The Alberta government wants a seat at the table in any future legal fight over the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Premier Rachel Notley’s government, in its throne speech Thursday, announced it will seek intervener status on legal challenges to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

"It’s important that we get these pipelines built, that we get shovels in the ground," said Energy Minister Marg McCuaig−Boyd. "We’re standing up for our industry."

The $6.8−billion Trans Mountain project would triple the capacity of the line that runs from the Edmonton area to Metro Vancouver, increasing tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet seven−fold.

The project has the green light from the National Energy Board, the federal government, and the B.C. government, but faces legal challenges from environmental groups, municipalities and First Nations.

In January, the City of Vancouver council members voted to go ahead with a judicial review of the province’s environmental assessment of the project. The Squamish Nation, the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation have filed their own applications for judicial review of the project.

McCuaig−Boyd said the province is focusing on court hearings at the federal level for now but has not ruled out seeking to speak out at lower levels as well.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has said the projects meets all five of B.C.’s conditions, including First Nations participation and the creation of oil−spill prevention and response plans.

Alberta sees the Trans Mountain line, and other pipelines to the coasts, as critical to easing the bottleneck that is depressing oil prices and affecting not just the provincial economy but the national one. The province says it needs to reduce its reliance on North American oil customers and will fetch a better price if it can go overseas.

Alberta is now rebounding from a prolonged slump in oil prices that forced tens of thousands out of work. Last November the federal government approved not only Trans Mountain but Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement, taking Alberta oil to Wisconsin.

TransCanada reapplied in January to have its Keystone XL project approved — to take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast — after being invited to do so by U.S. President Donald Trump. If built, the combined extra capacity of nearly 1.8 million barrels a day would provide enough room for all of western Canadian production expected by 2030.

Comments

What Alberta wants is to get bitumen to tidewater. This would be best done by shipping undiluted bitumen by rail to a port in the Prince Rupert area. No major new infrastructure is required. Undiluted bitumen is not toxic or carcinogenic. If spilled, it is easy to clean up. Shipments are easily stopped if they become uneconomic or inconsistent with our climate change policies.
So why is this not happening? The NEB mandate did not allow it to be considered. The mystery is why the Alberta government is not pushing it.

Our elected Leaders defied the majority of the public, broke laws on Indigenous rights and ignored reams of science in their determination to approve this. They now plan to spend MORE public funds to defend an Multinational Corporation against Canadian citizens who are spending their hard-earned cash trying to preserve wildlife habitat, clean waterways, and the entire planet from the increase in GHGs this would cause. Turns out COP, UNDRIP, Treaties, Endangered Species Act, etc, don't exist when Big Oil comes around and public money is a bottomless well. The NDP requires a complete purge in Alberta.

It is a shame that Alberta fell so completely in love with the Oil Industry, that it essentially put most of its eggs in that basket. It means that now, many Albertans have to pretend that reality can be tweaked so that we can squeeze 40 more years of fossil fuel prosperity out of our north country....and still imagine our grandkids remembering us fondly.

It means we have to become hypocrites. Full fledged, if we deny the reality of climate change in total; half baked, if we pretend we can postpone action on CO2 emissions for another 40 years.......so a junk fuel (all that we have left) can be exploited. And then we have to find a way to build an infrastructure that is carbon intensive at every step, and somehow hide the full extent of those emissions.

For those of us unable to submit to this kind of magical thinking, here is a rough map to the real costs: 1. In situ mining of the junk fuel 2. dilution of the tar with lighter hydrocarbons fracked out of our underground; 3. cost of the pipeline itself, and the ecosphere's it puts at risk 4. bunker fuel used in all those tankers coming and going in someone else's coastal paradise 5. removal of diluent and return to sender (alberta) 6. Upgrading of junk fossil fuel 7. Refining of upgraded junk fossil fuel 8. Sale of petcoke by-product of junk fuel, to the poorest of the poor, for use in their braziers, for cooking/heating/poisoning their children, etc. 9. Return of upgraded, refined end product, to various points for use as gasoline, jet fuel, heating fuel etc.

At every stage in this costly business, CO2 is produced. Its a pity we can't export the CO2 as we plan to export the dirty business of refining our Tar....but it's one planet being rendered unliveable by this business model. Count all the costs at every stage in this global chain of death, and you begin to wonder.

Who is going to take on Intervener status for the earth??

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