Who killed Energy East?

There seems to be a lot of blame going around this weekend. The politicians are roasting each other. The environmentalists are giving heart-felt thanks and the rest of Canadians wonder what the noise is about. There are other pipelines still to fight over.

Killing TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline solves nothing. It was a bad deal from day one. Yes, you can make synthetic crude oil from tar sands’ bitumen. It is economically feasible when crude oil sells for over $100 per barrel. It is not worth it when crude oil is only fetching $50 a barrel. And the environmental harm is outrageous anyway. You can hardly make that omelette without breaking lots of eggs.

When TransCanada put an end to the foolishness last week, it was not just a win for the good guys. It put ‘fini’ to a $15.7 billion project that was surrounded by lies, political pandering and positioning.

TransCanada’s news releases, pamphlets, presentations and submissions referred to shipping crude oil from Hardesty, Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick. Yes, sending crude was possible but this pipeline was designed with heaters and higher pressures required to force diluted bitumen down the pipe and the entire exercise was to get the bitumen to where it could be shipped to foreign refineries that are without environmental restrictions.

All that changed recently was that the National Energy Board—out from under the thumb of the Harper Conservatives—asked for an assessment of the total green house gas emissions. TransCanada knew that the company would never get approval if they revealed what the true emissions would be: First in retrieving the bitumen from the tar sands; Second in refining the bitumen into synthetic crude oil; and Third in the end products use in automobiles and other carbon emissions-producing uses. Bitumen is a carbon producer like no other.

But MP Lisa Raitt told the Ottawa media that her and the Conservatives want their pound of flesh from the Trudeau Liberals. She claimed that everything Trudeau touches “becomes a nightmare” (for Conservatives).

This is unfair to the Prime Minister when you consider he has approved pipelines to the disgust of many Liberals across Canada. He betrayed his own party and you can see how much love that earned him from the federal Conservatives. And judging by what Premier Notley in Alberta and Premier Wall in Saskatchewan had to say, it sounds like the PM could use some new friends in the provinces.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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