Canada: Energy, environment & pipelines 2016 -17

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Canada: Energy, environment & pipelines 2015
What is Energy East? (short video)
National Observer Tar Sands Reporting Project

TransCanada won’t proceed with Energy East pipeline
Pipeline company opts to kill 2 eastern-focused energy projects
The company first proposed the project in 2013, when oil prices neared $100 a barrel. But the project’s future had come in doubt since then as the economics changed, and regulatory and environmental hurdles started piling up.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr called the TransCanada’s decision to end the Energy East pipeline a business decision.
“Conditions have changed,” Carr said. “Commodity prices are not what they were then.”
As recently as last month, TransCanada suspended its application to the National Energy Board (NEB) and hinted it might decide not to pursue the project in light of the regulator’s new, tougher review process.

30 May
30 May
‘It got done but it wasn’t pretty’: Kinder Morgan Canada shares slide on debut amid ‘really ugly storm’ in B.C. politics
(Financial Post) Kinder Morgan Canada’s shares tumbled on debut Tuesday amid concerns a British Columbia political alliance could hurt plans to expand the company’s pipeline network on the West Coast. The company announced last week it would construct the project despite the political climate being “not ideal.”
In addition to the political uncertainty, Tahmazian said Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc.’s plan to use the proceeds of the IPO of its Canadian division to pay down the parent company’s debt was not well received by the market.
At the same time, environmental activists took their fight against the Trans Mountain expansion to investors in Toronto, with the Dogwood Initiative raising money for geo-targeted mobile ads focused on corporate offices in Bay Street to dissuade investors from buying the stock. Barring roadblocks by a potentially new B.C. government, construction on the project is set to begin later in 2017 and the line would begin shipping oil in 2019, delivering an additional 590,000 barrels of oil per day to an export point in Burnaby, B.C. Major oilsands producers in Alberta, including Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., are committed shippers on the line, which would diversify Canadian oil exports away from its main market in the U.S. and give domestic companies access to growth markets in Asia.
Trudeau stands by Trans Mountain pipeline despite B.C. shakeup
(Globe & Mail) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a hard line Tuesday, saying the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion should proceed despite political threats in British Columbia to kill the massive project. Mr. Trudeau said the $7.4-billion expansion project benefits the entire country, which is why the federal cabinet gave its approval.

29 May
Trans Mountain pipeline faces new risks as BC Greens, NDP reach deal
(Globe & Mail) The political threat to the Trans Mountain expansion comes as First Nations in British Columbia ramped up their attack on the Kinder Morgan project by issuing a warning to investors that the company’s Canadian shareholders face major risks as a result of Indigenous legal challenges to the pipeline project, which would nearly triple the existing line’s capacity to 890,000 barrels a day. A legal brief prepared by the coastal Tsleil-Waututh and the West Coast Environmental Law association argues the court challenges create “significant uncertainty” around the pipeline, which is a major asset for Kinder Morgan’s Canadian subsidiary. “In our opinion, the leading jurisprudence suggests that the [expansion] project will not get built, and certainly [not] on the schedule that Kinder Morgan is suggesting,” said the brief, which is being sent to major banks, brokerage houses and institutional investors in the United States. “Likely outcomes include a permanent rejection if aboriginal title is recognized, or an interim injunction while a title case is being heard,” it added. “Combined with significant political and reputational risk, it is our opinion that the project faces material risk.” The federal Liberal government approved the expansion last November subject to Kinder Morgan satisfying mostly technical conditions imposed by the National Energy Board. However, the recent election in British Columbia has raised the stakes as the Green Party and NDP vow to block it, while Alberta Premier Rachel Notley argues the province has no right to do so.

26 April
B.C., Alberta methane pollution higher than disclosed, reports suggest Environmental groups use ‘sniffers’ and infrared video to detect release of potent greenhouse gas

20 April
Federal government seeks to push back methane reduction regulations by up to 3 years ‘It’s going to be difficult for Canada to meet its emissions targets’ Documents obtained by CBC News show the initial federal plan was to phase in tough rules to control methane from the oil and gas industry starting in 2018, with all of the new regulations in place by 2020. But a revised federal timeline shows the regulations would be phased in starting in 2020 and wouldn’t be fully implemented until 2023.

5 April
Short timelines for environmental assessments not working, says expert panel
Panel recommends greater public participation and Indigenous involvement in major projects An expert panel says the “one size fits all” approach to environmental assessments and limiting the number of people who can talk at hearings into big projects isn’t working. The new report by the expert panel reviewing federal environmental assessment processes recommends that time limits to assess major projects should reflect the specific circumstances of each project instead of being forced to meet a set time frame. The four-person panel was set up by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna last August. Its mandate was to look at why environmental assessments in Canada are not working and to suggest changes. The chair of the panel, Johanne Gélinas, said the panel found few people are stridently against the development of projects, but they want more respect and involvement.

4 April
Awkward in view of on-going protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
TransCanada shuts down Keystone after oil seeps to surface
By Mike De Souza (National Observer)
The company, Canada’s second largest pipeline operator, said the “potential incident” was first reported on Saturday afternoon. “TransCanada immediately began the process to shut down the pipeline, activate its emergency response procedures and dispatch ground crews to assess the situation,” said the company in a statement. “Crews initially found visible signs of oil on a small surface area.” News of the oil seeping to the surface could be inconvenient for TransCanada, which is now trying to convince communities across Canada to accept its proposal for a gigantic new pipeline infrastructure project — the 4,600-kilometre Energy East pipeline.

16 March
Catherine McKenna seeks EPA head Scott Pruitt’s help to restore Great Lakes
(Globe & Mail) Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna met U.S. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday and urged him to support bilateral programs aimed at restoring the Great Lakes on a day the Trump administration released a proposed budget that would virtually eliminate funding for the effort. Included in the proposed cuts is the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has pumped more than $2.2-billion (U.S.) into the eight-state region for projects that have removed toxic wastes from industrial harbours, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms. On Wednesday night, Ms. McKenna delivered a keynote address at a Canadian embassy reception on the importance of bilateral collaboration to protect and restore the Great Lakes, which supply drinking water for 45 million people on both sides of the border. At that reception, she met with members of Congress from both parties who support funding for Great Lakes programs that the Trump administration would cut.

24 January
Trump gives OK to Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed executive orders to move forward on construction of two controversial oil pipelines that impact Canada, giving his OK to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access projects. Speaking in the Oval Office in the White House as he signed the orders, Trump said that “we are going to renegotiate some of the terms” of TransCanada’s Keystone XL project.  “And if they like, we will see if we can get that pipeline built — a lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs, great construction jobs.” The new U.S. president also said that if pipelines are built in the United States, they should use U.S. steel.

2016

14 December
Chris Ragan: What the pan-Canadian climate plan gets right
The agreement between Ottawa and all but two of the provinces is the result of negotiation and compromise—though two red flags remain (Maclean’s) One downside with so much provincial flexibility is that we may end up with quite different carbon prices across the country, especially if Quebec and Ontario continue to have access to low-price emissions permits from California. A second potential problem relates to the country’s long-term carbon price. If the minimum carbon price does not continue to rise beyond $50 per tonne in 2022, the framework risks either driving insufficient emissions reductions or relying too much on non-price (and thus high-cost) climate policies to do the lion’s share of the work. One final piece of the framework can play an important part in addressing these problems. Formal reviews in 2020 and 2022 will be opportunities to revisit provincial carbon-pricing policies. All in all, the new pan-Canadian climate framework is quite an achievement. It is an impressive—and very Canadian—combination of efficiency and practicality.

10 December
Trudeau claims victory on national climate ‘framework’
However, Saskatchewan and Manitoba remain holdouts on the deal Saskatchewan
Premier Brad Wall’s full-throated opposition to the plan, which includes imposing a price on carbon, was fully expected going into today’s day-long first ministers meeting. But surprise resistance from British Columbia’s Christy Clark and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister threatened throughout the day to upset Trudeau’s hopes for a triumphant finale to a year of federal-provincial climate negotiations. The sticking point for all three premiers was Trudeau’s plan to set a national price on carbon – starting at $10 a tonne in 2018 and rising to $50 a tonne by 2022 – and impose it on provinces that do not implement their own carbon pricing plan. Trudeau had already set the table when he opened the morning session with premiers, indigenous leaders and U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden by asserting, “We should not waver” in the fight against climate change. Biden, just weeks away from the end of the Obama administration and the ascendency of Donald Trump’s Republicans, gave a rallying speech of sorts before departing the meeting. But the promised show of pan-Canadian unity on climate policy was showing strains as the meeting began. peace-river-dam-projectAs part of the Site C dam project, a 51-mile stretch of the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia would be flooded. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times
Canada’s $7 Billion Dam Tests the Limits of State Power
(NYT) Rugged, remote and prized for its rare microclimate, the Peace River Valley in northeastern British Columbia is an agricultural oasis in northern Canada. Alfalfa, watermelon and barley fields sprawl across a landscape flecked by caribou tracks and seasonal trappers’ huts, which reflect the role indigenous peoples have played in this fertile land for more than 10,000 years. But little of this abundance will be around much longer. Within a decade, water will flood a 51-mile stretch of the river, the result of a $7 billion (8.8 billion Canadian dollars) hydroelectric dam and power station, known as Site C. It will be one of the largest public infrastructure projects in Canadian history. The project has prompted mounting opposition and legal challenges from industry experts, former government officials, local landowners, aboriginal communities and others who say Site C poses a risk to the environment and violates constitutionally protected indigenous rights.But opponents cite another simple reason the project should be stopped: After a decade of flat demand for electricity and the emergence of cheaper energy alternatives, the dam, they say, is an enormous boondoggle that will saddle taxpayers with huge debts for generations to come.
The provincial government approved Site C in 2014, citing the province’s future energy needs — though even BC Hydro said that day might not arrive for another 40 years. Despite the welter of opposition, provincial officials exempted the project from independent regulatory scrutiny, allowing work to begin last year — and turning the project into a major point of contention in the provincial election in May. Northern Gateway

Trudeau Approves Kinder Morgan Plan, Rejects Northern Gateway Pipeline

(HuffPost) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved two major oil pipeline expansions Tuesday, including the deeply controversial Trans Mountain line through suburban Vancouver, while maintaining his government remains on course to meet its international climate commitments. The announcement ends the new Liberal government’s year-long high wire act seeking to balance environmental stewardship and expansion of Canada’s resource economy. “We are under no illusions that the decision we made today will be bitterly disputed by a number of people across the country who would rather we had made another decision,” Trudeau — flanked by a number of his senior cabinet ministers — told a news conference in Ottawa. At least he got that right! 29 November

8 December
How to kill the Trans Mountain pipeline
Opponents of Trans Mountain amass, with some eyes alighting on Lightning Rock—which could prove to be a lightning rod, akin to Standing Rock
(Maclean’s) Symbolism will be important in this battle, because many of the legal avenues to stopping the project were closed off 60 years ago, when the existing pipeline was built.
With the right-of-way established, Kinder Morgan requires few easements from landowners or governments facing pressure to protect Crown land—something that has proven insurmountable for recent pipeline projects. What’s more, the company boasts relationships with First Nations along the route that date back decades, which has helped it win over those communities to the proposed new phase. … anyone who thinks the battle is over—or properly under way, for that matter—is in for a nasty surprise.
Trudeau had hardly finished his announcement when outraged environmental groups promised to stop it in the name of protecting the planet, pointing out that a twinned Trans Mountain would triple the volume of oil reaching Kinder Morgan’s terminal in Burnaby to 890,000 barrels per day. And for every First Nations leader willing to negotiate with Kinder Morgan, more seem to share the environmentalists’ anger. … Whatever their level of resolve, these leaders represent the kind of so-called “direct action” coalition that proponents of the pipeline would do well to fear—especially after the intervention of First Nations, environmentalists and assorted sympathizers proved so effective at Standing Rock. There, a polyglot movement in support of the local Sioux has over the past two years blocked construction, tangling with police and, in a euphoric victory last week, forcing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to scrap plans to run the Dakota Access pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir. Such alliances have proven no less effective in Canada, as when Indigenous protesters joined forces with environmentalists on Vancouver Island in the 1990s to curb the logging of old-growth trees in Clayoquot Sound.
3 December
Kinder Morgan pipeline: Canadians intensify huge opposition to expansion
Trudeau’s approval of project some find analogous to Standing Rock incited thousands of activists, politicians and First Nations members to increase action
(The Guardian) Opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project are preparing for a lengthy, multifaceted battle that will see thousands take to the country’s streets, courts and legislatures to contest the government’s recent approval of the project. … the decision will run into a roar of opposition, said grand chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “The marches and rallies will intensify. It will become more litigious, it will become more political and the battle will continue.” More than 14,000 people have so far signed onto his organisation’s pledge to halt the project, driven by concerns over environmental risks, First Nations rights and the fight against climate change. Other actions are also being planned, from a public interest group that has signed up hundreds of volunteers to canvass signatures for citizen-drafted legislation to block the pipeline to a group that is working to train its members on how best to physically block construction.

30 November
Vancouver city councillor upset with Trans Mountain approval

29 November
Liberals: Let there be pipelines*!
John Geddes: Trudeau, a ‘grandson of B.C.’, makes his pipeline case
Breaking down Trudeau’s Trans Mountain pipeline speech, where he claims B.C. roots, argues for economic transition, and says it’s better than rail
(Maclean’s) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced three pipeline decisions today, but make no mistake about which one matters most, at least as far as politics and protest are concerned. His decision to approve Kinder Morgan’s plan to twin its existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., just up the shore from Vancouver, is the call Trudeau was alluding to today when he admitted many British Columbians will be “bitterly disappointed.” Of course, there will be disappointment in other quarters, too, over his simultaneous decision to kill Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in northern B.C., even though he allowed the company’s far less contentious upgrade of a pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin to go ahead. But the Kinder Morgan project raises the politically daunting prospect of angry, determined opposition from environmentalists.

“The fact is oil sands production is going to increase in the coming years. Because we are at capacity in terms of existing pipelines, that means more oil is going to be transported by rail in the coming years if we don’t build pipelines. That is less economic, it is more dangerous for communities, and it is higher in greenhouse gas emissions than modern pipelines would be. This is all about demonstrating that we understand that getting resources to market safely, in a way that respects our responsibilities toward the environment, toward future generations, but does it in a way that is anchored in science, not rhetoric.”

kinder-morgan-trans-mountain Justin Trudeau’s B.C. blunder There are risks to a Burnaby pipeline that Trudeau is underestimating: dead whales and Clayoquot 2.0. And they will cost him in 2019. By Nancy Macdonald (Maclean’s) Then there’s the looming spectre of protests. Former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt believes Trudeau will face the same kind of “insurrection” his NDP government faced during the “War in the Woods”—the protests against logging on Clayoquot Sound in 1993, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. And Burnaby Mountain is hardly remote. You can get there on the SkyTrain. “There’s a very passionate opposition to it: Local MPs are saying ‘don’t do it.’ Local First Nations don’t want it. The mayors of Vancouver and Burnaby say they don’t want it. You couldn’t pick a worse site. There will be a price for this. There are going to be serious protests.” … For the Liberals, the project’s timing could also prove ugly. If Trans Mountain isn’t hopelessly tied up in lawsuits from First Nations and environmental groups (the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh all oppose it) the project’s proposed construction timeline would have Kinder Morgan attempting to lay pipe on Burnaby Mountain in 2019, just ahead of the next federal election. That means week after week of ugly headlines as Indigenous grannies, global celebrities and political leaders like Green Leader Elizabeth May and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan are hauled off by Mounties, reminding progressives just what they voted for. … The Liberals won because they managed get an unlikely alliance of young people, Greens, soft NDP voters and progressives out to the hustings. Getting them back there in 2019 was never going to be easy. Doing it after arresting their heroes will be harder still. 25 November Liberals Delay Northern Gateway, Line 3 Pipeline Decisions (Canadian Press via HuffPost) The Liberal government is delaying announcing the fate of two pipeline projects, saying only that the decision will come “soon.” Today was the government’s deadline to decide whether to move ahead with Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement and Northern Gateway pipeline. Line 3 would replace a decades-old conduit that runs from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc., and double its capacity. Enbridge has described it is an essential safety and maintenance project. The National Energy Board recommended Line 3’s approval in April, subject to 89 conditions. 13 November What we know about Trump and his energy policy As markets digest the surprise election of Donald Trump, one thing is clear: pipelines are back The final ballots were still being counted when speculation began about the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama killed the project a year ago, which led the project’s backer, Calgary-based TransCanada, to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government, as well as a NAFTA challenge. That legal action is probably not needed with Donald Trump in charge. Here is what the president-elect said about the thought-to-be-dead pipeline while campaigning in North Dakota last May. “I would absolutely approve it, 100 per cent, but I would want a better deal. I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.” 9 November Where B.C. stands on Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion (Globe & Mail) By signing off on the federal marine spill-response plan this week, Premier Christy Clark has taken another step toward approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. But her government still has a series of exit ramps it can take if it does not have the stomach to back the project just ahead of the provincial election in May. Four years ago, the BC Liberal government set out five conditions that must be met before it will offer support for heavy-oil projects, including Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion. The province has given the federal government’s new $1.5-billion oceans protection plan a conditional thumbs up – on the understanding that additional resources for marine spill response will be offered if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet approves the $6.8-billion Kinder Morgan project by Dec. 19. The federal government’s marine spill-response resources were identified as the major impediment to B.C.’s support for Kinder Morgan. Even with this condition largely addressed, Environment Minister Mary Polak said Tuesday that B.C.’s approval is still far from certain. “It’s fair to say not a single one of the conditions has been met yet.” 4 November Moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic coming soon: Garneau (CBC) Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau is promising a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic off British Columbia’s North Coast by the end of this year, which would coincide with the government’s cabinet decision on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. “That is a promise that we made. It’s a mandate item for me and we are going to be delivering on that,” Garneau told host Chris Hall in an interview airing on CBC Radio’s The House on Saturday morning.

Trudeau ordered a moratorium more than a year ago in his mandate letter to Garneau. The directive asks Garneau to work with the ministers of fisheries and oceans, environment and natural resources. Environmental groups have suggested a moratorium off B.C.’s North Coast would kill the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The project is still recovering from a blow delivered by the Federal Court of Appeal, which overturned Enbridge’s approval because it found Ottawa failed to properly consult the First Nations affected by the pipeline. 24 October Bella Bella Oil Spill Called ‘An Environmental Disaster (Canadian Press) A report says two tanks containing oil or contaminants from a submerged tug west of Bella Bella, off British Columbia’s central coast, were either torn open or severely damaged when the vessel ran aground. Despite bad weather that has complicated salvage efforts, divers were able to check the bottom of the Nathan E. Stewart on Sunday, as it rests in nine metres of water in a channel about 500 kilometres north of Vancouver. A joint situation report issued by the American tug owner and federal, provincial and First Nations groups says divers found the lube tank torn and pumped out nothing but water on Sunday from the severely damaged bilge tank. The report says about 1,200 litres of a lube oil and seawater mixture has been removed while the hydraulic oil and gear oil tanks have been pumped, but it does not mention any further recovery of the thousands of litres of diesel oil still believed to be aboard. (National Observer November 2015: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a set of fossil fuel directives to his cabinet ministers Friday that included instructions to end oil tankers transits on B.C.’s northern coast — a move that observers say could finally kill the long embattled Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.) nathan-e-stewart-oil-spill13 October First Nation urges Trudeau to rush tanker ban after diesel spill in Great Bear Rainforest First responders are working quickly to contain a diesel spill in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest after a 10,000-tonne tanker barge and tug unit ran aground on the central Pacific coast around 1 a.m. on Thursday morning. Members of the Heiltsuk First Nation, who live in the community of Bella Bella near the crash site, immediately linked the accident to concerns about new pipeline projects and the current Liberal government’s promise to implement a ban on tanker traffic on B.C.’s northern coast. They reported that the tug boat started to sink around 10 a.m., leaking thousands of litres of fuel into the Pacific Ocean. 29 September Why Trudeau and the oil industry are losing the pipeline battle New oil sands pipelines may be vital for the industry, but opponents are winning and (Maclean’s) The pipeline people first visited Serge Simon [the grand chief of the Montreal-area reserve of Kanesatake] in the fall of 2014, bearing not gifts but questions. Simon worried that answering these questions would prejudice Kanesatake’s land claim with the federal government. “When they said that, I said, ‘OK, that’s it. All talks are off.’ ” He politely asked TransCanada to leave. Then he began to read: about the process of extracting Alberta bitumen, about climate change, about alternative energy sources both practical and fantastical. He stopped worrying about the route of TransCanada’s proposed pipeline, and started questioning its very legitimacy. He spearheaded talks with other Native bands across the country. Eighteen months later, some 87 bands have signed onto the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, which aims to prevent the development of any pipeline carrying bitumen from Alberta—all told, four pipeline projects representing a daily capacity of more than three million barrels. … Indigenous bands and environmental groups have promised fresh opposition on both sides of the country. Practically and politically, building pipelines is incredibly hard. It may have become impossible. In Canada, the politics of pipelines have helped topple governments. In 1956, Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Ltd, the American predecessor of the Calgary-based company behind Energy East, sought a loan of $80 million (about $700 million in today’s dollars) from the federal government to build a natural gas pipeline from Alberta to Montreal. By adding bits to either end, TransCanada hopes this very pipeline will flow with bitumen from Hardisty, Alta., to Saint John, N.B., in 2021, the projected completion date. The issue this time around is less nationalist than environmental—particularly along the 650 km route through Quebec. Recently, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard voiced Quebecers’ “legitimate” concerns over the Energy East project. “It’s not a popular or political expression of negativity toward the West; it’s just normal concerns by citizens over their freshwater reserves,” he told Bloomberg News. … The ensuing delay in the [NEB] hearings, which have been pushed back indefinitely, means a decision on the project may become a political issue for Trudeau in the 2019 federal election. Should public and political opinion in Quebec not be swayed by then, Trudeau faces the prospect of okaying an unpopular pipeline through a province where he counts some 40 MPs, many of whom were elected based on his environmental stance. The Montreal-area Indigenous reserves of Kanesatake and Kahnawake are within driving distance of Trudeau’s own riding—and both oppose Energy East. 27 September Trudeau Just Approved a Giant Carbon Bomb in B.C. (Desmog Canada) The federal government has issued an approval for the $36-billion Pacific Northwest liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal on Lelu Island on the B.C. coast, undermining its commitments to take action on climate change. Tuesday’s decision — announced an hour behind schedule in Richmond, B.C., by a trio of ministers including Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna — means it will be virtually impossible for B.C. to meet its climate targets. The announcement was seen as the litmus test on whether the Liberals would live up to its climate promises. “With today’s decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, Minister McKenna made it much more difficult for Canada to meet its climate targets and signaled that it’s OK for provinces to miss their own emissions targets,” said Matt Horne of the Pembina Institute. “If built, Pacific NorthWest LNG will be one of the largest carbon polluters in the country and a serious obstacle to Canada living up to its climate commitments.” Pacific Northwest LNG — wholly owned by the Malaysian government and boasting a questionable human rights record — lobbied the federal government 22 times between February 1 and April 21 this year, including meetings with McKenna and her chief of staff Marlo Raynolds. The project will involve scaling up fracking in northeastern B.C., building a pipeline to the West Coast and constructing an export terminal on Lelu Island, near a crucial area for juvenile salmon. Federal government approves liquefied natural gas project on B.C. coast with 190 conditions Project would build a liquefied natural gas terminal on coast and pipeline spanning province 21 September Don Macpherson: Energy East could be this generation’s Meech Lake Only this time, it’s Quebec that’s on the defensive against the proposal. The West, which is suffering from the collapse of oil prices, and New Brunswick, where the pipeline’s eastern terminal would be located, want the pipeline for economic reasons. Quebec public opinion mostly doesn’t want it, because of environmental concerns. Quebec is not the only province where there is strong opposition to the construction of a pipeline across its territory. British Columbia and Ontario are others. Much of the opposition comes from First Nations. It hasn’t helped the project in Quebec that its promoter, Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., only belatedly realized the importance of persuading public opinion in the province. Until recently, TransCanada appeared to assume arrogantly that it could go over the heads of Quebecers and have Ottawa impose its pipeline on the province. Nor has it helped that doubts have been raised about the impartiality of the National Energy Board, also based in Calgary. The NEB is the federal regulatory body asked to recommend Energy East to the federal government for approval. … In an interview in New York with Bloomberg.com that received little notice back home, [Premier Philippe] Couillard said Quebecers’ concerns about the pipeline, which would cross hundreds of water sources, including the Ottawa and St. Lawrence River, are legitimate. Jean-François Lisée … predicted in an interview with Le Devoir on Saturday that with time, Trudeau will “show his incompatibility” with Quebec. And one of the issues on which Trudeau will do so, Lisée said, is Energy East. 9 September National regulator to replace Energy East panel following complaints The National Energy Board has removed beleaguered members from its Energy East environmental assessment panel, adding new delays for a federal decision on TransCanada Corp.’s bitterly contested $15.7-billion proposed oil pipeline. In a statement released late Friday, board chairman Peter Watson and co-chair Lye Mercier said the government will have to appoint new francophone members so the Energy East review panel can carry on its hearing work in Quebec. The government is also pursuing a full review of the NEB and other agencies dealing with environmental reviews, arguing that changes made by the previous Conservative government undermined the credibility of federal environmental oversight. Pipeline panel recuses itself, chairman reassigned from Energy East duties (National Observer) The hearings have been adjourned and Peter Watson, the chairman and chief executive of Canada’s National Energy Board has also recused himself from any duties related to the review of Energy East. But the Board also said that there would now be no need for a full investigation, as requested by several stakeholders. It also said it was no longer necessary to release additional information about the private meetings that have prompted a public outcry. ‘Innovative’ NEB pipeline review runs into big trouble, but government is silent Allegations of conflict of interest mean hearings won’t resume soon, if ever (CBC) By now most Canadians following the issue know that two of the three panel members reviewing the project stand accused of conflict of interest. They will have heard that hearings in Montreal, set to begin Aug. 29, were suspended before they really started after protesters stormed the room and were removed by police and security staff. The fate of the two panel members is only the first of a number of challenges the NEB — and by extension the federal government — now faces. Energy East and Trans Mountain are now going through the interim review process that the NEB once touted as so innovative, and that Trudeau said would provide the kind of community support, the “social licence,” needed to proceed. The government needs something, too. It needs to show that at least one of these pipelines can meet the dual test of being good for the economy without being harmful to the environment. And for Energy East, that could very well mean starting over — for the good of the Liberals’ political agenda. 6 September Halt Equalization Payments To Provinces That Refuse Pipelines, Industry Urges (Canadian Press via HuffPost) A group that represents oilfield service and supply companies asked Ottawa earlier this year to use equalization payments as leverage to get reluctant provinces onside with pipeline projects. The Petroleum Services Association of Canada made the pitch last February as part of its federal budget submission, which was obtained by The Canadian Press through an access-to-information request. When Montreal-area mayors came out against the $15.7-billion Energy East proposal in January, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall tweeted that he trusted they would “politely return their share of $10B in equalization supported by the West.” The pipeline would carry Alberta bitumen through Central Canada to New Brunswick for refining and exporting to foreign markets. 29 August Parts of TransCanada pipeline network made of substandard material: documents More than 1,000 fittings are weaker than expected, making them less resistant to ruptures The National Energy Board (NEB) has known since 2008 that some elbows and steel fittings installed in Canadian pipelines are less resistant to rupture, but the regulator only issued a safety notice about the problem in February. NEB’s Energy East hearings in Montreal cancelled after protesters storm room Montreal mayor cancels appearance to open proceedings, calling them a ‘circus’ The NEB is scheduled to hear from an array of speakers, in support of and opposed to the pipeline, as part of its process to decide whether to approve TransCanada’s bid to build the 4,500-kilometre pipeline that would transport crude oil from Alberta to Eastern Canada. 30 July Crews dig up breached Husky pipeline, but cause of oil leak still unknown The Saskatchewan government says the breach that leaked up to 250,000 litres of oil and other material into a river earlier this month has finally been found, but word on what caused it will have to wait. Laurie Pushor, the deputy minister of the economy, says the section of the Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) pipeline where the spill occurred into the North Saskatchewan River near Maidstone, Sask. on July 20 was dug up Friday. Pushor says the excavation has now stopped while plans are made to remove the 40-centimetre-wide section without causing a further release of crude oil. He says once it’s removed, it will be sent for testing. Pushor says details of the findings, such as what caused the pipeline to fail, will be made when the full report on the incident is made. 30 June Canada’s controversial Northern Gateway oil pipeline may not be built after all (VICE) Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has struck down approval of Northern Gateway, one of the country’s most controversial pipelines, finding that the government “offered only a brief, hurried, and inadequate” opportunity for dialogue about the project, particularly with First Nations. “It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal peoples,” said the ruling, issued earlier this month, but only released on Thursday by lawyers representing the Gitxaala Nation, one of many parties involved in a legal challenge against the pipeline. “But this did not happen.” 20 May TransCanada doesn’t know how to send tons of oil under these major Canadian rivers By Mike De Souza (National Observer) If completed, Energy East would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan toward refineries and an export terminal in Quebec and New Brunswick. Energy East’s 4,600 kilometre route passes through or near several major Canadian waterways. Most parts of the project would require the conversion of an existing TransCanada natural gas pipeline. But more than 1,000 kilometres of the route requires installation of a brand new pipeline. While the oil industry, investment bankers and federal government officials have said that Canadian companies can safely build new pipeline infrastructure to fuel economic growth and provide revenues to support a transition to cleaner economy, environmentalists and other critics say that the missing pieces of TransCanada’s application should raise alarms about the risks of betting on pipelines. TransCanada is confident about delivering “sound engineering and sound design” The company had also made similar comments in 2014 about plans to build an oil terminal in eastern Quebec near a breeding site for beluga whales, a species at risk. It later cancelled plans for the terminal in the wake of a legal challenge spearheaded by the Quebec Environmental Law Centre that was based on the threat to beluga whales, a species protected under federal legislation. 19 May NEB approves Trans Mountain pipeline, with 157 conditions Federal government has 7 months to make decision on controversial project The federal government now has seven months to make a decision on the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, after the national regulator gave its support to the proposed project. The National Energy Board is recommending the multi-billion dollar pipeline be constructed if 157 conditions are met, including 49 environmental requirements. The NEB described the requirements as achievable for the company. Kinder Morgan must meet the conditions in order for the company to construct and operate the pipeline. The NEB concluded the Trans Mountain expansion will provide several economic advantages for Canada such as access to more export markets, thousands of construction jobs and increased government revenue. 17 May Trudeau government names Trans Mountain environmental review panel Natural Resources minister taps former B.C. chief, ex-Yukon premier and former Alberta finance bureaucrat The members announced by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr Tuesday are: Annette Trimbee, the president of the University of Winnipeg and a former deputy finance minister in Alberta. She served on Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s royalty review panel last year. Tony Penikett, the former premier of Yukon and the author of Reconciliation: First Nations Treaty Making in British Columbia. Kim Baird, former elected chief of B.C.’s Tsawwassen First Nation, who now runs her own consulting firm specializing in indigenous policy, governance and development issues. All three have extensive experience in issues the panel is supposed to address: to consider the views of communities along the route; to “meaningfully consult” indigenous peoples and, where appropriate, to accommodate their rights and interests; and to assess not just the direct emissions from the pipeline, but the so-called upstream pollution from the oil fields. But there may also be some concerns. 12 April Trudeau attacked from all sides over pipeline stance (National Observer) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was criticized from all sides on Tuesday in response to a published news report that alleged he had instructed key officials to prepare a strategy to approve major new pipeline projects. While opposition Conservative MPs criticized Trudeau in the House of Commons for not doing more to cheerlead for the oil and gas industry, a leading climate change scientist and several environmental groups reacted to the news with disbelief. John Stone, a former climatologist with Environment Canada, and vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II, said that building more pipelines is scientifically incompatible with meeting Canada’s climate change commitments. 8 April TransCanada puts Keystone pipeline spill volume estimate at 400 barrels 6 April Energy East could put drinking water at risk for five million people, report warns (National Observer) Hard on the heels of TransCanada’s most recent spill in South Dakota just this week, a coalition of groups has released a report asserting that the company’s Energy East project threatens the drinking water of five million Canadians. Teika  Newton – the executive director of Transition Initiative Kenora and one of the report’s authors – would be one of those. “If there is a leak – and we know there have been pipeline disasters in our area in the recent past – the potential to get contaminants into our watershed is really tremendous and we’re quite concerned about the impact that would have on our tourism-based economy, on our livelihoods, our culture, and, of course, our health.” The report is the work of a coalition of groups, including Environmental Defence, The Council of Canadians, and Transition Initiative Kenora, among others. The report cites TransCanada’s record on pipeline ruptures and spills. The natural gas pipeline proposed for conversion – the very same one running through Newton’s property – has had 10 ruptures over the past 25 years. The company’s Keystone pipeline leaked 71 times in its Canadian section in the first two years of operation. From Manitoba to New Brunswick, nearly 3,000 lakes, rivers, streams and acquifers – which are relied upon by millions of Canadians as sources of drinking water – would be at risk from oil spills, the report contends. If built, Energy East will ship crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick, carrying up to 1.1 million barrels per day. It would be the largest constructed tar sands pipeline in North America. 4 April TransCanada shuts down Keystone after oil seeps to surface … a member of the public may have been the one that discovered the spill. … If confirmed, this would mean that the company’s leak detection system failed to identify the incident. 24 March Bad morale rocked Canada’s pipeline watchdog, then came murder By Mike De Souza Fourth in an in depth series about the National Energy Board. Please see Part I here; Part II here, and Part III here (National Observer) The Liberal government has pledged to modernize the NEB and introduce more regional representation from across Canada to its governing board. Yet critics inside and outside the organization have told National Observer that with public safety at risk, the government should go much further. They say it’s time to completely overhaul the NEB, starting with its management. 21 March Oilsands growth in doubt and the feds are concerned Post-2020 investment to expand Alberta’s oilsands could slow or stall (CBC) Increased competition, low prices and climate change policy have put the future growth of Alberta’s oilsands in doubt — and that has the federal government concerned. Several new projects are under construction in Northern Alberta that will be completed in the next several years and increase oil production. However, after 2020, there is uncertainty about new investment.

A report by the federal Department of Finance, obtained by CBC News, suggests further oilsands expansion is vulnerable and that could impact the national GDP. 20 March By rejecting $1bn for a pipeline, a First Nation has put Trudeau’s climate plan on trial (The Guardian) All this means that the courageous resistance of this First Nation has put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate plan on trial. The new Liberal government — which will have final say on the project — has raised enormous expectations. And raised those of First Nations: as Trudeau has said repeatedly, “governments grant permits, but only communities grant permission.” But as he has mouthed these words, he has pledged to build pipelines and fulfill ex-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s dream of getting fossil fuels to overseas markets. Trudeau can build LNG up, or bring down emissions: he cannot do both. … the federal government is clearly feeling the heat of opposition: after tens of thousands of public comments criticizing the Petronas project, a decision that was to come down March 22 has been delayed for three months. 10 March Calls begin for a national inquiry into Harper damage Environmental regulations cited as ‘devastated’ by Harper years (National Observer) West Coast Environmental Law detailed the changes to environmental legislation the Harper government made in a document released last year and titled Canada’s Track Record on Environmental Laws 2011-2015. The changes included replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with weaker legislation, scrapping over 3,000 environmental reviews in the process; gutting the Fisheries Act by weakening fish habitat protection, removing protection for most non-commercial fish species and broadening the government’s powers to allow harm to fish and fish habitat. Other key changes included handing environmental oversight of major energy and pipeline projects to the National Energy Board; and lifting legal protection to over 99 per cent of Canada’s lakes and rivers by changing the Navigable Waters Protection Act to, tellingly, the “Navigation Protection Act”— shifting the focus of the law away from protecting water to protecting transport. 3 March Harper 2.0? Trudeau Says Canada Needs More Tar Sands Pipelines The Liberal prime minister argues that building more pipelines to transport dirty tar sands oil is necessary to fund Canada’s transition to a green future “The choice between pipelines and wind turbines is a false one,” Trudeau argued, according to the Vancouver Sun. “We need both to reach our goal.” During his campaign, Trudeau emphasized his condemnation of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would have transported tar sands oil to the B.C. coast. But activists still lobbied Trudeau to take a tougher position on pipelines after his party ousted Harper’s Conservatives in October, as the young prime minister’s stance was not entirely clear. Trudeau did announce tougher environmental reviews for the projects in December, but his promises appeared to lack teeth when a federal audit unconvered “systematic failures” within the country’s National Energy Board that conducts the pipeline approval process. PMO rejects Charest bid to arrange meeting with pipeline proponents Former Quebec premier Jean Charest tried to set up a meeting this year between the Prime Minister’s Office and the promoters of the controversial Energy East pipeline, The Globe and Mail has learned. However, the PMO said it refused to take the meeting with officials from TransCanada Corp., arguing Mr. Charest’s entreaty did not respect Canada’s lobbying regime. Mr. Charest has not responded to a series of questions from The Globe over more than two weeks about his recent conversation with Gerald Butts, who is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary. 2 March Trudeau, premiers agree to climate plan framework, but no specifics on carbon pricing Justin Trudeau says carbon pricing is ‘one tool’ in the fight against climate change Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the provincial premiers emerged from their meeting in Vancouver to say they are working toward a national climate change plan that includes an agreement in principle for a carbon-pricing mechanism — although they did not offer specifics on how it would work. “The agreement as spelled out in the declaration, that the transition to a low-carbon economy will happen by a broad suite of measures that will include pricing carbon, that is something that we have all committed to,” said Trudeau Twelve hours earlier Minutes before meeting Trudeau, premiers divided on pan-Canadian carbon pricing (National Observer) Despite a looming federal government threat to bring the legislative hammer down and impose a carbon price for the country, the provincial and territorial leaders maintained that a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling climate change may not work best for Canada. 25 February Obama KeystoneElizabeth May: Don’t Confuse Peter MacKay’s Pipeline Claims For Facts (HuffPost) There is a catechism of the fossil fuel industry, with oft-repeated claims that seem by repetition to escape examination. Peter MacKay’s recent opinion piece on pipelines was a veritable greatest hits compilation of such claims. … All the current pipeline proposals, including Energy East, are primarily about shipping unprocessed bitumen. Bitumen is in a pre-crude state. The second problem with this much-repeated claim is the notion that it is “safest.” …  No doubt that shipping highly volatile and explosive Bakken crude is dangerous, by pipeline or rail. Here’s the surprising thing: when shipping raw bitumen, rail is the safest mode of transport. Bitumen is a solid. In order to get bitumen to flow through pipelines, it must be diluted with a solvent, a fossil fuel condensate that industry calls diluent. Once mixed together, the substance is called “dilbit.” Dilbit is very nasty stuff. When it leaks — and pipelines do have routine accidents and spills — dilbit has proven itself to be nearly impossible to clean up. … Until the 2008 financial collapse, building pipelines to export raw bitumen was not the plan. Upgraders were slated for northern Alberta. When the economic downturn was being shaken off, building upgraders to add value to bitumen by producing synthetic crude (or syncrude) was replaced with pipelines to ship out unprocessed bitumen as fast as possible 10 February TransCanada must overcome Quebec identity politics in quest to build Energy East By Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press The company behind Energy East, TransCanada, says it is confident it can address worries about spills, explosions and the perceived lack of economic benefits for communities along the proposed pipeline route from Alberta to New Brunswick. What TransCanada might have a more difficult time dealing with are two Quebec-specific obstacles that stand in the way of the project getting approval in the province. First, Quebec has positioned itself as a global leader on climate change, which has given its federalist premier the opportunity to show Quebecers the province can shine internationally while remaining in Canada. Second, Energy East has become an issue of national identity, with sovereigntists and nationalists arguing the province shouldn’t let English Canada force a “dirty” pipeline into Quebec territory. “We are seeing the emergence of a nationalist dimension to this and I have the data to support it,” said Erick Lachapelle, a professor at Universite de Montreal who researches public opinion on energy projects. Additionally, Lachapelle says environmental groups have successfully used the emotional slogan “Coule pas chez nous” (Don’t Spill in our Yard), echoing the “chez nous” (our home) mantra of the Quiet Revolution. 4 February Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): “Canada has hit upon defining issues that have pitted regions against region in the past. … But none of those discussions engaged Canada’s municipal politicians in the way that [the pipeline debate] does.” 31 January Trudeau will eventually have to admit pipelines are needed (Globe & Mail) Last week, Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal government introduced a new layer of review for pipeline megaprojects, including TransCanada Corp.’s $15.7-billion Energy East project, a 4,600-kilometre pipeline that would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Western Canada to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. The government said the new hurdles – including an assessment of their impact on upstream greenhouse-gas emissions and more consultations with First Nations – are aimed at re-establishing the credibility of the review process, tainted by the previous Conservative government’s overtly pro-development stand. The changes will delay by nine months a final decision on Energy East, and by four months for Kinder Morgan’s $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to B.C. 27 January Pipeline projects to face new environmental regulations New rules will affect projects like Energy East and Trans Mountain, which are before National Energy Board (CBC) Moving forward, the environment ministry will analyze greenhouse gas emissions that would result from approving pipeline projects. The results from that study would then be presented to cabinet, which will make the final decision on whether to approve a project. The process will also include greater public, and indigenous consultations on projects, something that is not currently part of the National Energy Board regulatory regime. The new process will be separate from the existing NEB, and take place after the regulator has completed its review of proposed projects. 26 January Énergie Est: pas dans ma province! Par Lise Ravary (Journal de Montréal) Oui, le projet Énergie Est comporte sa part de risques, comme tous les projets du genre, et oui, TransCanada Pipelines n’est pas le partenaire idéal. Au contraire. Le Québec peut et doit exiger de l’entreprise un tracé qui minimise les risques ainsi qu’un plan de contingence au cas où. Par contre, il est bon de savoir qu’il y a 73 000 kilomètres d’oléoducs au Canada et seulement sept accidents entre 2010 et 2014, selon les données du Bureau de la sécurité des transports. Aucun n’a fait de victimes, contrairement à Lac-Mégantic. Les maires des municipalités touchées sont aussi dans leur droit d’exiger des garanties environnementales. Les Autochtones doivent devenir des partenaires de premier plan. Mais d’ouvrir officiellement le débat par un «non» théâtral livré façon Coderre est tout sauf constructif. Il est dans l’intérêt du Canada, dont nous faisons toujours partie, que l’oléoduc soit construit tout comme il est dans l’intérêt des Canadiens qu’il le soit dans le respect des plus hautes normes environnementales. 23 January Trudeau should take ‘definitive’ stand on pipelines, Naheed Nenshi says (CBC Radio|The House)“If he had come out and endorsed Energy East I would have been thrilled. I would love that,” Naheed Nenshi said in an interview with Chris Hall on CBC Radio’s The House. “The prime minister said he didn’t like Northern Gateway, he has said he did like Keystone. I think it’s time for him to say he does like Trans Mountain and he does like Energy East,” he said. 3 major pipeline projects: Where do things stand? Trudeau supports Notley on Energy East pipeline In a news conference in Davos Friday, Mr. Trudeau countered concerns from Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and his regional colleagues that the Energy East pipeline posed an unacceptable environmental risk. The Prime Minister said provinces need to work together to ensure energy development and environment protection. “I am solidly in one camp on this one,” he said. “I am very much in the camp of both premiers, [Ontario’s Kathleen] Wynne and Notley, who demonstrated that Canada can and should work together on economic issues for all of us.” 21 January Energy-East-Pipeline2Nenshi slams Montreal mayor for opposition to Energy East pipeline Nenshi said the alternative is to ship more oil by rail, “and Quebec knows the dangers of oil by rail, tragically,” referring to the 2013 Lac-Megantic rail disaster that killed 47 people. Nenshi also pointed out that Energy East is preferable because “when you fill up your tank, that’s not Canadian energy filling up your tank because of the lack of pipeline capacity.” “That’s oil that comes from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. It comes by freighter. The freighter has come up the St. Lawrence Seaway,” he said, referring to the shipping route that passes by Montreal. TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline Won’t Get Support Of Greater Montreal Mayors Montreal-area municipal leaders are rejecting TransCanada Corp.’s controversial proposed Energy East pipeline, saying its economic benefits are paltry when compared with the possible costs of an oil cleanup. The Montreal Metropolitan Community, which represents 82 jurisdictions, said Thursday it opposes the project and will defend that position at Quebec environmental impact and National Energy Board hearings. [Energy East pipeline will dump 30 million tonnes of CO2 each year — Potential green house gas emissions from TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project would be the equivalent of having seven million more cars on the roads, a study released Feb. 6 shows.The Pembina Institute conducted the study and concluded potential upstream carbon emissions from the pipeline could add 30 to 32 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. (February 2014)] Protesters Accuse Trudeau of Broken Promises as BC Pipeline Review Forges Ahead (Vice) When Justin Trudeau spoke to British Columbia residents in August on the campaign trail, he vowed to overhaul how Canada’s National Energy Board approves pipeline projects — and give the community more of a say in the highly contentious Trans Mountain line that will course through the Rocky Mountains. “No, they’re not going to approve [Trans Mountain] in January because we’re going to change the government,” Trudeau said in the interaction caught on video. “And that process needs to be redone.” But that process wasn’t redone. And this week, protesters in Burnaby, BC picketed outside a hotel while inside, hearings to decide whether Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline is in the public interest marched ahead in a ballroom that resembled a ghost town. More security guards and police officers attended the meetings than members of the public, thanks in large part to the same consultation process that Trudeau promised to overhaul 12 January British Columbia to oppose Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion (Planet Ark) The British Columbia government said on Monday it will formally oppose the expansion of Kinder Morgan Inc’s Trans Mountain pipeline to Canada’s west coast, another blow to oil sands producers already reeling from a global crude price crash. Kinder Morgan wants to nearly treble Trans Mountain’s capacity to carry 890,000 barrels per day of crude from landlocked Alberta, to Burnaby, British Columbia, where it can be loaded on to tankers and shipped to lucrative Asian refining markets. British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak said Kinder Morgan had failed to provide the National Energy Board (NEB), a federal regulator, with an adequate plan to prevent or respond to an oil spill. The opposition to Trans Mountain’s expansion comes after U.S. President Barack Obama in November rejected TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline in a victory for environmentalists. The same month, Canada’s recently elected Liberal government said it will impose an oil tanker ban on British Columbia’s northern coast, effectively slamming the door on Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway pipeline. 7 January Keystone XL company takes legal action after Obama ‘overstepped authority’ TransCanada launches two challenges as it argues president violated Nafta, saying it is seeking to recover $15bn spent in push for pipeline’s approval (The Guardian) The twin legal challenges – a lawsuit filed in a federal court in Texas on Wednesday and notice of intent to sue under provisions of the Nafta treaty – threaten to revive the longest-running environmental and political dispute of Obama’s administration. It was far from clear, however, whether the suits would get the pipeline built, given record low oil prices and the election of a new government in Canada which is trying to set a more climate-friendly policy. The company in a statement acknowledged the US had never lost a Nafta lawsuit.

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