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Extracted: Daily News Clips 8/16/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 16, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • E&E NewsBiden faces pivotal energy test in Chaco Canyon

STATE UPDATES

  • KUNCDespite Detection Technology, Colorado Methane Emissions Remain High
  • NM Political ReportStratospheric platform will allow for real-time emissions monitoring

EXTRACTION

  • ReutersExxon, Chevron look to make renewable fuels without costly refinery upgrades – sources

OPINION

  • New York TimesDefeating Environmental Racism, One Pipeline at a Time
  • New York TimesFinding the Will to Stave Off a Darker Future
  • The HillThe policy significance of the Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act
  • BuzzfeedInside “The Very Secret History” Of The Sunrise Movement
  • VoxIt’s time to freak out about methane emissions
  • La Crosse TribuneLily Herling: Join the fight against pipelines

PIPELINE NEWS

Bloomberg: First new oil sands pipeline in years may start exports to U.S. next month
By ROBERT TUTTLE, 8/15/21

“A key pipeline linking Canada’s oil sands to U.S. markets could start shipping crude as early as next month,” Bloomberg reports. “Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 oil pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin could start operating as soon as Sept. 15, bringing relief to Canadian oil sands producers who have had limited access to export pipelines. The new 760,0000 barrel-a-day conduit that replaces an older one with less capacity is as little as 30 to 60 days from completion, according to a notice sent to shippers. Canada’s oil sands producers have struggled for years with a shortage of export pipelines as projects to build new ones face increasing scrutiny from courts and regulators. U.S. President Joe Biden, on his first day in office, rescinded a permit for TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone XL project that would have helped increase shipments of Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast… “The Line 3 project has been fiercely opposed by some environmental and indigenous groups, who have staged protests this summer along the construction route. Enbridge spent years in court fights and regulatory battles to get the line built. The Trans Mountain expansion, another export pipeline under construction is British Columbia, is scheduled to enter service as early as 2022.”

KVRR: Klobuchar on whether Biden should stop Line 3: pipeline is in ‘state jurisdiction’
Jim Monk, 8/12/21

“Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) suggested that the Line 3 pipeline replacement project in northern Minnesota is under the state’s control when she was asked if President Biden should consider stopping the project,” KVRR reports. “Line 3 opponents, including Minnesota tribal leaders, have repeatedly asked Biden to revoke the pipeline’s permit, based on environmental concerns. In an interview with KVRR News, Klobuchar was asked whether Biden should shut down construction on the pipeline. “Well, I think right now, that is in the state jurisdiction” Klobuchar said. “I think you’ve got to really listen to the tribes and listen to their concerns.” Klobuchar added, before she had to leave to cast a vote. Earlier, the Biden administration signaled in court filings that there are no plans to cancel federal permits for Line 3, despite pleas by Native Americans and environmental groups for the president to intervene.”

Associated Press: Judge says she can’t halt Virginia mountain pipeline blasts
8/16/21

“A federal judge declined to block the blasting of bedrock on a Virginia mountain where a natural gas pipeline is supposed to be laid, saying she lacks authority to do so,” the Associated Press reports. “The decision by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Dillon comes after the property owner on Bent Mountain in Roanoke County sought an injunction to halt the work involving the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Dillon said Friday her court was not the proper jurisdiction to resolve the dispute, noting that landowner John Coles Terry III had already sought action from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, The Roanoke Times reported. An attorney for Terry’s family asked last week for a temporary injunction on the drilling and blasting. Construction crews had started boring holes to prepare for explosives that would clear a trench for the buried 42-inch (107-centimeter) diameter pipe. Terry’s motion said the blasting could contaminate his well water and that of others downstream. But the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and pipeline officials have said they’ve not seen evidence of the potential harm described in the motion.”

Politico Morning Energy: PENNEAST PAUSES PIPES
Matthew Choi, 8/13/21

“PennEast Pipeline is stopping its acquisition of property via eminent domain for the construction of a natural gas pipeline through New Jersey, saying it still faces too many uncertain variables,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “The move comes after the operator scored a major victory from the Supreme Court, which ruled it could use eminent domain granted by FERC to take private land for the project. New Jersey residents on the pipeline’s path vehemently opposed the company’s plans and celebrated the latest development as a long-awaited relief. But they shouldn’t pop their champagne just yet. Though PennEast is holding back on land acquisition now, it’s positioning itself to be able to reclaim the land once approvals and other bureaucratic hurdles are settled and the construction timeline becomes clearer.”

Minnesota Reformer: Enbridge Line 3 drilling fluid spills: What we know so far
RILYN EISCHENS, 8/16/21

“Enbridge is done drilling under rivers to build its Line 3 oil pipeline, but scrutiny over potential permit violations in the process isn’t likely to fade away anytime soon,” according to the Minnesota Reformer. “Enbridge spilled drilling fluid 28 times at 12 river crossings this summer, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced last week. The news alarmed pipeline opponents — including some lawmakers — who had been demanding information about possible “frac-outs” along the route for weeks. The MPCA released the information partly as a response to a group of 32 DFL lawmakers, who wrote the agency a letter in late July asking for information about the releases and urging the suspension of a key project permit until investigations were completed.  Because the MPCA is investigating the spills, details about the incidents are classified as private under state law. The agency decided to release summaries to “dispel persistent misinformation circulating on social media,” an MPCA spokesperson told the Reformer… “Of the 28 spills, one was in a river, 13 were in wetlands and 14 were on land, according to the MPCA. They happened between June 8 and Aug. 5. The amount of drilling fluid spilled ranged from 10 gallons to up to 9,000 gallons. Seven involved at least 100 gallons. The largest was a release of 6,000-9,000 gallons in a wetland near the Mississippi River.”

Indian Country Today: ‘Rights of nature’ lawsuits hit a sweet spot
MARY ANNETTE PEMBER

“It’s all about strategy and timing in Indian Country, especially in the legal system,” Indian Country Today reports. “Shortly after a groundbreaking lawsuit was filed in the White Earth Nation’s tribal court defending the rights of wild rice to fight the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, the United Nations released its 6th Assessment on Climate Change. The UN report includes an entire chapter dedicated to the powerful role that Indigenous knowledge can play in global development of adaptation and mitigation strategies aimed at addressing climate change… “On Aug. 6, manoomin was named as a plaintiff, along with several White Earth tribal citizens and Native and non-Native water protectors who have demonstrated against Line 3, in a complaint filed in White Earth Nation Tribal Court against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. It is only the second “rights of nature” case to be filed in the U.S. and the first to be filed in tribal court. Several tribes, however, have incorporated rights of nature into their laws. The lawsuit accuses the department of failing to protect the state’s fresh water by allowing Enbridge to pump up to 5 billion gallons of groundwater from construction trenches during a drought that itself is tied to climate change, which increases the pace of extreme weather swings and contributes to lags in the jet stream that keep heat waves, cold snaps and rain in an area for longer periods. The suit also claims that the department has violated not only the rights of manoomin but also treaty rights for those who hunt, fish and gather wild rice off-reservations in ceded lands. The lawsuit seeks to establish the rights of manoomin, stop the extreme water pumping by Enbridge and stop arrests of water protectors opposing the pipeline at construction sites.”

New Haven Independent: Rally Targets “Climate Chaos”
8/15/21

“In the wake of a dire report on the planet’s future, two dozen activists held a demonstration Friday on the Green calling for local and global action on climate change,” the New Haven Independent reports. “The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said a small window of opportunity remains to address sea level rise and other catastrophic effects of man-made climate change CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M), Sunrise New Haven, and Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) were among the groups represented at the protest. One focus was on the threat of rising sevel levels putting New Haven and the Connecticut shoreline under water. Another focus was Chase Bank’s support of the fossil fuel industry. Demonstrators called onon Chase to stop funding Enbridge’s construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline across Anishinaabe treaty territory in northern Minnesota. Indigenous organizer Tara Houska likened Chase giving a “sustainability loan” to Enbridge to giving a health award to tobacco companies.”

KXNV: Pipeline blast kills 2, injures 1 in Arizona
8/16/21

“Families remain on high alert after a explosion caused by a pipeline failure destroyed a nearby farm house on Sunday,” KXNV reports. “Officials said they found two people were killed. Another was airlifted to a hospital suffering from severe burns… “Fire officials said the call came in at 5:45 a.m. Residents in the area said the explosion sounded like a plane crash or even a tornado… “El Paso Natural Gas said it was caused by a pipeline failure. They sent a statement that reads in part, “The company is coordinating with local first responders and relevant state and federal agencies, and an investigation into the cause of the failure will be conducted.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

E&E News: Biden faces pivotal energy test in Chaco Canyon
By Heather Richards, 8/13/21

“How much natural gas drilling to allow near the 1,000-year-old architectural ruins of Chaco Canyon, important to many Pueblo people, may not be Deb Haaland’s best-known oil and gas dilemma as Interior secretary. But it is likely her most personal one,” E&E News reports. “Haaland, of the Pueblo of Laguna, is the first Native American leader of the department. In the past, she’s tried to shield the Chaco landscape, a critical part of her pueblo’s history in northern New Mexico, from further drilling. “It is a sacred place that should be valued the same way we value other sacred places,” Haaland said in 2019, when she was a Democratic member of Congress from New Mexico and advocated imposing a 10-mile buffer with no oil leasing around the borders of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. But from her perch within the Biden administration, Haaland has to weigh the concerns of oil and gas companies that want to drill near the park with those of environmental advocates demanding retirement of the federal oil program. Amid that tension, Haaland and Interior staff also face tribal governments that disagree about natural resource development in the area. Experts expect Haaland’s decision on Chaco drilling to prove a test case for the administration, with reverberations beyond New Mexico as the White House’s focus on climate contends with a deep industrial presence on public lands. Chaco also highlights two aspects of the Biden administration’s stated policies that can conflict with each other: resolving to curb oil and gas development in sensitive areas and amplifying Indigenous authority on public lands.”

STATE UPDATES

KUNC: Despite Detection Technology, Colorado Methane Emissions Remain High
Ashley Piccone, 8/12/21

“The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report this week stating that immediate and extensive cuts in greenhouse gases are necessary to stabilize rising global temperatures,” KUNC reports. “While some emission sources, like vehicle exhaust, are difficult to mitigate, others are easier to address and could provide more immediate relief. In Colorado, multiple efforts are underway to find and fix methane leaks, which could make a big difference when it comes to fighting climate change… “Methane accounts for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. But unlike fossil fuels, every pound of methane released into the atmosphere has 84 times the impact of a pound of carbon dioxide over 20 years. So, while natural gas is seen as a greener option, von Fischer said if too much (more than 5%) leaks into the atmosphere, we’re better off using coal… “Colorado has set a goal to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. These technologies, and more like them, will be critical for reaching that. Current state efforts are only projected to decrease emissions by 18% in the next decade.”

NM Political Report: Stratospheric platform will allow for real-time emissions monitoring
By Hannah Grover, 8/13/21

“New Mexico will soon be able to pinpoint sources of emissions using high altitude platform stations, or airships, that will be located in the stratosphere approximately 65,000 feet above New Mexico,” according to NM Political Report. “The company Sceye—pronounced sky—signed a memorandum of understanding with the New Mexico Environment Department, the New Mexico Economic Development Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for this monitoring effort. Sceye operates out of Roswell and Moriarty. A five-year study using the airships to provide emissions data is expected to begin next year. “Looking forward, we’re going to have an eye in the sky,” said NMED Secretary James Kenney during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. This initiative will facilitate energy and air-related research in New Mexico as well as neighboring states and Mexico. Kenney said an estimated 13 percent of ozone pollution in Eddy and Lea counties comes from emissions in Texas and the partnership will allow the state to better attribute the sources of the emissions and design regional programs to address them.”

EXTRACTION

Reuters: Exxon, Chevron look to make renewable fuels without costly refinery upgrades – sources
8/13/21

“U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp, along with Chevron Corp, is seeking to bulk up in the burgeoning renewable fuels space by finding ways to make such products at existing facilities, sources familiar with the efforts said,” Reuters reports. “The two largest U.S. oil companies want to produce sustainable fuels without ponying up billions of dollars that some refineries are spending to reconfigure operations to make such products. Renewable fuels account for 5% of U.S. fuel consumption, but are poised to grow as various sectors adapt to cut overall carbon emissions to combat global climate change. Both Chevron and Exxon have massive refining divisions that contribute heavily to their overall carbon emissions. The companies have been criticized for a less urgent approach to renewable investments than European rivals Royal Dutch Shell Plc and TotalEnergies, and have generally spent a lower percentage of their capital than those companies on “green” technologies. The companies are looking into how to process bio-based feedstocks like vegetable oils and partially processed biofuels with petroleum distillates to make renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable gasoline, without meaningfully increasing capital spending.,, “If approved, new methods of producing renewable fuels at refineries could allow refiners to avoid lengthy environmental permitting processes. Many of these processes are still undergoing further testing to see which can make renewable fuels commercially, but without damaging refining units.”

OPINION

New York Times: Defeating Environmental Racism, One Pipeline at a Time
By Margaret Renkl, 8/16/21

“Something wonderful happened in Memphis last month: Community organizers in the city managed to stop a crude-oil pipeline from running beneath the historic neighborhood of Boxtown, as well as several other predominately Black communities along its projected 45-mile route,” Margaret Renkl writes in the New York Times. “The Byhalia Connection pipeline was to be a joint venture by Plains All American Pipeline and Valero Energy. As the Commercial Appeal in Memphis reported in March, Plains All America was already beset by environmental problems, including a major oil spill on the California coast in 2015… “That they were not successful is a testament to the power of community organizing. Led by the grass roots group Memphis Community Against the Pipeline and backed by the nonprofits Protect Our Aquifer and the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, the effort attracted the support of celebrities like former Vice President Al Gore, the actor Danny Glover and the singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake. Legal efforts against the pipeline were led by the Southern Environmental Law Center. Local and state elected officials stepped in to help, as well. The defeat of the Byhalia Connection pipeline was a rare victory against the forces of a very specific brand of discrimination known as environmental racism. What happened in Memphis is just one of many similar stories playing out in the region… “What happened in Memphis this year is an example of how historically powerless people can work together to interrupt a pattern of environmental racism that has been in place for more than a century and a half. It’s also an example of why everyone else should care.”

New York Times: Finding the Will to Stave Off a Darker Future
By The Editorial Board, 8/14/21

“In June 1988 a NASA scientist, Dr. James Hansen, appeared on a very hot day in Washington and told a group of powerful senators that a grim future lay ahead. Carbon emissions, he said, had raised average global temperatures to the highest levels in recorded human history, bringing heat waves, droughts and other disruptions to people’s lives. “The greenhouse effect has been detected,” he said, “and it is changing our climate now,” the New York Times Editorial Board writes. “What have we done with that knowledge? Very little, for lots of reasons. Timid leaders, feckless legislatures. Interminable arguments between rich and poor nations over who bears responsibility. Well-financed disinformation campaigns from big polluters like Exxon Mobil. On a purely human level, there’s the reluctance of people living worry-free in the here and now to make the investments and sacrifices necessary to protect future generations… “Point two: Humanity can still take a stand. It must. If countries make a coordinated effort to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by, say, midcentury, and undertake through reforestation and other means to remove carbon from the air, global warming might level off at around 1.5 degrees. This in turn means mustering the will to stave off a darker future than the one the world has already locked itself into. It also means, in policy terms, a rapid shift away from fossil fuels; big investments in wind, solar and nuclear power; a rebuilt electric grid; more efficient homes and buildings — in short, a wholly different energy delivery system.”

The Hill: The policy significance of the Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act
Karen C. Sokol is a professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, 8/12/21

“On Aug. 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the first installment of its latest report assessing the state of scientific knowledge about the climate crisis. As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres put it in a press release, the report is nothing less than “a code red for humanity,” Karen C. Sokol writes in The Hill. “…The good news is that the science indicates that there is still time to respond by taking drastic and rapid action to shift from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy and to keep people safe in the face of the dangerous changes in the climate system that have already taken place. That is, we must both prevent further catastrophes and repair the damage that has already been done to people and the planet. That will be expensive, and a group of senators led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) plan to introduce legislation based on the well-established legal and moral principle that those who cause damage should pay for it. The Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act would require fossil fuel companies that are responsible for at least 0.05 percent of total carbon dioxide and methane emissions between Jan.1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2019, to pay a modest share of the climate damages bill: $500 billion over the next 10 years. As Van Hollen explained, the legislation would help hold accountable those who are the most responsible for the climate crisis. The 0.05 percent requirement “would limit the total number of payors to the 25-30 biggest polluters, with those who polluted the most paying the most,” he said. The money would be used to help fund climate resiliency and a just transition to clean, renewable energy, including by providing communities with resources to adapt to extreme weather events and other dangers fueled by the climate crisis. The Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act makes legal and moral sense not only at the general level but also as a small step toward correcting a long-standing inequity infused throughout U.S. law and policy related to the fossil fuel industry.“

Buzzfeed: Inside “The Very Secret History” Of The Sunrise Movement
Zahra Hirji, Ryan Brooks, 8/12/21

“As the youth-led Sunrise Movement helped catapult racial justice to the center of the national conversation on climate change, many of its members of color repeatedly charged over the last three years that they felt “tokenized,” “used,” “ignored,” and “dismissed,” Zahra Hirji and Ryan Brooks write in Buzzfeed. “That’s according to a series of internal memos and letters, signed by at least 100 young climate activists and obtained by BuzzFeed News. The activists said they were overworked and underpaid; warned that the group was unable to attract or retain members of color, especially Black ones; bemoaned the lack of diversity among Sunrise leaders; and demanded resources to build up support in communities of color. “Staff and movement leaders have poured hundreds of hours into trying to convince top leadership to truly live out our slogan to ‘build a multi-racial cross-class movement,’” a group of four longtime Sunrise members wrote in a March 23 letter detailing concerns from members of color. “Top leadership’s results are wholly inadequate.” “…Sunrise shared dozens of documents with BuzzFeed News in response to questions about the complaints, acknowledging the longstanding problems and detailing their attempts to address them. “From our very founding, Sunrise has deeply believed that we are all imperfect, and that it’s incumbent on every organization to respond to feedback thoughtfully in an effort to grow,” the organization said in a statement. But they pushed back against the idea that the group was losing Black members: “While it’s true that individual leaders, both staff and volunteers, chose to leave Sunrise over the past year, the data we have show that the level of Black participation in our movement has remained steady for at least the past 18 months.”

Vox: It’s time to freak out about methane emissions
By Rebecca Lebe, 8/12/21

“From his home office in Arizona, Riley Duren was multitasking, telling me about frighteningly powerful greenhouse gases even as he monitored his team’s aircraft,” Rebecca Lebe writes for Vox. “The plane was flying at 20,000 feet to measure methane spewing from wells in the Permian Basin of Texas. An aerial map on his computer screen brought the measurements to life: Dozens of red zones represented otherwise invisible plumes of methane above oil and gas fields… “In the public conversation about climate change, methane has gotten too little attention for too long… “But methane and other greenhouse gases, including hydroflurocarbons, ozone, nitrogen dioxides, and sulfur oxides, are finally getting the attention they deserve — thanks largely to advances in the science… “A landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN panel of top climate scientists, marks the first time the global body devotes substantial attention to the major role of gases other than CO2. Its sixth assessment of the science of climate change, which finds that the evidence of man-made warming is “unequivocal” and many climate impacts will be irreversible, dedicates a full chapter of the report to “short-lived pollutants” such as methane. One of their most common sources is fossil fuels.”

La Crosse Tribune: Lily Herling: Join the fight against pipelines
8/15/21

“On January 20, President Biden halted the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This stand against the oil industry was a joyous moment for environmental advocates everywhere, but it represents a victory on just one of many fronts being fought,” Lily Herling writes in the La Crosse Tribune. “Despite direct actions by grassroots organizers and national pressure, outdated energy corporations continue chasing profits. The permit and construction process for Lines 5 and 3 — oil pipeline expansions through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan by the Canadian energy company Enbridge — are still in the works… “The proposed Line 5 route runs alongside Copper Falls State Park and the Bad River Reservation. Since 1968, Line 5 has spilled 33 times. For the Chippewa, the indigenous inhabitants of northern Wisconsin, Line 5 does not simply threaten a favorite vacation spot, as it does for many Wisconsinites. The pipeline would traverse several watersheds, jeopardizing the tribe’s sources of livelihood. When — not if — the pipeline spills again, the Chippewa people will pay the heaviest price. We cannot let Enbridge force its oil through more Wisconsin soil. Learn how you can join the fight against pipelines at honorearth.org.”

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