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First Nation wants reasons for Trans Mountain ruling; says it’s entitled to appeal

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In this photograph taken with a drone, workers lay pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. A B.C. First Nation is asking the Canada Energy Regulator to release its reasons as soon as possible for allowing a modification of the Trans Mountain pipeline’s route.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

By Amanda Stephenson in Calgary

A B.C. First Nation is asking the Canada Energy Regulator to release its reasons as soon as possible for allowing a modification of the Trans Mountain pipeline’s route.

In a letter to the regulator dated Wednesday, a lawyer representing the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) said the decision to grant the route deviation Monday without providing its reasons has left the First Nation without the ability to decide its next steps.

The letter said the First Nation has the right to request a reconsideration of the decision, or to appeal it through the Federal Court of Appeal.

“This has, in fact, created significant uncertainty for SSN and left SSN without the procedural options that would otherwise be afforded to it with the potential for irreparable harm to its rights and title as a result,” the letter states.

The Canada Energy Regulator ruled Monday to allow Trans Mountain Corp. to alter the route slightly for a 1.3-kilometre stretch of pipeline in the Jacko Lake area near Kamloops, B.C.

It said it would release its reasons for the decision in the coming weeks.

Trans Mountain Corp, a Crown corporation, had requested the change because of what it said were engineering difficulties in the area related to the construction of a tunnel.

The company had warned that being forced to stick to its original route and construction method could result in up to a nine-month delay in the pipeline’s completion, as well as an additional $86 million more in project costs.

Trans Mountain had been hoping to have the pipeline completed by early 2024.

But the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation, whose traditional territory the pipeline crosses and who had only agreed to the originally proposed route, opposed Trans Mountain’s application.

The First Nation has said the new route threatens to disturb land that has spiritual and cultural significance.

The First Nation’s lawyer said in the letter Wednesday that Trans Mountain has indicated it wants to break ground on the new route on Oct. 2.

The Trans Mountain pipeline is Canada’s only pipeline system transporting oil from Alberta to the West Coast. The expansion, which is currently underway, will boost the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 300,000 bpd.

The pipeline — which was bought by the federal government for $4.5 billion in 2018 after previous owner Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. threatened to scrap the expansion project in the face of environmentalist opposition and regulatory hurdles — has already been plagued by construction-related challenges and delays.

Its projected price tag has also soared: first to $12.6 billion, then to $21.4 billion and most recently to $30.9 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.

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Canadian Energy Centre

Hubs are the future of carbon capture and storage: Why Alberta is an ideal place to make it happen

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line a ‘perfect example’ of a successful carbon capture and storage hub in action

Call it a CCS highway – a shared transportation and storage network that enables multiple industrial users to reduce emissions faster. 

So-called “hubs” or networks are becoming the leading development strategy for carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the world moves faster to fight climate change, according to the Global CCS Institute.  

Alberta, with its large industrial operations and more CO2 storage capacity than Norway, Korea, India, and double the entire Middle East, is an early leader in CCS hub development.  

“For Alberta, the concept of CCS hubs makes a lot of sense because you have many industry players that are trying to reduce their emissions, paired with beautiful geological opportunities beneath,” says Beth (Hardy) Valiaho, vice-president with the International CCS Knowledge Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Jarad Daniels, CEO of the Melbourne, Australia-based Global CCS Institute, says that historically, CCS would be a single project integrating a CO2 capture plant with dedicated CO2 compression, pipeline and storage systems.  

“Networks, where each entity typically operates only part of the full CCS value chain provide several benefits,” he says. 

“They reduce costs and commercial risk by allowing each company to remain focused on their core business.” 

The institute, which released its annual global status of CCS report in November, is now tracking more than 100 CCS hubs in development around the world. 

Alberta already has one, and Valiaho says it is a “perfect example” of what she likens to on and off-ramps on a CO2 highway.   

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) went into service in 2020 as a shared pipeline taking CO2 captured at two facilities in the Edmonton region to permanent underground storage in a depleted oil field.  

Map of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line system. Courtesy Enhance Energy

So far ACTL has transported more than four million tonnes of CO2 to storage that would have otherwise been emitted to the atmosphere – the equivalent emissions of approximately 900,000 cars.  

ACTL was constructed with a “build it and they will come” mentality, Valiaho says. It has enough capacity to transport 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year but only uses 1.6 million tonnes of space per year today. 

The future-in-mind plan is working. A $1.6 billion net zero hydrogen complex being built by Air Products near Edmonton will have an on-ramp to ACTL when it is up and running later this year.  

Air Products will supply hydrogen to a new renewable diesel production plant being built by Imperial Oil. Three million tonnes of CO2 per year are to be captured at the complex and transported for storage by the ACTL Edmonton Connector.  

Hub projects like this are important globally, Daniels says, as CCS operations need to dramatically increase from 50 million tonnes of storage per year today to one billion tonnes by 2030 and 10 billion tonnes by 2050 

“It’s clear the development of CCS networks and hubs is critical for achieving the multiple gigatonne levels of deployment all the climate math says is required by mid-century,” he says. 

Valiaho says Alberta is an encouraging jurisdiction to develop CCS hubs in part because the government owns the geological pore space where the CO2 is stored, rather than developers having to navigate dealing with multiple resource owners.  

“Alberta is a model for the world, and the fact that the government has declared crown ownership of the pore space is very interesting to a lot of international jurisdictions,” she says.  

There are 26 CCS storage project proposals under evaluation in Alberta that could be used as shared storage hubs in the future, including the project proposed by the Pathways Alliance of oil sands producers.  

If just six of these projects proceed, the Global CCS Institute says they could store a combined 50 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or the equivalent emissions of more than 11 million cars. 

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Energy

Bill Banning Oil and Gas Ads Won’t Pass, and Rightfully So

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From EnergyNow.ca

By Margareta Dovgal of Resource Works 

” it wouldn’t just ban “advertising” but would also punish anyone caught saying anything positive about fossil fuels in Canada.

Corporate producers could be jailed for two years or be hit with a $1-million fine. The penalties for smaller agencies and individuals could mean $500,000 fines and imprisonment for two years less a day. “

Resource Works Margareta Dovgal shakes her head at a private member’s bill in Parliament.

Jail for saying something positive about oil and gas?

Yes, really.

Fines or prison time are in a private member’s bill before the House of Commons, Bill C-372 from NDP MP Charlie Angus, an Act Respecting Fossil Fuel Advertising.

Only it wouldn’t just ban “advertising” but would also punish anyone caught saying anything positive about fossil fuels in Canada.

Corporate producers could be jailed for two years or be hit with a $1-million fine. The penalties for smaller agencies and individuals could mean $500,000 fines and imprisonment for two years less a day.

There are several prohibitions. Section 6 would prohibit promoting a fossil fuel, and Section 8 would, for one, prohibit promoting LNG as having less impact than other fossil fuels, and prohibit spreading the word on a positive impact, such as reducing net emissions or contributing to Indigenous economic reconciliation.

The legislation would prohibit companies and people from making comparisons between different types of fossil fuels — even if the comparisons were factually and scientifically accurate. To say that one fuel that has a lower emissions profile than another would be illegal if the bill passes.

Angus as an MP has generally supported First Nations needs and priorities, but his bill was quickly slammed by some First Nations leaders. No surprise, as Canada’s oil and gas sector employs 10,400 Indigenous people, better than 6% of the total workforce. And nearly 50 Indigenous communities are becoming owners of major oil and gas and energy projects.

Angus’s First Nations critics have included these:

  • Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council: “One of the most contemptible pieces of legislation since the introduction of the Indian Act in 1876. “Angus’ proposed fossil fuel advertising act would outlaw oil and gas advertising and the ‘promotion’ of fossil fuels, even by some private citizens. If passed, this would be the most egregious attack on civil liberties in recent Canadian history.

“Angus and his environmental supporters . . .   have shown themselves to be no fans of Indigenous peoples. These single-minded environmentalist organizations ignore the interests of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, except when they want to impose their will on them.”

  • Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance: “The NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay and his party want to shut down fossil fuel production, a move that would devastate the Canadian economy and undermine the greatest — and often the only — opportunity that many First Nations have for economic renewal.

“Even that is not enough. He wants to shut us up, telling us what to think and threatening us with jail and fines for not adhering to his strange, unrealistic and dangerous views of energy and environmental protection.”

And columnist Brian Lilley in The Toronto Sun called Angus’s bill “a joke” and “one of the craziest private member’s bills that I’ve ever read.”

Some commentators have seen the the bill as criminalizing dissent, rather than trying to get people on board with Angus’s cause in a constructive and meaningfully engaged way as you have to do in a democracy.

It all comes amid debate over environmental policy in Canada, and, following court rulings on some federal moves, over jurisdictional overreach.

Over the last two decades, environmental policy has been a more prominent part of federal politics. The federal government, particularly through Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change, has increased its presence and powers in matters environmental.

But there have been cases where the feds have tiptoed over the jurisdictional line, as the provinces have rights under the constitution to manage their own natural resources.

Angus’s misguided bill could also establish a dangerous precedent. How could Canadians talk democratically about any issue, adopt positions on it, and democratically resolve it, if the law banned them from advocating their positions?

Angus’s bill needs also to be treated with plain common sense: 80% of all of the energy we use in the world right now comes from fossil fuels. They are thus literally the foundation for the modern life and civilization that we have globally right now.

It’s a little bit bizarre, too, for MP Angus and his fans to say he’s merely doing for oil and gas what Canada has long done to restrict tobacco advertising.

Tobacco was a big industry in Canada, and continues to be one globally. Yes, tobacco has some serious health effects. But tobacco doesn’t keep the world’s economy running.

As we talk about solutions to climate change, as we try to deal with over 100 years of putting fossil fuels into the mix to power our daily life, it’s undeniable that we have emitted (and still emit) a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

But criminalizing merely talking about one of the key components of our energy system is a really bizarre approach to problem solving.

It also seems a weird move from a party, the NDP, that is committed to democracy and democratic rights. There was significant silence on the bill from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, although when two NDP MLAs in Alberta questioned the bill, he said, “We’re a large party and that’s a normal thing that happens.”

The office of Environment Minister Guilbeault: “We welcome the NDP’s bill to the House. Advertisement has a big role to play in public perception, and the industry is raking in record profits. We will carefully assess their bill and look forward to productive debates and discussions around this important issue.”

Fortunately, the chances of the law passing are slim to none, even if it goes to second reading.

In the end, Charlie Angus’s bill will die a quiet death in Parliament. And so it should.

Margareta Dovgal is Managing Director of Resource Works. Based in Vancouver, she holds a Master of Public Administration in Energy, Technology and Climate Policy from University College London. Beyond her regular advocacy on natural resources, environment, and economic policy, Margareta also leads our annual Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase. She can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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