Recently, Green Party leader Elizabeth May orchestrated an open letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the U.S. to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. In her note, Ms. May states that she sent Mr. Kerry "4 facts about Keystone XL." Unfortunately, two of Ms. May's facts aren't actually facts, and two of her facts are so lacking in context as to constitute merely factoids.
BC Green party MLA Andrew Weaver has (grudgingly) endorsed the idea of building a $25 billion refinery in British Columbia to convert Alberta's bitumen into gasoline, diesel fuel, and aviation fuel, allowing the export of refined product, which, Weaver says, is safer for the environment because refined petroleum products evaporate more quickly and cause less environmental damage than heavier oils. The BC refinery idea has also gotten a nod from Premier Christy Clark but been criticized by members of the NDP. Mr.
Discussions surrounding the need for new pipelines to transport Canada's oil to market have been a dominant economic, environmental, and political issue for the past several years. Canada's overwhelming reliance on the United States as a customer, the U.S.'s growing energy self-sufficiency, and limited pipeline infrastructure have placed a low ceiling on the prices Canadians are able to secure for our energy exports.
Once again, energy policy was an element of President Obama's State of the Union Address (2014). What's interesting is both what's seen, and what is not seen.
Here, in the quotes related to energy, is what's seen:
Activists in British Columbia have responded to the National Energy Board's approval of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline with threats of illegal activism reminiscent of the 1990s. Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema, for example, said his group will "do what it takes" to ensure the pipeline is never built (and he specifically mentioned civil disobedience).
Yet another train derailment involving petroleum products has re-invigorated the debate over how we transport oil in Canada. In this case, 17 cars on a train near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, derailed; nine of which carried dangerous goods including crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas. According to recent reports, the cause of the derailment seems to involve a brake failure of some kind. As we have seen in other derailments, the derailed cars erupted in flames, causing, in this case, the evacuation of 150 people from nearby houses.
The National Energy Board (NEB) released its report on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal December 19, finding that plans for building the pipeline are sufficient for its approval. The report states We have concluded that the project would be in the public interest. We find that the project's potential benefits for Canada and Canadians outweigh the potential burdens and risks. The NEB did have a few conditions,209 of them in fact but assuming they are all met by Enbridge, the NEB says the pipeline project is good to go.
Back in April of 2013, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair went down to Washington to rubbish Canada's environmental reputation before its greatest trading partner. Now, the stomp-Canada shoe is on a different wearer: Marc Jaccard, a professor at Simon Fraser University, has gone down to the States to sing Canada's, well, evils.