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Notley says new energy assessment bill conflicts with purchase of pipeline

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OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it makes no sense for Ottawa to use one hand to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion, and another to push legislation that would deter investors from future energy projects.

Notley was in Ottawa Thursday giving the Senate her take on Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, which overhauls the way energy projects are assessed for their effects on the environment as well as contributions to the country’s social and economic well-being.

When Environment Minister Catherine McKenna introduced the legislation a year ago, she said it was designed to attract new investment by giving the industry certainty about the criteria by which their proposed projects would be assessed and set timelines for reviews.

Notley says the bill does the opposite.

“I will give (the Liberal government) credit for stepping in to buy Trans Mountain, but I also think there is a high level of investor uncertainty that exists right now in the way in which it’s written,” she said in a press conference after the committee meeting.

“We cannot allow that uncertainty to continue. You can’t build trust by saying, ‘Trust us.’ You build trust by providing clarity.”

Other provincial governments of different political stripes have joined Notley in calls for changes to the bill before it becomes law.

On Thursday, the Senate committee studying the bill heard requests from Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball and Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bronwyn Eyre. Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford presented to the Senate’s energy committee earlier this week.

Ball agreed with Notley that scrapping C-69 is not the way to go, but asked for amendments to exempt offshore oil exploration. He said the bill will drive capital investments elsewhere, to places where production doesn’t have the same environmental protections as Canada does.

Rickford told the committee C-69, as written, would make building new or replacing existing pipelines “impossible” and fears it will impede Ontario’s nuclear energy policies.

The federal government hasn’t yet published a list of project types that would be affected by the legislation.

The House of Commons made more than 130 amendments before it landed in the Senate. Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, told the committee last week the changes from MPs made the bill more complicated and provided less clarity.

McMillan said the long, drawn-out legal challenges that have delayed the Trans Mountain pipeline will be the norm if the bill passes as-is. In particular, there is too much discretion given to cabinet to interfere in a project’s approval, he said.

McKenna’s spokeswoman Sabrina Kim said in a statement Thursday the government is open to considering additional amendments. She blames the environmental assessment policies of the former Conservatives for the legal challenges delaying energy projects, and said the Liberals are keen to ensure the system protects the environment while still getting Canadian resources to market.

Among the amendments Notley wants to see are a hard two-year deadline for the assessment and review process. She noted the proposal to expand Trans Mountain, which would triple an existing pipeline’s capacity between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., was first brought forward in 2013 and remains mired in legal battles.

Notley also wants most new Alberta energy projects, including in-situ oilsands developments and petrochemical refineries, exempted from the bill because of existing provincial review processes and her government’s climate-change policies.

She said the Alberta government has attracted $12 billion in investments for petrochemical and upgrading facilities. “We don’t want to see that caught up in duplicative regimes that scare away investors we’ve worked so hard to attract,” she said.

Notley told senators Alberta’s struggle to get its oil to market has become a national unity issue, noting her government forced oil companies in the fall to cut production because of a collapse in oil prices.

“Over in the Maritimes they are importing Saudi oil. Here in Ontario you are importing American oil, both at world prices, and meanwhile in Alberta we are cutting production,” she said. “I told (the Senate) very clearly this is not how you build a country.”

The proposed Energy East pipeline that would have carried Alberta crude to eastern Canadian refineries was abandoned in 2017 with TransCanada citing market changes and uncertainty created by federal government policies.

Notley said if C-69 passes, it will certainly discourage anyone from trying to get that pipeline back underway.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Group of large oilsands operators commit to become net zero emitters by 2050

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CALGARY — A group of the largest producers in Canada’s oilsands have announced a joint strategy to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The companies include Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd, MEG Energy Corp., and Suncor Energy Inc.

A large part of the strategy includes building a carbon sequestration facility in Cold Lake, Alta. The group says the facility would be available for other industries to use as well.

The companies also plan to pilot emerging carbon reduction technologies around oilsands operations, such as direct air capture, which uses a mechanical system to extract carbon dioxide out of the air.

The companies say the project will need significant investments and was made possible because of support programs from the federal and Alberta governments.

The group compared their plan to the Longship project in Norway, a multi-billion dollar project that includes a cross-border carbon dioxide storage and transportation facility that will be open to multiple industries and is slated to open by 2024.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ, TSX:CVE, TSX:SU, TSX:IMO, TSX:MEG)

The Canadian Press

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Environment

Emmy Award Winning Journalist reveals how “fact checkers” punish ‘tone’ even when the facts check out

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When one of media’s most successful journalists is constantly punished by Facebook Fact Checkers it makes for a compelling story all on it’s own.   Does a 19 time Emmy Award Winning Journalist not check his facts?  Well… turns out the facts aren’t the problem.  Enjoy some more revealing insight from John Stossel.

From StosselTV

Before Facebook censored it, my video, “Are We Doomed”, got more 24 million views. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8JZo… Now Facebook won’t show it to many people — not even to my subscribers. Facebook’s also punishing Stossel TV by showing our other videos less. All because Facebook foolishly gave Emmanuel Vincent, a recent PhD graduate from France, the power to censor. Vincent assembled a group of like-minded scientists into a group called Climate Feedback climatefeedback.org that declared parts of my video “misleading,” or “partially false.” What facts did the “fact-checkers” correct? NONE! There was not a single hard fact that in the video that was wrong. We address the censor’s claims here, listing our sources: https://www.johnstossel.com/climate-f… I asked one Vincent “reviewer,” the only one willing to be interviewed, why I deserve censorship even though our facts were correct.

After 40+ years of reporting, I now understand the importance of limited government and personal freedom. Libertarian journalist John Stossel is a zealous advocate of free markets, a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor. Prior to joining Fox, John co-anchored ABC’s primetime newsmagazine show, 20/20. Stossel’s economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits by a non-profit organization, “Stossel in the Classroom.” High school teachers in American public schools now use the videos to help educate their students on economics and economic freedom. They are seen by more than 12 million students every year. Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Other honors include the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.

 

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