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Extracted: Daily News Clips 8/11/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 11, 2021

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  • FOX9MPCA investigating 28 releases of drilling fluid along Line 3 pipeline project
  • HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AGAINST LINE 3National Day of Solidarity Aug. 17
  • Facebook: Giniw CollectiveFor the first time since active construction of the Line 3 pipeline two water protectors went to trial
  • VICEAn Oil Company Paid Police $2 Million to Defend Its Pipeline From Protests
  • CBCTrans Mountain pipeline tries to override Burnaby to gain permits for clearing 86 trees
  • BloombergIndigenous Group Seeks Trans Mountain Stake After Keystone Death
  • Utility DiveFERC requests more evidence of reliability impacts as Spire STL pipeline seeks temporary approval
  • Beaver County TimesKnown pipeline company fined for Beaver County violations
  • Storm Lake TimesCO² pipeline mapped from BV County to Illinois
  • TruthoutFossil Fuel Companies Turn to “Green” Pipelines to Qualify for New Subsidies
  • WNEPResidents breath sigh of relief as plans for proposed pipeline put off in Carbon County


  • PoliticoLET IT FLOW
  • GreenpeaceBrooklyn Billboard Calls For Sen. Schumer To End Big Oil Handouts
  • Courthouse NewsJudge sends EPA to drawing board for new rules on oil-spill cleanup products
  • PHMSAPHMSA Notice of Proposed Violation, Proposed Civil Penalty, and Proposed Compliance Order to Energy Transfer LP – Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Colorado SunOil and gas company KP Kauffman may lose right to operate in Colorado due to alleged environmental violations
  • Bakersfield CalifornianState again exercises discretion to reject fracking permits in western Kern
  • Salt Lake TribuneEnvironmentalists push lawsuits after impact statement released on $3 billion rail project that would quadruple Uinta Basin’s oil output


  • OilPrice.comGiving Up Oil Is Impossible: Alberta Premier
  • BloombergClimate Report Exposes Fault Lines Within Fossil Fuel Industry
  • ReutersTo save the planet, focus on cutting methane – U.N. climate report
  • BloombergWhy Methane Is Climate’s Low-Hanging Invisible Fruit
  • Press releaseCanada opens call for studies on carbon capture technologies
  • EsquireThe Bills Are Coming Due in the American Petrostate of North Dakota
  • PoliticoWhere Republicans Are Starting to Worry About Big Oil
  • Utility DivePush for green energy could strand more than $68B in coal and gas assets, S&P says
  • InforumOil, brine spill at McKenzie County well site


  • Press releaseGlobal Carbon Capture and Storage Market to Reach $3.9 Billion by 2026


  • Stop the Money PipelineExpectations for President Biden’s Climate-Related Financial Risk Strategy
  • BloombergAsset Managers Find Greenwashing ‘Blind Spots’ in EU Rules





FOX9: MPCA investigating 28 releases of drilling fluid along Line 3 pipeline project
By Allie Johnson, 8/10/21

“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said there have been 28 inadvertent releases of drilling fluid at 12 river crossings along the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project, more than the agency first reported,” according to FOX9. “The inadvertent releases were between June 8 and Aug. 5. One of the spills was into a river and 14 were into non-surface water areas. Thirteen of the spills were in wetlands, including one case, 6,000-9,000 gallons were released into a wetland 1/4 mile from the Mississippi River in Aitkin County, agency records show… “In a letter to Minnesota lawmakers, the MPCA said it has opened an investigation into the releases of drilling fluid… “The agency said it has placed additional requirements on the company throughout the construction of the pipeline, including increasing the number of independent environmental monitors and requiring the installation of preemptive sediment barriers at numerous river crossings to help clean up any inadvertent drilling fluid releases. Enbridge spokesperson Juli Kellner said in an email to FOX 9 that in the majority of instances, the drilling fluid was contained entirely on land and cleaned up.”

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AGAINST LINE 3: National Day of Solidarity Aug. 17

“On August 17th, in a national day of solidarity, health and science professionals across the country are taking action and calling on President Biden to revoke the permits and #StopLine3. Check out the map below to find out if there’s an action happening in your area. Climate change is a health crisis. We need action now. Line 3 cuts through the heart of the Anishinaabe territory in Minnesota, violating treaty rights, damaging sacred wild rice beds, and threatening the health of our Indigenous communities. Indigenous leaders in Minnesota have been leading the movement against Line 3 and are putting their bodies on the line right now to protect sacred land, water and our climate.  If built and operational, the oil from Line 3 will add 50 coal plants worth of emissions every single year it is in operation.  President Biden could act to stop construction immediately as he did with Keystone XL, but thus far has chosen not to. Please sign up to join us for this day of action… “This action is coordinated by Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, a group of health professionals in Minnesota working to address climate change through interprofessional education, clinical practice, and public advocacy.”

Facebook: Giniw Collective: For the first time since active construction of the Line 3 pipeline two water protectors went to trial.

“Line 3 Trial Update: For the first time since active construction of the Line 3 pipeline two water protectors went to trial. One was aquitted, another convicted guilty of public nuisance. This water protector was sentenced to double the jail time that the prosecutor requested by a politically motivated and aggressive judge. Brock Hefel is a political prisoner being wrongly held. He was unconventionally taken into custody at his trial and is currently in prison, serving 30 days. The criminal code is being used punitively for political purposes against water protectors to intimidate and oppress… “Brock had no prior criminal record and was serving as a police liaison on the day of his arrest. He had already served two days in jail. The presiding Judge ordered that he be taken into immediate custody on a misdemeanor conviction; most people do not even serve time in jail for a misdemeanor. The Judge had previously refused to hear constitutional challenges to the charges against Brock, on the basis that the State of Minnesota was not a “party” to the case, even though Brock’s charging documents list the State of Minnesota as the Plaintiff. At sentencing, on August 6th, the Judge ordered Brock to serve 30 days in the Hubbard County Jail – he said his main “concern” was deterrence. The Judge did not consider Brock’s long record of volunteer service or the non-violent nature of the charges. The Judge wanted to send a message to the dozens of Water Protectors who showed up to support Brock: protest Line 3 in Hubbard County – either with signs, chants, or direct action – and you will go to jail for a far longer time than people convicted of other misdemeanors. Brock will be appealing this unjust conviction and sentence. And as the chant on June 15, 2021, says: he wants you to know “We stand with Indigenous Nations, fuck the Enbridge corporation.” Help support phone time and commissary: Venmo@miragrins, Cashapp$mirairaira. Send Brock some love in the mail, see link in bio for guidelines for writing to prisoners. (Write him @ Brock Hefel, Hubbard County Detention Center, 301 Court Ave Park Rapids MN 56470).”

VICE: An Oil Company Paid Police $2 Million to Defend Its Pipeline From Protests
By Audrey Carleton, 8/9/21

“A Canadian Oil company has given Minnesota law enforcement $2 million to fund the policing of protests against construction of its pipeline, VICE Motherboard has learned. “Calgary-based oil giant Enbridge set up a fund called the Public Safety Escrow Trust in May, 2020 as part of its permitting process for the Line 3 pipeline route, which carries tar sands oil from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. The funds in this account have been used to reimburse costs associated with “maintaining the peace” around the pipeline, including for officer wages, lodging, and boom trucks, according to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Line 3 permits. On July 29, a group of unarmed environmental activists protesting the pipeline in Thief River Falls, Minnesota were tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested. “It was a really brutal scene,” Tara Houska, an Ojibwe lawyer and activist who was arrested at the protest, told Motherboard. “The level of force being used, partnered with the very close range that law enforcement was facing us, led to some pretty serious injuries … It was really an extreme level of force, partnered with a really punitive and oppressive style of jailing.” The nearby Marshall County Sheriff’s Department filed a reimbursement request for expenses associated with that day’s patrol, a spokesperson for the Minnesota PUC confirmed to Motherboard. According to the utility regulator, between June 8 and July 31, the Sheriff’s Department was reimbursed $20,057.90 by Enbridge for personnel expenses associated with Line 3 assists.”

CBC: Trans Mountain pipeline tries to override Burnaby to gain permits for clearing 86 trees
Michelle Gomez, 8/9/21

“The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has once again asked a federal regulator to overrule the City of Burnaby and allow the Crown corporation to cut down 86 trees near the boundary between Burnaby and New Westminster,” the CBC reports. “The city has previously denied Trans Mountain permits to cut down these trees. Trans Mountain also requested the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to overturn Burnaby’s refusal to grant a street works permit allowing access to a construction area near North Road in the city.  Filed on Aug. 3, the application states that Trans Mountain attempted to work in good faith with Burnaby before bringing the matter to the CER. It describes Burnaby’s unwillingness to issue these permits as unconstitutional… “A group of protestors have physically occupied the treetops of the Brunette River Conservation Area, where most of the trees are to be removed, for over a year… “Campaigns manager of Dogwood B.C., Alexandra Woodsworth, told CBC the community activism surrounding the project has been effective. “It is really a powerful symbol of what community resistance can achieve. They have really held off pipeline construction in one area.”

Bloomberg: Indigenous Group Seeks Trans Mountain Stake After Keystone Death
By Robert Tuttle, 8/10/21

“Natural Law Energy, the Canadian indigenous group that sought a stake in the now defunct Keystone XL pipeline, has shifted its focus to owning part of the Trans Mountain oil sands pipeline to the Pacific,” Bloomberg reports. “The group is participating in meetings with the Canadian government and has spoken with Project Reconciliation, another organization of First Nations that seeks to own the oil pipeline currently being expanded in Alberta and British Columbia, Travis Meguinis, chief executive officer of Natural Law, told Bloomberg. Meguinis didn’t say how big a stake or how much the group aims to invest.”

Utility Dive: FERC requests more evidence of reliability impacts as Spire STL pipeline seeks temporary approval
Catherine Morehouse, 8/10/21

“Spire STL Pipeline and stakeholders across its Missouri territory are continuing their push for federal regulators to approve temporary operations of the facility while the project assesses its path forward following a potentially detrimental court ruling,” Utility Dive reports. “The pipeline has been in service since 2019, but in June, a federal court of appeals vacated the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order that allowed the project to move forward, finding the commission did not sufficiently examine evidence of self-dealing and project need. Spire in July requested FERC grant it a temporary certificate of public convenience and necessity while the company sorts out what the court ruling will mean for the pipeline. FERC responded on Friday requesting more information from the company, including on the alleged reliability impacts of closing the pipeline. Missouri regulators, the governor, the attorney general and various labor and business groups have echoed Spire’s call for a temporary certificate in comments filed with FERC over the past month. But environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) which brought the pipeline company to court in the first place, say the proposal for temporary certification has “serious deficiencies.” “…For the pipeline to continue operating, it will need to secure a temporary certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC, something the company says is necessary to maintain reliable service to the project’s 650,000 customers.  FERC, in its response to the request, asked the company to provide more detail on whether the company could meet service requirements without the pipeline, and to back up more thoroughly its claims that the pipeline provided essential reliability services during the February cold snap that led to widespread outages across the Midwest and Texas. Spire, in its comments, had claimed that not allowing the pipeline to remain in service could place “lives at risk.”

Beaver County Times: Known pipeline company fined for Beaver County violations
Chrissy Suttles, 8/10/21

“Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has fined a high-profile pipeline company $140,000 for years of violations on a Beaver County construction project,” the Beaver County Times reports. “ETC Northeast Field Services, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, entered into a consent order and agreement with state regulators for 2019-20 violations along the company’s B15 Well Connect Pipeline construction project in Economy and New Sewickley Township. ETC Northeast paid a $140,000 civil penalty to the state’s oil and gas program fund and has agreed to corrective actions. Energy Transfer also operates Center Township’s Revolution Pipeline, which exploded in 2018 following a landslide. The company has since paid, and continues to pay, historic fines for its role in the disaster.”

Storm Lake Times: CO² pipeline mapped from BV County to IllinoisValero ethanol plant at Albert City is anchor

“The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors retained the engineering firm ISG to inspect a portion of a 1,200 mile carbon-capture pipeline system that’s expected to run through Fairfield and Poland Townships by 2024,” the Storm Lake Times reports. “The board learned on Tuesday the Albert City-Marathon area is part of Navigator CO² Ventures’ carbon-capture pipeline system that’s planned across five Midwestern states… “Board Chairman Kelly Snyder told the Times neither the Dallas, Texas, pipeline developer nor Valero has approached the county about the project. Snyder, a native of rural Marathon, added no landowner meetings have been announced… “ The proposed route is almost the same as Dakota Access’s, though it’s expected to have tributaries to the main line. The company is engaging counties about pipeline inspections “much earlier in the process” by comparison to the Dakota Access project, he added; during that time, counties signed representation letters while construction was imminent. Navigator CO² CEO Matt Vining told Pipeline & Gas Journal construction could occur as early as November 2022, depending on permitting and investor engagement. Don Tormey, a spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board, told the Times the board has not received any documentation about the project.”

Truthout: Fossil Fuel Companies Turn to “Green” Pipelines to Qualify for New Subsidies
Leanna First-Arai, 8/10/21

“On Monday, the world’s leading authority on climate science, the International Panel on Climate Change, issued the first part of its sixth and most dire assessment of the climate emergency, which UN Secretary General António Guterres characterized as a “code red for humanity,” Truthout reports. “…On the contrary, the infrastructure bill in its current form appears to be an attempt to keep fossil fuels flowing, Natalie Mebane, associate director of U.S. policy for the global climate campaign, told Truthout. “What we’re seeing is this idea that fossil fuel companies can continue to drill and burn, but somehow they’re going to make it benign.”. This summer, “green” fossil fuel infrastructure proposals have been popping up in many flavors. Ahead of the Senate’s unveiling of its 2,000-plus page infrastructure bill, Canadian pipeline operator TC Energy gestured at plans to clean up its 62,000-mile network of oil and gas pipelines by powering the network with wind and solar energy, rather than natural gas… “It may also position the company favorably for some of the $25 billion in new subsidies fossil fuel companies are eligible for, such as a grant program to build out “renewable” equipment designed to “refine, electrolyze, or blend any fuel, chemical or product.” “…Plans for more “sustainable” fossil fuel infrastructure are also likely an attempt by the fossil fuel industry to hold on to some social license amid the climate crisis, as hail falls in the tropics and smoke from west coast wildfires snuffs out sunlight on the east coast.”

WNEP: Residents breath sigh of relief as plans for proposed pipeline put off in Carbon County
Carolyn Blackburne, 8/10/21

“Christman Farm near Towamensing Township has been in the family for nearly 150 years; that could’ve changed. Penn East wanted to run a natural gas pipeline there. Now, the company said it is exploring other options,” WNEP reports. “After I saw it in writing, I was overjoyed. Really happy. I couldn’t wait to tell the other landowners that were affected,” Linda Christman told WNEP. “In a statement to Newswatch 16, Penn East said it “believes it is not prudent to complete the acquisition of the rights of way as it might not be necessary for some time.” It went on to say it may restart legal proceedings when it has a better understanding of when it would need to acquire the properties. “So many landowners had just been through the mill for seven years, worried about this pipeline coming through their property,” Christman told WNEP.


Politico: LET IT FLOW
Alex Guillen, 8/10/21

“A group of red states is trying to get a federal judge to force the Biden Interior to restart new oil and gas lease sales — seven weeks after the court deemed the department’s pause on those sales unlawful,” Politico reports. “Interior Secretary Deb Haaland testified before the Senate Energy Committee last month that, “technically, I suppose you could say the pause is still in place,” though Interior was working to comply with the judge’s order. That testimony is included in the states’ argument to the court proving that the department was not, in fact, complying with the court’s ruling. “There is simply no excuse for Defendants’ brazen noncompliance with this Court’s Order,” the states argued.

Greenpeace: Brooklyn Billboard Calls For Sen. Schumer To End Big Oil Handouts
by Tyler Kruse, 8/10/21

“On the heels of yesterday’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that reaffirmed the need to end all new fossil fuel investments, Greenpeace USA unveiled a billboard in Brooklyn to send a clear message to Sen. Schumer: End Big Oil Handouts. In May 2011, Sen. Schumer said “the time to repeal these giveaways is now” when talking about tax subsidies for big oil on the floor of the senate.[1] The billboard at 331 Flatbush, a few blocks from Sen. Schumer’s home near Prospect Park, asks him to follow through on that statement. “Our tax dollars should not be funding the fossil fuel industry. Sen. Schumer was right, big oil giveaways should have ended 10 years ago. There is no reason for taxpayers to still be waiting for this wasteful spending to end. We know he can move quickly. He helped ban Four Loko in less than a year.[2] Fossil fuels are far more dangerous to the health and safety of New Yorkers than Four Loko ever was, Sen. Schumer needs to treat it as such,” said Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner John Noël. “In light of yesterday’s IPCC climate report, UN Secretary General António Guterres took the extraordinary step of calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Sen. Schumer has the opportunity to make this commonsense climate policy a reality. He must use budget reconciliation to end fossil fuel subsidies and prioritize a clean, just energy system of the future that supports impacted communities.”

Courthouse News: Judge sends EPA to drawing board for new rules on oil-spill cleanup products

“After years of inaction, the time has come for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update its policies governing the use of dispersants and other toxic chemicals used to clean up oil spills, a federal judge ruled Monday,” according to Courthouse News. “The order comes after the Earth Island Institute and other environmental nonprofits took the EPA to court in January 2019 in a bid to compel the agency to update an oil spill contingency plan they claim is woefully out of date. At the heart of the dispute over the contingency plan — which has not been updated since 1994 — is the government’s stance on dispersants, toxic chemicals used to help break down oil particles following a hazardous spill. While the current oil spill contingency plan allows the use of these chemicals, the plaintiffs say many in the scientific community have determined these compounds actually do far more environmental harm than good and could potentially worsen the environmental impact of a spill rather than cure it.”

PHMSA: PHMSA Notice of Proposed Violation, Proposed Civil Penalty, and Proposed Compliance Order to Energy Transfer LP – Dakota Access Pipeline

“From April 29, 2019 through August 30, 2019, a representative of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), pursuant to Chapter 601 of 49 United States Code (U.S.C.) inspected procedures, facilities and records of your Dakota Access Pipeline (Energy Transfer) beginning at Stanley, North Dakota and continuing to the east state line of South Dakota. As a result of the inspection, it is alleged that you have committed probable violations of the Pipeline Safety Regulations, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)… “We have reviewed the circumstances and supporting documentation involved for the above probable violations and recommend that you be preliminarily assessed a civil penalty of $93,200 as follows… “Warning Items: With respect to items 4 and 5 we have reviewed the circumstances and supporting documents involved in this case and have decided not to conduct additional enforcement action or penalty assessment proceedings at this time. We advise you to promptly correct these items. Failure to do so may result in additional enforcement action.”


Colorado Sun: Oil and gas company KP Kauffman may lose right to operate in Colorado due to alleged environmental violations
Mark Jaffe, 8/10/21

“Oil and gas company KP Kauffman, under fire for a spate of alleged operating violations, is facing a proposed $3.7 million fine and the possible loss of its right to operate in the state as a three-day hearing on its case opens before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Tuesday,” the Colorado Sun reports. “The enforcement action against the company, also known as KPK, was brought by commission staff after citing the company for allegedly violating more than 20 different operating rules, including improperly storing waste, failing to report and address spills and not taking proper environmental precautions. “Staff has been struggling with KPK for some time and it is staff’s hope that through this enforcement matter KPK will finally live up to the obligations it owes to the people of the state of Colorado,” the commission staff said in its prehearing statement. In April, the commission ordered 87 of KPK’s wells shut and a clean-up of 29 sites for violations ranging from fouling farm fields to covering the road in front of a high school with oil wastes… “KPK operates about 1,200 oil and gas wells on the Front Range, mostly acquired not through drilling but through transfers of ownership from other oil and gas companies… “Were KPK to go out of business and the state inherit its wells for plugging and abandonment it would increase five-fold the number of orphan wells in Colorado. KPK has posted a little more than $1.1 million in clean-up bonds, according to the COGGC, about $900 a well.”

Bakersfield Californian: State again exercises discretion to reject fracking permits in western Kern
BY JOHN COX, 8/9/21

“For the second time, State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk has used his discretionary authority, as opposed to technical standards, to reject a series of permit applications to use the controversial oilfield technique known as fracking,” according to the Bakersfield Californian. “Ntuk sent a letter Monday to Bakersfield-based oil producer Aera Energy LLC saying he has reviewed and denied applications filed by the company to hydraulically fracture 14 wells in the South Belridge oil field in western Kern County. “In the exercise of my discretion under (California law) … I am denying these permit requests ‘to prevent, as far as possible, damage to life, health, property and natural resources’ and to ‘protect public health and safety and environmental quality, including [the] reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the development of hydrocarbon . . . resources,’” Ntuk’s letter states. The denials followed one month after Ntuk’s first stated use of his discretionary authority to deny California fracking permits. Taken together, the denials suggest the Newsom administration is withholding permits as a matter of policy even before adoption of a proposed fracking ban that, if approved, would take effect Jan. 1, 2024… “Environmental activists applauded Ntuk’s denials last month, saying the moves would not just help in the fight against climate change but also protect the health and safety of people living near oil fields. But Kern County politicians and oil industry officials countered that there have been no reports of groundwater contamination and that banning fracking only increases California’s dependence on oil imported from countries with relatively lax environmental and labor standards.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Environmentalists push lawsuits after impact statement released on $3 billion rail project that would quadruple Uinta Basin’s oil output
By Brian Maffly and Bethany Rodgers, 8/9/21

“An oil-hauling railway for the Uinta Basin took a big stride forward Friday with the release of an environmental impact statement (EIS) identifying a preferred route for the 85-mile line that would connect Utah’s oil patch with the national rail network,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. “The single-track railway would cross stream at 443 places, affecting 61 miles of streams, and could negatively affect 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat. But worse, according to environmentalists, it would promote increased fossil-fuel development at a time when the nation needs to be reducing climate-altering emissions of greenhouse gasses. The EIS takes only a cursory look at the impacts associated with increased drilling in the Uinta Basin, whose airshed already violates federal standards for ozone, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. For years, Uinta Basin’s waxy crude has been plagued by transportation bottlenecks because U.S. Highway 40 is the only avenue to get it to market. Most of it ends up at Salt Lake refineries, which pay a steep discount because producers have nowhere else to send the oil, which hardens as it cools. A rail connection is hoped to open up new markets, such as the Gulf Coast refineries or the hub at Cushing, Okla., for Uinta crude, but controversy had dogged rail proposals for years, long before the SCIC took it on.”

EXTRACTION Giving Up Oil Is Impossible: Alberta Premier
By Irina Slav, 8/10/21

“Giving up oil and other fossil fuels is “patently unrealistic”, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in comments on the IPCC climate report released yesterday, which warned that humankind’s window for addressing climate change was closing fast,” reports. “The report attributed—with a high to an extremely high degree of likelihood—the accelerated and increasingly dramatic changes in the planet’s climate to our use of fossil fuels and the resultant emissions. “The notion that we can shut off a major, industrialized economy with the flick of a switch is patently unrealistic,” Alberta’s Kenney said, as quoted by CBC News, adding that giving up fossil fuels for a country with the geographical location—and climate—of Canada would come at a cost that will be measured in human lives. Kenney went on to note that most of the world was dependent on fossil fuels, and there was “no credible way” to eliminate this dependence in the observable future. “It is a utopian notion that we can suddenly end the use of hydrocarbon based energy,” the Alberta Premier said. “The challenge is to shrink carbon and CO2 output, and Alberta is increasingly a world leader in that respect.”

Bloomberg: Climate Report Exposes Fault Lines Within Fossil Fuel Industry
By Kevin Crowley, 8/10/21

“The response from fossil fuel companies to the long-awaited United Nations-backed report on climate change is exposing deep-seated divisions within the industry on how to deal with the global threat,” Bloomberg reports. “The publication of the scientific assessment on Monday gives a stark account of the challenges posed by rising temperatures. It calls for dramatic measures to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next two decades.”

Reuters: To save the planet, focus on cutting methane – U.N. climate report
Valerie Volcovici, 8/9/21

“In four decades of climate negotiations, the world has focused intensely and exclusively on the most abundant climate-warming gas: carbon dioxide. This year, scientists are urging a focus on another potent greenhouse gas – methane – as the planet’s best hope for staving off catastrophic global warming,” Reuters reports. “Countries must make “strong, rapid and sustained reductions” in methane emissions in addition to slashing CO2 emissions, scientists warn in a landmark report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released Monday. read more The plea could cause consternation in countries opting for natural gas as a cleaner alternative to CO2-belching coal. It also could pose challenges for countries where agriculture and livestock, especially cattle, are important industries. Updates in technology and recent research suggest that methane emissions from oil and gas production, landfills and livestock have likely been underestimated. The report sends a loud signal to countries that produce and consume oil and gas that they need to incorporate “aggressive oil and gas methane reduction plans into their own climate strategies,” Mark Brownstein, senior vice president of energy at Environmental Defense Fund, told Reuters.

Bloomberg: Why Methane Is Climate’s Low-Hanging Invisible Fruit
By Aaron Clark, Naureen S. Malik and Akshat Rathi, 8/10/21

“Methane is the second-largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. But new and better techniques to spot major emitters of the odorless, colorless gas have pushed curbing it up climate to-do lists,” Bloomberg reports. “Scientists view reducing methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry as the cheapest and easiest way to hold down global temperatures in the near term. That could counterbalance the initial warming effect from declining use of dirty fuels — which also pump out fine particles that reflect sunlight — while buying time for reducing carbon emissions… “Why the focus on fossil fuels? Leaks from energy infrastructure are the easiest and cheapest sources of methane to identify and fix. There’s also an economic incentive: Producers can make up for the cost of repairs by selling the extra gas they capture. There are also efforts to create a natural gas standard that would certify emissions associated with production and transport. As much as 80% of measures to curb methane from oil and gas operations, and up to 98% from the coal sector, can be implemented at no cost or at a savings, according to the United Nations’ 2021 global methane assessment. Officials also hope to cut down on the venting (releasing) of natural gas that often happens when there’s no available pipeline capacity or when producers are only interested in capturing the oil from a well. Some of that gas is flared (burned) to convert the methane into carbon dioxide, but environmentalists and some investors have pushed for limits on flaring because not all the methane is combusted in the process. Instead, excess gas could be reinjected into the ground.”

Press release: Canada opens call for studies on carbon capture technologies

“The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, announced a new call for expression of interest to support CCUS across the country. Funded under the Energy Innovation Program (EIP), this call will support Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies that have the potential to reduce the impact of carbon emissions.Canada is a global leader in the CCUS space. Building on this expertise through FEED studies will increase the knowledge base of applying CCUS to different industrial facilities, which supports the future of the technology in Canada and internationally. As part of Budget 2021, the federal government is investing $319 million into research, development and demonstrations to advance the commercial viability of CCUS technologies. These funds support businesses, academia, non-profits, government and federal laboratories on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050… “Canada’s strengthened climate plan calls for the development of a comprehensive CCUS strategy and for the government to explore opportunities to increase Canada’s global competitiveness in this growing industry… “Carbon capture, utilization and storage will lower emissions, create jobs and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050,” said Seamus O’Regan Jr., Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.

Esquire: The Bills Are Coming Due in the American Petrostate of North Dakota
By Charles P. Pierce, 8/9/21

“…Both Dakotas pretty much gave themselves over to the extraction industry over the last couple of decades. It was there that fracking got to be the hot new thing. Now, the bills are coming due, and crows doth sit upon the drilling rigs,” Esquire reports. “Fracking has also accelerated life on the surface. Some landowners have made millions of dollars from selling the rights to oil beneath their land to major corporations… “It’s easy to dismiss the people in Haines’ story as suckers who went for the quick buck. But, in the 1980s, American farmers were in such awful shape that Willie Nelson and Neil Young started an annual benefit concert for them. So along come the oil companies wanting to drill, and offering bags of cash for the right to do so. It’s awfully glib to say that the farmers should have refused it , especially with foreclosures and bankruptcy auctions happening every couple of hectares down the road. Now, though, these bills are coming due. Haines has caught the beginnings of what may be a serious political uprising by people of the land against the power of the industry that made some of them rich.”

Politico: Where Republicans Are Starting to Worry About Big Oil
By TOM HAINES, 8/6/21

“It was just past 3 a.m. when the lightning struck and the first tank exploded into flames,” Politico reports. “…It hit a saltwater disposal facility, which included a group of tanks holding contaminated water produced by the oil fracking that has redefined McKenzie County… “But over the past 15 years, an oil rush of mammoth proportions has planted more than 5,000 wells deep beneath the prairie, drawing up enough oil to make McKenzie the top-producing county in some months in the United States. Fracking has also accelerated life on the surface. Some landowners have made millions of dollars from selling the rights to oil beneath their land to major corporations… “But installing an industry atop an agricultural zone has brought less-heralded changes, too, including an elaborate system to deal with the saltwater, which is actually a polluted mix of naturally occurring brine, hydrocarbons, radioactive materials and more. Billions of gallons of it are produced by oil drilling and pumping each year… “Nearly three months later, a water sample taken far down the gully, where it broadens into a wetland, contained 149,000 parts per million of chloride — 600 times the advised limit, and a clear indication that saltwater and its dangerous contaminants were still present. The damage to Novak’s land, while dramatic, isn’t uncommon in the North Dakota oil fields. More than 50 saltwater spills happen each year in McKenzie County, when tanker trucks crash, pipelines leak, or well pads or disposal sites catch fire or otherwise malfunction. Many spills are contained on well pads and at disposal sites. But others drain into fields, farmyards and roadways. Novak worried about his pasture, a water source for cows, deer, pheasants and more. And he feared the cumulative impact of so many saltwater spills in a county that is home to hundreds of streams and springs, and where farmers and ranchers often rely on water wells for livestock and themselves.”

Utility Dive: Push for green energy could strand more than $68B in coal and gas assets, S&P says
By Emma Penrod, 8/9/21

“Recent investments in natural gas and coal, particularly those intended to extend the life of older coal-fired power plants, may not ultimately earn the return investors expect, due to the rise of renewable energy, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence,” Utility Dive reports. “Last week’s report, the first of its kind from S&P Global Market Intelligence, estimated that both coal and natural gas-fired generation assets could become stranded as renewable energy resources grow increasingly cost competitive. The report found that, coincidentally, some $34 billion of each of the two asset types is at already at risk, but for different reasons, according to Piper… “But utilities have built new natural gas plants in the last five years, and this may be where the biggest risk now exists, Piper said. In many cases, he said, the utilization and therefore value of these plants has declined faster in the wake of growing renewable generation than was anticipated even a few years ago, he said. Although many of the combined cycle gas plants included in the S&P analysis were built with the intent to provide base load for electric utilities, Piper said many are already seeing reduced operations, or have been cut back to operating essentially as peaking plants. “You’re probably not going to shut down these assets because they’re so new and in good condition,” he said, “but they’re going to have to write off a lot of that value.”

Inforum: Oil, brine spill at McKenzie County well site
By: Adam Willis, 8/9/21

“Almost 11,000 gallons of crude oil and more than 16,000 gallons of produced water spilled on a well site northwest of Keene in McKenzie County on Sunday, Aug. 8, according to a report from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality,” Inforum reports. “Produced water, or brine, is a byproduct of fracking that is highly saturated with salt and can contain fracking fluids, hydrocarbons and other contaminants damaging to local ecology and agricultural land. New Town-based Slawson Exploration Company operates the well site and reported the release of 260 barrels of oil and 340 barrels of brine to the state’s Oil and Gas Division, attributing the spill to equipment failure. The spill was discovered when an employee arrived and noticed gas leaking from a building on the well pad. Immediately, the company killed its natural gas flares and shut in the oil wells, finding later that equipment had washed out, allowing for the oil and brine spills.”


Press release: Global Carbon Capture and Storage Market to Reach $3.9 Billion by 2026

“A new market study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., (GIA) the premier market research company, today released its report titled “Carbon Capture and Storage – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics”… “The rationale for opting CCS comes from the fact that the current large dependence on fossil fuels would continue to exist for several years to come, due in part to a wide installed base in the fossil fuel industry and early stages of renewables in powering the world. The sheer magnitude of existing fossil-fuel based energy infrastructure makes it difficult for being replaced completely by sustainable and eco-friendly alternative energy sources that can serve the global energy needs. In this scenario, CCS offers a middle path, where dependence on fossil fuels can continue while reducing CO2 emissions from such plants. The technology offers a contingency in managing greenhouse gas emissions even if the switch to renewables is delayed. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Carbon Capture and Storage estimated at US$2.7 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$3.9 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 7.7% over the analysis period… “The U.S. Market is Estimated at $919.1 Million in 2021, While China is Forecast to Reach $381.7 Million by 2026.”


Stop the Money Pipeline: Expectations for President Biden’s Climate-Related Financial Risk Strategy

“Today, dozens of organizations with Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition and aligned partners sent this letter to the Biden Administration, outlining our expectations for Section 2 of the Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk published in May 2021. The climate-finance executive order from the administration is quite broad and could have big implications for a wide range of climate justice issues, as well as racial and economic justice. The first deliverable of this EO is due September 13, 2021, in advance of the Glasgow Climate Talks in November… “Our expectations for what should be included in this section: Urging the President to declare a climate emergency. Clarify that emissions in excess of science-based targets for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will worsen the effects of climate change, thus exacerbating the risks associated with climate change to the financial sector and the economy, and as such make absolute emissions reductions a core goal for mitigating climate-related financial risk across the Federal government. Adopt a precautionary approach to managing climate-related financial risk, as the uncertainty inherent in the effects of the climate crisis make it unsuitable for managing via risk modeling and quantification alone. Make clear that no public money should go to companies engaged in expanding the extraction, production, transportation or export of fossil fuels, or whose supply chain results in deforestation, natural land conversion or peatland destruction. Guide agencies to end all fossil fuels subsidies and tax breaks, for both domestic and international production, to the extent feasible with existing Administrative authority, and make a clear request to Congress to take action to end subsidies in the areas in which Administrative authority does not exist.”

Bloomberg: Asset Managers Find Greenwashing ‘Blind Spots’ in EU Rules
By Frances Schwartzkopff, Nicholas Comfort, and Morten Buttler, 8/8/21

“As Europe rewrites the rules of investing to protect the planet from climate change, asset managers say they’re seeing differences in how those edicts are being interpreted,” Bloomberg reports. “Since March, money managers in Europe have had to adapt to the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. Designed to fight greenwashing by forcing a uniform set of reporting standards, SFDR is more ambitious than anything agreed elsewhere in the world. But a Bloomberg survey of some 20 major European banks and asset managers suggests the regulation leaves too much room for guess work. That means that despite vast piles of cash moving into environmental, social and governance investing, efforts to steer capital away from carbon emitters may ultimately fall short. Baard Bringedal, chief investment officer at Storebrand Asset Management, told Bloomberg managers still have to deal with “many uncertainties and blind spots” when trying to allocate cash. “As an anti-greenwashing regulation,” the SFDR was an important step, he said. “But it does not come without its limitations.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING Enbridge Donates $10,000 To Upper Peninsula State Fair
Jack Hall, 8/10/21

“Enbridge will be providing a $10,000 sponsorship in support of this year’s U.P. State Fair. With the help of this donation from Enbridge, the UP State Fair will continue to provide Blue Ribbon Fun in 2021 for all of its fairgoers,” reports. “…Providing power to many of the homes throughout North America, Enbridge is also known for its charitable giving. In 2020 alone, they invested $19.3 million in community-strengthening initiatives focusing on the safety, vibrancy, and sustainability of American and Canadian communities. When the State transferred ownership of the fairground’s operation to the U.P. State Fair Authority and its management agent, the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, there was no longer financial appropriation available from the State of Michigan.  Thankfully, every year, businesses like Enbridge have stepped up to support the Upper Peninsula’s largest event.”


Roanoke Times: Hileman and Bowers: Mountain Valley Pipeline is an unnecessary imposition
Jacob Hileman and Kirk Bowers, 8/10/21

“In 2014, EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy applied for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Jacob Hileman and Kirk Bowers write in the Roanoke Times. “The majority of the 303-mile-long MVP crosses steep and landslide-prone mountain slopes. In fact, MVP’s route traverses more than 200 miles of highly unstable terrain where landslides have occurred and will happen in the future. This poses a grave threat to the integrity of the pipeline, which is prone to explosion and would devastate rural communities along the pipeline’s route. This is not an idle safety concern — during 2018-2019, five gas pipeline explosions occurred in Central Appalachia due to landslide-related events. No other gas pipeline in the U.S. — let alone one as large as the MVP — comes close to traversing so many high-risk areas, or impacting so many waterbodies and forested lands. This fact alone should have been sufficient for FERC to reject MVP’s certificate application. All other gas pipelines in Appalachia have managed to find routes that avoid high-risk areas while minimizing impacts to environmental resources… “Aside from the future of our planet, the demand for gas that MVP aims to ship is nonexistent. The forecasts of increased gas demand used to justify the need for the MVP assumed that 60% of its capacity would be used to supply new gas-fired power plants built by 2030.”

Daily Cardinal: Letter to the Editor: Officials must act now to stop Line 3 and Line 5
By Lily Herling, 8/10/21

“On Jan. 20, newly inaugurated President Biden halted the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. On June 9, TC Energy officially canceled the project. This stand against the oil industry was a joyous moment for environmental advocates across the country, but it represents a victory on just one of many fronts being fought,” Lily Herling writes in the Daily Cardinal. “Despite tireless actions by Indigenous Water Protectors and national pressure through media campaigns and protests, outdated energy corporations continue forcing their dirty oil through the soil. The permit and construction process for Lines 5 and 3 — pipeline expansions through upper Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan by the Canadian energy company Enbridge — are still in the works… “The proposed pipeline would traverse several watersheds, including hunting, gathering, and cultural grounds, jeopardizing the tribe’s very backyard and sources of livelihood. Since 1968, line 5 has spilled 33 times, a total of over 1.1 million gallons. When, not if, the pipeline spills, the Chippewa people will pay the heaviest price. Enbridge cannot be allowed to force its polluting, short-sighted pipelines through more Wisconsin soil. Everyone can join the fight to oppose oil pipelines: Call on Governor Evers (608-266-1212), President Biden (202-456-1111), and other officials to stop the construction; sign petitions; finally, donate time or resources to support the collectives fighting to protect our beautiful lakes and rivers, land, and air.”

The Petoskey News-Review: Please stop Line 5
David Dwyer, 8/10/21

“With each passing year, the frightening predictions of climate change are becoming manifest. And according to Shell Oil, the demand for oil peaked in 2019. So why do we continue to invest in fossil fuel, like improvements to Enbridge’s Line 3 and Line 5, especially given that the extraction of Alberta tar sands produces more green house gasses than any form of petroleum production?” David Dwyer writes in The Petoskey News-Review. “Is the agreement to build a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac nothing but a sneaky ploy to allow Line 5 to continue? Legal delays will allow Enbridge to continue pumping this environmentally destructive fuel until it is no longer profitable, which will most likely occur before the tunnel is completed. The tunnel is not needed. Alberta tar sands are not needed. But for the sake of the planet, an immediate transition to renewable resources is needed.”

National Observer: Time to ban fossil fuel advertising
By Seth Klein, 8/9/21

“Pre-pandemic, I remember sitting in a movie theatre waiting for the film to begin and being forced to watch yet another high-production car ad. I think it was a Jeep advertisement in this case, and clearly designed to appeal to young people, inviting them to conquer the great outdoors and enticing them into the company’s attractive domain. And I found myself wondering: why are ads for gas stations, gas-powered cars and trucks, and airlines not illegal?” Seth Klein writes in the National Observer. “…Emergencies need to look, sound and feel like emergencies, and public messaging and education during an emergency needs to be consistent and coherent (just as we’ve all witnessed in the pandemic). But ubiquitous advertising of fossil fuel vehicles, gas stations, gas suppliers and appliances, air travel and the ongoing sponsorship of arts and sports events by fossil fuel companies all sends a confusing message — are we facing a climate emergency or aren’t we? The sponsorship of youth sports leagues, tournaments and races by fossil fuel companies feels particularly obscene. What does it mean that, in order to keep these sports activities financially accessible, young people and their families must make a Faustian bargain with the very companies causing increases in childhood asthma and producing a future for those kids marked by extreme weather events, food system disruption, death and destruction? Granted, years of public underfunding of amateur sports and the arts has put these organizations in an untenable bind — far better to tax companies appropriately and boost public support for these activities that keep us healthy and feed our souls… “It’s time for a campaign targeting federal and provincial political leaders and regulators to make the public advertising of fossil fuel companies, internal combustion engine vehicles and gas stations illegal, and to ban event sponsorships and public relations advertising by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and its organizational members.”

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