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Extracted: Daily News Clips 8/6/21

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

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips August 6, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Associated PressLine 3 Pipeline Opponents File Suit on Behalf of Wild Rice
  • MPR: Line 3: White Earth argues DNR water permit violates wild rice rights
  • Park Rapids EnterprisePipeline protester convicted
  • Daily DotIndigenous TikTokers say they’ve been banned after speaking out against oil pipeline
  • InforumDakota Access Pipeline ramps up carrying capacity by nearly 50% as expansion continues
  • BIVTC Energy warns CGL pipeline work could be halted
  • U.S. Dept. of JusticePipeline Company to Pay $35 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties for Largest-Ever Inland Spill of Produced Water from Oil Drilling
  • Indiana Environmental ReporterHoosiers Concerned About ‘Pipeline to Nowhere’ That Could Be Built Under Ohio River
  • S&P GlobalTexas gas markets largely unresponsive as activity on Whistler Pipeline ramps up

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Politico Morning EnergyFIRST IN ME: Environmental justice advocates are ramping up their campaign to convince the Biden administration to drop its support for the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota
  • Press releaseFERC Letter From WE ACT, CBD and 460+ EJ Groups
  • Washington ExaminerJohn Kerry questions long-term future of natural gas

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • BloombergEx-Enron Trader Discovers Greed Is Good—for the Environment

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

  • GuardianFacebook let fossil-fuel industry push climate misinformation, report finds

OPINION

  • Minnesota Reformer‘Unconscionable and appalling’: Doctors on Enbridge Line 3 — Opinion
  • Grand Forks HeraldLetter: Minnesota’s civil war is over China’s oil
  • KRWGEPA Urged To Strengthen Methane Rules For Oil And Gas Industry
  • OregonianOpinion: Oregon should make polluters pay for a broken climate

PIPELINE NEWS

Associated Press: Line 3 Pipeline Opponents File Suit on Behalf of Wild Rice
8/5/21

“Opponents of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement across northern Minnesota are taking a novel legal approach to try to halt construction — they are suing on behalf of wild rice,” the Associated Press reports. “Wild rice is the lead plaintiff in a complaint filed Wednesday in White Earth Nation Tribal Court. The lawsuit, which names the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources among the defendants, advances a legal theory that nature in itself has the right to exist and flourish, the Star Tribune reported. The lawsuit is only the second “rights of nature” case to be filed in the U.S., Frank Bibeau, a lawyer for the White Earth tribe, told AP. The plaintiffs include manoomin, which means “good berry” in Ojibwe, several White Earth tribal members and Indian and non-Indian protesters who have demonstrated along the Line 3 construction route. They say the DNR is failing to protect the state’s fresh water by allowing Calgary-based Enbridge to pump up to 5 billion gallons of groundwater from construction trenches during a drought. They also claim the DNR has violated the rights of manoomin, as well as multiple treaty rights for tribal members to hunt, fish and gather wild rice outside reservations.”

MPR: Line 3: White Earth argues DNR water permit violates wild rice rights
Kirsti Marohn, 8/5/21

“The White Earth Nation of Ojibwe is suing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in tribal court on behalf of wild rice,” MPR reports. “The north-central Minnesota band argues that letting Enbridge Energy temporarily pump up to 5 billion gallons of groundwater during construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline puts wild rice — manoomin, in the Ojibwe language — at risk and violates members’ treaty rights. It’s believed to be the first case brought in a United States tribal court on behalf of the rights of nature, a recent movement gaining momentum around the globe. It seeks to establish legal rights for nature and ecosystems, rather than treating them as property. Enbridge is building the new, larger Line 3 pipeline along a new route through a water-rich part of northern Minnesota, near lakes and wetlands that are home to wild rice, an important part of Ojibwe culture. In 2018, White Earth leaders adopted a tribal law recognizing the rights of wild rice to exist and flourish. “The legal argument is that manoomin, in our culture and world, is a living entity, like everything else,”  Frank Bibeau, a tribal attorney representing the White Earth band, told MPR. “It has rights just like us to exist and flourish and multiply. And it’s not being watched out for.” “…The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the DNR to nullify the water permit. It also asks the tribal court to declare wild rice within the Ojibwe ceded territories is protected and possesses inherent rights, and that tribal members have legal rights to harvest wild rice and protect the waters that support it within the ceded territory.”

Park Rapids Enterprise: Pipeline protester convicted
8/5/21

“Brock Hefel, 25, of Dubuque, Iowa, was found guilty in Hubbard County District Court of charges related to his opposition to the Line 3 pipeline replacement project,” the Park Rapids Enterprise reports. “According to a press release from the Hubbard County Attorney’s Office, Hefel was charged with one count each of unlawful assembly and obstructing a public right of way, based on incidents that occurred on June 15… “According to the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, Hefel was also arrested on July 27 in Hubbard County after he and another man locked themselves in a “sleeping dragon” device and crawled more than 1,500 feet inside a section of pipe at a Line 3 work site in Straight River Township.”

Daily Dot: Indigenous TikTokers say they’ve been banned after speaking out against oil pipeline
Elisa Shoenberger, 8/4/21

“After live streaming police violently crashing a religious ceremony and Pipeline 3 protest at Red Lake Treaty Camp—where cops threw down a protestor and ripped their shirt—TikTok banned the account of the person who filmed it, @Quiiroi, a Two Spirit Indigenous educator,” the Daily Dot reports. “The ban lasted for over a week… “Over 20 protestors were arrested in the police raid and taken to Pennington County, Minnesota jail. But when Quiiroi tried to use their TikTok account later that day, they couldn’t post anything, learning they were banned until July 30. Then on July 30, Quiiroi was informed that their account was again banned for community guideline violations. They are not allowed to post until Aug. 6. However, without notice, Quiiroi’s main account was reinstated on Sunday. After their release from jail, Alex Golden Wolf discovered that they were also banned from posting by TikTok as well. It is unknown if their account was also reinstated. A video posted on Quirrio’s side TikTok account about their ban on July 27 was also pulled down for community violations over “illegal activities and regulated goods.” The video has since been restored… “TikTok claims it is neutral but it either doesn’t play out that way, or it doesn’t seem to make room for any nuance. People are getting banned for showing police violence, trying to educate people about violence against their communities. Yet videos showing police in favorable lights tend to go unflagged, showing only one side of the story… “But these experiences of Indigenous and other marginalized people are not just endemic to TikTok. Instagram censored Indigenous voices in May, blaming a “glitch” for erasing posts and stories about Missing Women, Girls, and Two Spirits Day.”

Inforum: Dakota Access Pipeline ramps up carrying capacity by nearly 50% as expansion continues
Adam Willis, 8/5/21

“A new phase in the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s oil capacity is complete, operators of the embattled North Dakota pipeline announced this week,” Inforum reports. “Energy Transfer, the parent company to Dakota Access, reported the development on its quarterly earnings call on Tuesday, Aug. 3, announcing that the pipeline has ramped up its carrying capacity to about 750,000 barrels a day — an increase of almost 50% from the volume of oil it has been able to carry since beginning operations in 2017. The Texas-based company has been adding pump stations to scale up the pipeline’s load to a total of more than 1.1 million barrels per day when the expansion project is complete… “Operations of Dakota Access have been vigorously opposed by members of Standing Rock since construction of the pipeline began near their reservation in south-central North Dakota in 2016. The tribe argues the pipeline’s Missouri River crossing just off their reservation endangers their water supply. “It’s an outrage,” Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing Standing Rock in its legal challenge to Dakota Access operations, told Inforum. “They don’t even have a permit to operate at all because the risks of an oil spill have never been studied. They are subject to ongoing federal enforcement over their many safety violations, and they have previously assured a federal court that the expansion would not occur until the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) has signed off on it.” And though Dakota Access opponents have been disappointed that President Joe Biden’s administration so far declined to take action against the pipeline, Hasselman said circumstances changed in recent months, in part because of recent federal fines slapped on Energy Transfer for safety violations. “And now we have the entity essentially snubbing its nose at the White House, all but taunting them.”.

BIV: TC Energy warns CGL pipeline work could be halted
Nelson Bennett, 8/5/21

“As the LNG Canada project enters its third year of construction, the consortium behind it recently noted some key milestones that have been reached. But while construction of the LNG terminal itself in Kitimat continues apace, the related Coastal GasLink project that will supply it with natural gas is running into both delays and escalating costs,” BIV reports. “TC Energy (TSX:TRP), which is responsible for building the pipeline, recently warned that it may suspend construction activity, if it can’t resolve a dispute it is having with LNG Canada over the project’s escalating costs… “TC Energy has warned that a reduction in the project’s workforce between December 2020 and April 2021, due to the pandemic and subsequent public health orders, has put the project behind schedule and is escalating its estimated cost of completion. When TC Energy was contracted to build the pipeline, the estimated cost was $6.2 billion. In 2019, TC Energy announced a $400 million hike to the final cost, which would bring it to $6.6 billion, due to higher than expected costs of additional metering stations, rock removal and water crossings. That number is now likely to go up again “significantly,” although TC Energy has yet not put a number to the increase. “As a result of scope changes, permit delays and the impacts from COVID-19, including the provincial health order, we continue to expect project costs to increase significantly along with a delay to project completion compared to the original project cost and schedule,” the company said in a recent quarterly report to shareholders.”

U.S. Dept. of Justice: Pipeline Company to Pay $35 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties for Largest-Ever Inland Spill of Produced Water from Oil Drilling
8/5/21

“The Department of Justice today filed criminal charges under the Clean Water Act against Summit Midstream Partners LLC, a North Dakota pipeline company that discharged 29 million gallons of produced water from its pipeline near Williston, North Dakota, over the course of nearly five months in 2014-2015. The discharge of more than 700,000 barrels of “produced water” – a waste product of hydraulic fracturing – contaminated land, groundwater, and over 30 miles of tributaries of the Missouri River. The spill, believed to be the largest inland spill in history, was visible in photographs taken by satellites orbiting the earth. In addition to the criminal charges, the United States and the State of North Dakota filed a civil complaint against Summit and a related company, Meadowlark Midstream Company LLC, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act and North Dakota water pollution control laws. Under parallel settlements resolving the criminal and civil cases, the company has agreed to pay a total of $35 million in criminal fines and civil penalties. “Summit prioritized profits over the environment. The company’s disregard for pipeline safety resulted in pollution of the environment on a massive scale over 143 days,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Summit’s conduct was criminal and its failure to immediately report the discharge a felony.  This resolution holds the company financially accountable, requires enhanced compliance measures to prevent future spills, and provides compensation for North Dakota’s damaged natural resources.”

Indiana Environmental Reporter: Hoosiers Concerned About ‘Pipeline to Nowhere’ That Could Be Built Under Ohio River
Enrique Saenz, 8/5/21

“A Kentucky-based company is seeking approval from federal authorities to build a natural gas pipeline under the Ohio River to bring out-of-state fuel to non-existent power plants,” according to the Indiana Environmental Reporter. “Hoosiers and advocacy groups are concerned about the pipeline’s environmental effects and whether its approval could set back a transition to clean energy. Texas Gas Transmission LLC is project asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval to build a 24-mile pipeline extension to connect two proposed natural gas-fired power plants at CenterPoint Energy Inc.’s A.B. Brown Generating Station in Posey County to a network of interstate natural gas pipelines. The company is asking FERC to approve the project, which would extend from Robards, Kentucky to Evansville, Indiana via an underwater crossing under the Ohio River, without performing an environmental impact statement… “Groups like the Citizens Action Coalition oppose both the natural gas turbines and the pipeline. “We object to the notion of expanding the marketplace for fossil fuels in our state,” CAC executive director Kerwin Olson told IER. “If we are serious about transitioning to a clean energy future that that does not rely on fossil fuels, why would we even consider building and expanding the infrastructure to deliver fossil fuels to our state? That seems counterintuitive to the ultimate goal of achieving 100% clean energy.”

S&P Global: Texas gas markets largely unresponsive as activity on Whistler Pipeline ramps up
J Robinson, Jack Winters, 8/5/21

“Natural gas markets in West and South Texas are showing a muted response thus far to an acceleration in commercial activity this week on the 2 Bcf/d Whistler Pipeline, a new west-to-east transmission corridor for Permian Basin production,” S&P Global reports. “At the West Texas Waha hub, cash basis has shown no appreciable impact from the pipeline’s startup this week. Aug. 1 to date, the cash market at Waha has traded at an average 25 cent/MMBtu discount to Henry Hub, roughly flat to its average discount of 24 cents in July, S&P Global Platts data shows… “The new Permian pipeline brings the total for recently added eastbound capacity to just over 6 Bcf/d since September 2019, giving West Texas producers abundant access to premium Gulf Coast industrial and export markets, including LNG. According to Platts Analytics, the pipeline could be among the last long-haul Permian transportation projects to enter service as gas infrastructure projects face increasing scrutiny from environmental groups, regulators and investors alike.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Politico Morning Energy: FIRST IN MEEnvironmental justice advocates are ramping up their campaign to convince the Biden administration to drop its support for the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota
Matthew Choi, 8/5/21

“Environmental justice advocates are ramping up their campaign to convince the Biden administration to drop its support for the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, launching a six-figure ad buy today,” Politico Morning Energy reports. “The Honor the Earth campaign highlights Anishinaabe women asking President Biden and Jaime Pinkham of the Army Corps of Engineers to honor treaties with Indigenous communities and stop the pipeline from bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the United States.”

Press release: FERC Letter From WE ACT, CBD and 460+ EJ Groups
8/5/21

“This week, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Center for Biological Diversity and 460+ environmental justice groups are calling on the Biden administration to nominate an environmental and energy justice champion to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Given FERC’s outsized impact on environmental justice, the letter calls on the administration to consider three EJ champions… Communities of color and low-wealth communities disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change. They face toxic fossil fuel pollution, crushing energy burdens, and climate disasters. President Biden can help these communities by nominating an environmental justice champion to serve on FERC. These communities have suffered for too long.”

Washington Examiner: John Kerry questions long-term future of natural gas
Josh Siegel, 8/4/21

“Climate envoy John Kerry says natural gas is not “anything near a long-term solution” to help address climate change even while it can help replace coal in certain countries in the near-term,” the Washington Examiner reports. “Kerry’s stance, declared in an interview with the New Yorker published last night, is notable because the Biden administration has struggled to articulate a consistent position on the role of natural gas. Here is the entire quote: “Russia has an option of quickly closing coal plants that are more than forty years old, not working that effectively, and not needed, in favor of transitioning to gas for the moment. I emphasize ‘for the moment’ because gas is still a fossil fuel, and gas is mostly methane, so it leaks and also produces CO2. It’s not, in our judgment, anything near a long-term solution, unless somebody discovers one-hundred-percent abatement.” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has repeatedly said that shipping U.S. liquified natural gas abroad can play an important role in replacing dirtier coal, especially in Asia. She has also pressed the oil and gas industry to do a better job of reducing methane emissions associated with LNG in order to make that case credible. But she has not definitively said how long gas can continue playing a useful role in the clean energy transition. Still, liberal climate activists who have been pushing the administration to reject natural gas, even as a replacement for dirtier coal abroad, are interpreting Kerry’s comments as being closer to their position.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

Bloomberg: Ex-Enron Trader Discovers Greed Is Good—for the Environment
8/4/21

“…In Brussels, European Union policymakers were finalizing plans to overhaul the bloc’s Emissions Trading System, a carbon market created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making them a tradeable commodity like soybeans or gold. The ETS—the biggest market of its kind—wasn’t working. Generous pollution limits in the system’s design had flooded the market with carbon permits. Prices were too low to persuade businesses to clean up, so the EU drafted measures to boost prices by removing permits from the market. Ulf Ek, the founder and chief investment officer of hedge fund Northlander Commodity Advisors LLP, was trying to figure out how the market would react to the EU’s latest moves and how he should play it… “During his regular walks with Dollar, by Bishop’s Pond or past King Henry’s Mound, Ek puzzled over something that initially had made him hesitate to bet on carbon’s rise: As the EU discussions progressed, the market had barely moved, and that didn’t make sense. Ultimately, Ek concluded that everyone else was calculating that the price wouldn’t increase until the new policies were actually implemented in more than a year. “I realized that’s irrational,” says Ek, who’s now 50. “Once I figured that out, I decided, ‘Let’s put this trade on.’” He was happy he didn’t wait. By the end of 2018 the EU carbon price rose more than 200%. “I was right,” Ek says. “And I was making a lot of money because I was right.” “…The price moves that made them rich also helped shift the financial calculus of power production. Utilities started burning less coal—the dirtiest way to generate electricity—and more gas, which isn’t as emissions-intensive.”

TODAY IN GREENWASHING

Guardian: Facebook let fossil-fuel industry push climate misinformation, report finds
Chris McGreal, 8/5/21

“Facebook failed to enforce its own rules to curb an oil and gas industry misinformation campaign over the climate crisis during last year’s presidential election, according to a new analysis released on Thursday,” the Guardian reports. “The report, by the London-based thinktank InfluenceMap, identified an increase in advertising on the social media site by ExxonMobil and other fossil-fuel companies aimed at shaping the political debate about policies to address global heating. InfluenceMap said its research shows the fossil-fuel industry has moved away from outright denying the climate crisis, and is now using social media to promote oil and gas as part of the solution. The report also exposed what it said was Facebook’s role in facilitating the dissemination of false claims about global heating by failing to consistently apply its own policies to stop erroneous advertising. “Despite Facebook’s public support for climate action, it continues to allow its platform to be used to spread fossil-fuel propaganda,” the report said. “Not only is Facebook inadequately enforcing its existing advertising policies, it’s clear that these policies are not keeping pace with the critical need for urgent climate action.” The report found that 25 oil and gas industry organisations spent at least $9.5m to place more than 25,000 ads on Facebook’s US platforms last year, which were viewed more than 431m times. Exxon alone spent $5m.“The industry is using a range of messaging tactics that are far more nuanced than outright statements of climate denial. Some of the most significant tactics found included tying the use of oil and gas to maintaining a high quality of life, promoting fossil gas as green, and publicizing the voluntary actions taken by the industry on climate change,” the report said.

OPINION

Minnesota Reformer: ‘Unconscionable and appalling’: Doctors on Enbridge Line 3 — Opinion
AARTI BHATT, PRASANNA VANKINA, & MICHAEL WESTERHAUS, 8/5/21

“As physicians, our duty is to protect the health of all Minnesotans, now and for the future. As daily witnesses to the importance of clean air, water, and land to human health, we are deeply distressed about the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline currently under construction across our state and through 1855 Treaty lands,” Aarti Bhatt, Prasanna Vankina, & Michael Westerhaus write in the Minnesota Reformer. “On July 20, we traveled to northern Minnesota to better understand the efforts of Indigenous-led water protectors, who tirelessly worked for seven years through legal and political channels to prevent Line 3’s construction, and why they are now risking arrest — and their lives. What we witnessed through the haze of smoke from wildfires in Canada was unconscionable and appalling. We visited Upper Rice Lake, where historically low water levels due to climate change-related drought threaten this year’s wild rice crop. Wild rice is an extremely nutritious food and important economic resource for many communities. Recent DNR permits — bypassing discussion with Indigenous leaders — allow Enbridge to draw 5 billion gallons of ground and surface water. This 10-fold increase from the company’s originally requested amount further threatens this unique food ecosystem… “As doctors, our job is to work upstream to promote the health of everyone downstream. Thus, we stand with the water protectors in their efforts to Stop Line 3 and call for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw permits for its construction. Our health depends on it — we all live downstream”.

Grand Forks Herald: Letter: Minnesota’s civil war is over China’s oil
Ernest “Joey” Oppegaard-Peltier III, candidate for US House MN-7, 8/5/21

“Why are Minnesotans fighting their neighbors over foreign interests?” Ernest Oppegaard-Peltier III writes in the Grand Forks Herald. “My family farms in North Dakota’s Walsh, Cavalier and Pembina counties. My spouse’s family farms near Erskine, Minn. I would like to know why we are fighting over foreign business pumping China’s oil through farmlands of North Dakota and Minnesota. The oil for the Canadian company Enbridge’s Line 3 isn’t for U.S. consumption, it is for China’s. Canada has taken pride in the Alberta tar sand sales to China for well over a decade. It comes from Canada’s west coast, and due to a Canadian law banning oil tankers on their west coast, it has to be shipped to the east coast, via a pipeline. That law was a consequence of the Exxon tanker spill decades ago… “If you look at the four or five financial backers of Enbridge Line 3, the funds are coming from Chinese banks and businesses, which if you know anything about China, those institutions are partly owned by the Chinese government.”

KRWG: EPA Urged To Strengthen Methane Rules For Oil And Gas Industry
By OFFICE OF SENATOR MARTIN HEINRICH, 8/4/21

“Commentary: U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) are calling on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to consider current New Mexico state rules as the EPA works towards new proposed methane emissions regulations for the oil and gas industry. Last month, President Joe Biden signed into law Senator Heinrich’s resolution to reinstate methane emissions standards to protect public health and tackle the climate crisis. S.J. Res 14, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), nullifies the Trump administration’s 2020 Methane Rescission Rule and reinstates U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and the regulation of air pollution from transmission and storage facilities. “After 4 years of going backwards, we are encouraged by the Environmental Protection Agency’s quick start to the process of improving on those rules under its Clean Air Act authority and obligation. The climate crisis requires that we act as quickly and effectively as possible, and Congress clearly gave EPA the directive to create new, stronger methane protections,” the lawmakers wrote.

Oregonian: Opinion: Oregon should make polluters pay for a broken climate
Jeff Golden represents District 3-Ashland in the Oregon Senate, 8/4/21

“Remember when Oregon waited for summer all year like a kid waits for Christmas? Well, now “summer” is “wildfire season,” with stinging lungs and a dirty brown pall of stagnant smoke replacing the joy of blue skies and warm sunshine. Wildfire ripped through the heart of my southern Oregon district last summer, and a thick smoky blanket has become a nearly-annual feature of the Rogue Valley for weeks at a time. This new normal would be unbearably sad even if it were unexpected. But it’s not,” Sen. Jeff Golden writes in the Oregonian. “Fossil fuel companies privately predicted these impacts long ago and then buried the evidence, encouraged climate science denial, and blocked the path to clean energy solutions specifically to prolong our dependence on their product, analyses show. As the price of the industry’s deception becomes more and more catastrophic, it’s time that Oregon takes action to hold these polluters accountable. Across the country more than two dozen state and local governments — from San Francisco to Charleston, South Carolina — are taking corporations like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron to court to make them pay their fair share of the cost of climate damages they knowingly caused. Oregon should join them. Thanks to a series of recent court rulings, these cases are now working their way toward trial, creating a potential avenue to provide relief for struggling communities and make Big Oil join tobacco companies and opioid manufacturers in shouldering responsibility for their records of conscious and strategic lies.”

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