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Extracted: Daily News Clips 7/20/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 20, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Facebook: Honor the EarthBreaking 40+ #WaterProtectors with tribal members of the 1855 including Winona LaDuke and Horse Nations youth risking arrest protecting the Shell River
  • Wisconsin State JournalCity, county leaders join calls to stop Enbridge pipeline projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin
  • Healing MNIndigenous leaders calling on allies to come north and stand with them against Line 3
  • Daily LocalChester County officials call for pipeline shutdown
  • Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety: Chester County Commissioners have called on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to swiftly halt the active 8” snd 12” lines
  • Pittsburgh Post-GazettePennsylvania regulators propose new pipeline rules where industry says none are needed
  • MLK50Company asks for revocation of federal, state permits for Byhalia Connection Pipeline
  • PoliticoCourt Axes Appeal Over Trump’s Keystone XL Permit
  • E&E NewsHow Va. pipeline ruling may reshape environmental justice
  • ABC NewsWhite House adviser Susan Rice divests from company building Midwest pipeline
  • Erie Times-NewsHundreds of liens for millions of dollars remain as mediation fails in Erie County gas pipeline case
  • VPMOld Hills & Old Folks Resist Protest: Deborah Kushner’s Take on Protest

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • DeSmogDOE Quietly Backs Plan for Carbon Capture Network Larger Than Entire Oil Pipeline System
  • E&E NewsInside a legal doctrine that could silence enviros in court

STATE UPDATES

  • Keystone State News ConnectionGroups Urge Wolf Administration to Strengthen Methane Emissions Rule
  • CBS4 Denver: State Initiates Aerial Monitoring Of Methane Emissions At Colorado Drilling Sites
  • Kansas.comKansas gas well that blew 100 feet high now fixed; complaints of illnesses, smell linger

EXTRACTION

  • BloombergGreenland Scraps All Future Oil Exploration on Climate Concerns

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Press releaseSan Antonio’s First Veteran Wellness Center Receives $250,000 Gift from Energy Transfer
  • WHMIPutnam Twp. Fire Department Awarded Emergency Equipment Grant

OPINION

  • Duluth News TribuneOther View: ‘We are going to replace an aging pipeline,’ Walz says
  • BloombergFacts and Nonpartisanship Must Drive Pipeline Infrastructure Approval
  • National GeographicClimate change goals and oil production are clashing in the U.S.
  • National ObserverRevisiting the New Alberta Advantage: Oilsands’ net-zero initiative not nearly enough
  • Pittsburgh Post-GazetteOther Voices: Plugging abandoned wells boosts local economies

PIPELINE NEWS

Facebook: Honor the Earth: Breaking 40+ #WaterProtectors with tribal members of the 1855 including Winona LaDuke and Horse Nations youth risking arrest protecting the Shell River
7/19/21

“Breaking 40+ #WaterProtectors with tribal members of the 1855 including Winona LaDuke and Horse Nations youth risking arrest protecting the Shell River where the @mndnr suspended water surface construction meanwhile Enbridge continues taking water while drilling. Enbridge doesn’t follow the rules, no agency is regulating their destruction and neither does Sheriff’s from Blue Earth County (they’re far away from home), who doesn’t know these lands, and what is public park areas for the public vs. Enbridge easement on public land. This is our home, these rivers are our family … Protect the Water … Come to the Rivers: stopline3.org/hub or write President Biden at stopline3.org/biden urging him to #StopLine3, request a full federal EIS; it’s their duty.”

Wisconsin State Journal: City, county leaders join calls to stop Enbridge pipeline projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin
Chris Hubbuch, 7/20/21

“Local leaders are drafting resolutions in support of people working to stop the expansion of Enbridge Energy pipelines that transport Canadian oil across Minnesota and Wisconsin,” the Wisconsin State Journal reports. “The Madison City Council is expected to vote on a resolution Tuesday in support of Indigenous sovereignty and calling on local, state and federal leaders to stop the reroute of Line 5 in northern Wisconsin and construction of Enbridge’s $2.9 billion Line 3 replacement in Minnesota. The resolution, which has 13 sponsors, notes that each of the lines crosses dozens of rivers, streams and wetlands, including the Mississippi River, and cites spills in 1991 and 2010 that leaked millions of gallons of oil into rivers… “Attorney Patricia Hammel represented a group of Dane County residents who sued Enbridge in an effort to force the Canadian company to carry special pollution insurance on Line 61. The state Supreme Court ultimately decided the case in favor of Enbridge. “The regulatory agencies will not stand up to Enbridge,” Hammel told the Journal. “The only thing that’s stopping it now is people going up there and getting arrested and chaining themselves to construction equipment.”

Healing MN: Indigenous leaders calling on allies to come north and stand with them against Line 3
7/18/21

“Enbridge has reported to the state that if it is able to maintain its current construction pace, all Line 3 pipe will be in the trenches and buried in approximately two to three weeks,” Healing MN reports. “Enbridge has made public statements that it expects to start running the pipeline by the fourth quarter of the year. Front line camps (resistance camps, prayer camps, treaty camps) are asking for people to come north and stand in solidarity. RISE (Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging) has issued a call for people to come to the La Salle Campground in northern Minnesota to protect the wild rice waters July 19-31. According to their Facebook Post, restrictions on drilling under waterways where wild rice grows ended Wednesday. Supporters are invited to come hold space, stand in solidarity, and honor the treaty obligations we all share. Come and be ready to go where needed. (Please pack light, and plan to camp and be self-sufficient: this means bring a tent, food, and clothing for hot, variable weather). RISE understands that some folks have financial barriers and it will do its best to provide limited support to those who are in need. Keep in mind that the location doesn’t always allow space for extra supplies. “Together we will protect the sacred while we defend our Treaties,” RISE said. Honor the Earth has put out a call for people to come to the Shell City campground. Line 3 will cross under the Shell River in five places. Water protectors are camping near the easternmost crossing where Line 3 drilling has started.”

Daily Local: Chester County officials call for pipeline shutdown
By Bill Rettew, 7/20/21

“Chester County Commissioners fired off a letter Monday asking the Public Utilities Commission to halt operation of two Mariner East pipelines while further investigation is conducted,” the Daily Local reports. “Commissioners asked that the impact on public safety be ascertained, with the impact from a recent outbreak of likely construction-induced sinkholes near the lines. The sinkholes occurred near construction sites for the 350- mile Mariner East 2 pipeline. The lines in question are Energy Transfer’s Mariner East 1 eight-inch and 12-inch natural gas liquid pipelines. Both pipelines have been in the ground for about 80 years, but only began carrying NGLs under high pressure much more recently… “It seems to us that the significant risk of exposing these pipelines makes the potential for a catastrophic leak that much easier to occur and renders the ME1 and 12-inch pipelines ‘unreasonable, unsafe and inadequate’,” wrote the County Commissioners. “This is why we are asking that you order operations of the ME1 and 12-inch pipelines be ceased until the Commission can better understand the cause of these sinkholes and the risks that they present to the operation of the operating NGL pipelines.” “…Commissioner Maxwell called for a pipeline halt. “Chester County has called for a stop in operation of Energy Transfer’s Mariner East 8-inch and 12-inch NGL pipelines,” Maxwell said. “This project has consistently put residents’ lives and their properties at risk.”

Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline SafetyChester County Commissioners have called on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to swiftly halt the active 8” snd 12” lines
7/19/21

“On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Mariner East construction near Chester County Library Exton has been halted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection due to sinkholes and illegal grouting in the wetland and floodway, our Chester County Commissioners have called on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to swiftly halt the active 8” snd 12” lines. Thank you County Commissioner Josh Maxwell, County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz County Commissioner Michelle Kichline. Had it not been for the work of ordinary residents, these sinkholes and this grouting would have gone unnoticed, undocumented and unreported. It took community power for the actions the past today to happen. Thank you all. We join the call: PA PUC immediately halt the operation of the active 8” and  12”  llines before our community suffers a catastrophic event ( your own words).”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania regulators propose new pipeline rules where industry says none are needed
ANYA LITVAK, 7/20/21

“In June 2019, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission began to consider new regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines after a string of spills, sinkholes and other high-profile incidents on Energy Transfer’s Mariner East pipelines,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. “Construction of the three pipelines that make up the Mariner East System resulted in a number of environmental violations and fines topping more than $13 million. But the PUC doesn’t regulate environmental matters. It is concerned with safety and with portions of the pipelines still under construction… “The proposed rules do not follow the industry recommendations to leave the regulating to federal authorities. They tackle issues such as how frequently the pipelines should be inspected, what kinds of geological studies should be done before they’re built, and how construction workers should be qualified to build them. But they stop short of establishing construction permits for such pipelines, as some environmental and citizen groups had requested, and they do not wade as much into pipeline siting as some wanted.”

MLK50: Company asks for revocation of federal, state permits for Byhalia Connection Pipeline
Carrington J. Tatum, 7/19/21

“Plains All American Pipeline is giving up its state and federal permits for the proposed Byhalia Pipeline as it continues to close out the project since the company announced July 2 it was abandoning its plans,” MLK50 reports. “Patrick Parker, an attorney with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, told an administrative law judge Monday that the company asked that its state permit be revoked. Parker spoke during a status call on pipeline opponents’ appeal of TDEC’s decision to grant an aquatic resource alteration permit. “They are going to relinquish their permit and we’re going to revoke it,” Parker told Judge Michael Begley. Plains will also drop the federal permit it obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a company official said in a July 8 letter to the Memphis and Vicksburg districts of the Corps… “The revocation of the permits means if the company reintroduced plans for the pipeline, they would have to start from square one, according to George Nolan, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Hopefully, if there’s another crude oil pipeline proposed, this Byhalia Pipeline experience will inform the conversation. And hopefully, the Corps will recognize how important it is to require individual permitting with thorough community involvement for any project,” Nolan told MLK50.

Politico: Court Axes Appeal Over Trump’s Keystone XL Permit
7/19/21

A federal court has ruled an appeal over the legality of the Trump-era presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline can no longer go forward now that the planned oil conduit has been canceled. A panel of judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said last week it could not continue to hear an appeal when the court could not provide any ‘effective relief’ to the Indigenous and environmentalist challengers in the case. TC Energy Corp., the developer of the 1,179-mile pipeline, announced last month it was canceling the project after President Biden suspended the presidential permit issued by his predecessor authorizing a 1.2-mile segment of the line to cross the U.S.-Canada border. Presidential permits have faced increasing scrutiny under the Biden administration, as pipeline opponents have also pushed for the federal government to undo the authorizations for Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 and Line 5 pipelines in the Upper Midwest. The Indigenous Environmental Network and the North Coast Rivers Alliance had argued that former President Trump overstepped his authority in issuing the permit for the project in 2019, and they had sought to appeal a decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana denying their motion for a preliminary injunction. The challengers had contended that Trump’s decision to award the permit violated both the U.S. Constitution and a prior executive order. The three-judge panel said in its order that it would not instruct the lower court to dismiss the underlying action in the case, or toss out the district court’s decisions. ‘We take no position on whether the underlying case is moot or whether vacatur is appropriate and leave these issues to the district court in the first instance,’ the court wrote.”

E&E News: How Va. pipeline ruling may reshape environmental justice
By Niina H. Farah, 7/20/21

“George Thurston wants to change the way the U.S. measures how soot and other air pollutants affect disadvantaged communities. A leading expert on human health effects of air pollution at New York University, Thurston says low-income areas and people of color are fighting fossil fuel projects like pipelines on an unequal playing field against well-paid, full-time industry consultants,” E&E News reports. “…Opponents say developers of the MVP Southgate expansion project have not done enough to analyze the facility’s health impacts on the low-income and majority Black Banister District in Pittsylvania County, Va. The outcome of the Mountain Valley battle could influence how pipeline emissions are measured in Virginia, which observers say could shift the environmental justice debate in other states. It also underscores the political, legal and market pressures facing pipeline projects after a string of cancellations ranging from the mammoth Keystone XL oil conduit to the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline in the Virginias. Earlier this month, for example, developers of the Byhalia Connection crude oil pipeline in Memphis pulled the plug on the project, which had sparked uproar over its proposed route through predominantly Black neighborhoods in the city. Meanwhile, President Biden has pledged to make environmental justice a pillar of his clean energy agenda. Critics of the push to revamp pollution analysis say it could stymie needed infrastructure projects where developers have already implemented the latest technology to limit environmental footprints. But public health experts say there is a broader need to reframe project development to emphasize the health concerns of low-income and minority residents.”

ABC News: White House adviser Susan Rice divests from company building Midwest pipeline
By Soo Rin Kim, 7/17/21

“The director of President Joe Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice, has divested herself of millions of dollars’ worth of holdings in a company that’s leading a contentious pipeline project supported by the Biden administration,” ABC News reports. “According to newly released financial disclosure reports and a White House official, Rice has liquidated nearly $2.7 million worth of shares she and her husband owned in Enbridge, a Canadian company building the Line 3 pipeline, which would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of Canadian oil through Minnesota and Wisconsin. Last month, the Biden administration gave a public boost to the Trump-era pipeline project, calling for the dismissal of a court challenge brought by environmental groups seeking to protect Minnesota watershed and tribal lands from the pipeline… “Kedric Payne, general counsel and senior director of ethics at the good-government group Campaign Legal Center, told ABC that considering the large number of diverse stocks that Rice is divesting, it’s difficult to say whether the timing of the Biden administration’s support for the Line 3 pipeline project and Rice’s divestiture raises any questions. But he said that Rice’s divestment from those assets shows the highest level of effort to avoid a conflict of interest.”

Erie Times-News: Hundreds of liens for millions of dollars remain as mediation fails in Erie County gas pipeline case
Ed Palattella, 7/19/21

“A federal lawsuit is keeping uncertainty in place for hundreds of property owners who sold rights-of-way for a natural gas pipeline in western Erie County,” the Erie Times-News reports. “The suit over the 28.3-mile Risberg Pipeline has failed to settle in U.S. District Court in Erie, and both sides in the case are asking for more time to gather evidence as they prepare for trial. As the case advances slowly in court, a far-reaching aspect of the dispute is staying intact: mechanic’s liens of $18,946,185 each are still attached to pipeline work on hundreds of swaths of land near Albion in Erie County… “Though the total of all the liens are for nearly $19 million, that amount is spread out across all the swaths of property, all of which are the parcels where the pipeline runs underground. None of the properties with liens include houses or farms, but the liens have still created confusion and left property owners with the possibility that a small part of their property could be encumbered with massive debt… “It’s going to take a while,” Holbrook told the Times-News, adding that depositions in the case are being scheduled into the fall and possibly into next year, as Baxter’s March 2022 deadline for experts’ deposition shows. Holbrook, who has described it as unfortunate that liens were placed against property owners, thanked them again Friday for their patience and cooperation. “If there is a way to resolve this sooner, we are going to make every effort to do that,” Holbrook said. “Our intent is to be a good neighbor for a long time.”

VPM: Old Hills & Old Folks Resist Protest: Deborah Kushner’s Take on Protest
Niyah Harris, 7/19/21

“Deborah Kushner’s day started early and ended late on June 30th. Kushner and her “partners in crime” are a part of the Appalachians Against Pipelines,” VPM reports. “Together, they made the choice to lock themselves to a broken-down car to protest the Two Mountain Valley Pipeline. Kushner referred to the building of the pipeline as a “destruction and desecration” to the environment. Kushner’s inspiration to protest was inspired by her belief that we should protect and preserve our environment and each other. “I looked around at that particular action in those people in those mountains, and that pristine water coming down from the mountain,” said Kushner in an interview with VPM… “Mountain Valley Pipeline Security came after workers couldn’t get through. And they came, they walked around the car, they didn’t have much to say, they took a lot of photographs, which we know they sent to Roanoke county police”, Kushner told VPM. Then the police arrived. Kushner and her partners were asked to leave voluntarily and didn’t, so the police stepped in and tried to separate them from the car. It took hours for the police to figure out how to “attack their particular tableau.” “…Kushners and her partners were arrested… “We were guilty of constructing the passage of the road. We had three misdemeanors, each of us. And that was just part of the whole process. We knew that would happen,” Kushner said… “The next step in the protest against the pipeline involves the community. “Everyone is needed, and everyone has a role to do,” Kushner said. “Truly, what I did, and what we did is an emblem. We knew that stopping work for one day is very small and the ultimate scheme of this pipeline being constructed, but the people that we touched, the people who are connected to us, who then saw our stories, people who maybe were on the fence about what this is all about.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

DeSmog: DOE Quietly Backs Plan for Carbon Capture Network Larger Than Entire Oil Pipeline System
By Sharon Kelly, 7/18/21

“An organization run by former Obama-era Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, with the backing of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 labor unions, has created a policy “blueprint” to build a nationwide pipeline network capable of carrying a gigaton of captured carbon dioxide (CO2),” DeSmog reports. “The “Building to Net-Zero” blueprint appears to be quietly gaining momentum within the Energy Department, where a top official has discussed ways to put elements into action using the agency’s existing powers. The pipeline network would be twice the size of the current U.S. oil pipeline network by volume, according to the blueprint, released by a recently formed group calling itself the Labor Energy Partnership. Backers say the proposed pipeline network — including CO2 “hubs” in the Gulf Coast, the Ohio River Valley, and Wyoming — would help reduce climate-changing pollution by transporting captured carbon dioxide to either the oil industry, which would undo some of the climate benefits by using the CO2 to revive aging oilfields, or to as-yet unbuilt facilities for underground storage. The blueprint, however, leaves open many questions about how the carbon would be captured at the source — a process that so far has proved difficult and expensive — and where it would be sent, focusing instead on suggesting policies the federal government can adopt to boost CO2 pipeline construction. Climate advocates fear that building such a large CO2 pipeline network could backfire, causing more greenhouse gas pollution by enabling aging coal-fired power plants to remain in service longer, produce pipes that could wind up carrying fossil fuels if carbon capture efforts fall through, and represent an expensive waste of federal funds intended to encourage a meaningful energy transition.”

E&E News: Inside a legal doctrine that could silence enviros in court
By Pamela King, 7/19/21

“The biggest obstacle a conservative Supreme Court could pose to the environment may not be rulings against clean air, pure water and a healthy climate. It may be a refusal to allow environmentalists into the courtroom,” E&E News reports. “Under the standing doctrine, a court can toss out lawsuits in their early stages if it finds that a legal challenger has not presented a concrete harm that meets the standard of a “case” or “controversy” eligible for judicial review under Article III of the Constitution. Some conservative jurists may view issues like climate change — which has many contributors and affects every person on the planet — as too diffuse to address in the courts. “The bigger the harm and the more impacts, the more difficult it is for parties to establish standing. That’s a perverse incentive for polluters,” Karen Sokol, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, told E&E News. “If you hurt everyone, you’re no longer accountable.”

STATE UPDATES

Keystone State News Connection: Groups Urge Wolf Administration to Strengthen Methane Emissions Rule
by Lily Bohlke, 7/19/21

“Advocates for clean air are calling on the Wolf administration to strengthen a proposed regulation on methane emissions,” Keystone State News Connection reports. “They say the Department of Environmental Protection has the opportunity to close the loophole for low-producing wells, which Patrice Tomcik – national field manager with Moms Clean Air Force and a resident of Gibsonia – noted are responsible for more than half a million tons of methane emitted by the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania. She also said she supports eliminating a provision in the proposed rule that would allow oil and gas operators to reduce the frequency of inspections if previous inspections hadn’t found any leaks – she noted large uncontrolled leaks can happen at any time. “When there’s a methane rule that is very protective, very comprehensive,” said Tomcik, “it will cut the methane pollution and it will also help to rein in those very toxic other pollutants that can impact health”

CBS4 Denver: State Initiates Aerial Monitoring Of Methane Emissions At Colorado Drilling Sites
By Logan Smith, 7/18/21

“The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment took a step toward high-tech monitoring of methane emissions last week when a single-engine plane made the first of several planned flights over oil and gas operations,” CBS4 reports. “It’s the first such survey conducted by the state. It comes at an estimated cost $2 million this year. The craft will cruise the northern Front Range – Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties. More specifically, what the energy industry calls the Denver-Julesberg Basin. It will measure observable plumes of emissions, mainly looking for methane but also ethane, benzene and toluene… “The resulting data will inform how we approach regulating oil and gas operations and other emitting sites in Colorado,” Shaun McGrath, director of environmental health and protection at CDPHE, told CBS4.

Kansas.com: Kansas gas well that blew 100 feet high now fixed; complaints of illnesses, smell linger
BY MICHAEL STAVOLA, 7/16/21

“Authorities said Friday that a natural gas well outside of Lyons that exploded during maintenance the day before is now safe and repaired,” Kansas.com reports. “Local residents had complained of an odor and a lingering haze, but a Northern Natural Gas official said there is no danger to the public. The complaints of a noxious smell began after the underground storage well blew open after 3 p.m. Thursday southeast of Lyons, causing water and natural gas to fly up into the air… “It’s giving me a headache the smell is so bad,” one person said in a Lyons community Facebook group. “I can’t imagine how it’s like for those of u closer to it.” “…About 15 people within a mile radius were evacuated out of caution, he said, and about 60 people lost electricity as officials tried to cut off any possible ignition sources. During that process and into Friday, people in Lyons complained of burning eyes and flared up asthma after the well exploded, and social media for the area was full of reports of a loud noise coming from the well Thursday night.”

EXTRACTION

Bloomberg: Greenland Scraps All Future Oil Exploration on Climate Concerns
By Morten Buttler, 7/16/21

“Greenland dropped all plans for future oil exploration on environmental grounds, saying the price of extraction was “too high,” Bloomberg reports. “The island’s socialist-led government, in office since April, has made climate concerns central to its legislative program. While the decision to scrap planned exploration is a win for environmental groups, it cuts off potential investments that could have aided efforts to gain economic independence from Denmark. The government “has decided to cease issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration,” it said in a statement. “This step has been taken for the sake of our nature, for the sake of our fisheries, for the sake of our tourism industry, and to focus our business on sustainable potentials.” Ten years ago, Greenland had become a hotspot for drillers as a commodity-price boom attracted not only oil explorers but miners of diamonds, iron, rare earths and other metals. But crude’s subsequent crash made extraction uneconomic offshore — where drilling would be hampered by large floating icebergs — and the official ban now puts an end to dreams of energy riches.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL): Over 500 Organizations Call on Policymakers to Reject Carbon Capture and Storage as a False Solution
7/19/21

“On July 19th, over 500 organizations across the United States in Canada expressed deep concerns about the US and Canadian governments’ support for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies in an open letter to policymakers in the United States and Canada. The letter’s key messages and demands were published as full-page advertisements in The Washington Post and Ottawa’s Hill Times newspapers.Despite occupying center stage in the “net-zero” climate plans trumpeted by the United States and Canada at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, government spending programs, and bills pending before Congress and Parliament, carbon capture is not a climate solution. On the contrary, investing in carbon capture delays the needed transition away from fossil fuels and other combustible energy sources. It poses significant new environmental, health, and safety risks, particularly to Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities already overburdened by industrial pollution, dispossession, and the impacts of climate change. “CCS is life support for the fossil fuel industry — and a death sentence for the planet. We need to ditch fossil fuels, not ‘fix’ them with technologies that are dangerous, costly, unproven at scale, and at odds with environmental justice. Rather than bankroll the buildout of massive and risky CCS infrastructure on top of polluting industries, policymakers should finance the future, by replacing fossil fuels with renewables and creating sustainable jobs,” said Nikki Reisch, Director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Center for International Environmental Law.

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Press release: San Antonio’s First Veteran Wellness Center Receives $250,000 Gift from Energy Transfer
7/19/21

“Endeavors, a nonprofit organization that supports the needs of vulnerable people in crisis, has secured its first corporate donation to benefit the Veteran clients of the soon-to-open Endeavors Veteran Wellness Center. Dallas-based Energy Transfer has committed $250,000 to help fund the Veteran Wellness Center’s fitness center… “According to Energy Transfer’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, Vicki Granado, the company has a long history of giving back to organizations that support Veterans. “Recognizing and supporting our country’s Veterans has always been important to Energy Transfer and to our employees across the country. We are especially honored to be able to support the Veteran Wellness Center, an amazing facility in San Antonio that will provide unmatched services for Veterans and their families.”

WHMI: Putnam Twp. Fire Department Awarded Emergency Equipment Grant
By Jessica Mathews, 7/20/21

“The Putnam Township Fire Department formally accepted a grant on Monday that aided in the purchase of gas metering equipment to enhance its emergency response capabilities,” WHMI reports. “The department accepted the grant in the amount of $14,473 from Energy Transfer during a ceremony at the fire station off West M-36. Putnam Township Fire Chief Curt Ruf said many families in their area rely on natural gas service to heat their homes and power appliances so being able to monitor and respond to gas emergencies is paramount. He says the grant from Energy Transfer has funded a new set of gas monitors to replace an older, broken set; allowing them to detect any hazardous gas or oxygen-deficient atmospheres more quickly and effectively and better serve the community. Energy Transfer, an energy logistics company, uses its First Responder Fund to provide grants to help further the primary mission of first responder organizations including local fire departments, emergency medical services, county emergency management agencies; county, regional and local police departments and other eligible agencies.”

OPINION

Duluth News Tribune: Other View: ‘We are going to replace an aging pipeline,’ Walz says
Duluth News Tribune Editorial Board, 7/19/21

“Last week, protesters chanted as loudly as they could inside the state Capitol in St. Paul, hoping, they said, that Gov. Tim Walz would hear them from his office down the hall and do something to halt the construction of the Line 3 Replacement Project in northern Minnesota. A day earlier, however, Walz, in Duluth, reiterated his long-time and clear support for what, really, is a necessary and responsible infrastructure upgrade,” according to the Duluth News Tribune Editorial Board. “The existing Line 3 pipeline is aging, increasing its risk of rupturing and spilling. Replacing it with the latest technology just makes good sense. The governor, like so many of the rest of us, gets that… “Walz had words, too, for Line 3 protests that have gone well beyond peaceful and have been criminal and dangerous instead. “We’re trying to do this the best we can,” he said. “There are going to be folks who are going to protest that, but we need to also say, ‘But you’re not going to disrupt what is a legal process’.” Protesters have tried mightily. They have bullied workers, driving them from worksites; they’ve vandalized and destroyed construction equipment, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage or more; they’ve recklessly stuffed themselves into pipes and chained themselves to equipment, even using feces in their locking devices, a health hazard for first responders already leaving their home communities vulnerable and unprotected by having to respond to protesters’ manufactured emergencies; and they’ve blocked roads that belong to all of us and that are supposed to be there for everyone’s use, including emergency vehicles. All of this over a project that’s pumping millions into northern Minnesota’s economy; that is protecting our environment; that was legally and thoroughly reviewed, approved, and permitted by state and federal regulators; and that has withstood countless legal and other challenges.”

Bloomberg: Facts and Nonpartisanship Must Drive Pipeline Infrastructure Approval
Tom Magness is a strategic adviser to the Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN), 7/20/21

“Environmental activists will look to carry the momentum from the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline to other projects, the GAIN Coalition’s Tom Magness, a former colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, writes for Bloomberg. “However, Corps action on two separate projects shows why there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach with pipelines and why each must be examined on its own merits as it goes through the approval process, he says… “Despite activists’ best efforts to use Keystone as a bellwether, the Line 3 and Line 5 pipelines illustrate why all pipelines cannot be painted with the same broad brush… “Despite being similar in scope, the two pipelines are now on separate paths. The Corps recently affirmed its prior approval of a Clean Water Act permit for Line 3 in a Justice Department brief filed with a federal court in Washington, D.C… “Line 5, on the other hand, will require a much more deliberate approach before arriving at the finish line, as the Corps will conduct an in-depth environmental impact statement (EIS), which Enbridge says could delay construction for years. Environmental groups and activists responded by praising the Corps for ordering the Line 5 EIS, then the next day castigated them for standing firm on the Line 3 water permit. The mixed reactions are unfair to the dedicated career professionals in the Corps who are following the established procedural process.”

National Geographic: Climate change goals and oil production are clashing in the U.S.
BY JOEL K. BOURNE, JR., 7/19/21

“If we’re to avoid extreme warming, all drilling for oil needs to stop now, experts say, but U.S. fossil fuel production is continuing,” Joel K. Bourne, Jr. writes in National Geographic. “On his first day in office, President Joe Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, temporarily banned all new oil and gas leases on federal land, and canceled permits for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. In April, the president held a virtual climate conference in which he went even further than the Paris climate commitments, pledging that the world’s second largest economy would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, relative to 2005, and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050… “Then a funny thing happened on the way to decarbonization…  “Many of us had high hopes for the new administration,” Sergey Paltsev at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), told NatGeo. “We need to be at net zero as fast as possible. And we are showing that current efforts are not enough.“ “…Many, if not most, of Biden’s fossil fuel moves involve natural gas, long touted as a “bridge fuel” between coal and a zero-carbon future. But that’s no longer the case, Paltsev, who is deputy director of the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change at MIT, told NatGeo. “Five to 10 years ago there were several reports from MIT and others that thought it was a bridge fuel. At that time we were mostly comparing coal and natural gas.” “But now the story has changed dramatically. Now it’s renewables, because the cost of wind and solar dropped so fast it is competitive.” The best policy on natural gas, however, may just be to keep most of it in the ground, according to MIT’s Paltsev.”

National Observer: Revisiting the New Alberta Advantage: Oilsands’ net-zero initiative not nearly enough
By Markham Hislop, 7/20/21

“The Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Initiative, announced June 9, may well lower greenhouse gas emissions from bitumen extraction and help Canada meet its own net-zero-by-2050 goal. Unfortunately, that is not enough,” Markham Hislop writes in the National Observer. “Climate change is only one of three significant risks facing the industry. The others are peak oil demand and at least $31 billion of environmental liabilities for 37 toxic northern Alberta tailings ponds. CEOs coming to Ottawa cap in hand for $50 billion of subsidies may be Canada’s last chance to address all three issues and put the oilsands on a path to long-term environmental and financial sustainability. The opportunity must not be missed… “Oilsands companies are asking the Alberta and Canadian governments for tens of billions because they need to “de-risk” the early stage technologies they hope to deploy — scaling up carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and small modular reactors, to name the big ones. Economist Jason Dion calls these technologies “wild cards.” They show promise and their development should receive public support, but most won’t be commercial until after 2030, if they ever are.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Other Voices: Plugging abandoned wells boosts local economies
Jeremy G. Weber is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and resides in Squirrel Hill. Max Harleman is a recent PhD graduate from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and resides in Greenfield, 6/17/21

“Energy from oil and gas wells fueled American industrial growth and powered our country through two world wars and two energy crises. But today, many of the wells that were drilled 50, 100, or even more years ago lie abandoned in fields and backyards, from California to Pennsylvania. They can leak greenhouse gases that cause climate change, leak gases and liquids that threaten the health and safety of local residents, and deter local investment in real estate,” Max Harelmand and Jeremy Weber write in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “Hundreds of thousands of these old wells were owned by firms that have gone out of business and have become the responsibility of taxpayers. With this in mind, a bipartisan group of legislators has introduced the REGROW Act. It would invest $4.7 billion in plugging abandoned wells and remediating the surrounding land to the benefit of local economies and the environment. Wells abandoned without proper closure — a process known as plugging — can leak toxic gases or liquids into streams, buildings, or the atmosphere. These unplugged wells emit large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming effect many times greater than carbon dioxide. While reducing methane emissions is critical to combating climate change, many of the benefits from plugging abandoned wells are not global but local, and are experienced most directly by those living close to the wells… “As the Biden administration and Congress negotiate legislation that would invest in our nation’s infrastructure, we encourage our leaders to include the REGROW Act. Local communities have struggled with these old, leaky wells for long enough, and it is time for Congress to take action to plug them.”

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