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Extracted: Daily News Clips 8/5/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 5, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Democracy NowShot with Rubber Bullets, Hospitalized, Jailed: Line 3 Protester Tara Houska Decries Police Attack
  • WVTFNelson County Activists Say Atlantic Coast Pipeline Should Rescind “Zombie Easements”
  • Evansville Courier & PressHenderson gas pipeline opponents want environmental study of proposed CenterPoint project
  • WBEZHistoric Black Farming Community In Pembroke Views Planned Gas Pipeline As Existential Threat

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • New York TimesDemocrats Seek $500 Billion in Climate Damages From Big Polluting Companies
  • E&E NewsInfrastructure deal targets FERC public outreach

STATE UPDATES

  • Alaska Public MediaBiden administration goes back to drawing board on oil leasing in Arctic Refuge

EXTRACTION

  • ReutersHollyFrontier to buy most of Sinclair Oil’s assets in $2.6 bln deal
  • Press releaseSouthern Ute Indian Tribe Joins Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative
  • Wyoming Public RadioJonah Energy Aims To Measure Methane Emissions

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • DeSmogThe Science Museum’s ‘Gagging Clause’ is the Tip of the Iceberg When it Comes to its Flawed Approach to Climate Change

OPINION

  • Madison.comBernie Kaiser: Stop Enbridge’s Line 5 reroute
  • National ObserverWhat carbon activists can learn from the campaign to end asbestos production in Canada

PIPELINE NEWS

Democracy Now: Shot with Rubber Bullets, Hospitalized, Jailed: Line 3 Protester Tara Houska Decries Police Attack
8/4/21

“At least 20 water protectors were brutally arrested in Minnesota as resistance to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline continues, and they say state and local police have escalated their use of excessive force, using tear gas, rubber and pepper bullets to repress opposition to Line 3, which, if completed, would carry Canadian tar sands oil across Indigenous land and fragile ecosystems,” Democracy Now reports. “The level of brutality that was unleashed on us was very extreme,” Indigenous lawyer and activist Tara Houska, who suffered bloody welts after she was shot with rubber bullets, then arrested and held in Pennington County Jail over the weekend, where several water protectors say they were denied medical care for their injuries, denied proper food and some reportedly held in solitary confinement, told DN. “And the level of brutality that was unleashed on us was very extreme. People were shot in their faces, in their bodies, in their upper torsos. I saw a young woman’s head get split open right in front of me. It was a really, really brutal scene. And the arrests in person were also quite brutal, throwing people face down in the dirt and being extremely violent in a situation in which we were outnumbered by police at least two to one, and many, many, many counties present protecting this one place, and which also happens to be a county where a murderer, an actual murderer, is still on the loose, has not been caught, but there were somehow over 50 police officers in that one place watching water protectors.”

WVTF: Nelson County Activists Say Atlantic Coast Pipeline Should Rescind “Zombie Easements”
By SANDY HAUSMAN, 8/5/21

“In 2012, David and Nancy Schwiesow retired from jobs in Washington D.C. to a small community in the Blue Ridge.  They built their dream house near Wintergreen – 5,000 square feet with a spectacular view of three mountain ridges,” WVTF reports. “…Armed with approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – FERC – the pipeline was able to take land from owners, even before agreeing on a price… “Last year, the ACP canceled the project, but the company still holds agreements with landowners. Most had no choice but to sign over access to part of their property after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the pipeline. Joyce Burton, with the community group Friends of Nelson, calls those contracts Zombie Easements.“The project is dead, but the easements remain alive and are still trying to suck the life out of our landowners. I think it’s a perfect description.” The agreements bar landowners from building roads, barns or homes on land under easement. They can’t plant trees, and the value of their property is likely reduced. Dominion says it must keep the easements until restoration is complete – something that could take years. A spokesman told WVTF timing will depend on an environmental review FERC is doing now. Then, he said, the ACP will coordinate with each landowner to decide the disposition of easements… “Gibson hopes rules governing pipeline construction will change, making what she considers an unfair process more just. It’s unclear, however, whether FERC can force the ACP to rescind easements – or whether the commission, viewed by critics as a rubber stamp for the natural gas industry, has the will to do so.  Whatever the case, Richard Averitt says Congress must revise the Natural Gas Act. “The whole idea of the pipeline approval and the extreme use of eminent domain is that the public benefit outweighs the sacrifice you’re asking indiv iduals  to make, but when that benefit goes away to not return that land is outrageous.”

Evansville Courier & Press: Henderson gas pipeline opponents want environmental study of proposed CenterPoint project
Mark Wilson, 8/4/21

“Environmental advocates are asking federal regulators to slow down and take time to assess the environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions of a proposed natural gas pipeline expansion in Henderson County, Kentucky,” the Evansville Courier & Press reports. “The interstate pipeline would serve two proposed natural gas combustion turbines CenterPoint Energy wants to build across the Ohio River in Posey County, Indiana… “However, Texas Gas needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before it can go ahead with the 24-mile pipeline extension through western Henderson County… “Texas Gas has asked federal regulators to say the project won’t need an environmental impact statement because it “will cause a substantial net reduction” in greenhouse gas emissions… “Both the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, a consumer advocacy organization, and the environmental group Sierra Club have filed written protests. Citizens Action Coalition also is seeking a public hearing.”

WBEZ: Historic Black Farming Community In Pembroke Views Planned Gas Pipeline As Existential Threat
By Steve Bynum, 8/3/21

“At one time Pembroke Township in Kankakee County, Illinois was the largest Black farming community in the northern United States. Over environmental concerns and opposition by local Black farmers, a natural gas pipeline with large political backing is moving closer to reality,” WBEZ reports. “Farmers and political supporters claim the pipeline “threatens to replace [Pembroke] the last community of African American farmers in Illinois.” Reset talked with a farmer married couple leading protests of Black farmers. GUESTS: Dr. Jifunza Wright-Carter, physician, farmer, co-founder and president, Black Oaks Center; Fred Carter, farmer, co-founder and executive director, Black Oaks Center; Karen Weigert, executive vice president at Slipstream, a clean energy innovation non-profit; former chief sustainability officer at city of Chicago.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

New York Times: Democrats Seek $500 Billion in Climate Damages From Big Polluting Companies
Lisa Friedman, 8/4/21

“Democrats in Congress want to tax Exxon, Chevron and a handful of other major oil and gas companies, saying the biggest climate polluters should pay for the floods, wildfires and other disasters that scientists have linked to the burning of fossil fuels,” the New York Times reports. “The draft legislation from Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland directs the Treasury Department and the Environmental Protection Agency to identify the companies that released the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from 2000 to 2019 and assess a fee based on the amounts they emitted. That could generate an estimated $500 billion over the next decade, according to Mr. Van Hollen. The money would pay for clean energy research and development as well as help communities face the flooding, fires and other disasters that scientists say are growing more destructive and frequent because of a warming planet. The bill for the largest polluters could be as much as $6 billion annually spread over 10 years, according to a draft of the plan. “It’s based on a simple but powerful idea that polluters should pay to help clean up the mess they caused, and that those who polluted the most should pay the most,” Mr. Van Hollen told the Times  in an interview. “Those who have profited the most should help now pay the damages that they’ve already cause.”

E&E News: Infrastructure deal targets FERC public outreach
By Miranda Willson, 8/5/21

“Part of the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill released last week could stifle a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission initiative aimed at helping people affected by its decisions, according to some consumer and landowner advocates,” according to E&E News. “Section 40432 in the expansive infrastructure package would scrap term limits for the director of FERC’s new Office of Public Participation and make it easier to oust the official. Launched in June, the FERC office is designed to help members of the public engage in the often highly technical proceedings carried out by the five-person commission. The independent agency, which regulates large energy facilities such as natural gas pipelines and oversees wholesale electricity markets, has faced accusations of being inaccessible. Some groups who lauded the establishment of the Office of Public Participation, however, now warn it could become a political tool subject to the leanings of the commission’s chair if the language in the proposed infrastructure bill becomes law. By removing a provision in the Federal Power Act that sets the director’s term at four years and prevents the FERC chair from firing them without cause, the bill would give the chair more sway over the office, Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, told E&E.

STATE UPDATES

Alaska Public Media: Biden administration goes back to drawing board on oil leasing in Arctic Refuge
By Liz Ruskin, 8/3/21

“The U.S. Interior Department announced Tuesday it will reexamine the Trump administration’s decision to lease drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Alaska Public Media reports. “The move is legally complicated by a congressional mandate and because Interior has already issued nine leases to drill on ANWR’s coastal plain. But Interior Secretary Deb Haaland declared in June that the Trump administration’s environmental study justifying the leasing decision was legally deficient. According to a notice in the Federal Register, her department will conduct a “supplemental” environmental impact study, followed by a decision that may impose new limitations on drilling.”

EXTRACTION

Reuters: HollyFrontier to buy most of Sinclair Oil’s assets in $2.6 bln deal
8/3/21

“HollyFrontier Corp (HFC.N)will pay $2.6 billion for almost all of Sinclair Oil’s assets, adding new refining, pipeline and storage facilities in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “The deal comes as U.S. fuel demand recovers from last year’s COVID 19-led record lows, with states reopened and road travel trending near pre-pandemic levels… “The Sinclair deal follows HollyFrontier’s May announcement that it plans to buy an Anacortes, Washington refinery from Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) by the end of 2021 for about $500 million. A new company, HF Sinclair Corp, will replace HollyFrontier as the public company trading on the New York Stock Exchange.”

Press release: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Joins Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative
Aug 3, 2021

“The Southern Ute Indian Tribe today became the newest member of Western States and Tribal Nations (WSTN) Natural Gas Initiative, expanding the organization’s sovereign tribal perspective and strengthening its voice to advocate for energy development that boosts rural economies, tribal self-determination and environmental improvement. The Tribe’s decision to join WSTN bolsters the governance of the unique international initiative led by sovereign tribal nations, states and county governments… “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has a strong and successful legacy in energy and economic development. The Tribe understands the benefit of strong business and intergovernmental relationships to strengthen its self-determination and sovereignty,” Southern Ute Tribal Chairman Melvin J. Baker said. “The Tribe is excited for the opportunity to join Western States and Tribal Nations and have a seat on the board encompassing multiple tribes, states and counties focused on supporting rural economies while collaborating to provide energy transition solutions for the future.”

Wyoming Public Radio: Jonah Energy Aims To Measure Methane Emissions
By Cooper McKim, 8/3/21

“Jonah Energy is aiming to more precisely measure its methane emissions. The oil and gas development and exploration company operating in Sublette County is making the effort as a way toward reducing the problematic greenhouse gas emission,” Wyoming Public Radio reports. “While monitoring is good, and reporting is good, measurement is a real commitment by an organization,” said Jonah Energy CEO and President Tom Hart. The commitment comes as a part of Jonah’s recent membership to the United Nations Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP), the first U.S. company to do so. OGMP is an initiative of the UN Environment Program and Climate and Clean Air Coalition. It’s looking to create a credible platform to help member companies demonstrate actual emissions reduction… “Right now, the technology to precisely measure methane emissions is considered young. Jonah’s CEO Hart said the company has estimates of emissions based on engineering calculations, but will have to go further to understand exact volumetric measurements.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

DeSmog: The Science Museum’s ‘Gagging Clause’ is the Tip of the Iceberg When it Comes to its Flawed Approach to Climate Change
By Chris Garrard and Jess Worth, Co-directors of Culture Unstained, 8/3/21

“Something is seriously wrong at the Science Museum Group (SMG). Last week, Channel 4 News reported on Culture Unstained’s latest investigation into the museum’s controversial sponsorship deal with the oil giant Shell,” DeSmog reports. “As we revealed, the museum had signed up to a “gagging clause” which prevented it from making “any statement or issuing any publicity” that could be seen as “discrediting or damaging the goodwill or reputation” of its sponsor… “But this gagging clause was just one in a whole list of serious ethical breaches that we uncovered. This includes an internal due diligence report on Shell’s dire human rights and environmental record that had been compiled but then dismissed, along with  emails showing the museum director praising and helping to promote Shell’s widely criticised “climate plan”. We also revealed how the museum’s criteria for scrutinising sponsors’ climate credentials are deeply flawed and set the bar lower than that for its own aims on climate change. In fact, the bar is set so low that the museum very nearly signed a major sponsorship deal with a group of twelve oil giants, including Exxon and Chevron, that are renowned for their huge emissions, disruptive lobbying, and ties to climate denial.”

OPINION

Madison.com: Bernie Kaiser: Stop Enbridge’s Line 5 reroute
8/4/21

“Dear Editor: An essential part of what makes this state beautiful and bountiful is the vast deposit of freshwater lakes, streams and rivers which cover our state. As Wisconsinites, we must protect this precious resource to secure it for the present and the future,” Bernie Kaiser writes for Madison.com. “In October 2019, Gov. Tony Evers created the state’s first climate task force in an attempt to mitigate climate change and adapt to our warming planet. Recommendation 47 of the Task Force report emphasizes the need to avoid all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 reroute. We as Wisconsinites must hold the governor to this recommendation and show our disagreement of any new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Badger State. Not as a matter of principle, but to save both the natural beauty of the Wisconsin northland and protect the rights of the indigenous peoples who have called it home for centuries.”

National Observer: What carbon activists can learn from the campaign to end asbestos production in Canada
By Ross Belot, 8/25/21

“Are you infuriated by Justin Trudeau’s climate policies? I sure am. Back in April, he upped Canada’s carbon reduction target from 40 to 45 per cent by 2030, levels that will be even more impossible for his government to hit than the previous 30 per cent reduction he cribbed from Stephen Harper,” Ross Belot writes in the National Observer. “We just submitted it to the UN because “bold climate action” is necessary. No doubt bold action is necessary — not just bold targets. But the way things look, we won’t do it — as a country, we continue to say the right things while continuing to do wrong. For example, while saying it’s imperative Canada stop using fossil fuels, our PM is also looking to grow Canada’s carbon-producing industry. How does Trudeau reconcile his stated goal of greatly reducing Canada’s carbon emissions with his other goal of continuing to produce large amounts of fossil fuels? Well, one reason is the vast majority of oil we produce is exported, not consumed at home: 80 per cent of our oil goes to the U.S. That’s correct, oil and gas production is responsible for more than 25 per cent of national carbon emissions, yet most of the product is exported. For Trudeau and other government leaders, the solution seems easy, then: Reduce using the stuff yourself, but push increased exports.”

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