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Extracted: Daily News Clips 7/1/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 1, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Facebook: Indigenous Environmental Network [VIDEO]: We are at the White House to tell President Biden to use his executive authority to stop approving fossil fuel projects like Line 3
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveBREAKING: Ongoing occupation of an Enbridge office in Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Boston Globe3 pipeline protesters arrested after large sit-in at energy giant’s Waltham offices
  • Facebook: Giniw Collective [VIDEO]: One week ago, three Water protectors locked themselves to a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD)
  • BloombergBiden Backs Maine Town Saying No to WWII-Era Oil Pipeline
  • Politico Morning EnergyTOMORROW’S LINE 5 ARGUMENT TODAY
  • Law360Keystone Developer Says Nixed Pipeline Should End Suit

WASHINGTON UPDATES

EXTRACTION

  • Greenpeace UnearthedInside Exxon’s playbook: How America’s biggest oil company continues to oppose action on climate change
  • Channel 4Revealed: ExxonMobil’s lobbying war on climate change legislation
  • E&E NewsLawmakers threaten Exxon probe after climate video
  • Engineering News RecordLNG Canada Megaproject Ramps Up Amid Changing Energy Markets
  • BloombergHow Last Century’s Oil Wells Are Messing With Texas Right Now
  • Williston HeraldRoad map to the future: Orphan, abandoned wells likely mean decades of work ahead

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

  • E&E NewsU.S. Oil Methane Emissions ‘Grossly Underestimated’ — Study

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • BloombergDear Bank CEO, You Are Cordially Invited to Defund This Pipeline

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • ReutersU.S. natural gas producers hope customers will pay more for ‘green gas’

OPINION

  • Washington PostBiden risks botching a key chance to fight climate change
  • Roanoke TimesMajors and Jarrell: Wake up to injustice of MVP
  • Minnesota ReformerWe’re near a tipping point on ending fossil fuels; let’s not mess it up
  • SCOTUSblogIs sovereign immunity out of gas in pipeline condemnation case?

PIPELINE NEWS

Facebook: Indigenous Environmental Network [VIDEO]: We are at the White House to tell President Biden to use his executive authority to stop approving fossil fuel projects like Line 3
6/30/21

“We are at the White House to tell President Biden to use his executive authority to stop approving fossil fuel projects like Line 3 and declare a climate emergency. Fossil fuel pipelines, infrastructure, exports, and leases fuel the climate emergency, pollute in Black, Indigenous and Brown communities, and violate treaty rights. Act now to end the era of fossil fuel production, protect our communities, and #BuildBackFossilFree.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: BREAKING: Ongoing occupation of an Enbridge office in Waltham, Massachusetts
6/30/21

“BREAKING: Ongoing occupation of an Enbridge office in Waltham, Massachusetts ✊🏽❤️ Dozens of nonviolent climate-justice protesters, in solidarity with Indigenous water protectors fiercely resisting the Biden-approved Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota continue to occupy the northeast regional headquarters of Canada-based Enbridge Corporation, near Boston, MA. The protesters, part of the New England and North American grassroots climate-justice movement, also demand the shut-down of the Enbridge fracked-gas compressor station in Weymouth, MA; the Enbridge West Roxbury Lateral fracked-gas pipeline in Boston; and the Enbridge-supplied Alton Gas project threatening Mi’kmaq land and water in Nova Scotia. In Weymouth, abutting two designated environmental justice communities in Quincy, the Enbridge compressor station has suddenly shut down six times without warning or explanation in the past year.”

Boston Globe: 3 pipeline protesters arrested after large sit-in at energy giant’s Waltham offices
By Nik DeCosta-Klipa, 6/30/21

“Three activists who refused to leave the Waltham offices of the pipeline company Enbridge were arrested by police Wednesday afternoon, ending a more than 27-hour occupation in protest of the multi-national energy giant behind the controversial Weymouth compressor station and other fossil fuel projects around the country,” the Boston Globe reports. “…The arrests came after roughly 70 peaceful protesters marched up to Enbridge’s third-floor offices at the Reservoir Woods office park in Waltham and began chanting and playing music. They also blocked one of the entrances to Enbridge’s offices inside the commercial building, demanding to speak to one of the company’s leaders and vowing not to leave until five demands were met… “Stephenson called on Enbridge to stop its construction to replace the Line 3 crude oil pipeline from Canada through Minnesota to Wisconsin and shut down the Weymouth compressor station, the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, and the Alton Gas project in Nova Scotia. They also called for a Minnesota sheriff to end a “dangerous” blockade of an anti-Line 3 protesters’ encampment.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective [VIDEO]: One week ago, three Water protectors locked themselves to a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD)
6/30/21

“We’re not going to stop this pipeline by prayer only,” said Julz Rich, Founder of Mothers Against Meth Alliance. “Prayer and action go hand and hand!” One week ago, three Water protectors locked themselves to a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD). “Enbridge is trespassing on Anishinaabe land, and we’re here to stop it, this drill is shut down!” said Madeline Fitch while locked to a drill. Water protectors face FELONY THEFT charges. Another water protector said, “Be a traitor to the system that benefits you at the expense of Indigenous peoples, at the expense of the enslaved labor of the people in the global south, and a system that steals our future and our childrens futures away from us!”

Bloomberg: Biden Backs Maine Town Saying No to WWII-Era Oil Pipeline
Robert Tuttle, 6/30/21

“A small coastal city in Maine has won the support of the Biden administration in its fight against a Canadian oil pipeline in what environmentalists see as a signal that other pipelines could face similar treatment,” Bloomberg reports. “In a brief filed with the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, the federal government said that a South Portland ordinance that would effectively prevent crude exports by prohibiting the transfer of crude onto marine vessels isn’t preempted by federal laws… “Environmentalists say the administration’s filing in support of South Portland signals that the Biden Administration may not stand in the way of other local authorities battling oil pipelines through local ordinances. “The Biden Administration’s filing lays to rest the outlandish claim Enbridge Energy and its political allies have repeatedly raised that Governor Whitmer’s historic decision to shut down Line 5 was not hers to make,” Oday Salim, staff attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, said in a release. The Maine pipeline and Line 5 cases are “radically different,” Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy told Bloomberg. in an emailed statement. “The issue in the Maine case is related to the loading of vessels, not the transport of oil through a pipeline.”

Politico Morning Energy: TOMORROW’S LINE 5 ARGUMENT TODAY
Matthew Choi, 7/1/21

“The National Wildlife Federation is hailing a recent Justice Department argument in a pipeline case currently being tried in Maine as a potential winner in its legal fight against the Line 5 oil pipeline in Michigan,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “In an amicus brief, the Biden administration sides with South Portland officials who say that they, and not the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, have the legal authority to decide whether to halt a part of a pipeline system running through their state into Canada — essentially the same circumstances at the heart of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fight against Canadian pipeline company Enbridge and its Line 5 system. “The Biden Administration’s [Maine] filing lays to rest the outlandish claim Enbridge Energy and its political allies have repeatedly raised that Governor Whitmer’s historic decision to shut down Line 5 was not hers to make,” NWF staff attorney Oday Salim said in a press release. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says it shares the same view. “We have already told the court that we intend to oppose Enbridge’s arguments in our case on those issues for reasons similar to those advanced by the DOJ” in Maine, a spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told ME in an email.”

Law360: Keystone Developer Says Nixed Pipeline Should End Suit
6/30/21

“TC Energy asked a Montana federal court Wednesday to end a challenge by activists looking to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying the case is over after the company abandoned the project following President Biden’s decision to revoke the project’s presidential permit,” Law360 reports.

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Obama-Era Methane Rules Return. Are Lawsuits Next?
Mike Lee & Carlos Anchondo, 7/1/21

“President Biden’s signing yesterday of a congressional resolution reviving Obama-era methane rules could rekindle one of the big climate fights of the Obama administration: disputes and possibly lawsuits by oil-producing states,” E&E News reports. “… But the move puts pressure on a handful of states — notably Texas and North Dakota — that lack rigorous methane standards. The two states make up about half of U.S. oil production, and they both sued the Obama administration when it introduced controls on the potent greenhouse gas in 2016. ‘Having standards in place for those states that have, frankly, been intransigent is absolutely critical,’ Dan Grossman, senior director of state advocacy for the Environmental Defense Fund, told E&E.

Politico Morning Energy: AND THEN THERE WERE THREE
Matthew Choi, 7/1/21

“Today is technically the last day of Neil Chatterjee’s term on FERC, and the volume of rumors over his replacement is reaching a crescendo,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “An energy industry source tells ME the White House has made a decision, but it is keeping its cards close to the vest. Multiple sources from the power and natural gas industries and clean energy advocates say there are three in the mix: Massachusetts state Rep. Maria Duaime Robinson, D.C. Public Service Commission Chair Willie Phillips and union stalwart Tom Dalzell. Three lobbying sources tell ME that Phillips is a finalist, and there have been reports that he is the front runner (The rumor mill at Monday’s meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners suggested he had the gig). Phillips began his career as deputy press secretary for former Trump Attorney General and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions between 2000 and 2002, according to the resume attached to his official nomination papers to the PSC in 2014. Then, while attending Harvard Law School he spent six months interning in the Office of General Counsel for President George W. Bush. He worked at several law firms before going to work for the North American Electric Reliability Corp. in 2010.”

EXTRACTION

Greenpeace Unearthed: Inside Exxon’s playbook: How America’s biggest oil company continues to oppose action on climate change
7/1/21

“ExxonMobil continues to fight efforts to tackle climate change in the United States, despite publicly claiming to support the Paris climate agreement,” an undercover investigation by Greenpeace Unearthed has found. “A senior lobbyist for Exxon told an undercover reporter that the company had been working to weaken key aspects of President Joe Biden’s flagship initiative on climate change, the American Jobs Plan. He described Biden’s new plan to slash US greenhouse gas emissions as “insane” and admitted that the company had aggressively fought early climate science through “shadow groups” to protect its investments. Keith McCoy – a senior director in Exxon’s Washington DC government affairs team – told the undercover reporter that he is speaking to the office of influential Democratic senator Joe Manchin every week, with the aim of drastically reducing the scope of Biden’s climate plan so that “negative stuff”, such as rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions and taxes on oil companies, are removed.”

Channel 4: Revealed: ExxonMobil’s lobbying war on climate change legislation
Alex Thomson, 6/30/21

“A senior ExxonMobil lobbyist has been captured on camera revealing how the oil giant is using its power and influence to water down US climate legislation,” Channel 4 reports. “The explosive footage was obtained by Unearthed, Greenpeace UK’s investigative platform, who posed as head-hunters to obtain the information from one of ExxonMobil’s most senior Washington lobbyists. The recordings appear to reveal the secretive behind-the-scenes activities of a lobbyist for a company that claims in public to support action on climate change, while fighting against legislative attempts to tackle it. ExxonMobil say they “have supported climate science for decades” and accuse Greenpeace of “waging a multi-decade campaign” against their company and industry.”

E&E News: Lawmakers threaten Exxon probe after climate video
Nick Sobczyk and Timothy Cama, 7/1/21

“Exxon Mobil Corp. scrambled to respond yesterday to a secretive video recording that detailed the company’s lobbying practices, but the incident could be an even greater impetus for a congressional inquiry as a House subcommittee chairman continued to warn of subpoenas for top executives,” E&E News reports.

Engineering News Record: LNG Canada Megaproject Ramps Up Amid Changing Energy Markets
Scott Van Voorhis and Debra K. Rubin, 6/30/21

“Even as uncertainty clouds the future of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects across the world, construction on the estimated $31-billion LNG Canada project in British Columbia is moving ahead,” Engineering News Record reports. “The biggest private-sector investment in Canada history, in its third year of construction, LNG Canada has faced COVID-19 delays and cost overruns, with a finish date pushed back to the second half of 2025… “Also part of the project is the estimated $5-billion, 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline being built by TC Energy to transport gas from northern B.C. fields to the terminal… “ The project is on track to “ship its first cargo” by mid-decade, officials say. With construction set to begin its peak next year, work could require up to 7,500 workers in rotating shifts.”

Bloomberg: How Last Century’s Oil Wells Are Messing With Texas Right Now
6/30/21

“Ashley Watt is nothing if not a friend of fracking. She’s invested in mines that supply the sand frackers blast into the ground. Her family owns a ranch larger than Manhattan that’s home to hundreds of oil and natural gas wells. Her Twitter handle is “Frac Sand Baroness,” Bloomberg reports. “That’s what made it all the more jarring almost three weeks ago when Watt began publicly railing against one particular oil driller for leaks on her land. Noxious wastewater from oil drilling began leaching across the ground, endangering people and livestock. By her count, the pollution has killed four cows and two calves so far. Chevron Corp., which drilled the 1960s-era wells that polluted Watt’s land, brought in earth-moving equipment and a well-control crew, even though it had sold most of its interests there years ago. It took 10 days to halt the first leak. Given the hundreds of other aging wells dotting the land, it’s done little to put Watt’s mind at ease. “I am not anti-oil industry,” Watt told Bloomberg. “That is the economy here. It’s a good business.” At the same the same time, she said, “We have to be responsible stewards. If we can’t do it right here in the Permian Basin, then how can we do it right anywhere? Nobody should let us in if we’re going to act like this.”

Williston Herald: Road map to the future: Orphan, abandoned wells likely mean decades of work ahead
By Renée Jean, 6/30/21

“The pandemic highlighted a problem that was already becoming noticeable, not just in the Bakken, but in other plays across the nation — a rise in the number of abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells,” according to the Williston Herald. “North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms has told the Williston Herald on previous occasions that the problem was manageable prior to the coronavirus pandemic. But there was a dramatic increase after COVID-19 dropped world demand 30 percent and Russia and OPEC started a concurrent price war that glutted world supply… “North Dakota has already identified 95 more wells, in addition to the 280 or so that were plugged last year, which need to be dealt with. The legislature, meanwhile, allocated $6 million in funds specifically for that purpose during the most recent biennium. Helms believes it’s a problem that isn’t likely to end any time soon… “North Dakota’s well plugging program this summer is meanwhile expected to hire around 30 to 39 people per well plugged, Helms told the Williston Herald. The 95 newly identified wells will be plugged and reclaimed in 20-well batches, adding around 600 jobs to the hard-hit sector. Oil and gas lost around 13,000 jobs during the pandemic.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

E&E News: U.S. Oil Methane Emissions ‘Grossly Underestimated’ — Study
Ester Wells, 7/1/21

“Methane emissions from the oil and gas industry are ‘grossly underestimated’ in the United States, according to a three-year study by an international team of scientists funded by NASA,” E&E News reports. “Collecting data from 2017 to 2019 as part of the agency’s Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America aircraft campaign, the team measured atmospheric levels of ethane — which is co-emitted with methane — through all four seasons of each year over the south-central and Eastern regions of the United States. They estimated that oil and gas methane emissions are 48% to 76% greater than 2012 figures calculated by EPA.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Bloomberg: Dear Bank CEO, You Are Cordially Invited to Defund This Pipeline
By Alastair Marsh and Danielle Bochove, 7/1/21

“Even by the standards of the chief executive of America’s biggest bank, March 31 looked like it was going to be a very busy day. Jamie Dimon’s office calendar was chock-full of invitations for that overcast New York Wednesday, with more than 1,000 unsolicited meetings all scheduled to cover the same topic: JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s role in financing an oil pipeline running through Minnesota,” Bloomberg reports. “The invites had been rolling in since mid-February, with titles such as “Don’t Fund Climate Disaster” and “Drop Line 3,” a reference to the name of the pipeline being funded in part by JPMorgan and built by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. Dimon wasn’t the only executive invited—the bank’s chief risk officer, its chief operating officer and the CEO of its commercial banking arm, plus several board members, each received thousands of calendar notifications, as well.  Eventually their inboxes became so clogged up with diary dates from climate activists—not to mention the tens of thousands of emails they sent requesting the bank withdraw funding—that the bank’s IT staff intervened and the invites started bouncing back… “It is a little bit prankish,” Alec Connon, a key organizer of the #DefundLine3 campaign that aims to persuade Enbridge’s financial backers to cut ties with the company, told Bloomberg. “Sometimes something a little creative like that can help us get the attention of very powerful people it can be hard to make pay attention.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Reuters: U.S. natural gas producers hope customers will pay more for ‘green gas’
Liz Hampton & Scott Disavino, 6/30/21

“U.S. natural gas producers hope climate-conscious electric utilities and gas exporters will pay a premium for what they say is “greener gas” that has been certified as coming from low-emission operations or from renewable sources such as landfills,” Reuters reports. “EQT Corp, Chesapeake Energy and liquefied natural gas firms Cheniere Energy and NextDecade Corp are among the companies considering low-carbon certifications from groups such as Denver-based Project Canary. Gas certified as “responsibly produced” and contributing less emissions could get up to 5% above market prices, or up to 15-cents per thousand cubic feet (mcf), proponents say. So far, not many customers have been willing to pay the premium — a problem for firms trying to sell lower-carbon versions of fossil fuels… Cheniere, the top U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, believes cleaner gas may become a requirement for producers and exporters. “We don’t expect to pay a premium, we don’t expect to collect a premium” for gas certified as greener, Anatol Feygin, chief commercial officer at Cheniere, told Reuters. The company is the biggest buyer of gas in the United States for its LNG plants, accounting for about 7% of U.S. production.”

OPINION

Washington Post: Biden risks botching a key chance to fight climate change
Thea Riofrancos is an associate professor of political science at Providence College. Mark Paul is an assistant professor of economics and environmental studies at New College of Florida, 6/30/21.

Last week, President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators proudly announced their $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal. But amid the self-congratulating, there was an atmosphere of denial,” Thea Riofrancos and Mark Paul write in the Washington Post. “Just a fraction of the deal is earmarked for dealing with the coming climate crisis… “The stakes could not be higher: The planet is dangerously careening off the pathway to climate safety. Western states are experiencing record-breaking heat amid an already dire drought. But when “water protectors” protested a pipeline that would transport toxic oil sands through Indigenous land in Minnesota, they were met by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter… “The change we need is possible. The economics support rapid, equitable, investment-led decarbonization. The voter support for government action is robust. But so far the president and his party have fallen short, offering inadequate public investment in the energy transition and failing to confront the fossil fuel industry or halt the boom in pipeline construction. We have less than a decade to slash global emissions in half to avert the worst of the climate crisis. In 2022, Democrats could lose their slim majority. If not now, when?”

Roanoke Times: Majors and Jarrell: Wake up to injustice of MVP
Lynda Majors and Mark Jarrell are members of the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights executive committee, 6/30/21

“Eminent domain under the Natural Gas Act is now responsible for a massive transfer of private rural land to corporations with the backing of government force — all on behalf of fracked gas as a global “commodity” with a 16% return to investors. Public servants in all sectors must wake up and reckon with the ills and injustices of Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Lynda Majors and Mark Jarrell write in the Roanoke Times. “In the path of MVP through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, law abiding, taxpaying rural landowners — many of them low income, elderly, veterans, people of color and of tribal nations, and the disabled — have sought regulatory, legislative and judicial relief on issues from the environment to human health and safety. Too many authorities choose to ignore the threats of a massive 42-inch gas pipeline, coated with known carcinogens, under 1400 psi of compression with a proven potential for explosions in steep, landslide-prone terrain, and a quarter-mile blast zone to destroy our ever more precious waters and sacred places. In late October 2017, MVP sued nearly 500 landowners who had refused to sell easements. Approximately 300 in Virginia and 200 in West Virginia were herded to federal courts for “early entry” hearings. In mid-January landowners were afforded one day to present evidence challenging MVP’s request to blast, trench through mountain, valley, and stream — before the company ever paid them a penny. By month’s end the Roanoke court gave MVP immediate access — reminding landowners “one of the burdens of ‘common citizenship’ is that a person’s land is sometimes taken for the common good.” West Virginia courts followed suit.

Minnesota Reformer: We’re near a tipping point on ending fossil fuels; let’s not mess it up
By Sam Grant, 6/30/21

“In his best-selling book “Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell defined the term as “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” For an optimistic climate activist, some highly visible recent events might have been construed as a tipping point in the movement towards clean energy and the fight against the continued proliferation of fossil fuels,” Sam Grant writes in Minnesota Reformer. “…Given these recent seismic events in the climate challenge, the stars seemed aligned for another climate victory in Minnesota and a possible shutdown of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline project. The Minnesota Court of Appeals announced that, on June 14, it would publish its ruling on whether to affirm the Public Utilities Commission permit to move forward with the pipeline project. Yet it was not to be. The permit was affirmed 2-1 by the three-judge panel, with one of the key criteria for upholding the pipeline construction permit being whether Enbridge adequately proved the project was necessary in order to meet long-range energy demand forecasts… “And, as Minnesota’s political leaders remain silent on Line 3, including Gov. Tim Walz and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, it is possible that Minnesotans will have to wait for the good conscience of the Enbridge shareholders to enact real progress on climate change.”

SCOTUSblog: Is sovereign immunity out of gas in pipeline condemnation case?
By Mark Latham, 6/30/21

“The Supreme Court held 5-4 in PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey that sovereign immunity does not shield New Jersey from condemnation proceedings instituted by a private company in federal court to obtain properties for a pipeline,” SCOTUSblog reports. “Next, Roberts considered the merits of whether sovereign immunity was an available defense for New Jersey to resist PennEast’s condemnation proceedings. Beginning with a discussion of the scope of federal eminent domain power, Roberts noted that “[s]ince the founding, the Federal Government has exercised its eminent domain authority through both its own officers and private delegatees.” While initially limited to “areas subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction,” the federal eminent domain power evolved, and by the late 19th century, the Supreme Court confirmed that it “extended to properties within state boundaries as well.” Moreover, the states had no control over the scope or the manner in which federal eminent domain was exercised… “Roberts then considered whether the federal government could delegate its eminent domain authority to private parties. Here, he first stressed that there is a long history of delegation, remarking that it “was commonplace before and after the founding for the Colonies and then the States to authorize the private condemnation of land for a variety of public purposes.” Roberts then concluded that by its express terms the NGA authorizes private certificate holders to institute condemnation proceedings against private parties, as well as states.”

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