This week Alberta Premier Alison Redford returned to Washington to continue lobbying for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. While in Washington, she gave a speech at the Brookings Institute, which featured a quite dizzying spin of what the Premier calls, Alberta’s “strong record” on the environment. Our friends at Greenpeace decided to contrast some of her comments with the real world – click here if you don’t fear vertigo.
National Energy Board changes pipeline complaint rules
If you want to tell the National Energy Board what you think about Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project – to pump tar sands oil from Alberta right underneath major population centers in the GTA all the way to Montreal and on to Maine for export –, you’ll need to fill out a 10-page application first. Oh, and you only have until April 19th to do it, a window of mere 14 days since the publication of the form.
Keith Stewart of Greenpeace called the process ‘Kafkaesque’, saying it will be more work for the board to read the applications than simply to read the letters from people who want to offer input. “I think it’s a basic tenet of democracy that you should be allowed to get your voice heard,” Mr. Stewart said.
Because ‘bitumen is not oil’, pipelines carrying tar sands crude don’t pay into Oil Spill Trust Fund
Following the most recent spill of 12,000 barrels of Exxon tar sands crude in across parks, streets and wetlands in Mayflower, Arkansas, the tar sands industry finds itself in a bit of a double-bind. On one hand, the prevailing argument is that tar sands crude is not different than other crude (for example with regards to sinking in water or leading to faster pipeline corrosion). On the other hand, they have long been exploiting a flaw in the rules regulating the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which allows them to evade paying for clean up of tar sands spills.
Apparently, diluted bitumen coming from the Alberta tar sands is not technically classified as ‘oil’ and is therefore exempt from paying into the Fund. Read more
Alberta’s carbon tax trial balloon looks like a bold move, but it’s not enough
As plans leaked last week that Alberta is pondering raising the level of its carbon tax for the oil sector, the Pembina Institute released a report on ‘recommendations for greenhouse gas regulations in Canada’s oil and gas sector’, Getting on Track to 2020. This report shows the gap that the oil and gas sector needs to close until 2020 (and shows how it can be done) to contribute for Canada to reach its 2020 emissions reduction targets.
Read more about Pembina’s report here; the report itself ishere