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Canadian rock legend Neil Young has blasted the Harper government for “trading integrity” in its single-minded appetite for Alberta tar sands dollars.
While the Senate seizes the spotlight in Ottawa, another threat to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s agenda is unfolding in capitals on opposite coasts. In both Victoria and Washington D.C., governments are weighing in on the future of oil pipelines which hold the key to Western Canada’s economic and political destiny — and that of the federal Conservative party.
The two fronts are related, as the inability to control one could jeopardize the achievement of the other by torpedoing the Conservatives’ ambitions to displace the center of political power in Canada.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) is demanding the resignation of Gerry Protti, the newly-appointed chair of Alberta Energy Regulator, a new agency charged with monitoring environmental issues. The ACFN is concerned that, under Protti’s leadership, the agency will prioritize advancing the interests of the oil, gas and coal industries, while compromising environmental protection and First Nations issues.
“How can Gerry Protti be diligent to First Nations concerns and uphold treaty rights when he clearly has no previous experience engaging First Nations and still has such strong industry ties?” said the ACFN in a press release.
Source: Globe and Mail
The province on Friday provided a glimpse into its investigation of the March 25 spill, saying the samples of the company’s undiluted industrial waste-water were lethal to fingerling rainbow trout. These water samples, however, are not comparable to the fluid that poured into the river because they do not account for dilution. Alberta is still investigating whether diluted samples are harmful.
The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and oil executives have consistently claimed that the dirty Alberta tar sands oil, the Canadian petro state and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline are a boon to U.S. energy security. Here are seven reasons why this isn’t the case:
1. Tar sands cannot break the power of OPEC. The oil cartel, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), controls the world market for oil, and this will remain true with or without tar sands. The International Energy Agency forecasts show that OPEC’s share of the market is set to increase with or without tar sands growth. Even if the United States were to greatly increase its consumption of tar sands oil, it would not change the dynamic of the market or challenge OPEC control.
Source: New York Times
IF President Obama blocks the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all, he’ll do Canada a favor.
Canada’s tar sands formations, landlocked in northern Alberta, are a giant reserve of carbon-saturated energy — a mixture of sand, clay and a viscous low-grade petroleum called bitumen. Pipelines are the best way to get this resource to market, but existing pipelines to the United States are almost full. So tar sands companies, and the Alberta and Canadian governments, are desperately searching for export routes via new pipelines.
Canadians don’t universally support construction of the pipeline. A poll by Nanos Research in February 2012 found that nearly 42 percent of Canadians were opposed. Many of us, in fact, want to see the tar sands industry wound down and eventually stopped, even though it pumps tens of billions of dollars annually into our economy.
The most obvious reason is that tar sands production is one of the world’s most environmentally damaging activities. It wrecks vast areas of boreal forest through surface mining and subsurface production. It sucks up huge quantities of water from local rivers, turns it into toxic waste and dumps the contaminated water into tailing ponds that now cover nearly 70 square miles.
Read full story on the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/opinion/the-tar-sands-disaster.html?_r=0