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RED STATES VS. BANKS: Officials in a host of states with major fossil fuel interests are teaming up and employing their “financial leverage” to pressure banking partners against withholding financing from oil, coal, and gas projects as part of corporate social and environmental policies.

The chief fiduciaries of 15 states, including top coal producers Wyoming and West Virginia, leading oil producers Texas and North Dakota, and major crude refiner Louisiana, said in a letter to the banking industry ahead of Thanksgiving that they would look to take their collective $600 billion in assets elsewhere unless financial institutions abandon existing or planned boycotts of fossil financing.

Riley Moore, the Republican treasurer of West Virginia, is leading the effort and said the motive among participating states is to use “our financial leverage to essentially liberate what we view as these critical industries.”

“The last time I checked, those are still legal businesses in the United States. So you're talking about a presumption of denial … to the fossil fuel industry just based on the business that they undertake,” Moore told Jeremy.

“How can I put my money into a bank at the same time trying to diminish those dollars that I'm having to manage?” he went on.

Moore said he is overseeing a strategy to ensure that any banks under contract to hold some share of the state’s approximately $18 billion in assets would have to certify that they are not boycotting financing of fossil fuel projects.

“If they cannot meet that certification, then they're not eligible for a banking contract in the state of West Virginia,” Moore said, adding that the other 14 states who signed on to the letter are pursuing some version of the same.

The letter Moore and his counterparts signed does not address particular financial institutions by name, but Moore said it’s the attention of major firms like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs that he is seeking.

For its part, JPMorgan Chase put out an environmental and social policy framework in October, which said the firm will not provide financing or advisory services to clients who get most of their revenues from the extraction of coal. The policy also targets the end of 2024 to phase out “remaining credit exposure to such clients.”

“It's a lot of money for us. We are an extraction industry state,” said Moore who, much like climate hawks, couched the state of play in terms of an “existential threat.”

“This is what we do.”

Fossil financing still flowing: Despite corporate ESG stances and pressure from the Biden administration, major firms are still offering big-time financing to oil and gas companies in the immediate term.

Bloomberg reports that Wells Fargo is currently on track to double the amount of credit it has granted to the sector this year, while JPMorgan in recent weeks has underwritten around $2.5 billion in bond deals for Russian gas giant Gazprom and American energy company Continental Resources.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writer Jeremy Beaman (@jeremywbeaman). Email for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list.

OIL INCHES UP: Brent crude prices are holding up over $70 per barrel today after having spent much of last week below that mark in light of fears about the omicron variant of coronavirus.

The market looks to be responding to the fact that an increase of infections in South Africa, where the variant was first detected, has not slammed hospitals. Other positive signals over the weekend came from the likes of Anthony Fauci, who on CNN qualified his answer with remaining unknowns but said hospitalization data there are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity” regarding omicron-induced infections.

Saudi Aramco also boosted its price for crude in the Asian market for January, suggesting confidence that demand will remain steady despite the variant.

FERC EXTENDS SPIRE PIPELINE’S CERTIFICATE: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday issued another temporary certificate to the operator of the embattled Spire STL Pipeline, ensuring that it will stay up and running beyond the Dec. 13 expiration of its current certificate.

Commissioners followed through on Chairman Richard Glick’s commitment during their November meeting to take action on the pipeline’s temporary certificate before it ended, as Spire’s backers argued an extension was necessary to keep customers warm throughout the winter.

FERC is still reviewing its certificate for the pipeline, which it approved in 2018 and which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded to the commission in June, faulting its approach for determining the need of the project. Spire STL subsequently applied for a temporary certificate to continue operating while its certificate is under review, and FERC granted the application in September.

Spire STL president Scott Smith said in a statement over the weekend that he believes those who consider the pipeline’s benefits “will agree that there is a critical need to keep fully operational infrastructure in service” for customers in the St. Louis region.

The pipeline’s operators, meanwhile, on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court the D.C. Circuit’s decision vacating their operating permit

VIRGINIA REGULATORS REJECT PERMIT FOR PIPELINE EXPANSION: The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-1 on Friday to reject an air quality permit required to build a compressor station in the Virginia town of Chatham. The project would enable Mountain Valley Pipeline to move fracked gas into North Carolina.

A document outlining the decision says the board determined that the “community impacted by the facility is an environmental justice community” and that the project failed to meet requirements under a state environmental justice law.

UK PROJECT UNVEILS HYDROGEN-FUELED PLANE CONCEPT: Developers announced a design concept for an emissions-free, hydrogen-fueled passenger jet intended to be able to carry up to 279 people on trans-ocean flights such as between London and San Francisco.

The technology, led by firm Aerospace Technology Institute as part of the U.K. government-backed FlyZero project, would use lightweight liquid hydrogen fuel that has three times the energy of kerosene and 60 times the energy of batteries per kilogram while emitting no carbon dioxide, ATI said.

U.K.’s Department for Transport stressed that it envisions the technology enabling travel “at the same speed and comfort as today’s aircraft,” while project director Chris Gear said the design “sets out a truly revolutionary vision for the future of global air travel keeping families, businesses and nations connected without the carbon footprint.”

DANISH FIRM EXPLORING ENERGY STORAGE WITH MOLTEN SALT: A startup in renewable-reliant Denmark that's developing technology to store energy in molten salt has raised some $12 million in capital, including from the country's wealthiest man, Bloomberg reports.

Billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen is among those backing Hyme, whose storage method uses hydroxide salt that, when heated and liquified, can be used to transmit energy at 1/10 of the cost of solar salts.

The firm maintains that its facility can store energy for up to 14 days efficiently at a cost of about $20 per kilowatt-hour.

SURVEY: EUROPE’S ELECTRIC VEHICLE GOALS TO COST HALF A MILLION JOBS: European auto suppliers say the EU’s target of requiring all new vehicles to be CO2 emissions-free by 2035 jeopardizes more than half a million jobs, according to the Financial Times. 

A survey of nearly 100 firms concluded that most of those 501,000 jobs would be lost between 2030 and 2035, although total net job loss would be less than half as the survey projects that 226,000 new jobs would be created for electric component manufacturing.

The projection is a reminder of how major an undertaking it will be to realize such a large-scale shift away from internal combustion engines. That said, the head of Volkswagen — a major automaker that withheld its name from the list of firms and governments committing to the 2035 target during COP26— has said that the manufacturing of electric vehicles will carry over much of the same work as making gas-powered cars.

“A lot of the car remains the same,” he added. “It’s still seats, paint, body work, interiors, wheels, axles.”

The Rundown

Wall Street Journal Omicron casts pall over Texas oil-and-gas meeting

Bloomberg German Greens’ internal debate shows decarbonization challenge

E&E News Study sheds light on Antarctic Ocean climate riddle



10:00 a.m. 406 Dirksen The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a legislative hearing to examine the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.