Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered an interesting deal for Canadians. In return for agreeing to the construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMEX) pipeline, his government has offered to invest all the profits from the operation of the pipeline into clean energy projects. Is this a deal we should accept?
Even acknowledging the pipeline’s significant negative impacts on indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and marine ecosystems (including adverse effects to the Southern resident killer whale–an endangered species), the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) after its last review concluded once again that the TMEX is ‘in the public interest’. So if the new pipeline is in the public interest and we get lots of money invested in renewable energy isn’t this a win-win situation?
Not so fast..
The review conducted by the NEB does not take into account the additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would be generated by the ramped-up production from the oil sands deposits enabled by the increased capacity provided by the new pipeline. In the NEB’s opinion: “it did not consider that there was a necessary connection between the Project and upstream production or downstream use.”
This is an extraordinary and astonishing statement. The additional pipeline capacity will result in a significant rise in oil sands production and increase west coast tanker traffic from 5 to 34 vessels a month. How are these direct effects not considered to be a “connection” to the Project?
The TMEX pipeline will substantially increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the Liberal government has declared a climate emergency and is nowhere near on track to meeting its emission targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
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