Thursday, May 19, 2016

National Energy Board Ok's Trans Mountain Pipeline

You're shocked, I'm sure.

National Energy Board presser in Calgary today, Robert Steedman :  
"The NEB recommends that the Government of Canada find the Trans Mountain expansion project to be in Canada's public interest. ... The project would not likely cause significant environmental effects."
The Texas-based Kinder Morgan twinned pipeline will run from Alberta to Burnaby and Burrard Inlet BC, increasing tanker traffic by 600%. 

Here is the Kinder Morgan pipeline in the community of Burnaby in 2007, sending geysers of crude 12 meters into the air for half an hour before spilling into Burrard Inlet:

In January the National Energy Board sided with Kinder Morgan in refusing the Province of BC's request for more details on how KM would handle an oil spill, citing "commercial, security, and privacy reasons".  

Former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen referred to the NEB as "industry-captured" and their Trans Mountain hearings as "a fraudulent process" and "a public farce" in his letter of resignation from the hearings. 

Not to worry, said the Federal Liberals on the campaign trail in BC in the October federal election : 
“We are going to redo the National Energy Board process. We’re going to broaden the scope. We’re going to make sure it’s objective, fair and based on science.”
So what did we get? A three-person mini-NEB announced just two days before NEB gave the Trans Mountain its blessing - to listen to us alongside the same old NEB :
“The panel is not going to come back with a formal recommendation about whether the process should go ahead. It’s going to come back and tell the minister that this is what we heard from communities..."
Dear mini-NEB, let me save you the trouble. Here's three just from today :

First Nations vow to kill Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion with lawsuits

Meanwhile, back at mini-NEB base camp :
NattyPost, April 11, 2016 : Trudeau convinced that pipeline strategy must be top priority
"Justin Trudeau has told his senior lieutenants to draw up plans to make the Energy East pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion in British Columbia a reality.
The prime minister has been convinced by his finance minister, Bill Morneau, and other influential voices around the cabinet table that the pipelines have to be built to achieve the ambitious economic growth targets his government has set."


Boris said...

As I've said in the past, good luck trying to build the thing.

West End Bob said...

No doubt we will have yet again put our hopes in First Nations to save our collective asses yet again . . . .

Alison said...

Dec 2015 CAPP vice-president appointed chief of staff for natural resources minister

Oct 2015 Dan Gagnier's departure from Liberal campaign highlights murky world of Ottawa lobbying
Advising a pipeline company during election was a political mistake, but was it a legal one?

In 2011 Gagnier, Bruce Carson, and CAPP founder Gerry Protti delivered a lobbyist report on streamlining energy regulations that was adopted into omnibus Bill C-38. Among other recommendations was this stunning logic which i'm paraphrasing:

Securing mineral rights presumes getting it out of the ground which in turn presumes having pipelines to get it to market. If recovering the minerals will necessarily result in certain and acceptable environmental effects, then the initial grant of rights should be interpreted as authorizing those effects.
Once this is accepted as government energy policy goal and in Canada's public interest, joint review panels should not revisit it in individual projects.

We really need a more extensive public dialogue on regulatory capture.

Here's one from Bruce Campbell :
Oil profits, pipelines and the human cost of regulatory capture

Boris said...

Mackenzie gas pipeline, Northern Gateway, both approved and indefinitely shelved. Trans Mountain I wouldn't put money on happening on either, even without massive direct action from all corners. Even if it's built, there is a real risk that it will be a stranded asset by the time it's built. That part I'm less worried about.

The regulatory capture bit is scarier as it corrupts what should be a neutral and unbiased process, like stacking a jury with friends of the accused.

Boris said...

Hmm, I wonder if my first point above is what needs to happen to shift public and political sentiments away from fossil fuels. We're such a 'market captured' society that we'll move off oil when the market for it dries up enough to move it off the political agenda.

Governments can introduce climate regulation and incentives but there are enough people in Canada who don't get it, won't get it, and/or still think environment and climate change are a dirty hippie conspiracy issues.

Owen Gray said...

The oil barons are still in charge.

Anonymous said...

Christy Clark cabinet issues order-in-council to get around court ruling on environmental assessments

Alison said...

Anon : Yeah, here it is :

Environmental Assessment Office :

"Cabinet has approved a new regulation exempting certain projects from having to obtain an Environmental Assessment Certificate under the Environmental Assessment Act (the Act).

The Exemption Regulation is limited to addressing part of the implications of a recent British Columbia Supreme Court (BCSC) case (Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia). In that case, the BCSC found that Act does not provide government with the authority to dispense with an environmental assessment certificate decision under its equivalency agreement with the National Energy Board (NEB).

EAO has begun a process for the projects which are also impacted by the court decision but have not been approved or constructed, like Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project."

Not clear to me whether this will include similar measures re Trans Mountain and Enbridge Northern Gateway.

e.a.f. said...

If the B.C. Lieberals get their way all of those pipelines will be built and they aren't really that interested in the environmental side effects. We do need to remember this is a government who isn't all that interested in child poverty, that almost 500K people don't have family doctors, won't ban the import and sale of F. pill making machines even though 800 may die of over doses. A little oil around the beaches, hell that's o.k. consider it a job making project. We can all be hired to work a couple of bucks over min. wage cleaning up the land, sea, and animals.

When you look at the resource extraction corporations and look at the list of big donors to the B.C. Lieberals you'd think it was one list.

With the sale of each piece of Canadian land and the signing of another trade agreement, Canada looses its soul and its environment.

Anonymous said...

That OIC Christy signed- doesit put an end to enviro assessments for all LNG/oil/pipeline projects do you know?

Alison said...

Boris ; I think fossil fuel guys already know this - hence their Big Sale Last Day of Sale strategy.

People still think a mix of wave, wind, geothermal, & solar power is something hippies do. Much of resistance to LEAP was in this vein, punditry from oil-captured media. You show them something like this and they're blown away.

Alison said...

e.a.f. : Yeah

Alison said...

Anon@7:57 : I know people have been speculating about that and it may yet get there but that's not how I read this OIC. Not yet. Libs have to respond to court decision's effect on their other projects and they have to come up with some process to do so. We'll see what that amounts to. Keep your powder dry.

Alison said...

Boris : Well that is a fun link but not the one I intended. Here ya go - from the FinPost : Canada's oilpatch suffers biggest drop in investment in almost 70 years, CAPP warns.

"Capital spending in the Canadian oilpatch sector is set to drop by US$50 billion since 2014. 110,000 people have lost their jobs."

Boris said...

Alison, It's a safe bet that the fossil fuel guys know about this, and about climate change, as do governments, and the long-term strategic planning for each must now account for the end of oil/fossil fuels. Thinking about regulatory capture, it strikes me that this has been a long-term goal of the resource industry but now that they've largely achieved it, the need for it has been trumped by what they are probably looking at as the terminal decline in their industry. They'll fight for it because they need to stay in business, but they're also businesses and know they can only manipulate demand (and supply) and policymakers so far for so long before bigger forces take over.

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