In a press release dated Dec. 18, TransCanada announced that "support for Energy East is growing across Canada." Did I read that right, or is this merely a wish list that TransCanada has sent to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve? TC seems to believe that social acceptability is on the rise!
As the debate raged and the cross-border rhetoric went nuclear over Keystone XL, the good folks at Enbridge were craftily and quietly shipping hundreds of thousands of barrels per day of tar sands bitumen from Alberta. This line, cavalierly called the Alberta Clipper, which at first shipped 450,000 barrels a day from the tar sands is designed to carry an astounding 800,000 barrels a day to Illinois.
The U.S. decision on Keystone XL sent a clear message: Tar sands pipeline projects like the ones currently under consideration or subject to litigation in Canada -- TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, and Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project -- are not the way of the future.
Blinders are often used to keep horses racing in a straight line and free from distraction. However, some horse race experts argue that true competitors want to see what's coming. They say expanding the field of vision expands possibilities. Blinders are fine if you're doing the same thing over and over like going around a track but adapting to a new set of circumstances requires you to see the whole context.
Keystone was a fight that no one thought we could win. When the pipeline was first proposed, every energy analyst, every journalist and every politician either had never heard of it or thought the same thing -- the pipeline was a virtual certainty and its approval was imminent.
Canada's federal power shift provides us with the opportunity to view the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals through a new lens. Our new government faces many challenges to restore the protection of Canadian ecosystems. After a decade of Conservative rule, I find myself, like many other Indigenous people in Canada, cautiously optimistic for the future social and ecological well-being of our nation and its role on the international stage. However, our new government will face significant challenges in living up to and improving upon their campaign promises.
The gap between U.S. President Barack Obama's Keystone announcement and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's response is indicative of the fundamental choice that this government needs to make between the oil industry and real climate action. Unfortunately, it's a choice that Trudeau doesn't seem to understand yet.
Both Trudeau and his new ministers have their work cut out from them when it comes to really getting Canada back on course on climate. That's why today, I'm outside of Trudeau's home with dozens of other people kicking off what could be largest act of civil disobedience on climate change in Canada's history.
As a member of the minority of 99 per cent, I am dreaming that a high-ranking volunteer of the new government would give me advice on how to influence the newly-elected prime minister who will negotiate next December's Paris Conference and the necessary reduction of greenhouse gases.
Justin Trudeau's speech on the importance of North America on Monday echoed most of the current wisdom on Canada's standing in North America -- we're in trouble and the issue needs some serious attention. The idea for a cabinet level committee on the U.S. relationship proposed by Trudeau is good, but in reality it would have to be a committee on North America, which means including Mexico. And Trudeau seemed half way there in his speech.
Just about every aspect of our lives involves a certain amount of risk, of course. It's all about risk management. And indeed, despite the occasional high-profile accident like last week's spill in California, pipelines in general remain very safe. One realistic alternative to transporting Canadian oil by pipeline is transporting that same oil by train or by truck. Yet both of these methods of transport are less safe than pipelines. Logically, then, we should transport as much oil as we can by pipe, and as little as possible by rail or road.
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...