Tag-Archive for ◊ Alberta Tar Sands ◊

• Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Indiginous rights

Pledge your support for the Earth and Indiginous peoples at the Skills for Solidarity web site.

Source: The Guardian

…contrary to the myth that Indigenous peoples leech off the state, resources taken from their lands have in fact been subsidizing the Canadian economy. In their haste to get at that wealth, the government has been flouting their own laws, ignoring Supreme Court decisions calling for the respect of Indigenous and treaty rights over large territories. Canada has become very rich, and Indigenous peoples very poor.

In other words, Canada owes big. Some have even begun calculating how much. According to economist Fred Lazar, First Nations in northern Ontario alone are owed $32 billion for the last century of unfulfilled treaty promises to share revenue from resources. Manuel’s argument is that this unpaid debt – a massive liability of trillions of dollars carried by the Canadian state, which it has deliberately failed to report – should be recognized as a risk to the country’s credit rating…

The stakes could not be greater. The movement confronts a Conservative Canadian government aggressively pursuing $600 billion of resource development on or near Indigenous lands. That means the unbridled exploitation of huge hydrocarbon reserves, including the three-fold expansion of one of the world’s most carbon-intensive projects, the Alberta tar sands. Living closest to these lands, Indigenous peoples are the best and last defence against this fossil fuel scramble

Implementing Indigenous rights on the ground, starting with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, could tilt the balance of stewardship over a vast geography: giving Indigenous peoples much more control, and corporations much less. Which means that finally honouring Indigenous rights is not simply about paying off Canada’s enormous legal debt to First Nations: it is also our best chance to save entire territories from endless extraction and destruction. In no small way, the actions of Indigenous peoples – and the decision of Canadians to stand alongside them – will determine the fate of the planet.This new understanding is dawning on more Canadians. Thousands are signing onto educational campaigns to become allies to First Nations. Direct action trainings for young people are in full swing.


• Thursday, December 06th, 2012

There have been many stories recently about how North America will achieve energy independence soon, and how the Peak Oil myth is dead (see: Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle). Peak oil is not dead, it’s just sleeping. Math doesn’t go away just because you don’t like the answers.

The scale of the problem dwarfs any possible combination of solutions including: fracking, oil shale, natural gas, tar sands and biofuels. Here is a graphic from the car insurance association advising everyone to start planning for a radically different future when gasoline is very expensive. The question is not IF Peak Oil occurs, it’s just a matter of when:

Source: TransitionVoice

Peak Oil graphic

• Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Do you know where your oil and gasoline comes from? I didn’t until reading about a pipeline that runs from Portland, Maine to Montreal. It was created during WW2 to supply the province’s factories with oil while German U-boats patrolled the St. Lawrence seaway. It still provides Quebec with oil today.

Now, however, there is a movement to reverse the flow of oil in order to export Alberta tar-sands oil to the U.S. Communities in the Eastern townships, led by Bloc Quebecois, are protesting this plan and arguing that Quebec should not support the “dirty” business of tar-sands oil extraction.

While that is a noble cause, it doesn’t make sense. If the oil doesn’t go through Quebec, that “dirty” oil will find its way to hungry consumers in the U.S.  some other way. Besides, if you’re a reader of this Blog, you know that the real solution is to reduce demand for oil and gasoline while developing local and sustainable sources of energy for our transportation needs.

By the way, Montreal gets most of it’s oil from three foreign countries, according to the Gazette article below: Algeria, Angola and the United Kingdom. That would make me uncomfortable if I depended on oil (which we all do). Algeria and Angola are both politically unstable while the UK’s oil supply is way past its peak year of 1999 and they already import oil just to send it over to us.

This presents a challenging political decision for the Liberals: cave in to local NIMBY pressure or secure longer-term sources of oil from a reliable, albeit dirty, source in Alberta. In this light, the government’s sustainability plans should be a larger priority.

Source: Montreal Gazette

Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, in partnership with Montreal Pipe Line, has put forward a proposal to reverse the flow direction in the 18-inch pipe in order to start exporting Alberta oil-sands crude to Portland and points beyond. The oil-sands crude, or bitumen crude, would arrive in Montreal by pipeline via transfer point in Sarnia, Ont., and be diverted in Montreal into the pipeline to Portland.

In Quebec, the provincial Parti Québécois and federal Bloc Québécois have jumped on Enbridge’s Trailbreaker project, as the flow-reversal project is called, and begun to mobilize political opposition at the municipal level.

The two political parties say Quebec should think twice about aiding the conveyance of oil-sands oil; at the very least, they say, the government of Quebec should hold public environmental hearings on the proposal.

Opponents of the Trailbreaker project say they fear the reversal of flow along the line of 18-inch pipe will create higher risks of leakage. But experts say flow direction doesn’t really matter, given that the pipes in question are fusion-welded, not connected by male-and-female sleeving like washer-dryer exhaust pipes.

Opponents also say higher pump pressures will be required to move heavier bitumen crude and the 60-year-old 18-inch pipe might not be able to withstand higher pressures.