Canada: Energy, environment & pipelines 2018-19

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The environmentalist’s quandary on pipelines
Historical Canadian climate data is now only a few clicks away
Concordia researchers create a new publicly available portal
that retrieves weather information from as far back as 1840
10th Year Review of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: Proposed changes
Did Canada buy an oil pipeline in fear of being sued by China?

‘Our future is at stake’: Greta Thunberg tells climate rally in Edmonton
By foot, by bus and by truck, thousands of Albertans made their way to the provincial legislature grounds in Edmonton, drawn by a 16-year-old Swedish girl who is trying to convince governments to take action on climate change.
… environmental activist Greta Thunberg marched among the hundreds of people along several major downtown Edmonton roads, ending at the Alberta Legislature where hundreds more were waiting to greet her.

27 September
Thunberg tells Trudeau that Canada is ‘not doing enough’ on climate change
During the private, 15-minute meeting, the two spoke about her work and at one point Mr. Trudeau asked Ms. Thunberg what her friends in Sweden think about her activism. She said 60,000 people marched in Stockholm on Friday, to which he replied the strike in Montreal will see “a few more than that.”
The Liberals have frequently touted their climate change record, but the government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline has left many progressive voters disenchanted. At Mr. Trudeau’s Wednesday rally in Thunder Bay, Ont., climate protesters were lined up outside both entrances.

10 September
Trans Mountain pipeline expansion faces hurdles as landowners dig in heels
(Canadian Press) Numerous hurdles remain before significant construction can begin on the massive project. Trans Mountain Corp. has not signed agreements with 33 per cent of landowners, no part of the detailed route has been approved, about half of the necessary permits are outstanding and it must meet dozens of conditions with the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly the National Energy Board.
Further, it faces resistance in southwest B.C., where landowners are digging in their heels, Indigenous groups are filing legal challenges and protesters are planning to ramp up activity.

11 June
One united Indigenous pipeline ownership would be ‘game changer’: Jason Kenney
(Globe & Mail) Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he hopes the growing number of First Nations-led proposals to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline come together under one banner, which he says would be a “game changer” for obstacles facing the expansion project.
Mr. Kenney met with First Nations leaders Monday to pitch his government’s proposal for a Crown corporation to facilitate Indigenous ownership of pipelines and other major energy projects, ahead of a coming deadline for the federal government to approve the Trans Mountain project.

1 June
B.C. mayor wants more action on pipeline after meeting Trudeau
(CTV) The mayor of Burnaby, B.C., says he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss his concerns about the risk of a fire at a tank farm in his city, which would be the terminus of an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.
Mike Hurley said he told Trudeau on Saturday that the facility on Burnaby Mountain is within five kilometres of forests and a residential area that would put thousands of lives in danger.
“I said, ‘If it goes ahead, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t, we have to have some serious discussions around safety and protecting our residents,”‘ said Hurley, a former firefighter.
Hurley said he told Trudeau that Burnaby is bearing the brunt of the risk for a twinned pipeline that the federal government purchased for $4.5 billion and the Alberta government is pushing to have built.

24 May
B.C. can’t impose environmental laws that could kill Trans Mountain pipeline, court rules
B.C. Appeal Court ruling a blow to NDP government, will likely trigger appeal to Canada’s top court
(CBC) In a unanimous decision released Friday, the province’s top court said proposed legislation to limit the flow of increased amounts of “heavy oil” into B.C. would be in direct conflict with federal jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines.
The five-judge panel found that, if introduced, the amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act would essentially usurp the National Energy Board’s role in approving projects in the national interest.
Energy industry, legal experts push back against Kenney’s B.C. pledge
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s decision to press ahead with a law allowing his government to cut off oil shipments to British Columbia faces two significant threats: a risky court battle and the possibility of inflicting pain on the province’s already struggling oil industry.
Mr. Kenney proclaimed the law, previously known as Bill 12, within hours of taking office this week, escalating Alberta’s attack on B.C. for its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The B.C. government immediately responded with a constitutional challenge, which will have its first court hearing in Calgary on Tuesday.

12 April
Political myths fog crucial Alberta election debate over carbon taxes: economist
Chris Ragan, head of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a non-partisan group of academics and business leaders focused on economic and environmental solutions, wants to fan fresh air into a carbon tax debate that is clouding Alberta’s provincial election and drifting into an upcoming federal campaign.
The commission has just published a report on carbon tax misconceptions.
The worst, Ragan said, is that a carbon tax doesn’t work. “If you look at B.C., if you look at California, if you look at the U.K, if you look at Quebec, these policies do work. What they don’t do is work overnight.”
10 Myths about Carbon Pricing in CanadaCanadians want a serious plan to take action on climate change. And they deserve an honest discussion about our options. The facts are out there. Let’s use them.
Over the last 10 years, Canada has made tremendous strides on carbon pricing. But continued progress is not guaranteed. Governments and advocates must continue to undertake additional efforts to explain the true costs and benefits of carbon pricing to Canadians.
Likewise, opponents of carbon pricing should debate carbon pricing based on the evidence. Canadians should have a thorough and honest discussion. Relying on myths or poor information is harmful not only to the debate over carbon pricing, but also to our broader public discourse. We can do better.

17-18 March
B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain pipeline, but it can protect environment
A lawyer for the B.C. government says the province knows it can’t stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but it can enact environmental laws to mitigate the harm it may cause.
Joseph Arvay, who represents B.C., told a panel of five judges Monday that his opponents in the case are essentially saying provinces have no power to bring in laws that reduce the risk of inter-provincial projects.
B.C. court to hear case tied to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project
British Columbia’s Court of Appeal will consider a key question regarding provincial powers in the political battle over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project during a five-day hearing that starts Monday.
The B.C. government’s reference case asks the court if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta.
Specifically, it asks if proposed amendments to British Columbia’s Environmental Management Act are valid and if they give the province the authority to control the shipment of heavy oils based on the impact spills could have on the environment, human health or communities.
The province is also asking the court whether the amendments are overridden by federal law.

31 January
Ottawa may have overpaid for Trans Mountain by up to $1B, parliamentary budget officer says
PBO estimates construction of the expansion project will create nearly 8,000 jobs at its peak
The federal Liberal government may have overpaid for the Trans Mountain pipeline project by up to $1 billion, the parliamentary budget officer estimates — and there’s a risk its value could decline further if there are any other delays in the construction timeline.
Even if Ottawa paid too much, however, the value of the project for Canada’s oil producers — and in turn for government coffers — is considerable, as it will close a price gap that plagues the oilpatch, the Parliamentary Budget Office said in a report released Thursday.
The report says both the existing pipeline and the proposed expansion project are valued at between $3.6 billion and $4.6 billion, an imprecise range that pegs it at either well below the government’s purchase price — $4.5 billion — or right on the money.

17 January
Researcher exposes money trail behind U.S.-based campaign to kill the oilsands
(Calgary Herald) [Vivian] Krause’s name has become synonymous with the fight against the concerted effort by U.S. oil interests working to land-lock Canadian oil and gas by using environmental groups to protest against the industry with the stated aim of grinding development to a halt. Krause is a one-woman wrecking crew to the wall of secrecy behind that foreign plan, which she has almost single-handedly exposed by painstakingly following the money trail.
On Wednesday, during a speech at the Indigenous Energy Summit at the Grey Eagle Event Centre, the B.C. researcher extraordinaire warned the Indian Resource Council (IRC) of just what kind of opposition it will face if it pushes forward with a plan to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline from the federal government
Could it be that the Rockefeller Fund cares less about the environment and more about ensuring that the U.S. can go on buying discounted Alberta oil? If these groups really did care about CO2 emissions, wouldn’t they help Canada to ship liquefied natural gas to China from B.C.’s west coast to offset that country’s enormous use of coal — which is 60 per cent more carbon intensive than natural gas?


2 December
Don Braid: Oil cuts a necessary evil for a province wounded by Ottawa
It’s a necessary exercise in absurdity — ordering some of the world’s most efficient oil producers not to produce oil
(Calgary Herald) The imposition of oil production cuts in Alberta isn’t just the sign of a province in trouble. It’s proof of a country in trouble.
The Notley government is doing this because it’s the only way to force up prices and begin closing the extreme price gap between Alberta oil and West Texas crude.No other authority in this nation — no province and certainly not the Trudeau government — is willing to help staunch revenue losses of $80 million a day. The feds call it a “crisis,” yet do nothing.
Notley’s government is ordering production cuts totalling 325,000 barrels daily, 8.7 per cent of the current production total.

21 November
Chris Ragan: If you’re a Conservative who opposes carbon pricing, are you really a conservative?
(Globe & Mail) Would a traditional conservative recommend the use of prescriptive regulations to address the problem? Not likely. Conservatives are suspicious of intrusive regulations dictating how businesses must operate and how individuals should conduct their lives. They also recognize that inflexible regulations work only by imposing high economic costs. In the eyes of traditional conservatives, the road to economic failure is paved with regulatory excess.
Would traditional conservatives favour government subsidies to support clean technologies? Think again. Most conservatives can’t stand the idea of governments “picking winners” – it smacks of corporate welfare and conservatives know we have too much of that. And this approach is likely to waste taxpayers’ dollars; subsidizing electric vehicles will mostly reward wealthy drivers who would have purchased one anyway.
…carbon pricing – the only truly market-based approach to reducing emissions. The whole logic of carbon pricing is to recognize that greenhouse gas emissions impose genuine costs that aren’t reflected in market prices. When costs and prices are unaligned, Adam Smith’s famous “invisible hand” is misled. By explicitly putting a price on carbon emissions, market prices for all goods and services will reflect the true underlying costs, and the result will be an important economic adjustment. Faced with higher prices for carbon-intensive products or processes, families and businesses will modify their production and consumption behaviour in ways that reduce total emissions.
Most importantly, carbon pricing lets each of us respond to the price as we see fit, identifying our own low-cost ways to reduce emissions. Families won’t all respond the same way and neither will businesses.

23 October
Kevin Libin: Trudeau’s carbon plan is so much worse than just a tax
You might call this a wealth-redistribution scheme. It certainly will take money from consumers, businesses and high-income families and reallocate it to others
(Financial Post) …pretending this any longer has anything to do with “fighting climate change,” as the government continued to insist Tuesday, takes yet more gall. It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shredded that pretext, having declared that for a carbon tax to be effective in saving the climate from apocalyptical warming it would have to start at least at US$135 a tonne and maybe even rise to US$5,500 a tonne by 2030. The Liberals’ tax starts at $20 and rises to $50. Projections currently show they won’t even meet their commitments to 2016’s Paris climate agreement unless its at least $200 a tonne, although that reality was also inverted Tuesday as the federal government publicly pretended that meeting its Paris promise was well underway without challenges.
Trudeau promises rebates as Ottawa moves to levy carbon tax on provinces outside the climate plan
(CBC) The federal Liberal government will slap a carbon tax on fuels in provinces and territories with no adequate emissions pricing plans of their own — but will send annual rebates to Canadian families to offset most of the added costs of this climate-change fighting initiative.
Extreme weather events like floods, wildfires, storms and droughts offer proof that Canada is already grappling with the effects of climate change — and these increasingly frequent events demand action from Ottawa in the form of a national price on carbon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in Toronto.
Climate plan differs across Canada
There are two parts to the federal “backstop” climate program, which will apply in different ways across the country.
The first part is what the government is calling “a regulatory charge on fuel,” which will be levied on gasoline, light fuel oil, natural gas and propane.
Under the terms of the national climate framework — a deal agreed to by most of the provinces and the federal government roughly two years ago — Ottawa will levy a tax of $20 on every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2019, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.
According to background documents supplied by the government, the $20-per-tonne carbon tax will result in an approximate cost increase of 4.42 cents a litre for gasoline, 3.91 cents per cubic metre for natural gas and 3.10 cents a litre for propane.
Consumers will not pay the tax directly to the federal government; rather, Ottawa will impose the tax on fuel and production and distribution companies — natural gas providers like Enbridge, for example — which will in turn pass on those costs to customers.
The federal “backstop” will apply in provinces and territories that do not have adequate climate pricing plans of their own that meet federal standards — that’s Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick starting in April 2019, and Yukon and Nunavut as of July 2019.
The other provinces — Quebec, Alberta, B.C., Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador — will meet the federal benchmark of having a price on carbon of at least $20 a tonne as of Jan. 1, 2019. The federal backstop will not apply in those jurisdictions.
… what initially was meant to be a backup plan in the event that a few provinces failed to design their own carbon pricing plans has now become the principal carbon pricing mechanism for nearly half of the country’s population. Roughly 47 per cent of Canadians live in provinces or territories that have said they will not follow through on the national climate framework.

10 October
Enbridge pipeline ruptures, sparks massive fire north of Prince George, B.C.
About 100 members of a First Nation community in northern British Columbia were evacuated from their homes Tuesday evening after a gas pipeline ruptured, sparking a massive blaze.
The rupture happened on a natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge about 13.5 kilometres from Prince George on Tuesday evening, Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said in an e-mailed statement.
National Energy Board spokesman Tom Neufeld said the fire was along Enbridge’s Westcoast main line, which falls under the board’s jurisdiction. … It will work closely with the Transportation Safety Board, which is responsible for investigating the incident, Neufeld said.

7 October
Feds not currently considering selling Trans Mountain, open to Indigenous buyers
(CTV) The federal government is not currently looking at selling the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Though, when that time comes, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says it’d be “good” if there are Indigenous groups looking to buy in.
For now, the governing Liberals are occupied with seeing the project go ahead after the federal court threw out cabinet’s approval, ordering the government to re-do parts of its consultation with Indigenous peoples and to factor in the impacts on the increased tanker traffic that comes with the expanded pipeline.
On Wednesday the government announced it was relaunching Indigenous consultations with the help of a former Supreme Court justice, and would not be appealing the court’s ruling. It also recently launched a National Energy Board review of the coastal impacts, with a 22-week window.
When he announced the purchase of the cross-provincial pipeline and its expansion from Kinder Morgan, Morneau said that Indigenous groups, pension funds, and “multiple” others have expressed interest in the project. He described the $4.5 billion buy-out as a “fair price for Canadians,” and said the commercial agreement is a “sound investment opportunity.”

6 October
After ‘many ups and downs,’ Kitimat, B.C. residents brace for boom with LNG megaproject
(Globe & Mail) Residents say construction of the liquefied natural gas project over the next five years will rejuvenate the area’s economy, and the export terminal in Kitimat will have high-paying jobs over the long term. …
“The decision by LNG Canada to make a final investment decision in the north of British Columbia sends a signal around the world that British Columbia is ready to open our doors to investment, provided you work with Indigenous communities, who have the rights and title to the land,” Mr. Horgan said on Saturday. The export terminal will be built on the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation, which has an impact benefits agreement with LNG Canada.
Hundreds of people will start pouring into Kitimat in early 2019, with 4,500 workers expected at the peak of LNG Canada’s construction in 2021. With Kitimat’s population hovering around 8,000 residents, the goal is to set up work camps to accommodate the bulk of the influx of construction staff.

2 October
$40B LNG project in northern B.C. gets go-ahead
(CBC) Final approval has been given for a $40-billion liquefied natural gas plant and pipeline for Northern B.C. The 670-kilometre pipeline will run natural gas from Dawson Creek to the plant in Kitimat, which will liquefy and export the gas to Asia.
Construction is going ahead on a massive, $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C., hours after five primary investors from five different countries granted their approval for the joint venture.

The partners came to their decision at 9:18 p.m. PT on Monday. They are:
Royal Dutch Shell.
Mitsubishi Corp.
The Malaysian-owned Petronas.
PetroChina Co.
Korean Gas Corp.
Global news: LNG project set to transform small BC community of Kitimat

21 September
The pipeline you’ve never heard of would be owned by Indigenous communities
(CTV) A proposed First Nations-led pipeline through northern Alberta and B.C. would protect Indigenous rights and be a world environmental leader, while unlocking Canada’s vast oil and gas reserves, says the project’s principal proponent.
It’s a twist in the story of First Nations people who have been on the frontlines of the national pipeline debates, leading protests and occupations against proposed pipelines running through their territories, while federal court rulings have quashed proposed projects, citing Ottawa’s failure to properly consult with First Nations communities.
All 35 First Nations along the proposed route for the 1,500-km Eagle Spirit pipeline are in support, says Calvin Helin, president of Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings. Under the proposal, First Nations would become the major equity holders, share in the profits and control the environmental model. Eagle Spirit is raising capital and plans to apply for federal regulatory approval next year.

9-11 September
Climate, pipelines and NAFTA to dominate Liberal caucus meetings
Privately, some Liberal MPs complain that the communications effort on the federal climate agenda has been problematic — that it can be too preachy and strident while lacking specifics.
So party insiders say the Liberals will try to land on a consistent message and approach that seeks to convince the skeptics instead of browbeating them.

Trans Mountain expansion a frustrating, anger-inducing process for Alberta: Notley
(Global) She says without it, the ongoing pipeline bottlenecks will continue to cost Canada $40 million a day in a discounted price for oil.
“I know I speak for everyone here in this room and every Albertan in saying that we are frustrated and, let’s go with it, angry about the recent court decision on Trans Mountain,” Notley said at the official opening of Suncor’s new Fort Hills oilsands extraction site, north of Fort McMurray on Monday.
The Appeal Court recently struck down the pipeline on the grounds the federal government did not consult properly with First Nations and did not take into account the impact of tanker traffic on marine life.
The Trans Mountain project would double the existing line from Alberta to B.C. to triple the amount of oil shipped to the coast, allowing producers to sell to Pacific Rim markets and fetch a better price.
The Alberta government says lack of pipeline access is forcing its producers to sell exclusively to the U.S. market at a substantial price reduction.

Indigenous groups still want to buy stake in Trans Mountain
No shortcuts when it comes to consultation, but common ground possible argues Alberta-based Indigenous CEO
Some First Nations and Metis communities are determined to purchase an equity stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite a court ruling that halted construction and potentially set the project back for years.
Indigenous groups in Fort McMurray, Alta., say they still want to invest in the project and believe the ruling creates an opportunity for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to get consultation right.
Canada has purchased the existing Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion and pledged to complete the expansion project, which would triple the line’s capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil products a day and increase the number of tankers in Metro Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet seven-fold.

30 August
Just as Trans Mountain is quashed, NEB confirms there are more oil trains than ever
And yes, this is because all the existing pipelines are full
After Federal Court quashes Trans Mountain, Rachel Notley pulls out of national climate plan
Only minutes after the court issued its decision, the company’s shareholders in Calgary overwhelmingly approved the sale. The vote had been previously scheduled.
Now, the Liberal government is the owner of a proposed pipeline project that could be subject to years of further review.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Thursday the federal government is carefully reviewing the decision but is determined to proceed with the project, that, he said, is in the best national interest and “critically important” for the economy.

Steel pipe to be used in the construction of Kinder Morgan Canada’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project sit on rail cars at a stockpile site in Kamloops, British Columbia. The plan to twin the existing 1,150 kilometre-long pipeline has been indefinitely suspended. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)


Federal court quashes Trans Mountain expansion; Ottawa forging ahead with purchase
(Global) In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, the court says the National Energy Board’s review of the proposal was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.
The court also concludes that the federal government failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before giving the project the green light.
The ruling requires the energy board to conduct a new review -which the court suggests could be kept short – and means the government will have to redo part of its consultation with Indigenous groups.
The court combined into one case nearly two dozen lawsuits calling for the energy board’s review to be overturned.

17 August
Canada bans neonic pesticides implicated in bee declines
(CBC Radio Quirks & Quarks) Health Canada’s proposal to ban two neonicotinoids
Health Canada announced this week they’re proposing a ban on on two neonicotinoid pesticides — clothianidin and thiamethoxam — which would be phased out in the next three to five years.
Neonicotinoids, otherwise known as neonics, have been the focus of enormous controversy over the last few years with scientists and environmentalists raising serious concerns about their impacts on bees, natural pollinating insects, butterflies, beetles, and aquatic organisms.
The European Union has already banned them, and now Canada looks poised to follow suit.
In April, Health Canada announced their plan to phase out the first of these three main neonics, imidacloprid, so this new ban proposal for the other two main neonics is part of the same review.

27 July
Matthew Lau: If Trudeau’s climate policy seems absurd, that’s because it’s not actually about climate
The fastest increases in prosperity and cleanliness in human history were supported by private industry, not corporate welfare and green subsidies
(Financial Post Opinion) Economists prefer taxation over subsidies and regulation because a carbon tax, for example pegged at $20 per tonne, incentivizes people to reduce emissions when, and only when, the cost of doing so is below $20 per tonne. This means the private market has the flexibility to find the cheapest ways to reduce emissions, rather than have the government decide.
But allowing more flexibility for the private sector isn’t something Liberal politicians can go along with
billions of dollars in spending announcements allow politicians to hold press conferences to burnish their green credentials and repeat tired slogans about how government spending improves both the economy and the environment. Such slogans ignore that the fastest increases in prosperity and cleanliness in human history were supported by private industry, not corporate welfare and green subsidies.
The Liberals remain big supporters of the carbon tax, of course. But that has nothing to do with taxes being cheaper and more efficient than regulations and subsidies. Liberals just like the carbon tax because it’s a tax. And they will find ways to spend it even if the policy evidence says it’s a costly mistake.

22 July
Ottawa fails to secure new buyer for Trans Mountain pipeline by deadline
(CTV news) The federal government is set to become the official owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after failing to quickly flip the project to another private-sector buyer.
Pipeline owner Kinder Morgan had been working with the government to identify another buyer before July 22.
But with that date set to pass without a deal, it was expected the pipeline company will now take Ottawa’s $4.5-billion offer to purchase the project to its shareholders.
Pending their approval, the sale, which includes the existing pipeline, the pumping stations and rights of way, and the Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., will be approved sometime in August or September.
The $4.5-billion purchase price does not cover the construction costs of building the new pipeline, which previous estimates have pegged at around $7.4 billion.

16 July
Don’t buy Kinder Morgan, members of PM’s youth council urge feds
(iPolitics) Sixteen past and present members of Justin Trudeau’s youth council are urging the federal government to bail out of the Kinder Morgan buy-out.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced in May the federal government was prepared to pay $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and all of Kinder Morgan Canada’s core assets.
In a letter made public Monday, 16 of the youth council’s past and present members say the move betrays the young people who helped elect the Liberal government in 2015 in part because of the party’s commitment to the environment and battling climate change. A Nanos poll conducted after the 2015 federal election indicated that the Trudeau Liberals had the support of 38 per cent young people, compared to 24 per cent for the New Democrats and 23 per cent for the federal Conservatives.
“It is youth who will be disproportionately affected by the devastating consequences of a warming world,” the letter said.
The Prime Minister’s Youth Council advises the prime minister (who is also the Minister of Youth) on issues affecting young people. It is made up of 30 young Canadians between 16 and 24. According to the council, this is the first time members of the council have directly confronted a decision made by the federal governmen

30 June
Justin Trudeau’s Pipeline Purchase Isn’t Just Hypocritical, It’s Bad Economics
(Fortune) The Canadian government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline and expansion project for 4.5 billion Canadian dollars has left many wondering: What is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinking?
All around the world, decisions to drill new oil wells; frack for gas; mine new coal; and build pipelines, ports, and fossil-fueled power stations are attracting determined opposition from scores of ordinary citizens.
People are mobilizing to protect local land, water, and air from pollutants and demand good governance in the face of opaque processes and corrupt corporate-government deals. They are increasingly invoking an emerging principle that connects these projects to climate change: In a world facing catastrophic global warming, new fossil fuel projects are morally wrong. To this moral message is added a prudential one: As the transition away from fossil fuels gathers pace, new fossil fuel projects become economically risky propositions.
The Trudeau government thinks it can manage these project risks and turn a profit, or at least break even, from the expanded pipeline. If the Canadian government profits, it will be at the expense of trampling on First Nations’ land rights and exposing communities to oil spills. (The recent Kinder Morgan spill in British Columbia was 48 times larger than first reported.) Even if the government successfully finds a buyer for the pipeline, it will more than likely need to sell it at a steep discount, leaving Canadian taxpayers on the hook. …
Richard Denniss is the chief economist at the Australia Institute. Fergus Green is a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science. They co-authored “Cutting With Both Arms of the Scissors: the Economic and Political Case for Restrictive Supply-Side Climate Policies,” published in the academic journal Climatic Change

26 June
Trans Mountain Pipeline Sale To Feds Netted Kinder Morgan A 637% Return: Report
Meanwhile, Canadian taxpayers could be saddled with a larger budget deficit, IEEFA predicts
(HuffPost) The report comes from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which is funded by a variety of philanthropic groups dedicated to climate and energy issues, including the Rockefeller Family Fund.

15 June
Brookfield CEO Says He May Consider Trans Mountain Investment
(Bloomberg) Ottawa’s financial advisers, New York-based Greenhill & Co., have already begun marketing the pipeline project to potential buyers, including several pipeline companies, pension funds and asset managers, according to people familiar with the matter. The most likely outcome of a sales process at this point would be a Canadian-led consortium buying the system from the federal government, said the people who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

10 June
(Globe & Mail) Washington state is raising concerns about the capacity to clean up an oil spill off Canada’s west coast. The state’s governor opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and his government has specifically pointed to the ability to clean up a heavy crude spill.
Meanwhile, Trans Mountain is confirming that recent oil spill was 48 times larger than initially reported. The spill in May, near Kamloops, was immediately seized upon by environmentalists, who said the incident shows the pipeline is too dangerous.

1 June
Washington State slams Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline bailout
Washington State already boasts one of the lowest oil-spill rates in the United States and under the Democratic Governor, regulations have been tightened around the transportation of oil, including a tax on pipelines to help pay for increased safety measures. His administration is battling the Trump administration to stop expanded offshore oil drilling.
Washington State has long argued it has better marine spill-response capacity. Now, it is well ahead of B.C. in reporting spills and tracking the movement of oil. Since 2016, the state has provided quarterly reports of crude-oil shipments to emergency responders, local governments, Indigenous groups and other members of the public. Meanwhile, the B.C. Ministry of Environment can only estimate the amount of crude oil that is being shipped by rail or pipeline across the province, although it promises to release an initial report on crude-oil transport by the fall.
The great Canadian climate delusion
By Thomas Homer-Dixon and Yonatan Strauch
(Globe & Mail Opinion) It’s not entirely about climate change, of course. Many people in British Columbia oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline because of the risk of ruptures along the pipeline’s route or of bitumen spills from tankers in coastal waters. Many Indigenous peoples don’t want the pipeline crossing their lands. But most opponents also find the project’s implications for global warming to be a deal breaker in and of itself.
Continued investment in the oil sands generally, and in the Trans Mountain pipeline specifically, means Canada is doubling down on a no-win bet. We’re betting that the world will fail to meet the reduction targets in the Paris Climate Agreement, thus needing more and more oil, including our expensive and polluting bitumen. We’re betting, in other words, on climate disaster. If, however, the world finally gets its act together and significantly cuts emissions, then Canada will lose much of its investment in the oil sands and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, because the first oil to be cut will be higher-cost oil such as ours. …
We’ve already put a lot of precious chips down on this climate-disaster bet. We’ve given up, or seem prepared to give up, the environmental health of the waters and lands of Northern Alberta, reconciliation with many B.C. First Nations and genuine democratic practice in oil-infrastructure approval processes. More fundamentally, we’ve given up being honest with ourselves. We’re increasingly living in a delusional fantasy land in which our oil sands policies make environmental and economic sense.

29 May
Here is everything you need to know about Ottawa’s plan to (maybe) buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline
(Global) After months of trade wars, threats and backroom wrangling, Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Tuesday announced the government’s plan to get the Kinder Morgan pipeline built.
Or, to be more accurate, he announced part of the plan.
An hour later, senior officials tried to clarify the parts of the plan he left unanswered.
Morneau told a press conference of assembled journalists in the National Press Theatre that the government will spend $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain and core Canadian assets of Kinder Morgan related to the expansion project, including the terminal.
Kinder Morgan will, in exchange, use what Morneau described as a “loan” from Export Development Canada to immediately resume construction on its plan to twin the existing pipeline over the summer.
But what Morneau left out is that the plan to buy the pipeline project from Kinder Morgan is Plan B
(Globe & Mail morning brief)  The federal Liberal government is outright buying the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from energy company Kinder Morgan for $4.5-billion. The extraordinary move that amounts to a nationalization of the pipeline is sure to face strong opposition from politicians, environmentalists and First Nations in British Columbia. Trudeau cabinet ministers Bill Morneau and Jim Carr said this morning that the move is necessary to save jobs. The ministers also said the government does not want to be in the project for the long term and plans to flip the pipeline to a new owner once a potential buyer emerges.
Ottawa has no one to blame but itself for the Trans Mountain saga

Bill Morneau to announce whether feds will buy Trans Mountain pipeline
(Global news) There are three options on the table, which include the government buying and building the expansion, then selling it once it’s complete; and buying it on an interim basis, then selling it to investors and leaving them to handle the construction.

16 May
Morneau says government willing to compensate Kinder Morgan against political delays
Finance minister points the finger of blame at B.C. Premier John Horgan
Morneau’s comments ​came just hours before Kinder Morgan Canada’s stakeholders met in Calgary, and offers the company an incentive to proceed with the project just weeks ahead of its potential drop-dead date. Kinder Morgan has threatened to abandon the project if a clear path forward isn’t reached by May 31.

14 May
Liberal MPs suggest more than 100 amendments to government’s environmental impact assessment bill
But opposition MPs are up in arms over the tight timeline set by the Liberals on the House Environment Committee for reviewing hundreds of proposed changes to the bill.
(The Hill Times) Liberal MPs have proposed more than 100 changes to the government’s wide-ranging Impact Assessment Bill, including to the role of energy regulators in the new environmental assessment process.
The amendments put forward by Liberal members of the House Environment Committee respond to problems with the bill, C-69, raised by those who testified to the committee, said Liberal and Conservative MPs on the committee.
They include a proposal to change the way the minister and federal cabinet make decisions about whether resource projects are ultimately in the public interest.
Right now, C-69 requires that the environment minister consider five factors as she makes that decision: whether the project “contributes to sustainability;” how harmful any “adverse effects” of the project are; what measures would be taken to mitigate that harm; adverse effects on Indigenous people; and how it affects the government’s ability to meet its climate change commitments.
Liberal MP Will Amos (Pontiac, Que.) said he plans to propose an amendment to require that the minister’s decision be “based on” those factors, instead of just taking them to “consideration,” and another to clarify and enhance the importance of climate change commitments in cabinet decisions.

2 May
Justin Trudeau’s Two-Faced Climate Game
By Damien Gillis, documentary filmmaker and journalist in British Columbia
(NYT Opinion) Within a year of committing in Paris to ambitious targets, Mr. Trudeau and his federal Liberal Party had rendered his pledge meaningless. The government approved a pair of heavy-oil pipelines and a liquefied natural gas plant. Its members secretly cheered as Donald Trump was elected, and moved toward resurrecting the Keystone XL pipeline. (Two other pipeline projects were terminated earlier in Mr. Trudeau’s term, but he can’t take credit; one was quashed in court and the other was canceled by the company.)
Hanging in the balance now is the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Canadians largely wouldn’t benefit under this scheme because most oil revenues don’t flow to public coffers, rather, increasingly to foreign companies. Even the supposed Asian demand has been vastly exaggerated. Exporting raw bitumen also would ship away potential refinery jobs. And legal experts argue that so-called national interest doesn’t trump Aboriginal rights that are equally enshrined in the Constitution.

19 April
The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil
(Desmog Canada) For years, we’ve been told again and again (and again) that Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is desperately needed for producers to export oil to Asian countries and get much higher returns.
The way it’s been framed makes it seem like it’s the only thing standing between Alberta and fields of gold.
Small problem: Canadian producers already have the ability to ship their heavy oil to Asia via the existing 300,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline — but they’re not using it.
“Virtually no exports go to any markets other than the U.S.,” economist Robyn Allan told DeSmog Canada. “The entire narrative perpetrated by Prime Minister Trudeau and Alberta Premier Notley is fabricated.”
In 2017, the Port of Vancouver only shipped 600 barrels of oil to China. That’s less than a tanker load. That same year, the port shipped almost 13 million barrels of oil, or about 24 Aframax tanker loads, to the U.S.
In other words: oil tankers are being loaded in Vancouver, but instead of heading to vaunted Asian markets, they’re heading south to California.

15-17 April
Canadians back Ottawa on energy projects, but seek balance
Monica Gattinger and Nik Nanos
(Globe & Mail) New survey data confirm that Canadians are behind him. In a study undertaken by Nanos Research on behalf of the University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy initiative, a majority of respondents say the federal government should have the final say on major national energy projects. They also support long-term development of the country’s oil and gas sector if it’s done in an environmentally responsible way.
But the Prime Minister should not take this to mean it’s smooth sailing ahead. Canadians also say the country is doing a remarkably poor job of making balanced decisions – whether in terms of the interests of local or Indigenous communities, the interests of investors, or the distribution of benefits of energy projects across the country. The Trudeau government has its work cut out for it on that front.
The key for Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Horgan and Ms. Notley, is to resolve the current impasse on the Trans Mountain pipeline in a way that demonstrates governments can strike the kind of balance Canadians are looking for on energy projects. Perhaps for Canadians who are in a dour mood when it comes to the country’s ability to balance local concerns with a broader public interest, the current pipeline firestorm could be an opportunity to find a pragmatic balanced path forward where Canadians can reconcile their environmental aspirations with economic priorities.

Trudeau says pipeline will be built over B.C.’s wishes
(Globe & Mail Politics Briefing) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will be built — over the objections of B.C.
A weekend meeting between Mr. Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan had a predictable result:: Ms. Notley continues to insist the pipeline must be built, while Mr. Horgan maintains that it must not. After the meeting, both sides remain as entrenched as ever. Mr. Trudeau says the pipeline is strategically important to the country, and the Liberal government will do what it can — through financial support and legislation — to assert its authority to push the pipeline through. But he’s not saying what exactly those measures might look like, other than to say Ottawa and Alberta are negotiating with Kinder Morgan. Mr. Horgan says his government will continue to use every tool at its disposal to block the project, though he acknowledged that he will stand down if the province loses in court.
Nationalizing Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline is a terrible idea
Is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in the ‘national interest?’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted the Trans Mountain pipeline is in the “national interest,” but there’s no doubt that it has put a strain on national unity.
An emergency meeting on Sunday ended without consensus, and the B.C. and Alberta premiers are still at loggerheads over environmental concerns versus provincial prosperity.
Opinion: Despite politicians musing about ‘de-risking’ Trans Mountain’s pipeline, there are a slew of reasons why government shouldn’t get involved

Canada will take financial and legislative action to make pipeline happen: Trudeau
Alta., federal government have entered talks with Kinder Morgan to mitigate financial risks of pipeline
(CBC) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Sunday with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan to discuss the pipeline issue. Trudeau said he arranged the last-minute meeting because the ‘level of polarization around this debate required significant measures.’
‘Who asked you?’ Why Quebec waded into the Trans Mountain spat
For the pipeline’s backers, Quebec’s contribution to the controversy was hardly welcome. It has helped turbo charge an already sensitive issue; few can claim now its just a local spat between two provinces.
On Saturday, Quebec’s minister for Canadian relations, Jean-Marc Fournier, circulated an open letter, arguing Ottawa was sending the wrong message to the oil industry by backing Trans Mountain so fervently.
The federal government was encouraging “developers to ignore provincial environmental rules which were adopted in the interest of citizens who are concerned or impacted by the implementation of these projects,” Fournier wrote.

13 April
Éric Grenier: Trudeau’s pipeline dilemma: lose seats in B.C., or lose a lot more elsewhere
British Columbians aren’t the only ones watching to see how the PM handles this standoff

25 February
Michael Harris: Will the real Justin Trudeau please stand up?
(iPolitics) At a minimum, the trip to India suggests Trudeau and his handlers have a lot to learn — and that they’re learning too slowly.
That is a dangerous space to be in with the gravest issue Trudeau has faced as prime minister bearing down like a winter storm: Kinder Morgan and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Trudeau government has boxed itself into a losing position on this one, and perhaps a tragic one.
[David Schindler] points out that science was ignored in the Trans Mountain approval. No one knows, for example, how to get bitumen out from under ice should a spill occur in winter months.
Trudeau famously promised that his government’s policies would be based on science. Where is the science to back Trans Mountain, or for that matter, the government’s extravagant claims that by expanding the tar sands, they will still somehow bring down emission rates as promised in Paris?
While the government may be able to dodge inconvenient facts on the economic and scientific fronts, there is one place where their rhetoric will meet a brick wall: Burnaby Mountain.

22 February
Alberta and B.C. agree to a truce in pipeline dispute
(Globe & Mail) The Alberta government said it will resume imports of B.C. wine, ending a short-lived policy designed to punish British Columbia for its attempt to block Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the change Thursday afternoon, shortly after B.C. Premier John Horgan said his government will ask the courts if it has the authority to limit the expansion of oil transportation. Mr. Horgan’s announcement was viewed by Alberta as an indirect tactic intended to cool the trade war.
Gary Mason: A blink from B.C. and a victory for Alberta, but pipeline battle continues

20 February
Scotia Economics Report: Pipeline Approval Delays: the Costs of Inaction
• Canada’s oil patch once again finds itself with too much crude and too few pipelines, depressing the value of Canadian crude relative to US and global benchmarks.
• The mid-November service suspension on the Keystone pipeline hastened the arrival of takeaway capacity tightness and sparked the latest flare-up in Canada oil discounts.
• We anticipate that discounts will remain elevated until Line 3 enters service in the latter half of 2019, though it will likely take the completion of either TMX or KXL by 2020 or later before differentials return to a state reflective of adequate takeaway capacity.
• Given the excess of production over takeaway capacity through this period, the price received for Western Canadian oil will remain vulnerable to service disruptions in current transportation channels.
• Pipeline approval delays have imposed clear, demonstrable and substantial economic costs on the Canadian economy. If maintained at current levels, the discount on Western Canadian oil would shave C$15.6 billion in revenue annually from the sector.
• An expected shift from pipeline to oil-by-rail will mitigate some of this impact, reducing foregone revenues in 2018 to a still-high C$10.8 billion.
Link to Full Report

19 February
‘Science is being ignored:’ prominent Alberta professor sides with B.C. on pipeline
Ecology professor argues the interprovincial dispute is being driven by politics, not science
[David Schindler] mentioned a Royal Society of Canada study from 2015 that lays out the unknowns when it comes to the transport of bitumen and said that many of the issues raised then have still not been addressed.
In particular, he said, he is concerned with oil spills during colder months.
“We still don’t know how to get bitumen out from under the ice,” he said. “If it goes in to one of the major salmon rivers crossing B.C., we will just sit by and helplessly watch it go downstream.”

18 February
Elizabeth May: Is the pipeline really in our best interests?
(Times Colonist) The term “national interest” is showered around the Kinder Morgan pipeline like confetti. It is received wisdom that it must be so; everyone says it is so. On that fact hinges the outrage against a B.C. government that has the audacity to represent its citizens’ interests.
Few people have noticed that the National Energy Board’s use of the term “national interest” has no similarity to a common-sense understanding. The expert panel on the NEB commissioned by the Trudeau government made this point. “National interest” in NEB-land means that the pipeline ships stuff and they like it.
Unifor attempted to enter evidence that building Kinder Morgan would cost jobs. The Alberta Federation of Labour represents 170,000 workers in Alberta. The AFL is also against Trans Mountain’s expansion because of the jobs and economic wealth lost down the pipeline.
Shipping out unprocessed solid bitumen to refineries in other countries ships out Canadian jobs at the same time. And it increases the carbon footprint of the product. In 1953, when the Trans Mountain pipeline was first built, it was not for export. It shipped crude to four refineries on the Lower Mainland.
Shipping solid bitumen diluted with toxic fossil-fuel condensate for export bypasses the last remaining refinery. That refinery cannot process bitumen. It has already cut its workforce by 30 per cent, and if Kinder Morgan goes ahead, it will likely close.
The NEB refused to accept the evidence. It ruled that its mandate did not include jobs, or climate, or upstream or downstream impacts.

7 February
Varcoe: Kinder Morgan growing frustrated, but ‘not close to pulling the pin’ on pipeline
(Calgary Herald) Somewhere between a bitumen blockade and a wine embargo, an energy company is trying to get a pipeline built.
Despite the tit-for-tat trade actions between Alberta and British Columbia, the president of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. insists the company is moving ahead, committed to building the project at the centre of a national firestorm.
But Ian Anderson acknowledges he’s discouraged by the B.C. government’s latest attempts to sidetrack the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion with proposed regulations and restrictions on transporting oil.
He wants the federal government to assert its authority in a morass that’s become as sticky as bitumen itself.

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