Reblogged from: Blavatar Earth First! Newswire

31 May

Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Cross Posted from CBC

The B.C. government has officially expressed its opposition to a proposal for the Northern Gateway pipeline project, saying it fails to address the province’s environmental concerns. 

The province made the announcement in its final written submission to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel.

“British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project, including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake.

“Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings.”

Lake said the province has carefully reviewed the evidence presented to the panel.

“The panel must determine if it is appropriate to grant a certificate for the project as currently proposed on the basis of a promise to do more study and planning after the certificate is granted,” Lake said.

“Our government does not believe that a certificate should be granted before these important questions are answered.”

In a news release, Enbridge executive vice president Janet Holder said the province’s five conditions can’t be fully met until the end of the review panel process, saying the company is working hard to meet the conditions and earn the confidence of the government and the people of B.C.

“As a British Columbian, I am personally committed, as is Northern Gateway, to building a pipeline project that meets the highest possible safety and environmental standards anywhere in the world and a project that creates new jobs and opportunities for British Columbians,” she said.

“At Northern Gateway, we are driven by our responsibility to do what’s right for B.C.’s economy and for B.C.’s environment.”

The review panel will hear final arguments starting next month, and must present a report to the federal government by the end of the year. The federal government will have the final say on whether the pipeline goes ahead.

Read More Here



Posted by   on June 3, 2013 12:42 pm

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada, June 3, 2013 (ENS) – Oil spill cleanup concerns have led the British Columbia Government to reject a proposed multi-billion dollar tar sands oil pipeline that the Canadian company Enbridge wants to construct across the province.

In its final submission Friday to the federally-appointed Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel, the province states that it cannot support the Enbridge Northern Gateway project because the company “has been unable to address British Columbians’ environmental concerns.”

Environment Minister Terry Lake said, “British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents. Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings.”

Terry Lake

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake, right, presents environmental awards, 2011 (Photo courtesy Office of the Minister)

“Northern Gateway has said that they would provide effective spill response in all cases. However, they have presented little evidence as to how they will respond,” Lake said. “For that reason, our government cannot support the issuance of a certificate for the pipeline as it was presented to the Joint Review Panel.”

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, as proposed, is a twin pipeline system between Edmonton, Alberta and a new marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia, which would carry tar sands oil by pipeline across the province, to be loaded onto supertankers for transport to Asia.

The pipelines would cross B.C.’s sensitive Pacific North Coast ecosystem, and threatens First Nations’ land and salmon economy. A spill threatens long-term loss of marine life, pristine waterways, and coastal ecosystems.

First Nation opposition has been strong and united in the position that the Northern Gateway pipeline would never be allowed to cross their land. The pipelines could not be constructed without breaking First Nation unity through financial inducements or land seizure.

The provincial government has established, and maintains, five “strict conditions” in order for British Columbia to consider the construction and operation of heavy-oil pipelines in the province.

  1. Successful completion of the environmental review process. In the case of Northern Gateway pipeline, that would mean a recommendation by the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel that the project proceed.
  2. World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines and shipments.
  3. World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines.
  4. Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project.
  5. British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy-oil project that reflect the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.

“The five conditions cannot be fully met until the end of the Joint Review Panel process,” said Janet Holder, Enbridge’s executive vice president of Western access, told reporters. “As a British Columbian, I am personally committed, as is Northern Gateway, to building a pipeline project that meets the highest possible safety and environmental standards anywhere in the world—and a Project that creates new jobs and opportunities for British Columbians.”


An Enbridge pipeline is laid out for installation (Photo courtesy Northern Gateway)

In its written submission to the review panel on Friday, the company emphasized “the enormous economic benefits that the Project would deliver to Canada, British Columbia, Alberta and Aboriginal peoples.”

“The evidence provided by Northern Gateway … demonstrates that the Project would be safely designed and constructed, and that Northern Gateway is committed to ensuring excellence in operations. It shows that the pipelines would be constructed and operated without causing significant adverse effects to the environment,” the company wrote.

Read Full Article Here


Tar Sand

What are the Tar Sands?

The “Tar Sands” (or if you are a business executive, “unconventional or heavy oil”) are naturally occurring deposits of petroleum, sand and clay mixed up to make an asphalt-like substance technically known as bitumen. For much of the 20th century, these deposits were largely ignored by oil companies as a source of petroleum due to the comparably inefficient process used to turn bitumen-in-the-ground into gasoline-in-the-tank, if you will. Now, because of dwindling production of conventional petroleum sources since the cresting of Hubbert’s predicted peak oil scenario, every major oil company in the world is now investing in tar sand extraction.

Bitumen, aka tar sand.

Where are the Tar Sands?

Bitumen deposits can be found all over the world, however most of these are too small or inaccessible to make development of these sites feasible. The only deposits currently under commercial development are in Venezuela’s Orinoco Basin, and Alberta, Canada’s taiga forest. The oil industries operations in the Alberta Tar Sands constitute about 90% on the world’s “unconventional oil” industry. The Alberta bitumen deposits stretch across an area roughly the size of Florida and are speculated to contain the world’s second largest (measured by recoverable barrels of oil) deposit of oil after the Saudi Arabian oil fields. Some studies suggest the Alberta Tar Sands are in fact the largest deposit.

Recently, plans have been submitted to begin extracting oil from tar sands in eastern Utah, as well.

Bitumen deposits in Alberta

Well, what’s so bad about that?

The tar sand boom in Alberta has been called the largest, most destructive industrial operation on the planet, ever. At a time when a changing climate and dwindling biodiversity across the globe threaten to drastically alter our way of life, at best, or wipe out all life on Earth, at worst, expansion of the tar sand industry is a step in the wrong direction if we are to develop a sustainable human existence. Tar sand mining irreversibly destroys landscapes, threatens the health of whole watersheds, negatively affects human communities, and accelerates climate change through greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

What impact does the tar sands have on the land?

The tar sand mines of Alberta are the site of the second fastest rate of deforestation in the world, behind the slashing on the Amazon Rainforest. Bitumen is located deep underground and is too thick to be pumped to the surface by traditional means. Oil companies have learned that it is most profitable to dig the bitumen up using strip-mining techniques, such as those used in the coal industry’s mountain top removal mines. Vast expanses of pristine, old-growth taiga (aka boreal) forest are clear-cut. The timber is sold, pulped, burned or otherwise disposed of, along with several meters of peat moss (which any home-gardener can tell you is the richest, and rarest, soil-type there is) and every other living thing in the forest. Unlike regular logging operations, the clear-cutting that occurs before tar sand mining fails to offer even the most cynically token chance of forest recovery. This is because after the forest-scape is removed, the top layer of earth (referred to in the industry as “overburden”) is dug up and hauled away. This surface removal often reaches depths of several hundred feet. Only now is the bitumen accessible and promptly removed, leaving a lifeless moonscape where once there was a lush green wilderness.

This… from horizon to horizon

What impact does the tar sands have on the water?

Tar sand operations use extraordinary volumes of water. Certain types of bitumen extraction (known as “in-situ”) require great quantities of superheated water to be pumped deep underground to essentially melt the tar into a viscous enough substance to pump it to the surface. Bitumen, being too thick to flow naturally through transport pipelines, is diluted at giant facilities near the mines in preparation for pumping to distant refineries. This process, called “upgrading”, results in this localized cluster of tar sand facilities using as much water as the city of Calgary (population ~2 million).

The primary source of water for these processes is the Athabasca River. The Athabasca, a glacier fed river which feeds giant Lake Athabaska 765 miles downstream (this subsequently flows into the Mackenzie River system and, eventually, the Arctic Ocean). The tar sands sit approximately halfway, and this is the point at which great impact occurs. For every barrel of oil produced at the mines, ten barrels are sucked out of the Athabasca, up to half of which becomes so oily and toxic that it can never be excusably returned to the river. This oil-water is stockpiled behind some of the world’s largest dams (built from the overburden of the strip-mining process) to “settle,” or separate… an unproven process which even at best is expected to take several decades to complete, if ever. Meanwhile these toxic ponds grow to such vast size that they are visible from space.

Despite oil companies’ claim to the contrary, environmental reports state that more than five million gallons of this waste-water leaks out of the ponds and back into the river or groundwater annually. In communities downstream that have seen spikes in environmental red-flags such as mutations in wildlife and rare cancers among humans, the once pure Athabasca River is now considered poisonous and off-limits to drinking.

Wildlife near the tailings ponds face their own risks when mistakenly treating the ponds as hospitable, such as the 10,000 estimated waterfowl that die each year when coming into contact with the water’s surface. One such incident included between 500-1200 migrating ducks which died together when the flock landed on the pond.

Duck in a Syncrude Oil Co. waste pond

  Read More Here


                                                                    Image Source

Moving Wisconsin Beyond Oil through Clean Transportation:

As our oil supply decreases, our dependence becomes more and more risky.  Everyday, we spend $1 billion overseas on oil that could be reinvested in our own economy.  This includes countries that are listed as having “long term, protected conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable,” including Iraq, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.

Moving Beyond Oil:

With decreasing supply, oil is becoming harder to find and we are going to extremes to get it, including deep into the sea, threatening wildlife refuges, and destroying forests in Canada. Until we can kick our addiction, we will continue to go to great lengths to get every last drop of oil.

We saw the problems associated with offshore oil drilling on Earth Day of 2010 with the worst oil spill in our history; drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge will likely result in a similar travesty.  At the same time, the cost of importing oil from the Middle East has it’s own share of problems.

Tar Sands Before and After Photo

Stopping Tar Sands Development:

Tar sands oil is a dangerous and carbon-intensive way to extract oil from sand. In Wisconsin, a lot of our gasoline comes from tar sands oil.  As a result, we must fight harder to reduce our dependence on the dirty oil source. Click here to learn more about tar sands oil.

Wisconsin has its own proposed Keystone XL, the expansion of Enbridge 67, which would increase the amount of tar sands oil pumping through it to 800,000 barrels per day!

The answer is not the best form of oil, but to reduce the amount of oil we us


Read More Here



Tar sands supporters suffer setback as British Columbia rejects pipeline

Canadian province rejects plan for Enbridge Northern Gateway, saying company failed to demonstrate adequate clean-up plan



Tar sands Canada

Tar sands in Alberta, Canada. The Northern Gateway was going to connect the province to the Pacific coast. Photograph: Orjan F Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis


Efforts to expand production from the Alberta tar sands suffered a significant setback on Friday when the provincial government of British Columbia rejected a pipeline project because of environmental shortcomings.

In a strongly worded statement, the government of the province said it was not satisfied with the pipeline company’s oil spill response plans.

The rejection of the pipeline – which was to have given Alberta an outlet to Pacific coast ports and markets in China – further raises the stakes on another controversial tar sands pipeline, Keystone XL.

Barack Obama is still weighing a decision on that pipeline, intended to pump tar sands crude to the Texas gulf coast.

British Columbia, in its official submission to a pipeline review panel, said the company had failed to demonstrate an adequate clean-up plan for the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. It set five new conditions for the project’s approval.

“Northern Gateway has presented little evidence about how it will respond in the event of a spill,” Christopher Jones, a lawyer representing the province, said in a statement to the federal government panel reviewing the project.

“It is not clear from the evidence that Northern Gateway will in fact be able to respond effectively to spills either from the pipeline itself, or from tankers transporting diluted bitumen,” Jones added.


Read Full Article Here