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U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong talks about why he's joining the Conservative Climate Caucus.

Utah Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, has begun a Republican-only Conservative Climate Caucus, and local Rep. Kelly Armstrong is among the group’s 60-some members.

The mission of the new caucus is to educate fellow lawmakers on climate policies that reduce carbon emissions while aligning with the GOP’s platform.

“Republicans have conservative solutions to lower emissions while enhancing economic prosperity,” Curtis said in a statement when he announced the group. “We do care about climate – and we already have solutions and plan to find more.”

Armstrong said he joined the conference to advance real solutions for climate change, without shaming an industry that has helped improve quality of life for Americans.

“North Dakotans proudly feed and fuel the world, building food and energy security while protecting our environment,” Armstrong said. “I’m excited to join Congressman Curtis and 50 of my Republican colleagues to show the world how North Dakota leads in clean food and energy production.”

Curtis expressed confidence that solutions that will work not just for the planet, but people as well, will be found.

“Proposals to reduce emissions and be good stewards of the earth do not have to hurt the American economy — in fact they do the opposite,” he added. “There is a way to lower global emissions without sacrificing American jobs and principles – and I believe Republicans are the ones that can and should be leading the charge.”

You can catch Armstrong’s speech about joining the group here: tinyurl.com/sjvs5ja7.

PHMSA will enforce deadline for controlling methane emissions

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has submitted an advisory bulletin underscoring its plans to enforce a Dec. 27 deadline for controlling methane emissions from pipelines.

The deadline was set by the PIPES Act, which requires operators to update inspection and maintenance plans with procedures to prevent and minimize both intentional (vented) and unintentional (fugitive) pipeline emissions.

Vented or intentional emissions are common during repairs, maintenance, pressure relief systems, and other controlled activities. Fugitive emissions include leaks, natural gas meters, excavation damage and other accidental releases.

The plan also requires operators to address replacement or remediation of pipelines made from cast iron, bare steel, certain vintage plastic, or other legacy materials known to disproportionately cause a large share of incidents involving methane leaks.

Methane has three times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide, and, according to the EPA, the U.S. onshore oil and gas sector is the largest domestic industrial source of methane emissions.

The U.S. has 2.8 million miles of pipeline and more than 17,000 underground natural gas wells, 165 liquified natural gas facilities covering an estimated one-third of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

The complete advisory bulletin is online at tinyurl.com/yf9de2bt.

Energy Transfer subsidiary suing PHMSA

A subsidiary of Energy Transfer has sued the Pipeline and hazardous Materials Safety Administration to keep secret a portion of its risk modeling for the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which bisects Pennsylvania. Sunoco argues in the suit the data, which was reported by PHMSA as part of a compliance order, should be kept secret because it could help criminals or terrorists target the line.

Energy Transfer signs MOU for Trans-Panama Pipeline project

Energy Transfer has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Panama to study the feasibility of a pipeline project with terminals on both the Pacific side of Panama and the Atlantic for receipt and or export of liquified petroleum gas to international markets.

The non-binding MOU would expand Energy Transfer’s international operations into new markets, while giving Panama a chance to position itself as a global distribution center for petroleum products.

A lot of Gulf Coast hydrocarbon gas liquids are flowing through The Panama Canal presently.

The Panama Canal Authority which operates the canal, opened up a third set of locks to facilitate transit of larger ships in 2016, which allowed Very Large Gas Carriers to pass through the canal.

Crude oil vessels are still too large to use the expanded canal, though. They still must head to Central and South America by way of the Suez Canal or around the southern tip of Africa or via trans-Atlantic routes to Europe.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Asian demand for petrochemicals is continuing to grow. There’s also economic growth in El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, and Chili, which is creating more demand for petrochemical products.

Hess awards $1.4 million grant to Jackie Robinson Foundation

Hess Corporation is giving $1.4 million to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, $1 million of which is to help support the Jackie Robinson Museum being built in New York City.

The venue will offer innovative educational programming and dialogue on critical social issues. The remaining $400,000 will provide four-year scholarships and support services as part of the JRF Scholarship Program to five under-represented college students beginning in the fall of 2021.

Hess also plans to offer internship opportunities for JRF Scholars beginning with five opportunities in 2022.

“Our company has a proud history of social investment programs focused on education to advance equal opportunity and economic growth throughout society,” said Chief Executive Officer John Hess. “We are delighted to support the Jackie Robinson Foundation in its celebrated work to promote the humanitarian values that defined Jackie Robinson’s life through higher education and leadership.”

Della Britton, JRF President and CEO said the gift will allow the program to offer critical support to young leaders who embrace the values important to the foundation’s namesake.

“ “What’s more, Hess’ pledge to help bring to fruition the Jackie Robinson Museum also speaks to its commitment to promote equal opportunity and to challenge society to use history to inform a better future. We could not be more thrilled to partner with Hess Corporation.”

Events, studies, meetings & more

— Watford City 2040 Infrastructure Master Plan 5:30 p.m. July 20 at Rough Rider Center. Community engagement opportunity to help the city decide where it’s going for the future.

— Comment period open for Claim Denial Petroleum Tank Release Claim Fund site ID 654 until July 30. Details online at tinyurl.com/yzyr839u.

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