Four recent oil-train derailments--two in the United States and two in Canada accompanied by yet another drive-by rhetorical smear of the Keystone XL pipeline by U.S. President Barack Obama--have re-invigorated the debate over how Canadians and Americans transport oil.
First, Keystone XL does NOT "bypass the United States," as the President claimed it did in the earlier statement. A consultants report from IHS Energy found in February that "Canadian crude making its way to the USGC (the US Gulf Coast) will likely be refined there, and most of the refined products are likely to be consumed in the United States."
We can continue to resist and block pipelines like Keystone XL, in spite of their impressive safety record, but we cannot avoid the inevitable consequences of such resistance: more oil moved by train and by truck. Let's choose safety instead, and stop paying so much undeserved attention to environmentalist demagoguery. Accidents can't be avoided entirely, but there is a simple way to limit this kind of incident: Stop opposing pipeline projects. Oil is going to be with us for many decades to come, so we should use the safest transportation means we can whenever possible, and that means pipelines.
The president's rationale for rejecting the Keystone Approval Act is not actually based on an assessment of whether Keystone XL is in the U.S. national interest--that process is ongoing at the State Department. Rather, Mr. Obama's veto justification is that the Act "attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest."
Today President Obama vetoed a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The president has our heartfelt thanks for showing hi...
Officials in the Canadian province of Alberta say they hope to talk to Alaska leaders about shipping tar-sands crude oil through the state as the Keys...
This is the climate movement's moment to seize. It's a moment for the labour movement and climate movement to join together to demand investment in re-tooling and re-training workers to build the new economy. It's a moment to divest from dangerous fossil fuels like tar sands and reinvest in the solutions that are here and growing.
Obama's decision will have major implications for Canada, especially in the context of a recent Nature study that found that in order to hold the planet's temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius of warming Canada needs to leave 99 per cent of tar sands underground.
How did things go so badly that Canada doesn't have the heft or goodwill in Washington to add a single pipeline to a nation benoodled with them? The answer lies in the delusional hubris of Stephen Harper.
Canadian foreign policy has often been said to be principally a policy toward the United States with other countries taking second place politically and strategically. If brokering talks between Havana and Washington was intended by the Harper government to win favour with U.S. leaders, the results were predictably mixed.
Would the spokesmen for TransCanada be able to give a logical explanation as to how mere transshipment of petroleum using automated pumping systems would create jobs or any worthwhile economic activity in our province?
The battle to stop the tar sands is far from over but this week shows that when we work together and support each other, when we are bold and courageous we can climb and move mountains. We are growing in numbers every day, and together we can and already are changing the world.
Pipeline and oil-by-rail industries are largely self-regulated and neither is held to high enough safety standards. Nor are they showing responsibility to communities by being forthright about the chemicals that are passing through waterways either by rail or by pipe.
The St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale population is listed as threatened and protected under the Species at Risk Act, and has been officially protected by the Canadian Fisheries Act since 1979. We naturally run into concern when those trusted to protect these species are scrubbing their content to make it more friendly for oil interests who are rummaging around for an alternate route to the ocean.
Despite these negative views on the Dalai Lama coming from a more assertive China (now reportedly the world's largest economy and our second largest trading partner) Canada has provided considerable support to the Dalai Lama and issues of concern to him.
Already there have been three near misses. Four months after Quebec's deaths, another derailment and explosion occurred outside an Alabama town without deaths. This was followed by a collision of two trains that resulted in an evacuation of more than 2,000 persons and a 400,000-gallon oil spill. A third derailment and explosion happened in Virginia forcing another evacuation. Safety is bad enough, but rail is also terrible for the environment.