Pipeline Update - The Freedom Train

Pipeline routeby Susan MacVittie

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is determined to speed up and streamline the government-approval process for pipelines, recently cutting federal environmental-oversight agencies drastically from 40 to three, slashing budgets, limiting public participation and assigning fixed assessment timelines. It’s all part of a slick plan.

Plan A: Keystone XL

No Longer on Hold

Despite President Obama’s veto threat, a measure to move TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline forward was passed in the US House of Representatives in April. It has been suggested that newly-elected Alberta Premier, Alison Redford, will not resurrect the effort to raise royalties on oil and gas producers which the Conservatives attempted four years ago, after many industry reps gave support to the newly formed Wildrose Party, which won 34 per cent of the vote. Redford has stated that she’ll keep pushing the US Administration to approve Keystone to move crude from the oil sands to the Gulf Coast.

Plan B: Enbridge

Northern Gateway

Beginning in Kitamaat Village, BC in January the Joint Review Panel has been hearing a resounding NO to the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal from coastal communities across BC. Future hearings are listed on the Panel’s website: www.gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca

No tankers petition: http://dogwoodinitiative.org/no-tankers/petition

Freedom Train

First Nations embarked on a Freedom Train from BC to Toronto and brought their message May 9 to the Enbridge stockholders’ meeting that the Enbridge Northern Gateway project has been banned from their territories. The pipeline and marine transport route would cross through more than 50 First Nations communities, many of them unceded, with no treaty agreements. As Yinka Dene Alliance and Coastal First Nations note, the project will not be permitted to proceed.

Freedom Train website: http://freedomtrain2012.com/
Sign Petition: http://freedomtrain2012.nationbuilder.com/

Sarnia

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation will speak at a public hearing in May in London, Ontario about an Enbridge proposal to reverse Line 9, an Enbridge pipeline that delivers crude from Montreal to Sarnia. Enbridge says it’s responding to market conditions and reverting back to the flow direction that was originally approved in 1975. The current westward flow has been in place since 1999. Environmental groups believe the reversal is part of a bigger plan to send western oil sands crude eastward for export to the US.

No reversal petition: http://act.350.org/sign/enbridge-vt-me-NEB/

Plan C: Kinder Morgan

Trans Mountain

Vancouver’s mayor Gregor Robertson vows to “fiercely oppose” Kinder Morgan’s plans to increase capacity of its 60-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta that ends in Burnaby. The Houston-based Kinder Morgan wants to nearly triple Trans-Mountain’s capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 850,000 barrels, higher than was generally expected. A large oil spill in 2007 into Burrard Inlet after a Trans Mountain pipeline rupture is still fresh in many Metro Vancouverites’ minds.

Thank Mayor Gregor Robertson: gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca

Plan of the People

Meanwhile, people are organizing. The usual official environmental suspects are joined by community groups, Facebookers and bloggers, and First Nations, at protests, public hearings and artistic endeavours in an effort to raise awareness about pipelines that bring little long term economic benefits to the communities and a major threat to the environment should a leak or spill occur. In May the BC New Democrat Official Opposition caucus voiced their disapproval by registering its opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project with the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel.

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Compiled from reports in the Vancouver Sun, Sarnia Observer, Edmonton Journal, and Vancouver Observer.

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[From WS Summer, 2012]

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