department of Energy, marks America’s emergence as a petroleum superpower at just the moment when new leadership in the White House is attempting to convince the world to transition away from fossil fuels to curb runaway global warming. For decades, America’s car-centric culture was powered by foreign oil, including imports from the volatile Middle East, as well as countries like Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela. Accordingly our foreign policy — including two wars with Iraq and an unwavering devotion to Saudi Arabia — was driven by the imperative to secure the steady crude flow of crude. In 2005, American net oil imports peaked at 12.5 million barrels a day. But with the advent of fracking, unlocking massive domestic petroleum reserves in shale deposits in places like West Texas and North Dakota, America’s net imports of oil have been in sharp decline. As a matter of national security, U.S. crude oil exports had been blocked since the oil shocks of 1970s. But that changed in 2015 when a Republican-led congress passed, and President Barrack Obama signed, an omnibus spending bill with a provision that let oil giants — much to their collective delight — begin shipping American oil abroad again. At the time, the U.S. was still importing, on net, more than 4 million barrels a day. But by last year, exports slightly overtook imports, by about 650,000 barrels a day… And even as the president and his team seek to reestablish American climate leadership, the surge in U.S. oil exports underscores how challenging fighting global warming in a globalized economy will be. If American consumers finally begin to tame our fossil fuel gluttony, only to have American companies flooding the global market with cheap, fracked-in-the-USA crude — delaying a transition from fossil fuels abroad — is that truly progress?”

Bloomberg: BP Expects Strength in Global Oil Demand to Last, CEO Says
By Olga Tanas and Dina Khrennikova, 6/7/21

“Energy giant BP Plc sees a strong recovery in global crude demand and expects it to last for some time, with U.S. shale production being kept in check, according to Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney,” Bloomberg reports. “There is a lot of evidence that suggests that demand will be strong, and the shale seems to be remaining disciplined,” Looney told Bloomberg News in St. Petersburg, Russia. “I think that the situation we’re in at the moment could last like this for a while.”Looney’s comments echo those of other industry executives encouraged by a robust rebound from the pandemic in the U.S., China and Europe. Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft PJSC, Russia’s largest oil producer, said last week that growth in energy demand will continue, and that any new virus waves may slow the process but won’t stop it. Mike Muller, head of Asia at trader Vitol Group, said on Sunday that China’s economic growth should help bolster demand, bringing down crude stockpiles.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Stand.earth: Maine becomes the first state to pass law to divest from fossil fuels
6/8/21

“In a groundbreaking move today,  the Maine State Legislature passed LD 99, An Act To Require the State To Divest Itself of Assets Invested in the Fossil Fuel Industry. The successful vote makes Maine the first state in the USA to commit to fossil fuel divestment through legislation. The bill directs the $17 billion Maine Public Employee Retirement System to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels within 5 years and directs the Treasury to do the same with other state funds. “As the Gulf of Maine keeps heating, so does the pressure on the fossil fuel industry: divesting sends a truly powerful message, and to have Augusta join in adds real weight. This action is a gift to the planet–and also to the pensioners of the Pine Tree State, freeing them from the money-losing investments in gas and oil that are also undercutting the landscape into which they will someday retire,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

InsideClimate News: Wealthy Nations Continue to Finance Natural Gas for Developing Countries, Putting Climate Goals at Risk
By Nicholas Kusnetz, 6/7/21

“As the world’s governments try to raise their collective climate ambitions, one of the biggest questions is whether developing countries can expand their access to energy and reduce poverty without driving a sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions,” InsideClimate News reports. “A new report warns that wealthy nations are still pushing in the wrong direction, by continuing to finance new natural gas infrastructure across the global south. While natural gas once held the promise of serving as a “bridge fuel” to a cleaner future, a growing body of scientific research suggests the fossil fuel will need to be phased out rapidly in coming decades in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The analysis, published Monday by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a climate think tank, looked at spending by multilateral finance groups like the World Bank and government lenders like the United States Export-Import Bank. It found that the groups provided an average of $15.9 billion annually to gas projects in low- and middle-income countries from 2017 through 2019, more than to any other energy source and four times as much as to wind or solar energy. “What we’re seeing is increasing pressure on developing countries from the global gas industry and from international institutions to expand their production and consumption of natural gas,” Greg Muttitt, senior policy adviser at the sustainable development institute and the report’s lead author, told ICN. “We’re concerned about this because it’s quite clear that with how late we are in the climate crisis, we really need to be winding down fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”

Law360: Insurance Brokers Urged To Weigh Climate Litigation Risks
6/9/21

“Insurance brokers in Britain should play a vital role in assessing the exposure of their clients to potential litigation for shortcomings in their policies to tackle climate change, a trade group representing the London market said Tuesday. The London and International Insurance Brokers’ Association said that its members should assess the legal claims and liabilities that they are exposed to over their emissions policies.”

OPINION

Toronto Star: Canada’s hypocritical love of fossil fuels behind fight to keep dangerous Line 5 pipeline running through Great Lakes
By Daniel Macfarlane, 6/7/21

“Apparently we’re in an era where fossil fuels have more rights than people. How else to explain Enbridge’s ability to defy Michigan’s order to shut down Line 5?” Daniel Macfarlane writes in the Toronto Star. “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently revoked the 1953 easement granted to Interprovincial Pipe Line, now Enbridge, for its Line 5 hydrocarbon pipeline. This line runs through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, across the state’s venerated Straits of Mackinac, and then through lower Michigan to Sarnia and beyond. Built over seventy years ago, and in a deteriorated condition, Line 5 daily transports about 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids from the Canadian West. Enbridge ignored Whitmer’s May 12 deadline, backed by the Canadian state, and the matter is now before the courts. I’m a Canadian scholar currently writing a book on the history of Canada-U.S. environmental and energy relations. Pipelines are a major part of that history. I also happen to live and teach in Kalamazoo, Mich., where in 2010 Enbridge’s Line 6B had a catastrophic failure into the eponymous river. I’ve taught a seminar on the 2010 oil spill and took the class kayaking along the spill route. I bring that up since Enbridge completely bungled the Kalamazoo spill — “bungled” is the word chosen judiciously so as to avoid anything libelous — which resulted in the release of at least 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen. And handling that spill was easy compared to a leak at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, probably the worst place for an oil spill to happen in the Great Lakes. Line 5 is a ticking time bomb, especially at the straits. Enbridge is proposing a tunnel for this decaying and dangerous 70-year old dual pipeline — but if you read the fine print, it will take a decade and taxpayers will be on the hook. Officials from Enbridge and the Canadian and Alberta governments have trotted out their predictably preposterous assertions about lost jobs and profits if Line 5 is closed. As always, these claims are laughably and ludicrously inflated. Did you know dog groomers, circus clowns, and airlines will all lose their jobs or shut down without this pipeline?”

Financial Post: Eric Nuttall: A ‘net zero’ oilsands production facility? Think of the implications
6/9/21

“For too long, the Canadian oil industry has willingly served as the proverbial punching bag for environmental groups looking to tar it with images of oil-slicked ducks and gigantic, oozing tailings ponds reminiscent of some hellion children’s tale,” Eric Nutall writes in the Financial Post. “Guilty of chronic pacifism and an unwillingness to stand up to the equivalent of the school-yard bully, the oil industry has allowed others to own the narrative. Now, sullied with the reputation of being an environmental bad actor, investment capital has fled and, consequently, oil stocks are being valued at generational lows. Furthermore, in a world where governments seek to reach net zero by 2050, the lack of recognition by policy leaders of the importance of the sector leaves it exposed to poorly crafted government policies. Given calls for aggressive climate action and the perception of being “high cost, high emissions,” what is the future of Canadian oil producers in a rapidly decarbonizing world? The reality is that the Canadian oil industry’s environmental stewardship is world class, and very different from the fictional stories crafted from energy ignorance, yet all too commonly told. Rather than the image of stream-polluting, forest clear-cutting, emission-spewing parasites who seek nothing more than to maximize profit, would you be surprised to hear that the oil and gas sector is the largest investor in clean technologies of any sector in Canada?”

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