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Extracted: Daily News Clips 8/3/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 3, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Natural Gas IntelligenceEnbridge Sees Space for Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Energy Transition, Expects Line 3 Gains by Year’s End
  • Navajo TimesBay Mills Indian Community calls on Biden to shut down pipeline
  • AtmosA Pipeline of Abuse
  • The HillInfrastructure deal would require study on job losses from Keystone’s end
  • BloombergTC Energy Loses New Bid to Shut Down Keystone XL Suit in Montana
  • VICEThe Oil Industry’s New Climate Change Solution Is More Pipelines
  • The Missouri TimesPSC backs Spire STL Pipeline’s emergency request
  • Natural Gas IntelligenceTC Energy Looks to ‘Quickly’ Resolve LNG Canada Dispute, Sanctions Electric Compression Project for Columbia Gas System
  • S&P GlobalLNG seen offering upside as North American gas pipeline buildout winds down
  • Associated PressBellingham woman pleads guilty to terror charge on train tracks
  • Press releaseEnergy Transfer Joins the Environmental Partnership to Expand Focus on Reducing Environmental Footprint Across Its Operations
  • WV Gazette MailDEP levies $51K fine for Mountaineer XPress Pipeline water pollution violations

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • The InterceptBIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL INCLUDES $25 BILLION IN POTENTIAL NEW SUBSIDIES FOR FOSSIL FUELS
  • E&E NewsHow FERC’s environmental justice push might backfire
  • InsideClimate NewsThe Biden Administration’s Embrace of Environmental Justice Has Made Wary Activists Willing to Believe

EXTRACTION

  • Natural Gas IntelligenceExxonMobil Grabs Golden Ring as Profits Soar, Ethane Demand Climbs
  • Grand Forks HeraldBurying carbon dioxide deep in North Dakota’s geology may combat climate change. Is it financially feasible?
  • Wall Street JournalTowns Trying to Ban Natural Gas Face Resistance in Their Push for All-Electric Homes
  • InsideClimate NewsThe Fight to Change US Building Codes
  • NOLA.comProposed oil terminal in Plaquemines Parish could disrupt Louisiana’s $2B wetlands project

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

  • Michigan RadioBacteria clean-up: Should we let nature clean up oil spills?

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • Oil Change InternationalShell gags British Museum in greenwashing sponsorship deal
  • Heated“We aren’t comfortable running that”: Two large advertising platforms rejected a new climate ad campaign because it attacked fossil fuels

OPINION

 

PIPELINE NEWS

Natural Gas Intelligence: Enbridge Sees Space for Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Energy Transition, Expects Line 3 Gains by Year’s End
BY GORDON JAREMKO, 8/2/21

“Enbridge Inc. has assured shareholders that it would stay strong by adapting to the energy transition even as the Canadian midstream giant faces ongoing opposition from fossil fuel foes over its projects,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “We believe that in all practical scenarios our assets will remain critical to supporting long-term energy demand,” said Enbridge President Al Monaco as the firm’s Calgary head office released mid-year financial results. “Existing infrastructure is going to play a key role in the transportation and storage of future energy supplies, ensuring affordable and reliable access to conventional and low-carbon energy.” Enbridge reported that the biggest, most contested item on its project agenda – the $2.6-billion Minnesota leg in its Line 3 oil pipe replacement project – has stayed on track by defeating court challenges and surviving right-of-way protest rallies. “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,” Monaco said. “Line 3 is first and foremost a critical integrity project that will improve safety and further reduce environmental risks.”

Navajo Times: Bay Mills Indian Community calls on Biden to shut down pipeline
8/3/21

“Citizens of Bay Mills Indian Community on Tuesday called on President Biden to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, reports Red Road to DC, which is transporting a totem pole to Washington, D.C.,” according to the Navajo Times. “Held as part of the Red Road’s cross-country tour highlighting indigenous sacred sites at risk, elected leaders of the BMIC said the pipeline is a violation of the Treaty of 1836 and a threat to their sacred waters… “Time and time again, we must fight for what was promised to our ancestors in the treaties,” said BMIC Tribal Chairperson Whitney Gravelle. “This should never happen, and it is something the Biden administration can and should address. No infrastructure project should move ahead without the consent of the tribes affected.” As part of the Treaty of 1836, BMIC reserved for all time the right to fish, hunt, and gather in the ceded land and waters of the state of Michigan – including the ceded waters of Lake Superior, Huron, and Michigan, which includes the Straits of Mackinac.”

Atmos: A Pipeline of Abuse
YESSENIA FUNES, 8/2/21

“Before the year ends, the contentious Line 3 crude oil pipeline should be complete. That’s the timeline project developer Enbridge has in mind—unless Indigenous advocates and leaders succeed in stopping it,” Atmos reports. “Line 3, a $4 billion tar sands expansion project from Alberta, Canada, to Wisconsin, would transport 760,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The environmental and climate risks the project poses are driving much of the opposition, but there’s more. In fact, a more immediate and urgent threat than an oil spill or increased carbon emissions is sexual violence. That’s become a focal point among water protectors and their cries to kill the black snake, as they often refer to oil pipelines… “When a relative is missing, you need to have a description of them,” Taysha Martineau, a member of the Fond du Lac Band in northern Minnesota, told Atmos. “That’s something I have to do as an Indigenous mother every single day. That’s a fear Indigenous women face all across Turtle Island.” This fear is why they got involved in anti-pipeline efforts in the first place. Research has linked resource extraction projects to increased crime, including sex trafficking. The public is already seeing this unfold in Minnesota. At the end of June, local and state law enforcement arrested six men in a human trafficking sting operation where they responded to an online advertisement for sex. Two of those men were working on Line 3, reported MPR News. Back in February, a similar operation led to the arrests of two other men working on the project. That time, they were arrested for soliciting sex from someone believed to be a minor.”

The Hill: Infrastructure deal would require study on job losses from Keystone’s end
BY ZACK BUDRYK, 8/2/21

“Language in the bipartisan infrastructure deal released Sunday night would require the government to study how many job losses would be caused by the Biden administration’s revoking of a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline,” The Hill reports. “The language is one of several provisions won by Republicans in the legislation that could provide arguments to use against the administration’s climate policies. The bill requires the government to conduct a study estimating direct or indirect job losses caused by revoking the pipeline’s authorization over a 10-year period. It would also analyze any associated increase in energy costs as a result of the executive order. The study must be completed 90 days after the bill becomes law… “The Keystone cancellation, one of Biden’s first acts as president, was widely criticized by Republicans and the energy industry but hailed by environmental activists. Biden has taken no such action on two other controversial pipelines, the Dakota Access pipeline and Line 3 of the Enbridge pipeline in Minnesota.”

Bloomberg: TC Energy Loses New Bid to Shut Down Keystone XL Suit in Montana
8/2/21

“A lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to grant a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline will advance despite the project’s cancellation, a Montana federal court again ruled in another loss for TC Energy Corp.,” Bloomberg reports. “Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance argue former President Donald Trump violated the U.S. Constitution when he issued a presidential permit in 2019 to build a cross-border segment of the pipeline. President Biden revoked the permit in January, which prompted the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana to consider whether the case was moot.”

VICE: The Oil Industry’s New Climate Change Solution Is More Pipelines
Audrey Carleton, 8/2/21

“Two controversial new projects propose laying thousands of miles of pipe through America’s Corn Belt, carrying liquid carbon dioxide across five states, from Iowa to the Dakotas, where they’d wind through prairies, piercing waterways and twisting around farm land,” VICE reports. “For residents of the rural Midwest, this sight would be nothing new; the region is already home to a network of crude and refined oil and gas pipelines. But these tubes wouldn’t be carrying oil and gas recently drilled from the ground; they would move it in the opposite direction. The miles of steel cylinder would transport carbon dioxide that’s been sucked from industrial facilities into storage, where it would be reused for oil drilling or pumped back into the earth. This is carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)—the process of removing carbon dioxide from industrial sources before it has the chance to enter the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. And it’s the latest project proposed by the oil and gas industry to garner controversy for its dubious efficacy and unknown risks… “Navigator bills its 1,200-mile pipeline as a “solution for a greener planet.” But a growing coalition of progressive environmental groups in the U.S. believe this sentiment is a myth.”

The Missouri Times: PSC backs Spire STL Pipeline’s emergency request
BY CAMERON GERBER, 7/30/21

“The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) is calling on its federal counterpart to allow the Spire STL Pipeline to continue providing service in the St. Louis area for the time being,” The Missouri Times reports. “The pipeline applied for a temporary emergency certificate with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) this week, hoping to continue operations while the commission considers the future of the project. Though FERC approved the project’s construction in 2018, the order was stymied by a federal appeals court last month after a lawsuit. Spire’s filing argued its ability to provide natural gas service to the area would be heavily constrained if the pipeline were taken offline, a concern echoed by the PSC. “If the STL Pipeline is shut down, Spire Missouri attests that its ability to provide safe and adequate natural gas service to Missouri customers will be impaired going into the winter 2021-22 heating season,” commissioners said in the filing with FERC. “This presents an emergency for Spire Missouri’s customers that rely on the utility for an essential service. Under these circumstances, expedited action is warranted in order to preserve safe and adequate service to Missouri customers.”

Natural Gas Intelligence: TC Energy Looks to ‘Quickly’ Resolve LNG Canada Dispute, Sanctions Electric Compression Project for Columbia Gas System
BY CAROLINE EVANS, 8/2/21

“TC Energy Corp. management hopes to quickly resolve a dispute over ballooning costs related to the Coastal GasLink pipeline connecting gas supply in Alberta to the huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) project underway in British Columbia (BC),” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “In its second quarter earnings report released last week, the Canadian midstream giant said it was in disagreement with the LNG Canada consortium over which company is responsible for increased costs and schedule delays. TC management repeated its previous concerns that project costs are to “increase significantly” from scope changes, permitting delays and impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic. It also anticipates a delay to project completion. Executive Vice President (EVP) Tracy Robinson said discussions with the Royal Dutch Shell plc-led gas export project were continuing. During the 2Q2021 earnings call, she said TC and its Coastal GasLink partners were focused on commercial conversations “as a mechanism” to resolve the disagreement. While the talks are confidential, Robinson said the company was focused on resolving the dispute as quickly as possible to avoid suspending key construction work. The pipeline is currently expected to be in service in 2023… “She added that Coastal GasLink, which is about 50% finished, is now in “full execution” mode after Covid-19 health restrictions were lifted in April.”

S&P Global: LNG seen offering upside as North American gas pipeline buildout winds down
Allison Good, 8/2/21

“LNG is the fossil fuel poised to have the biggest earnings advantage as the North American midstream sector’s great pipeline buildout cycle winds down, according to a new Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. report,” S&P Global reports. “For most midstream companies, 2022 capex is expected to be minimal, “in some cases over 70% lower than 2019 levels for the company,” Bernstein analysts wrote July 29. “This means there is a paradigm shift underway in midstream equities,” the analysts said. “We no longer need companies to spend massive midstream capex to grow,” the analysts said. “… However, the downside of this is that these companies have, to some extent, lost control of their destiny, with the future cash stream now driven by the ups and downs of US production versus their choices around capex spend, building, and contracting customers.” With natural gas maintaining a slower growth curve and facing minimal rate reduction risks as hurdles to new construction get higher, LNG will perform best when it comes to long-term volumes, Bernstein said.”

Associated Press: Bellingham woman pleads guilty to terror charge on train tracks
8/2/21

“A Bellingham woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to a terrorist attack and violence against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in northwestern Washington, while another Bellingham woman is scheduled to go to trial later this month,” the Associated Press reports. “Samantha Frances Brooks and Ellen Brennan Reiche were each indicted with one count of terrorist attacks and other violence against a railroad carrier Dec. 9, 2020, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, The Bellingham Herald reported. They’re accused of putting a shunt on tracks near Bellingham in late November. Such devices consist of a wire strung across the tracks, mimicking the electrical signal of a train. The devices can cause trains to automatically brake and can disable railroad crossing guards, investigators have said. Brooks pleaded guilty July 9, and a federal judge accepted her plea last week… “She faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years, a fine of $250,000 and up to three years probation, according to the court records… “Investigators believe some of the attacks were in protest of the construction of a natural gas pipeline across British Columbia through Indigenous land, and to keep supplies from reaching Canada. Opponents say the 416-mile (670-kilometer) Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project will worsen environmental damage and infringe on the rights of First Nations people in British Columbia.”

Press release: Energy Transfer Joins the Environmental Partnership to Expand Focus on Reducing Environmental Footprint Across Its Operations
8/2/21

“Dallas-based Energy Transfer (NYSE:ET) has joined The Environmental Partnership, a growing coalition of nearly 100 energy companies committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance. The non-profit organization is focused on working with its members to adopt technology and best practices that will significantly reduce emissions. Energy Transfer joined The Environmental Partnership as part of its overall effort to reduce its environmental footprint across its operations, which includes more than 90,000 miles of pipelines and associated facilities in 38 states and Canada. This initiative includes several projects to increase Energy Transfer’s use of renewable energy including the support of the development of the Maplewood 2 Solar farm in West Texas… “Energy Transfer also has installed approximately 18,000 solar panels across the country that provide power to its metering stations. “We have for years used a diversified mix of energy sources and emissions-reducing technologies to power our assets,” said Tom Mason, executive vice president and head of Energy Transfer’s Alternative Energy Group. “In fact, nearly 20 percent of the electrical energy we purchase on any given day originates from wind and solar sources. We are also pursuing a number of other emissions reduction efforts, including several carbon capture projects. We look forward to working with the Environmental Partnership and our industry peers to advance our emissions reduction efforts across our operational footprint.”

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,” 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. “We have since conducted a root cause analysis of the incident and modified our protocols on future use of the chemical drying agent involved in the spill to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy said in a statement.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

The Intercept: BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL INCLUDES $25 BILLION IN POTENTIAL NEW SUBSIDIES FOR FOSSIL FUELS
Alleen Brown, 8/3/21

“The Senate’s new bipartisan infrastructure bill is being sold as a down payment on addressing the climate crisis. But environmental advocates and academics are warning the proposed spending bill is full of new fossil fuel industry subsidies masked as climate solutions. The latest draft bill would make fossil fuel companies eligible for at least $25 billion in new subsidies, according to an analysis by the Center for International Environmental Law,” The Intercept reports. “This is billions upon billions of dollars in additional fossil fuel industry subsidies in addition to the $15 billion that we already hand out to this industry to support and fund this industry,” Jim Walsh, Food and Water Watch’s senior policy analyst, told the Intercept. Scientists say that to meet the goals of the international Paris climate accord, the U.S would need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 — and be well on the way there by 2030. With subsidies that keep fossil fuel industries going, Walsh said, “We will never be able to meet the Paris agreement if we fund these kind of programs.”

E&E News: How FERC’s environmental justice push might backfire
By Miranda Willson, 8/3/21

“Two liquefied natural gas terminals under development at the tip of Texas’ Gulf Coast could either lift low-income residents out of poverty or destroy local fishing and tourism economies, depending on whom you ask,” E&E News reports. “The disparate views on the planned LNG projects — Rio Grande LNG from Houston-based NextDecade and the independently owned Texas LNG — underscore a tension for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Chair Richard Glick’s recent pivot to address environmental justice: How should FERC determine whether the costs of a proposed project outweigh its benefits? Under what circumstances should projects in disadvantaged communities be approved or denied? And will FERC’s decisions survive legal scrutiny? “The Commission has now completed its work on applications for 11 LNG export projects in the past nine months, helping the United States expand the availability of natural gas for our global allies who need access to an efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly fuel for power generation,” Glick said in a statement at the time. To some legal experts and environmental activists, however, FERC’s analysis of the potential health and economic impacts of the projects on nearby communities was a textbook example of the agency’s inadequate consideration of environmental justice issues. Currently, the agency considers environmental justice within broader environmental impact statements, but there have been complaints that those analyses are insufficient and don’t fully assess impacts to low-income areas and communities of color.”

InsideClimate News: The Biden Administration’s Embrace of Environmental Justice Has Made Wary Activists Willing to Believe
By Agya K. Aning, 8/1/21

“Decades after emerging from the broader civil rights movement, setting itself apart from traditional environmentalism, flourishing in academia and wending through public discourse, the environmental justice movement has now achieved unprecedented prominence as activists work to entrench their gains within the federal government,” InsideClimate News reports. “President Joe Biden’s executive order on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” issued on his eighth day in office, included the imperative for all federal agencies to incorporate an environmental justice framework into their decision-making, a goal echoing an order from President Bill Clinton in 1994 that, while a breakthrough for the movement, still left much undone. “It’s really the first time you’ve seen this level of weigh-in from any president since we’ve been having this conversation,” Vernice Miller-Travis, a Harlem activist who has fought for environmental justice for more than 30 years, told ICN. “I could not have predicted this.” “…But many in the movement harbor doubts, given the enormity of the challenge posed by decades of systemic environmental racism and the disproportionate harms suffered by communities of color related to climate change, air pollution, toxic contaminants and the siting of power plants, landfills, refineries and other polluting facilities. It has already been a long struggle since the movement nominally began almost 40 years ago at a North Carolina landfill laced with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a chemical linked with cancer and birth defects. However extensive Biden’s commitments have been thus far, it’s unclear whether a bill codifying the lofty goals of his executive order can make it through Congress before the midterm elections, when both houses could change parties.”

EXTRACTION

Natural Gas Intelligence: ExxonMobil Grabs Golden Ring as Profits Soar, Ethane Demand Climbs
BY CAROLYN DAVIS, 7/30/21

“With natural gas and liquids prices soaring, along with ethane demand, ExxonMobil hit on all cylinders during 2Q2021,” Natural Gas Intelligence reports. “The supermajor unveiled its quarterly report on Friday, offering investors some encouraging news following a volatile run over the past few quarters. The gains were keyed to higher commodity prices and a stellar performance by the Chemicals unit… “With ethane demand soaring and margins improving, the Chemicals business recorded the “best quarter in company history,” CEO Darren Woods said. Margins improved on higher product prices, reflecting stronger demand and regional supply constraints. North America’s ethane feed advantage also grew, a prescient sign as ExxonMobil and partner Saudi Basic Industries Corp. prepare to launch the world’s largest cracker in South Texas. The 1.8 million metric ton/year (mmty) project, set to ramp by year’s end, initially was set for completion in 2022.”

Grand Forks Herald: Burying carbon dioxide deep in North Dakota’s geology may combat climate change. Is it financially feasible?
Adam Willis, 8/2/21

“For some of North Dakota’s legacy industries, like coal power, the future could depend on the capacity of companies to deliver on bold promises around carbon capture,” the Grand Forks Herald reports. “The pricey and so far sparsely used technology has nonetheless elevated the ambitions of North Dakota’s energy sector and would be the cornerstone in Gov. Doug Burgum’s recent target to achieve statewide carbon neutrality by 2030… “North Dakota’s budding roster of carbon capture projects range from storing the would-be air pollution of coal-fired power plants deep in the earth, to removing carbon dioxide from synthetic natural gas to manufacture hydrogen energy, to pumping carbon dioxide into declining oil wells to jump-start their production, to creating a carbon sink under North Dakota to hold the greenhouse gas output of ethanol plants all over the Midwest. The technology, however, can be expensive. And though interest in the field has surged in recent years, some analysts warn that the pathway to financial success is narrow… “Though carbon capture aims to slash the greenhouse gas emissions of several polluting industries, it’s a divisive topic among environmentalists. Opponents argue that carbon capture could consume billions in state, federal and private dollars — in some cases to prop up fossil fuel companies — even as affordable clean energy resources like wind and solar are readily available. Brad Crabtree, vice president of carbon management at the Great Plains Institute, a nonprofit group that advocates for policies to incentivize carbon capture, lamented that debates over the technology have become so zero sum. “If we pursue these technologies in synergy,” he told the Herald, “then we’re going to get to zero (emissions) a lot faster and at less cost.”

Wall Street Journal: Towns Trying to Ban Natural Gas Face Resistance in Their Push for All-Electric Homes
By Katherine Blunt, 7/31/21

“Massachusetts is emerging as a key battleground in the U.S. fight over whether to phase out natural gas for home cooking and heating, with fears of unknown costs and unfamiliar technologies fueling much of the opposition to going all-electric,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “More towns around Boston are debating measures to block or limit the use of gas in new construction, citing concerns about climate change. The measures have encountered opposition from some home builders, utilities and residents in a state with cold winters, relatively high housing prices and aging pipeline networks in need of pricey repairs. The Massachusetts debate encapsulates the challenges many states face in pursuing aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that may directly impact consumers. The cost of fully electrifying buildings varies widely throughout the country and has ignited debates about who should potentially pay more, or change their habits, in the name of climate progress. Much of the resistance to electrifying new homes stems from concerns about having to heat or cook using technologies such as heat pumps and induction stoves. In New England, most homes are heated with fuel oil or natural gas, and gas or propane is used widely for cooking.”

InsideClimate News: The Fight to Change US Building Codes
By Emma Foehringer Merchant, 8/2/21

“On Sept. 9, 2020, California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild opened a scheduled meeting with a somber observation. That morning, Bay Area residents woke to darkness, as wildfire smoke blotted out the sun and an eerie orange glow enveloped the region,” InsideClimate News reports. “It is ten o’clock in the morning and it looks like midnight,” Hochschild said, looking outside. The commission was set to discuss “reach codes”—building efficiency standards that exceed state requirements—for two Bay Area jurisdictions. The timing was apt: Evidence of the need for climate-friendly buildings was just outside, according to people who attended the virtual commission meeting and connected the air quality to increasingly treacherous wildfires fueled by climate change. One public commenter called the scene outside his San Francisco window “a literal hellscape.” All urged the commission to adopt the more efficient codes, and to go further to rule out the use of natural gas in new buildings statewide… “To date, more than 40 California jurisdictions have established policies that either entirely ban natural gas in new construction or encourage electrification. And in the months since San Francisco’s sky glowed orange, the California Energy Commission has proposed state building standards that require “electric ready” equipment and encourage electric heating rather than the use of natural gas… “Though California is often seen as a trailblazer in climate policy, similar efforts are increasingly cropping up around the country. Advocates and progressive code officials are trying to push forward building codes that help drive decarbonization.”

NOLA.com: Proposed oil terminal in Plaquemines Parish could disrupt Louisiana’s $2B wetlands project
BY HALLE PARKER, 8/2/21

“A massive oil export terminal proposed in Plaquemines Parish would likely undermine Louisiana’s $2 billion bid to restore the degraded wetlands of Barataria Bay, according to a draft study commissioned by the Midwestern company leading the project,” NOLA.com reports. “Modeling completed in February 2020 suggested the construction of the $2.5 billion terminal’s dock could reduce the amount of sand entering the mouth of the state’s planned Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion by up to 15%. Add a ship parked in front of the terminal, and nearly half of the sediment that could be used to rebuild land off the parish’s west bank might be blocked… “Interfering with the state’s restoration project is just one of the terminal’s challenges. Developers are also facing opposition from residents of nearby Ironton, who fear increased air pollution and oppose plans to excavate and build on top of gravesites of people formerly enslaved on the plantation… “It’s clear from this report that this site is going to forever be inconsistent with the master plan,” Scott Eustis, Healthy Gulf’s community science director, told NOLA.com. “This is the second engineering report about establishing a port on this property that says that it will sabotage our coastal restoration effort. So, Tallgrass has to find a different place under the law.”

RESEARCH & SCIENCE

Michigan Radio: Bacteria clean-up: Should we let nature clean up oil spills?
By BRIAN OWENS, 8/2/21

“Natural populations of oil-degrading bacteria could help to clean up freshwater rivers and lakes after spills from pipelines and trains, researchers have found after experiments that simulated spills in a Canadian lake,” Michigan Radio reports. “Vince Palace, who led the work at the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Experimental Lakes Area in western Ontario, told Michigan Radio that the methods currently in use for cleaning up spills in rivers and lakes – mostly digging up and dumping contaminated soil – are not particularly effective. They only recover around 20 to 40% of the oil, and the physical damage done to shorelines and streambeds can be worse than the effects of the spill itself, taking as long as a decade to recover. Palace and his colleagues wanted to see if leaving the oil in place to be cleaned up by natural processes like bacteria might be a practical alternative. “We know that in the marine environment there are bacteria that can degrade oil,” said Palace. “We wanted to know if naïve freshwater systems have that same capacity.” “…The team found that after the spill, the composition of the bacterial community in the soil and water shifted dramatically. Rare types of bacteria, which had barely been present before, suddenly became the most common – and most of them had the capacity to degrade oil by using it as a source of food, suggesting a natural recovery could be a potential solution to spills in places like the Great Lakes, which are criss-crossed by pipelines and home to several refineries.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Oil Change International: Shell gags British Museum in greenwashing sponsorship deal
ANDY ROWELL, 8/2/21

“Oil giant Shell continues to excel as a climate villain, happy to drive humanity beyond the limits of a liveable future,” according to Oil Change International. “Speaking last week, Shell’s Chief Executive, Ben van Beurden said the oil company had no plans to alter its strategy, despite a historic recent court ruling by a Dutch court forcing Shell to make a 45% cut to its carbon emissions by the end of the decade. The company is acting as if it is above the law. But it gets worse. For years, dogged climate campaigners have tried to stop the oil companies from greenwashing their operations via sponsoring the arts. They have had amazing victories such as the Royal Shakespeare Company pulling out of a sponsorship deal with BP. Shell, though, continues to greenwash its image by sponsoring the prestigious Science Museum in London. And without any drop of irony, earlier this year in May, Shell sponsored an exhibition entitled “Our Future Planet” which is promoting false climate solutions, such as carbon, capture and storage. Since the sponsorship deal was announced, there has been a major backlash with concerned scientists, youth climate activists, exhibition contributors, and the wider public speaking out through protests by the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) and a youth-led boycott of the exhibition. Last month, the museum shut down an overnight protest and 24-hour livestream broadcast led by UKSCN London against the sponsorship deal. Thirty police officers entered the museum and proceeded to threaten the group of teenage activists and scientists with arrest.”

Heated: “We aren’t comfortable running that”: Two large advertising platforms rejected a new climate ad campaign because it attacked fossil fuels.
Emily Atkin, 8/2/21

“The fate of our climate will not be decided solely by scientists and engineers. It will also be decided by public relations executives,” Heated reports. “The country’s biggest climate polluters know this well, which is why they pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year to inundate our lives with pro-industry advertisements that make fossil fuels seem green. Realizing this, climate groups have been trying to boost their advertising efforts too. Last week, Accountable.US and Climate Power launched a $1 million ad campaign called Polluters Exposed. Running now in the Washington, D.C. region, the ads claim the fossil fuel industry is blocking climate action and “putting profits over people.” “It’s time to end oil and gas CEOs’ influence and expose their attempts to stand in the way of addressing climate change,” the campaign’s website reads… “But right now, Kriger said it’s near-impossible for climate groups to play the same game as the fossil fuel industry—and not just because of money. While trying to buy ads for the Polluters Exposed campaign, her team discovered that some massive advertising platforms would not accept ads that painted the fossil fuel industry in a negative light. These same platforms routinely accept ads that glorify fossil fuels, and sometimes run ads that attack renewable energy. The rejections they received are indicative of how advertising companies fuel the climate crisis. They might not have the biggest carbon footprints, but they’re the ones covering up the tracks.”

OPINION

Waging Nonviolence: Everyone has a role to play in stopping the Line 3 pipeline
Eileen Flanagan, 8/2/21

“On Monday, July 19, in a red shirt and long black skirt, Sasha Beaulieu strode toward the Middle River in northwestern Minnesota to fulfill her official role as the Red Lake Nation Tribal Monitor,” Eileen Flanagan writes for Waging Nonviolence. “The water was incredibly low from the drought, and in parts the river bed was completely dry — all of which she would report to the Army Corps of Engineers with the hope of stopping the Canadian corporation Enbridge from drilling under Middle River to install the controversial Line 3 pipeline… “When sociologist Bill Moyer studied successful social change movements, he found that four roles showed up over and over again: helpers, advocates, organizers and rebels — labels coined with Moyer’s permission by veteran activist trainer and Waging Nonviolence columnist George Lakey. One of the things that struck me during 10 days in northern Minnesota was how the campaign to stop Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline has effectively engaged all four roles, often simultaneously… “In most movements, both organizations and individuals tend to specialize where they feel they will be most effective, often with competition between those playing the different roles. Although the Stop Line 3 campaign is unlikely to be immune from such tensions, what I witnessed was far more harmony than competition, something not every campaign is wise enough to achieve. I suspect the leadership of Indigenous women plays a key role here with their emphasis on community over individualism. Over and over I heard them encourage allies to come “in a good way,” bringing the gifts they have to offer while recognizing that they are a small part of a greater whole. This is exactly the attitude needed to build a movement strong enough to beat a company as powerful as Enbridge.”

Park Rapids Enterprise: LETTER: Law enforcement’s priority is clear
Lyn Dockter-Pinnick, 8/2/21

“On July 28, I had an experience as I walked my dog on Twin Lakes Road at about 5:30 a.m. that demonstrated clearly what is valued in Wadena and Hubbard counties,” Lyn Dockter-Pinnick writes in the Park Rapids Enterprise. “I live in Wadena County, but nearly on the border of Hubbard County. The Line 3 work near me crosses under the Shell River in two locations in both counties, and has resulted in 24-hour-a-day law enforcement presence near our home. A law enforcement vehicle has been posted for weeks at the entrance to 159th Avenue, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, about 60 feet from my driveway… “The question must be asked, with the scarcity of resources in our counties, with law enforcement sitting at road entrances around the clock, who is ensuring all the rest of our laws are followed? Who is protecting us from DUIs on the highways? Who is quickly able to respond to 911 calls? Have more law enforcement been hired to offset all the resources being directed to protect Enbridge, a Canadian company? It certainly does not appear so, and am not sure it is even possible, especially with the labor shortages in our area.”

Globe and Mail: The fading fortunes of Canada’s liquefied natural gas exports
THE EDITORIAL BOARD, 8/3/21

“The history of liquefied natural gas in Canada is littered with multibillion-dollar schemes that churn through years of development but eventually founder when backers realize a project’s economics don’t add up,” the Globe and Mail Editorial Board writes. “Recent examples are big and small. In March, Chevron abandoned plans for Kitimat LNG in northwestern British Columbia. In July, Pieridae, a Calgary startup, said cost pressures forced it to shelve an LNG proposal in Nova Scotia. Failing to attract billions of dollars from investors to build an LNG plant is typical, in Canada and elsewhere. The projects are complicated, the global market is intensely competitive and the outlook for future demand is modest. In some ways, the story of Énergie Saguenay, a proposed $9-billion export plant north of Quebec City that would have shipped Alberta gas overseas, is the same. Backed by GNL Québec, another startup, it was struggling to drum up capital. What’s different is, on July 21, the Quebec government rejected the plan. The project, Quebec’s Environment Minister said at a press conference in Saguenay, “has more disadvantages than advantages.” The political-regulatory rejection – rather than the quiet end of a plan because of a lack of money – highlights the environmental negatives of LNG.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pennsylvania has a methane problem
Joseph Minott is executive director and chief counsel of Clean Air Council, 7/31/21

“Without strong action on climate change, Pennsylvania will see worsened air quality, increased damage from flooding, agricultural losses, and increased rates of vector-borne illnesses like Lyme disease,” Joseph Minott writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Climate change, driven by greenhouse gases, is already causing hotter temperatures, more severe weather events, and increased smog levels, which can cause and aggravate serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Methane, an extremely potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas, is the primary component of natural gas and directly fuels the climate crisis. Methane leaks across every stage of the oil and gas supply chain. As the second-largest gas-producing state in the country, Pennsylvania has a major methane problem, and it’s only getting worse. We need Gov. Tom Wolf to lead and take bold action on methane now… “To meaningfully tackle methane pollution and deliver on his commitment to the people of Pennsylvania, Gov. Wolf needs to ensure the low-producing well loophole in this rule is closed. All wells need inspections at some point for leaks, no matter their production levels. Our climate — and the people of Pennsylvania — demand it.”

Las Cruces Sun News: Continue investing in methane mitigation industry
Isaac Brown is director of the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions, 8/1/21

“Across the nation, the methane mitigation industry is growing according to a new report from Datu Research,” Issac Brown writes in the Las Cruces Sun News. “The report, Find, Measure, Fix: Jobs in the U.S. Methane Mitigation Industry, shows the U.S. methane mitigation industry has undergone massive growth as state and federal policy makers and industry are taking serious steps to address methane waste and pollution… “The report found that “75 percent of the manufacturing firms and 88 percent of the service firms reported that if future state or federal methane emission rules were put in place, they would anticipate hiring more employees.” That is a strong endorsement for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s move to adopt nation-leading methane rules, including the recently adopted Oil Conservation Division waste rule and the proposed New Mexico Environment Department oil and gas air pollution rule. The New Mexico Environment Department can help the state clean up its air, protect the health of its communities and combat climate change all the while spurring additional job growth and investment in the methane mitigation sector.”

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