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Alberta’s Oil Production Cut Shows the Keystone XL Protest Worked

Read time: 5 mins
Bill McKibben speaking at a Stop the Keystone XL pipeline rally in 2011

By This article originally appeared on Climate Home News.

Even among those sympathetic to it, the climate movement’s success in persuading President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline in 2015 was widely regarded as a symbolic victory.

Stopping one pipeline was hardly going to stop climate change, after all. And even the more limited goal that activists had set — stopping the exploitation of Alberta’s highly polluting tar sands — was dismissed as unrealistic. The oil would simply find another way to the market, the argument went, leading New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, for example, to declare “The Keystone Fight is a Huge Environmentalist Mistake.” Well, perhaps not.

Fatal Rail Accident 'Eerily Similar' to Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Disaster

Read time: 8 mins
Site of a fatal Canadian Pacific train accident near Field, BC

The only way to have a rail accident that is “eerily similar” to the Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster that killed 47 people and wiped out the small Quebec downtown is if a massive regulatory failure did not address the causes of that 2013 tragedy.

Which is exactly what has happened. And is why a fatal train accident on February 4 in Field, British Columbia, was dubbed “eerily similar” to the one in Lac-Mégantic by Garland Chow, a professor and transportation expert at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

Why Canadian Tar Sands Oil May Be Doomed

Read time: 9 mins
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, tar sands oil operations

At current prices, Canadian tar sands oil producers are losing money on every barrel of oil they dig out. Despite signs earlier this year the industry would “turn profitable in 2018,” a much more likely scenario at this point is a fourth straight year of losses.

A Cautionary Tale for Oil-by-rail: the Lac-Mégantic Disaster Five Years Later

Read time: 7 mins
Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, oil trains on fire

By James Wilt, The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

In this Q&A we speak with Bruce Campbell, author of a new book on the disaster that transformed a small Quebec town but left Canada’s neglected regulatory system largely unchanged

It’s now been half a decade since the catastrophic Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in southern Quebec. On the night of July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying shale oil from North Dakota exploded, killing 47 people and destroying most of the town’s center.

But despite being the deadliest event in Canada's history since the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the Lac-Mégantic disaster has largely faded from the public’s consciousness outside of Quebec.

LNG Canada Project Called a 'Tax Giveaway' as BC Approves Massive Subsidies

Read time: 8 mins
John Horgan and Justin Trudeau

By , The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

Fracked gas export project will be B.C.’s largest carbon polluter

There was a telling comment from Shell Global’s Maarten Wetselaar — representing five multinational investors in a CAN$40 billion project to ship B.C. liquefied natural gas to Asia — amidst the hoopla that accompanied Tuesday’s LNG announcement.

This Small Branch of Trans Mountain Could Derail Canada’s Pipeline Purchase

Read time: 9 mins
Protester holding sign stating No Pipeline, No Consent, during a Kinder Morgan Pipeline Rally on September 9th, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada.

By , The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

The vast majority of oilsands crude moving to the West Coast passes through the little regarded Puget Sound Pipeline, which is now heavily entangled in troubled Canada-U.S. relations.

Politicians and industry have long boasted of the ability for an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline to get oil to lucrative Asian markets from Burnaby’s Westridge terminal.

But experts in Washington State are increasingly concerned that the twinning of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline may in fact lead to an expansion of the Puget Sound Pipeline, a 111-kilometer “spur line” from Trans Mountain that branches southward at Abbotsford to carry oil to four large refineries in the Puget Sound region.

Canada, US Governments Watching, But Not Intervening, in Coal Mine Pollution Controversy

Read time: 8 mins
Teck's Greenhill's mountaintop removal coal mine in BC's Elk Valley

By , The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

The U.S. State Department is not going to intervene in a dispute that has split the International Joint Commission (IJC), despite a letter from U.S. commissioners charging that their Canadian counterparts are refusing to publish data showing the full effects of selenium pollution flowing from B.C. coal mines into Montana.

A State Department official told The Narwhal that there are “no plans to weigh in at this time,” and, instead, both the U.S and Canadian federal governments are urging IJC representatives to work out their differences.

Why the Koch Network Took Credit for Dakota Access, Keystone XL, and REINS Act

Read time: 6 mins
Koch brothers

A leaked memorandum published by The Intercept and Documented Investigations shows that a Koch Industries' donors network, known as the Seminar Network, has taken credit for Donald Trump approving the permits for both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines during the first months of his presidency. The memo also applauded efforts by the Koch network's Americans for Prosperity (AFP) chapter in Wisconsin to pass a deregulatory measure there known as the REINS Act. The Seminar Network, which meets secretly twice a year, is made up of donors who give at least $100,000 toward Koch-led political and philanthropic efforts.

Koch Industries has a business interest in both pipelines, though their approval has not been something its funded network has widely discussed. Quietly, though, Koch has advocated for the pair of pipelines in regulatory hearings in both Iowa for Dakota Access — as previously reported by DeSmog — as well as in Canada, as reported in 2012 by InsideClimate News.

Is This New Tar Sands Technology a Game Changer for Exporting Canada's Bitumen?

Read time: 7 mins
Hockey pucks

A new technology has the potential to transform the transportation of tars sands oil. Right now, the already thick and slow-flowing oil, known as bitumen, has to be diluted with a super-light petroleum product, usually natural gas condensate, in order for it to flow through a pipeline or into a rail tank car. 

However, scientists at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering inadvertently found a way to make tar sands oil even more viscous, turning it into “self-sealing pellets” that could potentially simplify its transport.

Deadly Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Disaster Was Avoidable Corporate Crime

Read time: 4 mins
Lac-Mégantic before oil train explosion leveled its downtown

Damning new testimony from an engineer of the locomotive involved in the deadly 2013 oil train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Canada, reveals several ways corporate cost-cutting directly led to the accident, which claimed 47 lives.

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