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Alberta Government Bans Environmental Groups From Oilsands Hearing, Again

The Alberta government has barred the Oilsands Environmental Coalition from hearings on a proposed new oilsands development by Southern Pacific Resource Corp., even after a similar decision last fall was overturned by a judge.

Conservationists say the decision only makes clearer the Alberta government's tendency to shut down public dialogue on resource development. “The government hasn't learned its lesson from last time,” said Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute, one of the groups in the coalition.

Dyer said the coalition will be appealing the second ruling, reports the Canadian Press.

Alberta Environment first denied the coalition standing to participate in hearings about a development on the MacKay River in northern Alberta in 2012, which would expand an existing steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project. The expansion would result in the extraction of an additional 24,000 barrels per day (bpd) of bitumen.

Details of TransCanada Pipeline Safety Whistleblower Scandal Emerge Amid Keystone XL Delay

transcanada keystone xl pipeline

Former TransCanada employee and engineer Evan Vokes, who released thousands of pages of records after he was dismissed by the corporation in 2012, believes that a newly acquired internal email shows his managers tried to discredit him for raising the alarm on their safety practices.

Vokes obtained the email in Feburary 2014 through access to information legislation, reports Mike De Souza for InsideClimate News. Most of the message was censored by TransCanada before release, but the first line clearly mentions “managing the EV [Evan Vokes] credibility issue.”

“My understanding is that we have been reasonably successful at influencing authorities [redacted] and pointing out EV is disgruntled, and actually had the responsibility to correct these same matters and did not,” reads the email, dated July 26, 2013.

New Poll Finds Most B.C. Residents Want Shift From Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy

A wind turbine, clean energy, BC

A new poll released Thursday finds that more than three quarters of British Columbia residents want the province to shift away from producing, using and exporting fossil fuels and to embrace cleaner sources of energy.

The online survey, conducted by Strategic Communications Inc., found that 78 per cent of British Columbians agree that B.C. should transition away from using fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy to prevent climate change from worsening, compared to 17 per cent who disagree.

“As climate science continues to demonstrate, climate change could have devastating impacts on both the environment and the economy,” said Kevin Sauve, spokesperson for the Pembina Institute in B.C.

“It's encouraging to see that British Columbians are on the same page. Not only do they understand the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels but see economic benefits in developing cleaner sources of energy as well.”

More Than 100 Scientists and Economists Call on President Obama to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL protest

More than 100 scientists and economists “concerned about climate change and its impacts” signed an open letter Monday calling on U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would transport oilsands crude from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast, mainly for export.

The signers “urge [President Obama and Secretary Kerry] to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline as a project that will contribute to climate change at a time when we should be doing all we can to put clean energy alternatives in place.”

The letter, signed by prominent leaders in science and economics, is the latest addition to an already strong and growing opposition to the Keystone XL project in the U.S., including 2 million public comments sent to President Obama and a previous open letter signed last month by over 200 business leaders and entrepreneurs asking for the rejection of the pipeline.

Debunked: Eight Things the U.S. State Keystone XL Report Got Wrong About the Alberta Oilsands

kris krug oilsands tar sands

Last week the Alberta government responded to the U.S. State Department's final supplemental environmental impact statement (FSEIS) on the Keystone XL project by emphasizing the province's responsibility, transparency, and confidence that the pipeline is in the “national interest” of both Canada and the U.S.

In a statement, Alberta Premier Alison Redford appealed to the relationship between the U.S. and Canada. Premier Redford pointed out that the FSEIS had “recognized the work we're doing to protect the environment,” saying that “the approval of Keystone XL will build upon the deep relationship between our countries and enable further progress toward a stronger, cleaner and more stable North American economy.”

Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Robin Campbell also issued a statement, mentioning Alberta's “strong regulatory system” and “stringent environmental monitoring, regulation and protection legislation.”

Campbell's reminder that the natural resource sector “provides jobs and opportunities for families and communities across the country” was similar to Premier Redford's assurance that “our government is investing in families and communities,” with no mention made of corporate interests.

In order to provide a more specific and sciene-based response to the FSEIS report on Keystone XL, Pembina Institute policy analyst Andrew Read provided counterpoints to several of its central claims.

U.S. EPA Denied Late Participation in Kinder Morgan Hearings, Exposes Shortcomings of New NEB Process

Kinder Morgan trans mountain Pipeline

The Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) rejected a request this month from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend the deadline to apply as a participant in the public hearings on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

The EPA was unaware of a February 12 deadline to apply as a participant in hearings on the proposed $5.4 million expansion of the Vancouver-to-Edmonton Trans Mountain pipeline, which would increase its capacity from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of diluted bitumen to 890,000 bpd.

The pipeline expansion, which is supported by 13 oil companies, will free the flow of landlocked Albertan oil to Asian markets overseas.

The EPA reportedly needed more time to “follow through with agency protocols and procedures” before applying to take part in the hearings, according to a notice filed with the NEB.


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