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Extracted: Daily News Clips 7/16/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 16, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Portland Press HeraldSouth Portland wins pipeline lawsuit over local clean air rule
  • Associated PressPipeline company drops court fight against Maine city
  • WDIOActress Marisa Tomei speaks at anti-Line 3 event in North-Central Minnesota
  • Bemidji NowAUDIO: DNR OFFICIAL RANDALL DONEEN DISCUSSES ENBRIDGE’S WATER PERMITS, DROUGHT CONDITIONS
  • Philadelphia InquirerEnergy Transfer to pay Pennsylvania $1 million penalty for fiery 2018 pipeline explosion
  • Bloomberg [VIDEO]: McCreath: Enbridge Line 5 vital for Sarnia economy

WASHINGTON UPDATES

STATE UPDATES

  • Capital and MainCalifornia Oil Lobby Seeks to Strip Environmental Protections for Groundwater Amid Drought
  • Wyoming Tribune EagleFour operators’ wells declared abandoned, another’s bonds revoked at WOGCC hearing

TODAY IN GREENWASHNIG

OPINION

  • The Alpena NewsShould taxpayers pay for pipeline’s funeral?
  • OilPrice.comThe American Pipeline War Is Only Just Beginning
  • Opportune LLPCourt Rulings, Delays & Cancellations Underscore Challenges For Gas Pipeline Construction
  • National Law ReviewCongressional Review Act Resolution Changes both Scope and Effect of EPA’s Methane Rule
  • St. Catharine’s StandardCanada’s oil industry wants a massive subsidy to keep producing climate destroying product
  • Saskatoon Star PhoenixOpinion: Liberal policy, inaction on pipelines hurting the West

PIPELINE NEWS

Portland Press Herald: South Portland wins pipeline lawsuit over local clean air rule
BY KELLEY BOUCHARD, 7/15/21

“The city has prevailed in the lawsuit brought by the Portland Pipe Line Corp., ending more than six years of federal litigation over a local law that blocks the company from reversing the flow of its World War II-era oil pipeline to bring crude from Canada to Maine,” the Portland Press Herald reports. “The company gave up the fight Thursday, filing an agreement with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to voluntarily dismiss its appeal of a previous federal court judgment that upheld the city’s Clear Skies Ordinance. Passed by the City Council in 2014, the ordinance prohibits bulk loading of crude oil into marine tanker vessels on the city’s waterfront, and its survival of federal court scrutiny is seen as precedent-setting by many. “I applaud the decision by Portland Pipe Line, which will allow both them and our community to move forward,” Mayor Misha Pride said in a written statement. “I am proud of our community for having the fortitude to stand up for what we believed to be right, and to invest the time and financial resources necessary to defend ourselves. That effort has now finally paid off.” The dismissal follows the city’s victories in U.S. District Court in Portland and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, as well as an amicus brief filed by the Biden administration last month supporting the city’s stance that the ordinance doesn’t violate the Constitution, federal laws or foreign policies.,, “Rachel Burger, founder of Protect South Portland, a local environmental group that formed to prevent the pipeline from reversing its flow, was elated to learn about the company’s decision. “Awesome,” Burger told the Herald. “That’s wonderful. All this time and they’ve given up. My guess is the Biden administration stepping in had a positive impact. But we only did what was legal for us to do, and it’s making a difference. It sets a precedent in that we’re a powerful example of what a little city can do.”

Associated Press: Pipeline company drops court fight against Maine city
7/15/21

“A pipeline company has dropped a federal lawsuit against a Maine city, bringing an end to a yearslong legal battle over a local law that stopped the company from bringing crude oil from Canada,” the Associated Press reports. “South Portland and Portland Pipe Line Corp. were in court for more than six years over the city’s Clear Skies ordinance. The law stopped the pipeline company from reversing the flow of an old pipeline to bring the crude oil to Maine… “The company had wanted to bulk-load crude oil onto marine tank vessels in South Portland’s harbor. It has instead agreed with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss its appeal of a prior federal court judgment upholding the city’s ordinance. South Portland Mayor Misha Pride told AP he is “proud of our community for having the fortitude to stand up for what we believed to be right, and to invest the time and financial resources necessary to defend ourselves.”

WDIO: Actress Marisa Tomei speaks at anti-Line 3 event in North-Central Minnesota
7/15/21

“Actress Marisa Tomei and writer V, formerly known as Eve Ensler, joined in an anti-Line 3 protest Thursday at the Shell City Campground in Menahga, Minnesota,” WDIO reports. “They called on White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, President Biden, and Governor Tim Walz to stop the replacement project from continuing. “President Biden was right stop the Keystone XL pipeline as one of the first actions of his presidency and this pipeline is no different,” said Tomei to a group assembled at the campground. “It will carry the same dirty tar sands oil that climate scientists have warned can be a tipping point to climate catastrophe. It’s imperative that we stop building pipelines that further our dependence on fossil fuels and instead invest in the transition to renewable energy now.”

Bemidji Now: AUDIO: DNR OFFICIAL RANDALL DONEEN DISCUSSES ENBRIDGE’S WATER PERMITS, DROUGHT CONDITIONS
LARISSA DONOVAN, 7/15/21

“A DNR official says that the water appropriation permits for Enbridge are treated differently, depending on if they relate to surface water or groundwater,” Bemidji Now reports. “Enbridge’s construction dewatering permits to lower the water table are considered groundwater permits. These types of permits are not as subject to suspension due to drought or low-flow conditions, according to Randall Doneen, Conservation Assistance and Regulations Sections Manager for the DNR. The 5 billion gallons of water that will be appropriated are across the entire Minnesota leg of Line 3. Each dewatering event impact, Doneen said, will be limited in both time and space because most of the water returns to the system after about a day. Some water is used for the drilling fluid, and some may be lost to evaporation.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Energy Transfer to pay Pennsylvania $1 million penalty for fiery 2018 pipeline explosion
by Andrew Maykuth, 7/15/21

“Energy Transfer LP would pay a $1 million fine to settle safety violations over a fiery 2018 natural gas pipeline explosion that destroyed a home in Western Pennsylvania,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a proposed settlement made last December with the Texas company, whose Revolution Pipeline ruptured and exploded after heavy rains caused a landslide in Beaver County. The new 24-inch diameter pipeline was just being brought into service when the failure occurred. The explosion and fire destroyed a nearby home, whose occupants fled without injury, and knocked out a major electrical transmission line. The pipeline has been out of service since the Sept. 10, 2018, episode. Under the settlement, Energy Transfer does not admit it violated the safety regulations alleged by the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement. But in addition to the $1 million payment, Energy Transfer agreed to several conditions that the PUC says go beyond federal safety requirements. The company agreed to conduct five annual inline inspections of the Revolution pipeline through 2025, to walk the entire 40-mile pipeline right of way after heavy rains and to improve how preconstruction geologic research is incorporated into pipeline design and construction. The PUC agreed not to oppose Energy Transfer’s efforts to restart the pipeline. The commission’s order seeks public comment on the proposed settlement.”

Bloomberg [VIDEO]: McCreath: Enbridge Line 5 vital for Sarnia economy
7/15/21

“Andrew McCreath, president and CEO of Forge First Asset Management, discusses from Sarnia how important Enbridge’s Line 5 is for their economy and the lows variable rate mortgages have reached,” Bloomberg reports.

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico Morning Energy: MANCHIN’S BILL OVER A HURDLE
Matthew Choi, 7/15/21

“Senate Energy Chair Manchin’s energy infrastructure bill advanced out of committee Wednesday, largely intact with a handful of amendments,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “The nearly $100 billion bill is now widely expected to be folded into bipartisan infrastructure legislation that still needs to be finalized.Proposed amendments were plentiful, but several got shot down on largely partisan lines. A few that made it through include a mandated study on the economic impacts of Biden’s revoking of the permit for the Keystone XL project (Manchin joined Republicans in that vote), a DOE study on China’s use of forced labor in building EV parts (Manchin joined Republicans there, too) and a DOE study on the lifetime environmental impact of electric vehicles (a number of Democrats joined Republicans on that one).”

E&E News: Dems plan to question Exxon lobbyist about carbon tax video
By Corbin Hiar, Nick Sobczyk, 7/16/2021

“Congressional investigators are planning to question an Exxon Mobil Corp. lobbyist who inadvertently confirmed a decadeslong effort by the company to derail federal action on climate change in a secretly recorded video, according to officials involved in the effort,” E&E News reports. “The interview by the House Oversight and Reform Committee will likely precede what stands to be a blockbuster hearing with Exxon CEO Darren Woods and other executives of major oil and gas producers. A televised spectacle with oil industry officials gained importance following the release last month of a surreptitiously recorded video in which Keith McCoy, the Exxon lobbyist, acknowledged that the company had funded “shadow groups” to sow doubt about climate science. He also undermined Exxon’s public expressions of support for a carbon tax by saying it’s a “talking point.” McCoy was secretly recorded by activists from Greenpeace UK, who claimed to be headhunters for a deep-pocketed public relations firm with Middle Eastern oil clients. “We’re gonna call in McCoy and ask in detail what his role is and what the role of its lobbyists are, and then have Exxon’s CEO and Chevron’s CEO under oath to tell us what their lobbyists are supposed to do and what actions to take when a lobbyist runs afoul of their values,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), chairman of Oversight’s Environment Subcommittee, told E&E News.

STATE UPDATES

Capital and Main: California Oil Lobby Seeks to Strip Environmental Protections for Groundwater Amid Drought
By Aaron Cantu, 7/13/21

“A prominent oil and gas lobbying group seeks to strip environmental protections from groundwater sources designated by the state for agricultural use and which may grow increasingly important to California’s water-scarce future, according to a memo obtained through a records request,” Capital and Main reports. “The proposal, which hasn’t been publicly announced, suggests removing protections for groundwater reserves underneath 1,500 square surface miles in western Kern County, where the upper groundwater zone alone can extend down thousands of feet. That region, near communities like McKittrick, Taft and Maricopa, is home to intensive oil drilling. Under the proposed change, companies could have an easier time maintaining petroleum-tainted water in existing open-air ponds, which contaminate groundwater reserves. (One barrel of produced oil results in 16 barrels of water tainted by petroleum.) This method of disposal is so toxic that the water board updated its permitting process to be more stringent after environmentalists called attention to it. There are more than 900 active, inactive, or closed ponds in California, almost all in Kern County. Over 200 more are in the process of closing. The proposal could have wider implications; if successful, experts say, it could strengthen the oil industry’s ability to lay claim to groundwater reserves that had previously been designated for farm irrigation or even drinking water.”

Wyoming Tribune Eagle: Four operators’ wells declared abandoned, another’s bonds revoked at WOGCC hearing
Nicole Pollack, 7/14/21

“More than four years after Bearcat Energy filed for bankruptcy, the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission on Tuesday voted to require the natural gas operator to forfeit $2.25 million in bonds for the plugging and reclamation of its abandoned wells,” the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports. “Bearcat, which bid close to $1.2 million for approximately 100 Wyoming coal-bed methane wells in 2010, ceased known operations in 2016. It failed to provide nearly $200,000 in additional bonds requested by the commission in 2016 and stopped submitting production reports in 2017, violating commission requirements for well monitoring during bankruptcy.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHNIG

The Ekalaka Eagle: Veteran’s Memorial Park receives additional funding
7/16/21

“Organizers and planners of Ekalaka Veteran’s Memorial Park thank TC Energy Foundation for donating $3,000 towards the project,” The Ekalaka Eagle reports. “TC Energy has been a generous contributor for community development in the area… “EPEDC was thrilled to be able to provide the grant writing services for this project. For more than 70 years, TC Energy has proudly operated pipelines, storage facilities, and power-generation plants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Their facilities operate safely, reliably and quietly.”

OPINION

The Alpena News: Should taxpayers pay for pipeline’s funeral?
Greg Awtry, 7/16/21

Have you ever been sued? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but, chances are, you have never been sued for $15 billion. Until now! That’s right, you are about to be sued for $15 billion,” Greg Awtry writes for The Alpena News. “You see, Canadian energy company TransCanada, now calling itself TC Energy, the company behind the failed KXL pipeline project, notified the U.S. State Department that it intends to sue us for $15 billion because their risky investment didn’t pan out the way they wanted. Why $15 billion? Well, why not? The last time the KXL pipeline was denied, by then-President Barack Obama, TransCanada sued us for $15 billion, but they dropped the lawsuit when President Donald Trump approved their permit. But here’s what the national news mostly neglects mentioning: President Trump’s approval of the KXL had a clause stating the permit could be rescinded, but TC Energy rolled the dice, anyway, and went ahead with their project, even though they didn’t even have all their easements in place. It was a risk assumed by TC Energy, and, in the end, they walked away from it. Now, they want to sue us to make up for not only their losses, but — get this — also for the profits they never received in the first place. Jane Kleeb, a leader of the fight against KXL, called it “disgusting, yet predictable.” Kleeb has seen all this before. She has seen TC Energy’s deceptive and bullying tactics with private landowners, as well as their meddling in Nebraska’s legislature to gain favorable pipeline laws. Kleeb added: “America didn’t want your pipeline. You took the risk. Taxpayers are not going to pay $15 billion for your failed and risky investment. You lost. This is how capitalism works.” I agree with Kleeb, and have often wondered, what part of “no” does TC Energy not understand? We said no, we don’t want a tar sand oil pipeline running over and, in some cases, directly through the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking and irrigation water to eight midwestern states. We said no, we don’t think it is right to ship Canadian oil right through the heartland of the country to Port Arthur, Texas so it can be exported onto the world market.”

OilPrice.com: The American Pipeline War Is Only Just Beginning
Tsvetana Paraskova, 7/15/21

“It is not a great time to be an oil pipeline developer or operator in North America these days,”  Tsvetana Paraskova writes for OilPrice.com. “Policymakers are canceling projects and threatening to close operational pipelines. Environmental groups are becoming more vocal in their opposition to any form of fossil fuel production in Canada and subsequent plans for the transportation of crude from Canada’s oil sands sites to U.S. refining hubs. And this increased pressure on pipelines may change the course of the industry forever. Oil pipeline developers and operators continue to defend their (remaining) projects, saying that their plans will bring a reliable supply of North American crude oil to U.S. markets that will continue to need fuels for the foreseeable future. Pipelines are a safer and cheaper mode of transportation than crude-by-rail transportation, they say. Environmentalists and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are having none of it. And the state of Michigan is trying to have Enbridge’s Line 5 through the Straits of Mackinac shut down. Faced with opposition to oil pipeline projects, energy infrastructure operators are now vying to offer alternative ways of transporting oil from Canada’s oil sands. They are also studying ways to build hydrogen pipelines, as well as carbon capture and transportation systems to help oil sands production—one of the world’s most carbon-intensive ways to pump oil—to reduce its carbon footprint. “

Opportune LLP: Court Rulings, Delays & Cancellations Underscore Challenges For Gas Pipeline Construction
7/15/21

“Natural gas pipelines are part of the critical infrastructure that transport gas throughout the U.S. to commercial, industrial, and residential consumers,” according to Opportune LLP. “ Interstate gas pipelines that cross multiple states are approved and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In the past few years, however, the construction of new and expanded gas pipelines has been subject to increased scrutiny, especially as the U.S. and other countries address climate change by expanding the use of renewable energy resources and reduce the use of fossil fuels… “It’s estimated that had the PennEast pipeline been placed in service before the 2017/2018 winters, eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey gas and electric customers would have saved approximately $1.3 billion, according to an independent study by Concentric Energy Advisors. Other proposed pipelines, such as the $8 billion Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline, have been canceled due to delays and cost overruns attributed to legal and regulatory disputes… “Congress has proposed legislation that would impose limits or impact eminent domain rights for pipelines. The Landowners Fairness Act (S. 641) would require FERC to consider certain pipeline permitting factors, modify eminent domain requirements, and prohibit using the NGA eminent domain for pipelines built for exports. The CLEAN Future Act (H.R. 1512) would prohibit pipeline companies from using NGA eminent domain authority until they have all necessary federal and state permits and comply with environmental permit conditions. The legislation would also prohibit using eminent domain for gas pipelines built for import or export purposes. Other congressional legislative proposals would amend the NGA eminent domain rights or require FERC to consider other environmental factors before a gas pipeline certificate could be issued. It’s unlikely that most of these legislative proposals will be approved in a divided Congress; however, it demonstrates the desire to place more hurdles for future gas pipeline construction.”

National Law Review: Congressional Review Act Resolution Changes both Scope and Effect of EPA’s Methane Rule
Whit Swift, Bracewell LLP, 7/14/21

“On June 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that disapproved a final rule adopted by the prior administration that made significant changes to 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart OOOOa – the federal New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that apply to sources in the oil and natural gas sector, commonly known as the “Methane Rule,” Whit Swift writes in the National Law Review. “The CRA resolution rightfully received a great deal of attention because it re-institutes the regulation of methane under the NSPS, an important precedent for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating methane from existing oil and gas sources. And while the CRA resolution set the table for EPA’s future regulation of methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources, it also had a more-immediate impact:  sources in the “transportation and storage” segment of the industry, which had been dropped from coverage under the oil and gas NSPS by the prior administration, are once again subject to oil and gas NSPS requirements, effective immediately.”

St. Catharine’s Standard: 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, 7/15/21

“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 St. Catharine’s Standard. “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… Taking the taxpayer for a ride gets worse. Not only does the oil industry want us to fund their continued operation to make it “net zero,” they are also on track for an even larger deficit to clean up the oilsands mess once they have extracted their profits. In its last reported year, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) reported it was holding under $1 billion in the Mine Financial Security Program while internal documents of the AER were reported in 2018 as saying that the cost of cleanup will be between $130 billion and $260 billion. This scam is probably the biggest example in Canada of the privatization of profits and the socialization of costs. When will we collectively require our governments to stop this practice? Haven’t we learned our lesson with cigarettes, guns and opioids?”

Saskatoon Star Phoenix: Opinion: Liberal policy, inaction on pipelines hurting the West
Herb Pinder is a non-practising lawyer in Saskatoon and a graduate of Harvard Business School. His background includes governance with a particular focus on energy through multiple energy boards and his oil and gas private equity firm, 7/15/21

“After more than a decade of pipeline political ping-pong, TC Energy and the Government of Alberta have given up — Keystone XL is dead. The anti-pipeline, anti-energy and anti-market protagonists are celebrating a great victory while also saving the planet,” Herb Pinder writes for the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. “Maybe. While there are many consequences of this rejection, none will enhance Mother Earth. This pipeline was conceived primarily to move heavy oil from Canada’s oilsands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast configured to process such feedstock. Now denied the least costly and safest sourcing, the first consequence is more U.S. oil imports from countries with lower environmental standards and higher GHG emissions, hardly supportive of the articulated objectives of the activists, the Democratic Party and the White House. A second long-term consequence is that Canada now fully understands that the U.S. is an unreliable trade partner, many times dishonouring both the spirit and the word of longstanding energy agreements and integrated pipeline system. From the early stages of this full contact ping-pong, the Canadian industry and many political leaders have increasingly come to understand the need for Canadian access to the growing oil-and-gas-hungry nations of Pacific Asia. The construction progress of the TransMountain pipeline is tangible recognition of this need by the owner and developer, the Government of Canada.”

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