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Extracted: Daily News Clips 7/19/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 19, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

WASHINGTON UPDATES

EXTRACTION

PLANET OR PLASTIC?

  • WIRED UKHow Lego Perfected the Recycled Plastic Brick

OPINION

PIPELINE NEWS

FOX9: DNR suspends some water permits for Line 3 construction amid drought
7/16/21

“The drought is having an impact on construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline,” FOX9 reports. “The Minnesota DNR suspended water permits for dust control, drilling and line testing in some locations where surface water is in low supply… “The DNR will continue to monitor water levels and will allow water use to resume once supplies are back to more sustainable levels.”

Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety [VIDEO]: Today the DEP ordered Sunoco to shut down Mariner East pipeline construction off of Briar Road in Meadowbrook Manor
7/18/21

“Announcement! Thanks to community speaking up and being persistent the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has FINALLY taken action today – action we have calling on them to take for MONTHS: Today the DEP ordered Sunoco to shut down Mariner East pipeline construction off of Briar Road in Meadowbrook Manor.  The shut down applies only to pipeline construction; dewatering operations will continue. DEP ordered Sunoco to prepare a plan that will lay out the steps they will take to mitigate future sinkholes at this location and to: 1. Outline the previous grouting operations that have been in response to the sinkholes, some of which were in the wetland 2. Outline the required restoration for those sites 3. Submit a plan to prevent future sinkholes  from occurring on this site during Mariner East construction. This is a good step by the DEP but it should have been taken months ago BEFORE there were ten sinkholes and fifty plus cement truckloads of grout in this wetland and floodway.. We have been documenting and reporting these violations to the DEP and they have turned a blind eye..”

Common Dreams: Water Protectors Against Line 3 Sue Over Police Blockade of Indigenous Camp
JESSICA CORBETT, 7/16/21

“Water protectors fighting against Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota filed suit Friday to stop a police blockade of a camp they use for Indigenous-led organizing, decolonization, and treaty rights trainings as well as religious activities,” according to Common Dreams. “The plaintiffs, including Indigenous leaders Tara Houska and Winona LaDuke, are taking legal action in response to the Hubbard County Sheriff Office’s ongoing blockade of the private property, which police unexpectedly began late last month. The complaint names the county, Sheriff Corwin “Cory” Aukes, and Mark Lohmeier, the local land commissioner, as defendants. “The Hubbard County Sheriff has attempted to illegally construct a de facto open-air prison to trap Indigenous environmental protectors and allies on their own property and to prevent others from joining in decolonization and treaty rights trainings and organizing against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline,” said attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard in a statement. Verheyden-Hilliard is legal counsel and director of the Center for Protest Law and Litigation, a project of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. The center and EarthRights International are representing the plaintiffs, who are seeking relief related to a relevant easement, the blockade notice, and citations issued by officers blocking the driveway to the Namewag Camp. “This is an overtly political military-style blockade and checkpoint system being deployed with funding from the Enbridge corporation using the power of the state against its environmental opponents,” said Verheyden-Hilliard, referencing that law enforcement agencies in several Minnesota counties have been reimbursed for policing costs related to the pipeline protests.”

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: Enbridge begins drilling under the Shell River; Water monitors needed
7/18/21

“Enbridge has begun drilling under the Shell River,” according to the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. “River monitors reported activities crossing below a mussel bed in the river. Citizens are needed to monitor the waters, not just of the river, but of the many large tanker trucks that are being escorted around the area by multiple law enforcement. We need people to track and record where they are going. Come to Shell City Campground Water Protector Camp. Bring tent. Directions here.”

Facebook: Oil and Gas Action Network: 2 dozen activists are occupying the SF Federal Building demanding @POTUS @JoeBiden #StopLine3
7/16/21

“NOW: In solidarity with Frontline indigenous leadership in MN resisting the #Line3 pipeline – 2 dozen activists are occupying the SF Federal Building demanding @POTUS @JoeBiden #StopLine3”

Pine Journal: Women walk the Enbridge route to pray for clean water
Teri Cadeau, 7/18/21

“An Indigenous-led group began a nibi (water) walk alongside the Nemadji River near Superior on Sunday morning,” the Pine Journal reports. “ The group of women plan to walk along the path of the Line 3 Enbridge replacement pipeline from Superior to the North Dakota border, finishing about July 29. The walk began with a blessing ceremony at Lake Superior, where water from the lake was placed in a ceremonial copper vessel that will be carried by the walkers for the 359-mile journey. At each body of water, more water will be added to the vessel. “At every water crossing, we will gather water and pray with it,” organizer, elder and water protector Sharon Day told the Journal. “We are walking to pray for the water along the proposed route of Line 3. We are not a protest. Our only audience is the water.” “…Opponents of the pipeline say it is unnecessary, that it worsens climate change, risks an oil spill and violates Indigenous and treaty rights. “For me personally, I believe that water is life and that we need to have water for future generations. It’s a finite resource, and we need to protect that,” walker Chas Jewett told the Journal.

Duluth News Tribune: Demonstrators gather against Line 3 in Wadena County
Rebecca Mitchell, 7/16/21

“About 200 demonstrators — including actress Marisa Tomei — rallied against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project Thursday, July 15, at the Shell City Campground near Menahga, Minn,” the Duluth News Tribune reports. “The river is set to have three to five drilling sites where clams and manoomin, or wild rice, are abundant. These are some of the very aspects the group gathered to protect as portions of the 1855 treaty territory, event organizers said. The water and land have been harvested for thousands of years as a “sustainable economy,” according to Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth executive director… “Tomei called on President Joe Biden and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy to revoke the Line 3 pipeline permits and to complete a comprehensive review of how tribal treaty rights as well as the water, land, air and climate will be impacted. Speakers Thursday also called on Gov. Tim Walz to stop the project. “It’s time to stop playing politics with the future of life on this planet,” the Academy Award-winning actress said. “If President Biden is serious about climate change, if he’s serious about respecting the rights of Indigenous people and if he’s serious about making sure we’re on track to have a livable planet then Line 3 must be stopped.”

WKOW: Flash mob protests pipeline loans in Madison
7/17/21

“Climate activists staged a flash mob dance outside of a downtown bank as part of a protest meant to put pressure on Wall Street banks to end their loans for the ‘Line 3 Replacement Project pipeline project,’” WKOW reports. “The ‘Stop the Money Pipeline’ coalition started the nationwide campaign ‘#DefundLine3’ and the organization is calling to ‘defund’ the banks involved with the loans for the pipelines: Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada. Organizers with the 350 Madison Climate Action Team, which put together Saturday’s protest, said it was an opportunity to bring awareness and grab attention to their mission. “The banks could could easily and legally end their funding relationship with Enbridge Corporation, the company behind line three,” organizer Dianne Brakarsh told WKOW. “So that’s why we’re doing this now.” “…A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase told WKOW the bank accepts climate change as real and referred to what it calls a “Paris Agreement-aligned financing strategy.” “…Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes told WKOW people have the right to protest, but the project is nearly complete. “Enbridge respects the rights of individuals to peacefully express their opinions about the energy we all depend on. The replacement of Line 3 has been completed in Canada North Dakota and Wisconsin,” Barnes said in a statement to 27 News. “The replacement project is more than 70 percent complete in Minnesota, with the project being on track to be in service by Q4 of this year.”

Facebook: Delaware Riverkeeper Network: Stop PennEast: Join Us To Demand NJ Leadership & DRBC Rejection
7/15/21

“With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that PennEast can take state owned lands and property rights our event has evolved to focus on the voices of environmental, justice and youth leaders standing together to urge NJ Governor Phil Murphy, President Biden, and elected leaders to use their powers to STOP PENNEAST. Please plan to join us — your presence with homemade signs or to hold up the signs we will have, will help us deliver a powerful message. PennEast is not a done deal – but it could be if our leaders to not stand with and for us to stop it’s forward progress. We will be gathering outside the Annex next to the NJ Statehouse. Helps make sure they hear us Loud & Clear – Stop PennEast; Prevent the Fracking it Will Induce; Get Serious About the Climate Criss NOW! Please be sure you signed and shared the petition so we can ensure Governor Murphy and the other electeds understand, across the region and the nation want him to stop the PennEast pipeline, it is bad for our region, our nation and our world, and it will contribute to the climate crisis devastation facing future generations. Stop PennEast and the fracking it would bring. You can sign and share the petition from here: https://www.change.org/p/phil-murphy-time-to-stop-the-penneast-fracked-gas-pipeline

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Some central Virginia property owners plan to fight proposed gas pipeline
PATRICK WILSON, 7/18/21

“Some people in central Virginia are preparing to fight a plan to put a natural gas pipeline through their properties that would serve a yet-to-be-built power plant in Charles City County,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “While Charles City County has approved the plant, property owners and county government leaders along the pipeline path said they have no information yet about the actual route of the pipeline. Environmental groups say the line would serve a plant that is not needed for Virginia’s electricity needs. “The natural gas industry has written our law in Virginia, and nationally, to a very great extent,” Lynn Peace Wilson of Henrico County, who received a letter from the pipeline company about her property across the Chickahominy River in New Kent County, told the Dispatch. “They have written themselves protections that make it very difficult for anyone to question what they are doing.” “…The letters that went out didn’t say so, but the developer of the plant told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the company won’t try to legally force any property owner to allow use of their land for the pipeline. If any property owners along the proposed route from near Charlottesville to Charles City County object, the company will change the route, said Irfan Ali of Balico LLC.”

Globe and Mail: Natural gas firms, Nisga’a Nation unite on $55-billion venture in B.C.
BRENT JANG, 7/19/21

“Seven natural gas producers have teamed up with the Nisga’a Nation to submit a plan to regulators for approval to build a $55-billion energy megaproject in British Columbia, saying they have learned valuable lessons from other initiatives that have failed to materialize over the past decade,” the Globe and Mail reports. “Calgary-based Birchcliff Energy is leading the group of producers known as Rockies LNG, which has enlisted Houston-based Western LNG LLC to help carry out plans to construct the B.C. project to export liquefied natural gas to Asia. Their Ksi Lisims LNG project is named after the Nass River in the Nisga’a language… “Environmental groups maintain that companies should not be investing more money in fossil fuels such as natural gas, saying the focus must shift immediately to renewable energy. But Ksi Lisims LNG said natural gas makes sense as a transition fuel to help displace coal in Asia at many electricity generation plants. “Exporting LNG from Canada adds natural gas supply to the global gas market, enabling governments to phase out coal use and to supply growing energy demand,” the filing by Ksi Lisims LNG said… “Ksi Lisims LNG’s filing to regulators discloses that two pipeline plans, intended for now-defunct LNG projects, will be re-examined. TC Energy Corp. designed one of the routes while Enbridge did the other. The strategy is to select one of the pipeline designs and reconfigure the route so natural gas is transported from northeastern B.C. to Wil Milit. The initial proposals by TC Energy and Enbridge have routes that end in the Prince Rupert, B.C., region, which is roughly 80 kilometres south of Wil Milit as the crow flies.”

The Allegheny Front: PUC Seeks Comment On $1 Million Fine For Beaver County Blast
By Reid Frazier, 7/18/21

“The state’s public utility regulator is seeking comment on a proposed $1 million fine for a Texas company responsible for a 2018 pipeline explosion in Beaver County that destroyed one home,” The Allegheny Front reports. “The company’s Revolution pipeline had been in service for only a week in September 2018 when it ruptured during a landslide, engulfing a hillside in flames and forcing evacuations. The explosion released 3 million cubic feet of gas and sent flames 150 feet into the air. No one was injured in the blast, but it killed several house animals, damaged vehicles, and destroyed six high-voltage electric transmission towers and an electrical line. Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a record $30 million fine to the company for the blast, focusing on the pipeline’s faulty slope stabilization. Now, the state’s Public Utility Commission, which oversees pipeline safety, voted 4-0 to seek public comment on a proposed $1 million fine for Texas-based Energy Transfer. As part of the fine, the company would agree to several added safety precautions, including more inspections and additional monitoring for landslides along its route.”

SeekingAlpha: Energy Transfer: Your Second Chance Is Knocking
7/18/21

“Energy Transfer’s share price has dipped again recently, presenting value investors with another buying opportunity,” SeekingAlpha reports. “The Enable Midstream acquisition further enhances ET’s scale and will result in operational synergies. Meanwhile, management is aggressively reducing debt, and pays a very well-covered and attractive distribution… “Why Energy Transfer Is A Buy: Energy Transfer is an MLP (with schedule K-1) that’s one of the largest crude oil, natural gas, and NGL operators in the U.S., spanning across Texas and the mid-continent region… “One of the perceived risks to ET is its exposure to crude oil, considering uncertainty around the latest OPEC+ meeting, and the general energy transition towards renewables. However, ET is less exposed to crude oil as many would think. Only 21% of ET’s EBITDA is derived from crude oil operations, with the rest stemming from natural gas, NGL, refined products, and subsidiaries.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico Morning Energy: IT’S A DATE
Matthew Choi, 7/16/21

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for a vote Wednesday to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill, twisting lawmakers arms into getting something moving before the August recess,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “But lawmakers are still negotiating the finer points of the framework, which hasn’t been released as legislative text yet, causing skepticism that they’ll be able to keep up with such a tight timeline. “We’re not done yet,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who is part of the bipartisan cohort negotiating the bill, told POLITICO’s Marianne Levine and Burgess Everett. “I don’t think we’re going to have any artificial deadlines. I think we’re going to do our best to get it done in an expeditious fashion, but if we were successful in coming to an agreement, it’d be great to have it done before” the August recess. Such a tight timeline means Senate negotiators need to come to an agreement by next week… “Schumer is also pushing a Wednesday deadline for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion party-line spending plan to keep the two-track infrastructure strategy on its parallel rails. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed not to take up the bipartisan infrastructure proposal until the Senate passes a budget for their partisan spending package, and Marianne and Burgess report that calculus hasn’t changed with Schumer’s new deadline.”

Bloomberg: Antsy Industry Awaits Interior Oil Lease Sale After Court Order
7/15/21

“Oil and gas industry-aligned lawyers say the Interior Department could be held in contempt of court if it doesn’t soon comply with a Louisiana federal judge’s order to restart federal oil and gas leasing,” Bloomberg reports. “The department paused quarterly oil and gas leasing nationwide in January while it reviewed the leasing program. But Louisiana U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty on June 15 issued a preliminary injunction enjoining and restraining Interior from implementing the pause in Louisiana v. Biden. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Tuesday that the department is complying with Doughty’s order and will follow the law, but she declined to say how exactly it’s doing so. If Interior doesn’t conduct a quarterly lease sale soon, “the secretary risks a contempt citation from Judge Doughty,” John Martin, an oil and gas lawyer and Wyoming-based partner at Holland & Hart LLP, told Bloomberg. “One would expect that those lease sales would have to go forward forthwith.”

Politico Morning Energy: GREENS LOSE BID TO PROD BIDEN ON WOTUS:
Matthew Choi, 7/16/21

“Environmental groups led by the Southern Environmental Law Center lost their legal bid to push the Biden EPA into moving faster to overturn the Trump administration’s contentious rule that decreased the number of streams and wetlands receiving federal Clean Water Act protection,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “ In a short ruling without explanation Thursday, a federal judge in South Carolina agreed to remand the Trump Navigable Waters Protection Rule back to EPA for reconsideration but left it on the books in the meantime, as the Biden administration had requested. Greens had opposed the Biden administration’s request and instead wanted the judge to rule directly on the Trump-era rule. While they support the Biden EPA’s plan to craft its own definition of protected waters, they say the agency is moving too slowly to take it off the books.”

EXTRACTION

Climate Defense Project: Climate Necessity Defense Recognized in State of Washington
7/16/21

“In a decision signed by seven justices, with two justices abstaining on the necessity question and none dissenting, the Supreme Court of Washington issued an opinion today holding that George Taylor, a minister and member of Veterans for Peace, presented sufficient evidence to raise the climate necessity defense at his jury trial,” the Climate Defense Project reports. “The opinion, which analyzed all four elements of the defense, reversed the rulings of two lower courts and resolved a split between Divisions I and III of Washington appellate courts on whether climate activists should be allowed to present a necessity defense… “A previous case in which CDP provided representation to valve-turner Ken Ward, along with attorneys Lauren Regan and Ralph Hurvitz, set the stage for the Supreme Court’s review in the Taylor case. The Ward case led to the first written opinion recognizing the climate necessity defense by an appellate court. Mr. Taylor had sought to present a necessity defense after a peaceful September 2016 protest in which he blocked tracks used by oil trains traversing downtown Spokane, citing dangers to the climate and the health and safety of local residents. Following testimony from experts on climate change, civil disobedience, and transportation safety at a June 2017 hearing, a judge gave Mr. Taylor permission to present a necessity defense — also known as a choice-of-evils defense — at a jury trial. Mr. Taylor had planned to present evidence that his minor lawbreaking was necessary to raise public awareness and spur action to address dangers caused by oil trains and the climate crisis. However, the prosecution appealed the granting of the necessity defense before trial began, and the case has been on appeal since then. Today’s Supreme Court opinion means that, in future Washington cases, the climate necessity defense must be heard by a jury whenever there is credible evidence to support each element of the defendant’s argument. Mr. Taylor’s case will be remanded to the trial court, where he will permitted to present a climate necessity defense to a jury.”

Wall Street Journal: Oil-Demand Rebound Could Spur Inflation, Pressure Debt-Laden Nations, OPEC Says
By David Hodari, 7/15/21

“A strong recovery in global oil demand next year could accelerate the pace of inflation and pressure countries with high debt levels, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Thursday,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “In a monthly report, OPEC made its first 2022 forecasts for the global oil market, saying it expects the world’s appetite for crude to rise by 3.3 million barrels a day to average 99.9 million barrels a day. That echoes forecasts made in June by the International Energy Agency, which expects demand to return to pre-pandemic highs by the end of next year. Despite uneven vaccination rates and the rise of the Delta coronavirus variant, the cartel expects pandemic-containment measures and stimulus measures to spur oil consumption in the second half of 2021 and next year… “U.S. oil demand will be marginally below 2019 levels next year, while Chinese and Indian demand will exceed their pre-pandemic levels, OPEC said… “Despite uncertainty regarding aspects of U.S. production, the cartel said it expected American producers to account for 700,000 barrels a day of next year’s 2.1 million-barrel increase from non-OPEC countries, with Brazil, Norway, and Guyana among the other countries ramping up output.”

PLANET OR PLASTIC?

WIRED UK: How Lego Perfected the Recycled Plastic Brick
Jeremy White, 7/11/21

“EACH YEAR, MORE than 380 million metric tons of plastic is produced worldwide. Lego is responsible for 100,000 metric tons of it. This contribution to the annual total is, of course, the result of making its classic children’s toy,” WIRED UK reports. “ Lego’s impact may initially appear to be a sliver of that plastic output, but it still counts. Why? That 100,000 metric tons of polymer was last year turned into 110 billion bricks. What’s more, the vast majority of those 110 billion bricks, as much as 80 percent, were made from acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, or ABS, a petroleum-based thermoplastic prized for its strength and rigidity. ABS does not like being recycled, because it loses those sturdy qualities. Such is the resilience of ABS, it takes lifetimes to break down, meaning whatever is made from the stuff will be hanging around on our planet for an awfully long time. This is why, in 2015, after 66 years of pumping out vast quantities of unrecyclable interlocking toy bricks and perhaps sensing the impending plastic backlash, Lego announced it was putting $155 million of its huge income (2019 revenue hit $7 billion) into a new Sustainable Materials Center. The first tangible product to come out of this center was a sugarcane-based plastic. It took the company two years to perfect this sustainable polyethylene, and it was hailed as a great success. The trouble was, due to its less-than-rigid nature, it was mainly suited to non-load-bearing lines, like trees and leaves—a tiny proportion of Lego products, around 2 percent. Now, however, comes the main event: the humble 2 x 4 brick. Lego has moved on from bendy bioplastic to making a new prototype block that is fabricated from PET plastic from discarded bottles. It is the very first brick made from a recycled material to meet most of Lego’s requirements for its standard ABS bricks.”

OPINION

Park Rapids Enterprise: LETTER: Pipeline fuels our lives
Heidi Johnson, Bemidji, 7/18/21

“Last month, thousands of Line 3 pipeline opponents came from out of state to protest the pipeline project,” Heidi Johnson writes for the Park Rapids Enterprise. “Last week, the head of the Rainforest Action Network traveled to Minnesota to chain herself to a piece of construction equipment, disrupt work and get arrested. This is the same group that Winona LaDuke has asked previously to come to Minnesota to get arrested. A few years ago, the head of the Sierra Club also flew to protest into Bemidji. Now, whether they came by plane or by car, the question remains. How can you travel thousands of miles thanks to the same resource you are traveling to protest? Simply put: We need oil. It literally fuels our daily lives. And even fuels the cars and planes that Line 3 protesters use on their way to protest… “The idea of people from around the country coming to Minnesota as some sort of a stunt and put more pressure on our first responders is absurd. It is time for this hypocrisy and these protests to stop.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Mountain Valley Pipeline poses environmental risks
Jessica Sims, 7/18/21

“Earlier this month marked a special anniversary: the July 5, 2020, cancellation of the ruinous fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” Jessica Sims writes in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The misguided project would have scarred 600 miles of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Thankfully, the tireless work of Black and Indigenous leaders, community members, environmental advocates and experts kept the spotlight on — and continued the fight against — a project that was harmful to health, climate and ecosystems. But as we reflect and celebrate, those same states face another dangerous fossil-fuel project — the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The 303-mile project is equally environmentally and socially unjust, lacking in permits, mired in litigation, billions over budget and unneeded. Construction to date has harmed the communities and water resources of Southwest Virginia and West Virginia for years… “Regulators at the state and federal level must say “No” — no to new air and water permits, no to requests to bore under waterways and no to adding to the climate crisis. Mountain Valley Pipeline, like the vanquished Atlantic Coast Pipeline, must be canceled.”

Roanoke Times: Hadwin: MVP: The whole story
Thomas Hadwin served as an executive for electric and gas utilities in Michigan and New York, 7/18/21

“I have read with interest the various community opinions about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. As a former electric and gas utility executive, I am very familiar with the challenges involved in creating the energy facilities we need at a reasonable cost and with the least possible disruption to our environment. So far, MVP’s record of environmental protection has not been good,” writes in the Roanoke Times. “They have been cited for hundreds of permit violations and fined $2.7 million. Construction in the areas with the greatest potential for landslides, soil erosion and stream crossing impacts has not yet occurred. In their June 30 opinion column, Cline Brubaker and Bob Camicia, former Franklin County Supervisors, argue that if the MVP were finished, the Summit View Business Park could draw new businesses and jobs to the area, benefitting the region and making a certain amount of environmental disruption acceptable. Choosing between protecting our water, heritage and property rights versus increased economic activity is a false choice based on incomplete information. The former supervisors said the MVP could be tapped “at no cost to residents.” This is probably accurate in the context of the way the connection was presented to the Franklin County Board of Supervisors, but it does not reflect the cost to Roanoke Gas customers.”

Husch Blackwell LLP: United States: Federal Courts Issue A Mixed Bag Of Decisions On Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting
Frederick G. Jauss, IV, 7/19/21

“Late last month, the Federal Courts issued two major rulings involving certificates of public convenience and necessity for natural gas pipelines issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. While a decision by the Supreme Court was a victory for pipeline companies, a decision by the DC Circuit in another FERC case could have important impacts on the standards that pipeline companies must meet in order to demonstrate need for their proposed pipeline project,” Frederick G. Jauss writes for Husch Blackwell LLP. “…On review of FERC’s order, the DC Circuit determined that FERC had acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in granting the certificate to Spire STL. The court focused on the Commission’s reliance on the precedent agreement with Spire Missouri and found that the certificate order failed to properly address the arguments raised by the protesting parties that the contract with Spire STL’s affiliate did not satisfy the requirement in the Certificate Policy Statement to demonstrate need for the pipeline. The remedy prescribed by the court of vacatur has the effect of removing the regulatory authorization to construct and operate the Spire STL pipeline. Although the court acknowledged that the effect of its order would disrupt pipeline operations, the court justified the approach by arguing that it did not wish to encourage agencies to allow construction without first having conducted a comprehensive review. The decision remands the case back to FERC for further proceedings… “Pipeline developers should pay close attention to how FERC handles the remand of the Spire STL Pipeline proceeding. Given the interest among members of the Commission in revisiting the Certificate Policy Statement, the Commission could use this proceeding as a springboard to push for changes in how FERC evaluates natural gas pipeline proposals.”

Los Angeles Times: Op-Ed: Fossil fuel lobbyists keep stoking the West’s wildfires
Tom Steyer is a climate activist and the founder of Farallon Capital Management and NextGen America, 7/16/21

“The Western United States is burning. Last month Oregon and Washington lived through an unbearable 117 degrees — an all-time high for the region, which averages around 62 degrees this time of year. California is seeing the worst fires on record,” Tom Steyer writes in the Los Angeles Times. “This isn’t a fluke. This is a data point in our new normal: Hot days and short rainy seasons turn our lush greenery and vibrant woods into kindling. This also isn’t a mystery. We are still powering our country with the fuels that brought us to the brink of disaster. And when we are way past due for investment in a reliable, clean energy grid, Republicans are instead sitting around trying to define the word “infrastructure.” Why? Because fossil fuel apologists such as the American Petroleum Institute and the American Gas Assn. are actively campaigning against clean energy proposals. They’re lobbying against cheaper energy for consumers, lobbying against the changes that will make our grid more reliable, more equitable and sustainable for the clean energy future that we know must come. Hoping for the U.S. to continue its dependency on oil, natural gas and coal, fossil fuel lobbyists are drawing from the same playbook Big Tobacco used to push cigarettes to kids, and that playbook of deception was recently revealed by Exxon Mobil’s top lobbyist. For more than a decade, oil companies have spent tens of millions of dollars each year spreading misleading slogans, adapting their message to fit the political and cultural moment — from “Thanks to Natural Gas, the Air Up Here Is Cleaner” to “We can produce the energy America needs and protect the environment.” We can see through their greenwashing. Top oil companies spend $195 million a year on media campaigns touting their commitment to climate action, even as oil and natural gas extraction expands. After Joe Biden outlined his climate plans, the American Petroleum Institute spent an average of $24,000 a day targeting millennials on Facebook with ads portraying gas as a climate solution…  “These lies are dangerous, and if we choose to believe them, the United States will continue to be torn apart by drilling and pipelines, and the threat of climate change will only become more severe. We will miss the opportunity to lead, to reap the benefits of climate technologies and innovations, and to save the planet.”

MLK50: Journalist Ida B. Wells’ words hit mark more than century later regarding Byhalia Pipeline
Carrington J. Tatum, 7/16/21

“The prolific Black journalist Ida B. Wells toiled for justice in Memphis and across the world, speaking out against lynching and the unfair treatment of women and Black people,” Carrington Tatum writes for MLK50. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” said Wells, in whose honor a statue will be unveiled Friday morning on Beale Street. The vigilance she speaks of doesn’t assume every act is sinister, but it does implore us —  especially journalists — to listen when disenfranchised people speak out, to be relentless in pursuit of truth in any issue, and never dismiss the plight of historically overlooked people. Consider when Plains All American Pipeline announced in late 2019 its joint plans with Valero Energy Corporation to build the Byhalia Connection Pipeline through Black communities in Southwest Memphis. The multi-billion-dollar fossil fuel corporation, with a public relations machine, blitzed into Southwest Memphis with maps, charts and donations to local nonprofits, as though the pipeline was inevitable. And it might have been had Boxtown and other communities not vigorously wrestled the company in a battle of information to make their health and property concerns heard by elected officials and media. The company tapped out and announced on July 2 that it would not proceed with the project… “Few stories explored what a pipeline would mean for the Black, low-income Memphians in its path and the risks that it could pose. The residents were not just espousing unsupported fears; they were telling Memphis what they know through the experience of environmental degradation that spans generations. And those accounts are backed up by numerous studies as researchers and policymakers catch up to the realities of environmental injustice. Additionally, few stories applied journalistic scrutiny to the company’s promises regarding the project’s benefits to the area.”

Memphis Commercial Appeal: Effects proposed Minnesota pipeline will have on Mississippi River should concern Memphians
Peter Truitt of Danbury, Wisconsin, is retired after a career involving product design, project management, and quality assurance, 7/15/21

“Greetings from the headwaters of the Mississippi. Some of us want you to know that we care about the river and everyone downstream,” Peter Truitt writes for the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Sadly, we are struggling to protect the Mississippi river and much more from Enbridge Corporation, it’s investors, financiers, insurers, and others who are party to the construction of a fossil fuel pipeline that crosses the Mississippi twice, travels through miles of the river’s watershed, including wetlands, and also through the Lake Superior watershed… “When this pipeline leaks, the most egregious damages will occur upstream from the Memphis area affecting important resources such as the Anishinaabe’s manoomin—wild rice. 18 chemicals are used to thin the bitumen that comes from the Canadian tar sands. Those chemicals will travel far, endangering people well downstream and will damage our shared critical ecosystem. The upper Midwest shares some of the expected attributes of climate change and related weather with the Memphis area predicted by scientists: Generally increasing precipitation, increasingly hard swings between droughts and floods, shorter growing seasons, and warmer weather… “We ask that those of you who care about this issue will contact the President and ask that our country “Stop Line 3.” We also ask that you review the financial and insurance corporations that you do business with and avoid those who are financing ecocide by financing Line 3 and other anti-sustainable activities. There are many ways to help, so please help as you are able.”

The Alpena News: Another warning about pipelines
ERIC PAUL ROORDA, 7/19/21

“What’s more impressive than a long, elaborate fireworks show? The OCEAN ON FIRE!” Eric Paul Roorda writes in The Alpena News. “When that happens, it looks like the cauldron of JRR Tolkien’s Mount Doom. An unprecedented phenomenon that was quickly dubbed “The Eye of Fire” formed in the Gulf of Mexico over the Fourth of July weekend when a gas line ruptured and managed to catch fire underwater. How does that happen?!.. “The cause of the “Eye of Fire” is unknown at this moment, but it is likely to follow the pattern of the myopic overreach of the Deepwater Horizon operation, drilled at a depth too far. Pipelines everywhere face the same prospect of failure. A nearby freshwater example is the decrepit and accident-prone Line 5 through the Straits of Mackinac, which is facing long-overdue scrutiny and causing U.S.-Canada tensions that are ongoing at this very moment. Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dealt a death blow to Line 5, by upgrading the requirements Enbridge Inc. must meet from a superficial “environmental assessment” to a far more thorough “environmental impact statement.” The oil pipeline is 68 years old. It has never had to pass an “environmental impact statement.” The research for such a study takes an average of three-and-a-half years. Wait for it: Line 5 will soon be forced to shut down, never to reopen.”

National Observer: There’s a missing tool in our fight against climate change
By Michael Bernstein & Aaron Cosbey, 7/19/21

“A tool you’ve probably never heard of may be the key to enabling Canada’s climate ambition. It’s called border carbon adjustment, and it could change the way we pursue decarbonization,” Michael Bernstein & Aaron Cosbey write in the National Observer. “Canada has been on a roll over the past year. The Liberal government introduced a legislated net-zero target, backed by a plan to increase the price of carbon to $170 per tonne by 2030. The Conservative Party responded with its strongest climate plan to date, designed to achieve Canada’s Paris Agreement targets. For the first time, every federal political party seems to be focused on serious emissions reductions… “The problem we now must confront — urgently — is that not every country is ambitious about cutting carbon pollution. Canadian firms are up against some international competitors that enjoy lower production costs because the countries where they operate aren’t prioritizing climate action. This means that pricing emissions in Canada could have the effect of shifting production to places where it’s cheaper to pollute — a phenomenon called “carbon leakage.” We need to plug this leak before it becomes a flood, both to protect our economy and ensure we reach our climate goals.”

New York Times: Joe Biden’s Monumental Environmental Gambit
By The Editorial Board, 7/17/21

“It is hard to overstate the joy of the environmental community when Joe Biden ascended to the White House,” the New York Times Editorial Board writes… “We are now at the midpoint of Mr. Biden’s first year. How has he done? In simplest terms, given the deep ideological divide in Congress, he has accomplished a good deal more than his chattering critics on the left wing of his party give him credit for, but still well short of his own hopes… “The bill contains useful climate-related provisions including money for charging stations for electric cars, and communities that wanted to fortify themselves against climate-related disasters. This was less than Mr. Biden wanted, but his critics reacted as if there were nothing there at all, sending protesters to the White House and Capitol Hill. “No climate, no deal,” they said — and accused the White House of “climate denialism.” “Democrats are once again throwing the climate justice movement under the bus,” declared Friends of the Earth last month. Hardly. Last Wednesday came some good news: The White House and top Democrats agreed in principle to a $3.5 trillion budget package that includes many of the important climate provisions that did not make it into the infrastructure bill. The package is only a blueprint. Individual committees will make legislative recommendations that will then be bundled into a giant budget reconciliation bill. If properly drawn up, budget reconciliation measures can be approved with only 51 votes, thus avoiding a Republican filibuster and providing a political pathway for not only Mr. Biden’s climate policies but also a range of expensive programs involving health care, education and immigration.”

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