Read this story from CBC.ca on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to BC amid his government's apparent shifting stance on its favoured Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Contrary to previous assertions that he would push the pipeline through regardless of the Joint Review Panel's findings, the PM is now assuring British Columbians that he will listen to science and maintains the panel's independence. (August 7, 2012)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is defending the independence of the environmental review process underway for Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, telling reporters in Vancouver the project will be evaluated scientifically and a green light to proceed would not be based on politics.
"Decisions on these kinds of projects are made through an independent evaluation conducted by scientists into the economic costs and risks that are associated with the project. And that's how we conduct our business," Harper said.
"The only way that governments can handle controversial projects of this manner is to ensure that things are evaluated on an independent basis scientifically and not simply on political criteria," the prime minister added.
On Friday, the federal government announced a firm deadline to ensure the joint review panel charged with evaluating the pipeline completes its work by the end of 2013, without further delays. But Harper's cabinet will have the final say on the project.
"The government does not pick and choose particular projects," Harper said, "the projects have to be evaluated on their own merits."
Enbridge's proposed pipeline, to move bitumen from Alberta's oilsands across B.C. to a new marine terminal in Kitimat, B.C., for export to Asia, has been identified by the Harper government as beneficial to its international trade strategy.
The prime minister reiterated his government's position that trade with the Asia-Pacific region is of "vital interest" to Canada and British Columbia, as the country's Asia-Pacific Gateway.
Harper also reminded reporters of investments in last spring's budget to bolster federal government inspection and monitoring for resource development projects such as this one.
Harper was in Vancouver Tuesday to announce a new type of employment insurance benefits for parents of seriously ill children.
Journalists in B.C. were keen to get questions to the prime minister after sharp criticism of Enbridge from the prime minister's senior cabinet minister for B.C., James Moore, last week. Harper did not contradict Moore directly, but appeared to offer a somewhat softened version of the government's previous position on the pipeline.
Reporters were kept well back from Harper and Moore on Monday when they attended Conservative Senator Gerry St. Germain's annual summer barbecue.
Public Opinion Set Against Pipeline
Harper's stops on the West Coast this week come at a challenging time for supporters of the pipeline.
Public opinion polls suggest the majority in B.C. is against the Northern Gateway pipeline project. Some First Nations along the route are determined to block it.
Enbridge's efforts to garner approval for the project have been set back by recent oil spills along other Enbridge pipelines, including damaging revelations about the way Enbridge handled its 2010 spill in Michigan.
Last spring's budget implementation bill streamlined the regulatory approval process for major natural resources development projects like Gateway. A firm deadline has now been set to ensure the joint review panel charged with evaluating the pipeline completes its work by the end of 2013, without further delays.
Cabinet will have the final say on the project. A statement from Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver's office Friday continued to emphasize its potential to create jobs and economic growth.
But last Wednesday, Harper's senior minister in B.C. James Moore told a private radio program in Vancouver that Enbridge had put a "sour taste in the mouth" with its past actions and wasn't doing enough to win the confidence of British Columbians generally, and its First Nations specifically.
Moore said doubts about the Enbridge pipeline were "widespread" and repeatedly denied the Harper government would simply ram through approval for the pipeline, despite recent changes to streamline the approval process.
It was not immediately clear from Moore's remarks whether he was speaking only for himself as a senior minister representing the province's concerns, or whether his dressing down of Enbridge was an early signal of a still-evolving position from the federal government.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/08/07/pol-gateway-tuesday-harper-bc.html
Read this story from Yahoo News on the ramifications for Canada and the Alberta Tar Sands of the Obama Administration's obstruction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas. (July 25)
China is in the process of acquiring a stake in Canada's valuable Alberta oil sands, months after Obama suspended a plan to invest in the region.
Has China swooped in to claim a prize the U.S. forfeited? This week, China's state-run energy giant CNOOC announced that it was buying Canadian oil producer Nexen for $15 billion, the largest-ever acquisition by a Chinese company. The deal would give China control over Nexen's oil sands operations in the Canadian province of Alberta (among other Nexen oil properties around the world), a huge win for the energy-hungry nation. The purchase still needs to be approved by Canada's parliament, which has blocked foreign takeovers of domestic businesses in the past. However, analysts say the odds look good, partly because oil-rich Canada has been forced to turn to other investors after President Obama suspended the Keystone Pipeline, a massive project that would have delivered oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, over environmental concerns. Did Obama push Canada into China's arms?
Yes. Canada has to sell its oil to someone: When Obama stalled the Keystone Pipeline, "it spurred Canada to look to China as a new partner," says Nathan Vardi at Forbes, and now "Canada's vital oil industry appears to be drifting to China." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded to Obama's "snub" by immediately "heading to China to start negotiating energy deals." If Canada continues "to diversify its economic dependence away from the U.S.," it could be a "strategic setback for the U.S., which has been searching for years for secure sources of oil that are free from the political uncertainty that exists in Venezuela and the Middle East."
"CNOOC's Nexen deal shows how Obama pushed Canada toward China"
And Obama's environmental objections are now moot: "The lesson for America, and especially Democrats, is that Canada's oil sands will be [further] developed," despite objections over the environmental impact, says The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. "If the U.S. doesn't want the oil, China and the rest of Asia will gladly take it." China is trying to "replace the U.S. as Canada's biggest energy investor and market," and Obama is letting it happen over the most meaningless of objections.
"China's Canadian energy play"
Let's not get carried away. Nexen's Canadian presence is small: While CNOOC will win a stake in the Alberta oil sands, Nexen's holdings in Canada are relatively small, say Lee Chyen Yee and Jeffrey Jones at Reuters. Canadian lawmakers are hardly enthusiastic about having their natural resources owned by communist China, but "most of Nexen's assets lie outside Canada, making it less likely that it would be seen as a national champion falling into Chinese hands." The deal is unlikely to spark a wave of Chinese acquisitions in the U.S.'s backyard, and the U.S. still enjoys a healthy advantage in its trade relations with Canada.
"China's CNOOC scoped Nexen, partnered, then pounced"
Read more: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/did-obama-push-canada-chinas-arms-rejecting-keystone-142500318.html
Read this story from CBC.ca on the Harper's Government's new deadline for the completion of the ongoing Joint Review Panel into the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, amid concerns raised about the proponent and the project raised by BC Conservative MP James Moore. (Aug. 3, 2012)
The federal government has set a firm deadline of Dec. 31, 2013, for the review panel deciding the future of the Northern Gateway pipeline, shutting down the possibility of further extensions and putting into place the expedited assessment process pledged in its budget implementation bill.
But the written notice issued by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Friday comes on the heels of comments from the senior Harper government minister in B.C., James Moore, who told a radio program in Vancouver on Wednesday that doubts about the Northern Gateway project are "widespread, given the behaviour of Enbridge recently."
Moore denied repeatedly that the federal government's goal is to "ram through the pipeline." But he did not reply to interview requests Friday seeking clarification as to whether his comments reflected a possible change in direction or message for federal Conservatives.
In an emailed statement provided to CBC News in response to an interview request seeking clarification of the government's position, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver's office repeated well-used lines about the federal government's "critical strategic objective" of "diversification of our energy markets" in order to "create jobs and economic growth."
"We will continue to work in partnership with the provincial governments to encourage achieving this objective," the statement said. "In particular to the Northern Gateway project, it is currently before the Joint Review Panel who are reviewing all the environmental considerations to make sure it is safe for the environment and Canadians. We look forward to reviewing their report once it is completed."
In an interview Friday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Peter Julian, the NDP Natural Resources critic who represents the B.C. riding of Burnaby-New Westminster, said the federal government's doublespeak just isn't going to fly with Canadians.
"The Conservatives are playing this dangerous game where in B.C. they're acknowledging the widespread negative reaction of the Northern Gateway proposal, and at the same time in Ottawa they're trying to impose and move forward on something that British Columbians will simply not accept," Julian told guest host Hannah Thibedeau.
Friday's notice from the federal assessment agency confirmed the changes implemented in the government's budget bill, which came into force on July 6. The changes to the joint review panel's mandate set a maximum time limit for the panel's work, concluding at the end of 2013 without further extensions.
Under the changes, the joint review panel can't reject the pipeline project for only environmental reasons.
Once the review panel submits its report, the federal government will make the final decision on the pipeline within 180 days (approximately six months), before the end of June 2014.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/08/03/pol-pipeline-moore-gateway.html
The competition has been tight, but I think Christy Clark has finally won the prize for the Canadian Leader most out of touch with her constituents. On her new 5-point criteria regarding the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, she strikes out on 4 out of the 5 points...Clark insists we must have "world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline". I have to wonder, does she mean like the ones at Kalamazoo, or maybe the BP ones in the Gulf, or how about the 800+ spills in the Enbridge system over 10 years? Exactly where does Clark figure this new "world-leading…spill prevention and recovery" will come from?
I’ll say this for Fraser Institute “Fellow” Fazil Mihlar, in charge with the Vancouver Sun’s op-ed page: he certainly knows where to find the bottom-feeders to support his ultra-right wing views. Earlier this week, it was right wing zealot Herb Grubel, today it’s some deep thinker, I don’t think, from SNC Lavalin and a director of HSBC, named Gwyn Morgan...Morgan states, “how difficult it can be for ‘big business’ to be heard over the doom-laden exaggerations of environmental zealots…and powerful international groups…stopping Gateway is part of a large strategy to stymie further oil sands (sic) development.” Sticks and stones, Mr. Morgan.
And so it begins. The spin to jettison Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in favour supposedly "safer" alternatives - demonstrated by Conservative MP James Moore on CKNW's Bill Good Show. After slagging Enbridge for its poor public engagement and safety record, the MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam held up Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline to Vancouver as a superior alternative - citing the company's good engagement with First Nations and unblemished pipeline safety record. The only problem is, Mr. Moore is full of crap.
I recently attended the one-day hearing for the Joint Review Panel into the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline in the small community of Shearwater - the umpteenth meeting of this sort I've documented over the past 6 years covering environmental politics in BC. At the end of the meeting, throughout which I recorded the continued disrespect of the public and Heiltsuk First Nations people by the National Energy Board panel running the show, I was assaulted by panel staff...I raise this incident only to illustrate what has become a disappointingly typical experience for me over the years, documenting and presenting at these sorts of "public" meetings - everything from private river power project hearings to the Cohen Commission into disappearing Fraser sockeye.
Dr. Grubel glosses over the most important fact in this controversy – the oil spills he speaks of as certain cannot, for all intents and purposes, be cleaned up. It is this fact that throws Grubel’s arguments out the window. We’re not dealing with gasoline, natural gas, bunker oil or ordinary crude oil but gunk called bitumen. When there is a spill in water, the condensate, which allows the bitumen to be piped, separates, leaving the bitumen to sink like a stone. I don’t suppose that Grubel has read about the Enbridge/Kalamazoo spill which Enbridge has been unable to clean it to this day, more than two years later.
Read this story from The Vancouver Observer on Monday's press conference hosted by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and featuring former federal Environment Minister David Anderson, wherein he and prominent First Nations leaders delivered a strong message to the Clark and Harper Governments regarding the proposed Enbridge pipeline that "BC is not for sale." (July 30, 2012)
The head of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs said that selling BC's coast and rivers is not the way Premier Clark should be fighting against Alberta's oil agenda. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs spoke at a press conference today with leaders from BC's municipal and environmental groups.
"Well, look who just caught up. Premier Clark is right that we need to stand up to Alberta's aggressive oil agenda, but selling our coasts and rivers out from under us is not the way to do it," Phillip said in a release.
"First Nations right across BC have vowed we will never allow Enbridge's pipeline and tankers, and non-Natives are united with us in a growing groundswell of unity to protect all of us from oil spills." Premier Clark should take "decisive action" in opposing heavy oil pipeline and tanker projects, he said.
Phillip was joined by former federal Minister of the Environment David Anderson and Prince Rupert City Councillor Jennifer Rice. They called for the rejection of Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker proposal following a US-Canada Enbridge pipeline oil leak of over 1,200 barrels (more than 190,000 litres) in Wisconsin over the weekend.
The Northern Gateway is a 1,177 km dual pipeline project transporting 525,000 barrels of heavy oil per day between Edmonton, AB to Kitimat, BC. The project is a proposal from Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., a company specializing in crude oil and liquids pipelines, natural gas transportation and distribution, and green energy.
Over 100 First Nations have banned tar sands pipelines and tankers from their traditional territories.
No amount of money can protect coast, cover damage of oil spill, says former federal environment minister.
"Protecting our salmon streams and our ocean coast from oil spills is not negotiable," said former BC Liberal Leader and former federal Minister of the Environment David Anderson. "No amount of money can protect our coast, and no amount of money can repair the damage of a spill of heavy Alberta crude oil...Premier Clark should make that clear to the Alberta and federal governments, and then move on to negotiating a Canadian National Energy Strategy based not on increasing production and consumption, but on the fundamental need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all Canadian sources."
Anderson cited Enbridge's poor record on environmental and worker safety as the main reason to reject the Northern Gateway project. The US National Transportation Safety Board released a scathing report in early July about Enbridge's handling of a 2010 oil spill in Michigan, calling the company's employees incompetent and stating that the company had a "deviant" culture around safety procedures.
Read more: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/politics/bc-not-sale-enbridge-northern-gateway-say-aboriginal-and-former-government-leaders
EPIC is the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, the organization building the Energy Strategy "Framework" on behalf of a variety of our corporate overlords, led by former Canfor CEO and Federal Conservative Trade Minister David Emerson. The evidence of EPIC's ability to dominate the agenda was prominent during Harper's Omnibus disaster where most of what Bill C-38 entailed was written and published by EPIC months before. Redford, Christy and even Harper are political bit players in a much bigger game. EPIC represents a stunning array of who's who in the corporate realm that dominates the Canadian landscape.
Eco-Footprint Founder Dr. Bill Rees on Resources, the 7 Billion and You
With human population exploding and demand for resources fast outstripping supply, Dr. Bill Rees, founder of the "eco-footprint" concept, calls for "a new cultural narrative that shifts the values of society from growth (getting bigger) to development (getting better) - from competitive individualism, greed and narrow self-interest toward community, cooperation and our collective interests in repairing the earth for survival."
Five Oil Spills in One Week: 'Accidents' or Business as Usual?
What do ExxonMobil, Enbridge, Suncor, CP Rail and a Michigan Utility have in common? They've all spilled oil within the past week. This latest round of disasters should give Canadian and US lawmakers pause as they contemplate new pipelines.
All Candidates Dialogue Wednesday Promises "Real Talk on Climate Change"
An all candidates dialogue on April 3 at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver - featuring representatives from four different political parties and one independent candidate vying for office in the May 14 provincial election - will focus on solutions to climate change.
Anyone who has been following the sorry saga of inexplicable diseases and unusual mortality in BC's wild salmon will not be surprised that the information in Twyla Roscovich's documentary, Salmon Confidential, links the source of this trouble to the salmon farming industry. The surprise, however, is the impact of such information when its complexity is condensed to an intense 70 minutes.
Mother Nature, US Govt Chase Shell Out of Arctic
Shell Oil, the first energy company granted coveted Arctic drilling permits by the US Government, is shutting down operations for all of 2013, nearly as quickly as they began. Shell's hand is being forced by the Interior Department, following a scathing report which castigated the company for a series of misadventures in 2012 and early 2013.
Paul Simon Lends Song to Coastal First Nations' Anti-Tanker Video
A 2-minute video produced by Coastal First Nations - a group representing nine different aboriginal communities on BC's north and central coast - is underscored by the famous Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Sound of Silence." The video, which harkens back to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in nearby Alaskan waters, was released around the 24th anniversary of that disaster, in order to voice opposition to the new threat from proposed tanker traffic on BC's coast.
'Heartwood' Explores Clash Between Different Visions for Future of Forestry
"Cortes is not just a bunch of crazy tree-huggers...We want to log our lands. We want a community forest," one of the subjects of the forthcoming documentary film Heartwood tells Vancouver-based director Daniel Pierce. The film explores the conflict over logging practices on a remote island on BC's south coast, which encapsulates a larger debate currently shaping the future of forestry in the province.
Why the NDP Can and Should Say No to Site C Dam
The BC NDP may finally coming to their senses on Site C Dam. On the heels of the release of new documents from BC Hydro in recent weeks, the Official Opposition is calling into question the crown corporation's proposed 1,100 Megawatt hydropower project. And so it should...With BC Hydro in virtual bankruptcy, skyrocketing hydro bills for consumers and businesses, a massive and escalating provincial debt and $80 Billion in additional contractual obligations for which taxpayers are on the hook, pushing ahead with Site C would be the height of fiscal recklessness for BC.
Working Together Through Idle No More - Ben West, Mandy Nahanee, Damien Gillis Web Chat
Damien Gillis hosts a google web video chat discussing how indigenous and non-indigenous peoples can work together through the growing Idle No More movement to address historical injustices and build a sustainable energy future. Featuring Squamish and Nisga'a First Nations member and protocol specialist Amanda Nahanee and Ben West, Tar Sands campaigner for ForestEthics.
The Different Faces of Idle No More - Web Chat
Watch this 10 min web chat, in which two young, indigenous men discuss their different experiences across the country with the growing Idle No More Movement.
Idle No More - Scenes from a Vancouver Train Station
On January 2, 2013, hundreds of First Nations and non-indigenous people converged on Vancouver's Waterfront Station for the latest Idle No More rally. The beating of drums and singing of traditional songs signaled this crowd's solidarity with the movement that is building across the country and beyond its borders.
Travelling Canada's Carbon Corridor - the Making of Fractured Land
Watch this presentation by Damien Gillis, co-director of Fractured Land - a documentary in production which examines the industrialization of northern Canada through the eyes of a young indigenous man named Caleb Behn - at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
Kinder Morgan Vancouver Pipeline, Tanker Debate
On Oct 30, the Board of Change hosted a debate in Vancouver on American energy pipeline giant Kinder Morgan's plans to turn Vancouver into a shipping port to access new foreign markets with Alberta Tar Sands bitumen. Hear both sides of the story as representatives of Kinder Morgan and the shipping industry square off against an environmental activist, lawyer and filmmaker over the future of the world's "Greenest City", the province of BC and the planet.
Justice Cohen Gets Tough on Fish Farms - Inquiry Report Released
Video from the press conference on the release of the final report from the Cohen Commission into disappearing sockeye. Justice Bruce Cohen highlighted several key recommendations to protect wild salmon from open net pen aquaculture operations, including: removing the promotion of aquaculture from DFO's mandate, prioritizing the health of wild salmon over suitability for aquaculture when siting farms, and even removing some farms if more research into diseases shows they cannot safely coexist with wild fish.
Video: Pipelines "Job Killers" - Energy Workers Union Leader @ Defend Our Coast
Watch this powerhouse speech from Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union at the Defend Our Coast rally in Victoria explaining why his members are "diametrically opposed" to Tar Sands pipelines to BC's coast.
Video: Rafe Mair Honoured with Wilderness Committee's Eugene Rogers Award
The Wilderness Committee, Canada's largest member-based environmental organization, honoured hall of fame broadcaster and co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian Rafe Mair with its annual Eugene Rogers Award for outstanding contribution to environmental protection in BC at its AGM this past weekend.
Video: Rafe Mair and Economist Erik Andersen, Pt. 2 - LNG, Site C Dam and the Global Economy
In Part 2 of Rafe Mair's July 2012 interview of economist Erik Andersen, the two cover the plan to build Liquefied Natural Gas plants on BC's west coast - to sell natural gas to Asia - and the proposed Site C Dam. Andersen raises real concerns about investing in new dams and electrical infrastructure to supply industries like mines and LNG.
Video: Rafe Mair and Economist Erik Andersen, Pt. 1 - The 'Enronization' of BC Hydro
Part 1 of Rafe Mair's July 2012 interview with economist Andersen, delving deep into BC's troubled energy situation, including Hydro's broken forecasting model, rip-off private power projects, and massive debt and Enron-style accounting practices at our public utility - all driven by the shadowy private American corporation to which we've unwittingly handed over our energy sovereignty.