oilsands

Mon, 2015-03-30 16:34James Wilt
James Wilt's picture

Alberta’s New Head of Climate Change Plan, Diana McQueen, Blows Smoke While Province Fails to Act

We will continue to have a strong economy while meeting the 2020 [climate] targets … and we will meet those.”

It was a bewildering statement, like something out of a poorly scripted political drama. The idea that within the next five years, Alberta  the province responsible for over 35 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012  would meet its emissions targets would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.

But that’s what was said.

And by Diana McQueen, a former minister of environment, no less. By the very person who’s now leading the revision of the province’s oft-delayed climate change framework.

Back in 2008, the Alberta government, then headed by Progressive Conservative leader Ed Stelmach, brought forward a fairly weighty climate change strategy. Goals were set, policies outlined.

Our targets,” wrote Stelmach, “are based on sound research not wishful thinking.”

The strategy promised that by 2020, the province’s annual emissions would fall by 50 megatonnes below “business-as-usual” numbers  in 2008, that number was  232 megatonnes per year.

But according to Environment Canada’s most recent projections for emissions, Alberta’s annual output will instead grow to 287 megatonnes a year — an overall increase of 55 megatonnes, which means that the target (a 12 per cent increase from the 2005 number) will be missed by a full 27 Mt.

Tue, 2015-03-24 11:13Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

Access Denied: Ministry of Environment Vetoes Interview Request on Oilsands Toxins in Animals

Documents obtained by DeSmog Canada reveal that Canada’s Ministry of Environment vetoed an interview request on toxins in fur-bearing animals in the oilsands, even though the federal scientist was “media trained and interested in doing the interview.”

The Environment Canada scientist in question, Philippe Thomas, had asked members of the Alberta Trappers Association to send him samples of fur-bearing animals caught across Alberta in 2012. Thomas needed a broad range of samples to gain deeper insight into the contaminant load in animals living near the oilsands.

In late 2012, DeSmog Canada submitted a request to interview Thomas, and provided several written questions to Environment Canada to review.

Documents obtained via Access to Information legislation show that pre-scripted responses were prepared for Thomas should the interview be approved at the upper levels. The request was approved at the deputy general level, but denied in the office of former Environment Minister Peter Kent.

Mon, 2015-03-23 11:47Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

Citizens Take Constitutional, Free Speech Challenge Against National Energy Board to Supreme Court

A group of citizens fighting to speak about climate change and the oilsands at National Energy Board (NEB) reviews of pipeline projects, like the current Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, are taking their battle all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The group, comprised of landowners, academics, owners of business and many others, filed a constitutional challenge against the NEB’s restrictive policies that limit public participation and prevent discussion of climate and upstream oil and gas activities.

The purpose of taking the challenge to the Supreme Court “is to ask that Court to direct the NEB to do its job properly,” David Martin, legal counsel, explained in a statement.

The NEB's claim that it cannot consider scientific evidence regarding the long term impacts of the export of bitumen is simply wrong,” Martin said.

“Instead the NEB is making a misguided choice to adopt an unconstitutionally narrow interpretation of its jurisdiction so as to avoid having to address the real competing public interests that pipeline approval applications necessarily entail.”

Mon, 2015-03-09 17:59Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

Treaty 3 First Nations Sign Declaration Against Transport of Bitumen in Territory Without Consent

A wall of First Nations opposition to the proposed Energy East oil pipeline is emerging in northwestern Ontario, where Treaty 3 Anishinaabe chiefs unanimously endorsed a declaration on crude shipments through their territory.

We are joined to Declare to our Nation, as the political leadership we are determined to ensure that no oil or bitumen shall be transported through Anishinaabe Aki without our full, prior and informed consent,” the eleven-point declaration signed on February 26th in Couchiching First Nation reads.

Much like the Save the Fraser Declaration, which galvanized First Nations opposition against the Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, this document demonstrates Treaty 3 chiefs are also concerned about the risks of piping oil and oilsands (also called tar sands) bitumen through their traditional territory and drinking water supply.

Water is sacred. Water is life,” Chief Fawn Wapioke of Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake #39 First Nation), a signatory of the declaration, said.

Thu, 2015-03-05 13:07Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

Over 1,800 Apply to Participate in Federal Review of Energy East Pipeline, Vast Majority Want to Discuss Climate

Energy East Pipeline climate NEB

By midnight March 3 the National Energy Board (NEB) received 1,801 applications from groups and individuals wishing to express their views on the proposed Energy East oil pipeline. At least 1,250 applicants indicated they want to comment on the impacts the west-to-east pipeline will have on climate change, according to environmental organization 350.org.

I have applied to intervene at the NEB hearing to talk about the impact of the proposed pipeline on greenhouse gas emissions because I think that it’s outrageous that impacts of the pipeline on climate would be deliberately excluded from the assessment process,” Danny Harvey, professor of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto said in a statement.

The NEB, Canada’s federal pipeline regulator, has been clear it will not accept public comments on the climate impacts of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline. With the majority of applicants wanting to comment on this very issue, the NEB is now in a position where it may very well deny most applicants a voice in the regulatory review process.  

This speaks to Canadians wanting to talk about climate change and tar sands expansion at the federal level. There is nowhere else to go to talk about this stuff with the federal government,” Cam Fenton, Canadian Tar Sands Organizer with 350.org, told DeSmog Canada.

Mon, 2015-03-02 12:10Emma Gilchrist
Emma Gilchrist's picture

Woodfibre LNG, Ajax Mine Dropped Big Bucks in B.C.'s Local Elections

Well, the disclosure statements are in and we now know (sort of) how much was spent trying to sway voters during B.C.’s local elections in November.

In addition to disclosures on how much candidates spent during the elections, there are also filings for more than 100 organizations registered with Elections BC as third-party sponsors. This is the first time third parties have been forced to register with Elections BC and report their spending — and at least two resource companies are in the mix.

Big third-party advertisers include Woodfibre LNG, which spent $18,248 on newspaper and radio ads in Squamish, where the company is proposing a liquefied natural gas export terminal. The company spent 17 times what it would be allowed to spend per capita during a provincial election, according to analysis by Integrity BC — a non-profit organization that campaigns to reform B.C.’s electoral finance.

Fri, 2015-02-13 15:29Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

Energy East: Groups Demand Transparency On Proposed Export Terminal in Quebec

transcanada energy east st. lawrence beluga habitat

Environmental organizations are demanding TransCanada clarify immediately whether constructing a marine oil tanker terminal in Quebec is still part of the company’s Energy East oil pipeline project.

[TransCanada] should reconsider its positions and show more transparency by revealing its real intentions behind its project in Quebec. The company should stop showing disregard to Quebecers and give us the real facts,” Christian Simard, director of Nature Québec said in a statement.

Earlier this week the Montreal-based news outlet La Presse reported that several sources in the Quebec government had confirmed TransCanada is no longer considering Cacouna, a port on the St. Lawrence River, as the site of an export terminal for the 4,600 kilometre west-to-east proposed pipeline.

TransCanada quickly denied the report. The Calgary-based pipeline company insists it will make a decision on Cacouna at the end of March.

Wed, 2015-02-11 11:04Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

TransCanada Reportedly Abandons Plans for Energy East Export Terminal in Endangered Beluga Habitat

TransCanada appears to have dumped plans for constructing a marine oil tanker export terminal at the controversial location of Cacouna, Quebec, as part of its Energy East oil pipeline project.

Several sources in the Quebec government told Montreal-based newspaper La Presse TransCanada is abandoning its plans for Cacouna, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, as the 1.1 million barrels-a-day pipeline project’s Quebec export terminal. A second terminal is proposed for Saint John, New Brunswick.

This is a great citizen victory,” Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada in Montreal, said. Cacouna’s close proximity to the breeding grounds of the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whales has been at the centre of controversy around the proposed marine terminal in Quebec.

TransCanada denies its has given up on Cacouna. According to a TransCanada spokesperson, the Calgary-based pipeline company intends on making a decision on the Cacouna terminal at the end of March. Francois Poirier, president of the Energy East, made the same announcement last week.

Tue, 2015-02-10 15:07Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

Canada's Pipeline Review Process Broken But Still Important, Critics Say

The National Energy Board (NEB), Canada’s federal pipeline regulator, has come under tremendous public criticism over the last three years for limiting public participation in its review of major oil pipeline proposals. In recent years the board has denied hundreds of Canadians an opportunity to voice their concerns on projects like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 9.

TransCanada’s Energy East, Canada’s largest proposed oil pipeline, is the newest project to land on the NEB’s desk. Despite major barriers to participation in the public hearing process, Canadians are preparing to apply in droves, even if just for the opportunity to be officially rejected from the process.

We can’t sit back and we can’t afford the luxury of despair,” Donna Sinclair of North Bay, Ontario said. “We need to resist efforts to shut us out of the process.”

Sinclair, who was denied the opportunity to submit a letter of comment regarding the Line 9 pipeline project in 2013, plans on applying to participate in the NEB review process for Energy East.

Sat, 2015-02-07 11:14Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

DeSmogCAST 10: California Fracking Waste, Keystone Climate Impacts and Energy East Pipeline

In this episode of DeSmogCAST our team discusses an ongoing investigation into hundreds of aquifers in California that may have been contaminated with fracking waste. 
 
We also discuss a letter submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State Department which gives new weight to concerns the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, destined to carry crude from the Alberta oilsands to export facilities along the Gulf of Mexico, will have significant climate impacts.
 
Finally we discuss the Energy East pipeline, a massive project currently proposed by TransCanada, the same company behind Keystone. 

Pages

Subscribe to oilsands