energy east

Who Really Benefits from Pipelines like Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain, Anyways?

This article originally appeared on the Dogwood Initiative website.

Oil to tidewater.”

It’s an industry mantra happily adopted by politicians — and even some environmentalists. But ask yourself this: what happens when you pump more product into an oversupplied market? Answer: the price goes down.

Who benefits from cheaper crude oil? First, the customers — like China’s state-run heavy oil refineries. And later, competitors with lower overhead, like Saudi Arabia.

You’ve probably heard these twin arguments before:

Orange Crushed: Have the Alberta NDP Lost Their Way?

Exactly a year has passed since the centre-left New Democratic Party (NDP) rolled to a stunning win in Alberta.

Yet it’s still deeply surreal to think about that victory on May 5, 2015, which increased the party’s seat count from four to 54 in the 87-seat legislature and elevated former labour lawyer Rachel Notley to the position of premier.

After all, the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) — a union-bashing and petroleum-entrenched behemoth of a party — had governed the province without challenge since 1971.

For much of the ‘90s and 2000s, the province was led by Ralph Klein, an austerity-obsessed alcoholic who cracked jokes about human-caused climate change, berated homeless people for being unemployed and blew up a hospital to save a bit of money.

Why the Oil to Tidewater Argument for Pipelines is Bunk

This article originally appeared on the Council of Canadians' website.

If you follow mainstream media you’ve probably heard the argument ‘we need to get our oil to tidewater’ ad nauseam.

Be it Natural Resource Minister CarrPrime Minister TrudeauPremier Notley or pipeline and tar sands industries, it’s a drum beat that’s building in intensity. As the argument goes, if we could only get a pipeline built and oil shipped, Canada’s crumbling oil industry could recover from its current woes.

Here’s the thing… it’s totally wrong.

I’m not the only one calling this bluff.

David Suzuki: Paris Changed Everything, So Why Are We Still Talking Pipelines?

TransCanada Keystone Pipeline

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

With the December Paris climate agreement, leaders and experts from around the world showed they overwhelmingly accept that human-caused climate change is real and, because the world has continued to increase fossil fuel use, the need to curb and reduce emissions is urgent.

In light of this, I don’t get the current brouhaha over the Trans Mountain, Keystone XL, Northern Gateway or the Energy East pipelines. Why are politicians contemplating spending billions on pipelines when the Paris commitment means 75 to 80 per cent of known fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground?

Didn’t our prime minister, with provincial and territorial premiers, mayors and representatives from non-profit organizations, parade before the media to announce Canada now takes climate change seriously? I joined millions of Canadians who felt an oppressive weight had lifted and cheered mightily to hear that our country committed to keeping emissions at levels that would ensure the world doesn’t heat by more than 1.5 C by the end of this century. With the global average temperature already one degree higher than pre-industrial levels, a half a degree more leaves no room for business as usual.

In the Energy East Fight, We All Want the Same Things

Oil spill on beach

This is a guest post by Mitchell Beer. It originally appeared on GreenPAC.

The pitched media battle between Mayors Denis Coderre of Montreal and Naheed Nenshi of Calgary shows just how quickly the political debate can get nasty when the things that matter most to us are at stake.

Calls Increase For Trudeau To Scrap Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Review

For the second time in two days Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been called on to suspend the regulatory review process for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia. Final hearings for the project begin next week.

You are going to break your campaign promise to overhaul Canada environmental regulatory regime because of your refusal to suspend or cancel the reviews of the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline and TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline,” Cam Fenton, 350.org’s Canadian tarsands campaigner, said in a letter sent to Trudeau Wednesday.

If you will not show the necessary leadership to stop these reviews, people will.”

Yesterday, Burnaby, B.C. Mayor Derek Corrigan made headlines with his letter to Trudeau requesting the review of the Trans Mountain project be suspended on the grounds the current federal regulatory framework is “deeply flawed” and “inadequate.”

Why Alberta’s Climate Plan Won’t Stop the Battle Over Oil Pipelines

Burnaby Mountain protest against Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

An article published last week in the National Post that claims a “secret” deal was struck between oil companies and environmentalists has ruffled many feathers — from corporate big wigs in Calgary to environmental activists on the West Coast.

According to Claudia Cattaneo’s story, Alberta’s climate change plan — which introduced a carbon tax, phased out coal-fired electricity and put a cap on oilsands emissions — was “the product of secret negotiations between four top oilsands companies and four environmental organizations.”

I’m not sure how secret any of that was given that all of those players could clearly be seen on stage with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley when she announced the plan, but the story goes on to state: “The companies agreed to the cap in exchange for the environmental groups backing down on opposition to oil export pipelines, but the deal left other players on the sidelines, and that has created a deep division in Canada’s oil and gas sector.”

The remainder of the story goes into how various oil companies have their knickers in a twist over the deal.  You’d think environmentalists would be dancing in the streets about that, but no — it’s actually hard to say who’s more outraged: environmentalists, who bristle at the idea of a secret deal and who don’t think the agreement is strong enough, or oil companies, who don’t think the new regulations will help them gain the market access they’re so desperately seeking.

Let’s just all hold our horses for a second.

McKenna Under Fire for Dodging Energy East Questions in Paris Press Briefing

At a press briefing in Paris on Wednesday Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna was asked to describe how Canada’s support of a new goal to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius squares with the government’s apparent support for the Energy East pipeline.

McKenna told a gathering of reporters that she prefers not to speak to individual projects.

I don’t like just looking at one particular development. We are looking at how we are going to make progress towards a low-carbon economy,” she said.

McKenna added Canada is currently reviewing the National Energy Board environmental assessment process.

The Energy East pipeline is a part of that,” she said, although pipeline opponents were disappointed last month when Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said reviews already in progress will continue on, rather than being restarted under a new and more robust regime. 

McKenna added Canada is committed to doing its “fair share” alongside other nations to combat climate change. 

Alberta Climate Announcement Puts End to Infinite Growth of Oilsands

Alberta Climate Change Announcment

The days of infinite growth in Alberta’s oilsands are over with the Alberta government’s blockbuster climate change announcement on Sunday, which attracted broad support from industry and civil society.

This is the day that we start to mobilize capital and resources to create green jobs, green energy, green infrastructure and a strong, environmentally responsible, sustainable and visionary Alberta energy industry with a great future,” Premier Rachel Notley said. “This is the day we stop denying there is an issue, and this is the day we do our part.”

Notley and Environment & Parks Minister Shannon Phillips released a 97-page climate change policy plan, which includes five key pillars.

How We Can Pop Ottawa's Lobby Bubble

“The lobbyist” and “the lobby” are terms we often hear in political discourse and in the media.

I don't know how many times I have listened to, or been involved in, a conversation around a hot-button issue that has ended in something like: “Well, it all doesn't really matter because the lobbyists will just end up getting what they want anyways.”

This floating, nondescript spectre of “The Lobbyist” has served the lobby industry well, because the last thing a lobbyist wants is to have their name public. Better to remain an unknowable entity than, as Donald Rumsfeld put it, be a “known-known.”

But once you realize a lobbyist is just another person out there in the world trying to make a paycheck, the abstract idea of lobbying becomes more understandable and relatable. 

It also becomes much more easy to keep in check.

Take for instance this lobbyist for TransCanada pipelines, Phil von Finckenstein of PVF Consulting

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