By: Water Matters | By Juli a Ko and William F. Donahue
Published: July 2011
Drilling Down: Groundwater Risks Imposed by In Situ Oil Sands Development provides clear, achievable recommendations for improving groundwater management, assessment and monitoring in the oil sands region. In Drilling Down, Water Matters recommends scientifically rigorous monitoring and assessment of groundwater resources by the provincial and federal governments, and perhaps most importantly the eradication of technical and regulatory uncertainties inherent to the in situ oil sands industry that pose huge risks to groundwater in the region.
Tagged with: water pollution, in situ, water matters, groundwater contamination,monitoring
This report maps historical records of whooping crane flight paths and landing points in relation to Alberta’s bitumen (oil) sands region. Whooping cranes have regularly flown over and landed within Alberta’s oil sands region. Their migration route intersects with areas leased to and developed by oil sands companies, including the surface mineable area and its associated facilities, mine pits and tailings ponds. Several factors present in the oil sands region, including exposure to tailings ponds, poses a threat to the survival and recovery of the Canadian wild whooping crane population.
Tagged with: wildlife, global forest watch, whooping cranes
TransCanada is seeking U.S. regulatory approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Texas. The pipeline will transport diluted bitumen (DilBit), a viscous, corrosive form of crude oil across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The purpose of this paper is to present an independent assessment of the potential for leaks from the pipeline and the potential for environmental damage from those leaks.
By: Canadian Energy Research Institute | Afshin Honarvar, Jon Rozhon, Dinara Millington, Thorn Walden, Carlos A. Murillo
Published: June 2011
The worldwide economic recession that hit in 2008 affected the Canadian oil sands significantly. But close to three years later the industry is once again expanding, with a number of major projects under development and still more proposed for the future. Pipelines, or other transportation means such as increased rail haulage, will soon be required to ship new product to destinations in the United States and elsewhere. Three major transportation projects are being planned and have received considerable attention from government, stakeholders, and the general public. These pipeline proposals face opposition, and the possibility exists that one, two, or all three may not be realized. This study examines the impacts of oil sands operations (existing and future) limited by pipeline export capacity. Four capacity scenarios, or cases, are documented within this report:
Tagged with: pipeline, alberta, economic development, transportation, canadian energy research institute
With conventional oil production in decline, the global oil industry is investing heavily in dirtier and riskier forms of unconventional oil such as heavy crude, tar sands, and oil shale. These investments pose a challenge to the climate, the environment, and local communities. This paper is a document that describes the drivers behind marginal oil investments and gives an overview of existing and potential projects across the globe. It contains important analysis that should be public knowledge and will productively feed the ongoing debate, from Cancun to Durban to Rio and beyond.
By: Friends of the Earth | Kenny Bruno, Steve Herz and Alex Moore.
Published: April 2011
Dirty Business: How TransCanada Pipelines bullies farmers, manipulates oil markets, threatens fresh water and skimps on safety in the United States, examines the tactics and motivations of TransCanada Pipelines, one of the continent’s largest pipeline companies, as it pushes for approval of its proposed mega-project, the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. The Canadian tar sands oil industry produces some 1.5 million barrels a day of this dirty, highly polluting crude. And the United States is its main customer. TransCanada is proposing a new pipeline that would carry the tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas – across six U.S. states, several rivers and the Ogallala Aquifer, a source of drinking water for two million people, as well as a source of irrigation water for many of the nation’s farms. Dirty Business shows how TransCanada has bullied farmers and ranchers in America’s heartland into giving up their land; it has misled the American public about the safety risks of the project; and it has aimed to manipulate American oil markets for its own profit. When TransCanada first applied for the Keystone XL permit, its approval appeared to be a foregone conclusion. But controversy of the project is growing, final approval is in question, and the Obama administration has the power to shut it down. To learn more and join the growing fight against TransCanada’s tar sands boondoggle, visit http://www.foe.org/keystone-xl-pipeline.
Enbridge is more than just the company that delivers natural gas to homes across Ontario. It’s also the largest shipper of tar sands oil, and is responsible for shipping enough of Canada’s oil and gas each year to equal, when burned, half of Canada’s entire annual release of global warming pollution.
Tagged with: pipeline, enbridge, canada, environmental defence canada,greenhouse gas
Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Risks, shows that by its nature raw tar sands oil or diluted bitumen is more corrosive and more likely to result in pipeline failures. The risks of spills from tar sands pipelines are high and U.S. safety regulations are not enough to protect special places such as the Great Lakes, the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer. With the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the middle of its environmental impact assessment by the U.S. State Department, getting a better understanding of what raw tar sands oil in a pipe means for our environment and safety is more important than ever.
By: Oil Change International, Corporate Ethics International | Lorne Stockman, Kenny Bruno
Published: December 2010
The 2010 World Energy Outlook, published on November 9, shows that in order to meet climate goals global oil demand must peak by 2018. This goal will not be easy to achieve but may still be within reach. The IEA’s forecasts for oil demand have consistently declined for several years and demand growth appears to be slowing without a concerted effort from most countries. The implication for expensive, high risk and high carbon fuels such as Canadian tar sands is that over the long haul, in a world that is responding to climate change, neither price nor demand will support the rapid growth that is currently planned for by industry and the Canadian government.
By: Natural Resources Defense Council | Anthony Swift, Elizabeth Shope
Published: December 2010
Tar sands crude oil pipeline comanies may be putting the American public’s safety at risk by using conventional pipeline technology to transport a highly corrosive, acidic and potentially unstable blend of thick raw bitumen and volatile natural gas liquid condensate called DilBit.
Vancouver’s Stanley Park is one of the largest, most ecologically diverse urban parks on the planet. A rare gem situated at the heart of one of Canada’s major cities, the 1,000-acre park is home to huge trees, wildlife, stunning beaches, and a gorgeous seawall‚Äîmaking it a must-see attraction for every Vancouver visitor. The area has already suffered heavy environmental damage due to increased industrial activity, but an oil spill in the region would absolutely devastate the park and its delicate marine ecosystem. This new report, written for the Wilderness Committee by author and environmentalist Rex Weyler, addresses the potential threats to Stanley Park if an oil tanker accident were to occur. Citing extensive research conducted by the Stanley Park Ecology Society, the report gives readers some insight into the diverse‚Äîand delicate‚Äîecosystems that rely on the park, demonstrating what would be at stake in the event of a spill.
By: Natural Resources Defense Council | Jeff Benzak & Danielle Droitsch
Published: June 2012
Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. appears to be reviving a previous pipeline plan that would take tar sands oil to central Canada and New England. The long-term plan would reverse the direction of oil flowing through two major pipelines — Line 9 and the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line — along an approximately 750-mile route, running through central Canada and down to the New England seacoast for export. Under the plan, the pipeline would carry Canadian tar sands oil, the dirtiest oil on the planet, through some of the most important natural and cultural places in Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Any tar sands spill in these areas could devastate wildlife, pollute water, and compromise the health of local residents especially since tar sands spills cause much more harm than conventional oil spills. Transporting tar sands on this new route would only bring risks to central Canada and New England. Reversing existing pipelines is not necessary and should not be put into operation.
Tagged with: enbridge, oilsands, trailbreaker, east
By: Pembina Institute | Dan Woynillowicz and Nathan Lemphers
Published: May 2012
This report by the Pembina Institute looks at the extent to which oilsands production and exports are affecting Canada’s economy, and explores the longer-term economic implications of increased reliance on oilsands expansion to support economic growth and generate public revenue. While the significant economic benefits of oilsands development are well documented, the report suggests relatively little attention has been paid to the downsides. Analysis indicates that failing to consider both the positive and negative impacts of oilsands development could have serious economic implications both now and in the future.
Tagged with: canada, pembina institute, economy, dutch disease
By: NRDC, ForestEthics, and OilChange International
Published: May 2012
North American drivers will face higher gasoline prices if the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico were built, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International and ForestEthics Advocacy. That finding adds to the long list of reasons why the proposed pipeline should not be built, said the study, released May 22, 2012.
ÔªøMaking one industrial project a nation’s nearly singular economic and policy priority puts Canada on a road straight to the 19th Century. The Government of Canada under Prime Minister Harper is taking a bad idea, compounding the risks and minimizing the Canadian rewards. The vast majority of tar sands production is not owned by Canadians and most of the profits from the resource go to foreign companies. An in-depth review of shareholder information from Bloomberg shows that 71 per cent of all tar sands production is owned by non-Canadian shareholders. Canada’s national interest should come before the interest of foreign shareholders.
By: Climate Action Network Canada, NRDC, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Sierra Club
Published: March 2012
Our new report, “Dirty Oil Diplomacy: The Canadian Government’s Global Push to Sell the Tar Sands,” outlines the changing domestic and international policies of the Canadian government as they work to expand the tar sands – Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution. This report is based on hundreds of pages of documents obtained through Canadian freedom of information laws. It paints a clear picture for the first time of the tar sands advocacy strategy, a collaborative effort of the Governments’ of Canada and Alberta along with industry to ensure that no doors are closed to Canada’s highly polluting tar sands.
By: Natural Resources Defense Council | Anthony Swift, Nathan Lemphers, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Katie Terhune and Danielle Droitsch
Published: November 2011
The Canadian government is considering a proposal to build a pipeline under mountains and across rivers that could carry more than half a million barrels of raw tar sands crude oil (known as bitumen) daily across important salmon rivers, coastal rainforests, and sensitive marine waters. While the potentially devastating impacts of tar sands production are well documented, the increased risk and potential harm from transporting bitumen is less known.1,2 This report outlines the potential dangers of bitumen transportation and the risks of spills to the environment and the economy in a region that depends on healthy fisheries, lands, and waters.
Tagged with: pipeline, enbridge, northern gateway, british columbia, tankers
By: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Scott Sinclair
Published: October 2011
ÔªøThe recent decision by the European Union (EU) to disregard Canadian government pressure and forge ahead with regulations that recognise the higher green-house-gas intensity of fuel produced from tar sands and oil shale is encouraging. The Canadian government has lobbied furiously against Article 7a of the European Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) and is even threatening to challenge the measure under international trade rules. The Canadian government position flies in the face of increased scientific certainty that the ever-expanding exploitation of oil sands reserves within Canada and around the world would lead to disastrous climate change. In the words of climate scientist James Hansen, ‚ÄúPolicy makers need to understand that these unconventional fossil fuels, which are as dirty and polluting as coal, must be left in the ground if we wish future generations to have a liveable planet (Hansen, 2009: 173).”
The purpose of this briefing paper is to examine claims made by TransCanada Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute that, if constructed, TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline will generate enough employment to kick-start important sections of the US economy through the creation of tens of thousands‚Äîperhaps even hundreds of thousands‚Äîof good, well-paying jobs for American workers.
A closer look at the new realities of the global oil market and at the companies who will profit from the pipeline reveals a completely different story: Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but transport Canadian oil in American refineries for export to overseas markets.
The Canadian tar sands have been called the ‚Äúmost environmentally destructive project on earth”, with good reason. Extracting tar sands bitumen from under the boreal forests of Alberta, Canada requires huge amounts of energy and water. It has cleared vast tracts of forest, left scars on the land that are visible from space and threatened the health and livelihoods of indigenous First Nations communities across the region.
Tagged with: tar sands, bitumen, climate, carbon, petcoke
By: Pembina Institute | Simon Dyer, Jennifer Grant, Marc Huot, Nathan Lemphers
Published: January 2013
This report examines some common claims about the environmental performance of oilsands producers and the environmental impacts of oilsands production. Many of the claims included in this document are not false, but they selectively present information to minimize the negative impacts of oilsands production or overstate the positive strides that industry or governments have made toward addressing those impacts. The information presented draws on independent research, public information and expert analysis to put key facts about oilsands production in their proper context.
By: Living Oceans Society | Wilderness Committee | Georgia Strait Alliance | West Coast Environmental Law
Published: January 2013
This report warns that Kinder Morgan’s new Trans Mountain Pipeline proposal represents an exponential increase in the risk of a major marine-based oil spill affecting the Salish Sea’s most populous region, including the Cities of Vancouver and Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands. The report analyses the insurance available to pay for spill response costs and damages caused by such a spill and concludes that Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as 90 percent of the cost.
“In 2020, the emissions from the 14 projects in this report –if they were all to go ahead – would raise global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 20% and keep the world on a path towards 5 to 6¬∞C of warming.” Burning the coal, oil and gas from these 14 projects would significantly push emissions over what climate scientists have identified as the ‚Äúcarbon budget,” the amount of additional CO2 that must not be exceeded in order to keep climate change from spiraling out of control. The mega dirty energy projects in this report range from the development of risky unconventional sources of oil in the tar sands of Canada,in the Arctic, in the ocean off the coast of Brazil, in Iraq, in the Gulf of Mexico and in Kazakhstan, massive expansion of coal mining in China, to large-scale expansion of coal exports from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia. The magnitude of CO2 from these projects in the next few years would push the climate beyond the Point of No Return, locking the world into a scenario leading to catastrophic climate change and ensuring that we run out of time.
By: Pembina Institute | Dan Woynillowicz, Penelope Comette, Ed Whittingham
Published: January 2013
What will it take for Canada to become a clean energy super power? With more than 700 companies, the clean technology sector has emerged as a major driver of innovation and employment growth in Canada. As this industry grows to a projected $3 trillion by 2020, Canadian clean technology companies have the potential to increase their market share from today’s $9 billion to $60 billion. Yet Canada currently captures just one per cent of the $1 trillion global clean technology industry and places fifth in clean energy inventions, with its companies securing only two per cent of clean energy patents granted in the United States since 2002. In Competing in Clean Energy we ask nearly two dozen clean energy entrepreneurs, executives, investors and academics about what Canada needs to do in order to compete in the global race for clean energy.
Tagged with: economy, clean energy, green energy, technology
To help inform the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, this backgrounder features new analysis showing that producing enough bitumen to fill the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and inhibit Canada’s ability to meet its climate targets.
By: National Wildlife Federation | Peter LaFontaine
Published: December 2012
Up north of the border, past Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, the planet’s biggest carbon bomb is ticking. It’s called the tar sands region, and it represents both incredible feats of industry and incredible hubris ‚Äî– and potentially the last blow to the fight against global climate change.
Tagged with: enbridge, tar sands, keystone, crude, summary
We all know the companies we buy our gas from: Exxon, BP, Shell, just to name a few. But do you know much about the companies that build, maintain, and operate the pipelines that transport oil throughout North America? Recently, corporations like Enbridge, Inc., TransCanada Corp., and Kinder Morgan, Inc. have entered into the public consciousness as part of the national energy debate. These companies are in the business of moving oil across our landscape‚Äî–heavy crude oil from Canada’s tar sands fields, for example‚Äî–and have an obligation to operate their pipelines safely, clean up their spills, and not unduly influence lawmakers who are tasked with overseeing their operations. Our focus in this short report is on Enbridge, Inc., because of their shoddy safety record and their bold plans to expand their pipeline network in the U.S. to move dirty Canadian tar sands oil to market.
The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to the British Columbia coast has become a major political flashpoint. ‚ÄòHarper’s Shell Game’ uses documents obtained under the Access to Information to argue that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and Shell’s new tar sands mines are bad for our environment, economy and democracy. The report details how Prime Minister Harper’s ambition to transform Canada into an ‚Äòenergy superpower’ by rapidly expanding tar sands exports may be in the interest of oil companies like Shell, but ultimately comes at the expense of the environment, economy and health of Canadians and thus is not in the national interest.
Tagged with: enbridge, tar sands, northern gateway, economy, energy, harper
How and Why a Canadian Energy Strategy Can Accelerate the Nation’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy – In the spring of 2012, Tides Canada hosted a series of meetings across the country to discuss how a Canadian energy strategy could help accelerate the nation’s transition to a prosperous low-carbon economy. The result is Towards a Clean Energy Accord.