STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Archive for April 22nd, 2008

Signed, sealed and delivered

Posted by mhudema on April 22, 2008

Posted: April 21, 2008
by: Stephanie Woodard
Environmental concerns plague fast-tracked oil pipeline

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In March 2008, the U.S. Department of State issued a federal permit for the 2,000-mile TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, which would carry heavy crude oil from the oil sands of northern Alberta across seven U.S. states to Oklahoma. The document was signed, even though mandated government-to-government consultations with concerned Native nations were described as ”ongoing” by the State Department.

Issues of importance to tribes that are still unsettled include environmental concerns, protection of sacred sites, and employment opportunities and other economic benefits.

Why the rush?

The problem the State Department needed to solve was surging production in the oil sands region. Output will rise from 2.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2006 to as many as 5.3 million barrels per day in 2020, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. This is occurring just as other reserves of oil are depleting worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Once extracted, the raw product must be sent to refineries. However, Canada can’t expand refinery capacity fast enough to cope with the increase – a situation Canada’s National Energy Board has described as ”urgent.” As a result, major oil companies working in Alberta have to get the oil someplace that can deal with it, said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the Canada Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.

And that’s where the United States and the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline come in.

However, this one pipeline isn’t all the oil companies need, said Casey-Lefkowitz. She pointed to more pipelines planned or under construction and proposed increases of U.S. refinery capacity.

”Concurrent with the Keystone proposal, U.S. refineries have expansion plans, including a new plant that [Dallas-based] Hyperion Resources is proposing in South Dakota,” she said, adding that this, in turn, means more local pollution and increased U.S. contribution to global warming.
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Alberta defers decision on oil sands moratorium

Posted by mhudema on April 22, 2008

DAVID EBNER AND NORVAL SCOTT

CALGARY — The Alberta government has for now dismissed a call for a moratorium on oil sands development, but says it will reconsider the issue in June when the broadly-based group that made the call completes a more comprehensive proposal.

In January, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), comprising oil companies, federal and provincial government agencies, First Nations and environmental groups, asked Alberta to halt the sale of new exploration rights in three areas around Fort McMurray until 2011.

The group is concerned about the effect on the boreal forest of massive development of the oil sands. It called for the moratorium because it feared development going on now might undermine its plans to propose a new land use framework for the region in June.

While a majority of the association’s members supported the moratorium, there wasn’t a full consensus, with companies including EnCana Corp. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. saying the January proposals weren’t clear enough.

Last month, the Alberta government told CEMA in a letter that it “will assess” the idea but wants to see the full package of land management proposals. The letter in which the government disclosed its position was obtained last week by The Pembina Institute, an environmental group that’s a member of CEMA.

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