Saskatchewan

How Saskatchewan is Driving Small Wind Producers Out of the Market

It would have been the first 100 per cent community-owned renewable power project in North America.

Located just south of Swift Current, Sask., the $90-million project would have generated 35 megawatts (MW) of electricity from wind turbines and solar panels with electricity sold to the provincial utility, SaskPower.

But SaskPower had other plans for the region — specifically, a $700-million natural gas power station.

On Dec. 2, it was announced that the gas power station — which will emit one million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, equivalent to putting 211,000 cars on the road for a year — wouldn’t require a federal environmental assessment.

Two days later, SaskWind, the provincial wind energy association and key promoter of the proposed Swift Current wind and solar project, shut down after four years of operation.

Alberta Energy Companies Pumping Money into Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party

Alberta companies, many involved in the oil and gas sector, contributed more than $2 million to Premier Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party between 2006 and 2015.

That’s according to a new online searchable database created by Progress Alberta, a progressive, non-profit government watchdog group, that compiles nine years worth of party donation disclosures.
 
Energy companies topped the list, including $126,923 from Crescent Point Energy, $83,347 from PennWest Petroleum and $68,108 from Cenovus Energy.
 
An additional $850,000 has flowed into the party’s coffers from other provinces, bumping the total of out-of-province donations to around $3 million since 2006 (banks and pharmaceutical companies from Ontario make up another significant chunk). Tweet: Out-of-province $$ makes up ¼ of all recent SK Party corporate donations http://bit.ly/2emrI5d @PremierBradWall #skpoli #oilmoney #cdnpoliCollectively, out-of-province corporate donations make up one-quarter of all recent corporate donations.

Husky Energy Spill in Saskatchewan Exposes Major Flaws in Pipeline Monitoring and Cleanup

Oil spill on North Saskatchewan River

It’s been a full 10 days since a Husky Energy pipeline spewed 250,000 litres of heavy oil and diluent into the North Saskatchewan River near Maidstone, Sask.

But it’s still totally unclear if the incident — which has forced North Battleford and Prince Albert to shut down their water intake systems and Muskoday First Nation to declare a state of emergency — was an accident or a pre-meditated false flag by a crew of anti-pipeline activists disguised as bumbling politicians and oil execs attempting to prove why Canada’s pipeline approval and regulation process is fatally flawed.

We jest, obviously.

But the situation has indeed come at an incredibly bad time for pipeline companies, given that public hearings for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion are underway (with that process already heavily criticized), while those for TransCanada’s Energy East are set to begin on August 8.

Saskatchewan Government Dubs Climate Change ‘Misguided Dogma’ in Throne Speech

It might not have packed quite the same visual punch as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s behaviour in the House of Commons on Wednesday, but the Saskatchewan government’s throne speech —  delivered just the day prior — may be remembered for being equally as bizarre.

Specifically, because of the implicit rejection of climate change science, which was described as “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.”

The throne speech, delivered by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield, pointed to “oil and gas, coal and uranium, livestock and grains” as allegedly victimized sectors.

They look at those jobs like they are somehow harming the country and the world,” she read. “To those people, my government has a message. You are wrong. You could not be more wrong.”

Low Expectations for Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s High Emissions

 
The summer of 2010 was a bad year for Saskatchewan. Record floods, winds, and hailstorms led to 175 communities declaring states of emergency, and costing the province over $100 million. “The Summer of Storms” also made it the worst year ever for insurers, with $100 million in crop insurance payouts.
 
Premier Brad Wall, a man once described by Maclean’s as “standing athwart history yelling ‘I’m not sure about this!’ ” responded to the string of natural disasters with a telling quote: “The one thing the province cannot control is the weather,” he said.
 
Unfortunately for Saskatchewan, the type of extreme weather that cost it so dearly in 2010 is symptomatic of what models predict for the province under a changing climate.
 
Sure enough, extreme weather was yet again making headlines and shutting down entire cities in 2014.
 
On carbon emissions, the province is Canada writ small: both are small emitters in their larger contexts, yet large emitters per capita. Saskatchewan is the biggest carbon source per capita in the country, with three quarters of the province’s energy coming from coal and natural gas, although it plans to reduce that to 50 per cent by 2030.
 
Wall’s philosophy on climate change appears to be to downplay the significance of actual emissions while encouraging innovation in Canada that can be exported to larger emitters — tackling carbon on a larger scale than what can be done in the Canada’s relatively small arena.

Should Taxpayers Be On The Hook For Cleaning Up Saskatchewan's Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells?

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall announced Monday he asked the federal government for $156 million to help fund oil and gas well cleanup efforts. In a press release he said the program “will stimulate economic activity and job creation while at the same time delivering environmental benefits.”
 
But Saskatchewan already has a fund in place for dealing with so-called “orphan wells,” or wells that have been left behind by companies or individuals who are no longer financially able to pay or legally responsible. Since 2009 the province has collected payments from wells in operation, and if the well doesn’t meet a particular threshold for financial stability the province may demand a refundable deposit as a guarantee. As of last fall that fund held $11.4 million in payments, up a million dollars from the previous year, plus another $45 million in refundable deposits.
 
The Alberta NDP government said in a statement on Tuesday that the province — despite having about seven times as many orphan wells as Saskatchewan — will not seek federal money because “industry should continue covering costs related to remediating abandoned wells.”
 
So why does Saskatchewan need $156 million now?

Calgary Mayor Nenshi, Premier Wall Blast Montreal’s Energy East Opposition

Several prominent western Canadian politicians came out firing at Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s announcement yesterday that Montreal-area municipalities will oppose TransCanada’s Energy East oil pipeline project. The outraged western leaders were not exactly polite in their criticism either.

He’s wrong on this one. There’s no better way to put it,” Calgary Naheed Nenshi told CTV’s Power Play. “The alternative is more oil by rail and people in Quebec know the dangers of oil by rail, tragically.”

I trust Montreal area mayors will politely return their share of $10B in equalization supported by (the) west,” Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said on Twitter.

The 82 municipalities of the Communauté Municipale de Montréal (Montreal Metropolitan Community) voted yesterday to oppose the 1.1 million barrels a day proposed pipeline going through their jurisdictions. The environment risks outweighed the meager economic benefits of the project, according to the political body representing nearly four million Quebecers.

Fiery Saskatchewan Train Derailment Raises Fresh Questions About Oil-By-Rail Safety

oil by rail, tanker trains, bomb trains, derailment

A fiery CN train derailment in rural Saskatchewan has many people asking what could have happened if the accident occurred in a more populated area.

The 100-car freight train derailed Tuesday about 190 kilometres east of Saskatoon. Twenty-six cars left the track, including six carrying dangerous goods. Two cars containing petroleum distillate caught fire, sending 30-metre flames into the air. Several explosions were also confirmed.

The area around Clair, Sask., was evacuated overnight. Families were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday morning according to Harold Narfason, chief of the Wadena & District Fire Department.

The volunteer fire department was the first on the scene.

Narfason told DeSmog Canada his department has long been aware that dangerous commodities are being shipped by rail through the area.

I’ve attended numerous meetings with CN to get informed and there are more cars moving through,” Narfason said.

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