Skip to Content

News

Extracted: Daily News Clips 7/30/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips July 30, 2021

Subscribe in your inbox daily M-F via Substack:

PIPELINE NEWS

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E NewsBipartisan deal would make Biden attack his own agenda
  • New York TimesDemocrats Call  Infrastructure Bill a Down Payment on Climate
  • Politico Morning EnergyHOT FERC SUMMER CONTINUES
  • E&E NewsRed States Seek to Block Biden Update to Key Climate Metric
  • The HillManchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium
  • Wall Street JournalWashington’s Oil Lobby Pivoted On Climate Change—And Made No One Happy

STATE UPDATES

  • InsideClimate NewsAn Oil Industry Hub in Washington State Bans New Fossil Fuel Development
  • Colorado SunAdams County adopts new oil and gas regulations that critics say will effectively ban drilling

EXTRACTION 

  • PoliticoEIA: Renewables Top Coal, Nuclear As Second Biggest Power Source Behind Natural Gas In 2020
  • ReutersMexican methane leak rate ‘alarming’ for climate change, report says

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

  • New York TimesA Carbon Calculation: How Many Deaths Do Emissions Cause?
  • Pittsburgh City PaperReports highlight how to repair the Appalachian economy without relying on fracking

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Common DreamsWarning of Climate Chaos, New 350.org Campaign Demands Fed ‘Stop Fossil Fuel Finance’

OPINION

 

PIPELINE NEWS

Facebook: RISE Coalition: 9 Water Protectors Arrested in Ceremony as Enbridge Drills Under the Mississippi Headwaters
7/29/21

“In the afternoon of July 29th, with wildfire smoke thick in the air, 9 indigenous and allied water protectors were cited or arrested while holding a ceremony on the banks of the Mississippi River. Nearby, Enbridge is days away from the completion of drilling the Line 3 pipeline under the headwaters of the Mississippi. Enbridge is continuing construction in defiance of a 48 hour cease and desist order from the White Earth Nation Tribal Government. The letter calls on Enbridge to halt construction activities at the site while tribal members hold a ceremony for the water. Enbridge is drilling under riverbeds across Anishinaabe treaty territory — so far spilling “drilling fluid” at 9 different sites, including multiple spills at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. These spills prompted a letter this week from 32 state legislators demanding that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, “temporarily suspend the Section 401 Certification and order Enbridge to immediately halt all drilling along the Line 3 route…” This is part of an ongoing pattern whereby Enbridge has covered up their pollution and consistently denied Anishnaabe people and their guests the right to exercise their 1855 treaty rights, which include the right to hunt, fish, travel, and hold ceremonies through all treaty territories. Noodinekwe, while being cited, said, “I am here as an Anishinaabekwe to stand on the 1855 Treaty with my inherent right to harvest.  As women, we are keepers of the water, that is our responsibility to take care of the water.” Melissa Burrell, an allied water protector, stated, “I am hereby invitation of the sovereign Anishinaabe Nation, to stand and support their efforts to uphold their inherent responsibility to the future generations and protect lands, waters, mahnomin, and the Anishinaabe way of life.  This is being done in peace and prayer, supporting the defense of Indigenous sovereignty, treaty reserved rights, and the free prior and informed consent of the Anishinaabe Nation for anything impacting them.” Enbridge plans to complete drilling under at least 22 rivers across Northern Minnesota by mid-August of this year.”

Facebook: Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network: Water protectors are stopping use of Enbridge’s pump for Line 3 at drought stricken headwaters of the Mississippi
7/29/21

“HAPPENING NOW: With fire smoke haze in the air due to climate driven fires, water protectors are stopping use of Enbridge’s pump for Line 3 at drought stricken headwaters of the Mississippi where a 10th suspected frac out happened yesterday, in the heart of 1855 treaty lands. Police have issued 10 minute warning. Cheryl Barnds from WECAN on the ground. We stand for the water and Indigenous rights. #StopLine3”

Park Rapids Enterprise: Protesters arrested after crawling into pipeline
7/29/21

“Two men were arrested July 27 in Hubbard County after crawling into a section of pipe on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project,” the Park Rapids Enterprise reports. “…Pipeline workers reported that two people crawled into the pipe while others ran off into the woods, the release says. Arriving deputies learned that the section of pipe was over 2,000 feet long and that the trespassers had not yet come out… “At 1,540 feet in, the deputies apprehended the men, who were attached to each other with a “sleeping dragon” device, the release says. The men refused to release themselves from the device. Deputies and pipeline workers then pulled all four people out of the pipe… “They were transported to the Hubbard County Jail and face charges of trespass and felony theft, according to the press release.”

Facebook: Senator Jeff Merkley [VIDEO]: There is no justifying Line 3
7/29/21

“Building the massive new Line 3 tar sands pipeline would lock in production of filthy tar sands oil for another half-century and undermine our authority to lead the rest of the world transitioning from fossil to renewable energy. And it threatens sacred, treaty-protected tribal lands. There is no justifying Line 3”.

Bemidji Pioneer: Minnesota state lawmakers urge Pollution Control Agency to halt Line 3 permits after spills, drought
Sarah Mearhoff, 7/28/21

“Thirty-two state legislators have signed a letter requesting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) temporarily suspend permits for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project in light of widespread drought throughout the state, as well as recent drilling fluid spills at construction sites,” the Bemidji Pioneer reports. “In the letter dated Tuesday, July 27, the state representatives and senators implored MPCA to release further information on nine reported spill incidents along the Line 3 construction path, saying the agency’s “transparency throughout this process is instrumental in addressing these incidents and enforcement violations.” They requested details in writing on the timing of each incident and when the state was made aware, and whether drilling has resumed at those sites. And because of Minnesota’s statewide drought, the lawmakers wrote that they’re concerned over whether any spills can be adequately diluted by water in impacted waterways and wetlands… “The lawmakers in Tuesday’s letter asked MPCA to temporarily suspend Enbridge’s 401 Certification, and “immediately halt all drilling along the Line 3 route until the state is no longer experiencing drought conditions and until a thorough investigation can be completed by your agency so that the causes of these releases are fully understood and further releases can be avoided.” They also asked for MPCA’s written response by Monday, Aug. 2.”

Press release: Enbridge Reports Strong Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results and Advances Strategic Priorities
7/30/21

“Enbridge Inc. today reported second quarter 2021 financial results, reaffirmed its 2021 financial outlook, and provided a mid-year business update. Highlights: Second quarter GAAP earnings of $1.4 billion or $0.69 per common share, compared with GAAP earnings of $1.6 billion or $0.82 per common share in 2020; Adjusted earnings of $1.4 billion or $0.67 per common share, compared with $1.1 billion or $0.56 per common share in 2020… “Construction of the final leg of the Line 3 Replacement Project is progressing well and the project is on schedule. We are proud of the fact that Line 3 has provided significant business and employment to Indigenous companies and workers in both Canada and the U.S., and contributed over $750 million of spending with Indigenous and Tribal communities with over US$250 million of spending in Minnesota alone so far. “With the Canadian, North Dakota and Wisconsin segments complete, and Minnesota construction progressing well, we expect Line 3 to be fully in service during the fourth quarter. Line 3 is, first and foremost, a critical integrity project that will improve safety and further reduce environmental risks, while driving significant incremental EBITDA growth once fully in service.”

Bloomberg: Shell LNG Project Threatened Amid Cost Dispute Over Pipeline
By Robert Tuttle, 7/29/21

“A Royal Dutch Shell Plc-led project to build a C$40 billion ($32 billion) liquefied natural gas facility in Canada is threatened with another delay amid a dispute over who will bear the escalating cost of a pipeline to supply the plant,” Bloomberg reports. “TC Energy Corp., builder of the Coastal GasLink pipeline that will feed the LNG Canada plant on the coast of British Columbia, warned Thursday it may suspend “certain key construction activities” on the pipeline as it quarrels with the project’s backers over “recognition of certain costs and the impacts on schedule.” Calgary-based TC Energy didn’t say how much costs have increased. In early 2020, the estimated price tag for the pipeline was C$6.6 billion… “But the effort to build the gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the plant has faced protests and Covid-related delays that have caused the cost to “increase significantly,” TC Energy said. It wants to include the incremental costs in the final pipeline tolls. TC Energy is in confidential discussions with LNG Canada to resolve the disagreement and “we do remain hopeful that we will have a fair and reasonable outcome,” Tracy Robinson, the pipeline company’s president of Canadian natural gas, said on an earnings call. Coastal GasLink has been stymied since work first began on the pipeline after the LNG Canada project was sanctioned. In early 2020, protests by indigenous groups along the construction pathway grew into a Canada-wide protest movement that blocked trains from moving goods and passengers across the country.”

WV Gazette Mail: DEP levies $51K fine for Mountaineer XPress Pipeline water pollution violations
By Mike Tony, 7/29/21

“West Virginia environmental regulators have again fined the operator of the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline for water pollution violations,” the WV Gazette Mail reports. “The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has assessed Columbia Gas Transmission a $51,560 penalty for violations dating back to July 2020, adding to the TC Energy subsidiary’s history of environmental violations that predates the pipeline’s March 2019 in-service launch. The violations include failing to report the release of chemical drying agents into an unnamed tributary of Rush Run in Wetzel County used to repair a slip and not installing sediment control devices in the area of the slip as indicated in a stormwater pollution prevention plan, leading to offsite sediment deposits. Regulators found that Columbia Gas Transmission created “distinctly visible” settleable solids in the tributary, failed to address the slip in a timely manner and discharged materials toxic to man, animal or aquatic life, using Envirolime and Quicklime products that impacted the tributary’s pH levels… “The administrative consent order that the Department of Environmental Protection made public Wednesday requires Columbia Gas Transmission to submit a corrective action plan within 30 days… “The DEP fined Columbia Gas Transmission $620,841 in October 2020 and $122,350 in October 2018 for similar sediment control and water pollution violations along the 170-mile, 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline located in Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Doddridge, Ritchie, Calhoun, Wirt, Roane, Jackson, Putnam, Mason, and Cabell counties.”

Facebook: West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety: The West Whiteland Township  Board of Supervisors released a lengthy and rambling statement last night on Mariner East
7/29/21

“The West Whiteland Township  Board of Supervisors released a lengthy and rambling statement last night on Mariner East. We won’t post it here because there are too many things wrong about it. Instead we’ll focus on its closing: “This week, we join in the hope that pipeline construction is finally nearing an end in Meadowbrook Manor and look forward to the day when Mariner East construction is completely done throughout West Whiteland.” Are our Township Supervisors really that unaware of the enormous risk we face with Mariner East? The  consequences of a leak in our densely populated, heavily travelled and visited township would be catastrophic. Have they forgotten Energy Transfer’s Revolution pipeline that ruptured in 2018 just one week into service when the land subsided? Pretending this risk does not exist; pretending we have a credible emergency plan;  and hoping for the best is a failure of their elected  duty “to secure the health, safety and welfare of the citizens.” Clearly WWT  won’t take any kind of real action to ensure our safety. There is heightened concern right now, expressed in letters to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission by our county commissioners and state legislators. The PUC has failed to act. It high time our commissions took the action they said they stand ready to take. Please email County Commissioner Josh Maxwell County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz County Commissioner Michelle Kichline now.”

Rolling Stone: Bon Iver, Low’s Alan Sparhawk, Mumu Fresh to Play Festival Fighting Line 3 Pipeline Construction
By JON BLISTEIN, 7/28/21

“Bon Iver, Low’s Alan Sparhawk, and Mumu Fresh are among the artists set to play the one-day Water Is Life: Stop Line 3 festival, which will benefit efforts to fight the construction of the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline,” Rolling Stone reports. “Water Is Life will take place on August 18th at Bayfront Park in Duluth, Minnesota. The lineup will feature a mix of artists, poets, and indigenous leaders, with all proceeds going to the indigenous woman-led non-profit, Honor the Earth. The Line 3 pipeline, which is being built by Enbridge, cuts through over 200 bodies of water, including the Mississippi River, as well as wetlands and wild rice beds on the Anishinaabe lands of northern Minnesota… “We are deeply humbled to perform and gather alongside other musicians, artists, poets, and Indigenous elders in celebration of water and in resistance to the Line 3 pipeline threatening the waterways and Anishinaabe lands of northern Minnesota,” Bon Iver wrote on Twitter. “All proceeds will go to Honor the Earth as the organization assists in urgent climate justice effort.”

Stop the Money Pipeline: Deadline Glasgow: Defund Climate Chaos — Campaign Kickoff Event
7/29/21

“On November 1st, the most important international climate talks since Paris will begin in Glasgow, Scotland. National leaders from around the world will gather and make new climate commitments; many corporations will release their latest climate plans. That’s why today Stop the Money Pipeline and our coalition partners are launching: Deadline Glasgow – defund climate chaos. The Glasgow Climate Talks are a historic opportunity for the world to act on climate. When the Paris Agreement was signed five years ago, every nation on earth agreed to meet five years later and “ratchet up” their climate ambition. We’re now at that moment ― and it is vital that we hold the world’s leaders to their promises. We’ll share the plan to campaign hard through Glasgow & we’ll have clear steps for activists to join us on the campaign. Speakers include Tara Houska of Giniw Collective, Kayah George of Indigenous Climate Action, Representative Rashida Tlaib, and Bill McKibben. Time: Aug 3, 2021 08:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada). Register via Zoom.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: Natural Gas Pipeliners Tout Hydrogen Production, Blending Plans
BY ANDREW BAKER, 7/29/21

“North America’s largest natural gas transporters and distributors are advancing projects to produce clean hydrogen and blend it into their mix to help achieve decarbonization goals,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “Managers from industry heavyweights including Enbridge Inc. and Williams gave updates on their progress at the LDC Gas Forums Northeast event this month in Boston. Although hydrogen offers “great scale” and a “great opportunity” to help decarbonize the energy sector, “the economy doesn’t exist yet and the infrastructure doesn’t exist yet,” said Williams’ Brian Hlavinka, director of emerging opportunities… “​​Williams has its sights on hydrogen development in Wyoming at upstream acreage acquired this year through a joint venture with Crowheart Energy. The Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) earlier in July approved a grant for Williams “to evaluate water access and compatibility as well as asset integrity in support of green hydrogen production and transport” in the area… “Green hydrogen is produced by separating the hydrogen and oxygen molecules of water via electrolysis powered by renewable electricity. Blue hydrogen refers to splitting hydrogen from natural gas, then capturing and either storing or utilizing the carbon dioxide (CO2) left over as a byproduct. Virtual pipeliners also are preparing to integrate hydrogen and renewable natural gas to their natural gas-by-truck operations, which serve consumers that cannot access actual pipelines. Sapphire Gas Solutions CEO Sam Thigpen said he sees the virtual pipeline space “as a great opportunity” to advance the energy transition, and that the same principles that apply to conventional natural gas can be applied to hydrogen and RNG.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Bipartisan deal would make Biden attack his own agenda
By Adam Aton, 7/30/21

“The bipartisan infrastructure deal could supply Republicans and the fossil fuel industry with fresh political ammunition,” E&E News reports. “The legislation would require the Energy Department to undertake a trio of studies framed in terms that are hostile to President Biden’s climate agenda, according to a summary of the package. One mandatory study would require the Energy Department to report “job loss and impacts on consumer energy costs” due to Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. Two other mandatory studies would focus on electric vehicle supply chains. One would examine “the cradle to grave environmental impact of electric vehicles.” Another would require the Energy and State departments to analyze the “impact of forced labor in China on the electric vehicle supply chain.” The pointed language of those requirements stands apart from other studies mandated by the deal. They echo conservative attacks on Biden’s environmental policy, though some Democrats have voiced them, too. Unions have also raised similar concerns about pipeline projects and overseas labor. Including them in the bipartisan deal could further inflame progressives, who are already deriding the infrastructure package as the product of oil industry influence. Biden canceled the Keystone XL’s permits on his first day in office. TC Energy Corp., the pipeline’s developer, said the cancellation forced the company to lay off 1,000 laborers and potentially reduced thousands of other jobs. Republicans spent weeks hammering Biden for those layoffs and connecting them to his broader climate agenda. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California held an event in Texas to lambaste the president. “Come look in the face of any of those workers who earn $80,000 a year and tell them why you took their jobs away, without ever talking to them,” he said.

New York Times: Democrats Call  Infrastructure Bill a Down Payment on Climate
By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, 7/28/21

“The  $1 trillion infrastructure deal reached by a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday would make a significant down payment on President Biden’s ambitious environmental agenda, including the first federal expenditure on electric vehicle charging stations and the largest investment in public transit and clean water systems in the nation’s history,” according to the New York Times. “The plan also includes the first federal spending designated for “climate resilience” — to adapt and rebuild roads, ports and bridges to withstand the damages wrought by the rising sea levels, stronger storms and more devastating heat waves that will come as the planet continues to warm. But the money for provisions to cut the pollution fueling climate change is a fraction of the $2 trillion that Mr. Biden once vowed to spend. The White House sees the bipartisan measure, which includes $550 billion in new spending, as a first step toward passing a separate $3.5 trillion bill that Democrats hope to push through this fall on a party-line basis, over the objection of Republicans. Democrats intend to build significant climate programs into that second bill, including a provision that would essentially pay electric utilities to generate energy from nonpolluting sources, and tax incentives for consumers to buy electric vehicles… “The bipartisan bill would spend $7.5 billion on the first federal effort to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations around the country. That does not come close to the $174 billion that Mr. Biden wants to spend to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.”

Politico Morning Energy: HOT FERC SUMMER CONTINUES
Matthew Choi, 7/29/21

“Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) is really committed to his bit. Casten took the House floor to tout FERC’s role in combating climate change Wednesday, again popping in some pop lyrics to drive his point home,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “Having a well air-conditioned home when it’s ‘hot, hot,’ that’s FERC-alicious, getting your electricity from the lowest cost reliable source — FERC-alicious,” he said, riffing on Fergie’s Fergalicious. Casten performed his legislative ditty to introduce his and Rep. Tom Malinowski’s Right to Timely Rehearings Act. The bill would speed the wait time for FERC to respond to requests for rehearing orders on its decisions.”

E&E News: Red States Seek to Block Biden Update to Key Climate Metric
By Maxine Joselow, 7/28/21

“Ten Republican attorneys general yesterday asked a federal court to swiftly block President Biden from raising a key metric for greenhouse gases,” E&E News reports. “In a motion for preliminary injunction, the red states urged the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to prevent Biden’s interim social cost of carbon from taking effect across the federal government… “The 10 states sued in April over Biden’s plans to increase the social cost of carbon, a key metric that assigns a dollar value to the harm caused by emitting 1 ton of greenhouse gases. The metric is used in cost-benefit analyses underpinning major federal actions, such as EPA’s emissions rules for coal-fired power plants. Biden signed a Jan. 20 executive order that established an interagency working group tasked with recommending an interim social cost of carbon within 30 days—and a final social cost of carbon by January 2022. The working group in March endorsed raising the social cost of carbon to $51 per ton. Under former President Trump, the figure had fallen to as little as $1 per ton. The lawsuit alleges that Biden’s moves violated federal rulemaking requirements and the intent of Congress… “A coalition of 12 other attorneys general launched a separate legal challenge to Biden’s interim social cost of carbon in March.”

The Hill: Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium
BY ZACK BUDRYK, 7/27/21

“Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) grilled Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on the status of the Biden administration’s moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public lands in a hearing Tuesday,” The Hill reports. “While I’ve supported administration’s desire to pause lease sales to make sure the American people are getting fair returns for our shared resources, we are now well — now into the early summer timeline when we were told the review would be completed,” Manchin said during a Tuesday hearing on the Interior Department’s fiscal 2022 budget request. “We need a plan to move forward for responsible oil and gas leasing both onshore and offshore,” he added. In response, Haaland did not commit to a specific timeline but said “the review is being finalized internally and should be out very soon.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of four GOP senators to vote to confirm Haaland, also pressed the secretary on the freeze. “I’m not going to ask you when you think it’s coming. I hope you can sense the frustration in anticipating this and wondering when we will be able to expect you’ll be in compliance with the judge’s order,” she said, referencing a June injunction against the pause.”

Wall Street Journal: Washington’s Oil Lobby Pivoted On Climate Change—And Made No One Happy
By Timothy Puko and Ted Mann, 7/28/21

“The American Petroleum Institute, Washington’s biggest lobby for the oil-and-gas industry, spent decades leveraging its financial muscle to fight almost every green initiative in its path. Then in March, the group signaled an about-face. It released its ‘Climate Action Framework,’ a set of new policy prescriptions to lower emissions and support cleaner fuels,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “The core of the plan called for two policies API had opposed for years: more regulation on methane, a potent greenhouse gas that leaks from oil-and-gas operations, and a price on carbon, a financial penalty levied on all carbon-dioxide emissions. The challenge of climate change, it said, requires ‘new approaches, new partners, new policies and continuous innovation.’ Even by the standards of Washington, it was a remarkable shift. And it made nobody happy. Democrats’ embrace of alternative energy and skepticism of the oil industry continue unchanged. Republican allies, long a bulwark for the industry, feel alienated… “The century-old organization tries to strike consensus among its roughly 600 members, and that has become increasingly difficult as companies diverge over how to respond to concerns over climate change and government actions.”

STATE UPDATES

InsideClimate News: An Oil Industry Hub in Washington State Bans New Fossil Fuel Development
By Marianne Lavelle, 7/29/21

“Eight years ago, Whatcom County, on the northwest coast of Washington State, seemed destined to become the gateway through which North America’s expanding fossil fuel industry would connect with the hungry energy markets of Asia,” InsideClimate News reports. “The BP and Phillips 66 refineries in Ferndale, Washington—about 100 miles north of Seattle—were building new receiving facilities for oil trains to deliver crude from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota. Tar sands oil from Canada also was coming in, with plans looming to expand pipeline capacity. And, most significantly, the nation’s largest coal export terminal was set to be built just to the south in Bellingham, expected to unload 15 coal trains weekly that would rumble into the county from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. But the massive coal proposal would prove to be the undoing of the vision of Whatcom County as a fossil fuel export mecca. The plan produced a ferocious backlash, killing the project in 2016 and sparking a local political upheaval that culminated on Tuesday night. At its weekly meeting, the Whatcom County Council voted to approve an overhaul of local land-use policies, allowing existing refineries to expand but prohibiting new refineries, transshipment facilities, coal plants, piers or wharfs in its coastal industrial zone. The new rules also require a public review of the environmental impact of any significant expansion at existing refineries and other facilities, including any increase in greenhouse gas emissions… “Environmental advocates, who worked for a decade to defeat plans for more carbon-polluting industry on the northwest coast, say it is the first time a local government in the United States has utilized land use law to impose such a broad, permanent ban on fossil fuel development.”

Colorado Sun: Adams County adopts new oil and gas regulations that critics say will effectively ban drilling
Liam Adams, 7/28/21

“The Adams County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to adopt new oil and gas regulations at a public hearing on Tuesday, making the county one of the first in Colorado to revise its policies since new statewide regulations took effect in January,” the Colorado Sun reports. “The regulations increase setback distances for new drilling to 2,000 feet from homes, schools, daycares, environmentally sensitive areas, and parks and open spaces. They also expand the definition of environmentally sensitive areas and require closer monitoring of nuisance impacts. The oil and gas industry says the new regulations effectively ban drilling in the county, while county commissioners argue the changes were necessary to address the growing concern over air quality and pollution. “Frankly, the time is now. We are looking at the longest streak of poor air quality in the Denver metro in a number of years,” said Adams County Commissioner Emma Pinter. “There is widespread concern in the community, both about climate change, air quality, air pollution, water pollution, all the things that are really centered around these regulations. This is the best that we can do at this time.”

EXTRACTION 

Politico: EIA: Renewables Top Coal, Nuclear As Second Biggest Power Source Behind Natural Gas In 2020
7/28/21

“Electricity generated from renewables was the second biggest source of power in the United States in 2020, lagging only natural gas-fired power generation for the first time, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,” Politico reports. “Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal energy together generated a record-high 834 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2020, contributing about 21 percent of all the electricity generated in the U.S., according to EIA. The rise comes as the United States’ dependence on coal drops and as the share of wind and solar power expands. Natural gas further cemented its dominant position, producing 1,617 billion kWh during the year, or 40 percent of the total power output, EIA said… “EIA anticipates coal will rebound to become the second biggest electricity source in 2021 as rising natural gas prices erode that fuel’s market share.”

Reuters: Mexican methane leak rate ‘alarming’ for climate change, report says
Stefanie Eschenbacher, 7/28/21

“Mexico’s methane leak rate from oil and gas operations is twice as high as that of the world’s top oil producer, the United States, a group of researchers found in a report due to be released this week,” according to Reuters. “…Daniel Zavala, a senior scientist specializing in methane emissions from the global oil and gas system at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a U.S. non-profit advocacy group, has long studied Mexico’s emissions. Zavala said satellite data shows that roughly 4.7% of gas produced in the country is released into the atmosphere – by global standards a very high leak rate. The Mexican results compare with a rate of 2.3% for all of the United States and 3.7% in the Permian basin, the largest U.S. region of crude oil production, located in West Texas and an adjoining area of southeastern New Mexico. “It’s a huge gap,” Zavala told Reuters in an interview ahead of the report’s publication due on Wednesday. “Cutting these emissions in half would have the same climate benefit over 20 years as removing one third of total passenger cars in the country.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

New York Times: A Carbon Calculation: How Many Deaths Do Emissions Cause?
John Schwartz, 7/29/21

“What is the cost of our carbon footprint — not just in dollars, but in lives? According to a paper published on Thursday, it is soberingly high, and perhaps high enough to help shift attitudes about how much we should spend on fighting climate change,” the New York Times reports. “The new paper, published in the journal Nature Communications, draws on multiple areas of research to find out how many future lives will be lost as a result of rising temperatures if humanity keeps producing greenhouse gas emissions at high rates — and how many lives could be saved by cutting those emissions. Most of the deaths will occur in regions that tend to be hotter and poorer than the United States. These areas are typically less responsible for global emissions but more heavily affected by the resulting climate disasters. R. Daniel Bressler, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, calculated that adding about a quarter of the output of a coal-fired power plant, or roughly a million metric tons of carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere on top of 2020 levels for just one year will cause 226 deaths globally. By comparison, the lifetime emissions beyond 2020 levels of a handful of Americans (3.5, to be precise) will result in one additional heat-related death in this century. Mr. Bressler also contrasted the effects of people in nations with big carbon footprints with those in smaller ones. While the carbon emissions generated by fewer than four Americans would kill one person, it would require the combined carbon dioxide emissions of 146.2 Nigerians for the same result. The worldwide average to cause that single death is 12.8 people. The new paper builds on the work of William Nordhaus, a Nobel laureate who first determined what is known as the “social cost of carbon” — an economic tool for measuring the climate-related damage to the planet caused by each extra ton of carbon emissions.”

Pittsburgh City Paper: Reports highlight how to repair the Appalachian economy without relying on fracking
By Kimberly Rooney, 7/28/21

“In the wake of the Great Recession, natural gas seemed like a viable foundation for economic recovery in Pennsylvania and the greater Appalachia region, which has abundant natural gas reserves,” the Pittsburgh City Paper reports. “Companies such as Range Resources moved into the region promising job creation, but that broad economic recovery never really came for Appalachia’s large gas-producing areas. Between 2008-2019, the 22 counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia that produce 90% of Appalachian natural gas trailed the rest of the country in job growth, personal income, and population. Instead of the promised growth, a new report from the Ohio River Valley Institute shows how natural gas development led to economic distress and environmental hazards for those counties, which the report refers to as “Frackalachia.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Common Dreams: Warning of Climate Chaos, New 350.org Campaign Demands Fed ‘Stop Fossil Fuel Finance’
BRETT WILKINS, 7/27/21

“The grassroots environmental advocacy group 350.org on Tuesday launched the “Fossil Free Federal Reserve” campaign, demanding the Fed codify its climate responsibility and calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to appoint a chairperson who is a “climate champion,” Common Dreams reports. “The new campaign—part of a global effort to press banks, financial institutions, and insurers to “stop the money pipeline to fossil fuels”—is demanding that the Federal Reserve end bank fossil fuel financing by using existing regulations. It also calls for an alignment of Fed spending and purchasing with the Paris climate agreement’s more ambitious goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Furthermore, the campaign asks the Fed to encourage financial institutions to make investments “aimed at limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, with a particular emphasis on lending to low-income communities and communities of color.” “Building a Fossil Free Federal Reserve is a key tool in our climate recovery toolbox,” Tracey Lewis, 350.org’s senior climate finance policy analyst, said in a statement. “We’re launching this campaign because climate chaos is a disaster for all of us, including the economy. Not only does the Fed have legal authority to stop fossil fuel finance—it’s their responsibility.” The campaign is timed with an eye on the end of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s term in February 2022. Biden is expected to announce his pick for Powell’s successor—who must be confirmed by the Senate—as early as September. More than 20,000 people have signed a petition at 350.org urging the president to “nominate a climate leader” as the next Fed chair.”

OPINION

Lakota People’s Law Project: Law Enforcement Can Now Kill Water Protectors
7/28/21

“As the resistance to the Line 3 pipeline on unceded treaty lands in what is now called Minnesota heats up — with multiple camps standing against militarized police there to ensure the destruction of sacred lands and water systems — a newly proposed law before the U.S. Senate could drastically increase the danger to water protectors,” according to the Lakota People’s Law Project. “Please use your voice now to defend dissent and protect the protectors: tell your senators to vote NO on HR 1374. The bill, innocuously titled the Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2021, would create a federal law that potentially weaponizes state forces and codifies a money pipeline for states to accept and solicit private funding from anyone, including mega-donors and private corporations. Under the guise of creating “energy security plans” — specifically around so-called “critical infrastructure,” which, of course, includes pipelines — this new bill not only paves the way, but legally standardizes requirements for companies like Line 3 parent Enbridge and Keystone XL (KXL) parent TransCanada to fund state forces to put down Native-led dissent… “Ultimately, America could also be engaging in the state-sponsored, public murders of water protectors. As recently reported by Democracy Now!, water protector and land back attorney Bruce Ellison has obtained documents indicating that “lethal force” could be deployed to suppress Indigenous activists resisting pipelines. Ellison, who obtained the documents through an investigation of the now-ended KXL pipeline, said that the South Dakota National Guard was slated to be the main force to ensure KXL’s full build — including, potentially, the use of lethal force. According to Ellsion, such force can now be used in defense of both people and property in South Dakota, including if officers perceive that no other remedy could be employed when suspected offenders are leaving the scene.”

Bloomberg: Legal Gaps Leave Fracking a Radioactive Mess
Bemnet Alemayehu is a staff scientist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) where he concentrates on issues relating to the environmental monitoring and health effects of radiation. Amy Mall is a senior advocate at NRDC, where she has worked for 20 years helping shape policies to protect human health and the environment from the harms of oil and gas development, including fracking and pipelines, 7/29/21

“Oil and gas production including fracking can produce radioactive waste with risks to human health,” Bemnet Alemayehu and Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council write for Bloomberg. “Congress must enact changes to several environmental laws regulating production and disposal of radioactive waste to protect workers and the public, they say. For decades, federal and state regulators have known about the health risks of radiation from oil and gas production, but gaps and carve-outs in federal environmental laws and weak or non-existent state regulations have left workers, the public, and clean water at risk. Dangers to the public from this spotty legal framework have grown over the past decade, as the fracking boom has led to billions of gallons of produced water and tons of underground rock and sand being brought to the surface and disposed of inadequately. It’s time for Congress to update key environmental laws such as the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to establish safeguards to protect the public and environment from this dangerous waste. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration needs to update rules based on science from the 1970s that are woefully inadequate to address the risks faced by drivers, drillers, and other oil and gas workers.”

Pipeline Fighters Hub