NEB censors input on key pipeline issue: tar sands expansion

CAROL LINNITT has an excellent expose of the National Energy Board on desmogblog.com.

She writes:

“The National Energy Board (NEB), the federal body tasked with overseeing the Enbridge hearing, issued a general directive one year ago designed to exclude input from prominent environmental groups critical of the astonishingly rapid expansion of the tar sands – an expansion that only stands to increase with the proposed pipeline. …

“The NEB justifies the exclusion – which denies some of Canada’s leading environmental scientists the right to talk about climate change, greenhouse gasses and Canada’s energy future throughout the hearing – rather crudely:

“…we do not consider that there is a sufficiently direct connection between the [Pipeline] Project and any particular existing or proposed oil sands development, or other oil production activities, to warrant consideration of the environmental effects of such activities…Subject to consideration of cumulative effects…we will not consider the environmental effects of upstream hydrocarbon production projects or activities in our review.” [emphasis mine]

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The “other” pipeline, Kinder Morgan, springs a leak in Abbotsford

The Wilderness Committee has put out a release saying: “Kinder Morgan has confirmed there was an oil spill this morning at the Sumas Terminal and tank farm in Abbotsford, after residents phoned 911 and reported headaches and nausea from a heavy smell of gas in the air.”

This is near the end of the TransMountain pipeline which already has had several spills.

Harper calls pipeline critics “enemies of the state”

Andrew Frank of ForestEthics has made an affadavit, blowing the whistle on Harper’s undemocratic moves on the Enbridge pipeline.

“As I have detailed in a sworn affidavit, no less than three senior managers with Tides Canada and ForestEthics (a charitable project of Tides Canada), have informed me, as the Senior Communications Manager for ForestEthics, that Tides Canada CEO, Ross McMillan, was informed by the Prime Minister’s Office, that ForestEthics is considered an “Enemy of the Government of Canada,” and an “Enemy of the people of Canada.

Amazing. What a PM?

“Ethical Oil” joins media strategy to smear opposition

In a deliberate attempt to move public opinion against pipeline detractors, the Prime Minister, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and the ethical oil lobby group released a sequence of negative and false messages.  These attacks on the opposition to the pipeline were a heavy-handed attempt to take the top news spots away from what was happening at the same time: the powerful testimony of the Haida at the NEB hearings. The real story here: the massive popular public opposition to the pipeline. (Note that ethical oil is an ethereal lobby group that one reporter noted “operates mainly as a website on a portable laptop”.

The authors of deepclimate.org posted a fascinating map of the back office staffing movement between the Prime Minister’s Office, Ethical Oil and the Conservative Party strategy trust.

Oliver’s extreme diatribe on radical foreign agitators can be found at the Globe and Mail.  His over-the-top rhetoric plays to the Conservative-minded.

Oliver writes: “Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade. Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth.

No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.”

Green Party LeaderElizabeth May wrote this telling rebuttal to Oliver.

May writes: “Your government has failed to present an energy strategy to Canada.  We have no energy policy.  We are still importing more than half of the oil we use.  Further, we have no plan to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, even as we sign on to global statements about the need to keep greenhouse gases from rising above 450 ppm in the atmosphere to keep global average temperatures from exceeding a growth of 2 degrees C.  The climate crisis imperils our future – including our economic future – in fundamental ways which your government ignores.

By characterizing this issue as environmental radicals versus Canada’s future prosperity you have done a grave disservice to the development of sensible public policy.”

Pembina Institute’s analysis of pipeline risks

“Pipeline and tanker trouble” is a fact-filled recent report from Canada’s Pembina Institute co-produced the document with the American Natural Resources Defense Council and other organizations.  Get the report as PDF here.

Many important details are covered, including information on the particular problems associated with bitumen.

“A diluted bitumen spill poses certain hazards to the environment and public safety that are much more far- reaching than the dangers of a conventional oil spill”

Pipeline is bad economics

If all the potential destruction of the pipeline doesn’t seal the debate for you, there are some potent economic arguments. Author Andrew Nikiforuk does a great summary of a new report from aretired Natural Resources Canada geologist. David Hughes says pumping out raw bitumen quickly and depleting a vital resource at relatively low prices isn’t a good energy plan for Canada. In fact, as he points out, there is NO national energy plan for Canada, another good point.

More on geologist David Hughes’ report on The Tyee.