The following is an edited version of a piece by Elizabeth May. It was edited only for brevity.
Many people believe what is being said about the Kinder Morgan pipeline. They think it is a good thing or, at the very least, that there is a valid argument for it. There isn’t.
Stated lies: 1. Kinder Morgan’s expanded pipeline was thoroughly reviewed.
2. Kinder Morgan’s pipeline is in the national interest.
3. Alberta’s economy depends on moving solid bitumen to export markets.
4. Eventually British Columbia must back down and accept the pipeline.
Here’s the problem with those assumptions (lies):
Kinder Morgan’s expanded pipeline was not thoroughly reviewed.
Prior to the 2012 omnibus budget Bill C-38, repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the National Energy Board (NEB) had had no role in environmental assessment. Thanks to C-38, it was put in charge of pipelines. The NEB felt forced by time limits imposed by C-38 to alter its usual quasi-judicial process. Intervenors were denied procedural fairness — such as being allowed to cross-examine industry experts, or even to be allowed in the room. The abuse of normal rules for procedural fairness was breathtaking.
The result was a hearing that left the NEB without actual evidence. It had a pile of worthless assertions, untested as evidence.
The Royal Society of Canada, concluded that we lacked the science to know if it is possible to clean-up dilbit. The NEB ruled that accepting the Royal Society study would be unfair to Kinder Morgan.
The NEB was unperturbed when a Kinder Morgan expert committed fraud, whiting out the word “draft” from a US EPA spill dispersion model, then introducing that plan to the NEB claiming it was the approach used in the US. Another intervenor, economist Robyn Allan, contacted the EPA only to discover that they did not use this model.
There is no independent review making the case that Kinder Morgan’s pipeline is in the national interest. The NEB never conducted a review remotely capable of meeting the average citizen’s understanding of what is in the public interest. The largest union in the oil sands, Unifor, intervened before the NEB. Unifor attempted to enter evidence that building Kinder Morgan would cost jobs; shipping out unprocessed solid bitumen to refineries in other countries ships out Canadian jobs at the same time and increases the carbon footprint of the product. Shipping solid bitumen diluted with toxic fossil fuel condensate for export bypasses the last remaining refinery in Burnaby. The refinery cannot process bitumen. It has already cut its workforce by 30 per cent and if Kinder Morgan goes ahead, it will likely close. The NEB refused to accept the evidence. It ruled that its mandate did not include jobs, or climate, or upstream or downstream impacts.
So, “national interest,” according to the NEB, does not include energy security, net employment benefits, environment, climate, GDP, or anything other than getting the pipeline approved.
Alberta’s economy does not depend on moving solid bitumen to export markets
When former Premier Peter Lougheed envisioned an oil sands industry, he said the first rule was “Think like an owner.” He had planned for bitumen to be processed in Alberta for a Canadian market. The idea that pipelines to ship out solid bitumen (with diluent to make a solid flow) was essential did not emerge until after the 2008 financial crisis. That pipeline was Keystone, straight south. And as late as 2011, Stephen Harper’s position was that no pipeline should be built to the B.C. coast as no bitumen should be exported to countries with lower environmental standards than those in Canada.
All of this does not even touch on the fundamental issue of how Indigenous peoples and First Nations were treated throughout this process.
“I am choking on the lies and hypocrisy of Kinder Morgan, the NEB and now the Trudeau Liberals.” E. May.