Friday, January 24, 2014

Justin Trudeau On Pipelines

From his interview with Calgary Metro News:

“Because of that I have been a strong promoter of the Keystone XL pipeline and also a harsh critic on the way the prime minister has approached pushing the Keystone XL pipeline. To my mind, the only thing that has prevented Keystone XL from getting approved already in the United States – and what has allowed it become such a polarizing issue, with celebrities weighing in and all sorts of people having very strong opinions even though there is not necessarily all that many facts going around in many of the conversations – is that the prime minister hasn’t done a good enough job of demonstrating a level of commitment to doing it right and upholding environmental protections and regulations. That’s what President Obama has said many times – that he needs to see concrete action from Canada – and what we get is all words. So I’m very much a proponent of Keystone XL.

“For similar reasons, I’m not a proponent of the Northern Gateway Pipeline … which runs through the Great Bear Rainforest, which has spectacularly failed at getting community buy-in from First Nations communities and from local communities that could be potentially affected by it. And it’s not just an environmental argument, it’s also an economic argument. There are 20,000 British Columbians who make their living on the sea around Haida Gwaii and on the Pacific Coast. They would all be in peril – those jobs, those livelihoods – with a catastrophic accident, which, unfortunately, is all too capable.

"So, my intent is to make sure we send Enbridge back to the drawing board for that. I am, however, very interested in the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline that is making its way through. I certainly hope that we’re going to be able to get that pipeline approved. And I hope that Kinder Morgan learns from Enbridge’s experience of short-cutting or going too light on community buy-in. Ultimately governments grant permits, but only communities grant permission.”

This is substantive,  and pretty good positioning.  Of course I would prefer than none of these pipelines go through, but I don't have to campaign for Prime Minister in Alberta.

Lets talk about them one by one

1) Northern Gateway.  Should this actually come to the point where somone tries laying pipe, we will have national unity issues on our hands--ie BCers going apeshit.  That would be bad for everyone involved.  Remember, in B.C. the hippies kick you.  So good on Justin for opposing it.

2) Keystone XL.  Naturally, I am against this project and think everyone else should be as well. That said: what I think, and what Justin Trudeau thinks, and really even what Prime Minister Harper thinks, doesn't mean a thing.  The Obama administration will do what it will on the basic of domestic political considerations.  I suspect they will reject the line, or punt  until after the 2014 mid-terms, but who knows?  Which is why Canadian politicians favororing or disfavouring the line are engaging in empty theatrics: Mulcair opposes a line he can do nothing about, Trudeau favours one he can do nothing about.  They might as well be for or against the sunrise.  It will happen, or not, in spite of them.  So, bottom line: I don't really care what their position is.

Although of course Justin is right about Harper's government fumbling the issue.

3) Kinder Morgan (Trans Mountain).  This is the most interesting of the three cases.  Opinion doesn't appear to have hardened on the West Cost for or against the line in the way it has in the case of Northern Gateway.   And while I personally would like to see it halted, should the First Nations in its path, and property owners around Vancouver, become amenable, I would defer to them.  And this appears to be the Trudeau position.  Now, should local opinion turn against the line, I would hope he will reconsider.


The Mound of Sound said...

As Suzuki put it recently, people like Trudeau focus on the best way of doing something that must not be done. That's what weasels do.

Dave said...

Opinion will harden considerably against the twinning of the Kinder-Morgan TMP when the people on the coast get the true numbers in the resultant increase of tanker traffic through Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia Straits.

And it may not even matter if the JRP approves Kinder Morgan. The vessel traffic separation scheme is joint US/Can because of the "fluid" border. The US Coast Guard can nix the entire program.

The Mound of Sound said...

Dave, have you had any word on when the USCG will be issuing their report? I thought it would be out months ago.