Northern Gateway: Nathan Cullen believes the fix is already in

The Joint Review Panel examining the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will offer its report within the next month, but Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen believes the fix is already in.

“All of it is a bit of show because it’s obvious that [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has made his mind up about Northern Gateway, he’s made the promises to the Chinese that they’re going to get their bitumen through this pipeline, which I think was arrogant and foolish,” Cullen said Thursday during a conference call with regional media. “The decision is somewhat of a foregone conclusion, both from the [Joint Review Panel] I would argue, and the federal government.”

The panel must issue its final report by Dec. 31, but just when the report will be released is a matter of speculation. Some groups involved in the multi-year process believe the report could come out by mid-December, while others suggest it won’t be finished until the very end of the calendar year.

Once the panel issues its recommendation, it will be up to the Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq to advise her cabinet colleagues who will have the final say on granting a certificate to allow Northern Gateway to move into the next stage of the project’s development.

Whenever the review panel comes out, Cullen believes the credibility of the entire environmental assessment process is “completely in tatters.”

Opponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which hopes to ship oilsands bitumen from northern Alberta to B.C.’s north coast, have long criticized the way the process has been run and some First Nations leaders said the review should have been done from an aboriginal perspective.

Meanwhile, the proponent of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine plan for the Cariboo has accused Natural Resources Canada of making an error in the evidence it presented during its environmental review process this past summer. Taseko vice-president Brian Battison said earlier this week that brings the credibility of the entire environmental review process under scrutiny.

With industry, First Nations and environmental groups upset about the way the reviews are handled, Cullen said it indicates the system needs to be fixed.

“If you undermine the process, if you undermine its credibility it hurts everybody,” Cullen said.

Northern Gateway: Nathan Cullen believes the fix is already in

The Joint Review Panel examining the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will offer its report within the next month, but Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen believes the fix is already in.

“All of it is a bit of show because it’s obvious that [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has made his mind up about Northern Gateway, he’s made the promises to the Chinese that they’re going to get their bitumen through this pipeline, which I think was arrogant and foolish,” Cullen said Thursday during a conference call with regional media. “The decision is somewhat of a foregone conclusion, both from the [Joint Review Panel] I would argue, and the federal government.”

The panel must issue its final report by Dec. 31, but just when the report will be released is a matter of speculation. Some groups involved in the multi-year process believe the report could come out by mid-December, while others suggest it won’t be finished until the very end of the calendar year.

Once the panel issues its recommendation, it will be up to the Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq to advise her cabinet colleagues who will have the final say on granting a certificate to allow Northern Gateway to move into the next stage of the project’s development.

Whenever the review panel comes out, Cullen believes the credibility of the entire environmental assessment process is “completely in tatters.”

Opponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which hopes to ship oilsands bitumen from northern Alberta to B.C.’s north coast, have long criticized the way the process has been run and some First Nations leaders said the review should have been done from an aboriginal perspective.

Meanwhile, the proponent of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine plan for the Cariboo has accused Natural Resources Canada of making an error in the evidence it presented during its environmental review process this past summer. Taseko vice-president Brian Battison said earlier this week that brings the credibility of the entire environmental review process under scrutiny.

With industry, First Nations and environmental groups upset about the way the reviews are handled, Cullen said it indicates the system needs to be fixed.

“If you undermine the process, if you undermine its credibility it hurts everybody,” Cullen said.

Canada continues to delay release of oil sands emission rules

Canada is not ready to unveil already long-delayed rules on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta oil sands, the environment minister said on Thursday in comments that could boost U.S. resistance to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The right-leaning Conservative government, which has close ties to the energy-rich western province of Alberta, has repeatedly delayed the release of proposed regulations to tackle soaring emissions from the oil and gas sector.

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“It is at this time for me premature to say when they will be ready. There has been good progress in that area over the last few years,” Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq told the House of Commons environment committee.

Asked whether the rules might be released this year, she replied: “I can’t give you a timeline but work continues.”

Peter Kent, Aglukkaq’s predecessor as environment minister, said in February that Ottawa was “very close” to finalizing the rules. Work on the regulations, which started in 2008, involves the federal government and the governments of Canada’s 10 provinces.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who must decide whether to approve TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, said in July that Canada could be doing more to curb emissions.

Some politicians in Canada took his remarks as a hint that the President wants to see the Canadian regulations before making a decision on Keystone next year. Green groups want Obama to veto the pipeline, which they say would speed up development of the oil sands and cause Canadian emissions to jump even more.

“If Keystone doesn’t occur then there will be a whole ripple effect throughout the industry and it’s largely determined by the fact that we have no greenhouse-gas emission regulations,” opposition legislator John McKay told Aglukkaq at the committee.

“And so it’s a little late in the day to say ‘Well we’re going to continue to work with our provincial partners’,” said McKay, who belongs to the Liberal Party.

Canada acknowledged last month it would miss its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a wider margin than expected unless it takes further action to offset oil industry emissions.

Canada has committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. Yet the figures released in October showed it would produce 734 megatonnes of greenhouse gases in 2020, or 122 megatonnes above its promised target.

This month the Pembina Institute released correspondence between the Alberta government and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) that showed the lobby group opposed the idea of tougher emissions regulations.

“Will higher stringency requirements impact production and revenue? Very likely,” CAPP said in one document, obtained by Pembina under Alberta’s freedom of information legislation.

Alberta charges C$15 ($14) per tonne for carbon emissions above permitted limits and puts the money into a technology fund. Earlier this year media reports said the province was mulling raising that levy to C$40, but nothing came of the idea.

Asked about apparent industry resistance to tougher rules, Aglukkaq told reporters after her committee appearance that “industry wants to do the right thing… They want to be good environmental stewards”.

B.C. in ‘risk zone’ for coastal mega-earthquake: study

VANCOUVER — The last massive earthquake that shook the south coast of British Columbia took place on the cold winter night of Jan. 26, 1700, say researchers who have been able to use sediment samples taken from the sea floor off the coast of Vancouver Island to reveal the Pacific coast’s seismic history.

In a study published Wednesday, the team said the region that stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island down the coast to northern California has experienced 22 major earthquakes over the last 11,000 years, and is due for another.

Audrey Dallimore, of the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University and the author of the study, said the research showed earthquakes occur every 500 to 1,000 years.

The last one took place 313 years ago.

“What that means is we’re due for another subduction zone earthquake either tomorrow — or 700 years from now,” she said.

“(It) may happen within our lifetimes and will certainly happen at some time over the life of our communities and our infrastructures.”

Researchers extracted a sediment core from the sea floor of Effingham Inlet, in Barclay Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and used radiocarbon dating to determine when large or so-called megathrust earthquakes occurred on what is known as the Cascadia subduction zone.

“The sediments preserved on the bottom of Effingham Inlet resemble the rings of a tree,” Dallimore said, explaining that each year is represented by a thin layer of sediment.

“These layers have given us a story of what happened in Effingham Inlet year by year back all the way to the end of the last glaciations about 11,000 years ago.”

By radiocarbon dating interruptions in the sediment, researchers determined large earthquakes also took place about 1,200 and 4,000 years ago.

The first seismograph was installed in Victoria in 1898, so written records of B.C. seismic activity goes back only a little more than a century but Japanese written records confirm that a tsunami occurred from a magnitude-8 or 9 quake along the North American coast about 9 p.m. on Jan 26, 1700.

A megathrust earthquake occurs when a piece of the earth’s crust is forced underneath another plate.
The quakes are of magnitude 9 or greater, and both the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that caused the tsunami in

Indonesia and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan were megathrust events.

There has never been a megathrust earthquake along the west coast in the written history of Canada, but the study confirmed First Nations oral histories and found that megathrust earthquakes occur about every 500 years in the region, although they can stretch out for up to 1,000 years.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake that occurred off the west coast of Haida Gwaii last October was the second-largest ever recorded in Canada but it was not a megathrust quake.

B.C. forms part of the North American portion of what is called the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a 40,000 km horseshoe of ocean trenches and volcanoes where 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes take place.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the Geological Survey of Canada records more than 1,000 earthquakes in western Canada each year. More than 100 magnitude 5 or greater earthquakes have been recorded in the ocean west of Vancouver Island in the past 70 years.

Scientists cannot predict when earthquakes will happen, said John Clague, a professor of earth sciences at Simon Fraser University.

But this and other studies show they are inevitable in this region, he said.

And while a megathrust quake is rare and may occur up to one every millennium, other, smaller quakes occur more frequently.

Previous research suggests massive quakes occur in clusters, and it’s unclear where B.C. is in the cluster interval, Clague said.

“They are inevitable and although it may not occur in my lifetime it certainly will occur when Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria are thriving cities,” he said.

“So we do have to prepare for these things. Societally, we owe it to our children and our grandchildren and so on to be as ready as we can for what is inevitable.”

The research by experts at Royal Roads, the Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, UBC and the University of California is published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/b-c-in-risk-zone-for-coastal-mega-earthquake-study-1.1322063#ixzz2m6sWicqR

Many in B.C. would refuse to buy home near oil pipeline: poll

OTTAWA — Most British Columbians say they’d be concerned about buying a home near an oil pipeline, according to a new poll.

And a sizable minority — 43 per cent — said they wouldn’t even consider such a purchase due to those concerns, according to the Angus Reid online survey commissioned by New Democratic Party MP Kennedy Stewart.

The MP for Burnaby-Douglas has been a critic of Kinder Morgan’s plans to twin its existing pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby.

“The reason I commissioned this poll is that I have been speaking with homeowners living along the proposed route, not the existing right of way, who cannot sell their homes,” Stewart told The Vancouver Sun. “They are really worried their property values have significantly fallen and will stay low.”

The poll of 803 adults found that only 10 per cent said a pipeline would have “no effect” on their decision to buy a property within 500 metres of a pipeline.

Another 15 per cent said they would have some concerns but it wouldn’t be a “big factor,” while 25 per cent said their concerns would be an “important factor” on whether to make the purchase.

The largest portion, 43 per cent, agreed with the statement: “I have strong concerns about the pipeline that would keep me from even considering buying a home or property.”

The remaining respondents didn’t know.

In Greater Vancouver, only seven per cent said it would have no effect, 15 said it would have some effect but wouldn’t be a major factor, 23 per cent said it would be an important factor, and 45 per cent said it would rule out the possibility of buying the property.

The poll has an error margin of 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, according to the polling firm.

Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Lisa Clement noted in an email that “hundreds if not thousands” of people have bought homes near the existing pipeline for 60 years.

“That said, we know that people do have concerns about land devaluation, we’ve heard that, too. It is important to remember that more than 75 per cent of the pipeline will follow the existing right-of way where the pipeline has been in place for 60 years and most of the properties have been bought/sold over the years with the easement disclosure.

“More than 15 per cent of the proposed expanded pipeline will follow utility corridors or other infrastructure.”

She noted that the National Energy Board Act requires companies to compensate landowners for new easement, or right-of-way, rights, and pay for damages and inconvenience associated with new pipelines.

A spokesman for Enbridge, the company proposing the North Gateway pipeline, said they are very few houses near its right-of-way. “This issue was an important consideration when planning our route,” Ivan Giesbrecht said.

Stewart said Kinder Morgan is using new routes in a number of densely-populated urban areas.

“Most of what is being proposed for Burnaby is for land that does not fall along the current right of way. Even at ‘mile zero’ near the Westridge Marine Terminal, the proposed new pipeline does not fall within the existing right of way. This is the case for Coquitlam, Langley and many other Lower Mainland municipalities.”

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Strategies to Stop Climate Change: A Free Public Forum on Saving Our Future

Strategies to Stop Climate Change: A Free Public Forum on Saving Our Future
Speakers Panel:
Carleen A. Thomas Tsleil-Waututh Nation
Kristjanne Vosper Rising Tide Vancouver/Coast Salish Territories
Kevin Washbrook Voters Taking Action on Climate Change
Gene McGuckin Vancouver Ecosocialist Group

7 p.m., Tuesday, December 3, 2013
SFU Downtown, 515 West Hastings Street, Room 1800
More information: Vancouver Ecosocialist Group
www.ecosocialistsvancouver.org or 604-773-8393

Why is The Country I Love Spying On Me?

Last week, I found out that my government is spying on me, Canada ranked worst in the developed world for response to climate change, Canadians rose up against pipeline proposals all across the country, and the media reported precious little of any of it.

What happened to the Canada we know and love? Where is the country that holds its head high in the world, a respected leader on human rights and environmental issues?

Was it ever there to begin with? We were known as peacekeepers, and those who could afford to travel proudly wore the flag on their backpacks. And I remain fiercely proud of our public health care, even if it is far from perfect.

But if you are indigenous, you’ve seen your land and your children taken away. And if you were an Atlantic cod, well, you probably are no longer. Same goes for sea otters on the west coast, and old growth forests across much of Canada.

This beautiful country has a history of boom towns and ghost towns, built and then abandoned by hard-working families as the resources were used up. Alberta’s tar sands are the latest and worst instance of government and industry following this well-worn path: deny indigenous rights, get the resources out of the ground as fast as possible, and move on.

And yet, we also have a proud history of making course corrections as a country, when the science makes clear the consequences of our actions. We were global leaders in banning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were causing holes in the ozone layer.

Today we recognize that digging up the earth against the will of the people who live there has never been okay. This is not just an environmental issue; it is a human rights issue and the First Nations who live around the tar sands and along the pipeline routes are asking us to stop.

And the science is clear: What we choose to do with Canada’s tar sands will impact the climate and future of the entire planet. If you breathe air or drink water, this is about you.

How is it that speaking up for clean drinking water and a safe climate makes me suspect in the eyes of our federal government? The information on spying obtained by the Vancouver Observer names Sierra Club as one of the organizations being monitored by CSIS and the RCMP, with briefings provided to private oil companies.

The thing is, caring about coastal jobs, about coastal cultures and communities, about our children’s future, these things do get in the way of tar sands expansion, pipelines and tankers.

Faced with this inconvenient truth, our federal government is responding to the challenge of our time with spying and denial, when what is needed is creativity and the courage to chart a new path.

Spending taxpayers’ dollars on spying now won’t save us from the massive costs of dealing with climate change fall-out: the floods, droughts, ocean acidification and extreme storms that we’re signing up for if we build the Enbridge or Kinder Morgan pipelines.

Climate change is not some abstract concept for the future; it is already here. The recent typhoon in the Philippines is only one tragic example of what’s in store, and none of us are immune.

When it comes to doing something about climate change, Canada is the worst country in the developed world. And yet, polls show that 84% of Canadians want the federal government to take leadership on climate change. So who exactly is our government representing, as they undermine international climate talks and spy on concerned citizens?

We are at a crossroads in this country. Down one path, B.C. is poised to become a gateway for global warming, an exit port for shipping dirty fossil fuels to overseas markets. Down a different path, thousands of Canadians rallied in over 130 communities last week to defend our communities from climate change and the risks posed by tar sands pipelines.

Canadians can make good choices. We made good choices when we ended commercial whale hunting, when we created a universal health care system, and when we closed the last of the residential schools.

We can make good choices again.

We are calling on our provincial and federal governments to be climate leaders, to develop energy strategies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and invest in good green jobs, while building the infrastructure we will need for a low-carbon economy.

There is so much we could do together; spying just seems a waste of time and money. Let’s get on with building an economy that supports working families without destroying the land, water and climate we all depend on.

HOMEOWNERS HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE

Author
Helesia Luke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 28, 2013

HOMEOWNERS HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE

Poll shows 45% of respondents in Metro Vancouver would not buy a home near an oil pipeline

BURNABY – Today NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby Douglas) released the results of a public opinion survey concerning how people feel about buying homes or property next to oil pipelines.

“The top complaint from people in my riding about a new Kinder Morgan pipeline is the negative impact this proposed project is already having on their ability to sell their homes,” said Stewart. “Some homeowners living along the proposed pipeline route tell me they cannot sell their homes now or are not getting reasonable offers. I commissioned this poll to determine the extent to which the problem is widespread.”

The survey results show that when asked about their feelings toward buying a home or property near an oil pipeline, 45 per cent of those living in Metro Vancouver indicated they would not consider buying a home or property near a pipeline with a further 23 per cent saying it would strongly and negatively impact their decision to buy. In total, 68 per cent of those surveyed say they would either have strong reservations or definitely not buy a home near an oil pipeline.

The combined negative responses break down geographically as follows:

-Metro Vancouver: 68% strong reservations/would not buy
-Vancouver Island: 70% strong reservations/would not buy
-Southern Interior: 67% strong reservations/would not buy

-Northern BC: 60% strong reservations/would not buy

“The results of this poll reinforce what I have heard from property owners living along the proposed pipeline routes. Kinder Morgan needs to answer the questions that property owners have and highlights why residents need to get involved,” said Stewart.

Stewart recently launched http://letbcdecide.ca/ to give people more information about how they can participate in the National Energy Board pipeline approval process.

-30-

For more information, please contact:
Helesia Luke, Kennedy.stewart.C1@parl.gc.ca or 778-858-0553

Backgrounder available at www.kennedystewart.ca

Methodology:

From November 13th to November 15th, 2013, an online survey was conducted among 803 randomly selected adult British Columbia residents who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Protecting Our Coast, Our Culture and Our Economy

“The Coastal First Nations has spent almost a decade studying the potential impacts of tanker oil spills within our waters. A recently completed report “A Review of Potential Impacts to Coastal First Nations from an Oil Tanker Spill Associated with the Northern Gateway Project” confirmed that a tanker spill would cause significant socioeconomic and environmental effects.

The 1,170-kilometre proposed project would bring crude oil from Alberta to the northern B.C. coast, where it would be loaded onto large crude carriers for transport to Asian refiners through the pristine waters within our territories.”

To read more go here http://www.coastalfirstnations.ca/programs/anti-oil-tanker-campaign

Death toll rises from oil pipeline blasts

he death toll from two huge blasts at an oil pipeline in eastern China has risen to 44 with 166 injured.

The explosion happened as workers were trying to repair leaks in the underground pipeline according to local authorities who say oil spilled into the port, which also caught fire.

Friday’s blasts in the port city of Qingdao ripped slabs off pavements, overturned vehicles and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

The blasts are likely to add to growing concerns among the members of the Chinese public about the safety and environmental risks that come with oil pipeline projects.

It is one of China’s worst industrial accidents this year.

Copyright © 2013 euronews