Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline - Pro's and Con's

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by tincan, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, I know there has been much discussion on this forum about the proposed pipeline(s) from AB to BC's coast. I wanted to start a thread focused on the pro's and con's so that people can come to there own conclusion on how/if this project should go ahead and how the tarsands should/should not be developed at all. There are often economic and environmental reports cited by proponents and opponents so if you have a link to those reports could you post them here. Any relevant articles would also be appreciated. Facts and figures with supported documents would be ideal.

    I attended a breakfast meeting yesterday morning and heard Robyn Allan speak about the economics of the pipeline proposal. She has written a full economic assessment that can be found here: http://www.robynallan.com/wp-conten...sment-of-Northern-Gateway-January-31-2012.pdf

    Her summary during her speech yesterday was great. Very factual and concise and supported by analysis by experts in economics, etc. I encourage all of you interested in this to read the full report above. Here is a link to her website with other reports, articles, etc - http://www.robynallan.com/

    Looking forward to getting a good collection of fact-based reports, opinions and articles in this thread. Many of you on this forum are quite informed on this subject so I'm sure we can get some great info here.
  2. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Here is the open letter written to Premier Clark by Robyn Allan:

    April 19, 2012

    Dear Premier Clark,

    Your government has not spoken out for or against the Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge Inc., rather preferring to wait until the National Energy Review Board process is complete. I am writing to you today to explain that, unfortunately the current Northern Gateway environmental and public interest process is flawed and as a result the public interest of BC is not protected.

    The Federal government, as I am sure you are aware, has publicly endorsed the project, stated it is in the national interest of Canada, and has systematically demonized individuals and groups who oppose the project. This behaviour has made a travesty of the necessary arms length relationship between government and an independent regulatory body.

    As long as there was some sense that the Joint Review Panel (JRP) was independent and had the authority to reject the proposal regardless of the political pressure imposed by the Prime Minister’s Office, a semblance of due process was maintained. That necessary condition was violated when Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver unveiled proposed legislation on April 17, 2012.

    The Federal Government now intends to further weaken environmental protection and favour large oil companies operating, primarily, in Alberta. This has betrayed any remaining trust in federal energy decisions as they relate to the province of British Columbia.

    With the overhaul of the environmental assessment rules and process, and making final decision on oil pipelines—such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway and proposed Kinder Morgan projects—a Federal cabinet prerogative, there is no confidence that the Government of Canada will make decisions that will be in the best public interest of the residents of this province.

    A major change in policy in the midst of nation breaking events such as Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan requires deliberate action on the part of your Office to protect the public interest trust and rights of BC residents and First Nations.

    Certainly when the NEB process for Northern Gateway commenced in June 2010, the BC government thought the JRP would be objective and have the power to recommend a binding decision which would reflect the public interest of British Colombians and Canadians. I can imagine that the safety and efficiency inherent in one independent review body—which the NEB was believed to be at the time—and the belief that our public interest would be protected were reasons why the Liberal government of BC under the leadership of Gordon Campbell, felt it acceptable to sign away our right to conduct an environmental assessment under B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Act.

    During my review of the Enbridge economic documents as part of their Application to the NEB, I wondered why there was no real or meaningful review of their case by various ministries of the BC government. The deliberate intent in the Enbridge documents to increase the price of oil for Canadian consumers and businesses, and the lack of concern over the impact our petro-currency has on forestry, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, appeared to be glaring examples of an economic case intent on presenting only the benefits to the oil industry without due consideration to the economic costs for the rest of us. The development of a strategy to export raw crude to Asia at the cost of value added jobs and control over environmental standards also seemed worthy of provincial comment.

    I felt surely, there should be professional economists, paid by taxpayers, that would stand up and present a fair picture of the macroeconomic impact rapid resource expansion and export has on the economy of British Columbia, not to mention the threat to the environment and First Nations rights. That is when I discovered that BC had signed away the right to actively assess the project. I then understood that not only have you, as Premier, elected to remain silent on the issue, but our provincial departments have effectively been muzzled as well.

    I draw to your attention the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement signed between the NEB and BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on June 21st, 2010. I have attached a link to the agreement for your ease of recall.

    Essentially the agreement states that the EAO will accept the NEB’s environmental assessment for four proposed projects, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, which would otherwise have to be reviewed under BC’s Environmental Assessment Act. The NEB’s review would be treated as an equivalent assessment.

    If the province of BC had not signed away its right to the NEB, under the terms of the legislation the EAO would have had to undertake a review. According to the EAO, it is a “neutral agency that manages the review of proposed major projects in British Columbia, as required by the Environmental Assessment Act. The environmental assessment process provides for the thorough, timely and integrated assessment of the potential environmental, economic, social, heritage, and health effects that may occur during the lifecycle of these projects, and provides for meaningful participation by First Nations, proponents, the public, local governments, and provincial agencies.”

    We have the power within BC to undertake meaningful environmental assessment within provincial jurisdiction, but signed it away. However, not all is lost. Clause 6 of the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement states: ”Either Party may terminate this Agreement upon giving 30 days written notice to terminate the other Party”.

    May I recommend that the Government of British Columbia inform the Government of Canada that the province is now exercising its right with 30 days notice in order that it may undertake a proper environmental assessment under the terms of the provincial Environmental Assessment Act, for the Enbridge project, and it will not entertain signing such an agreement for the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline.

    This action will ensure that the public interest of the people of BC will be protected and will not be severely curtailed by the actions of the Government of Canada favouring primarily Alberta’s oil producers.


    Original Signed by Robyn Allan

    Robyn Allan

    cc. Dr. Terry Lake, Minister of the Environment

    Mr. Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition

    Mr. Rob Fleming, Environment Critic

    Mr. John Cummins, Conservative Leader

    Mr. John van Dongen, Conservative MLA

    Mr. Bob Simpson, Independent MLA

    Ms. Vicki Huntington, Independent MLA

    What can you do? If you would like Premier Clark to reserve the right for British Columbians to decide what is in our public interest and whether or not Northern Gateway and the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline should proceed, please write to her. Ask that she take Northern Gateway off the list of projects under the Equivalency Agreement with the National Energy Board and that she make it clear that when Kinder Morgan applies for approval, BC will exercise its right to conduct its own review process on behalf of the people of our province.

    The email address is premier@gov.bc.ca. It is also helpful to cc your MLA.


    Robyn Allan
  3. Englishman

    Englishman Well-Known Member


    From a quick look at this website, Robyn Allan is a pretty heavy hitter and she appears to be coming out pretty strongly against the pipeline and is very concerned with the process as Harper is trying to steer and control it. I'm going to read her report in detail as it contains some strong arguments.

    As I see it, this project is not just about the pros and cons, but who gets the benefits of the "pros" and who gets to bear the consequences of the "cons".
    It is very clear to me that all the benefits (pros) go to China, Alberta, and Enbridge stock holders. All the risks and consequences (cons) are borne by the people of BC, the First Nations, and the environment of BC and the west coast.
    To my mind, this project therefore is a major ethical question - should one section of the population or country benefit, to the huge detriment and at the expense of the social, economic, cultural and environmental damage to another section of that same population or country???

    BTW - what was the breakfast meeting you attended? Who organised it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2012
  4. bee15

    bee15 Active Member

    mabe bc government could get enough money from enbridge to buy vancouver islandbackbefore chinadoes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2012
  5. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    Just take a look at the results of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Oil and water do not mix. It should be a no go.
  6. Foxsea

    Foxsea Well-Known Member

    Northern Gateway is a con being pulled off by a bunch of pros.

    The proposed pipeline will transport about 79 million barrels of oil daily from Alberta to Kitimat, where it will be pumped onto tankers for export to Asian markets. Of course this pipeline only affirms Harper's disdain for the science of climate change and his aversion to any green energy initiatives. It will allow China's economy to benefit, once again, with our resources. The review process has been compromised: the federal government has unilaterally moved to change the rules and B.C.’s sovereignty is now threatened with subordination to the interests of Alberta and Ottawa while input from provincial departments has effectively been muzzled.

    “The federal government, as I am sure you are aware, has publicly endorsed the project, stated it is in the national interest of Canada, and has systematically demonized individuals and groups who oppose the project,” Allan writes. “This behaviour has made a travesty of the necessary arm’s length relationship between government and an independent regulatory body.

    The Northern Gateway pipeline will boost crude oil prices $2 to $3 per barrel annually over the next 30 years, causing significant damage to consumers, businesses and the Canadian economy. She says the price shock will have "a negative and prolonged impact on the Canadian economy by reducing output, employment labour income and government revenues." She says it represents a "serious economic risk" to the Canadian economy.

    Allan said when the price of oil rises, that means consumers and businesses will pay more for anything produced by that oil. That will result in inflation, business being down-sized and employees being laid off, she said. The price of oil in Canada is estimated to increase as a result of market diversity and exposure to global pricing. Allan said Enbridge has exaggerated the benefits of the pipeline and played down the economic effect of price shock on Canadian refineries and businesses and consumers. "They used the wrong model to answer the question of what will happen to the economy when Northern Gateway is successful in raising oil prices," she said. Allan, named by the Financial Post as one of Canada's top 200 CEOs, said she wanted to present her information to the hearing panel and question Enbridge on its model, but was denied intervener status.

    In December 2011, Nature Canada and BC Nature submitted written evidence to the JRP regarding the deficiencies of the environmental assessment studies submitted by Enbridge. The evidence shows the many ways in which marine birds, Important Bird Areas, terrestrial birds at risk and woodland caribou may be negatively affected by the pipeline project. Three experts helped us identify the flaws, biases and gaps in the analysis done by Enbridge and show that Enbridge’s claims that the project will not cause significant damage to marine birds are unfounded and that the claim of limited impact on Woodland Caribou is also wrong and based on an incomplete assessment.

    Dozens of parks and protected areas in B.C. would be at risk of oil contamination if there was a spill from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. A paper, written by a team of scientists from Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the University of Victoria and the University of Calgary, found that a spill could affect parks hundreds of kilometres away from the pipeline. Although the pipeline would not cross any parks, two are within 50 metres. Most are at risk because the 670-kilometre B.C. portion of the pipeline includes 591 water crossings, 532 of which bear fish, researchers found. The Fraser River watershed, with the most economically valuable salmon runs, contains the most parks at risk.

    The construction of Northern Gateway – and the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline System – will reduce the number of jobs available in Canada, contribute to a deteriorating trade imbalance, increase Canada’s indebtedness in the world, and make it impossible to meet either BC’s or Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. The propaganda from the pipeline proponents suggests their projects will enable all of us to continue to enjoy health care, education, pensions and other government services. .

    Focusing on the resource extraction currently planned for BC and other parts of Canada creates negative effects on Canada's trade balance and debt. In 2010, the resource sector contributed 11% of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), employed 755,000 workers, accounted for more than half the value of Canada’s exports, and attracted a quarter of all capital investment, at roughly $80 billion. Canada is the world’s top exporter of potash, the second-largest exporter of uranium, newsprint, wood pulp and softwood lumber, the third-largest exporter of nickel and natural gas, and the largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the U.S.

    That seemingly good news is not without a down side. In his report "A Cure for Dutch Disease: Active Sector Strategies for Canada's Economy" Jim Stanford says our reliance on resource exports has led to an appreciated Canadian dollar which has contributed to the loss of manufacturing jobs. It has also led to Canada's deteriorated trade balance as the growth in resource exports cannot replace the decline of exports from the manufacturing, tourism, and service sectors. 

Because Canada no longer exports enough high value goods and services internationally, we're becoming increasingly indebted to the rest of the world for the goods we import. This in turn has led to the worst productivity decline in Canada's economy in the post-WWII period.

    However, it is not a case of these pipelines or nothing. $5 billion invested in green jobs and industries would create between three and 34 times the number of direct jobs compared to investing it in pipelines and oil sands extraction. (Enbridge Pipe Dreams and Nightmares written by Marc Lee and published in March 2012 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reveals that the expansion in the number of petroleum extraction industry jobs has offset barely 3% of the 627,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Canada since 2000.) If the full costs of carbon emissions from extraction, processing and combustion were counted, the pipeline would likely be uneconomical. While private gains accrue to the oil and gas industry, huge costs will be borne by Canadians, economically and in more degradation of their environment and the quality of life.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2012
  7. reelfast

    reelfast Active Member

    next to the forests in the amazon, the boreal forests of AB represent the largest CO2 collector on the planet. as a part of the oil sands mining, these boreal forests are being destroyed. and as you well know, given the very short season of growth, these forests are NEVER coming back. not only is this dirty oil a problem, the rape of the environment must also be factored in to the destruction that is going on right now. our grandkids are going to pay a heavy price for all of this short term money grab.
  8. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    Foxpro check the numbers 79 million daily does not work. More like 6-700,000 barrels daily. At 79 million I am going to buy shares.
    Bad info and numbers will not help the issue.
  9. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    More boreal forests have fallen to fire than we touch with the oilsands and logging is doing more damage.
    Reelfast , every time you spout misinformation I will challenge you. Greenpeace is really out to lunch.
  10. reelfast

    reelfast Active Member

    right, tell that to your grandkids.
  11. Foxsea

    Foxsea Well-Known Member

    Yup - right you are - I made a mistake!

    Still a lot of oil, none-the-less and a lot of potential for environmental damage.

    Capacity: The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project proposal includes two parallel 1,170 kilometer pipelines from the tar sands in northern Alberta to a proposed oil port in Kitimat. One pipeline could carry between 400,000 to 1,000,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the BC coast. The second pipeline would carry 193,000 barrels a day of condensate. Source: Canadian Business

    Thanks for fact-checking, buddy!

    (btw - it's Foxsea...woops)
  12. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    If I am going to fight something I will fight with with accurate info. I do not want to be taken down as a liar.
    I will back the truth.
    Condensate and Bitumen mix drastically increases the hazard of this material.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  13. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    You have your stories to tell your grandchildren and I have mine to tell, I just do not want to be assotiated with lies.

  14. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Englishman, the breakfast meeting I attended was through my local MP (Joyce Murry - Liberal) who hosts these things once a month or so. She often gets speakers to discuss issues that I find interesting so I'm signed up to her email list for these events and I just rsvp to the ones that I like. I'm sure MP's all over do this sort of thing.

  15. Sculpin

    Sculpin Well-Known Member

    Thank you sir for these two posts.

  16. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for clearing up those numbers Gunsmith. I'm about half way through the full report written by Allan so I'll post some of the most telling facts/figures once I've finished reading it. There were also several report submitted to the JRP on behalf of the proponents of the Northern Gateway project so I'll try to post those for comparison. If anyone has access to these reports feel free to post away.

  17. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Just because more boreal forests may have fallen to fire than to tarsands development doesn't mean that the development is a good thing. I could say that more people have died from cancer than from landmines but that doesn't mean landmines are a good thing. I would be interested hearing how much forest has actually been lost (in areas/hectares/trees, etc) due to the development and how that effects CO2 emissions. I know these forests are some of the worlds best carbon 'sinks' so I'm sure it's not an insignificant figure.

  18. Charlie

    Charlie Active Member

    I have read several studies both ‘pro and con’ and IMHO the work being done by Robyn Allan is by far the best out there that I have read! FYI… while reading those ‘pro’ start looking at the “bio’s” of the people writing them. Then go back and read her’s again!

    Rather than ‘pro and con’ why not start thinking ‘risk and reward’! As I see it, British Columbia is taking ‘ALL’ the risk and the reward is going to be higher gas prices at the BC gas pumps. That makes since to me??? NOT!

    Now all the others participating, including governments of China and Canada? Their reward is the oil - MONEY! Their risk… WHAT? They may have help in the big “clean-up” (if can even be done) which IMHO is only a matter of time? Can anyone find just one operation of this nature that hasn't resulted in some type of spill?

    Concerning Boreal forests of AB, which is a little off topic; and this is only in response to 'tincan', but got to ask are you others even discussing the same thing - I don't think so? There seems to be two differents points trying to be made? I don't think anyone can dispute there is an impact on the Boreal Forest. It is more than just the cutting down some trees and I don’t dispute logging is doing more damage; however, with the "potential" area of approximately 13.8 million hectares (the size of Florida) would be one hell of a forest fire? :)

    Just to provide some information from one study I have read on the:
    ‘Impacts of In Situ Oil Sands Development on Alberta’s Boreal Forest’

    This report examines the land impacts of in situ development of deep oil sands that has the potential to occur over a region 50 times larger than the oil sands mining area north of Fort McMurray.

    The bulk of the established reserves (81%) are deep below the surface and must be extracted using in situ (in-place) techniques. Although in situ recovery is less destructive than open pit mining, it is significantly more damaging than conventional oil extraction methods. Moreover, if in situ recovery of all of Alberta’s underground reserves is allowed to proceed, the area impacted will be vast – approximately 13.8 million hectares (ha), or 50 times the area of the mining zone. This equals 21% of Alberta, or a land area the size of Florida.

    As of July 2005, the total area of land leased for in situ development in Alberta was 3.6 million ha. If all these leases, most of which have yet to be developed, are subjected to the same industrial footprint as the Long Lake project, then 296,000 ha of forest will be cleared for SAGD infrastructure and over 30,000 km of access roads will be built. This is a conservative estimate and does not take into account transient disturbances such as seismic exploration, forest harvesting, or wildfire. Furthermore, new leases are continually being awarded by Alberta’s Department of Energy. The implications are startling. By even the most conservative estimate, there will be more long-term deforestation from SAGD development than if the entire mineable oilsands region is completely cleared. The cological effects will be many times greater still, because the SAGD disturbances will be dispersed across a vast region.

    The boreal forest in which the SAGD developments are taking place is home to many wildlife species known to be sensitive to industrial disturbances. For these species, useable habitat within a SAGD development area is reduced to small scattered islands. Once a threshold is reached where the remnant habitat patches are too small and scattered to maintain a breeding population, the local population is extinguished. Multiply this effect by all projected SAGD developments and the result is a serious decline in regional biodiversity.

    Although precisely defined ecological thresholds have not been defined, evidence is steadily mounting that ecological tipping points for many species are already being exceeded at current levels of industrial development in northern Alberta. The impacts of SAGD development, which are much more intense and prolonged than those resulting from conventional forms of petroleum development, will be additive to existing impacts of current and past oil extraction. Therefore, ecological thresholds will be greatly exceeded in the future under planned development trajectories. In this report we present evidence from studies of three wildlife groups – caribou, furbearers (e.g., lynx, marten) and forest birds – within which some species are at risk of extirpation from oil sands development.

    Given the severe and unavoidable impacts anticipated from widespread SAGD development, extra effort needs to be placed on finding alternatives to in situ extraction. Regardless of the approach used, the overall infrastructure footprint and related impacts of in situ developments must be significantly reduced. Several examples of industrial best practices are reviewed in this report, including reduced impact seismic exploration, integrated operational planning, reduced impact well pad construction, and footprint restoration.

    Although mitigation and reclamation efforts will be beneficial, it is becoming increasingly apparent that, even with state-of-the-art practices, the cumulative ecological impacts of in situ development will be devastating. Therefore, conservation offset measures, such as the establishment of wildlife reserves where industrial development is not permitted, need to be implemented. In addition, a cap must be placed on cumulative industrial impacts so that basic ecological function is maintained on the industrial land base. Examples from elsewhere in Canada, such as the Muskwa-Kechika management plan in northern British Columbia and the draft Dehcho management plan in the North West Territories, demonstrate how regional planning, protected areas, and limits on cumulative impacts can be incorporated into management planning.

    If there is to be any hope of balancing ecological and economic objectives in the oil sands region then new approaches to land management, supported by appropriate policy and planning frameworks, will need to be implemented. There is an urgent need for the development of a regional strategic plan that includes long-term management objectives and a process for achieving these objectives. The anticipated impacts associated with unconstrained in situ oil sands development are so great that no futher oil sands leases should be awarded or projects approved until a management plan is in place to protect the regional environment.

    Canada’s boreal region contains one quarter of the world’s remaining original forests. It is home to a rich array of wildlife including migratory songbirds, waterfowl, bears, wolves and the world’s largest caribou herds. Canada’s boreal is a major part of the global boreal region that encircles the Earth’s northern hemisphere, storing more freshwater in its wetlands and lakes and more carbon in its trees, soil, and peat than anywhere else on the planet. The Canadian boreal forest is also the location of one of the world’s largest deposits of oil – Alberta’s oil sands.

    With conventional oil reserves in North America in steady decline, Alberta’s oil sands have begun to attract significant attention, both locally and What is not well known is that only a fraction of the total available oil sands deposits are close enough to the surface to be mined. The bulk of the established reserves (81%) must be extracted using in situ (in place) techniques. Although in situ recovery internationally. Currently, the majority of oil sands production comes from open pit mining facilities, and it is these shovel and truck operations that most people have come to associate with oil sands development. The mining zone currently extends across approximately 3,300 km2 of northern Alberta1 and, when fully developed, will likely qualify as the world’s largest open pit mining complex.

    Not saying what anyone is doing right now is either good or bad; however, just want to point out two words that got my attention in this study and they were "potential" and "devastating." The whole study is worth the read, and can be found here:

    FYI… this report was paid for by two different charitable foundations. One Canuck and of Harper’s favorites – one of those damn ‘mericans "eco-terrorist" mettling in again! :)

    Another FYI… I actually have ‘no love’ for Greenpeace, either – I don't have anything against their work, personally just don’t like some of their ways!

    Just have to add:
    X2... Couldn't agree more and that is from a person in the Alberta oil business!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  19. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    So true Charlie, insitu is really the pig in a poke. All of this for less than 60% recovery. The THAI process which is toe to heel air injection uses way less energy and negligable water seems to have been dropped for some reason.
    For Greenpeace they seem to exagerate for effect to get more money which they use to target items of their own interest. They have done in the past some great work protecting the whales but have fallen prey to their own egos.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  20. reelfast

    reelfast Active Member

    so the possibility of eliminating the boreal forests in the size of the state of florida; the use of apparently one of the most destructive oil extraction techniques ever devised; exterpatation of any number of animal species; wiping out one of the largest CO2 sinks in the world; so gunsmith, who is telling the lies?

    greenpeace? all i can say is this group got the moral objective to the front with regard to whaling. and as the quote i posted in another thread, without that moral incentive, removing net pens and saving wild salmon is not going to happen. so pick you environmental group, get'um working for all of canada.

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