A tanker ban is the hard way to deal with Northern Gateway

By Robert Hage, The Globe and Mail, November 21, 2015

Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Transport Minister Marc Garneau a “top-priority” mandate to work with fellow cabinet ministers to “formalize a moratorium” on crude-oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast. This is not a new idea.

In 2010, Joyce Murray, Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra and a former provincial environment minister, introduced a private member’s bill to legislate a tanker ban off the B.C. coast. Her bill was one of five advanced between 2007 and 2011 by opposition Liberal and New Democratic members to stop the development of the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline and terminal project.

Mr. Garneau’s mandate resuscitates these failed legislative attempts. But if the government wants to stop the pipeline, there are much easier ways to do so.

The earlier bills all proposed to amend relevant Canadian legislation to ban tanker traffic in the so-called Fishing Zone 3 north of Vancouver Island, an area comprising Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. To “formalize” an effective moratorium or ban, as the Prime Minister proposes, the new government would seem to have little choice but to take such a legislative route. While the mandate does not define the “North Coast,” it would seem to parallel the area from previous proposals.

What has not been recognized in these proposals is that efforts to ban crude-oil tankers in this area open a Pandora’s box of issues involving the United States: Canada’s historic claims to some of these waters, the unresolved Alaska Panhandle boundary, the passage of U.S. nuclear submarines through Dixon Entrance, innocent passage, freedom of navigation, fishing rights. Yet the new Foreign Affairs Minister was not included in Mr. Garneau’s mandated ministerial consultative group.

Since the 1890s, Canadian authorities have maintained that Dixon Entrance (just south of the Alaska Panhandle) and Hecate Strait (east of Haida Gwaii) are historic internal waters of Canada. Under international law, Canada has complete sovereignty over such waters and can legislate at will. In 1963, prime minister Lester Pearson advised the House of Commons that Canada would make its claim clear (as it subsequently did with the Northwest Passage in 1985) by drawing “straight baselines” across these waters as well as across Queen Charlotte Sound, southeast of Haida Gwaii. Canada took no action until 1971, when Pierre Trudeau’s government drew “fishing closing lines” around the same area to create an exclusive Canadian fishing zone.

That the government refrained from sealing off this large area with straight baselines and denying foreign vessels the right of innocent passage was likely to avoid provoking the United States, which has been consistent in protesting against Canadian actions affecting what it regards as its maritime rights on the North Coast.

Canada’s actions rest on the supposition that these waters belong to Canada. Canada, one of the world’s largest coastal states, has been a champion of coastal state claims to wider areas of jurisdiction. The United States, a world maritime power, has been an advocate for the rights of flag states. Even though U.S. tankers carrying crude oil from Alaska to the Lower 48 do not come along B.C.’s North Coast, it is hard to imagine the United States not protesting against a Canadian tanker ban that rests on Canada’s unilateral internal waters claim.

The proposed tanker moratorium raises other questions. The American-owned Kinder Morgan pipeline already ships Alberta bitumen to the Port of Vancouver for onward shipment to Asia through the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca Strait. The company has applied to triple the pipeline’s capacity, but it would not be affected by the tanker moratorium.

Proposed tanker shipments of liquefied natural gas from locations along the North Coast would also not be affected, although the large LNG tankers would be the same size as those carrying crude and projected LNG tanker traffic would considerably exceed the traffic that would result from a Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline. The proposed moratorium would apply to crude oil, but it is not clear whether it would apply if the oil were to be refined prior to shipment, in either Alberta or B.C. Much of the oil sands’ crude is “upgraded” prior to shipment. Would it be considered crude oil?

Throughout the debate on the status of B.C.’s North Coast waters, Canada has adopted what has been called “a degree of ambiguity,” avoiding unnecessary diplomatic confrontation. Is it in Canada’s interest to change this approach? Above all, we would not want to undermine Canada’s position on the unresolved Dixon Entrance maritime boundary between Alaska and B.C.

If the government wants to stop Northern Gateway, it can simply do so, either by order-in-council or legislation. So why a tanker ban? Alternatively, it could do what the previous Conservative government failed to do – namely, to bring together Alberta, B.C., the region’s First Nations and relevant communities to discuss not just one project, but the sustainable development of the 19 proposed West Coast energy projects.

The “top priority” might well be to take some time and get this right.

Robert Hage is a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and co-author of the 2012 Macdonald-Laurier Institute paper Making Oil And Water Mix.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/a-tanker-ban-is-the-hard-way-to-deal-with-northern-gateway/article27401228/">Download related file in PDF format

Northern refinery still in the works

By Andrew Duffy, Times Colonist, November 20, 2015

Although the Northern Gateway pipeline is seemingly on life support after the Trudeau government imposed a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s northern coast, David Black remains confident that his plan for an oil refinery in Kitimat is still very much alive.

The Victoria businessman said Thursday he has not met with officials in the new government, but expects Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to back the Kitimat Clean plan for a $22-billion refinery.

“The Conservatives were hugely supportive and consultants believe the Liberals will be too because this is the right thing to do for Canada,” said Black, who has pushed his project as the first environmentally sensitive refinery ever built.

“The difference between building this in B.C. [versus building a refinery in Asia] is we are spending $5 billion more to do it the right way … it’s never been done before,” Black said.

He is promising new technology for the refinery designed to reduce greenhouse gases. “Compared to building in Asia, this will save 23 million tonnes a year in CO2 emissions,” Black said.

“It’s not as if it won’t get built, the question is do we build it here or there?”

Black, a newspaper magnate who has 170 papers across North America, said his plant would be able to process 550,000 barrels of bitumen into 460,000 barrels of refined fuel each day.

He said he sides with the Liberal moratorium on crude tanker traffic.

“The whole reason I got into this was to stop tankering [heavy oil]. I think it’s awful and there’s no way to clean it up [if there’s a spill],” Black said. “I agree with them on tankers.”

Black has argued refining heavy oil into products such as gasoline and diesel before shipping would reduce potential for an environmental disaster and be an economic boon for B.C.

With Northern Gateway appearing to be in jeopardy with the moratorium on crude tankers, Black is looking at using rail to transport bitumen from northern Alberta to be refined at his plant.

While he still insists modern pipelines are safe, Black believes there is a means of safely transporting bitumen by rail. Canadian National Railway already has infrastructure in place between northern Alberta and Kitimat.

“Heavy oil is a different substance from light oil, which is explosive. If you crack a rail car, it can run out. Heavy oil at room temperature is solid,” Black said.

He noted a new plan would see heated heavy oil poured into specialized rail cars. “We let it set up. When it drops a couple of degrees, it has the consistency of heavy peanut butter and that’s what we would be shipping.”

His argument for that plan is if there was a derailment, the heavy oil would not run out of the cars.

“In Kitimat, we melt it back out of the cars, which will have steam coils in them,” Black said.

Black has secured financing for the project from a Chinese bank, but he said over the last year he’s been convinced the funds could be found in North America. Black added he has been approached by major financial institutions.

Kitimat Clean is preparing environmental applications for joint review by the province and Ottawa. Black said he expects to submit proposals before Christmas.

That process takes about two years and will cost millions, and then there will be six years of building before oil can be shipped to Kitimat.

http://www.timescolonist.com/business/northern-refinery-still-in-the-works-1.2116402">Download related file in PDF format

Killing Northern Gateway comes with a steep cost

By Gary Mason, The Globe and Mail, November 20, 2015

Governing in theory is easy. Making campaign pronouncements an everyday reality is another thing entirely.

The federal Liberals are discovering this now with their promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year. Terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere have helped undermine support for the undertaking. Now, many are urging the Liberals to give their election pledge a rethink.

There are other Liberal guarantees that will face similar tests, not the least of which is the party’s pledge to drive a stake through Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project by instituting a tanker-traffic ban along the coast of British Columbia. Many believe it is a clever, circuitous way of dispatching the project without having to address the fact it’s already received federal government approval, pending several stipulations.

Enbridge is in the process of addressing the 209 conditions set out last year by the National Energy Board.

One of the reasons it will not be so easy to end this venture is because of the work Enbridge has done bringing many of the more than 40 First Nations communities along the pipeline route onside. So far, 28 bands have signed equity agreements giving them a 10-per-cent share in the profits, among other incentives. The company is expected to soon announce it has reached equity accords with 10 or more other groups.

Enbridge has said aboriginal communities stand to share $1-billion if the project goes ahead.

While there certainly remains some First Nations opposition to the Gateway – the Federal Court is expected to rule early in the new year on one group’s attempt to stop the pipeline – there would appear to be growing support as well. Enbridge put out a statement the other day saying it hoped the federal government would embark on the “required consultation” with First Nations and Metis along the pipeline route, given the “potential economic impact a crude oil tanker ban would have on those communities and Western Canada as a whole.”

In other words, the new federal government should be prepared to meet some resistance from aboriginal groups once thought to be resolutely against the project. Given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s solemn promise to confer with First Nations on just about everything, it will be fascinating to see where this goes.

And we haven’t even mentioned some of the other legal hassles a bill designed to halt tanker traffic along the West Coast will encounter. For instance, any measure that hinders American oil supplies from reaching communities in the Alaska panhandle is not going to make our U.S. neighbours happy. This is an area, remember, the Americans maintain they have freedom to navigate. They will assuredly take the Canadian government to court and have the support of other countries as well.

Meantime, Enbridge, despite all the prognostications that its Gateway plans are as good as dead, presses onward seemingly unaffected by all the doom and gloom. The company continues to address the NEB’s many conditions and is burning good money doing it. To this point, Enbridge has spent more than half a billion dollars on the project, placing its faith in a process that was clearly spelled out at the outset by the previous government.

Should the new regime in Ottawa find a way to scotch Enbridge’s plans, there will be more lawsuits, as the company will rightly want to be reimbursed for the money it invested in this endeavour before the rules were changed.

When you take the dollars Enbridge has already spent, add on the potential loss of income it faces, and then include the prospective revenue First Nations groups would also forfeit and want to be compensated for, suddenly you are talking a whole whack of dough.

The federal government may well end up making good on its promise to ensure the Northern Gateway pipeline never gets built. But it will not be a quick or easy process, nor an inexpensive one. Killing this pipeline could cost Ottawa north of a billion dollars – and months, if not years, in court.

I’m sure at one time it all looked much simpler than that.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/killing-northern-gateway-comes-with-a-steep-cost/article27375968/">Download related file in PDF format

How the University of Calgary’s Enbridge relationship became controversial

By Kyle Bakx & Paul Haavardsrud, CBC News, November 02, 2015

Joe Arvai's tenure at the University of Calgary ended brusquely in July 2012 after the rising academic star balked at leading a new research institute that he felt would be perceived as little more than a corporate mouthpiece for Canada's largest pipeline company.

But Arvai is not the only professor to leave the university over concerns its relationships with the oil industry were too cozy, a CBC investigation has found.

Emails obtained from a freedom of information request suggest a pattern of corporate influence during the bungled attempt to establish a new research centre that cost the university top level academic talent and its Haskayne School of Business upwards of a million dollars in corporate sponsorship. 

The story of the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability covers a short and troubled two-and-a-half years that ended in the fall of 2014.

In that time, documents obtained by the CBC reveal a university bending over backward to accommodate the apparent public relations ambitions of a corporate patron.

Along the way, concerns about academic independence, the role of university research and the credibility of the researchers were dismissed. 

Fraught from the start

In the beginning, the Enbridge Centre looked like a coup for the U of C, its business school and university president Elizabeth Cannon.

To establish the centre, Enbridge pledged $2.25 million over a 10-year period.

More important than the relatively modest sum, at least by oil patch standards, was the potential for more funding down the road.

A pipeline operator and one of Canada's biggest companies, Enbridge has traditionally maintained closer ties to the Edmonton-based University of Alberta.

For the U of C, a new Enbridge-sponsored research centre represented a step towards establishing its own direct relationship with a key industry player.

The pairing, though, was fraught from the start, and one of those who felt that way was Joe Arvai, the young academic – a rising star in the area of organizational decision-making – who had been brought in to head the new venture.

For a young academic, Arvai's march through the academic ranks since graduating with his doctorate in 2001 had been a dream scenario.

In 10 years, he moved from being an assistant professor at Ohio State University to becoming a full professor and the U of C's Svare chair in applied decision research.

Over that time, he was on Barack Obama's energy advisory group during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Stanford named him a Leopold Leadership fellow and he also worked for international agencies such as NASA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board and the International Energy Agency.

From the outset, though, Enbridge's hands-on approach to the new centre troubled Arvai, according to the email trail.

Beyond naming rights, Enbridge sought to influence board memberships, staffing and the type of students that would be considered for awards, the emails show.

The company hired its own public relations firm to publicize the centre's launch, and also wanted "customized opportunities" for Enbridge executives and clients to meet with researchers at the U of C's Haskayne School of Business.

Enbridge also expected the U of C would form a partnership with a university in Michigan in what some have suggested was an attempt to help recuperate its battered reputation in the state after a broken oil pipeline spilled millions of litres into the Kalamazoo River.

In a Jan. 3, 2012 email to Leonard Waverman, the dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the time, Arvai wrote: "I am not sure what we are signing up for. I have the impression that Enbridge sees the centre as a PR machine for themselves, whereas I see it as an academic research centre.

"In the latter case, it's likely that finds of academic work in the centre will not, at times, paint industry — including Enbridge — in the best light. I'm not sure that Enbridge understands this."

The dean responded that he did not understand Arvai's concerns.

At one point the dean told Arvai in a voicemail message, "If this goes belly up my ass is on the line and I won't feel happy with you either on this."

Waverman, who left the U of C near the end of 2012 to become dean of McMaster's DeGroote School of Business, declined an interview request. Arvai also chose not to comment on the advice of legal counsel.

'Contrived relationship'

The benefits to Enbridge in championing this new centre seemed straightforward.

A series of industry pipeline spills were not doing the company any favours. If the centre could help to win hearts and minds for its existing operations or a major new project like the Northern Gateway pipeline, which was grinding through a controversial regulatory review and months of contentious public hearings, then presumably it would be a few million dollars well spent.

When viewed through the lens of the outrage caused by oil spilling into a pristine Midwest river – one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history -- a partnership between the U of C and Central Michigan University, which some would argue makes little sense on paper, becomes much more understandable.

At the same time, the prospect of so nakedly serving corporate interests seemed to appall Arvai.

"My strong concern is that people will view the relationship with CMU as somewhat contrived," Arvai wrote in a March 1, 2012 email to Dan O'Grady, Enbridge's national manager for community partnerships and investment.

"To be blunt, some will view this as a 'payoff' of some sort to CMU in the aftermath of the spill."

Waverman, though, had been more accepting. "If CMU is the price we pay in the short run — that's the price," he wrote in an email to Arvai on April 13, 2011.

'Apologists for industry'

Instances such as the controversy surrounding the Enbridge Centre have done little to refute the U of C's reputation, according to Arvai, of being in the pocket of the oil industry. 

Faculty members, such as business professor Harrie Vredenburg, described Enbridge's influence at the university as a classic case of "he who pays the piper calls the tunes" in an email complaint to Waverman on Aug. 26, 2011.

"Enbridge is doing too much tune calling, in my view, to the point that the Centre's usefulness to [Haskayne school] academics is being sacrificed to Enbridge's PR objectives," Vredenburg wrote.

"Most damningly it smacks of us being apologists for the fossil fuel industry rather than independent scholars and teachers doing work in broadly defined area."

The potential for conflicts of interest to arise when a public institution accepts corporate funding doesn't mean that Canadian universities should necessarily turn away sponsorship dollars.

In fact, corporate money is becoming a more critical part of the funding model for Canadian universities as they no longer receive the same level of financial support from government as they once did.

Increased corporate sponsorship, however, also means that appropriate protocols must be in place to protect researchers and the public interest.

When it comes to the Enbridge Centre, questions remain about whether the university's administration — and U of C president Elizabeth Cannon, in particular — did enough to safeguard these concerns.

Emails show that Cannon was aware of the problems at the Enbridge centre before and after its launch in 2012.

But her emails at the time show she was intent on keeping Enbridge happy, especially considering the company had in the past given more money to the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

"They have traditionally been strong supporters of U of A and this is the first major gift to U of C," Cannon wrote to Waverman on Aug. 23, 2012. "They are not seeing your leadership on this file and are feeling that once the funding was committed, the interest from you was lost. This is not good for you or the university."

When it comes to Enbridge, Cannon also has her own potential conflict of interest by virtue of her being an independent director of Enbridge Income Fund Holdings, since late 2010. She has disclosed this position. Last year, her board compensation from that position amounted to $130,500.

Enbridge's chief executive Al Monaco, meanwhile, is a U of C alumnus who has sat on the university's Board of Governor's Investment Committee as well as the Dean's Advisory Board to the Faculty of Medicine.

Bonnie DuPont, who was a member of centre's board and currently chairs the U of C's board of governors, is a former Enbridge vice president.

Cannon's Enbridge connection

David Keith, a star academic in his own right who left the U of C for Harvard in 2011, has been highly skeptical of the school's apparent chummy relationships with corporate Calgary.

The U of C's handling of the Enbridge centre, Keith said, illustrates the type of choices made by administration that prompted at least two academics, him included, to leave the school. If the dean wasn't aware of Cannon's connection to Enbridge, Keith says that's a potential conflict.

"If Elizabeth was a board member and was receiving money from Enbridge, and the same time wrote an email about that without clearly disclosing her conflict of interest without discussing it — that's ugly," Keith said in an interview with CBC.

In his opinion, "that's the kind of stuff that in an effective managerial culture, the board of governors would call her to account."

In an interview with CBC, Cannon says she does not know if the dean knew of her role with Enbridge. Regardless, she says, "every time I speak, it is as a university president and president of the University of Calgary."

Such close ties between a university and a company aren't necessarily problematic, as long as they're properly managed.

In Keith's view, the university has only itself to blame for losing someone like Arvai who stepped down as the head of the Enbridge centre before its launch, though he remained on the board.

"From my conversations with many people who were involved, including Joe, but several others, and not just conversations, but detailed notes and emails, my understanding is that Joe Arvai was removed as director of the centre before its formation at the specific request of Enbridge," said Keith.

For its part, Enbridge says it values academic independence and didn't attempt to influence the centre's operations or staffing choices. The company told the CBC it made the donation without any strings attached and the partnership in Michigan was not about publicity.

Both Enbridge and the U of C also deny the company had any input in Arvai leaving the director job.

According to the U of C, no academics ever made formal complaints about their academic freedom being infringed upon. The university's president says the institution's credibility and reputation are not at risk.

Last fall, Enbridge's name was taken off the centre. It is now just the Centre for Corporate Sustainability.

Under a revised agreement, the company also dropped its funding to the school by one million dollars. Enbridge continues to sponsor the centre's seminar series, as well as arrangements with several other university departments.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/university-calgary-enbridge-sponsorship-1.3286369">Download related file in PDF format

Open letter to Justin Trudeau: Fix the NEB, ASAP

By Robyn Allan, National Observer, October 25, 2015

Re: National Energy Board and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion

As you know from your extensive election campaign, the National Energy Board (NEB) has lost the public’s trust. This is regrettable.

Canadians need the NEB to operate as an effective and efficient institution that fosters responsible economic growth and development in the long-term interests of Canadians and the environment.

As a professional economist with a long career in both the private and public sector, I was an expert intervenor on behalf of the public interest in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project review. I was also an expert witness at the Enbridge Northern Gateway hearing.

Although the Northern Gateway hearing had its flaws—as numerous court challenges to the Board’s review by First Nations and environmental groups attest—the unfortunate erosion of the NEB as an agent of sound decision making has intensified during the Kinder Morgan review.

The Board’s violations of the basic principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, along with its inability, or unwillingness, to duly consider the Canadian public interest, has turned the review process into a farce and exposed the Board as the industry-captured regulator it has become.

After more than 18 months of intensive participation in the Trans Mountain review, I withdrew. Direct experience with the Board process led me to conclude that the outcome of its deliberations would not be fair or balanced. I have attached, for your information, my letter to the Board detailing my concerns and reasons for withdrawal.

In particular, it explains how the NEB has designed the scope of its review so narrowly, restricted participation so profoundly, and removed essential features of quasi-judicial inquiry—such as cross-examination—so completely, that it pre-determines an outcome that favours Kinder Morgan and puts the rest of us at risk.

Certainly, the appointment of Trans Mountain’s consultant to the Board immediately prior to the election campaign is indicative of the former government’s total disregard for due process and contempt for the Canadian public interest.

In order to return it to the important role it was intended to play, the NEB needs the clear and decisive direction you promised during your campaign, particularly as outlined in the Liberal policy statement on making Environmental Assessments credible again.

As you accurately characterize the issue, “governments might grant permits, but only communities can grant permission.”

Under the current NEB process, Trans Mountain will never be granted a social license to expand. Numerous local mayors have been quite direct and vocal in expressing their concern. In an open letter last March, they called on senior government to step in and fix the broken process.

The call, to date, has gone unheeded.

The only avenue for reasoned intervention capable of setting the NEB process back on a considered and trusted path lies with your government.

That is why I am writing to you today. I wish to bring to your attention the fact that both the NEB and Kinder Morgan continue to operate as if they are unaware of, or doubt the intent of, commitments you and your candidates made during the campaign.

Liberal election campaign commitments were clear

In Esquimalt, B.C., on August 20, 2015, you were very clear when asked if the overhaul of the NEB applied to Kinder Morgan’s application. You answered:

“Yes, yes. It applies to existing projects, existing pipelines as well… because we’re going to change the government and that process has to be redone.”

At campaign events and in interviews, you explained how the Harper government tried to accelerate resource projects by minimizing environmental oversight and marginalizing voices that have legitimate concerns, but that this, ironically, resulted in a lack of progress on pipeline projects.

The gutting of environmental legislation and politicization of the NEB by the former government undermined the Board’s legitimacy. People don’t believe or trust the NEB the way they used to. If elected you confirmed your government would understand the need for both environmental oversight and economic development, and the first step toward this end would be to restore the public’s trust by making the NEB process credible.

Numerous Liberal candidates underscored your commitments during the campaign and recently reconfirmed the need to redo the Trans Mountain review.

North Vancouver newly elected MP Jonathan Wilkinson explained on his website that, “The current National Energy Board regulatory approval process has lost the trust of Canadians. A new, independent, evidence-based process must be established. The Kinder Morgan expansion project must satisfy this new rigourous review that its environmental and social impacts can be effectively addressed.”

In an interview with the Burnaby Now on October 21, 2015, newly elected MP for Burnaby North—Seymour, Terry Beech confirmed:

“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. We’re going to make sure proponents of any major energy projects, including Kinder Morgan, have to work towards getting community support and support from partner First Nations,” he said, reiterating pre-election promises.

“We’ve already said there will be no decision on Kinder Morgan in January (sic). Kinder Morgan will have to go through a new, revised process.”

Kinder Morgan: business as usual?

In stark contrast, Kinder Morgan is dismissive of Liberal promises to fix the system. The company maintains that under a Liberal government it will be business as usual—effectively the same as when the Conservatives behaved as cheerleaders for pipeline projects, rather than referees.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI), is the U.S. parent of Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC. During its third-quarter earnings conference call in Houston, Texas on October 21, 2015, an analyst asked KMI executives how the new Liberal majority might impact Trans Mountain’s application.

Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada Inc., and V-P of KMI, fielded the question. (time: 1:26:15)

“I’m wearing… I’m wearing my Liberal red tie.” After audible laughter, Mr. Anderson continued:

“It’s too early to speculate on what a Liberal government is going to mean for us. You know we’re going to continue to focus on the NEB process that we’re involved in and all the requirements of that while we continue our project planning and preparation. We’ll certainly be briefing the Liberal government in due course on the project and kind of the progress we’ve made but I don’t yet have any comment on what a Liberal government may do to us with respect to the project. We’ll just keep working very hard and keep them informed and plan to execute the project as soon as we get approval.”

It is important to understand what Kinder Morgan means when it says it will “brief” your government.

Mr. Anderson and his staff are intensely engaged in, and skilled at, lobbying government. During the Conservative reign they held numerous meetings with the former Minister of Natural Resources responsible for the NEB—Joe Oliver—and his senior staff. Included in some of those meeting were staff from the prime minister’s office.

Under Freedom of Information I petitioned the substance of the discussion in 20 meetings held during 2013 and 2014. While Kinder Morgan was actively pursuing the expansion of its Trans Mountain system at what was supposed to be an independent NEB hearing it was meeting with the government to lobby its cause.

I was shocked to learn that there were no records, no agenda, no minutes or briefing notes from those meetings—just the required indication on the lobby registry that a meeting to discuss their pipeline interests had taken place.

Not only is the absence of a paper trail irresponsible administration and puts the government at risk, it is also a betrayal of the public trust. All Canadians know is that the meetings were held. What was said, and what promises were made, are effectively secret back-room agreements between a Texas-based multinational and the former Harper government known for championing the cause of pipeline projects before they are assessed.

NEB dismissive of campaign promises

With respect to the NEB, you may be unaware as to how your Trans Mountain review commitments are being treated. As reported by the Burnaby Now, when asked how the Liberal majority changes the NEB process, NEB spokesperson Craig Loewen said the Liberal majority doesn’t change anything for the pipeline at the moment because the process the board follows falls under a legislated mandate.

“That doesn’t change unless the legislation changes or we’re ordered to do things differently,” he explained.

“The reality is there were a lot of things said in the campaign.” (Emphasis added.)

The NEB appears to cynically regard your promises as campaign rhetoric. What Canadians heard as important statements confirming that a Liberal government would restore the credibility of a broken process, the NEB summarily throws into a basket along with “a lot of things said in the campaign.”

The NEB requires clear direction. You have promised an overhaul of the process, you have considered policy direction for the future—and you will require legislative amendments and regulatory changes to enforce your vision.

It is understood that these substantive issues take time to consider and implement. However, unless clear direction is communicated, vested corporate and bureaucratic interests will endeavour to get out in front of promised Liberal policy changes making real change—meaningful change—difficult.

If the NEB review of Trans Mountain is allowed to continue, it will undermine the credibility of your election promises while sending a message to the NEB and Kinder Morgan that it’s business as usual. More significantly, First Nations, communities, organizations and individuals engaged in the review will further incur a significant waste of time and money.

Unlike the unprecedented NEB-sanctioned $136 million fund Kinder Morgan is able to draw on to finance its application, many intervenors do not have access to adequate funding. Forcing intervenors to continue when the process is to be overhauled and the application redone adds insult to injury already sustained during this deeply flawed process.

Taking action now is especially important. The NEB has announced an aggressive time schedule for the preparation of evidence and written argument-in-chief during November and December with delivery of oral summary argument during late December and into February 2016.

Subsequent to oral summary argument the process is finalized but for the delivery of the Board’s report to Cabinet by May 20, 2016.

I respectfully suggest that as soon as practicable an order to suspend the current NEB Trans Mountain review process be issued. This suspension will ensure no further waste of time and resources by any of the parties involved and will provide the assurance that a credible process will be applied to Trans Mountain’s application.

Canadians need this reassurance. It will also enable an opportunity for your government to properly address, and fully consider, the policy and legislative changes necessary to reinstate a credible environmental review process that authentically respects First Nations, the broader public interest and the environment.


Robyn Allan

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/10/25/opinion/open-letter-justin-trudeau-fix-neb-asap">Download related file in PDF format

Northern Gateway hopes to change Trudeau’s mind

By Betsy Trumpener, CBC News, October 21, 2015

While on the campaign trail Justin Trudeau went on record with his strong opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline, so it would be fair to assume his election win means certain death for the project.

But no so fast says Northern Gateway.

Communications Manager Ivan Giesbrect told CBC in an emailed statement, "We look forward to the opportunity to sit down with the new Prime Minister and his government to provide an update on the progress of our project and our partnerships with First Nations and Métis people in Alberta and B.C."

"We're further along [with those partnerships] than may have been perceived."

Last summer Trudeau went on the record stating, "If I win the honour of serving as prime minister, the Northern Gateway Project will not happen. I've been to that part of the world. I've met with many who make their living off the pristine coastal waters. It is just not a place for a pipeline."

Geibrect's statement continues "We share the vision of the Trudeau Government that energy projects must incorporate world-leading environmental standards and First Nations and Métis ownership."

If built, the Northern Gateway Pipeline would carry diluted bitumen 1,177 kilometres from Alberta to a marine terminal to be build near Kitimat.

The proposal has been met with stiff opposition from a wide spectrum including First Nations groups and a number of communities.

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Pipelines & politics: Where the parties stand on oil & gas issues

By Yadullah Hussain, Financial Post, October 15, 2015

If elected, the Liberals will launch an immediate review of Canada’s regulatory process for oil and gas projects, the NDP will work with provinces to put a price on carbon, and the Green Party’s Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan will give every Canadian over age 18 an annual carbon dividend. The incumbent Conservatives oppose all these plans, as the Canadian political parties paint starkly different visions of the country’s oil and gas sector.

Here are their views on key oil and gas issues:

Are you in favour of, or opposed to, TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL project?

Bloc Québécois: This decision is up to the Americans. However, the Bloc Québécois supports ambitious targets gas reduction of greenhouse gases and tar sands development is incompatible with the achievement of these objectives.

Conservatives: Yes. Keystone XL will create jobs for Canadian and American workers, while enhancing the energy security of North America. We agree with the U.S. State Department that Keystone XL should be approved on its merits. The State Department has indicated it can be developed in an environmentally sustainable manner. Canadian and American crude carried by Keystone XL will replace imports of insecure crude from Venezuela, which has the same or higher GHG emissions.

Green Party: As Elizabeth May said: “Every pipeline – whether it’s Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan’s expansion through Burnaby Mountain to the Burrard Inlet, Energy East, or Keystone XL, are all about one thing: getting raw, unprocessed bitumen to coastlines. These pipelines and supertankers are premised on a risky economic strategy. We have already seen how Harper’s strategy of putting all our eggs in the bitumen basket has hurt our economy.”

Liberals: Liberals support Keystone XL. On balance, it would create jobs and growth, strengthen our ties with the world’s most important market, and generate wealth. It would also offer much needed flexibility to a constrained continental energy delivery system.

The Conservative government has failed to move the yardsticks on approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. Instead of working together to resolve obstacles to approval, the Prime Minister and others have taken every opportunity to make it harder for the Americans to allow Keystone to proceed.

If we had stronger environmental policy in this country – stronger, transparent oversight, tougher penalties, and a means to price carbon pollution – the Keystone XL pipeline would have been approved already.

If we do not demonstrate to the world that we have our act together as a country on the environment, we will find it harder and harder to get our resources to global markets.

NDP: We don’t think this is the right project for Canada. Keystone XL will ship away thousands of quality, well-paid jobs south of the border. The government should be doing more to protect value-added upgrading jobs right here in Canada. Stephen Harper has been ignoring environmental concerns and pushing full speed ahead with a pipeline proposal, and Justin Trudeau has been cheering him on.

The reality is that there are serious concerns on both sides of the border about the Keystone XL project, and Hillary Clinton’s recent comments in opposition to the pipeline reflect this reality. Conservative inaction on the environment has led to widespread opposition and is threatening our relationship with some of our closest trading partners. We need to find the right balance, something the Conservatives have refused to do.

Are you in favour of, or opposed to, Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain XL project?

Bloc Québécois: This decision is up to the Americans. However, the Bloc Québécois supports ambitious targets gas reduction of greenhouse gases and tar sands development is incompatible with the achievement of these objectives.

Conservatives: We do not take positions on specific proposals for energy infrastructure before thorough, rigorous, science-based review by the independent regulator is complete. Subject to independent review, our government supports energy infrastructure that would generate revenue for critical social programs including health care, pensions and education. We have been clear: projects will only proceed if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. Proposals can only move forward once the proponent satisfies the independent National Energy Board’s conditions and demonstrates the pipeline can be operated safely.

Green Party: The Green Party is opposed to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain XL project. Kinder Morgan proposes a seven-fold increase in oil sands tanker traffic through Vancouver and Burnaby. The Kinder Morgan pipeline will endanger local ecosystems and economies. The Green Party strongly opposes any increase in tanker traffic, and has advocated for a legislated ban on supertankers on the British Columbia coast.

As an intervenor in the NEB approval process, Elizabeth May has fought against the expanded pipeline. Lynne Quarmby, Green Party Science Policy Critic and candidate (Burnaby-North Seymour), became the face of public opposition to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion when she was arrested as a protester on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014.

Liberals: Liberals believe that Canada needs new infrastructure, including pipelines, to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. However these projects must earn the trust of local communities, respect indigenous rights, and cannot put our lands and waters at risk.

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project is undergoing an environmental assessment, and it would be inappropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the review.

The Conservatives have not gotten a single pipeline project approved in 10 years because they torqued the review process and ignored environmental concerns and proper consultation. Their polarizing approach to resource development and pipelines has hurt rather than enhanced Canada’s ability to get resources to market.

NDP: Every project needs to be evaluated on its merits, like safety, environmental soundness and economic impact, with full community consultation and strong environmental protections. This project can’t be given a proper review in the absence of a thorough, credible, complete assessment process – something that the Conservatives have dismantled. We will adopt a responsible, sustainable environmental review process that puts communities and Canadian interests first.

Are you in favour of, or opposed to, Enbridge Inc. Northern Gateway project?

Bloc Québécois: The Bloc Québécois defends the prerogative of Quebec and the provinces to decide whether pipelines can cross their territory. It is up to British Columbia and its government to accept or reject the Northern Gateway project. However, the Bloc Québécois defends ambitious targets gas reduction of greenhouse gases and tar sands development is incompatible with the achievement of these objectives.

Conservatives: The government accepted the independent Panel’s recommendation to impose 209 conditions on the Northern Gateway Pipelines’ proposal. The proponent must demonstrate to the independent regulator, the National Energy Board, how it will meet the 209 conditions.
It will also have to apply for regulatory permits and authorizations from federal and provincial governments. In addition, consultations with Aboriginal communities are required under many of the 209 conditions that have been established and as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits. No proposals can proceed unless they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.

Green Party: The Northern Gateway pipeline asks B.C. to take an unacceptably high risk with our natural environment, salmon, Great Bear Rainforest, coastlines, tourism and fisheries. It is a twinned pipeline over a thousand kilometres, over some of the most rugged wilderness. We strongly support the legal challenge of the unbalanced decision by eight First Nations, four environmental groups and one labour union to overturn the approval.

Liberals: Liberals reject the Conservatives’ decision to approve the Northern Gateway Project in British Columbia. We have serious concerns about how this pipeline will affect the coastal economy and the environment, local communities, and First Nations.

The entire review process failed to consult adequately with local communities and Indigenous Peoples, and Canadians have not been reassured that the local economy and environment will be protected.

We are committed to reversing the decision to approve this pipeline if we should form the government after the next election.

NDP: New Democrats oppose the Northern Gateway project because it puts jobs and the B.C. coastline at risk. It’s not surprising that the B.C. Government, First Nations and communities have rejected this project. The proposal would send Eiffel-Tower-sized supertankers into some of the world’s most dangerous waters, off of one of the world’s most fragile coastlines. The risks are simply unacceptable. Even a modest spill will contaminate this pristine coastline for decades—ravaging the tourism industry and the salmon fishery. The only people that seem to be interested in pushing through this project are Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Are you in favour of, or opposed to, TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East project?

Bloc Québécois: The Bloc Québécois is opposed to any new pipeline project in the territory of Quebec for export, including East Energy project.

Conservatives: Again, we support proposals for energy infrastructure subject to thorough, rigorous and science-based review by the independent regulator. We’re disappointed the Liberals refuse to clearly express their support for this job creating proposal. New proposals for energy infrastructure create Canadian jobs and further replace foreign crude in Quebec and Atlantic Canada with a secure source of Canadian crude.

We support energy infrastructure that would generate revenue for critical social programs including health care, pensions and education. Proposals can only move forward when the proponent satisfies the independent National Energy Board’s conditions and demonstrates the pipeline can be operated safely.

Green Party: We oppose Energy East and its proposal to increase tanker traffic through the Bay of Fundy. Even the Ontario Energy Board has ruled that Energy East poses more risks than benefits.

Liberals: Liberals believe that Canada needs new infrastructure, including pipelines, to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. However these projects must earn the trust of local communities, respect Indigenous rights, and cannot put our lands and waters at risk.

The Energy East project is undergoing an environmental assessment, and it would be inappropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the review.

The Conservatives have not gotten a single pipeline project approved in 10 years because they torqued the review process and ignored environmental concerns and proper consultation. Their polarizing approach to resource development and pipelines has hurt rather than enhanced Canada’s ability to get resources to market.

NDP: Moving oil from west to east makes sense, but it’s not responsible to go ahead with Energy East unless there’s a strong environmental review regime in place. We know that the Conservatives just want to rubber stamp these projects. Refining Canadian oil in Canada makes sense, but we need to ensure that a strong environmental review regime is in place to determine if projects like Energy East are safe and sustainable before they can proceed. An NDP government will strengthen the environmental assessment regime to ensure that the public interest and our environment are protected.

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Ottawa defends ‘thorough’ Northern Gateway review at Vancouver court hearing

By Laura Kane, The Globe and Mail, October 06, 2015

The Canadian government is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to uphold its controversial decision to approve the $7-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project.

First Nations, environmental groups and a union are asking the court to quash the decision because of an alleged failure to consider environmental threats or consult with aboriginal bands.

But government lawyer Jan Brongers argued Tuesday that the federal review was extensive, and there must be a high bar for a court to overturn a democratically elected cabinet’s decision.

“It is our firm position that the order-in-council, which is the culmination of a lengthy, thorough and fair environmental assessment process, which included honourable consultation with the impacted First Nations, strongly deserves to be left in place.”

The government approved the proposal from Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) in June 2014 with 209 conditions, including the creation of plans to protect caribou habitats and marine mammals.

The 1,177-kilometre twin pipeline would ship 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen a day from Alberta’s oilsands to a terminal on British Columbia’s north coast for overseas shipping.

Brongers said the federal review panel concluded the 209 conditions would mitigate nearly all the ecological risks, apart from threats to certain woodland populations of grizzly bears and caribou, which were found to be “justified” given the economic benefits.

The government has said Northern Gateway would diversify Canada’s energy export markets and contribute to long-term economic security. The project has been estimated to be worth $300 billion in gross domestic product over 30 years.

Eight First Nations argued last week that Canada violated its constitutional duty to consult with them before it approved the project. Brongers responded that the panel heard both oral and written evidence from indigenous groups and determined the pipeline would not have significant adverse effects on traditional use of their lands.

The lawyer urged the three judges presiding over the case to consider previous rulings that have set a high standard for a court to toss a government decision on a resource project. There were only a handful of scenarios in which they could quash the project approval, he said, including if a decision broke the law or if it had no reasonable basis in fact.

“In other words, applicants who disagree with a (government) decision on whether or not to conditionally approve a resource transportation project will have a tough hill to climb if they choose to challenge it in a judicial forum rather than in the political arena,” he said.

The B.C. government and Northern Gateway are set to state their cases later this week, before the hearing is expected to wrap Thursday.

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First Nations leaders lash Harper govt as court challenge to Northern Gateway pipeline gets underway

By Laura Kane, Canadian Press, October 01, 2015

First Nations that have launched a court fight to block the Northern Gateway pipeline project say the challenges will determine whether their relationship with the next federal government is one of collaboration or confrontation.

Eight aboriginal bands, four environmental groups and a labour union are in the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver, trying to overturn the government’s approval of the $7-billion plan to ship diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to B.C.’s coast.

The government placed 209 conditions recommended by the National Energy Board on the construction of the pipeline, including that there be development of a marine mammal protection plan, a caribou habitat restoration plan and enhanced marine spill modelling.

Speaking just before the start of the hearing on Thursday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said Stephen Harper’s government has demonized First Nations over the issue of resource development.

The federal government declared many of the large projects of national interest and ignored First Nations concerns, he said.

“I absolutely pray that we elect a national government that has a better national vision for this country, that’s more inclusive and more respectful of what the indigenous peoples are attempting to tell this country.”

Haida Nation council president Peter Lantin said the project’s approval jeopardizes his community’s years of work to build a relationship with the federal government.

Lantin said the environmental assessment by a federal review panel didn’t look at Northern Gateway’s potential effects on the region.

“Haida Gwaii is a unique ecosystem,” Lantin said. “It’s a beautiful place on Earth that deserves protecting.”

Pete Erickson, a hereditary chief with the Nak’azdli First Nation, said his community’s decision to reject Northern Gateway was not taken lightly. The nation conducted extensive studies on the potential impacts to the land, he added.

“We’re asking the court to side with us,” he said. “Under no circumstances will Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project be allowed in Nak’azdli territory.”

A Northern Gateway spokesman has said the review was among the most exhaustive in Canadian history, spanning 180 days of hearings.

Canada’s Attorney General, Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership and the National Energy Board are named as respondents to the challenges.

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First Nations’ challenges of Northern Gateway pipeline to be heard in court

By Laura Kane, The Globe and Mail, September 30, 2015

Multiple legal challenges aimed at overturning the federal government’s approval of Enbridge Inc. Northern Gateway pipeline plan will be heard starting Thursday.

The challenges are expected to bring new scrutiny to Ottawa’s environmental approval process and its responsibility to consult with aboriginal groups.

Eight First Nations, four environmental groups and one labour union launched the legal actions, which will be heard at the Federal Court of Appeal over six days in Vancouver.

Their arguments include that the federal panel that reviewed the project didn’t adequately consider threats to wildlife and oceans and excluded key issues of concern to First Nations.

“There was no consultation,” said Terry Teegee, a tribal chief with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, which represents two communities that have filed litigation. “We didn’t participate in the Joint Review Panel process because it didn’t address the issues that we wanted, in terms of the cumulative impacts of the project as well as our title and rights.”

The government accepted the panel’s recommendations and in June, 2014, approving the $7-billion project that would carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to British Columbia’s coast. There were 209 conditions attached to the approval.

Canada’s Attorney-General, Northern Gateway Pipelines L Partnership and the National Energy Board are named as respondents to the challenges.

Three organizations – Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and British Columbia’s Attorney-General – will make arguments as intervenors.

The federal government declined to comment ahead of the hearings.

Speaking for Northern Gateway, Ivan Giesbrecht said the company recognizes traditional aboriginal land-use rights and believes First Nations should share in ownership and benefits.

“Our ongoing priority is to continue to build trust, engage in respectful dialogues and build meaningful partnerships with First Nations and Métis communities,” he said.

“We know we have more work to do in this regard and we are committed to doing this work,” Mr. Giesbrecht said.

Mr. Giesbrecht said the Joint Review Panel’s examination of the Northern Gateway project was among the most exhaustive in Canadian history, spanning 180 days of hearings.

But Karen Wristen of the Living Oceans Society, among the groups that filed challenges, said the panel appeared to ignore crucial evidence submitted by intervenors.

Her organization’s evidence indicated spilled bitumen would sink beneath the ocean’s surface, making it impossible to recover using conventional technology. The panel’s report, however, found the environment would recover within months or years – a conclusion for which Ms. Wristen said there’s no evidence.

She said she hopes the hearings draw attention to Canada’s “suffering” environmental assessment process.

“I think environmental assessment in this country is in deep, deep trouble at the moment,” she said. “It’s not providing the kind of in-depth scientific review that the government would have us believe it is.”

Pete Erickson, a hereditary chief with the Nak’azdli First Nation, said Enbridge was given days to present its case to the panel while he got 10 minutes to speak for his people. He said a 2014 Supreme Court decision that gave land title to the Tsilhqot’in sets a precedent that requires the government to not only consult with First Nations, but seek their approval.

“We’ve said that under no circumstances is the pipeline ever going to be allowed in the current presentation,” he said. “We’ve decided that there’s no way we can allow it and I believe that the court will recognize that we have the right to say that.”

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Clinton’s comments put pipelines back on to Canadian election agenda

By Kelly Cryderman, The Globe and Mail, September 23, 2015


Hillary Clinton’s decision to voice her opposition to the Keystone XL project this week has thrust pipeline politics back into the federal election campaign.

Even before the U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner waded into the North American energy development fray, the federal government’s approach to pipeline development was likely to be a key issue for voters in Alberta and British Columbia, and parts of Atlantic and Central Canada – whether they are pro- or anti-pipeline.

For the political parties, that means “there’s some careful dancing that has to happen,” said Jamie Lawson, a political scientist at the University of Victoria.

A day after Ms. Clinton’s pronouncement, the NDP used it to criticize Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for being supportive of Keystone. “Are Trudeau and Harper both on Team Trump 2016?” said a news release from the New Democrats.

The statement was meant to compare the two Canadian leaders to the U.S. Republicans’ most bombastic presidential candidate, Donald Trump. It’s clear where Conservative Leader Stephen Harper stands on pipelines: He is an unabashed supporter of new projects, assuming they’ve gone through his government’s environmental assessment process. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is just as direct in her position, saying her party “opposes every single one of the pipelines that are proposed.”

But Canadian voters need to decipher the nuanced take on pipeline development by the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair and Trudeau. Now that TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL has been lumped in with Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway in the category of projects with diminished prospects for success, the two leaders’ positions on other, more likely, proposed projects will come under more scrutiny.

As Canada’s oil industry struggles with the economics of $45-a-barrel oil, Canadian midstream companies are looking past election day on Oct. 19 to whether Ottawa will be cool or welcoming to new oil pipelines. Enbridge spokesman Graham White said the company will do as it always has, and “focus on ensuring governments understand the fundamentals so they can best adapt to the changing needs and requirements of the industry.”

Energy insiders also say they’re watching the political race to see whether the Conservative government’s three-year-old changes to the regulatory process, meant to streamline approvals and reduce duplication, will remain after the election.

Both the NDP and the Liberals charge that the government has weakened environmental laws and regulatory processes to the detriment of the public trust and Canada’s international reputation – and this has in fact hurt pipeline development. However, the two parties are far from taking a one-size-fits-all approach to pipelines.

Mr. Mulcair has steadfastly opposed Keystone XL – an 800,000-barrel-per-day project that would bring bitumen to U.S. refineries that specialize in heavy oil – on the grounds that he wants more processing jobs in Canada. He also has spoken against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project out of concerns about supertankers coming in and out of Douglas Channel in B.C.

It’s on other projects that Mr. Mulcair is more difficult to pin down. While he once described the 4,600-kilometre Energy East pipeline as a “pro-business, common-sense” project, he has cooled to the TransCanada proposal, and said opposition stems from the Conservative government’s decision to weaken the Navigable Waters Protection Act and a confrontational approach with First Nations. When it comes to Kinder Morgan Canada’s plan to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline conduit, enabling shipments of Alberta crude to Asia, the NDP leader says he shares Green Party concerns about the increase in tanker traffic.

At the same time, he’s not 100-per-cent opposed to either of the two projects. “Opposing these pipelines systemically in advance is just as wrong as supporting them in advance,” Mr. Mulcair said in August. He notes that building Energy East – which would be able to ship 1.1 million barrels of crude per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries and port terminals in Eastern Canada – could reduce oil-by-rail traffic.

In Victoria, Prof. Lawson says the NDP must tread carefully. “There is a green kind of voter who is concerned not just about these [pipeline] developments – not just with respect to value-added or the local impacts – but is concerned because of what it does to accelerate or continue a dependence on fossil fuels.”

Mr. Trudeau has also shifted his position on proposed projects. On the Trans Mountain expansion, Mr. Trudeau told Calgary’s Metro News early in 2014 that he hoped “we’re going to be able to get that pipeline approved.” However – perhaps recognizing growing opposition to the project – he has more recently said it requires “public trust.”

Similarly to Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Trudeau criticizes the environmental and regulatory process under the Conservatives, and says Energy East needs a strong “social licence.”

The NDP position becomes more difficult to read when Mr. Mulcair talks about making greenhouse gas emissions part of the calculation for pipeline approvals. Mr. Trudeau has made similar proposals. This will be difficult to reconcile on a number of fronts, including the fact that older pipelines, still in operation, were approved before emissions were taken into account.

Petronas mulls changes to bridge, jetty site for B.C. LNG terminal

By Brent Jang, Vancouver Sun, September 14, 2015

Pacific NorthWest LNG is considering altering the trajectory of a planned suspension bridge and jetty in British Columbia in an effort to address the environmental concerns of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation.

The Petronas-led consortium’s proposal to export liquefied natural gas has been criticized by Lax Kw’alaams leaders, who are warning about the impact to fish habitat from building a B.C. LNG plant near Flora Bank – a sandy area that is visible at low tide.

AltaCorp Capital Inc. analyst Mark Westby, who co-wrote a new report on B.C. LNG, said on Monday that the challenge is how to redesign the suspension bridge and trestle-supported jetty to position them farther away from ecologically sensitive Flora Bank.

Flora Bank, which contains eelgrass that serves as habitat for juvenile salmon in the Skeena River estuary, is located next to the proposed $11.4-billion LNG terminal on Lelu Island in northwestern British Columbia.

The consortium, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, has envisaged constructing the 1.6-kilometre-long suspension bridge to carry a pipeline beginning on Lelu Island and extending over the northwest flank of Flora Bank. That bridge would connect with a 1.1-kilometre jetty that is slated to stretch to a marine terminal for ocean-going LNG tankers.

“Engineering issues and shipping channels will dictate what is viable,” AltaCorp said in its report, noting that the location of an “anchor block” is being scrutinized because that is the meeting point where the bridge would end and the jetty begin.

Flora Bank and Lelu Island are part of the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

Spencer Sproule, Pacific NorthWest LNG’s senior adviser of corporate affairs, said the consorti- um has been reviewing its engineering for the terminal and also the bridge and jetty that would lead to the berth for LNG carriers.

“Our current investigative works program is a continuation of two earlier phases of soil investigation from 2013 and 2014,” Mr. Sproule said. “Significant consultation has taken place with local First Nations and stakeholders. Engineering for a project of this size is an iterative and methodical process.”

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is expected to rule by early 2016 on whether to approve Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project, to be situated on federal Crown property administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

AltaCorp noted that the federal New Democratic Party has indicated its support for more extensive environmental assessments, so if the NDP emerges as the winner of the Oct. 19 election, that could further delay the project.

In its 97-page report, AltaCorp said that, of 20 B.C. LNG proposals so far, it sees four as having the best chance of coming to fruition. One is a small-scale joint venture called Douglas Channel LNG, backed by AltaGas Ltd. The remaining three are major proposals – Pacific NorthWest LNG; Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada; and WCC LNG, co-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. and Imperial Oil Ltd.

Peters & Co. Ltd. cautioned last week that there could be delays and cancellations with B.C. LNG projects, but still believes the industry is viable. “Our view remains that LNG export is likely to be developed on the Canadian West Coast,” Peters & Co. said in its report.

Pacific NorthWest LNG has been targeted by several Lax Kw’alaams hereditary chiefs, who helped set up an occupation camp on Lelu Island three weeks ago. Gitxsan hereditary chiefs issued a statement Monday to offer their support to their Lax Kw’alaams counterparts.

Joey Wesley, a spokesman for the Gitwilgyoots, one of nine allied tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams, said LNG plans have not been properly evaluated.

The Lax Kw’alaams, one of five Tsimshian First Nations consulted last year during the provincial environmental review, opposed the energy export proposal during voting earlier this year. Two groups, the Metlakatla and the Kitselas, signed impact benefit agreements with Pacific NorthWest LNG in December. Two others, the Kitsumkalum and Gitxaala, have not yet announced their decisions.

“It’s important to take our time and hear from all interested parties as we move through the design phase of our proposed facility,” Mr. Sproule said.

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Liberals vow to stop oil tanker traffic along northern B.C. coast if elected

CTV News, September 11, 2015

The federal Liberals are promising a moratorium on oil tanker traffic along the northern coast of British Columbia.

The move would effectively kill any pipeline projects through the area -- including the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau opposes -- and make official a non-binding motion the House of Commons passed in 2010.

The Liberal pledge would put Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound off limits to tanker traffic as part of the party's push to protect ecologically sensitive areas.

The move puts the Liberals at odds with the Conservatives who favour a pipeline to the West Coast to move Alberta oil overseas to Asia-Pacific markets.

Trudeau made the announcement in Vancouver on Thursday as he unveiled a party plan to protect Canada's oceans that included a pledge to reinstate $40 million cut from the ocean science and monitoring program at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The plan would also expand protected marine and coastal areas.

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Pipeline politics: Where do the major parties stand on the proposed projects?

By Michelle Zillo, CTV News, September 08, 2015

Energy became a key election issue just weeks into the marathon campaign, with the leaders facing questions about their positions on a number proposed pipeline projects.

But some party leaders have been clearer than others on controversial projects.

The Green Party is the only one to oppose all current pipeline project proposals that plan to ship raw bitumen out of Canada. During the August leaders debate, Leader Elizabeth May attacked the Conservative and NDP’s stance on pipeline projects. In particular, she took aim at NDP Leader Tom Mulcair about whether he supported the Kinder Morgan project proposed for B.C. “It’s pretty straight forward,” she said. “They plan to put three times as many tankers moving out of Vancouver loaded with diluted bitumen, hazardous risky material.”

May has said every current pipeline proposal is about “getting raw, unprocessed bitumen to tidewater.”

Among her explanations of why the Green Party rejects all proposed pipelines is that they are based on a “risky economic strategy.” She has also expressed concern that a single accident could “cripple the entire billion dollar fisheries and tourism industry.” Instead, the Green Party has said it wants a national energy strategy with a strong climate plan.

Here’s breakdown of each of the other parties' stance on four major pipeline proposals.

TransCanada’s $8 billion Keystone XL project would carry crude oil and bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands through the U.S. to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to Texas refineries.

The proposed 1,900-kilometre pipeline has become a sore spot for U.S.-Canada relations over its years-long delay. While the Conservative government has branded the pipeline as a benefit to both countries, U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed doubt about the number of permanent jobs it will create, and vetoed a Republican-backed bill to bypass a State Department review and begin construction of the project.

Last month, U.S. Republican Senator John Hoeven predicted Obama would reject the pipeline when Congress went on break in August. And TransCanadasources close to the project recently told The Canadian Pressthat they feel rejection is likely.

But with Canadian politicians on the campaign trail, it’s unclear how the Oct. 19 federal election will affect the timing of a U.S. decision on Keystone.

Conservatives - YES
Harper has made his position on the Keystone pipeline crystal clear, once calling the U.S. approval of the project is a “no brainer” and, at a later date, describing the approval as inevitable-- if not under the Obama administration, than the subsequent administration. The project’s approval has undoubtedly been one of Harper’s highest priorities as prime minister.

The Conservative government has long-touted the benefits the proposed pipeline offers, including job creation and the replacement of oil imports from insecure countries like Venezuela with a reliable supply from Canada.

The Conservatives also point to an environmental review by the U.S. State Department concluding that the pipeline would not significantly impact the environment, as some environmental groups have warned.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair opposes the pipeline, saying the project represents the export of 40,000 jobs to the U.S. Rather, Mulcair has said he would like to see the bitumen moved within Canada to keep those jobs in the country and “take care of Canada’s energy security.”

There has been some controversy around the job numbers relating to Keystone. While an analysis by the U.S. State Department found that the pipeline would support 42,100 jobs during the one- to two-year construction period, only 35 permanent and temporary jobs will remain in place once Keystone XL is complete and fully operational.

The federal New Democrats have support for their position on Keystone from Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, who has said her newly elected government won’t lobby for the pipeline.

Mulcair has said he would strengthen the environmental review process for pipeline projects to ensure they meet Canada’s international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Liberals - YES
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has said he backs Keystone because it is in the public interest.

However, he has criticized Harper for letting the project come between Canada and the U.S., calling it a “diplomatic failure.” Speaking in June to Canada 2020, a progressive think tank, Trudeau accused Harper of doing nothing to address the Obama administration’s environmental concerns relating to Keystone.

The Liberals have suggested the pipeline may have had a better chance of approval if the Conservative government had done more on climate change.

TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline would ship up to 1.1 million barrels of oilsands crude per day to refineries and export terminals in Quebec by 2017, and to New Brunswick by 2018. The company wants to convert the current natural-gas pipeline, which ends in eastern Ontario, to oil service, and add new pipe in order to deliver crude to Quebec and New Brunswick.

The 4,600-kilometre pipeline’s lengthy route through many provinces -- Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick -- also makes it a sensitive project.

In October 2014, TransCanada submitted its project application for the Energy East pipeline to the National Energy Board (NEB), which now has 15 months to review the application. That gives the NEB until early 2016 to make a recommendation to the federal cabinet on the project.

But a cloud of criticism hovers over the $12-billion proposed pipeline, with opponents of the project describing it as unsafe for the environment.

Conservatives – YES, IN PRINCIPLE
Harper has said that the Energy East pipeline is a good project in principle, as it’s important that Canada get its energy products to market. However, the Conservative government has highlighted the fact that all pipeline projects must undergo a review process.

Mulcair has faced criticism for his position on Energy East. Trudeau has accused him of double-speak on the project by sounding doubtful about it when speaking in French, and more optimistic in English. While the project is widely opposed in Quebec, it has huge support in western Canada -- both regions the NDP would like to gain more seats, forcing the party to walk a fine line on the pipeline.

If elected, the NDP has said it would introduce a new approval process for big energy projects and restart the process for Energy East. The party also says more consultation is needed on the project before making a decision.

"You can't say 'yes' to Energy East or any other project right now because the public simply can't have confidence (in the process),” said Mulcair last week. "So the first thing we'll do is put back the process, and re-start Energy East under that credible process."

Notley, however, has said she is in favour of Energy East, expressing hope that Quebec will support the project if Alberta does its part to protect the environment along the way.

Trudeau has said he won’t fully support Energy East until more public consultations are held to address environmental concerns related to the project.

Amidst Trudeau’s hesitancy to back the pipeline, his Liberal colleague in New Brunswick, Premier Brian Gallant, has said he hopes the provinces and territories can co-operate on energy projects like Energy East. Gallant says the project would help grow the economy and create jobs -- some 2,300 in New Brunswick alone, according to TransCanada.

Enbridge’s 1,177-kilometre Northern Gateway pipeline would carry bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to the B.C. coast town of Kitimat, and then be shipped overseas.

The Conservative government conditionally approved the Northern Gateway project last June on the basis that it meets the 209 conditions set out by a joint federal review panel in 2013. Those conditions include consultations with affected aboriginal communities, as well as authorization from federal and provincial governments.

The B.C. government has also said that Northern Gateway still doesn’t meet the five conditions for approval set out by the province, which include a full environmental review and respect for aboriginal and treaty rights.

Environmental and aboriginal groups have expressed fierce opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline, filing almost 20 legal challenges against the project since the feds approved it last year.

Conservatives – CONDITIONAL YES
The Harper government has long said that Northern Gateway is crucial to the development of Canada’s natural resources sector, making it a big part of its energy strategy.

However, it’s important to note how the Harper government’s approach to the pipeline has changed over the years. Harper, who once said Energy East was of “vital interest” to Canada, only issued a press release when cabinet approved the project, and didn’t put up any caucus members at the time to talk about the decision. The Harper government has since emphasized the work that the “proponent” -- or Enbridge -- has to do to fulfill the public commitment it made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the pipeline’s route.

The NDP immediately denounced the government’s conditional approval of the pipeline last year, saying it is part of Harper’s “big oil agenda.”

If elected, Mulcair has said an NDP government would immediately reverse the decision to accept the NEB’s approval of the pipeline. The NDP leader also believes the pipeline will be an election issue in B.C., where many of the affected communities are located.

And, again, Mulcair finds support from Notley in Alberta, who has said her government won’t lobby for the Northern Gateway project.

Liberals – NO
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also opposes the Northern Gateway pipeline.

“If I win the honour of serving as prime minister, the Northern Gateway pipeline will not happen,” he said after the government approved the project last year.

“This government has been nothing but a cheerleader for this pipeline from the very beginning when Canadians needed a referee.”

Kinder Morgan’s $7-billion twin pipeline would triple the bitumen-carrying capacity of the current Trans Mountain pipeline, by adding nearly 1,000 kilometres of new pipe between Edmonton and Vancouver. From there, it would be shipped to Asian markets. The proposal would also increase the number of tankers in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet from five to 34.

Earlier this month, the NEB issued 145 draft conditions that the company must meet if the Trans Mountain expansion is to be approved, including improved emergency response, increased consultation with First Nations and details about plans to protect endangered species.

Kinder Morgan boasts that Northern Gateway would create 180 local jobs worth $17 million and more spinoff jobs for contractors and suppliers.

But environmental groups and several First Nations are opposed to the project, saying it threatens B.C.’s sensitive coastline and the Great Bear Rainforest. For instance, an independent review by the the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in B.C. found that a spill could kill as many as 500,000 birds and destroy up to 25 kilometres of shoreline.

Conservatives - YES
The Conservative government has pressed for the Trans Mountain pipeline as part of its push for oilsands development and pipeline growth.

In the first leaders’ debate of the federal election earlier this month, Mulcair refused to say whether he would approve or reject Energy East, despite repeated calls from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to do so.

"Do you support Kinder Morgan?" the Green leader repeatedly asked Mulcair.

Mulcair did not directly answer May, rather saying the project needs to go through a rigorous review process first.

“Ms. May takes the position that you can say no to them, all of them, in advance. Mr. Harper is taking the position that you can say yes to all of them in advance. We want a clear, thorough, credible process that the public can have confidence in,” said Mulcair during the debate.

Trudeau has indicated that he’s willing to consider the proposed the Trans Mountain project if it passes environmental review and gets support from the affected communities. He has said that Kinder Morgan can learn from Enbridge’s experience that “community buy-in is at the centre of infrastructure projects.”

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/pipeline-politics-where-do-the-major-parties-stand-on-the-proposed-projects-1.2525685">Download related file in PDF format

Pipeline politics: What you need to know about oilsands and the 2015 election

By Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News, August 29, 2015


When the federal election kicks into high gear during the final stretch of a marathon campaign, a high-profile case that could change Canadian resource development will play out in a B.C. courtroom.

In early October, lawyers representing eight First Nations, four non-profit groups and one major labour union will argue the Northern Gateway pipeline process was fundamentally flawed and the federal government failed in its constitutional duty to consult the aboriginal groups through whose territory the proposed pipeline will run.

They also contend the pipeline review process neglected the project’s potential effects on wildlife and the public interest concerns around its construction. “We’re talking about some fairly, from our perspective, egregious errors that were made,” said Jessica Clogg, executive director and senior counsel with the West Coast Environmental Law Association, which is representing some of the applicants. “That could send that process right back to the drawing board.”

This case, and a second challenging Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline later that month, will pressure whoever forms the next government to put action behind their pipeline rhetoric.

“I’m very heartened to see indications that that’s on the table for some of the parties,” Clogg said. But, “the proof is in the pudding.

“I think there is certainly a crisis in confidence with respect to current federal and provincial review processes. And that’s for a whole variety of reasons,” she said.

“The kind of overhaul that would be required to get us back on track, I think, would be quite substantial.”

The way Canada develops and exports its natural resources — especially bitumen, the oilsands crude that’s become the economic heart-blood of Alberta and, to a lesser degree, Saskatchewan — has been contested at debates and photo ops across the country.

Prominent NDP candidate Linda McQuaig raised the ire of many, and the derision of Conservatives, when she said it would be more responsible to keep Canada’s bitumen “in the ground.”

But what exactly do the parties stand for, and what will that mean for Canada’s energy economy?

Both NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau have pledged to revamp the National Energy Board‘s approval process. They want to give community members and aboriginal peoples more opportunity to comment and question proponents and they want the National Energy Board to take a project’s climate impact into account when deciding whether it’s a good idea.

While both parties’ proposals are still somewhat fuzzy, so far the NDP’s appears to make more concrete links between Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions targets and project approval, said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Keith Stewart.

“The logical implication of what the NDP is saying is there has to be some kind of a plan to achieve those targets: Companies have to demonstrate these projects are consistent with that,” he said. “Basically there’s  a carbon budget.”

It’s one thing to propose that for future projects.

But what would these mean for proposals that are already in the works?

Mulcair and Trudeau have been less clear on that point. While each has slammed the evaluation process, they’ve both shied away from condemning these projects outright.

“It is not for governments to be cheerleaders for various pipelines,” Trudeau said Thursday when asked point-blank if he supports the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines.

“There is no longer a choice to be made between what’s good for the economy and what’s good for the environment,” he said, adding that his party’s committed to “overhauling the environmental assessment process to make sure … that Canadians worried about the scientific risks associated with specific projects are part of the solution and get their concerns heard and addressed.”

(He didn’t actually say what he thinks of either of the pipelines he was asked about.)

Mulcair, for his part, said at a campaign event this week that the existing approval process is “singularly defective.”

“Right now, there’s no way to approve Kinder Morgan[‘s TransMountain pipeline.]”

At a campaign event in Winnipeg this week, the NDP leader pledged to “rigorously enforce overarching sustainable development legislation.” He also took to task someone interrupting his speech with calls to clarify his stance on Energy East and stop “tar sands” development: “Look, I’m more than willing to put up with your screaming but I’m talking about First Nations. Could you show a little bit of respect, please?”

In an emailed statement, Liberal party spokesperson Jean-Luc Ferland said the party’s revised environmental assessment process would include “an analysis of upstream impacts and the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the projects being assessed.”

“New assessment criteria would be applied to projects under review,” he wrote.

(Neither the NDP nor the Conservative party, which has stood by the existing approval process and been an unabashed proponent of such pipeline projects as Keystone-XL, returned our requests for comment.)

TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project is especially vulnerable to strengthened assessment criteria, said Stewart: After the company agreed to revise its planned route because of concern for beluga whale habitat in Cacouna, Que., it has yet to complete its submission to the National Energy Board.

“So if a new government comes in and says, ‘Okay, we will be changing this law’ and you haven’t started yet, then this application will be considered under the new rules,” Stewart said.

TransCanada spokesperson Tim Duboyce wouldn’t comment on potential legal changes coming out of October’s election.

 “I can’t possibly comment on some future regulatory change that hasn’t been proposed or happened,” he said.

An Enbridge spokesperson also declined to comment.

When it comes to Northern Gateway, the pending court case may create an added incentive for government to send the project back to the drawing board in response to First Nations concerns.

The Liberal Party said it agrees Canada has failed in its duty to consult First Nations, Ferland said in an email.

“We will, in full partnership and consultation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, undertake a full review of Canada’s environmental assessment process put in place by Mr. Harper, and replace it with a new process that ensures the Crown is fully executing its consultation, accommodation, and consent obligations on project reviews and assessments, in accordance with its constitutional and international human rights obligations,” he wrote.

Environmental Law counsel Clogg said she’s hopeful October’s arguments in court, and public opposition to these projects, will convince Canada’s next prime minister to proactively send Northern Gateway and similar projects back to the drawing board.

“The litigation is likely to open up space for politicians to do the right thing,” she said.

“You have a legal impetus but also the political space for a ‘No’ decision.”

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