Canada's Climate Leadership Ends
Trudeau Cabinet Approves Kinder Morgan's TransMountain and Enbridge's Line 3; Rejects Enbridge Northern Gateway
Vancouver: Living Oceans said today that its relief over the final demise of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project is tainted by the approval of two new pipelines that spell the end of Canada’s brief resurgence as a climate leader. “This places the Trudeau government squarely in the same room with the oil lobbyists, pitting it against British Columbia’s First Nations and communities. Justin Trudeau condemns the Canadian economy to another sixty years of fossil fuel exploitation at a time when we know beyond doubt that this will mean Canada cannot meet its international commitments to greenhouse gas reduction,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of Living Oceans Society. The organization was an intervenor in the assessment processes for both pipelines.
Today’s decision also fails to answer the cogent questions posed by the government’s own Ministerial Panel, who noted the absence of any framework for assessing these proposals for their impact on Canada’s emissions targets or any strategy for squaring the decision with the government’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nations. It provides no assurance of economic benefit, relying as Cabinet has apparently done on the overblown projections of the proponents themselves.
Living Oceans has worked for over a decade for a formal moratorium on tanker traffic on the North and Central Coast and, while pleased to see the government continuing the process toward legislation, expressed concern that the legislation is rumoured to be time-limited. “The North and Central Coast has for millennia played a vital role in the nurture of marine life which in turn, supports healthy coastal communities. It’s also an extremely dangerous place for shipping tarsands bitumen—between the weather and the geography, cleanup is impossible. That’s what a moratorium is supposed to protect against and there’s no justification for limiting a Liberal policy that has been in effect since the senior Trudeau was Prime Minister,” said Wristen. “We want to see a moratorium that recognizes these key values and protects them permanently. We don’t want to see another sellout to ‘world class marine response’ five years down the road.”
“It is a great pity to see this government founder on pipeline pipedreams concocted by an oil lobby that continues to cling to the myths of tidewater premiums and stranded assets,” said Wristen. “In today’s oil market, additional Canadian pipeline capacity isn’t needed and if there were a premium price available in Asia, we’d see bitumen-laden tankers streaming out of Vancouver. In fact, shipments to any place other than the US have actually gone down while the oil patch has been moaning about the lack of tidewater access. They’ve got it; they just don’t use it.”
“The government’s decision on Kinder Morgan is regrettable, as it flies in the face of science, economics and public opinion. But it doesn’t mean that this pipeline will ever be built. It continues to face a wall of opposition, mounting costs and a dismal price outlook for tarsands oil," Wristen concluded.
Karen Wristen, Executive Director 604-788-5634