northern gateway

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The Simushir, a Russian-flagged cargo vessel is the newest cause celebre of anti-tanker activists out in British Columbia.


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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.


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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.


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On the last day of May, the government of British Columbia gave the back of its hand to Alberta and indirectly to the rest of Canada, which benefits—and could benefit more—from continued development of Alberta’s oilsands. Claiming insufficient environmental protections, the BC government rejected the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat, where it could be exported to markets in Asia.


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When Christy Clark recently asserted British Columbia didn’t need the federal government and also said “we don't need Alberta,” the B.C. premier demonstrated why Canada’s founding fathers were concerned about provincial politicians: when they think in isolation, such premiers harm the interests of all Canadians.

The context of Clark’s election-time remark was how BC could become an energy superpower if more natural gas was developed and delivered through pipelines, as opposed to “allowing” oil pipelines to crisscross British Columbia more than they already do.


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Following the U.S. government’s delay in approving the much-hyped Keystone XL pipeline, many pundits turned their attention to the possibility of a new pipeline from the oilsands to BC’s west coast that would allow Canada to ship larger amounts of oil to world markets, which currently offer a premium price relative to the U.S. Midwest.