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Enbridge recently launched a renewed attack on Canadian environmental organizations, demanding the panel overseeing the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearing squeeze funding information from the project's critics.
In early 2012, a campaign - coordinated by the conservative government, the oil industry and the astroturf Ethical Oil Institute - sought to undermine the credibility of groups opposing the pipeline by suggesting they are “foreign interest groups” that “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda” as Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver so forcefully put it.
Now Enbridge is renewing that egregious attack by requesting the panel investigate funding granted to Canadian environmental groups from a number of prominent American foundations renowned for their work in social and environmental equity, including poverty reduction, aboriginal issues, conservation, resource management, international development, and children and peace initiatives.
But Enbridge's ploy to redirect public attention away from tar sands, pipeline and oil spill issues toward the meddling of foreign interests in Canadian affairs is misguided, to say the least. The lion's share of foreign funding that guides the Canadian resource economy does not come in the form of conservation or environmental efforts: it comes through foreign investment in the resource sector.
And in the instance of the tar sands and related pipelines, foreign investments can be a politically, environmentally and socially dangerous affair.
The arguments in favor of the Enbridge-proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline often stress the economic benefits the pipeline will bring to Canada. Economists and trade organizations emphasize the advantages of increased production in the tar sands for Albertans and the jobs produced during pipeline construction for British Columbians. Another supposed economic bonus is to come from strengthened trade relations with China, the largest foreign investor currently involved in Canada's tar sands.
This is a guest post by Nikki Skuce, and originally appeared in the Edmonton Journal.
In Edmonton this week, experts and lawyers have gathered again at the Joint Review Panel hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project. They’ll challenge and defend percentages, growth, probabilities. They’ll speak about projections and expectations. They’ll talk about cost versus benefit.
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, a fragile ecosystem is very much alive. Its emerald green islands slope into the Pacific Ocean. Eagles soar over Douglas Channel, feeding off migrating salmon. The rare spirit bear forages on a beach for clams and cockles, unaware that its future is being debated in an Alberta hearing room.
Anyone paying attention to the panel’s hearings that resumed two weeks ago in Edmonton has probably noticed a lot of numbers being thrown around. The current hearings focus on the pipeline’s economics, which don’t always add up — price differentials, job numbers, refinery capacity, liabilities. But while Enbridge and other economic experts haggle over numbers, it seems obvious that some things can’t be assigned a dollar value. Some things are priceless.
The Great Bear Rainforest is an international treasure, home to magnificent cedar trees and the spirit (kermode) bear. Its waters are teeming with life — humpback, orca and fin whales all feed there.
With the two year anniversary of the “Dilbit Disaster” fresh on our minds it seems improbable that Enbridge, the company responsible for the 1 million gallon spill of dilbit, or diluted bitumen, on a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, is currently pushing through a plan to expand that same pipeline.
According to Enbridge’s application for the Northern Gateway Pipeline the company expects a staggering 217% growth in tar sands production by 2035. If built, the Enbridge pipeline would provide the landlocked tar sands with a high-capacity thoroughfare to deliver diluted bitumen, or dilbit, to Asian markets.
For compulsive watchers of Enbridge Inc., the spill-crazy pipeline company that wants to pipe tar sands crude to the Canadian West Coast - or just for students of the barefaced lie - this video can't be beaten.
It purports to show the pipeline route, including an open sea exodus where tankers will pass from the proposed Kitimat, British Columbia oil port.
But as this video documents, the Enbridge auteurs airbrushed out 1,000 square kilometres of islands and rocks within the exit channel.
Given the criticism, the company has added a note saying, “The animation is for illustrative purposes only. It is meant to be broadly representational, not to scale.”
Broadly representing a completely false image.
Walker recently won the Kochtopus-funded Americans for Prosperity George Washington Award. Now, two months after his recall election steamrolling of Democrat Tom Barrett, the climate change denying group famous for its Unabomber billboard will embrace Walker with much fanfare.
Heartland, whose internal documents were published this past spring by DeSmogBlog, sings praises for Walker's union-busting agenda and his recent recall victory in promoting the event:
This year’s keynote speaker, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is the nation’s most influential and successful governor. Elected in 2010 to balance a budget that was billions of dollars in deficit without raising taxes, he did exactly that, winning the passionate support of taxpayers, business owners, and consumers across the state. After years of economic stagnation caused by high taxes and excessive regulation, Wisconsin is growing again.
To balance the state’s budget, Gov. Walker took on powerful public sector unions, reining in their collective bargaining privileges and requiring that public-sector workers start to contribute toward their retirement and health care benefits. Unions fought back, and after they failed to block legislation implementing Walker’s plan, they tried to recall him in a special election. On June 5, 2012, they failed, as Walker won reelection and a solid mandate to stay his course.
The trove of leaked Heartland documents exposed the Institute's current climate change denying agenda and revealed whose money supports this reality-denying agenda. But DeSmogBlog neglected to talk about the details of “Operation Angry Badger” in the documents, as at the time, we thought it was outside the scope of our mission.
Turns out, we were wrong.
This is a guest post by Heather Libby.
A new video from the Post Carbon Institute pokes fun at the Keystone XL pipeline’s tendency to reappear no matter how very little we want it around - much like an ex-boyfriend who won’t get the hint.
Like many in the environmental movement, I was thrilled when President Obama denied the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. I really thought it was the end of the Keystone XL. Silly me.
Within weeks, Republicans were looking for new ways to resubmit the Keystone XL plan. Mitt Romney has said he’ll make approving the Keystone XL a priority for his first day in office if he wins.
Seeing all of this, I was frustrated and felt disenfranchised. So I did what I always do in that situation: write comedy.
All I could think of was how much pipeline companies like Transcanada, Enbridge, Shell and Kinder Morgan reminded me of guys who simply won’t take no for an answer. They're going to keep coming back no matter what we tell them, unless we cut them off for good - and remove their subsidies.
Fortunately there are many organizations - including 350.org and Oil Change International who are working hard to convince governments that eliminating subsidies is the right thing to do for our energy future.
Don’t you think it’s time we end this dirty relationship?
It was the most expensive pipeline oil spill in the country’s history, the fallout from which still plagues the local communities, and government investigators have found that it was entirely preventable.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its findings from a two year investigation of the 2010 Enbridge tar sands crude pipeline spill (which DeSmogBlog has covered in depth) that dumped over a million gallons of toxic diluted bitumen (or DilBit) into the Kalamazoo River and its watershed.
“Complete breakdown of safety.”
The report draws two very stark, clear conclusions about Enbridge’s culture of safety, or lack thereof.
First, Enbridge had known of corrosion and cracking along the 6B pipeline for five years, but the company refused to make repairs.
“Enbridge detected the very defect that led to this failure (in 2005),” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, “…Yet for five years they did nothing to address the corrosion or cracking at the site, and the problem festered.” (You can watch video of the NTSB announcements here.)
Second, after the rupture, Enbridge employees had many opportunities to minimize the volume and impact of the spill, but failed repeatedly.