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Canada invokes pipeline treaty with U.S. in dispute over Line 5 pipeline

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OTTAWA — Canada is formally invoking a 1977 pipeline treaty with the United States in a bid to prevent Michigan from turning off the taps to Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline.

The dispute stems from a nearly year-old decision by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to revoke a 1953 easement to allow the pipeline to cross the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Whitmer cited environmental concerns about the impact a breach from the aging pipeline would have in the area and gave Enbridge six months to close it.

A U.S. federal court ordered the two sides to negotiate, but Michigan stopped participating in those talks in early September.

Canada’s lawyer Gordon Giffin says in a letter to a Michigan judge Monday that further proceedings in the case should be halted because Canada is invoking the dispute mechanism of the pipeline transit treaty.

The treaty is meant to prevent either country from unilaterally preventing or disrupting the transport of fossil fuels through pipelines that cross the U.S.-Canada border.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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Energy

Biden administration holding its first onshore oil sales

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government this week is holding its first onshore oil and natural gas drilling lease auctions since President Joe Biden took office after a federal court blocked the administration’s attempt to suspend such sales because of climate change worries.

The online auctions start Wednesday and conclude Thursday. About 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) of federal lands were offered for lease in eight western states. Most of the parcels are in Wyoming.

The sales come as federal officials try to balance efforts to fight climate change against pressure to bring down high gas prices.

Republicans want Biden to expand U.S. crude production. He faces calls from within his own party to do more to curb fossil fuel emissions that are heating the planet.

Oil production increased in the U.S. in recent months, but it’s still well below pre-pandemic levels. Companies have been hesitant to expand too quickly because of uncertainty over how long high prices will continue.

A coalition of 10 environmental groups said in a lawsuit filed before the sales even began that they were illegal because officials acknowledged the climate change impacts but proceeded anyway.

An immediate ruling was not expected. Interior Department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said the agency did not have comment on the litigation.

Beginning with this week’s sales the royalty rate for oil produced from new federal leases is increasing to 18.75% from 12.5%. That’s a 50% jump and marks the first increase since the 1920s.

Parcels also are being offered in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

Hundreds of parcels of public land that companies nominated for leasing had been previously dropped by the administration because of concerns over wildlife being harmed by drilling rigs. More parcels covering about 19 square miles (49 square kilometers) were dropped at the last minute in Wyoming because of potential impacts on wilderness, officials said.

But attorney Melissa Hornbein with the Western Environmental Law Center said the reductions in the size of the sales were not enough.

“They are hoping that by choosing to hold sales on a smaller amount of acreage they are threading the needle. But from our perspective, the climate science is the one thing that doesn’t lie,” Hornbein said.

Oil industry representative Kathleen Sgamma said the environmentalists’ lawsuit ignores the fact that lease sales from U.S. lands are required under federal law.

“Public lands are managed in a balanced manner. Balance is a word these groups don’t understand,” said Sgamma, president of the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas companies.

Fossil fuels extracted from public lands account for about 20% of energy-related U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making them a prime target for climate activists who want to shut down leasing.

Biden suspended new leasing just a week after taking office in January 2021. A federal judge in Louisiana ordered the sales to resume, saying Interior officials had offered no “rational explanation” for canceling them and only Congress could do so.

The government held an offshore lease auction in the Gulf of Mexico in November, although a court later blocked that salebefore the leases were issued.

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Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter: @matthewbrownAP

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Energy

Czech Republic to extend coal mining amid high demand

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PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic has decided to reverse plans to halt mining in a key black coal region to help the country safeguard its power supply amid high demand and the energy crunch prompted by the Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said Thursday that the state-owned OKD company will extend its mining activities in north-eastern Czech Republic until at least the end of next year, with an analysis to be made on a possible further extension until 2025.

The original plans called for mining to be halted there this year, but “demand for black coal is enormous,” Stanjura said.

Some other European Union countries are turning back to coal as a replacement for reduced deliveries of Russian natural gas, threatening climate goals in Europe. Russia has trimmed gas flows to EU countries like Germany, Italy and Austria on top of its gas cutoffs to France, Poland, Bulgaria and others.

OKD’s chief executive, Roman Sikora, said the Czech company was planning to mine 1.3 million metric tons of black coal in 2023.

It will be mostly used for generating power and household heating. Coal-fired power plants generate almost 50% of total Czech electricity output.

The decision came after the European Union agreed to ban Russian coal starting in August over the war in Ukraine and as it works to reduce the bloc’s energy ties to Russia.

The Czech government aims to phase out coal in energy production by 2033 while increasing the country’s reliance on nuclear power.

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june, 2022

jun12:00 pm(jun 30)12:00 pmParticipACTION Community Better Challenge Red Deer!Month Long Event (june) Event Organized By: Move Your Mood & Red Deer Wellness Alliance

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