Note: This article was updated on October 5th to show the news that the Energy East pipeline was cancelled. Yay!
I have been asked a couple of times lately to brief aquaintances on the status of pipelines, so I thought that I would create a status update for the various pipeline projects that First Nations and environmental activists have been working so hard to stop. What a tumultuous summer it has been: spring flooding in Québec, raging forest fires in B.C., multiple, devastating hurricanes in the Carribean, Florida, and the southern U.S., and yesterday, Sept. 20th, an earthquake in Mexico, which has declared a state of emergency. The Earth is writhing in pain, and homo sapiens is getting slapped in the face with the reality of the interdependence of all life and the interconnectedness of human existence. Perhaps, just perhaps, a dawning realization that climate change is real, and it is not going away, is the reason that some pipeline projects have been
put on hold. cancelled.
Kinder Morgan: Trans-Mountain Pipeline
The Trans-Mountain pipeline, you will recall, is a $7.4 billion-dollar project to expand an existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona County, Alta. and Burnaby. The new line would almost triple its current capacity, going from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.
The bad news:
On September 14th, Kinder Morgan got the green light to begin construction on some areas of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, after initially failing around a dozen aspects of a pre-construction audit released by the National Energy Board (NEB).
Reasons for hope:
- Premier John Horgan vowed to fight the expansion project during the provincial election campaign. Earlier this summer, the NDP hired Supreme Court Justice Thomas Berger as external counsel to provide options on legal challenges.
- The Secwepemc are resisting the Kinder Morgan pipeline by constructing ten solar-powered tiny houses in its path. On Sept. 11th, the Leap challenged its supporters to help fund this construction — and hit their goal for the week in less than a day.
- 21,925 people have signed the Coast Protectors’ pledge: “With our voice, in the courts or the streets, on the water or the land. Whatever it takes, we will stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.”
Enbridge Energy: Line 3
This pipeline was intended to replace Enbrige’s aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.
On Sept. 11th, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced that Enbridge Energy had failed to establish the need to replace the Line 3 pipeline, and suggested that it might be better to shut down the existing line, since refineries in Minnesota and the upper Midwest already have sufficient supplies of crude oil and little capacity for processing more of it. The Dept. of Commerce added that Minnesota’s demand for gasoline and other refined petroleum products appears unlikely to increase, long term, and that the environmental and socio-economic risks outweigh the benefits to Minnesota.
Trans Canada Pipelines: Energy East
The ship of pipeline dreams seems to have encountered stormy seas
This pipeline has been defeated!
Thank you to all the activists who worked hard to acheive this victory, and to citizens’ groups like Ecojustice, Equiterre, Council of Canadians and so many others who led the way. (Photo courtesy of Ecojustice.)
TransCanada Pipelines has suspended the approval process for Energy East while the company decides whether to proceed or pull out. In a letter addressed to the prime minister, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant made his pitch to save the pipeline, stating, “I believe that this project is in jeopardy, and that is not in the interests of the country.”
In the face of rampant climate change-related disasters, many people countered that the Energy East project itself is not in the interests of Canada or Canadians–and they were heard!