Introduction by Roger Annis, Dec 2, 2016
Enclosed are news reports on reaction to the announcement by the Canadian government on November 29 that it approves the construction of two Alberta tar sands pipeline projects to carry diluted bitumen. The two projects are:
- Construction of a new pipeline along the existing ‘Trans Mountain’ route, owned by Texas-based Kinder Morgan Inc. The route runs from Edmonton to Vancouver harbour on the Pacific coast and presently carries crude oil. Capacity will be tripled to 890,000 barrels per day.
- Replacement of Enbridge Inc’s ‘Line 3’ running from southern Alberta to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin on Lake Superior. Capacity will expand from 390,000 barrels/day in the old line to 760,000 in the new one.
The two lines would increase pipeline capacity of Alberta tar sands by approximately one million barrels per day. Presently, the industry produces about 2.4 million barrels daily. The Alberta and Canadian governments say they want to boost tar sands production by as much as 40 per cent. They explain in Orwellian-speak that this is all part of a plan to “transition” away from fossil fuel production and burning, someday, somehow. Alberta has proven reserves of oil derived from tar sands of 166 billion barrels, the third largest reserve in the world.
Although these two pipelines are innocently termed by mainstream media as “oil” pipelines, they will actually carry diluted bitumen product ripped from the ground in northern Alberta. About half of Alberta tar sands product undergoes an initial ‘upgrading’ process before being sent to refineries in the United States for refining and marketing. In whatever form it is shipped, bitumen is a foul, toxic, lethal product that ruins any land or water with which it comes into contact.
The announcement is seen as a betrayal by many of those who voted the Liberals into office in October 2015, ousting the Conservative Party government of Stephen Harper that embraced every fossil fuel extraction project offered up for approval. Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has always said he wants to expand tar sands production and sales on behalf of the oil industry, many environmentalists believed that his occasional, deceptive wording from time to time “maybe” portended something different.
The Liberals are master of deception; they have perfected it as a political art form ever since the 1960s. Their success can be seen in the Trudeau government’s expansion of military intervention abroad (Ukraine, Lithuania, elsewhere in eastern Europe, Haiti, northern Iraq, soon in Mali) and in the billions of dollars that it plans to spend in military procurements. The Liberals couch their militarism in the language of ‘peacemaking’ (what used to be called ‘peacekeeping’). Their militarism is passing virtually unopposed, though that will not endure.
Of great concern to Canada’s corporate elite is the large, popular mobilization taking place in North Dakota to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It would carry fracked oil from the state to oil terminals and refineries in the eastern U.S.
The Trudeau government’s pipeline decision takes place as more and more Canadians are realizing that the capitalist plunder of the Earth’s fossil fuels and other natural resources is not sustainable and has opened an era of emergency global warming and despoliation.
Enclosed is a ‘reader’ on what is shaping up to be Canada’s ‘pipeline wars’, intrinsically linked as they are to the historic fight for First Nations political and economic sovereignty. You can follow this ongoing story through the recommended websites listed on ‘A Socialist In Canada’.
Trudeau approves Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects one of two Enbridge projects
By Mike De Souza, The National Observer, Nov 29, 2016
The federal government has officially given the stamp of approval to two major pipeline projects in Canada, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. It has rejected the highly-controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
The two new pipelines will add roughly one million barrels per day in new oil transport capacity. Trudeau made the announcement on Tuesday in Ottawa, prior to a meeting with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who has been urging the federal government to help its oil companies get access to new markets by approving pipelines.
The decisions by his cabinet open the door to Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement project, described as the biggest in the Calgary-based company’s history, and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion (TMX), described by a Trudeau-appointed panel as being among the most “controversial in the country, perhaps in the world, today.”…
Trudeau cabinet approves Trans Mountain, Line 3 pipelines, rejects Northern Gateway
Projects will pump nearly a million more barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oilsands to global markets
By John Paul Tasker, CBC News, Nov 29, 2016 (find lengthy news report at weblink)
Scientific evidence hard to find after Trudeau approved pipelines
By Mike De Souza, The National Observer, Nov 29, 2016
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has science on his side. He and his cabinet ministers repeated this statement several times this week as they promoted a controversial decision to approve two new oil pipelines — Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion — that could accommodate about one million barrels of oil per day from Canada’s production.
The problem is that some scientists say the evidence flies in the face of what Trudeau called a safe project, the west-coast Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. In fact, they say there is very little published evidence in the scientific literature about bitumen to back up the prime minister’s claims.
And one of the most glaring gaps of evidence, the scientists say, is the absence of any significant research on the effects of spills of bitumen — the heavy oil from Alberta’s oilsands industry that is expected to flow in the new pipelines — into the oceans.
A group of scientists from Canadian and American universities reached these conclusions after a comprehensive review of thousands of scientific papers on oil and the environment…
Trudeau’s pipeline approvals get praise from Big Oil but opponents vow fight not over
By Daniel Tercer, Huffington Post Canada, Nov 29, 2016
… Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Chiefs says the Kinder Morgan project is unacceptable because of the environmental risk from a higher number of tanker ships. According to Environmental Defence, the number of tankers in the port of Vancouver cna coastal waters leading to it will grow sevenfold once the Trans Mountain pipeline has been refitted to carry oil [sic] to the west coast.
Phillip said a few hours before Trudeau’s announcement that the battle against the project will ramp up in the courts and elsewhere. Derek Nepinak, head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said governments and businesses must realize they cannot undertake projects in indigenous territory without full consent.
Phillip called Trudeau a “serial liar” and accused him of breaking a promise to respect indigenous concerns. “He’s been absolutely consistent in reneging and breaking the promises he made to us,” Phillip said…
Climate change, not spills, the real disaster in Kinder Morgan pipeline approval
By Crawford Kilian, The Tyee, Dec 1, 2016 (full article)
Justin Trudeau’s approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion was a master class in Orwellian doublethink. On the one hand he claimed wanted a low-carbon, clean future “for our kids;” on the other, he proposed to finance that future by boosting carbon production.
Along the way, he hit lots of feel-good phrases: “sensitive ecosystem,” “good, middle-class jobs,” “extensive consultations,” “significant investment,” “clean growth,” “access to global markets,” “significant direct economic benefits.” But he emphasized safety measures against spills and leaks, and completely ignored the real threat his decision brings closer. It was like an addict bragging about the sterilized needle he was about to use to inject pure fentanyl.
Suppose not a drop leaked from the expanded pipeline, nor from a single one of the dozens of monthly tankers leaving Burrard Inlet [Vancouver harbour]. Suppose all that bitumen reached Asian refineries safely and was converted to usable oil products. Those in turn would be used to make new products, some of which would be shipped back to us. And suppose we could afford all those extra products because we’d made so much money building pipelines and exporting bitumen. All we would achieve is a worsening of climate disasters far beyond the point of recovery. Our kids might enjoy a few years of relative prosperity, but their kids — Justin Trudeau’s grandchildren — would inherit the whirlwind.
Less than three weeks before Trudeau’s approval, a report appeared in the American journal Science. Climate scientists in the U.S. and Germany studied sea surface temperatures over the past 784,000 years, including earlier cycles of warming and cooling. They found that warming was “nonlinear” — that is, the warmer it got, the faster warming increased. “Furthermore,” they wrote, “we find that within the 21st century, global mean temperatures will very likely exceed maximum levels reconstructed for the last 784,000 years.”
We are already the first humans to breathe an atmosphere with over 400 parts of million of carbon dioxide. Some of us, if this study is correct, will live to experience a climate not seen in three-quarters of a million years.
The authors of this study estimate that by 2100, temperatures will be 5.9 degrees Celsius above “pre-industrial values,” consistent with with the upper range of estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And actual temperatures for the past decade or two have been higher than the IPCC’s conservative esti-mates.
We have some idea what such a temperature increase would entail. Just since the turn of the century we’ve seen catastrophic storms, droughts that turn millions into refugees and trigger civil wars, and wild weather swings as an overheating atmosphere and oceans try (and fail) to find equilibrium. A few days ago, Danish and American researchers reported most of the Arctic Ocean was 20 degrees warmer than normal. Meanwhile, Zhilinda in Siberia reported a Nov. 29 temperature of minus 45.
In such a world, paving the bottom of Burrard Inlet with bitumen won’t rank high on the problem priority list. Whoever may be living in the Lower Mainland
On Jan. 1, 2100, won’t even wonder why some forgotten prime minister thought exporting bitumen would be a good idea. They’ll have too many clear and present dangers to contend with.
Canada’s natural resources minister tells business audience in Edmonton he will use police and army against tar sands pipeline protesters
… “If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe,” he said to applause from the room…
Energy East the odd [tar sands] pipeline out as Canada approves two others
By Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg News, Thursday, Dec 1, 2016 (full article)
The Canadian government’s approval of two major oil export pipelines may mean the death knell for a third.
For more than two years, TransCanada Corp.’s proposed 1.1 million barrel-a-day Energy East pipeline, designed to run from Alberta to New Brunswick [4,000 km, to the Atlantic Ocean], has been mired in regulatory hearings and opposition from environmentalists. Now the hurdles it faces may be even higher after Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement were both cleared for operation by the Canadian government on Tuesday.
When combined with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to quickly approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Trans Mountain and Line 3 will add enough capacity to handle Canada’s oil production for 20 years, according to National Energy Board projections. That makes Energy East redundant, according to Steve Belisle, a fund manager at Manulife Asset Management in Montreal. “It’s becoming an even more remote possibility that Energy East goes ahead,” Belisle said in a telephone interview. “Why go through the political hassles at this stage. I don’t think that TransCanada has a lot of appetite for this.”
Extending Trans Mountain to the British Columbia coastline and expanding Line 3, which carries crude to the U.S. Midwest, will add 960,000 barrels in capacity a day. TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Coast is designed to carry 830,000 barrels a day.
TransCanada applied to build Energy East two years ago as Canadian oil producers looked to expand access to markets beyond the U.S., where nearly all Canada’s oil is sold and where a surge of shale oil production depressed prices. The aim was to open access for Western Canadian oil producers to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing Alberta’s crude to be sold in Europe.
Slated to cost $15.7-billion, the line would have been the largest in North America carrying oil [sic]. It faced an uncertain future after National Energy Board reviewers assessing the project stepped down in September amid allegations that the regulatory process was tarnished, and after violent protests forced a halt to hearings.
Still, TransCanada remains committed to the project, Tim Duboyce, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail Wednesday. “Energy East remains of critical strategic importance because it will end the need for refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick to import hundreds of thousands of barrels of foreign oil every day, while improving overseas market access for Canadian oil,” Duboyce wrote the day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Trans Mountain and Line 3 approvals.
Enbridge’s $7.5-billion Line 3 replacement is scheduled to go into operation in 2019, allowing the company to restore the pipeline’s original 760,000 barrel-a-day capacity after it was cut by almost half in 2010. Kinder Morgan filed to expand Trans Mountain three years ago, seeking to almost triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels, and allowing increased exports to Asia.
While Energy East could still be approved after Tuesday’s decision, it “may take a bit more time” and require the holding of provincial elections in Quebec, said Tim Pickering, a founder at Calgary-based Auspice Capital Advisors. Pickering said he believes the pipeline should be approved “in the interest of Canada’s energy security. We are selling oil at such a great discount because we have one buyer for our oil,” he said.
In December last year, TransCanada increased the projected cost after addressing the concerns of communities and making almost 700 route changes. The company also eliminated a proposed marine export terminal in Quebec amid concern the facility would harm endangered beluga whales.
Opposition remains nonetheless. In September, Quebec’s Premier Philippe Couillard said in an interview that Energy East poses significant risk to the provinces freshwater resources. “We will not compromise our people’s security and safety as far as water is concerned,” he said.
U.S. vets to form ‘human wall’ at North Dakota pipeline protest
By Terray Sylvester, Reuters, Dec 2, 2016
CANNON BALL, N.D. — Hundreds of U.S. military veterans are expected on Friday to join a protest camp in North Dakota where thousands of activists, braving frigid conditions, are demonstrating against a pipeline project near a Native American reservation.
Veterans Stand for Standing Rock will spend the day building a barracks at the Oceti Sakowin camp near Cannon Ball and coordinating with protesters who have spent months rallying against plans to route the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, organizers said.
Some of the more than 2,100 veterans who signed up on the group’s Facebook page have arrived at the camp with hundreds more expected over the weekend. The veterans intend to form a human wall in front of police to protect protesters, who say the $3.8-billion pipeline poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites…
U.S. military veterans backing North Dakota pipeline protests
U.S. military veterans plan to build a barracks on Friday at a protest camp in North Dakota to support thousands of activists who have squared off against authorities in frigid conditions to oppose a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project near the Standing Rock Native American reservation.
Veterans volunteering to be human shields have been arriving at the Oceti Sakowin camp near the small town of Cannon Ball, where organizers say they will work with protesters who have spent months demonstrating against plans to route the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Sioux reservation.
The Native Americans and protesters say the $3.8 billion pipeline threatens water resources and sacred sites…
Robert F. Kennedy Jr: ‘I’ll See You at Standing Rock’, Ecowatch, Nov 29, 2016
Beyond the point of no return — Imminent carbon feedbacks just made the stakes for global warming a hell of a lot higher
“I’m an optimist and still believe that it is not too late, but we urgently need to develop a global economy driven by sustainable energy sources and start using CO2, as a substrate, instead of a waste product.” — Prof Ivan Janssens, recognized as a godfather of the global ecology field.
“…we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it… we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.” — Professor Stephen Hawking yesterday in The Guardian.
The pathway for preventing catastrophic climate change just got a whole hell of a lot narrower…
Read the full article at the original weblink.