British Columbia rejects tar sands pipeline proposal that suggests “doing nothing” after oil spill

Well, this is interesting. The government of the Canadian province of British Columbia has rejected a multi-billion dollar tar sand pipeline proposal because the company “has been unable to address British Columbians’ environmental concerns.”

Programming note: If Keystone pipeline news interests you, tune in to the Ed Schultz Show today just after the 2:00 pm ET break. I’ll be on with guest host Mike Papantonio of Ring of Fire talking Keystone, where we are and where we’re going. Thanks.


In the news item below, note that Enbridge is the company (like TransCanada) and “Northern Gateway” is the project (emphasis mine):

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.

Oil covered duckIn 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.”

“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.”

Note four things as you click through and read:

1. The oil is bound for Asia:

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, as proposed … would carry tar sands oil by pipeline across the province, to be loaded onto supertankers for transport to Asia.

2. The ‘”sell” by the company is economic, but the bulk of the benefits (the profits) would of course go to the company, or they wouldn’t be doing it:

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.”

3. The company touts its excellence in “spill response”:

“Northern Gateway would have comprehensive oil spill response plans for all Project components and would substantially improve existing emergency response on Canada’s pacific coast – something unprecedented for a pipeline project.”

4. Yet the BC review noted just the opposite:

But the B.C. government’s submission points out that the company’s proposal indicates that “doing nothing is a possible response to a spill.”

Just what Van Jones said about Keystone:

Is the provincial government of British Columbia really less corrupt (meaning less purchasable) than ours? Seems so.

This is environmental due diligence done right. Good for you, Canadians. At least you’re protecting your own.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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20 Responses to “British Columbia rejects tar sands pipeline proposal that suggests “doing nothing” after oil spill”

  1. Sweetie says:

    You’re confusing humans with politicians and oilmen.

  2. Drew2u says:

    30 May 2013
    Niger Delta pollution: Fishermen at risk amidst the oil
    By Will Ross

  3. Butch1 says:

    It’s guaranteed to do that. One can find it on the internet on YouTube. It’s disturbing.

  4. Naja pallida says:

    Even the Ford Model T got 25mpg. Average mpg across all makers in 2012 was something like 23mpg. Granted, we’ve improved greatly on emissions and especially safety… but one would think we should have made incredible strides in efficiency and economy too.

  5. mirror says:

    I asked my neighbor across the street how much his new Mustang got to the gallon. I figured it would be way better than my beat used Camry. He told me 17 mpg. That is the mileage my mom got with her gas hog 350 v8 1967 Buick Skylark! WTF? As a society, overall we aren’t really even trying. It’s all grass on the roof of city hall and call it good.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    You could hear the heads exploding in the Exxon boardroom for miles around.

  7. BeccaM says:

    Let’s add in the little known factoid that apparently this tar-sands goo is more corrosive on pipeline metals than regular oil. Which makes spills far more likely — and indeed, probably inevitable.

    And as was mentioned the other day, the oil companies have directed their paid-for legislators to ensure that tar-sands sludge is actually not considered ‘oil’ and so here in the States they’re not penalized for spills.

    We humans seem to be determined to keep on fouling our nest until there’s no more nest left to foul.

  8. Victoria resident says:

    BC’s rejection of the pipeline only delays the overall decision; the review panel is a federal committee, not a provincial one. The fight is not over.

  9. BeccaM says:

    Of course, the amazing thing would be to imagine what would happen if hybrid tech and regenerative braking was combined with the ultra-efficient combustion engines and vehicle designs we know are entirely possible to build.

  10. Naja pallida says:

    Thankfully BC does have a pretty reasonable history with its politicians. We can only hope they continue the trend.

  11. Sweetie says:

    They’ll find a way to replace the responsible politicians with stooges. Remember how something like 80% of judges handling BP oil spill cases were tied to the industry?

  12. Naja pallida says:

    I’m already pissed off about it, I’d probably just end up throwing stuff at my TV. :)

  13. Butch1 says:

    Watch the documentary entitled: “Gashole.” it is an eye-opener and sure to piss you off. There was a carburetor design back in the early fifties that could get 100 mph. and this was done on a real road trip and not in some lab or on a strip. One of the oil companies ( Shell, I think ) bought the patent and has been sitting on it ever since.

    The original designer of this carburetor put it in a huge Buick which weighed as much as the Humvee of today and it got 100 mpg running it on regular roads. ;-) A huge Buick!

    Our’s by the way is a hybrid as well.

  14. Naja pallida says:

    The Honda Civic HF model from the 1980s was rated for 47mpg… the two-seater CRX was even higher than that. So they have already proven that they don’t need expensive hybrid systems, or complex regenerative braking systems, to get good gas mileage. Even Fiat, trying to make a move into the US market again, has thus far refused to bring over their 70mpg diesel version. When Fiat/Chrysler, of all the brands, is desperate for better mpg vehicles. It’s just pathetic that they’ve been going backwards. Car and oil companies are proof that there is no free market.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    Well, in fairness, there really isn’t anything they can do after a spill. The best technology that oil companies have developed for an over-land oil spill from a pipeline break, is large paper towels. And that’s not even considering the increased viscosity and toxicity of tar sands oil, making their paper towels even less effective than the negligible effect they currently have.

    Enbridge has a pathetic safety record with their existing pipelines. This is a good move, but I fear it’s just delaying the inevitable. I’m sure the oil company lobbyists are already lining up to tell us how this will increase the cost of oil in Canada and the US, and other scare tactics to get the public on board.

  16. Butch1 says:

    At least someone has morals and a brain; we seem to have lost ours in our government leaders. The only ones who do are the protesters still fighting this evil.

    One can only imagine if there was a pipeline already in place running through the middle of the country and all of those tornadoes were ripping up the land with their category five level storms. They would have destroyed any under ground water reservoirs and those companies wouldn’t have done anything to fix it.

    Oh, but it was an “Act of God” and out of their hands. Right. We do NOT need these evil pipelines and the potential of disaster looming with each storm or other environmental happening ruining OUR living areas, water supplies and lands only for some rich company and their profits. Sorry.

    This country should be focused on other kinds of energy NOW; not tomorrow or perhaps, in five years; NOW!

    We have three vehicles, one of them being a Honda Incite 2000. It gets anywhere from 56 mpg to 62 mpg on the expressway. They took it off the market for a few years and then re-introduced it. Guess what its top mpg is now? Only 40mpg. Gee, I wonder why? Did big oil give a stern lecture to Honda and tell them they were moving too fast and they had to back off? The Scheeple public obviously forgot that this car got better mileage in the earlier 2000s than it does now. We know that the auto manufactures CAN build cars that can get much better mileage but will not do it and it is all because of the Oil Companies. They want as much money from us as they can get through our purchase of gasoline and it is as simple as that. When they decide that it is time to move on to different forms of energy, THEY will hop on board and support them and you will see the change in direction by this government and their lobbyists supporting these crooked Congress Critters.

  17. MontanaSid says:

    Good for you B.C.! Makes me proud of my home province. Hope they do the same here.

  18. samizdat says:

    “doing nothing is a possible response to a spill.”

    Which was pretty much the response BP took to the Gulf gusher disaster, outside of actually stopping the leak.

  19. gratuitous says:

    Well, yeah, doing nothing is the perfect response as far as Enbridge is concerned. Think of all those sweet, sweet profits that would be lost if they had to bother themselves with cleaning up their own mess.
    And, once again, the giveaway is where all this product is going: Will it really reduce dependence on foreign oil? Nope, Enbridge can get an extra nickel a barrel on the Asian market, so every drop of oil that isn’t spilled on British Columbia will be sold overseas, and no, Enbridge isn’t really interested in paying “exorbitant” taxes on those profits, either.

  20. cole3244 says:

    bc made the right call, america on the other hand will not.

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