Premier Notley comes to Ottawa.

She rode out of the west to plead her case in Ottawa this past week. Strangely, it is the same case as her arch rival, Jason Kenney, would have made. He would have been more strident and threatening. Let us say that Alberta has many hopes for Ottawa—mainly money.

The practical lady that she is, Ms. Notley asked first for some money to buy tanker cars to send Alberta’s tar sands products by rail. What she really wants is pipelines. She knows they take longer. And she wants them all sooner than later.

But she also wants serious cutbacks in Bill C-69 that will soon be sent to the senate. C-69 is an environmental bill that causes Albertans to be worried. It seems to hold the producers of the raw materials responsible for the downstream green-house gas emissions of the ultimate products. It sounds like the tar sands producers would be responsible for the emissions caused by heating the water and pumping it down to bring the layers of bitumen to the surface. They would then be responsible for the thousands of hectares of Alberta land destroyed to create settling ponds for all that dirty, greasy water that can kill wildlife.

Whether shipped by train or pipeline or ocean tanker, the tar sands exploiters would also be responsible for any spills that mar our environment. And it also needs to be noted that when the tar sands bitumen is processed into synthetic crude oil, it will create three times the pollution of normal processing of crude oil. Much of this pollution is in the form of bitumen slag that is almost pure carbon. And only then does it join the crude oil processes that put the oil products to use.

But Premier Rachel Notley was spreading false news last week. Never once did she mention tar sands, or bitumen. She calls bitumen “Western Canada Select.” It is nothing more than a highly polluting bitumen, fit for nothing more than paving roads.

There is a growing demand in Alberta for the bitumen to be processed there and it would no longer be discounted to prices under $20 per barrel. If the people in Alberta allowed that, they would destroy the environment of their province for many generations to come.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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