In early January we published an opinion from a reader entitled:
Open letter to Canadians opposing Canadian Pipelines and Oilsands
It generated significant readership and response. You can click on the graphic to the left to read it now, or you can find it included later in this story. Reviewing it will give context to another opinion, this one from Neville Wells, a resident of British Columbia.
These two differing opinions illustrate the massive idealogical gap that exists in the debate around Canada’s energy industry. If you’d like to share your opinion we’d like to hear about it. Send us your thoughts at email@example.com
Thank you for putting out your thoughts and perspective on the pipeline issues that are on the top of everyone’s mind. I’d like to respond with a few thoughts of my own.
By way of background, I am someone who has, and is, opposing certain pipeline projects in western Canada. I am a native Calgarian who has over 25 years of professional environmental consulting experience and I have worked directly or indirectly for most of the majors on projects like Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, Trans Mountain Jasper National Park Looping, Georgia Straight Crossing, and many, many others. I know the oil and gas industry, its environmental practices, and effects. I have also worked for citizens, mostly farmers, First Nations and ENGOs who found themselves in conflict with the oil and gas industry. I have directly participated in dozens of regulatory hearings in front of the National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator, Joint Review Panels and other regulatory bodies. In the course of the last three decades I have taken both federal and provincial regulators to their respective courts of appeal on several occasions. Most recently, I challenged the TCPL Prince Rupert LNG pipeline and after being initially denied by the National Energy Board I was successful at the Federal Court of Appeal. As you may know that project did not proceed. I am currently challenging the TCPL Coastal GasLink pipeline in a National Energy Board regulatory proceeding that I initiated and I believe I’m solid legal grounds and that I will likely succeed in that challenge.
So I have a comprehensive understanding of most aspects of the oil and gas industry, in particular pipelines, and a good working knowledge of the rest. I have 25 years of professional environmental experience and am very familiar with the legislative, regulatory and public policy context in which the western Canadian oil and gas industry operates. In summary, I think I understand the industry, pipelines and more specifically its environmental consequences.
Please forgive my long winded preamble but I want to impress upon you that I am not your average tree hugger. My concerns about the oil and gas industry are hard earned over 30 years and are based on experience, facts, reason and good science. So with that said, I have the following to say about your open letter…
First, this is not a comprehensive review; instead I will focus on just a few highlights.
One of your major premises in your open letter is that Canada, and specifically the Oil and Gas industry, has world leading environmental standards and practices. This is simply not true.
For example we do not have an equivalent to the US Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act or the Endangered Species Act. Oh sure, we have the federal Species at Risk Act but the consensus is out – it doesn’t work. And why, because of intensive government lobbying by the powerful oil and gas industry to ensure any efforts to address endangered species do not have an adverse economic effect on industry.
I could go on at length about endangered caribou, sage grouse, westslope cutthroat trout and the list goes on and on., but I’ve made my point.
As for regulations, there are many problems with our current regulatory system, most notably that the government so-called “public interest” regulators, for example the National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator and the BC Oil and Gas Commission are literally and figuratively captive regulators whose credibility with the general public is near zero. We don’t believe anything they say and why should we.
Let’s not forget the weak environmental assessment legislation we have in this country and the efforts by government regulators and industry to block public participation in the environmental review process.
For example, in a recent Alberta Energy Regulator decision a SW Alberta land owner was denied a hearing on a Level 3 sour gas well where his land and residence was within the emergency response zone and where his only access and egress from his residence was by traveling over 7 km of low grade gravel road that was also in the emergency response zone. When the public lives in the emergency response zone of a Level 3 sour gas well and AER will not allow a public hearing, it’s hard to believe we have a world class environmental and regulatory system… I have many other examples as well.
Another point I want to make is this notion that some pro-pipeline advocates, yourself included, have that somehow it’s the industries God-given right to build pipelines regardless of other thoughtful citizens’ concerns. While that arrogance has worked very well for the oil and gas industry for the last 70 years, unfortunately Demian, to misquote Bob Dylan, “… the times they are a changing…”. And in my view it can’t happen quickly enough.
And don’t get me started on global warming… that an entire conversation on its own… Do you really think that the momentum around reducing global carbon emissions can be stopped or reversed? Sure you can fight a rear-guard action, like the lead, asbestos, and Tobacco industries did, but like them, the oil and gas industry will ultimately lose. Tell you what… let’s make a wager around the issue… lets touch base in 12 years and see who was right. You in?
You indicated in your open letter that you “…I desperately want to have a conversation with…” people who oppose pipelines. Well here is your chance.
I would like to invite you to meet with me to have an open, frank and respectful discussion about the nature of the problems facing us all with a view to finding common ground so that we can identify and work towards a solution that will serve all Canadian’s interest. That will certainly be an entertaining and sometime difficult discussion, but I will make myself available to meet with you at your convenience to start towards finding a solution. Your call…
Todayville published the following story on January 5th, 2019, with permission from Demian Newman, President of Newman Sales an Marketing in Calgary.
January 5, 2019
Dear fellow Canadians,
I’m writing this as an open letter to every Canadian who has protested the Canadian oil and gas industry. I’m writing this to ask – what if you win? What if you succeed and completely shut down Canada’s oil and gas industry? What happens next?
Obviously, if you’ve ever marched, protested or argued against Canadian pipelines or Oilsands, you must believe that you are financially insulated from the hundreds of billions this industry puts into the Canadian economy. Or you are OK with the crushing blow to the Canadian economy, because your heartfelt belief is that the Canadian oil and gas industry is so environmentally bad for the planet.
These are the people I desperately want to have a conversation with.
I write this letter, not as a Calgarian, Albertan, or even as a Canadian. But I write this as a human being. A human being with two young children, and one who doesn’t go a day without being concerned about how we’re leaving this planet.
So, let’s say that all the anti-Canadian pipeline and oilsands campaigns finally crippled this industry, to a point it can’t rebound. Which feels like a real possibility these days. But what is not just a possibility, but a reality, is that Canadians without their own oil and gas industry would still consume the same amount of energy.
And as Canadians continue to consume 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, the amount we need to import from foreign countries would rise from the current 56%, to 100%. And as completely confused as I already am that we currently import 850,000+ barrels of oil per day, while having the 4th largest reserves in the world. I have absolutely no idea how anyone can think importing an additional 650,000 barrels a day is better for Canada or the environment?
Let’s start with where it’s coming from, with Canada importing 61% from the US, 12% from Saudi Arabia, 6% from Azerbaijan, 5% from Norway, and 4% from Nigeria. I’m going to skip past each of these countries environmental, safety, employee and human rights track records, as there’s no point defacing them when Canada’s oil and gas industry is the world leader in all of these. And I’ll expand on this later, but I thought for arguments sake, we can pretend all these countries have the same standards as Canada.
How could it possibly be more environmentally positive to drill oil in the Middle East, pipeline it to their ports, tanker it 10,000+kms across the ocean, and then deliver it to Canada? Remembering that we have it right here.
So, you’ve won, and there’s no more of what you believe is “dirty oil”. And now we’re importing an additional 650,000 barrels a day into Canada. Let’s not forget, that the 5% of the world’s oil production which Canada currently produces daily, would need to be replaced, or prices would inflate and everyone across the globe would have to pay more at the pumps. And more for the 1,000’s of items manufactured from oil.
But don’t worry about the extra cost, as no other country has an anti oil industry campaign against them, that has stopped or slowed them down like Canada has. And with technology getting better every day, Canada’s 5% worldwide production amounts will be easily replaced.
And let’s go full circle to the Canadian’s protesting new Canadian pipeline projects. If we eliminate our own industry, and we’re importing 650,000 extra barrels of oil daily, we’ll have no other choice but to build new pipelines and facilities to bring this additional oil from the US pipelines and foreign tankers.
So, wouldn’t that be an ironic punch in the face. Where Canadians protesting Canadian owned and operated pipelines, end up shutting down all the investment it takes to move Canadian resources through Canadian pipelines. Just so we are forced to build pipelines and facilities to move more foreign oil into Canada.
And I mentioned that we’d pretend all countries have the same environmental requirements and standards when exploring and developing their natural resources. But it isn’t even close.
You can Google articles with examples of Canada’s environmental standards in this industry, versus any other country. But instead, do yourself a favour and ask someone who’s worked in Canada’s oilpatch, and around the world. Every one of them has countless stories of horrendous environmental issues abroad, which haven’t been allowed in Canada in 30+years (or ever).
So, let’s look at what Canada’s environmental standards are for this industry. And by that, I mean you should go look it up. Don’t take my word for it, but find some reputable publications and factual documents, and not someone’s rambling blog.
Look it up, and please let me know if I’m wrong. Because as much as I needed to write this letter, to get a few things off my chest. I also wrote it, as I believe everyone needs to do better at having a conversation about climate change, the environment, and our responsibility to all do better.
So, I welcome the opposing opinion, as I don’t know why this topic has become a name calling divisive shouting match, where no one will listen to the other side.
But while I have you here, I did want to throw out a couple specific projects, and how protesting them doesn’t make any environmental sense to me. One is Energy East, and the other is BC LNG. The first one is dead, but my fingers are crossed that it can be revived. The second is still approved, for now.
If you look at a map of Canadian pipelines, there is no major pipeline going from Alberta to the east coast of Canada. This means that almost every drop of gas in every vehicle east of Winnipeg is from refined foreign oil. The amount of oil that would’ve travelled on the Energy East pipeline is almost the same amount of oil that we import from Saudi Arabia every day (roughly 100,000 barrels a day).
But what if we didn’t protest Energy East, and instead told the Premier of Quebec that he cannot block a national pipeline. Eastern Canadians would’ve paid (at a minimum) $10-$15 less per barrel than they are currently paying for Canadian oil versus foreign oil. But there was also the billions (not millions, but billions) in revenue that each province would receive from this pipeline running oil through their province.
And I know we’re focusing on the environment, and not the financial benefits of Canada’s oil and gas industry. But, the trick with clean energy and technology, is that it takes money to develop and get to market. So I could be wrong, but I’m almost certain that not one oil company would’ve been upset if Quebec hadn’t killed this pipeline, but instead, took their multi billions a year in revenue from it, and invested all of it into new clean energy technology.
Another thing I encourage you to Google, is the amount of new clean energy technology that has been developed by, and for, Canada’s oil and gas industry.
So, Energy East would’ve taken the amount of Canadian oil, which they are already buying from foreign countries, while generating a ton of money for Canada/Canadians. And then that money could’ve been invested into renewable green energy development. But, Climate Change is a world wide problem, not just a Canadian one. So, as crazy as this might sound, I do believe that BC building facilities to ship Canadian liquid natural gas (LNG) to the world, could have an incredibly positive carbon emissions net benefit.
Currently, China alone has over 700 super coal plants. Just one of them emitting almost as much CO2 as the entire Canadian Oilsands (this is easy to look up). So, what if we could help China get their energy from Natural Gas instead of Coal, as it’s WAY better for the environment. (Side note – also look up Natural Gas and its carbon footprint, as I find very few people realize that it has been unfairly lumped in as a dirty fossil fuel).
And very quickly, I would like to address how we got here in the first place. Why is the perception of Canada’s oil and gas industry so bad across the rest of Canada?
The industry really must start by looking inward, as it has done a very poor job of promoting itself and the strides it’s made over the years. And it can still improve. As can all of us individually.
Because who outside of the industry knows that the Oilsands greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 29% since 2000. Or that a barrel of oil sent from the Oilsands to a refinery on the US Golf Coast has a smaller carbon foot print than a barrel of oil traveling from an oil well in California (it’s small difference, but it’s still better).
And to understand why it’s tough for this industry to promote itself – it is Canadian after all, which explains a lot about its uncomfortable feelings towards self-promotion. And I’ve met a ton of extremely intelligent and thoughtful engineers, geologists, accountants, and tradespeople in this industry, but I’ve never met a Public Relations person – and if there is one, they are very underfunded.
Who is not underfunded, are the groups who make an extraordinary amount of money from Canada not being able to get its natural resources to other customers (the US is our biggest customer at 99%, which is a percentage no business can survive with). And you can’t blame these people for making money off Canada’s inability to build pipelines. But, how they’ve done it, by spending hundreds of millions on PR campaigns to smear Canada’s industry, and pitting us against each other, is beyond is infuriating.
If you only look up one item, please do some research on how openly organizations have been about making donations in the name of the environment, which only target one country’s oil industry. This has made a lot of headlines lately, but I’ve read national Canadian media articles investigating this as far back as 2010.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that I tried my best to use as few statistics as possible, as I’ve seen arguments get derailed with debates on stats. As if the $80 million that Canada losses every day due to no pipeline capacity, is any different if its $40 million or $100 million. It’s a lot of millions, that have turned into billions. And it’s costing hundreds of thousands of good hardworking Canadians financial hardship.
And if it saves the environment, and the planet, then there certainly is an argument for it. But if it’s not helping at all, and potentially harming the planet. Then everyone needs to get educated on all the facts and start to talk to each other about a real solution. And get our industries, politicians, and every Canadian on board with a solution that works.
And please, please, please, don’t take your information from this subject off some rogue website, that’s for or against my stance. Take the time to get your facts from vetted and fact checked publications.
No one should get their facts from a nameless person shouting on the internet. So, my name is Demian Newman, and the two kids I’m leaving this planet to are Olivia and Liam. And both of them need to grow up in a country which is thriving as a world leader, both economically and environmentally – as anything less would be un-Canadian.
p.s. If you don’t have time to look up information on everything I’ve mentioned above. Here are a few links:
This first one is on personal energy use and personal accountability. Fun fact: If each of us does a better job to minimize our individual carbon footprint, the industries selling it won’t need to produce as much. Scary fact: literally every economist has said we will use more energy each and every year. This article does a good job expanding on that.
Newman Sales and Marketing Inc is a full service sales and marketing firm representing independently owned and operated oilfield service companies.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like this story from Sheldon Gron. Click the image below:
Search for missing man last seen at Red Deer hotel expands
The Calgary Police Service Homicide Unit is seeking public assistance in relation to the disappearance of Abdikadir TUKHOV, who was reported missing in December 2016.
Abdikadir TUKHOV, 43, of Calgary was reported missing by friends on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. He was last seen on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, leaving a residence in the community of Abbeydale.
Police have exhausted all footprints of life and as a result of new information from members of community, TUKHOV’s disappearance is considered suspicious. Friends also believe that TUKHOV may have been met with foul play.
TUKHOV lived a transient lifestyle and spent time in Calgary, Grand Prairie, Edmonton and Red Deer. It is believed he worked as a taxi driver in Grand Prairie prior to his disappearance.
Investigators are seeking public assistance to identify a man and a woman seen with TUKHOV at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel (previously the Sheraton Red Deer), located at 3310 50 Ave., Red Deer, in the early morning hours of Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Police believe they may have information about TUKHOV’s disappearance or his activities prior to his disappearance.
A photo of TUKHOV with the man and woman is available above.
The woman is described as 25 to 40, with an average build with brown hair.
The man is described as 30 to 45, with an average build. He can be seen wearing a hat in the photo.
“We know that people in the community have information about Abdikadir’s disappearance,” says Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta of the CPS Homicide Unit. “Abdikadir left behind a wife and two children and we ask that anyone who has information come forward so that we can provide closure to his friends and family. Even what seems like the most insignificant information can sometimes be enough to help detectives solve a case.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Calgary Police Service Homicide Tip Line at 403-428-8877. They may also contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously through either of the following methods:
Case # 16660072/4110
Million-Dollar Cocaine Seizure Made in Edmonton
From ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team)
Edmonton… Over a million dollars’ worth of cocaine has been seized after ALERT conducted search warrants at two Edmonton homes. ALERT seized over 11 kilograms of cocaine and 84 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent.
ALERT’s Edmonton organized crime team made the seizure on June 8, 2019, and one person was arrested. The Edmonton Police Service and Alberta Sheriffs provided assistance.
ALERT alleges that an apartment in the Pembina neighbourhood was being used to package and press cocaine. That is where investigators located 84 kilograms of the cocaine buffing agent Phenacetin – one of the largest seizures of its kind by ALERT.
Phenacetin is a cutting agent used to dilute the purity of cocaine in order to maximize profits. It was banned in Canada in 1973 due to its carcinogenic and kidney-damaging properties.
The total value of the drugs seized is estimated at $1.4 million and includes:
11.37 kilograms of cocaine;
84 kilograms of Phenacetin;
902 grams of ketamine; and
A 26-year-old Edmonton man was arrested. Mihnea Vasiu has been charged with drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime.
Vasiu became known to ALERT after he was observed meeting with targets in previous investigations.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.
Red Deer Westerner Days Parade Map
Innisfail woman charged with stealing over $50 thousand from employer
Concerns mount over ‘criminalization’ of detained migrants in Canada
Police investigating after 2 toddlers drown at Maskwacis
Alberta21 hours ago
Police investigating after 2 toddlers drown at Maskwacis
National23 hours ago
Ontario man calls out Eric Trump for tweet that used son’s image
Crime1 day ago
Two month investigation leads to record Meth Seizure in Medicine Hat
Top Story CP1 day ago
Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison
Alberta2 days ago
Alberta seeing spike in syphilis cases
National Entertainment9 hours ago
Man screaming ‘You die!’ kills at least 23 at anime studio
Alberta6 hours ago
Million-Dollar Cocaine Seizure Made in Edmonton
Local Sports1 day ago
PARKER THOMPSON BREAKS NEW GROUND WITH INCREDIBLE TWO SERIES WEEKEND AT TORONTO INDY