I have submitted an application to comment at a hearing of the National Energy Board (Canada’s national energy regulator). The hearing is about the proposal to greatly expand Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Vancouver and will transport diluted bitumen to export markets in Asia. Once completed, the pipeline will carry more dilbit than either the better known Northern Gateway or the Keystone XL projects, some 890,000 barrels per day. In my opinion, the Northern Gateway project will probably get bogged down for years in court challenges from aboriginal groups and Kinder Morgan’s project is more likely to start construction first.
This was written on behalf of the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Council Society, of which I am the President. I have no illusions that this submission, which is just an application to be considered as a commenter, will be accepted. The terms of reference of the review panel have been narrowed to the extent that comments on the upstream and downstream environmental consequences of the project are deemed inadmissible. This is so arbitrary and obviously prejudicial that many people expect that the laws underlying these restrictions will be struck down by Canada’s courts. Challenges are already underway on the Northern Gateway review process. The NEB writes:
The Board does not intend to consider the environmental and socio-economic effects associated with upstream activities, the development of oil sands, or the downstream use of the oil transported by the pipeline.
As if the bitumen could be transported, without first being produced. As if the bitumen would be transported, if it were never to be consumed. It is like arguing that there’s no harm in falling off a cliff, just so long as you don’t hit the ground.
References, links and more details can be found in my post Pipelines cause climate change, let’s talk about it. Here’s what I wrote to the NEB.