While the Alberta Energy Regulator has made regulatory orders in some cases, no charges have been laid related to any of the oil spills that made headlines last summer. And for the most part, the public remains in the dark about how those spills have affected their communities and the environment. As the AER enters its second year, it has a golden opportunity to live up to its big promises.
Stephane Dion, the former Liberal leader, once said that "there is no environmental minister on Earth who can stop the oil from coming out of the sands, because the money is too big." But that was a long time ago and he probably hadn't considered that numerous countries would take action to curb fossil fuel demand.
By the end of this month the federal pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), is expected to approve Enbridge's proposal for its 38-year old Line 9 oil pipeline in Ontario and Quebec, which would carry shale oil -- known for its propensity to explode as it did in North Dakota. With that in mind, the province of Ontario must hold its ground on Line 9 and ensure its demands for a safer pipeline are met.
Environmentalists and union activists should be making common cause by explaining how tar sands profits that go to the rich and powerful cost Canadian workers hundreds of thousands of jobs. Expansion of the tar sands and the resulting bouts of Oil Sands fever may be good for capitalists but it will further weaken the job market and do great harm to Canadian workers.
This week will be filled with really big moments for both Enbridge and Kinder Morgan in BC. Today, Kinder Morgan announced that they have finally filed their application to build a new tar sands oil pipeline along the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline. On Thursday or Friday this week, it is suspected that we may finally have a decision from the National Energy Board (NEB) on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Both Kinder Morgan and Enbridge really have become Harper's pipelines. But Enbridge and Kinder Morgan do not have the permission of the people of B.C. The Harper government and these companies still have the opportunity to do the right thing and listen to the people. Please pledge your opposition and end the year by reminding Stephen Harper who really is in charge.
As almost everyone knows by now, Canada has some interesting challenges looming when it comes to transporting increasing oil production to markets both inside and outside of Canada. What many Canadians might not realize is how important oil exports are to Canada's economy, and how these exports may have become a crutch.
Welcome to Fort McMurray, Neil. This is not the place you think it is. Oh, sure, it is the home of the oil sands, and that is our major industry - but it is, as the ads say, so much more than oil. This community is home to thousands of people who live, work, and play here. And some of them, like me, love it. In fact some of us love it so much it feels more like home than anywhere else we have ever lived, and we work every single day to try to make it a better place - and that includes the industry.
Now that Nenshi has witnessed an over $5-billion flood rip through his province and hometown, does he still believe Alberta should exploit the oilsands full tilt despite irreversible impacts, or the feds should continue to hand over $1.4 billion each year in subsidies, or Alberta should continue burning more coal than the rest of the country combined?
The largest onshore oil spill in US history -- Enbridge's ruptured Line 6B that released nearly 3 million liters of tar sands diluted bitumen into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan -- finally has an official price tag: $1,039,000,000 USD. That's according to newly disclosed figures released by Enbridge in a Revised Application to expand another one of its pipelines, the Alberta Clipper.
"Here," said a Heiltsuk friend as we began the walk, "put this in your pocket, it will help protect you." She handed me a piece of dried Devil's club bark, medicine from the B.C. coastal rainforest to carry with me as we walked by Alberta's tar sands facilities. Strong medicine was definitely in order as my lungs hurt, heart ached, and eyes welled up with tears with all that I witnessed.