Energy East pipeline

Pipelines or Indigenous Rights? Premier Notley Can't Have Both

The speech Alberta Premier Rachel Notley gave to over 1,000 federal NDP delegates on Saturday in Edmonton’s Shaw Convention Centre was a stunning thing to behold.

In a mere half-hour, she received around a dozen standing ovations, cracked a pretty solid joke about Donald Trump and delivered a unabashed appeal for the approval and construction of pipelines “that are built by Canadians, using Canadian steel.”

But even more stunning was the fact that she completely failed to mention the rights or interests of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

Liberals’ Interim Pipeline Measures Fall Short

This is a guest post by Ecojustice National Program Director Barry Robinson and staff lawyers Charles Hatt and Karen Campbell. It originally appeared on the Ecojustice website.

The Harper government’s 2012 environmental law rollbacks were a blunt-force trauma to the environmental assessment of pipelines. And last week, the new federal Liberal government prescribed band-aids for an ailing patient that needed more.

On January 27, the federal government announced interim measures for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project Review process and the upcoming TransCanada Energy East Pipeline Project Review process. These measures are a welcome first step, but unfortunately still fall short of what is required to restore public faith in National Energy Board (NEB) reviews and environmental assessments in Canada.

The interim measures are part of the Liberal government’s mandate to “regain public trust” and deal with the broken process left behind by the Harper government’s repeal and replacement of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and amendments to the National Energy Board Act. These efforts to fast track approvals for proposed pipeline projects backfired and have brought public confidence in project reviews to an all-time low. Public trust in these reviews is so diminished that communities from coast to coast — Burnaby, Kenora, Montreal and Saint John, to name a few — have organized against proposed projects and regulators. This is unprecedented.

Natural Resources Minister Will Not "Rush" NEB Overhaul

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has reiterated the federal government’s pledge to overhaul the National Energy Board in order to restore public confidence in Canada’s pipeline review process. But the promised legislative changes will not come quickly.

“You don't rush your way into decisions that affect not only today, but generationally in Canada in the new world of sustainably moving resources to market,” Carr said Monday while attending the federal cabinet’s retreat in New Brunswick.

Over the last month, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan requested Carr and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suspend the review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to avoid a decision being pushed through a process they claim is “deeply flawed.” Trans Mountain’s final hearings began as scheduled on January 19 in Burnaby, British Columbia.

“The minister is correct, we shouldn’t rush the creation of a new process,” Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy and climate justice campaigner with the Council of Canadians, said. “But continuing with the flawed Kinder Morgan and Energy East reviews is entirely inconsistent with Liberal promises. How can a 'transition strategy' rectify the failings around public participation and Indigenous consultation for these projects. I don't see how this can happen.”

Reconciliation Means Overhaul of Oilsands Pipeline Reviews, First Nations Tell Trudeau

Three prominent First Nations organizations are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel the regulatory reviews of three major oilsands pipelines as a step towards reconciliation between Canada and First Nations.

First Nations and Canada have a lot of work to do regarding measures needed to finally put us all on the path of reconciliation and partnership,” the joint letter to Trudeau, signed by the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, states.

We focus here on one such measure — the overhaul of the review and assessment process for tar sands export pipelines.”

Earlier this week, Trudeau was on hand as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada unveiled its final report on the Indian Residential Schools. During the closing ceremony, Trudeau gave his word to “renew and respect” Canada’s relationship with indigenous peoples in the country.

Our First Nations in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec call for the establishment of a new pipeline review and assessment process, to be developed and implemented in collaboration with First Nations, that will enable a thorough and objective environmental assessment of these pipelines,” the letter adds.

“First Enlightenment, then the Laundry”: What the Paris Climate Agreement Means for Canada

If you’ve been watching headlines about the historic signing of the Paris Agreement this past weekend, you may be understandably confused.

Does the world’s first climate treaty represent the beginning of the end for fossil fuels or a mere free-market cop out?

Both arguments hold some truth. That’s because the agreement is more form, less substance. That’s what it was intended to be. The real meat of the deal remains entirely undetermined because it has yet to grow on the bones of the treaty.

What countries like Canada actually do to implement the intended outcome of the Paris Agreement — to keep temperatures from rising two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions — will determine whether the torrent of analyses we’re seeing, dire or otherwise, have any merit.

There’s this Buddhist idiom that says: first Enlightenment, then the laundry,” Glen Murray, Ontario’s Environment Minister, said at the climate summit in Paris. “This has been the Enlightenment and now we all have to go home and do the laundry to make sure this happens.”

Ontario Energy Board Report Highlights Risks of Energy East Pipeline in New Report

A new report released Thursday by the Ontario Energy Board finds the risks of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, destined to carry Alberta oilsands crude to eastern refineries and export facilities, outweigh the project’s benefits.

The board’s vice-president, Peter Fraser, said the report, prepared at the request of Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli, finds “an imbalance between the economic and environmental risks of the project and the expect benefits for Ontarians.”

The Energy East pipeline, projected to transport 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, is the continent’s largest proposed pipeline, outsizing the company’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a political boondoggle in the U.S. in recent years due to growing concerns over oil spills, private property and climate.

The Ontario Energy Board traveled to communities along the pipeline route to gauge public sentiment about the project and, according to the report, found fears over potential water pollution running high throughout the province.

Majority of Canadians Say Climate More Important than Oilsands, Pipelines

On Saturday, April 11, thousands of Canadians are expected to gather in Quebec City for a national day of action on climate change (update: an estimated 25,000 attended the march). The march will occur in advance of an unprecedented gathering of the nation's premiers, who will meet in Quebec City April 14 to discuss provincial climate plans (Premiers Christy Clark, Jim Prentice and Stephen McNeil declined to attend the summit).

According to a new poll released by the Canadian arm of the Climate Action Network, the majority of Canadians feel addressing climate change is a higher priority than developing the Alberta oilsands or building pipelines.

Canadians believe climate disruption is a moral issue and that climate protection trumps development of the tarsands and pipelines. They want politicians to control carbon pollution and give citizens a say in energy decision-making,” the network said in a press release.

Five Poll Results That Are Gonna Cause Oil Execs Some Headaches

Alberta Oil Magazine just published its National Survey on Energy Literacy, the culmination of 1,396 online interviews of a representative sample of Canadians conducted by Leger.

The results are particularly interesting coming from Alberta Oil, a magazine destined for the desks of the energy sector’s senior executives and decision-makers.

Summing up the survey’s findings about “The Issues,” Alberta Oil editors write that opposition to energy projects is “not just for West Coast hippies anymore.”

Indeed. There are quite a few nuggets in the survey’s findings that are probably causing a headache or two in Calgary’s corner offices this week. We round up the Top 5.

1) Opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is just as serious as opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline — if not more so, according to the survey. What’s more, the more highly educated citizens are, the less likely they are to support Trans Mountain or Northern Gateway. Hmph, maybe the anti-pipeline crowd isn’t all unemployed hippies after all?

Groups Argue Flawed Assumptions in Energy East Report Behind "Modest" Climate Impacts of Pipeline

Energy East

A panel of leading environmental groups expressed concern last week over findings in an Ontario Energy Board commissioned report that suggest oil tanker trains could replace TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline if the project isn't approved. 

We believe the report makes a number of flawed assumptions on rail capacity, and actually goes beyond the oil industry’s own projections,” Ben Powless, a panel presenter at the province's Energy East stakeholder meeting and pipeline community organizer for Ecology Ottawa, said.

The energy board's report, written by Navius Research, estimates the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of the pipeline  which is project to carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day  will be “modest” since the oil could could just as easily be brought to market by rail.

It is highly unlikely that 1.1 million barrels of oil or even half of that could be shipped by rail,” Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence Canada, countered. Scott and Powless joined panel members from the Council of Canadians and the Ottawa chapter of 350.org to argue against the report's findings at a stakeholders meeting on Energy East in Ottawa last week.

Edelman and TransCanada Part Ways After Leaked Documents Expose Aggressive PR Attack on Energy East Pipeline Opponents

Russ Girling TransCanada

Last week internal documents from Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, were leaked to Greenpeace, exposing an aggressive strategy to target opponents of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

The release of the documents brought TransCanada under fire for using dirty public relations tricks to manipulate public opinion and divide communities on the issue of the company’s 4,600 km Energy East pipeline that will carry 1.1 million barrels a day of Alberta oilsands crude to one small refinery and to export facilities on the east coast.

Today a press release from Edelman confirms the firm is parting ways with TransCanada after “attention…moved away from the merits of TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline project.”

According to the release, “Edelman and TransCanada have mutually agreed not to extend Edelman’s contract beyond its current term,” which completes at the end of December.

The release also states the communications strategy Edelman devised was meant to “drive an active public discussion that gives Canadians reason to affirmatively support the project.”

Subscribe to Energy East pipeline