TransCanada

Liberals Targeted By Flurry of Fossil Fuel Lobbying Since Coming To Power

Suncor CEO Steve Williams

Only three-and-a-half months have passed since the federal election, but fossil fuel companies and lobby groups haven’t wasted any time in ramping up their lobbying efforts.
 
Suncor, the country’s largest energy company by revenue, has led the pack in meeting with high-ranking federal officials — logging at least 12 meetings in just over one month.
 
Between Nov. 2 and Nov. 19 the dominant oilsands player met four times with Louise Metivier, who was Canada’s chief negotiator at the UN climate summit held in Paris between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12.
 
Steve Williams, the company’s CEO and head lobbyist, also met three times with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna (on Nov. 18, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8) another three times with Environment Canada’s chief of staff Marlo Raynolds (on Nov. 5, Dec. 7 and Dec. 9) and twice more with Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s right-hand man and principal secretary ( Nov. 18 and Nov. 19).
 
“The meetings were preparatory meetings for Suncor’s participation at COP 21 in Paris,” explained Sneh Seetal, spokesperson at Suncor, via e-mail. “Our president and CEO, Steve Williams, attended as a member of the Canadian delegation at the invitation of the federal government. We discussed Suncor’s perspectives on climate change and how industry can help be a part of the solution.”

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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

Prime Minister Harper’s Inaction on Climate Killed the Keystone XL Oilsands Pipeline

Stephen Harper climate change

With U.S. President Barack Obama expected to deny a permit to the Keystone XL pipeline this fall, Canada’s oil industry is looking for someone to blame.

The National Post’s Claudia Cattaneo wrote last week that “many Canadians … would see Obama’s fatal stab as a betrayal by a close friend and ally” and that others “would see it as the product of failure by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to come up with a climate change plan.”

The latter is the more logical conclusion. Obama has made his decision-making criteria clear: he won’t approve the pipeline if it exacerbates the problem of carbon pollution.

Even the U.S. State Department’s very conservative analysis states the Keystone XL pipeline would “substantially increase oilsands expansion and related emissions.” The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed.

While Canada’s energy reviews take into account “upstream benefits” — such as jobs created in the oilsands sector as a result of pipelines — they don’t even consider the upstream environmental impacts created by the expansion of the oilsands.

For all the bluster and finger-pointing, there’s no covering up the fact that Canada’s record on climate change is one of broken promises.

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.

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