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Important Enough for It's Own Thread.... Energy

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My nephew stopped in tonight on his way home from the rig.

When he comes back after days off it will be to either put the rig into storage or get it ready to ship to the USA.

His rig only drills for natural gas but the energy companies have given up dealing with the policies of various governments, indigenous peoples and protesters.

  • Sad 2

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But make sure those equalization payments just recently guaranteed by Trudeau keep rolling in cause all Canadians know Quebec is where all the smart people come from.


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15 minutes ago, Jaydee said:

But make sure those equalization payments just recently guaranteed by Trudeau keep rolling in cause all Canadians know Quebec is where all the smart people come from.


But there is no doubt that Quebec is smarter, like a fox in a hen house, that is.

Quebec Proves Canada's Equalization Payments Are Not Always Equal

Appeared in the Huffington Post

Michael Binnion, CEO of Questerre Energy and head of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association, has a great blog post up in which he discusses the impact that equalization payments have on Quebec's energy and natural resource policy.

Looking at Quebec's budget, Binnion observes:

It seems to me the Quebec budget actually exposes a huge problem and many Quebec commentators have pointed it out. Quebec is being paid by the Federal Government for reduced resource royalties and related taxes. Worse if Quebec increased the price of Hydro, increased its mining royalties or developed its oil and gas discoveries, the Federal Government would penalize them.

What Mr. Binnion is pointing out is the moral hazard inherent in the equalization system, or, for that matter, in most any insurance or social welfare system. According to the OECD, Moral hazard describes behaviour when agents do not bear the full cost of their actions and are thus more likely to take such actions.

There are many examples of moral hazard one could cite, but consider what happens when governments become the disaster insurer of last resort, or otherwise transfer the costs of risk-taking from those who take the risk to those who bear the cost.

As researchers at the Wharton Risk Center observe,

Highly subsidized premiums or premiums artificially compressed by regulations, without clear communication on the actual risk facing individuals and businesses, encourage development of hazard-prone areas in ways that are costly to both the individuals who locate there (when the disaster strikes) as well as others who are likely to incur some of the costs of bailing out victims following the next disaster, either at a state level through ex post residual market assessments or through federal taxes in the case of federal relief or tax breaks.

In the case of Quebec, the people of the province do not have to bear the full cost of their decisions to suppress the economic activities of mining or fossil fuel production, because the rest of Canada will make up foregone revenues through equalization payments. Some people might think that sounds like a good deal: after all, Quebec gets to have a high quality of life without having to dirty its hands with things like energy and natural resource production.

Alas, as the economists say, there's no such thing as a free lunch: with the free ride comes dependency, and eventually decay. As Binnion observes:

The Government of Quebec is like a person on Government assistance. If they get a job their assistance goes down. If they lose a job their assistance goes up. In Provinces like Alberta we need to realize that equalization is not something we do for Quebec - it's something we do to them! A model of producing more than you consume is sustainable for a society, but a model of consuming more than you produce is not.

As Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute proved in an award-winning essay, the situation is not unique to Quebec -- transfers to Atlantic Canada for economic development can also create economic distortions perversely retarding development in Atlantic Canada:

Government influence in the marketplace also operates through a number of other channels: economic development programs, tax policy and rulings, direct and indirect subsidies, etc. When government does step into the marketplace to influence the distribution of resources, the link between price and the most productive use of a resource is broken, and resources can be misallocated to less efficient uses to the detriment of the economy.

Binnion closes out his blog post on an optimistic note, pointing out that it need not be this way for Quebec, any more than it had to persist in Atlantic Canada:

Newfoundland fought the Federal Government and insisted on a deal that did not penalize them for developing Hibernia or Voisey's Bay. Today Newfoundland is a have province. If it worked for Newfoundland it will work for other Provinces too.

Let us hope that Quebec's public -- and her decision makers -- come to understand the moral hazard of equalization payments and reconsider their antipathy to the valuable economic activities that are energy and natural resource development.

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  • Calgary Sun
  • 23 Jan 2019

Maybe now that it has the attention of a national CBC audience, will the country wake up to something that Albertans have been warning about for awhile: moneyed U.S. interests are trying to scuttle energy projects outside their own country?

Who pays the price for that, you may ask? Canadians.

The notion that organizations are cheering the “landlocking” of Alberta oil is a disturbing prospect that costs the Canadian economy dearly.

And we’re talking about U.S. groups who seem more interested in funnelling money into Canada to fight Alberta’s oilsands than they seem to be interested in fighting the Americans’ massive oil industry.

It used to be that those opposed to pipelines would pretend you were crazy if you suggested a grand American-funded effort to scuttle projects in Canada.

At least now they’re admitting it’s going on, but they say it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the money from government and oil companies.

But why should we be letting people in other countries determine how we manage our resources?

A lot of this awareness is thanks to the work of Vivian Krause, a Canadian researcher who has been looking into the work being done by wealthy foundations in the U.S. and how their cash is winding up in the hands of pipeline opponents here in Canada.

Krause herself says there’s nothing wrong with mounting campaigns in defence of the environment, in fact many pro-pipeline Canadians feel they want the environment protected.

There are ways to mitigate the carbon output through the burning of fossil fuels: reducing the amount of coal used in power plants, develop more efficient vehicles, and developing more environmentally friendly oilsands extractions processes. And we’ve made strides in those areas. But at the end of the day, Canadians have to ask themselves whether they want the interference of foreign actors, even those with whom they share a desired goal, having sway over our policy discussions, and worse, our elections.

Because we know pipeline politics will play a role in both the federal and provincial elections this year, and foreign money shouldn’t be playing a role.

Not in PACs, not in NGOs, not in our political parties.

Not one bit.

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What Venezuelan turmoil could mean for Canada's oilpatch

More turbulence in Venezuela — including the threat of United States sanctions on its crude oil exports — has Canada's oilpatch watching carefully for how the impact will ripple across the industry.

Less Venezuelan oil could be good news for Canadian producers, but lack of pipelines holds back potential

Tony Seskus · CBC News · Posted: Jan 24, 2019 9:37 AM ET | Last Updated: 15 minutes ago
Juan Guaido, president of Venezuela's National Assembly, reacts during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas on Wednesday. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)


More turbulence in Venezuela — including the threat of United States sanctions on its crude oil exports — has Canada's oilpatch watching carefully for how the impact will ripple across the industry. 

Analysts say sanctions, or a further drop in Venezuelan oil output, could leave American refiners on the hunt for heavy crude from elsewhere, providing a potential price lift for Canadian producers.

But with limited ability to get more oil to the Gulf Coast, some believe the Canadian sector won't be able to seize the additional market share it otherwise might.


Longer term, if Venezuela changes political regimes, the upheaval could see the South American country's oil production soar once again — and change the outlook for global prices.

"Any more reduction in Venezuela crude could have an impact on the price of heavy crude for Canadian producers," said Kevin Birn, an oilsands analyst with IHS Markit in Calgary. 

"In terms of our ability to maximize the benefit, we are constrained by our own infrastructure."

Venezuela's political and economic outlook is unclear as opposition leader Juan Guaido and interim president Nicolas Maduro struggle for control of the country.

Traditionally, Canada and Venezuela produce heavy oil that compete for space in the U.S. market. However, Venezuela crude production has fallen dramatically in recent years amid economic and political strife.

"There's been a developing opportunity for Canadian crude, in particular going into the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries," said Allan Fogwill, president of the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

"They were getting most of their heavy crude from Venezuela and Mexico — and a little bit from Canada. Now, with the concerns in Venezuela, that means those refineries are looking north to Canadian producers."

Fogwill said limited pipeline capacity and rising demand for Canadian crude at those refineries is one reason why rail shipments of oil to the United States have been on the rise.

Maduro attends a rally in support of his government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas on Thursday. (Miraflores Palace/Handout/Reuters)

Last fall, Canadian shipping constraints to the U.S. led to a backlog of oil and steep discounts on Alberta crude. Prices increased significantly when the province imposed mandatory crude production cuts for 2019.

The heavy blend of oil from Alberta's oilsands known as Western Canada Select was trading at $43.47 US a barrel on Thursday, up $1.36 US on anticipation that any decline in Venezuelan crude would result in more demand for WCS.

Rory Johnston, a commodity economist at Scotiabank, said the Canadian heavy crude price could further improve depending on whether the U.S. moves forward with sanctions and what happens with Venezuelan production.


"But I think at this stage it's fairly unambiguously bullish for oil prices in the short term," he said.

Robert Fitzmartyn, head of energy institutional research at GMP FirstEnergy, said he'll be watching to see how any related improvement in crude prices filters into the market and Canadian energy stocks.

"The stock market probably responds mildly," Fitzmartyn said.

Longer term, however, there are even more questions.

If there is regime change in Venezuela, oil production could ramp up to more traditional levels and that might come to weigh on oil prices, Johnston said.

"What that likely would mean is actually a slightly more bearish outlook longer term," he said.

"Production has been declining so rapidly there [in Venezuela] that really, at this stage, virtually any alternative governance is likely to be better at managing that production." 

Fogwill said that if Venezuelan production returns to traditional levels, it will have an impact on world prices, too.

"If Venezuela came roaring back ... that could undermine the high price for oil." 

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The B.C. pipeline project you've never heard of — and why it may succeed

While you've likely never heard of the Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline, despite many obstacles it may be the next pipeline across B.C. that gets built, according to the project's CEO.

CEO of Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline project says even West Coast tanker ban can't stop it

Mike Laanela · CBC News · Posted: May 05, 2018 4:00 AM PT | Last Updated: May 6, 2018
The proposed route for the Eagle Spirit Energy Pipeline would run about 1,562 kilometres from Fort McMurray to a terminal at either Grassy Point, B.C. or Hyder, Alaska. (Eagle Spirit Energy)

You've likely never heard of the Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline, but for the past five years the project's leader has been quietly working on the plan to build the next pipeline across northern B.C.

"We are now putting together a very solid commercial plan for how we are going to do this," said CEO Calvin Helin earlier this week.

Helin is a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation located on the north coast near Prince Rupert. That's where the proposed pipeline linking Alberta's oil sands with the West Coast would terminate.

Calvin Helin is a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation and CEO and president of Eagle Spirit Energy. (CBC)At 1,500 kilometres in length, the pipeline would carry up to two million barrels of medium to heavy crude oil a day from Fort McMurray to tide water on the West Coast.Estimates put the cost of the project, which has the backing of the Vancouver's Aquilini Investment Group, at $16 billion.While such a proposal might seem foolhardy given the current politics in B.C., Helin is confident his proposal will succeed where others have stumbled or failed of late.Bypassing tanker ban One obstacle any northern pipeline would face is the federal Liberals' oil tanker ban. Bill C-48 is expected to pass final reading in the House of Commons next week. That ban was first announced in November 2016, when the Liberal government halted Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline across northwestern B.C.  The Eagle Spirit project has been framed as an alternative to Northern Gateway. If the tanker ban becomes law sometime later this year, it would seemingly render pointless any future crude oil pipelines with terminals on the North Coast. Bill C-48 is expected to become law sometime this year, banning crude oil tankers from B.C.'s north coast. (Chris Corday/CBC)But Helin says he has two possible solutions to bypass the ban. First, his brother John Helin, who is the elected leader of the Lax Kw'alaams Band, has already launched a constitutional challenge in B.C. Supreme Court That lawsuit claims First Nations were not properly consulted on the tanker ban, which he claims is discriminatory and infringes on their Aboriginal title. Take it across the border If the court challenge fails, Eagle Spirit Energy has a plan to avoid the tanker moratorium entirely, Calvin Helin says. He said the group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a landowner across the U.S. border in Hyder, Alaska. The tiny town wants to host the pipeline as an alternative location for the port terminal, Helin said. That landowner is Walter Moa, the president of Roanan Corp, who confirmed he's ready to do a deal to put the terminal on his land if necessary. That would allow the supertankers to load up Alberta crude on the U.S. side of the Portland Channel, thereby avoiding Canada's jurisdiction altogether. Both men say support in Alaska for oil projects runs deep. "Within three weeks of that, we were contacted by the Alaskan government saying they would welcome the terminal with open arms." said Helin. Agreements in principle in place Another major obstacle that Helin claims he's overcome is securing agreements in principle with every one of the First Nations along the proposed route. "That is where we have invested all of our upfront effort," said Helin, who admits it has been a challenging task getting so many First Nations on board. "It's taken us five-and-a-half years," said Helin who is now in the process of finalizing those agreements. "Pretty much we've just about got the whole thing done." eagle-spirit-energy-project.jpgThe leaders of the Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline project say they now have agreements in principle from 35 First Nations along the pipeline route, and are moving toward signing final agreements. (Eagle Spirit energy) Just who is signing those deals remains confidential and protected by non-disclosure agreements.  CBC News has not confirmed they are in place along the entire route. And there is some dispute. While the elected leader of the Lax Kw'alaams Band supports the pipeline, another group called the Lax Kw'alaams Allied Tribes said Eagle Spirit Pipeline supporters failed to consult them and the hereditary leaders support Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. Several other First Nations along the route have publicly supported the project since it was first announced in 2015, including the Gitxsan and Alberta's Treaty 8 First Nations. Other First Nations leaders who might normally be opposed to such projects, such as Coastal First Nations Board Chair Patrick Kelly, are reluctant to speak critically of it. 'That's the law and I respect it' Even NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the North Coast of B.C. and has supported the tanker ban, says if the project has First Nations support, he would be on board too. "My highest order principles are First Nation rights and title, because that's law and I respect it." said Cullen. He notes the First Nations approach is also getting the attention of major players in Calgary who learned from the mistakes made by Enbridge. transmountain-facility-kamloops-20170327New pipelines have faced significant obstacles in recent years, but the backers of the Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline say they have all the pieces in place for a successful project. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press) As for financing, Helin has already signed an agreement with Altacorp Capital, which is partially owned by the Alberta government, to raise the first $12 billion. His next step, he says, is to put together a team of industry experts that will assemble an application to take to the National Energy Board for sometime in the next year and half. If these obstacles can be overcome, Helin hopes the project could be completed in six years.

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Alberta Party’s call for ban on tankers in St. Lawrence Seaway makes a point

  • Calgary Herald
  • 31 Jan 2019
  • KEITH GEREIN keithgerein
img?regionKey=aQHjAhmCUoiydQ9LoKeS9g%3d%3dRONALD ZAJAC/FILES The oil and chemical tanker Esta Desgagnes makes her way west on the St. Lawrence River in Brockville, Ont. The Alberta Party said in a news release this week that if Ottawa is truly serious about protecting marine habitats, then prohibiting oil tankers should apply to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts equally.

It’s no secret Albertans are feeling a bit indignant at many of their fellow Canadians these days.

The list of grievances has grown so long over the past year that it’s been hard to keep track.

Pipeline delays. Overly rigorous changes to the approval process. Obstructionist governments in B.C. and Quebec. Apathy from Ottawa to buy rail cars. A tanker ban that seems to ban only Alberta petroleum products. Equalization.

The frustration many Albertans feel from such issues comes in a couple of different forms.

One is the knowledge that rectification is largely beyond the control of the province, which is landlocked and has less than 12 per cent of Canada’s population.

The second is the thick sheen of hypocrisy that clings to such injustices, in which Alberta and its primary industry have been seemingly singled out for treatment that isn’t being extended to everyone.

It was for that reason I viewed with interest a proposal from the Alberta Party this week calling for a tanker ban in the St. Lawrence Seaway, if not the entire East Coast.

If Ottawa were truly serious about protecting marine habitats, then prohibiting oil tankers should apply to the Atlantic and Pacific equally, the party said in a news release, noting the endangered status of the Beluga whale in the St. Lawrence.

The demand is ludicrous of course. The federal government says that 82 million tonnes of petroleum products are moved in and out of Atlantic Canada each year, while Quebec sees movement of 25 million tonnes.

The Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping suggests the totals are even higher, but whatever the numbers, the traffic is substantial enough that no federal government would ever consider a moratorium.

Nonetheless, the Alberta Party’s proposal serves as an effective tool for highlighting the hypocrisy of Bill C-48.

It got me thinking, what else could Alberta propose to bring attention to the disparity it faces?

One idea that came to mind was a ban on open-net fish farms, which threaten wild fish populations. The idea already seems to be gaining traction in B.C., but if it fails to materialize, Alberta could consider implementing its own ban on farmed fish.

I’ll miss the occasional sushi lunch, but I’ll just have to find another way to get my dose of Omega-3s.

Or if we really want to protect our oceans, perhaps there should be a prohibition on Victoria’s practice of flushing sewage into the Pacific Ocean — a proposal that seems eminently reasonable for a city considering a class-action lawsuit against oil companies.

Staying with the lawsuit theme, perhaps Alberta could consider launching court action against B.C. to recover policing and medical costs resulting from that province’s illegal pot industry.

In the same vein, is it a fair question to ask how much of the fentanyl that has killed more than 1,400 Albertans over the last three years came through B.C.?

Switching to the other side of the country, if Quebec’s leaders aren’t interested in helping Alberta’s energy industry, then surely they won’t have objections to our province calling for an end to dairy subsidies.

The same should go for Bombardier, which has received billions in federal assistance despite a track record that could best be described as troubled.

After all, if Quebec’s environmental conscience is unwilling to facilitate pipelines to carry Alberta oil, should it be demanding support for a company building planes, trains and automobiles that burn fuel?

Though it didn’t get enough attention at the time, I was pleased to see the Alberta government’s decision in November to launch an overdue trade challenge against Ontario for inhibiting Alberta liquor products to be sold in that province.

Still, I think we can go further to underline the harm of trade barriers. There’s lots of potential avenues.

Highway tolls on vehicles with Ontario licence plates. Applying international tuition to Ontario students wanting to attend Alberta universities. Extra charges for out-of-province patients who come here for transplant surgeries. Special airport landing fees. Differential hotel taxes.

To be clear, I don’t like suggesting these ideas. Most, if not all, are irrational, damaging and narcissistic.

But then, so too are the attitudes of leaders in Ottawa and other provinces who seem to have sacrificed national prosperity for personal political gain.

Perhaps merely proposing some of these extreme actions might help to raise awareness that our country is acting less and less like a unified federation and more like a bunch of squabbling teenagers at the dinner table.

Ultimately we are lucky to be a part of Canada, which at least makes some effort at environmental protection, action on climate change and respect for Indigenous rights.

Those principles are vital, but applying them must be fair and consistent, rather than singling out one province or industry to carry the burden while allowing others to make exceptions for themselves.

On that score, Alberta is legitimately aggrieved, but we may need to work harder to show it.

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This could be good for Canada.

Pembina partners with Kuwait Petrochemicals for $4.5B upgrader

Pembina Pipeline Corp. says it is going ahead with its joint venture with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co. to build an integrated propane dehydrogenation plant and polypropylene upgrading facility in Alberta.

Propane dehydrogenation plant and polypropylene upgrading facility to be built in Alberta

The Canadian Press · Posted: Feb 04, 2019 10:25 AM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
Pembina Pipeline Corp. says it is going ahead with a $4.5=billion joint venture with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co. to build an integrated propane dehydrogenation plant and polypropylene upgrading facility. (Canadian Press)

Pembina Pipeline Corp. says it is going ahead with its joint venture with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co. to build an integrated propane dehydrogenation plant and polypropylene upgrading facility in Alberta.

The project is estimated to cost $4.5 billion including the plants and supporting facilities.

Pembina's share will be $2.5 billion including a 50 per cent interest in the joint venture, which will own the plants, and a 100 per cent stake in the supporting facilities.

The facility will be located adjacent to Pembina's Redwater fractionation complex and will consume about 23,000 barrels per day of propane. Pembina says it is close to an abundant supply of propane. 

It will have nameplate capacity of 550,000 tonnes of polypropylene per year, a polymer used in automobiles, medical devices, food packaging, home electronic appliances and many other consumer products.

The facility is expected to be in-service in mid-2023.

Pembina will own the facilities and provide services under a long-term arrangement, while the Kuwaiti partner is providing financing.

Pembina president Mike Dilger says the project is part of a "strategy to secure global market prices for customers' hydrocarbons produced in western Canada." 

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Social engineering should not decide pipeline’s fate


  • Calgary Herald
  • 13 Feb 2019
img?regionKey=lCz9UzH4B8cBCNHtE1t2cw%3d%3dTHE CANADIAN PRESS Legal specialist Andrew Roman says the process for assessing pipeline projects should be less political, more technical.

How can we fix the Trudeau government’s botched legislation for assessing pipeline projects?

Andrew Roman, the legal expert who so impressed Canada’s oil and gas industry with his piercing critique of proposed federal regulations, has now published a detailed list of changes that are necessary for Bill C-69, the government’s new bill for assessing major industrial projects.

Suits and Boots, the pro-pipeline organization lobbying the Canadian Senate to either kill or drastically alter C-69, hails Roman’s work. “Mr. Roman’s views and opinions on Bill C-69 are thoughtful, considerate and right-on-the-money,” says Suits and Boots founder Rick Peterson, an Edmonton businessman.

Roman comes at C-69 from a unique position: he’s retired from his Toronto law firm, he’s non-partisan, and he’s immensely experienced. He worked in administrative law for more than 45 years, including on numerous environmental cases, representing government, business and Indigenous groups.

His entirely sensible prescription for C-69? Roman wants to drain the overt politics and bureaucratic bloat from the regulation. He advocates eliminating the numerous new litigation triggers in C-69, thus allowing private companies to proceed in responsible fashion without being compelled by our government or our courts, as C-69 would have it, to bear the weight of the world on issues such as climate change and sex and gender relations.

It’s crucial to remember that pipelines aren’t all-powerful world-killing bogeymen. As Roman says: “The degree of public alarm over pipelines is out of all proportion to the environmental and social risks they actually pose.”

It’s also the case that pipeline hearings were never designed to save the world and bring peace everlasting. They’re supposed to make sure oil moves safely through an underground pipe and to fairly address the interests of landowners and Indigenous groups along the route.

Is that tried-and-tested approach really so bad? Is that not, in fact, sound government regulation? Why load up the process with social and global green issues?

“The (Trudeau) government has lots of worthy objectives,” Roman says. “They just don’t have anything to do with assessing the pipeline. So don’t put all the worthy objectives that represent the total Canadian government policy on top of this poor, little statute that is supposed to look at a skinny, little piece of pipe underground.”

Indeed, the government has abundant resources, power and numerous laws already in place to deal with human rights or criminal acts around sex and gender, as well as numerous laws and policies to deal with climate change, such as the imposition of a carbon tax.

Nonetheless, the regulator will be compelled to dive into speculative and/or tangential areas, turning the hearing into a slow drip of repeated concern and complaint.

“This could be a 10-year pipeline hearing ...” Roman says. “You’ll never finish.”

C-69 requires the new regulators, the Impact Assessment Agency, to consider more than 20 factors before approving a project. Each factor could be a trigger to challenge the final decision in court. These mandatory considerations should be axed, replaced with the notion that the regulators may consider these factors, not that they must do so, Roman says.

Instead of this ballooning list of must-do considerations, the Trudeau government would be better off simply to appoint the best, most qualified, trustworthy and socially conscious people to conduct the impact assessment and let them do their jobs, Roman says. “Is it really necessary to attempt through law to program them like robots?”

Another problem with C-69 is it’s far too political. In the past, the National Energy Board used to hear all the technical and scientific evidence then decide to proceed or not.

If some third party didn’t like the NEB decision, it could appeal to federal cabinet. Roman was involved in five such appeals himself.

But Stephen Harper’s government wrong-headedly changed that dynamic, giving cabinet the final call. Under C-69, political influence is even more overt. The federal environment minister has several windows to kill or delay a project and can do so with minimal explanation, giving her what amounts to “draconian power,” Roman says.

We should go back to the old model, where the expert board decided, Roman says. “It is 98 per cent a technical decision, and two per cent a social and political decision, and yet we’ve made it work the other way.”

This other way unfortunately appears to be the Trudeau way. It’s to over-reach, to turn what should be a technical and scientific review of environmental issues into a showy socio-political tribunal.

This aggressive progressive approach may well please Trudeau’s base. It will also be the end of pipeline projects.

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The government needs to grow a set and just build the damned pipeline.  While I am probably reaching a bit with this government, they need to do what is in the best interest of the country and that is getting our product to international markes in the most cost effective way possible while in turn mitigating any risk associated.

Let them do their damned job.


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Our current Government introduced a Carbon Tax here in Alberta. My heating bill arrived yesterday and the charge for actual Natural Gas(excluding handling etc charges) was only 20% more than the  carbon   levy.  In other words for every $ I was charged for the actual gas, I was charged $.80 in carbon tax and of course GST was charged on both.  The perils of heating your home in the land of carbon taxes. As for Global Warming, we are enjoying the coldest Feb in 83 years. 

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10 hours ago, Malcolm said:

Our current Government introduced a Carbon Tax here in Alberta. My heating bill arrived yesterday and the charge for actual Natural Gas(excluding handling etc charges) was only 20% more than the  carbon   levy.  In other words for every $ I was charged for the actual gas, I was charged $.80 in carbon tax and of course GST was charged on both.  The perils of heating your home in the land of carbon taxes. As for Global Warming, we are enjoying the coldest Feb in 83 years. 

Under the Liberal Wynne government In Ontario could turn off the hydro switch for a complete month and have ZERO consumption and still be billed  $100.

Go Ford GO ...MOGA !!!

Edited by Jaydee

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it was a close friend of mine whose bill was shown as an example in queens park.  ZERO consumption but charged $98 for delivery charges.  This was "justified" because he had a meter on the side of his place so the power was delivered there.  Criminals.


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NEB says Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in public interest despite ‘adverse’ impact on whale population


The National Energy Board has concluded  the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the public interest and should proceed, even though it would likely have “significant adverse” impacts on the Southern resident killer whales of British Columbia’s due to increase shipping traffic.

“The considerable benefits of the project include increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil; jobs created across Canada; the development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses; direct spending on pipeline materials in Canada; and considerable revenues to various levels of government,” the board said in a long-awaited report.

'Environmental activists decried the NEB report'


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1 hour ago, Lakelad said:


NEB says Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in public interest despite ‘adverse’ impact on whale population

'Environmental activists decried the NEB report'


The interesting / puzzling question re the averse impact on whale population, I guess it is only tankers that have this effect as no concerns have been raised re the additional coal ships, large bc ferries , freighter traffic from the port of Vancouver or indeed the increased Cruise Ship traffic. 


Two-hundred-and-fifty commercial vessels a month traverse these waters. Currently about four of those are travelling in to Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal and carrying crude oil back out to the Pacific. But the new pipeline will increase this "seven fold" or so the opponents cry, if they are right then there will be 28 a month but I guess there is no impact on whales by the other 250 or so commercial vessels.

BC Ferries to add trips to 10 routes cut back in 2014, province says

BC Ferries will add 2,700 trips a year total to 10 routes serving Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Southern Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, the province said in a statement.

Province also releases report from former bureaucrat Blair Redlin on improving ferries

CBC News · Posted: Feb 22, 2019 10:51 AM PT | Last Updated: an hour ago
A report from former bureaucrat Blair Redlin makes numerous recommendations on ferry service. (BC Ferries)

BC Ferries will add 2,700 trips a year total to 10 routes serving Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Southern Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, the province said in a statement.

The Ministry of Transportation said service on those routes was cut back in 2014.

The routes that will see increased service are:

  • Crofton – Vesuvius.
  • Earls Cove – Saltery Bay.
  • Horseshoe Bay – Bowen Island.
  • Port Hardy – Mid Coast — Prince Rupert.
  • Haida Gwaii – Prince Rupert.
  • Powell River – Texada Island.
  • Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island.
  • Campbell River – Quadra Island.
  • Quadra Island – Cortes Island.
  • Skidegate – Alliford Bay.

The province announced the route changes as it released a report from former deputy minister of Transportation Blair Redlin. The report was completed in June 2018.

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It was already stated that there will be little traffic increase due to the pipeline over the traffic today.  The horse is dead can we stop beating it and build the damned pipeline.


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45 minutes ago, boestar said:

It was already stated that there will be little traffic increase due to the pipeline over the traffic today.  The horse is dead can we stop beating it and build the damned pipeline.


It would be nice but in their approval the adverse (so called) effect on whale population lead off the announcement, so with that highlight I would be the courts will be busy.  However until such time as our Government accepts the recommendation and adds  their approval (they have 90 days to do so) nothing much will happen.

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Interesting this just came to light.

February 22, 2019 10:24 pm

BC Ferries need to go slower, quieter, NEB says in Trans Mountain decision

sean-boynton.jpg?quality=60&strip=all&w= By Sean Boynton Online News Producer  Global News
Video will begin after these messages...x

The National Energy Board has given another go-ahead to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, but with some new conditions. Jill Bennett has more on the decision and the reaction in B.C.


BC Ferries was pulled into the fight over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Friday, as the National Energy Board (NEB) issued a decision saying that the project should move ahead.

In its decision, the NEB recommended that the ferry fleet take major steps to slow down and minimize underwater noise in order to protect marine life off the B.C. coast, including the southern resident killer whale population.

The recommendation was one of 16 included in the new decision, which also recommended similar changes for marine shipping vessels and whale watching boats.

READ MORE: National Energy Board rules Trans Mountain expansion project should be approved

BC Ferries said it is already working on reducing underwater noise, but the NEB called for those plans to be accelerated.

“Every vessel we build is quieter than the last, so we want to make sure we’re doing what we can to reduce underwater noise from our ferries,” BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said.

Slowing down vessels and making them quieter aren’t necessarily connected, she added.

“Some of our vessels like a “Spirit”-class vessel, for example, have what we call controllable pitch propellers, and when you slow down a vessel with [those propellers], they actually create more noise,” Marshall said.

Last summer, the company released a report saying it has reduced underwater noise on its vessels through improvements in hull design and by using different types of propellers.

“This is going to be a long process,” the report said. “We build our ships to operate for decades, more than 50 years in some cases. New, quieter ships will therefore arrive gradually in the Salish Sea.”

Replacements for BC Ferries’ older C-Class vessels will be built between 2022 and 2030, the report said.BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said the recommendation could lead the province to invest in new technology for the ferry fleet to address noise and speed.

“One of the things I would like to see us exploring is ferries that have different forms of combustion or actually electric ferries as we more forward,” he said.

Marshall said two vessels that are currently being built will be powered by electric-hybrid technology.

She was also noted that only a few ferry routes actually cross through the shipping routes to which the NEB’s recommendations are aimed, but added that BC Ferries is still taking the recommendation seriously and that it will work with the board and the province to find solutions.

READ MORE: B.C. indigenous and environmental groups blast NEB approval of Trans Mountain pipeline

Critics of the decision — and its recommendations — noted that the NEB’s calls to slow down ferries and other vessels is meant to offset the projected seven-fold increase in tanker traffic that the pipeline expansion is expected to generate off the B.C. coast if it’s realized.

The tankers will all carry diluted bitumen from the coast to offshore markets, which environmental lawyers argue would pose more risk to the orca population than underwater noise and vessel speed.

“They know and they’ve already said and everyone has admitted that this project amounts to a death sentence to the southern resident orcas,” Eugene Kung of West Coast Environmental Law said. “But what the board has said is that this is justified under the circumstances because of what they are arguing is the economic benefits.”

Increasing ferry service

The recommendation came as the province also announced Friday it would increase sailings on 10 ferry routes serving coastal communities, including Bowen Island, Texada Island, Gabriola Island, Quadra Island, Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert.

The routes are the same ones that the previous Liberal government cut in 2014. The NDP said the restored sailings would bring back 2,700 round-trip sailings.

“For years, people living in coastal communities saw ferry fares increase and services cut,” Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said in a statement.

READ MORE: Washington state is converting its ferries to hybrid-electric. Will BC Ferries follow suit?

“Quality, affordable ferry services are a necessity, not a luxury,” she continued. “That’s why we’ve turned the ship around – first by rolling back ferry fares on small coastal routes and now by reversing cuts to services that were making it difficult for people to get around.”

Those routes are expected to start returning as early as the spring, with more services set to be restored over the next year, the province said.

A full list of restored routes can be found here.

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  • Calgary Herald
  • 26 Feb 2019
  • LICIA CORBELLA Licia Corbella is a Postmedia opinion columnist.
img?regionKey=kSBw3GPxOXqRNNk5p3ZO2w%3d%3dFILES A report says the foraging time for southern resident killer whales is reduced by up to 5.5 hours per day as a result of noise.

Wanna know what’s really harming B.C’s southern resident killer whale population?

Professional anti-pipeline activists will try to tell you it’s oil tanker traffic. That’s a lie.

According to the National Energy Board’s 674-page report released last week, when it comes to the noise pollution affecting the struggling pod of 74 killer whales, oil tanker traffic is responsible for just one per cent of the pod’s lost foraging time.

The most significant contributors to the noise pollution that negatively impacts the ability of the whales to hunt and feed are other commercial vehicles — mostly passenger ferries, tug boats, deepsea fishing vehicles and in the summer, whale watching boats, says the report which gave the green light to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

So much for the moniker ecotourism. Those of us who pay to get close to these magnificent creatures may actually be killing them with our love.

According to the NEB report, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said that commercial whale watching in the Canadian and U.S. portions of the Salish Sea increased from a few boats in the 1970s to about 100 boats in 2016.

The NEB refers to a 2017 report in the scientific journal Nature, called Evaluating Anthropogenic Threats to Endangered Killer Whales. It states that “from the perspective of a foraging killer whale that emits high-frequency (18-32 kHz) echolocation clicks to detect and capture salmon, high-frequency noise from small, outboard vessels that follow whales might cause a greater reduction in a killer whale’s foraging success than low-frequency (<1 kHz) background noise from commercial shipping.”

These endangered whales are being chased virtually every moment of daylight from May to September. Is it any wonder they’re losing weight and are having troubles catching their food — something they do by using sound waves? If people want to watch whales, they should go out in sailboats or kayaks.

The NEB refers to another report that says the foraging time for the orca pod as a result of noise is reduced by up to

5.5 hours per day. B.C. Ferries account for 52 to 67 per cent of lost foraging time due to noise and tug boats account for 12 to 27 per cent. And, oil tankers make up just one per cent of that lost foraging time.

The study stated “that ferries undoubtedly contribute a large amount of noise due to their size, the large number of monthly ferry trips, and because their routes are widely distributed throughout” the pod’s habitat. To make matters worse, B.C.’s provincial government plans to increase the number of ferry trips in B.C. coastal waters by an enormous 2,700 trips per year — or 225 more trips per month.

Meanwhile, the number of added tanker trips caused by the proposed expansion of Trans Mountain pipeline is just 29 more ships per month for a total of 35 per month, or about one per day.

So there you have it. Tourism isn’t so green after all. It contributes significant greenhouse gases and makes hunting, for at least this one pod of killer whales, very difficult.

Despite what you have already read about the Trans Mountain pipeline causing “significant” problems for the endangered killer whale pod in question — something that critics are already saying — that is not what experts actually say.

What the NEB report actually says is this: “While the effects from Project-related marine shipping will be a small fraction of the total cumulative effects, and the level of traffic is expected to increase with or without the Project, the increase in marine vessels associated with the Project would further contribute to cumulative effects that are already jeopardizing the recovery of SRKW (southern resident killer whales.)”

This, by contrast, is what Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation director-general for Western Canada, said: “We’re already not doing enough to protect the 74 remaining southern resident orcas. Their future is literally in question. We simply cannot justify more hazards to their environment — like the increased marine traffic, vessel noise and pollution this project would create — and I cannot see how this recommendation is in the ‘national interest.’”

It’s impossible to say for certain, but as far as online searches go, Ritchlin isn’t making any noise about B.C. Ferries’ plans to increase the number of sailings by 2,700 a year.

Federal Green party Leader, Elizabeth May, the MP for Saanich- Gulf Islands, said: “My question to Justin Trudeau is, ‘What’s the calculation for wiping a species off the planet?’”

How absurd. May and her ilk can’t actually rely on facts to counter the Trans Mountain pipeline so they have to make claims such as this, saying the Trans Mountain pipeline will cause every killer whale on the planet to disappear.

It’s all just a bunch of verbal diarrhea to go along with, as the NEB states in its report, “the release of about 700 million litres of untreated and under-treated wastewater into the Salish Sea per day,” by the cities of Vancouver and Victoria.

That’s not good for the southern resident killer whales either. It’s long past time for these critics to get their facts straight and their s--t together and get out of the killer whales’ habitat.

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Something we should consider here in Canada.

March 4, 2019 3:27 pm

South Dakota governor offers bills aimed at possible Keystone XL pipeline protests

By James Nord The Associated Press

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday that she’s proposing legislation before construction begins on the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would create a way to go after out-of-state money that funds pipeline protests.

The legislation would let the state follow such money and “cut it off at the source,” the Republican governor said in a statement. Noem would also set up a fund to cover extraordinary law enforcement costs that could come with intense pipeline opposition.

“I’m a supporter of property rights, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. We should celebrate differences of opinion. But here in South Dakota, we will have the rule of law, because rioters do not control economic development in our state,” Noem said.

Noem’s bills come after opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline staged large protests that resulted in 761 arrests in southern North Dakota over a six-month span beginning in late 2016. The state spent tens of millions of dollars policing the protests.

READ MORE: Several arrested as Standing Rock activists defy deadlines for Dakota Access pipeline protest

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there is much concern raised by certain folk re the possibility of a spill from an oil tanker in BC waters and there is no doubt that would be terrible but the potential for spills is much greater from the every increasing freighter traffic but for some reason that does not seem to be a concern. 

Grande America: France braces for oil spill damage after ship blaze

A handout picture released by the French Marine Nationale shows flames on the Italian merchant ship Grande AmericaImage copyright AFP Image caption The Grande America caught fire on Sunday

French authorities are bracing for a huge oil slick to hit the country's coastline after an Italian ship capsized near La Rochelle on Tuesday.

The container vessel, Grande America, caught fire on Sunday during a trip from Hamburg to Casablanca.

All 27 crew have been rescued, but 2,200 tonnes of fuel has reportedly spilled into the ocean.

A slick 10km (6 miles) long and 1km wide is expected to reach Brittany, northwest France, by 17 March.

Four ships have been sent to limit the spill, and preparations are under way for a clean-up operation on land.

A Royal Navy picture handout of crew members being rescuedImage copyright Press Association Image caption All 27 crew members were rescued by French authorities and a British Royal Navy ship, HMS Argyll

"There is a risk, so we must do everything to reduce it and to reduce the impact of pollution of our coasts," Environment Minister François de Rugy told BFM news channel.

Grimaldi Lines, which operates the ship, said in a statement that 365 containers had been onboard, 45 of which contained "hazardous materials".

Among them were 10 tonnes of hydrochloric acid and 70 tonnes of sulphuric acid, according to Vice Adm Jean-Louis Lozier, head of the regional maritime authority.

Vice Adm Lozier added that any damage was expected to be "very localised" and "would not have serious consequences for the environment", since most of the materials had already burned.

A handout picture of a section of oil slick in the Atlantic OceanImage copyright EPA Image caption A slick 10km long and 1km wide is expected to reach Brittany, northwest France, by the end of the week

However, Christian Buchet, director of the Centre of Ocean Studies at the Catholic Institute of Paris, said that its impact would still be felt.

"Everything that burned - the containers, the drums of hydrochloric and sulphuric acid - that doesn't disappear. It goes up into the atmosphere," Mr Buchet told Luxembourg news outlet RTL.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but is believed to have broken out on the car deck before spreading to a container.

A handout picture released by the French Marine Nationale shows flames on the Italian merchant ship Grande AmericaImage copyright AFP Image caption The fire is believed to have broken out on the ship's car deck

Local authorities have opened an investigation, while French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois said it would file a criminal complaint over the spill's environmental damage.

"It's a car crash at the bottom of the sea, representing hundreds of tonnes of toxic materials in an area very rich in fish, plankton and marine animals," said group spokesperson Jacky Bonnemains in an interview with news agency AFP.

This week's spill is the first to affect France since 2011, when the Maltese-registered cargo ship TK Bremen ran aground in Brittany, spewing 220 tonnes of fuel into the nearby area.

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Some of the folks who beat the loudest drum re the need to switch to renewable energy  have a little secret of their own. 

Haida Gwaii is a crown jewel of biodiversity — and still fuelled by diesel in 2019

Across the world, Haida Gwaii is described as place with "reverence for the environment" and "Canada's answer to the Galapagos." Yet every year it burns 10 million litres of diesel. 

Local governments acknowledge the 'dirty little secret,' but a solution remains elusive

Justin McElroy · CBC News · Posted: Mar 16, 2019 9:00 AM PT | Last Updated: an hour ago
The majority of Haida Gwaii's power currently comes from diesel shipped by BC Hydro across the Hecate Strait. (Justin McElroy/CBC)

Across the world, Haida Gwaii is described as place with "reverence for the environment," an archipelago with "almost mystical energy," a place with stunning biodiversity that makes it "Canada's answer to the Galapagos."

And every year, the islands off B.C.'s North Coast burn through 10 million litres of diesel to create electricity. 

"It's a dirty little secret for us," said Darin Swanson, a hereditary chief in Old Masset, and capital works program manager for the Council of the Haida Nation.

Unconnected to BC Hydro's main electrical grid, two diesel generation stations provide the majority of power to Haida Gwaii's nearly 5,000 residents. A small, private hydroelectric plant on Moresby Island is the only major source of clean energy

"It's been an issue that the community is not proud of," said Masset Mayor Barry Pages, whose municipality is home to one of the stations. 

Virtually everyone on the islands agree a change is needed.

What's less clear is how to get there. 

diesel-exhaust.jpgFumes from a diesel generating plant in Masset, B.C. float skyward. Around 10 million litres of diesel fuel are burned each year to power electric lights, appliances and heaters in Haida Gwaii's homes and businesses. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

Local solutions

In 2012, BC Hydro issued a call for renewable energy projects, but opted not to move forward after receiving 26 submissions.

"It was really frustrating," said Pages. "We had meetings, [but] didn't get much feedback from them, and quite frankly we're not sure where they are in the process of looking at alternative forms."

While shipping subsidized diesel across the Hecate Strait is expensive, the cost of connecting the islands to the grid would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and so the status quo prevails. 

With no movement from the province, local communities have attempted to fill the gap. Solar panels can be seen on many buildings in Queen Charlotte City and Masset, and heat pumps have been installed for nearly every home in Skidegate, but they're acknowledged as relatively small-scale solutions.  

"We've done a few retrofits ... but these projects have been successful because we've been able to get some grant funding to do that," said Pages, who said Masset was limited by its small tax base. 

At the same time, several projects from private companies have stalled, including a tidal power proposal by Yourbrook Energy Systems. 

Yourbrook president Laird Bateham says his company has been working since 2014 on technology that uses water wheels and pumps to harness tidal power. Ironing out the engineering challenges and dealing with government red tape mean it's still not ready to move into large-scale use, he adds.

"If we're going to displace the diesel, they always say that you've got to have a proven technology and we're just working to get to that point," said Bateham.

"We have a lot of very creative and inventive people on the island, and they're working really hard doing what patchwork solutions they can," said Queen Charlotte City Coun. Jesse Embree. 

"But we would love to see more more from Hydro." 

haida-solar-panels.jpgA total of 385 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have been installed at the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

Biomass solution?

A Hydro spokesperson said that in 2012, "none of the projects were well-advanced developmentally" and that they were waiting on the Haida Nation to identify a feasible project because "their support is key to the success of any project moving forward."

The Haida say they're ready to take on the challenge. 

"It's just a matter of us getting our all our eggs into the basket and get this project moving," said Swanson. 

He said the Haida are currently working on a feasibility study for a large-scale biomass project which would take the waste products from the region's forests and convert it to energy. 

"We want to change it for a lot of reasons, so we're not burning the diesel, so we're creating more jobs with our renewable resources," he said.  

jaalen.jpgCarver Jaalen Edenshaw is a director with a society pushing for Haida Gwaii to adopt more renewable energy. "There's this irony ... and it's bugged us for years," he said. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

Change from the ground up

In the meantime, a younger generation of Haida are taking note.

"Whether you're a fisherman or logger, a carver, an environmentalist, people can see the damage that fossil fuels are having," said Jaalen Edenshaw.

He's a director with the Swiilawiid Sustainability Society, a non-profit group pushing stakeholders to find a solution. The group held a symposium last autumn to raise awareness about the problem. 

Edenshaw said there may not be a silver bullet, but that it's to take action.    

"Haida Gwaii is our land," he said. "It's not necessarily up to someone else to fix our problems"

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Yet another reason why additional pipeline capacity to Eastern Canada makes sense.


Tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman fuel security, oil supply fears

‎Today, ‎June ‎13, ‎2019, ‏‎19 minutes ago
Attacks on two oil tankers on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman left one ablaze and both adrift, shipping firms said, driving oil prices up 4% over worries about Middle East supplies.


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