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This week, the federal government passes regulatory power over lands and resources in the Northwest Territories (NWT) to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). Yet, despite the fanfare, the promise of Northern control over lands and resources is ringing increasingly hollow.
Over the last few months, debates about pipelines have become a staple of the news in Canada. In 2014, we can expect to hear a lot more about Energy East, a major west-to-east pipeline that would carry over one million barrels of crude per day. We need a venue for a meaningful discussion about the impacts — both positive and negative — of growing oilsands production.
While the government has talked extensively about the liquefaction terminals proposed for the coast, it’s had much less to say about an expanded network of gas wells, pipelines, processing facilities and other equipment that will be needed to feed them. And the climate impact could be massive, depending in large part on the technologies used along the supply chain. Here are a few options the province has for minimizing carbon pollution from LNG.
The connection between LNG development and carbon pollution is significant. And just how the government chooses to manage both issues will have serious long-term implications for the province, and the country.
It’s an unproductive indicator of how polarized the national conversation around energy and the environment has become when a pragmatic, research-focused group like Pembina can be painted as “anti-oil” or “working for the Americans.”
Even when rules exist for managing the environmental impacts of oilsands development, there is no guarantee they will be enforced.
In its rush to build new projects and ramp up production, the oilsands industry is driving an unfamiliar road with its foot jammed on the gas pedal — regardless of what turns or hazards may lie ahead.
Why public engagement in the oilsands regulatory process matters
Jennifer Grant, oilsands director, weighs in on the Government of Alberta’s decision to bar Pembina from participating in the regulatory process for a proposed in situ oilsands project.
No one can deny that oilsands development has brought significant economic benefit. But increased dependence on a volatile natural resource sector carries some risks to Canada as well.
This month, Ontario prudently decided that new nuclear reactors will not be part of the province’s forthcoming long-term energy plan. As Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli explained, “It is not wise to spend billions and billions of dollars on new nuclear when that power is not needed.”
That said, the government still appears to be committed to refurbishing the 10 existing reactors at the Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations. Is that a wise investment?
As Stephen Harper’s natural resources minister, Joe Oliver already spends a lot of time going to bat for Canada’s oil and gas industry.
But at a meeting of Canadian energy ministers in Yellowknife last month, Minister Oliver took his support to another level. There, he made an eloquent pitch that developing our resources is a new kind of nation-building and an opportunity we are obliged to seize.
We have reached a “pivotal moment” in our history, he said, one where “the easy assumptions of the past are giving way to new realities.” I think he’s entirely right about that — but not at all in the way he meant it.
One short decade ago, the oilsands were scarcely known of outside of Alberta. That seems impossible to imagine today.
If you’re looking for a case study about the environmental management of oilsands development, take a look at how water from the Athabasca River is used in oilsands extraction.
This case study tells the story of how our governments are failing to balance the needs of the river with the demands of a thirsty industry, though no single company or project is to blame.
It’s hard to believe five years have passed since 1600 hundred ducks died after landing on a Syncrude tailings pond. The incident made headlines around the world, and kicked off an era of heightened international scrutiny and concerns related to the environmental impacts of oilsands development. And for good reason — the tailings waste produced from oilsands mining contains a host of toxins and seeps as much as 11 million litres per day of wastewater into the surrounding environment. Tailings reclamation is a financially risky and uncertain prospect.
Amid debates on energy development, Nova Scotia has quietly emerged as a Canadian leader when it comes to reducing energy waste. As discussions about a national energy strategy continue across Canada, more eyes will turn to Nova Scotia for ways to reduce pollution, cut energy costs and drive economic development.
This summer’s deluge of extreme weather seems to have pushed Canadians over an important threshold: climate change is becoming widely accepted as part of the explanation for what we’re seeing outside.
It pays to be a good neighbour, especially when your neighbour is also your number one customer. Albertans who want to maintain a robust oilsands sector in the province would be wise to heed that advice.
Clare Demerse, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, unpacks the implications of U.S. President Barack Obama's latest speech for Canada and the Keystone XL pipeline.
We all know that climate change is impacting the arctic, but what about the people who live there? For the remote communities in Northern Canada and Alaska that rely on a steady supply of fuel and supplies, sustainability is a matter of survival. One area where the impacts of climate change are being felt the most is energy.
Clare Demerse, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, explains why Canada's reluctance to take leadership on climate policy makes Keystone XL a tough sell.
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