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24 Hours: 800,000 People Say No to Keystone XL

petitiions delivered to CongressLast week, people across North America came together to send an incredible message to the U.S. Senate. In just 24 hours, more than 800,000 people signed a petition urging U.S. Senators to reject a bid to resurrect the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. To all of you who took part, thank you! 

President Obama made the right decision in rejecting the tar sands pipeline in January, The pipeline would allow tar sands production to increase dramatically, meaning high stakes for Canada's environment. Oil companies couldn't accept defeat, and have teamed up with pipeline supporters in the U.S. Congress and Senate to try to undo the President's decision. As a result of the effort, at least one Senator declared his opposition to Keystone XL.

So far, no vote has been brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate, but we're watching this issue closely and will keep you posted. With the oil industry pushing for more tar sands infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada, it's important for people on both sides of the border to voice support for a clean energy future. MORE

RELATED:

red dotUnderstanding the Risks of the Northern Gateway Pipeline


Keystone XL: Five Stories Not Told

bullyingIn the media storm surrounding TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, news outlets have largely focused on the employment impacts of the project, often parroting discredited industry statistics in the process. But jobs are only a part of the story.  A review of recent testimonies, tax records and local news reports shows that, on many other important issues at stake, TransCanada has been advertising one thing to its stakeholders and delivering another. What follows is a list of stories that many national news outlets missed:

1. TransCanada Used Aggressive Tactics With Landowners. TransCanada touts a commitment to "treating all landowners who may be affected by our project honestly, fairly and with mutual respect." But while the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline was still pending, TransCanada sent letters to landowners along the pipeline route threatening to use eminent domain to seize their land if they did not agree to sign easements within 30 days. Landowners reportedly found this approach to be "very intimidating" and felt "bullied" by TransCanada. The Nebraska Farmers Union has repeatedly spoken out against TransCanada's "less than ethical" tactics, and, according to The New York Times, East Texas landowners said "they had never seen a company behave as aggressively as has TransCanada." Additionally a U.S. government official called the use of eminent domain "presumptuous" because the pipeline had not yet been approved. This story has been reported by the local press but largely ignored by the national media.  

2. TransCanada Didn't Deliver On Previously Promised Tax Revenue. TransCanada has promised that Keystone XL will generate $5.2 billion in property tax revenue for the U.S. states located along its route. But the company made similar promises about the first leg of the Keystone pipeline, and 2010 tax records show that it failed to deliver. MORE


 

Too Much Energy Used to Mine, Move Bitumen Says BC Firm

'Energy Return on Investment' hard to justify says P.G.-based engineering analyst.

Energy intensive oil sands extraction. A B.C. engineering consulting firm claims it has hard numerical proof that Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal augurs poorly for the future of modern society.

The Prince George-based C.J. Peter Associates Engineering came to this conclusion after performing an EROI analysis on the $5.5-billion project.

That acronym stands for Energy Return On Investment, a little-known but potentially revolutionary concept with direct implications for Alberta's oil sands.

It refers to the amount of energy that must be expended in order to produce more energy. (Think, for instance, of all the heavy machinery, pipelines and refineries needed to produce gasoline.)

What C.J. Peter Associates found when it analyzed each stage of Northern Gateway's global supply chain, is that getting oil sands bitumen from Alberta to China requires so much energy it might not be worth the effort.

"When animals expend more energy foraging than they obtain from plant food sources, they die," the firm's Norman Jacob said at public hearings on the project in Prince George last month. He added: "Societies that ignore EROI necessarily fail."MORE


 

action alert

STOP THE THREATS

The Harper Government is privately threatening Canadian charities that are helping people participate in the public hearings about Enbridge’s western pipeline and supertanker project. According to a whistleblower, they are labelling Canadian environmental groups “Enemies of the government of Canada”.We need to speak out now to demand Prime Minister Harper stop the threats, and ensure fair hearings that let Canadians decide if the project is in our best interests. SEND YOUR MESSAGE



New oilsands watchdog a victory for science

"The independent commission is key to making the science work and building the trust of the international community and the people who live in the Athabasca Basin," Schindler said.

tar sands biohazard signIn the world of science and politics, the meeting was unprecedented. Senior representatives of the federal and Alberta environment departments met at the University of Alberta last Tuesday with a select group of scientists from all over Canada, some of whom showed up in person while others participated by teleconference.

The goal was to obtain the scientists' support for a new joint federal-provincial oilsands pollution monitoring program that the two governments hope will silence international criticism over the "dirty oil" produced by the oilsands industry.

As the industry invests billions of dollars to more than double its production by 2020, Alberta and Ottawa worry that the growing outcry over the environmental impact of this "dirty oil" will harm its export markets and impede its growth.

The recent decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to cancel the proposed Keystone oilsands pipeline to the Gulf Coast seemed to verify the power of environmental groups and the foundations that support them. The support of the Canadian scientific community would help silence this lobby. MORE


Exclusive: Chevron to face charges over Brazil spill

Chevron Executive George Buck may face criminal chargesReuters) - A Brazilian prosecutor plans to file criminal charges against Chevron Corp and some of its local managers within weeks, adding the threat of prison sentences to an $11 billion civil lawsuit as punishment for a November offshore oil spill.

The filing in federal court in Campos, Brazil, will likely include a request for criminal indictment of George Buck, chief executive of Chevron's Brazil unit, as well as other staff, three Brazilian government officials involved in the case told Reuters.

Transocean Ltd, whose rig was used in the operation, and some of its employees in Brazil are also expected to be charged, according to the officials, who requested anonymity because the case has not been presented to a judge. It is up to a judge to determine whether to accept the charges and proceed with indictments.

The backlash against the Chevron spill has highlighted the risks that energy companies face as they rush to get a piece of Brazil's oil bonanza. Chevron's legal troubles come as new oil rules give Brazil's government more control over the country's vast oil wealth. The regulatory overhaul has also delayed investment projects and new drilling licenses. MORE


 

The Northern Gateway pipeline, untangled


The Northern Gateway pipeline has been stealing the headlines of every major Canadian newspaper this month. But what is the Northern Gateway pipeline? Who's behind the push to accelerate tar sands production? Why do we even give a darn? We'll tell ya why. Here's everything (or most of the things) you ever wanted to know about the Northern Gateway pipeline in Environmental Defence's 5-part blog series:

red dotNorthern Gateway and the tar sands

red dotOil & water don't mix

red dotKeystone XL and its 8 billion tonnes of carbon

red dotPipelines across Canada's backyard

red dotNorthern Gateway and tanker risks


Article in Nature: "Oil's tipping point has passed"

oil barrelsThe prominent scientific journal Nature has just published an article that supports what we in the peak oil world have been saying for years.

James Murray of the University of Washington and David King of the University of Oxford say that global oil production peaked in 2005 at about 75 million barrels a day.

The "supply of cheap oil has plateaued," said King. "The geologists know where the source rocks are and where the trap structures are," according to Murray. "If there was a prospect for a new giant oil field, I think it would have been found." MORE


 

German Military Assesses Implications of Peak Oil

German smilitary study covers peak oil, EIOE, and locallizaton strategies for strong resilient communities.

peak oilThe term "peak oil" stands for the maximum rate of oil production and refers to the point in time at which the rate of a single oil field, of an oil-producing region, or globally reaches its absolute peak. In geological terms, about half of the originally existing resource quantity of oil will be available in underground oil reservoirs at this time.

Various measures such as investing in production technologies to develop further resources, economising in oil consumption, or softening existing environment protection regulations, could indeed maintain the production level for a certain period. From peak oil, however, this level will irreversibly decline in the long term. Generally speaking, oil will therefore continue to be available and recoverable beyond the 30-year timeframe chosen in this study, albeit in quantities that are possibly too small to fully satisfy global demands and at considerably higher prices. DOWNLOAD the PDF


OPINION: Harperites the real radicals

Attacks on Northern Gateway opponents discredit regulatory process.

Involvement in the regulatory process is equated with "hijacking" it, which is a means for Harper to discredit the federal environmental review process itself.The Harper regime blames "foreign-funded environmentalists" for trying to block Canadian jobs from Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. The oppositional activists, whether environmental, Indigenous, or ecumenical are lumped together as being "anti-Canadian radicals". Such phony nationalist hyperbole has been a standard propaganda tool for authoritarian governments. Under Harper, Canada is now on a slippery slope.

This skirmish began when Harper's Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, released an open letter that attacked those who oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline. Oliver tried to backtrack a little when facing the TV cameras, saying he didn't mean all environmentalists and Indigenous people "were radicals", but his letter says otherwise. "...There are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade" it reads, and continues: "Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families and lost jobs and economic growth."

The Harper government is using the same kind of attack ads on Canadian citizens that it has already used to discredit opposition political leaders. Who knows what linguistic twists Harper's propaganda team will come up with next? Perhaps those supporting sustainability will soon be called "enemies of economic growth". Or perhaps, "enemies of the nation"! To defend democracy and sustainability we must deconstruct Harper's manipulation of language. Oliver's letter set out a complete attack-narrative on pipeline opponents before the review by the National Energy Board had even started. It is reminiscent of Harper's Environment Minister Kent attacking proposals to replace the Kyoto Accord before the international conference to establish a climate treaty had even started. Harper got his majority through such pre-emptive strikes on opposition leaders. He apparently wants to rule the whole country using similar combative tactics. MORE


CBC Showdown: Sierra Club vs "Ethical Oil" - One of them is a Ridiculous Radical

Must-watch debate between EthicalOil.org and the Sierra Club on Inside Politics


How Enbridge Sawed Off Good Relations with BC First Nations

Killing Haisla's sacred trees just one way firm has undercut dealings with aboriginals on Pacific Gateway route.

Sept. 8, 2010 rally against Enbridge's planned Northern Gateway pipeline in Prince George organized by the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.More than five years ago, in a patch of coastal rainforest not far from the mouth of the Kitimat River, what was supposed to have been a quiet land survey turned into a public relations nightmare.

The purpose of the survey was to scout locations for an upland terminal and tank farm site, part of the infrastructure needed to stretch a 1,172 kilometre steel pipeline from Alberta's booming oil sands to B.C.'s ragged north coast.

The Calgary-based pipeline company Enbridge had contracted the job to an international engineering and consulting firm named AMEC, which, in 2006, sent survey members into old-growth forest dense with Sitka spruce and Western red cedar.

Covered by thick moss and ferns, this area, about 700 kilometres north of Vancouver, is literally a living museum of First Nations history. MORE

RELATED:

red dotThe Expert's Report that Damns the Northern Gateway Pipeline

 


 

 

Enbridge affiliates have had 175 leaks, spills over 10 years in U.S.

Workers contain and remove oil at the confluence of Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan, after a July 26, 2010, pipeline break that sent 20,000 barrels of crude into a creek and the Kalamazoo. Enbridge cleaned up about 18,000 barrels and kept the oil from flowing into Lake Michigan. The EPA considers the spill the worst in the history of the Midwest.Workers contain and remove oil at the confluence of Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan, after a July 26, 2010, pipeline break that sent 20,000 barrels of crude into a creek and the Kalamazoo.

Enbridge cleaned up about 18,000 barrels and kept the oil from flowing into Lake Michigan.

The EPA considers the spill the worst in the history of the Midwest.

 

OTTAWA—Subsidiaries of the company that wants to build the Gateway pipeline through northern B.C. have reported more than 170 pipeline leaks and spills in the United States since 2002, accident reporting data show.

Records filed with the U.S. government show companies owned by Calgary-based Enbridge Energy experienced 159 reportable accidents and incidents involving liquid pipelines and another 16 in their natural gas lines.

The reports detail minor incidents, with only a few gallons lost, and major accidents, including the 2007 leak from an Enbridge pipeline in Clearbrook, Minnesota, that killed two workers and led to $2.4 million U.S. in fines against the company.

The great majority of the incidents occurred in the American Midwest, around the Great Lakes and close to the Canadian border.MORE


A non-foreign affair

Pipeline review hearings allowing foreign input is ridiculous—we don't need another country's permission. It's all Canada

Ezra Levant

Ezra LevantPipeline review hearings allowing foreign input is ridiculous—we don't need another country's permission. It's all Canada

Who should decide whether Canada should build an oil pipeline to our west coast—Canadian citizens or foreign interests?

That's what the fight over the Northern Gateway pipeline is about. Sure, it's also about $20 billion a year for the Canadian economy and thousands of jobs. It's about opening up export markets in Asia. It's about enough new tax dollars to pay for countless hospitals and schools.

But it's really about Canadian sovereignty. Do we get to make our own national decisions, or will we let foreign interests interfere?

The answer should be obvious to any self-respecting Canadian: This is a Canadian matter, and Canadians should decide it. Unlike the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have crossed into the U.S., we don't need another country's permission. It's all Canada.

The federal government's review panel begins public hearings this week. But the bureaucrat in charge, Sheila Leggett, has done something bizarre: She opened up the hearings to foreign citizens, foreign lobbyists and even foreign governments.MORE


Unequal Risks and Benefits for Citizens in Six States on Keystone XL Pipeline Route

TransCanada getting 10-year tax holiday in Kansas but could pay $63 million a year into Montana's coffers.

money flowingIf the Keystone XL oil pipeline were approved today, residents in the six states along its route would not receive equal treatment from TransCanada, the company that wants to build the project.

The differences are particularly striking when it comes to tax revenue and environmental protection. States with stronger regulations have won protections for their citizens, while other states sometimes focused more on meeting TransCanada's needs.

In Kansas, for example, lawmakers gave TransCanada a 10-year tax exemption, which means the state won't receive any property tax revenue from the pipeline. Meanwhile, each of the other five states—Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas—would earn between $14 million and $63 million a year, according to U.S. State Department estimates. MORE


BP sues Halliburton for Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up costs

Oil group BP lays blame for Deepwater disaster on Halliburton's cement work and seeks unspecified damages

BP has estimated the clean-up cost from the oil spill will be $42bn.

BP has estimated the clean-up cost from the oil spill will be $42bn.

BP has handed the bill for clearing up the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to Halliburton, the US contractor it claims botched the cement work on the failed rig.

The oil group has filed a suit in New Orleans seeking "the amount of costs and expenses incurred by BP to clean up and remediate the oil spill, the lost profits from and/or diminution in value of the Macondo prospect, and all other costs and damages incurred by BP related to the Deepwater Horizon incident and resulting oil spill", according to the filing.

BP did not specify the amount of damages it is seeking from Halliburton, which provided cement contracting services on the well in the Gulf of Mexico. But it previously estimated the clean-up will cost $42bn (£27bn). It has spent $14bn in the Gulf coast region cleaning up the spill with another $20bn set aside for economic claims and restoration work.

The oil firm wants Halliburton to pay damages "equal to, or in the alternative proportional to Halliburton's fault," to cover clean-up costs and any government fines BP may face. MORE

RELATED:

red dotEcuador appeals court rules against Chevron in oil case

 


 

Blocks in the pipeline

In this video [17:10 min] Ezra Levant talks about the choices made by Barak Obama and Stephen Harper regarding Alberta's tar sands oil and pipeline construction. What are the alternatives and opportunities? Levant argues that building a pipeline to Canada''s west coast to supply Asian markets is in Canada's interests. Adecision to build the pipeline,however, is being held up by a bizarre review process that could delay any decision for years.


Wapisiw Lookout Reclamation

Constructing the surface of Pond 1 and covering it with a 50-centimetre deep layer of soil—about 65,000 truckloads.

Constructing the surface of Pond 1 and covering it with a 50-centimetre deep layer of soil—about 65,000 truckloads.

Suncor is the first oil sands company to have transformed an oil sands tailings pond into a surface solid enough to be actively re-vegetated and reclaimed. Once complete, Wapisiw Lookout (formerly Pond 1) will be a 220-hectare area of mixed wood forest and a small wetland, supporting a variety of plants and wildlife.

Over the next two decades, Suncor will closely monitor progress on Wapisiw Lookout, including the growth of 630,000 shrubs and trees planted in 2010. Ongoing soil, water and vegetation assessments will help ensure this site is on course for return to a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Wapisiw Lookout site is a significant step in reducing our environmental footprint. We are using knowledge gained there, along with new and developing innovations in oil sands tailings management, to speed up the reclamation of existing tailings ponds.

Learn more about this milestone:

red dotRead Rick George's remarks on the reclamation of Wapisiw Lookout

red dotWatch a video about the reclamation of Wapisiw Lookout

red dotDownload images of Wapisiw Lookout

red dotRead about the Pond 1 reclamation in the 2010 Report on Sustainability

RELATED:

red dotThe Issue: Finding Solutions for Reducing the Oil Sands Footprint 


 

Athabasca's MacKay River oilsands project OK'd

zhou jiping Zhou Jiping, Vice Chairman and President of PetroChina Limited attends attends a conference in March. PetroChina has a 60 per cent stake in the freshly-approved MacKay River oilsands project. Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. says it has received full approval from Alberta regulators for the MacKay River oilsands project, a joint venture between the company and a Chinese energy giant.

Athabasca said Wednesday that the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and Alberta Environment and Water had approved the MacKay River commercial oilsands project in northern Alberta.

The project is 40 per cent owned by Athabasca (TSX:ATH) and 60 per cent by PetroChina International Investments Co. Ltd.

Earlier this year, Athabasca closed a $1.9-billion deal to sell a 60 per cent stake in its MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects to PetroChina International, a unit of the Chinese energy company.

"To obtain approval in just over 24 months is an achievement and Athabasca is very pleased with the regulatory process," president and CEO Sveinung Svarte, said in a release before stock markets opened Wednesday. MORE

RELATED:

Oilsands operators boost spending plans for 2012

Deals close out '11; Interest up from foreign national corporations

 


Half of Canadians Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline

thumbs downThe Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) believes it has the support of Canadians. CAPP President David Collyer told the Financial Post that “it is important not to construe the very strong and vocal opposition from environmental activists” as being representative of overall public sentiment. Recent poll numbers show that he may be out of touch with reality, since at least half of Canadians are opposed to many of the key projects planned by the oil industry.

A recent Forum Research poll quoted by the Financial Post shows that the environmental impacts of proposed oil sands and pipeline projects are significant concerns for Canadians. The responses to some of the questions posed was as follows: MORE


Politics Stamps Out Oil Sands Pipeline, Yet It Seems Likely to Endure

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration confirmed this week that a provision in the payroll tax bill requiring a quick decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from western Canada to the Gulf Coast will probably lead to cancellation of the project.

But does that mean the $7 billion pipeline project is dead forever? Will its cancellation curb the inexorable global demand for the exploitation of Canada's huge oil sands deposits? Will it affect the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in beneficial ways and slow the pace of climate change?

The answer to all three questions, barring unexpected changes in the politics and economics of oil, appears to be no. MORE


Imperial to expand in oilsands

$8.9-billion project will ship bitumen

Just weeks after Imperial Oil said it doesn't think a $15-billion planned expansion of the Syncrude Canada oilsands mine will proceed this decade, it has announced an $8.9-billion expansion to its Kearl project.

The initial $10.9 billion, 110,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Kearl mine - located about 70 kilometres north of Fort Mc-Murray, Alta. - is 80 per cent complete and is expected to begin producing bitumen by the end of next year. Subsequent mine growth over several years will take the capacity to 145,000 bpd.

The expansion is to come on stream in 2015 with the same initial production and mine expansion.

Future debottlenecking is to take the total Kearl output to 345,000 bpd by 2020, the company said Wednesday. MORE

Imperrial Oil Kearle site

RELATED:

accentHere's what Alberta companies are doing to win the global trade and commerce race

The Need for Speed


Alberta falls short on greenhouse gas targets, Pembina report says

responsible action? Pembina Report Alberta is failing to meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new report says.

A Pembina Institute study released Friday says all of Alberta's climate-change strategies put together will cut emissions by 14 megatonnes by 2020, less than one-third of the goal of 50 megatonnes.

"I think there is a consensus among Canadians and Albertans that they support oilsands development, but they want it to occur at a pace and scale and with conditions that protect the environment," Pembina policy director Simon Dyer said. "We need to consider how oilsands development fits into achieving greenhouse gas targets. It's a discussion we need to have in Alberta and in Canada. Ignoring this issue isn't going to make it go away."

The institute issued six recommendations, including a substantial increase to the price of carbon (to $30 per tonne from $15) and requiring companies to pay tax on all of the carbon they emit - not just the current 12 per cent. MORE


 

Brazil sues over oil spill

oil spill of coast of Rio de JaneiroBrazil's federal prosecutors have filed suit against Chevron and Transocean for R$20bn ($10.6bn) in damages and demanded that both companies shut their operations in the country, in the strongest response yet to an oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro last month.

At around 3,000 barrels, the spill in Rio's Campos basin was relatively small and has been plugged, but Brazilian officials have sought to make an example out of the US oil companies as a warning to other foreign companies looking to profit from the region's lucrative new-found reserves.

Prosecutors late on Wednesday said the companies had shown “a lack of planning and environmental management” in their attempts to control the spill, asking that both Chevron and Transocean be banned from Brazil or face daily fines of R$500m. MORE

RELATED:

red dotChevron Blocked From Oil Drilling in Brazil After Spill

 


 

Canadian First Nations sue Shell for tar sands destruction

justiceOn the eve of the 17th UNFCCC, the world's climate summit, the UK Tar Sands Network will serve papers to Shell UK executives on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). ACFN plans to sue Shell for failure to meet contractual agreements made between Shell and the First Nations regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada's pristine Athabasca, a UNESCO heritage site. Chief Allan Adam along with the entire council of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) will rally outside Shell Canada corporate headquarters in downtown Calgary later today and hold a press conference.

After years of agreements with Shell Oil, the Athabasca Chipewyan people have decided to risk everything by challenging Shell's practices and filing suit.  “We're drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed,” stated Chief Adam.

The agreements in question were meant to ensure Shell would provide a number of measures to lessen the impact of tar sands mines on ACFN. In addition to the lawsuit against Shell, ACFN also plans to oppose all future tar sands projects by Shell. “Tar sands have been widely recognized as the most destructive project on earth because of the serious impacts on treaty and aboriginal rights, ecological destruction and global green house gas emissions (GHG),” commented Suzanne Dhaliwal from the UK Tar Sands Network. “Shell is one of the largest players in the tar sands producing close to 20% of overall production and it needs to be held accountable for the mass destruction it is causing to communities and the environment.” MORE


action alert

Ecological Internet Action Alert: Tar Sands Not Over Yet: Enbridge Northern Gateway Tar Sands Pipelines Heading West to Asia Must Be Stopped Too

The proposed Canadian Enbridge Northern Gateway tar sands pipelines seek to export filthy oil to Asia. The delay of the Keystone pipeline—largely due to people power protest—makes this route all the more vital to Canada, if tar sands production and transport to the international marketplace are to grow. Ecosystems will be placed at risk from Alberta's massive clearcut mining of boreal forest, Western Canada's intricate waterways, to British Columbia's precious and fragile temperate rainforests and coastal waters, endangering the First Nations' salmon economy. To keep the anti-tar sand campaign momentum, this pipeline must be delayed and eventually stopped too! With stalwart indigenous opposition, and the magnitude of vital and sensitive ecosystems to be traversed, our chances are good. This alert was first launched and hundreds of thousands of protest emails sent a year ago, and has now been updated. TAKE ACTION HERE


Ottawa approves Total's new oilsands project, leaving critics fuming

Stephen Harper is determined to make Canada an energy superpowerOTTAWA—The federal government, in a move critics say is a direct affront to the climate change talks in South Africa, announced Thursday the go-ahead of a major oilsands project in northern Alberta.

The construction of the Joslyn North Mine will inject up to $9 billion in new capital investment across the country and generate $10 billion in revenues for the federal and Alberta governments over 40 years, said Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

But Oliver said the six-year approval process for the mine was far too long, and he said Ottawa will work with the provinces to ensure projects get underway roughly two years after applications are filed.

"It is crystal clear that we need to put an end to unreasonable delays—delays that can jeopardize the viability of projects like Joslyn and harm our reputation as an attractive place to do business," Oliver told reporters.

One environmental group reacted angrily to the announcement. MORE


BC First Nations Unite To Ban Export Of Tar Sands Oil

ave over for the planetFor the first time in Canadian history, First Nations, whose territory encompasses the entire coastline of British Columbia, have publicly united to oppose the export of tar sands crude oil through their territories.

Over 60 nations have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, which bans tar sands oil pipelines throughout the Fraser River watershed, an area that was never ceded to the Canadian government, and therefore not legally under the government's control.

“North or south, it makes no difference. First Nations from every corner of BC are saying absolutely no tar sands pipelines or tankers in our territories,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik'uz First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We have banned oil pipelines and tankers using our laws, and we will defend our decision using all the means at our disposal.”

The First Nations' refusal to allow tar sands oil extraction or transport through their would make it legally impossible for the Canadian government to move forward with many high price oil production projects. Monday's announcement—on the first anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration—comes in response to recent calls from the Harper government and oil executives to push through pipeline and tanker projects against the wishes of British Columbians and First Nations. MORE


Lust for fossil fuels brings the world to Canada's oil sands

Rivals Exxon Mobil and China Petroleum & Chemical each have bought a piece of Syncrude, one of the dozens of companies that are blasting, digging and steaming soil laden with 143 billion barrels of molasses-like crude called bitumen.

Only Saudi Arabia, with 264 billion barrels, and Venezuela with 211 billion barrels, enjoy greater proven reserves, a BP energy review found in June. Some of the world's biggest energy producers have poured C$123 billion (R997bn) into Canada's oil sands since 1997.

stephen harperThe Canadian Energy Research Institute (Ceri) predicts that these companies will pay another C$137bn by 2020 to tap the region's unique advantage: rising oil production taking place in a stable democracy close to the massive American market.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who began his career at an Exxon unit called Imperial Oil, is encouraging the boom. He wants to pump as much as possible from reserves that were valued at $14 trillion (R118 trillion) by the middle of this month. MORE


Quiet Shift in Feds' Criteria for Approving Northern Gateway

'Need for project' now trumps environment in fine print of pipeline documents.

northern gateway map

When the federal government conducts its environmental assessment for Enbridge's controversial Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project, risks to the environment likely will not be the main concern.

If this seems illogical, here is why it is true. In the current review of Northern Gateway, there has been a subtle but significant shift in focus from a fairly straightforward environmental assessment (EA) of the project, to a review with much greater emphasis on the need for the project.

We can see this by comparing the evolving language in a chain of documents. A straightforward environmental assessment of the project was prescribed in the preamble of the Dec. 4, 2009 agreement between the National Energy Board and the minister of the environment concerning the joint review of the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

But then came the procedural direction of July 5, 2010 and the hearing order of May 5, 2011. These two documents, issued by the Joint Review Panel (JRP) charged with conducting the review itself, indicate the decision to allow or quash the project will be made by taking into account factors other than its environmental impact. MORE


Keystone delay ramps up federal support for Northern Gateway

First nations' opposition is largest obstacle in the path of the pipeline project

ephen harperPrime Minister Stephen Harper's vow to step up efforts to sell Canadian oil to Asia following the Obama administration's decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline has placed British Columbia at ground zero in the battle over Alberta oil sands bitumen.

Enbridge's $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline proposal across northern B.C. from Alberta to Kitimat is the next alternative for developing a market for the oil sands and for promoting a Canadian strategy of diversifying away from the U.S. marketplace.

But Northern Gateway is opposed by at least 50 first nations along the pipeline corridor and on the B.C. coast, and it is also the next target for the North American environmental movement that so successfully delayed the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. MORE


Opponents of Northern Gateway pipeline brace for a fight

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/opponents-of-northern-gateway-pipeline-brace-for-a-fight/article2235116/After the delay of the Canada-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline, opponents of the Northern Gateway project running from Alberta to British Columbia are preparing for a tougher battle, even as Enbridge Inc. maintains it has no plans to change tactics.

With Ottawa becoming more anxious to ship Alberta's oil to Asia, it will intensify the fight for anti-Gateway activists, even though they view the Keystone decision by the United States as a victory.

“I would expect [Keystone] would increase the resolve for the oil companies to try to come west, as opposed to south. It will also increase the resolve of the federal government,” said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, one of the leading groups in the fight against Gateway.

“It's just going to mean we're going to have to double our efforts as well. That is what we are gearing up to do.” MORE


NRDC: There's No Way In Hell The Keystone Pipeline Will Create 20,000 Jobs

pipelineIn the wake of President Obama's decision to re-examine the Keystone XL pipeline permitting process, some critics of the delay, most notably the oil industry, have grossly inflated the supposed jobs that would be created by the project.

Let's look at the record. Initially, TransCanada, the would-be pipeline builder, as well as other boosters, claimed the project would create a quarter-million jobs. Exposed as pure propaganda, they have reduced that number to 20,000. Even that's fiction.

Here are the facts: MORE

 

 

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