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Extracted: Daily News Clips 7/15/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 15, 2021

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  • Star TribuneOpponents on Enbridge Line 3 project take case to Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Facebook: Indigenous Environmental Network [VIDEO]: Stop Line 3 – MN State Capitol – holding government accountable
  • Brainerd DispatchLine 3 protesters call on Biden, Walz to rescind pipeline permits
  • Native News OnlineMinnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan Pressured to Stop Line 3 Oil Pipeline by Her Tribe and Others
  • MinnPostWhat are the treaties being invoked by Line 3 opponents?
  • MPRState regulators investigate release of drilling fluid into Willow River during Line 3 construction
  • Western InvestorTrans-Mountain pipeline starts tunnelling in Burnaby
  • Philadelphia InquirerTwo Pa. constables were cleared of bribery charges, convicted of a lesser count in Mariner pipeline case
  • DeSmogEPA Warns of Mountain Valley Pipeline Impact on Streams, Says Project Should Not Receive Water Permit
  • Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety [VIDEO]: We have been documenting a series of sinkholes here since Feb. 27th
  • Daily MemphianWhat’s next for MCAP?
  • Christian Science Monitor‘Black Snake’ tells the saga of Dakota Access Pipeline protests
  • E&E NewsWhistleblowers say ‘bad seeds’ undermine pipeline safety
  • Facebook: FracTrackerWe recently updated our National Energy & Petrochemical Map with the latest data on extraction, pipelines, and other transportation & storage infrastructure




  • National ObserverFossil fuel workers ready for a just transition, poll finds
  • Canada ActionPoll shows Canadians support their oil and gas sector and three quarters of respondents say Canada should be a preferred supplier of energy to the world
  • Mining WeeklyTeck evaluates oil sands fit as it rebalances portfolio to copper


  • InsideClimate NewsPlanes Sampling Air Above the Amazon Find the Rainforest is Releasing More Carbon Than it Stores
  • The VergeNew report suggests corporate climate change pledges aren’t that valuable


  • The BlazeTaxpayers could be on the hook for more than $15 billion after Biden canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit
  • Columbia Center on Sustainable InvestmentBiden Must Nix Treaty Provisions That Allow Fossil Fuel Companies to Sue Governments Directly
  • Hamilton SpectatorCanada’s oil industry wants a massive subsidy to keep producing climate destroying product
  • National ObserverDeceptive fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for their climate crimes
  • Edmonton JournalOpinion: Survival of Ronald Lake bison herd may depend on one oil company
  • CleanTechnicaBiden — Don’t Be A Pipeline President!



Star Tribune: Opponents on Enbridge Line 3 project take case to Minnesota Supreme Court
By Mike Hughlett, 7/14/21

“Environmental groups and Ojibwe bands opposing Enbridge’s new Line 3 oil pipeline have taken their legal claims to the Minnesota Supreme Court,” the Star Tribune reports. “The groups petitioned the high court on Wednesday to overturn a June decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which affirmed utility regulators’ approval of the controversial $3 billion-plus project to replace Enbridge’s corroding Line 3… “The Minnesota Department of Commerce, which also lost its appeal of Line 3 in June, said Wednesday it will not petition the high court for a review… “Now we appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court to right the wrongs that the state and its rogue agencies have foisted on the Anishinaabe,” Winona LaDuke, head of the indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth, said in a statement. Honor the Earth and three other environmental groups — the Sierra Club, Friends of the Headwaters and Youth Climate Intervenors — petitioned the Supreme Court, along with the White Earth, Red Lake and Mille Lacs bands of Ojibwe… “Opponents have made several legal arguments against the PUC’s approval of Line 3, but the core complaint focuses on Enbridge’s long-term oil demand forecast, which the PUC accepted when it approveda “certificate of need” for new Line 3. The Commerce Department and pipeline foes have argued that under state law, Enbridge needed to consider total “energy demand” in its forecast — not just for oil, but for refined products like motor fuels. Gasoline demand is expected to fall if electric vehicles take off… “The court also agreed with the Commerce Department and other appellants on some of their contentions about Enbridge’s oil demand forecast. But state law is vague on the issue, the majority justices concluded. Thus, the PUC had not “legally erred” in accepting the forecast as the Commerce Department argued. Judge Peter Reyes dissented, concluding the opposite.”

Facebook: Indigenous Environmental Network [VIDEO]: Stop Line 3 – MN State Capitol – holding government accountable

“We’re at the Minnestota State Capitol today, with grassroots community members and Tribal leadership, who are here to try to hold our Governor and Lt. Governor, and President Biden accountable to stop Line 3 and protect our water.”

Brainerd Dispatch: Line 3 protesters call on Biden, Walz to rescind pipeline permits
Sarah Mearhoff, 7/14/21

“The halls of the Minnesota Capitol on Wednesday, July 14 filled with the chants of Indigenous people and environmental activists protesting against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project, as they urged President Joe Biden and Gov. Tim Walz to halt the project that cuts through northern Minnesota,” the Brainerd Dispatch reports. “Wednesday’s protest coincided with a newly filed appeal against the pipeline’s permits, filed in Minnesota’s Supreme Court by the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the Sierra Club and others. It also came one day after Line 3 crew members spilled drilling fluid in northern Minnesota. Crowded into the Capitol rotunda, activists and tribal members on Wednesday held signs declaring, “Water is life,” “You can’t drink oil,” “Doom to the pipeline” and, “Kill the black snake.” Their protests echoed down the marble halls to Walz’s office, where they hoped he could hear them through his door… “Allan Roy, the secretary and treasurer of the White Earth Nation…went on to call directly on Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan, who herself is a member of the White Earth Nation, “for your help in this process.” Several other demonstrators at the Capitol took specific aim at Flanagan, holding bright signs that read in bold font, “Where are you, Peggy?” After the demonstration, Flanagan released a statement on her Twitter reiterating her opposition to the project, but said she herself cannot stop the project.”

Native News Online: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan Pressured to Stop Line 3 Oil Pipeline by Her Tribe and Others

“Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, a tribal citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, is facing pressure from the White Earth Tribal Council to stop Enbridge’s tar sands Line 3 oil pipeline,” Native News Online reports. “Several organizations, including the White Earth Tribal Council, the Sierra Club, the RISE Coalition, and several members of the Minnesota State Legislature held a rally inside the Minnesota State Capital Building. Speakers and demonstrators demanded that Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan stop the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in northern Minnesota and honor treaty rights… “I’m disappointed that we came all this way and she didn’t even bother to show up,” said Karen Wadena, an enrolled citizen of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe from Naytahwaush, Minn., of Flanagan. Flanagan maintains she does not have the ability as the second highest ranking elected official of the state of Minnesota to stop the controversial pipeline. “While I cannot stop Line 3, I will continue to do what is within my power to make sure our people are seen, heard, valued and protected,” Peggy Flanagan said on a Facebook post after the demonstration. “I stand with my people in opposition to Line 3.” Flanagan is an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.”

MinnPost: What are the treaties being invoked by Line 3 opponents?
By Yasmine Askari, 7/14/21

“Tribal council representatives and members of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe will be gathering at the Minnesota Capitol today to request a “nation-to nation” dialogue with Gov. Tim Walz and President Joe Biden in an effort to stop construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline,” the MinnPost reports. “Last Friday, leaders of the tribe gathered in a press conference to raise concerns about the pipeline’s effects on surrounding resources and waters, most notably the treaty-protected wild rice, and said continued efforts to build the pipeline was in violation of the tribe’s treaty rights… “During the press conference, Bibeau and Allan Roy, secretary treasure for White Earth, spoke of the 1855 Treaty Authority and others… “While the U.S. government signed a series of treaties with the Anishinaabe people, including the Ojibwe, between 1825 and 1867, the most significant are those of 1837, 1854 and 1855… “Tribal leaders expressed concern about an amendment issued by the DNR that changed the permit to allow Enbridge to displace 5 billion gallons of water during the construction project versus the 500 million that were initially approved. In June, the Tribal Executive Committee authorized a letter to Walz requesting the permit be suspended as the groundwater involved was around the Mississippi headwaters and could possibly affect the wild rice beds. “Our water systems are all connected. All right. So if you take from one area, it affects another,” Roy said. “The federal government has a trust, responsibility to tribal nations and the United States as part of our treaty. The waterways, the food. The animals, everything that comes along with that are people, they have a trust, responsibility to make sure that these resources are protected not only for us, but our children.”

MPR: State regulators investigate release of drilling fluid into Willow River during Line 3 construction
Kirsti Marohn, 7/13/21

“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating a spill of drilling fluid into the Willow River in Aitkin County last week during construction on the Line 3 oil pipeline,” MPR reports. “About 80 to 100 gallons of drilling fluid, or mud, were inadvertently released on July 6 at a construction site near the town of Palisade, Minn., the MPCA said… “The MPCA said the drilling mud was a combination of bentonite clay, water and xanthan gum, which it says is not toxic and commonly used as a food additive. Environmental groups opposed to the Line 3 project criticized the release, which they call a “frac-out.” They voiced concern that the fine particles in drilling mud could impact aquatic life. The MPCA said it’s been in regular communication with independent environmental monitors on site and has inspected the cleanup. Enbridge must consult with the agency before it can resume drilling at the site.”

Western Investor: Trans-Mountain pipeline starts tunnelling in Burnaby
Nelson Bennett, 7/14/21

“Twinning a 1,150-kilometre long pipeline is no mean feat of engineering, especially considering that the last 2.6 kilometres pipe has to be threaded through a mountain,” Western Investor reports. “The $12.6 billion Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project is one of four major energy-related construction projects underway in B.C… “Burying a pipeline in the steep mountainous terrain between Hope and the Coquihalla Summit, for example, requires international technical expertise and specialized equipment. For that section, Trans Mountain has contracted Kiewit and an Italian company, Bonatti. “We’re running grades of 30 degrees up there,” Dean Palin, head project director for the TMX project, told WI. “So we brought in Kiewit Bonatti Group to help us get through the steep slopes on that piece of it.” “…One of the bigger engineering challenges is boring a 2.6-kilometre tunnel through Burnaby Mountain. A major milestone in the project’s construction was achieved May 26, when tunnel boring officially began. The tunnel is needed to connect the Burnaby tank farm and Westridge Marine Terminal with distribution lines. Chewing through a mountain requires specialized machinery. A custom-built tunnel-boring machine was built by Herrenknecht AG in Germany at a cost of about $10 million. The machine is 122 metres long – the length of a soccer field – and is operated by a crew of 12, who work inside the machine. The machine operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It will take about 290 days to complete the tunnel. As of the end of June, only about 25 metres of the tunnel had been excavated.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Two Pa. constables were cleared of bribery charges, convicted of a lesser count in Mariner pipeline case
by Vinny Vella, 7/14/21

“A Chester County jury Wednesday convicted two state constables of failing to disclose money they earned working as private security guards for the Mariner East pipeline,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “At the outset of the three-day trial in West Chester, Kareem Johnson, 49, and Michael Robel, 59, faced significantly more serious offenses, including bribery and official oppression. But Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Sommer dismissed all but one charge — violating the state’s Ethics Act by not accurately completing a statement of financial interest, a third-degree misdemeanor — in the middle of the trial, ruling that prosecutors had failed to present evidence supporting the others… “The two constables, prosecutors had told jurors, displayed their guns and badges in 2018 while patrolling the pipeline in West Whiteland Township and pressured two journalists and a county detective to identify themselves and leave the public street where they parked… “In 2019, then-District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan brought criminal charges against the head of the company’s pipeline security division, as well as four members of private security firms. He alleged the company hired 19 state constables in an illegal “buy-a-badge scheme.” But gradually those charges were dismissed or resolved without convictions, until only the charges against Robel and Johnson remained… “First Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry asserted that the men knew they were supposed to report the salaries they had collected from Energy Transfer Partners through a subcontractor but chose instead to hide that money.”

DeSmog: EPA Warns of Mountain Valley Pipeline Impact on Streams, Says Project Should Not Receive Water Permit
Nick Cunningham, 7/14/21

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is advising the Army Corps of Engineers not to grant a federal water permit to the Mountain Valley Pipeline due to “substantial concerns” about the project’s impact on streams and rivers,” DeSmog reports. “The warning is another regulatory hurdle for a pipeline that is already delayed and over budget… “The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) needs a permit in order to cross these bodies of water and discharge “fill” – dirt, rocks, sand, and other debris – into streams and rivers. The Army Corps decides whether to sign off on the so-called Section 404 permit, part of the Clean Water Act, but the EPA weighs in on the process… “The EPA “recommends that the permit not be issued” unless certain modifications can be made, Lapp concluded. “We were pleased—but not surprised—to see EPA tell the Corps that Mountain Valley hasn’t shown its work to justify this risky proposal. It was always a bad idea to snake a pipeline through hundreds of miles of steep and landslide-prone mountains and to cut through sensitive streams and wetlands,” Spencer Gall, an attorney with Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), told DeSmog via email. The pipeline company has racked up more than 300 water quality violations in the past three years since construction began in 2018, leading to millions of dollars of fines in both West Virginia and Virginia, a result of “rushed construction,” according to SELC… “Mountain Valley Pipeline regularly cites that its construction is over 90 percent completed, suggesting that the finish line is just around the corner. But “some of the steepest parts of the route they haven’t even attempted to trench yet,” Peter Anderson, Virginia policy director at Appalachian Voices, told DeSmog. “We have observed lots and lots of violations of state water quality standards in both West Virginia and Virginia.”

Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety [VIDEO]: We have been documenting a series of sinkholes here since Feb. 27th

“This morning Mariner East construction caused another sinkhole along the bore path near Chester County Library Exton. This is the latest in a continuous line of sinkholes. Let’s recap the ones we were there to document: February 27, March 1, March 18, June 4, June18, June21, July 7, July 12. These sinkholes run in an almost continuous line along the bore path, a few feet from Mariner East 1 and the 12” workaround , two 90 year old pipes actively transporting highly explosive  HVLs just 2 feet underground. The 23 foot long sinkhole June 4 was mere inches from ME1. Today residents got a call from their Texan land agent telling them there was another “earth feature”. Nothing to worry about, folks. On Wednesday West Whiteland Township posted on its website following that day’s sink hole about what would have been the response of it were an emergency. Meant to reassure residents, it only further highlighted just how unprepared our townships and county are for when Mariner East leaks. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection continues to turn a blind eye to this grouting in the wetland, a violation of their permit and the Clean Water Act.  The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission continues to cross its fingers that the next sinkhole here doesn’t result in a pipeline failure and (in their own words) a catastrophic event. As our regulators fail to take action, we call on our local electeds, particularly Chester County District Attorney, County Commissioner Josh Maxwell, County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz County Commissioner Michelle Kichline.”

Daily Memphian: What’s next for MCAP?
By Rob Moore, 7/14/21

“Justin J. Pearson met fellow South Memphis natives Kathy Robinson and Kizzy Jones at a community meeting last October. The meeting, organized by representatives of the Byhalia Connection Pipeline project, was meant to give the community an opportunity to ask questions about the proposed crude oil pipeline that was intended to run through the Boxtown and Westwood neighborhoods of South Memphis,” the Daily Memphian reports. “Pearson said it was at this meeting that a representative told him there was nothing the community could do to stop the project, a sentiment that led him, along with Robinson and Jones, to form an organization called at that time Memphis Community Against the Pipeline (MCAP). “After hearing this presentation and realizing this project really has nothing to do with the benefit of Black folk in South Memphis,” Pearson told the Daily Memphian, “it was obvious we needed to fight.” “…First, Pearson told the Daily Memphian, Memphis Community Against the Pipeline will go forward as Memphis Community Against Pollution, which is the name under which it incorporated as a nonprofit. Now that the prospect of the pipeline is gone, Pearson said it is important to land on a name that better encompasses the work they will continue. “We have also learned throughout this process that there is a lot of local power,” Pearson told the Daily Memphian, “and we need to exercise that local power through justice. Without legislation that protects our communities, there’s no justice.” Fittingly, Pearson said one of the next major projects that MCAP will undertake is the formation of a political action committee to help elect local candidates focused on issues related to equity and the environment.”

Christian Science Monitor: ‘Black Snake’ tells the saga of Dakota Access Pipeline protests
David Conrads, 7/14/21

“The protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux was one of the most important news stories of 2016 – and rightly so, as it touched on issues related to climate change, fossil fuel dependence, Indigenous rights, and environmental justice,” the Christian Science Monitor reports… “In “Black Snake: Standing Rock, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Environmental Justice,” human rights lawyer Katherine Wiltenburg Todrys takes a deep dive into the protest against the oil pipeline, whose proposed route threatened the Standing Rock Sioux’s water source and sacred sites. Although Todrys makes extensive use of sources and documents from both sides of the dispute, there is no doubt that her sympathies lie with the protestors… “Todrys, a former researcher at Human Rights Watch, clearly knows how to gather great quantities of information from a wide variety of sources. She also knows how to tell a good story. She does so in part by unfolding the events at Standing Rock from the perspectives of four Indigenous women who were key players in the drama, weaving their individual stories into the larger narrative and giving the events human footholds. The historical context and ground-level reportage on conditions on both the reservations and the oil fields add greatly to the power of the book… “Todrys also does an excellent job of guiding the reader through the thicket of lawsuits, countersuits, court orders, injunctions, amicus briefs, motions for summary judgments, and other legal procedures, as well as two treaties from the mid-19th century that are important to understanding the events of the 21st century.”

E&E News: Whistleblowers say ‘bad seeds’ undermine pipeline safety
By Mike Soraghan, 7/15/2021

“Two former pipeline inspectors say they were fired for reporting hazards on a volatile liquids pipeline to Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s massive new petrochemical plant northwest of Pittsburgh,” E&E News reports. “The inspectors, Frank Chamberlin and Susan D’Layne Carite, said they warned Shell managers and even federal regulators in 2019 that the anti-corrosion coating was defective on the company’s Falcon pipeline. That could increase the threat of corrosion, a leading cause of pipeline ruptures. A representative of the coating manufacturer told Chamberlin the protective layer was “unacceptable,” and another person on the project told him it peeled from the pipe during installation. Rather than fixing the problem, he says, Shell ordered them off the project and the contractor fired the two inspectors, who live together in a rural part of upstate New York. The couple’s allegations are contained in their whistleblower complaint they filed with the Labor Department. “We did our jobs, and we were harassed, abused, ridiculed, and humiliated then released because we would not follow the bad seeds that are giving the industry a very bad reputation,” Chamberlin wrote in his complaint, obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act. They said they’d been repeatedly warned they’d be “run off” if they kept pressing safety concerns. The allegations highlight that the inspectors in charge of assuring safety and environmental protection on large pipeline projects are usually paid by the pipeline builders themselves. Critics say that creates a conflict of interest, but pipeline industry officials compare the practice to quality control in other areas of manufacturing… “It is common industry practice for day-to-day inspections of pipeline construction to be done by contractors such as Global Edge who are chosen and paid by the owner of the pipeline. Pipelines such as Falcon are required to be built to PHMSA’s minimum safety standards. But PHMSA doesn’t have to inspect every pipeline project, and agency approval is not required before operations start. Critics say the practice gives pipeline builders incentives to hire inspectors who will look the other way and puts pressure on inspectors to ignore expensive problems.”

Facebook: FracTracker: We recently updated our National Energy & Petrochemical Map with the latest data on extraction, pipelines, and other transportation & storage infrastructure

“MAP UPDATE! What’s in your backyard? Did you explore? We recently updated our National Energy & Petrochemical Map with the latest data on extraction, pipelines, and other transportation & storage infrastructure. Those dots illustrate the presence and activity of oil and gas extraction and related downstream activity from fossil fuel production, all across the US—from petrochemicals to plastics, petroleum to greenhouse gases, and energy infrastructure—like coal mines, power plants, electric generators, and landfill gas. Check it out here:


Matthew Choi, 7/14/21

“Senate Democrats announced a $3.5 trillion top line budget number to propel their plan to enact a full array of Biden’s social priorities without Republican votes,” Politico Morning Energy reports. The proposal covers the spate of Democratic policy ambitions that won’t make it into a bipartisan infrastructure deal, if Congress can reach one. Combined with the in-the-works bipartisan infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the budget’s investments would total about $4.1 trillion, “which is very, very close to what President Biden asked us for.” Biden will also attend Democrats’ lunch on Wednesday to discuss the plans, Schumer said. “We know we have a long road to go,” Schumer said. “If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations.” The next step for Senate Budget Democrats is ensuring all 50 Democratic caucus members can support the $3.5 trillion figure, said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the budget panel… “The first actual legislative text related to bipartisan infrastructure deal agreed with the White House will be marked up this morning in the Senate Energy Committee. The finished product from Chair Joe Manchin is expected to be incorporated into the broader framework still being worked out — assuming Republicans don’t get cold feet. ME is told to expect a rather lengthy affair as senators work through amendments to Manchin’s nearly 500-page bill. The West Virginia Democrat himself said “lots of amendments [are] coming in.” The bill authorizes tens of billions in new energy infrastructure spending in a host of technologies… “Progressives dislike investments in technologies like carbon capture, nuclear and hydrogen, with Friends of the Earth blasting the proposal on Tuesday as an “undeniable bet on dirty energy from the 20th century over clean energy from the 21st.” Asked about progressive criticism of the bill, Manchin responded: “We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”


Carlsbad Current-Argus: Undocumented oilfield workers struggle in New Mexico. Heinrich pushes for energy transition
Adrian Hedden, 7/14/21

“Gladys Saucedo and her sons said goodbye to their father, Pedro Espinoza, for the second time in February. Espinoza, an undocumented worker from Mexico, was leaving the Permian Basin for the second time as an operator in the busy oil and gas region. Lower pay and poor conditions, Saucedo said, meant her husband would travel from their home in Hobbs to another prolific oil-producing area thousands of miles north in the Bakken of North Dakota,” the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports. “She said Espinoza left the family and headed north when the Permian Basin last busted in 2016 but was able to return when the industry boomed again a year later. This time, Saucedo said her family is divided not by the boom and bust cycle of the oil and gas industry in the Permian, but rather the treatment he received from his employer as an undocumented laborer.  “He came back when there were more jobs available in Hobbs, but then he noticed the big pay difference,” she told the Argus in an interview facilitated by a translator. “In North Dakota they pay way more and when he came, he noticed the drop in pay he was getting in Hobbs working the same jobs in the oilfield… “Aside from a lack of adequate pay, Saucedo said her husband was not provided safety equipment or housing during his time in the Permian, amenities provide to workers in the Bakken. “This is because companies are choosing to hire undocumented workers and treat them this way,” Saucedo told the Argus. “If he was a U.S. citizen, companies wouldn’t be treating him this way.”

Politico Morning EnergyDRILL BABY DRILL
Matthew Choi, 7/14/21

“Despite a pause on new federal oil and gas leases, the Biden administration has so far approved 2,488 drilling permits on public lands — almost the same number the Trump administration approved during its first year in office,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “The number drew quick criticism from environmental groups pushing to wean off fossil fuels, while also issuing a blow to the GOP talking point that Biden was out to eliminate all drilling on federal lands. “The federal oil and gas drilling system has rewarded oil industry executives at the expense of our public lands and waters for decades, and it is high time that comes to an end,” said League of Conservation Voters conservation program director Alex Taurel. But a big distinction ClearView Energy analyst Kevin Book makes to Ben: A pause on future leases isn’t the same as granting permits to drill now. With immediate surging fuel costs brought on by the economic recovery from the pandemic and growing global demand, no president wants to be blamed for a higher price at the pump. “Gasoline prices are about today. Permitting is about today. Leasing is about tomorrow,” Book said.


National Observer: Fossil fuel workers ready for a just transition, poll finds
By Natasha Bulowski, 7/14/21

“A majority of Canadians working in fossil fuels are interested in switching to jobs in the net-zero economy, but are worried about being left behind, according to a new poll,” the National Observer reports. “The poll, released Wednesday morning, was done by an oilpatch worker-led organization, Iron & Earth, in partnership with Abacus Data, and surveyed 300 fossil fuel workers across Canada from May 24 to June 11. Ninety per cent of workers surveyed believe they could transition to at least one type of net-zero technology with 12 months or less of training, according to the poll results. Edmonton-based machinist Stephen Buhler has worked in oil and gas for over 12 years and told the Observer  we can’t afford to delay the transition away from fossil fuels any longer. “Not making the transition means that a lot of workers like myself are going to be stuck with jobs that aren’t in demand the way that they were before,” he said… “The poll also showed 61 per cent of workers worried about having to invest money into retraining, and 64 per cent were concerned with the time commitment involved.

Canada Action: Poll shows Canadians support their oil and gas sector and three quarters of respondents say Canada should be a preferred supplier of energy to the world

“Three in four Canadians polled agree Canada should be a preferred global supplier of energy because of its climate and environmental record, according to a July 2021 public opinion survey conducted by Research Co. And almost seven in ten (69 percent) say they have personally benefited from the oil and gas sector, the poll showed. “It’s a strong and very welcome result, and one that shows most Canadians feel proud of the work their energy sector is doing to enhance its record on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria,” said Cody Battershill, Canada Action founder and spokesperson. Among other findings, 70 percent of respondents agree that resource development could help alleviate systemic poverty within Indigenous communities and two thirds of Canadians (66 percent) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier. Further, almost three in four Canadians (73 percent) acknowledge Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that Canadian oil and gas production helps fund important social programs like health and education for Canadians. “Given the world requires $525 billion of new oil and gas investment per year just to meet current demand, we think we ought to push for Canada to receive a sizeable share of this investment,” Battershill added. Referring to the fact 73 percent of Canadians polled also agreed it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities, JP Gladu, acting executive director, Indigenous Resource Network, noted the following: “These are heartening results. Indigenous nations and businesses want to be partners in resource development. This poll shows there’s widespread support to work together for the benefit of all.”

Mining Weekly: Teck evaluates oil sands fit as it rebalances portfolio to copper

“Diversified Canadian miner Teck Resources is rebalancing its portfolio towards copper – an essential metal for low-carbon technology and infrastructure – and is evaluating the longer-term fit of its oil sands asset,” Mining Weekly reports. “Regarding its coking coal operations and oil sands asset, Teck states that it is reducing the revenue from fossil fuels as a proportion of its total business… “Regarding the Fort Hills oil sands asset, in Alberta, Teck states that it shares the widely held view that demand for oil will plateau and decline as the world pushes to decarbonise, but that oil is still forecast to play an integral role in the global economy for some time to come. “Fort Hills is well positioned to consistently deliver the oil that the world will need in a responsible, low-carbon manner with a lower carbon intensity than 50% of the oil currently refined in North America,” the report notes… “Despite the high initial capital associated with the initial years of an oil sands mining operation, Fort Hills should be competitive with other oil production in North America over its life including in situ, offshore and tight oil, given its lower resource decline rates, sustaining costs and reservoir risks, as well as a high recovery factor. In light of the longer-term risks to the oil sands business generally, Teck states that its board continues to monitor the situation closely, and is evaluating the fit of oil sands assets within its portfolio over the longer term.”


InsideClimate News: Planes Sampling Air Above the Amazon Find the Rainforest is Releasing More Carbon Than it Stores
Georgina Gustin, 7/14/21

“Over the last several years researchers have said that the Amazon is on the verge of transforming from a crucial storehouse for heat-trapping gasses to a source of them, a dangerous shift that could destabilize the atmosphere of the planet. Now, after years of painstaking and inventive research, they have definitively measured that shift,” InsideClimate News reports. “In a study published Wednesday in Nature, a team of researchers led by scientists from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, reported results from measuring carbon concentrations in columns of air above the Amazon. They found that the massive continental-size swath of tropical forest is releasing more carbon dioxide than it accumulates or stores, thanks to deforestation and fires. “There is no doubt that the Amazon is a source,” said Luciana Gatti, the lead author of the study.

The Verge: New report suggests corporate climate change pledges aren’t that valuable
Justine Calma, 7/13/21

“Many S&P 100 companies that claim to care about climate change are either ignoring or derailing policies that could provide solutions to the crisis, a new report finds,” according to The Verge. “A whopping 92 percent of companies on the S&P 100 index in 2019 have pledged to cut down their own planet-heating emissions, but just 40 percent are actually pushing lawmakers to address the climate crisis, and 21 percent have advocated against science-based climate policy over the past five years. So while companies might sell themselves to consumers as planet-friendly, they’re not necessarily having the same conversations with decision-makers who are most responsible for tackling the crisis. Netflix, for example, plans to slash its greenhouse gases dramatically by the end of next year, but the streaming giant has yet to publicly advocate for any specific science-based climate policies, according to Ceres… “Those companies that are not actively lobbying for science-based climate policies are effectively working against themselves, making it extremely challenging for them to achieve the bold targets they have set to clean up their own business operations, risking both their reputations and their financial performance,” Steven Rothstein, Ceres managing director of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, said in a statement. After all, companies are facing mounting financial risks from climate catastrophe. Oatly, while not an S&P 100 company, recently disclosed that its oats are vulnerable to climate-induced disasters.”


The Blaze: Taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $15 billion after Biden canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit

“Taxpayers may be on the hook to compensate the Canadian energy company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project,” according to The Blaze. “Just as he promised, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. The move appeased climate change hawks, but resulted in thousands of hardworking construction workers losing their jobs. TC Energy, the Canadian-based company responsible for the pipeline, is seeking to recover more than $15 billion in damages caused by Biden’s permit cancellation… “The company said it would “coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the project.” That means, according to Yahoo Finance, undoing pipeline construction that was already completed. Only about 10% of construction was finished… “The Biden administration has not yet responded to TC Energy’s claim.”

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment: Biden Must Nix Treaty Provisions That Allow Fossil Fuel Companies to Sue Governments Directly

“On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline’s construction permits and halting the pipeline as utterly incompatible with U.S. commitments and leadership on climate change,” Ella Merrill and Martin Dietrich Brauch write for the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. “…Less than a month later, it filed a claim for $15 billion in compensation from the United States government for allegedly breaching its rights under the investment chapter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). TC Energy is the latest in a growing number of investors using investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms in thousands of investment treaties and chapters to challenge urgent measures necessary to respond to the climate crisis. Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is a system through which investors can sue countries for alleged discriminatory practices. The ongoing abusive use of treaty protections underscores how these settlements have gone completely awry and threaten to undermine U.S. as well as global climate goals. As a candidate, Biden opposed ISDS, pledging not to include it in new treaties; now as president, he should take steps to remove ISDS from existing U.S. treaties through amendments or terminations of those agreements.”

Hamilton Spectator: Canada’s oil industry wants a massive subsidy to keep producing climate destroying product
Dave Carson lives in Dundas and hopes to see real action in Ontario on emissions reduction by business, community and individuals, 7/14/21

“A Bloomberg News report recently printed in this newspaper quoted Canadian oil industry CEOs as saying it will cost $75 billion to achieve net zero emissions from the oilsands by 2050, much of it coming from taxpayers,” Dave Carson writes in the Hamilton Spectator. “Sixteen column inches were used to discuss the challenges industry faced and how much government help would be needed. Almost as an afterthought, the last sentence of the article said “The plan doesn’t include … emissions … when the fossil fuels produced are burned by end consumers.” Stated differently, the CEOs of Canada’s oil industry want a massive subsidy to their operations so they can continue to produce their climate destroying product over the next 30 years. While every major government, and world agencies such as the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), are saying we must drastically cut overall emissions in the same time frame. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people are averse to inconsistencies within their own minds. It seems oil industry CEOs are not. One of them states “We have an Achilles heel. It’s greenhouse gas emissions. We can bury our head in the sands or we can actually deal with it.” But their recipe for dealing with it is to keep on producing it, just more efficiently. It’s like the cigarette industry saying they will produce cigarettes more efficiently. Or the gun industry producing handguns more efficiently. It’s not too much to rephrase this into “with these government subsidies we will kill people, but more efficiently… “The real question to ask the CEOs is, do you have a plan to stop digging? Why invest $75 billion of mostly taxpayer dollars on continuing to dig. While the taxpayer is funding this activity, how much investor profits do you expect to earn?”

National Observer: Deceptive fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for their climate crimes
By Jesse Firempong, 7/12/21

“The recent heat waves and fires sweeping Canada illustrate that the skeletons in the closets of Exxon and all fossil fuel companies have proven more than metaphorical, Jesse Firempong writes in the National Observer. “On the same day sparks ignited the fire that would devour Lytton, B.C., another story was setting #ClimateTwitter aflame. Lobbyists for the American oil giant ExxonMobil made an unintended confession, one that gets to the heart of the climate crisis and how we survive it. In conversations with undercover reporters from Greenpeace, Exxon lobbyists admitted to working with a nebulous web of industry players to undermine early climate science. It’s part of a dirty history of industry-wide climate denial carried out through media campaigns and political influence that was exposed by Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalists in 2015 — but now we have an executive admitting it. “Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes,” said Keith McCoy, a senior government relations executive at Exxon. “Did we join some of these ‘shadow groups’ to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true.” Why did they do it, despite the company’s top brass knowing since 1977 that fossil fuels were driving climate change? In McCoy’s words, “we were looking out for our shareholders.” “…Too often, the language we use to describe the climate crisis fails us. We talk, for example, about “fighting climate change.” But we’re not in a fight against climate change. We’re in a race against it. The fight is with the oil companies who misled us about the truth, letting things get so bad it became a planetary emergency… “I say, ask your representatives about how they plan to hold the oil industry accountable, like they did opioid and tobacco companies when those industries hid the truth about their products. If politicians need more cash to save lives from climate disasters, they can always take a leaf out of American cities’ playbooks and ask the oil industry to cough it up.”

Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Survival of Ronald Lake bison herd may depend on one oil company
Lisa Tssessaze, Melody Lepine, Dan Stuckless, Tammy Riel, 7/14/21

“An unbelievable survival story is playing out on the range of the legendary Ronald Lake Bison Herd within the lowlands west of the Athabasca River and north of Fort McKay in Northern Alberta,” Lisa Tssessaze, Melody Lepine, Dan Stuckless, and Tammy Riel write in the Edmonton Journal. “One of the last disease-free, free-ranging wood bison herds in the world, the Ronald Lake bison herd, has defied experts and observers by remaining free of crippling brucellosis and tuberculosis which has plagued other herds in the area, such as those inside Wood Buffalo National Park… “But one company is still holding on to lands that are vital to the recovery and long-term survival of the Ronald Lake bison herd, and has not yet committed to protection. CNRL, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world and Canada’s largest, has declined to return a set of oilsands leases that Shell, the former owner of the leases, and CNRL’s peers view as better suited to conservation than energy development, so that this critical part of the herd’s range can be added to the Kitaskino Nuwenene Park. These leases contain a high proportion of winter foraging habitat for the herd, which is needed for their survival. CNRL, unlike so many other pillars of Canada’s economy, continues to insist on maintaining these unproductive leases, and may proceed with activities that will be detrimental to the herd’s survival… “As things now stand, CNRL is one of the major threats to the recovery and survival of the Ronald Lake bison herd, but it could just as easily become a real partner in helping secure a brighter future for this herd. Join Indigenous leaders, scientists and citizens in demanding CNRL do better for the bison.”

CleanTechnica: Biden — Don’t Be A Pipeline President!
By David Lapp Jost, 7/14/21

“This month’s events have made it painfully clear that we are experiencing a climate crisis. Lethal heatwaves and the ocean catching fire in a pipeline spill in the Gulf of Mexico are important signs. Yet Joe Biden is pushing us in exactly the wrong direction, supporting huge pipelines that will move tens of billions of dollars of gas and oil. We need our president to protect our environment, not just fake it. We need actions from Biden, not words,” David Lapp Jost writes for CleanTechnica. “…Joe Biden is sitting on the sidelines or even promoting fossil fuel extraction while the Enbridge 3 and Enbridge 5 pipelines move forward. He is betraying Indigenous leaders, environmental activists, and even the Democratic Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer… “Far too many in the media have trumpeted Biden’s cancellation of the already-delayed, problem-ridden Keystone XL project that was only due to start operating in 2023. Far too many are heralding Biden’s infrastructure bill, which never amounted to enough in the scale of the costs of addressing climate change and seems to be diminishing in scale with every Republican compromise. With renewables the cheapest they have ever been, there is no reason we need to develop tens of billions worth of new pipelines. Biden’s presidency should be a transition to clean energy, not this. Democrats need to hear from us — this shouldn’t continue.”

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