Political Pipe-Dreams.

While the rest of North America were out on an Easter egg hunt this morning, Albertans were out beating the bushes looking for the pipeline that their politicians have been foolishly promising them. This could be one of those blue-sky political promises on the same track as a chicken in every pot.

And why should anyone believe it is going to happen? Albertans have already been informed that the federal government has delayed the decisions on this pipeline until June of this year. When you have been stalled for years, what is another month?

This Trans Mountain pipeline has been a good news-bad news story from the beginning. It is an old pipeline that was built long before anyone thought of using a pipeline to send bitumen from the tar sands over the Rockies. The plan was that the previous owners, American-owned Kinder Morgan, would twin the old crude oil pipeline and almost quadruple the capacity of the pipeline for diluted bitumen by adding heaters and high pressure to the two lines.

Obviously, the Kinder Morgan people had studied the possibilities and had made a few stabs at getting the twinning started but quickly found themselves mired in environmental challenges and protests from aboriginal groups. The answer was a quick sale and the federal government became the surprise buyer.

At $4.5 billion, the pipeline was no bargain. Estimates peg the twinning and equipping the pipeline to handle the bitumen will cost anywhere from $7 billion to more than $9 billion.

It might seem odd that a politician such as Justin Trudeau—who persists in claiming he is an environmentalist—would promote a pipeline for the output from the tar sands that is destroying the environment of Northern Alberta and will create three times the carbon pollution of regular crude when converted into an ersatz crude oil. And Albertans will give the liberal prime minister no thanks for it!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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