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Liberals may delay Teck oil sands project; imply Alberta should accept carbon tax

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.

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The federal environment minister says Alberta’s plan to battle climate change could affect whether or not the government approve a giant mine project in the province.

“In the context of Premier (Jason) Kenney, you know, the most recent actions are fighting the federal government on the issue of pricing pollution,” Wilkinson told reporters in Ottawa.

“I think what we’re looking for is concrete actions on climate change.”

Teck’s Frontier $20.6 billion project is currently awaiting federal approval to begin construction in northern Alberta and is expected to create around 7,000 jobs in the construction phase.

The project, a “truck and shovel” oil sands mine, “will consist of surface mining operations, a processing plant, tailings management facilities, water management facilities, and associated infrastructure and support facilities,” according to a statement on the company’s website. It’s expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day.

“Teck has also reached agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the broader Frontier project area.”

“With respect to (Frontier), we need to look at all the environmental impacts, we obviously need to look at the economic opportunities, and we need to ensure we’re taking both into account,” Wilkinson said.

“Certainly, one of those issues is how does this project fit with Canada’s commitments to achieving the reductions we are committing to (for) 2030, and the net zero commitment to 2050? I would just say again that it’s important that all provinces are working to help Canada to achieve its targets.”

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.

The UCP government unveiled their industrial emitter plan, TIER (Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction system), in Bill 19, passed during the fall legislature session.

“Alberta recently announced its TIER industrial levy program, which has received notable support from stakeholders, including individuals such as Prof. Andrew Leach and Ed Whittingham. TIER would obviously apply to Teck Frontier. What’s more, Minister Wilkinson’s own government confirmed federal equivalency for TIER,” Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks said.

“In July 2019, the independent federal Joint Review Panel clearly recommended that Teck Frontier is in the public interest. Teck Frontier has followed the process the Liberal Government confirmed for them, so one would hope that Ottawa is not arbitrarily changing the rules at the 11th hour.”

TIER replaced the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan by maintaining the price on pollution for large emitters but repealing the price on other businesses and residents. The federal price on carbon for Albertans, excepting large emitters, came into effect January 1, 2020.

Under TIER, facilities can either reduce their emissions or; use credits from other facilities, use emissions offsets from non-regulated organizations, or pay into the TIER fund at $30 per tonne.

The Alberta government launched its challenge of federal carbon pricing in 2019 and presented arguments Dec. 16-18 in Alberta’s Court of Appeal.

The court’s decision has yet to be announced.

story ideas? dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com Twitter: @Mitchell_AB

Energy

As politicians weigh in on KXL cancellation, Trudeau remains silent

“Where is the Prime Minister on this?” Scott Moe tweeted.

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Politicians from most federal and Alberta parties have thrown in their two-cents worth on the looming cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion – everyone that is, except Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau has made no comment since it was reported last night that US President-elect Joe Biden would cancel the US$8 billion pipeline project the first day he’s in office on January 20.

His office said Monday morning he has no public comments planned.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney – whose UCP government invested $1.5 billion of taxpayers money in the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project – says he’s “concerned” about the reports. Along with the direct cash investment, Alberta gave TC Energy a $6 billion loan guarantee in 2021. Cancellation of the project could be potential ruinous not for both Alberta’s economy, and government finances.

And if Biden does cancel the project, Kenney said he will sue.

“The risk surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline has been very obvious for some time. Nevertheless, Jason Kenney jeopardized up to $7.5 billion of Alberta taxpayers’ money on this project and now we’re learning it may be stopped altogether,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley.

“While there’s no question that the successful completion of KXL can be beneficial to Alberta’s economy, the Premier has never come clean on the economic and risk analysis associated with his massive gamble.

“From the moment that Albertans’ dollars were put at risk, Jason Kenney has also continued to reject the importance of a strong environmental and climate policy that would help make the case for KXL.

Notley tweet

“With KXL facing critical moments in the coming days, Albertans deserve to know exactly how much of their money is at stake. Jason Kenney and the UCP need to stop hiding this deal from Albertans and finally release it in its entirety.”

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe expressed disappointment over the news.

“Construction of this project should be a top priority for Canadian-U.S. economic relations. It is critical to North American energy security, will have a tremendous employment impact north and south of the border and has garnered significant indigenous support,” said Moe.

Moe Tweet

“Environmentally, Keystone will reach net-zero emissions when it first turns on, and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“While I am urging the Prime Minister to leverage his relationship with Mr. Biden, Saskatchewan will continue exercising our contacts in Washington D.C. to advocate for the continuation of this project that clearly benefits both of our nations.”

Maverick Party interim leader Jay Hill expressed his frustration at the reported cancellation.

“The devastating and ill-informed decision to kill Keystone XL reinforces the need for every province to have the constitutional right to bring its natural resources to market for the benefit of that province and its citizens,” said Hill in a statement.

“Alberta should have the constitutional right to take the lead in negotiating with the United States to secure market access, rather than an ineffective and weak federal Liberal government with a proven anti-oil agenda.

“This short-sighted and ill-advised decision does nothing to combat climate change, but merely attempts to appease environmental groups who support US energy projects at the expense of Western Canadian jobs.

“We strongly condemn this decision and the Trudeau government that has shown little opposition to this crushing blow to the West’s economy.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, on the other hand, warming greeted Biden’s decision.

“I agree with that decision. I do not support the project,” Singh told reporters.

“This is the direction that the future requires, we’ve got to fight the climate crisis.

“Global markets are clearer than ever that the jobs of the future are jobs that help us fight the climate crisis and that’s where we need to make investments. Justin Trudeau has failed on this.”

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s $1.5 billion and made $6 billion in loan guarantees.

The Democratic candidate and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

And Moe asked a final question Monday morning.

“Where is the Prime Minister on this?” Moe tweeted.

…. more to come

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

Kenney ‘concerned’ of reports Biden to cancel KXL

And if Biden does cancel the project, Kenney said he will sue.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney – whose UCP government invested $1.5 billion of taxpayers money in the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project – says he’s “concerned” about reports from south of the border that President-elect Joe Biden is set to cancel the project.

And if Biden does cancel the project, Kenney said he will sue.

Reports from Washington Sunday night said Biden will cancel the project on the first day he is in office, January 20.

Biden was vice-president and stood by President Barack Obama on November 6, 2015, in the Oval Office when he cancelled Keystone. President Donald Trump overturned that decision and granted a permit.

Kenney’s statement was critical of the pending decision, but made no mention of the $1.5 billion ownership stake his government took in the project. Biden publicly committed to killing the pipeline project along before the decision to purchase a portion of the pipeline was made by the UCP government.

“I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week,” Kenney said in a statement.

“Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship, and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future.

“In 2019, the United States imported 9.14 million barrels per day of petroleum, 3.7 million of which came from Canada. The rest comes from countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, none of whom share the commitment of Canada and the United States to environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, or North American energy security.

“As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil per day for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with his plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously.

“The Keystone XL pipeline also represents tens of thousands of good-paying jobs that the American economy needs right now. That is why major American labour unions who supported President-elect Biden’s campaign strongly back the project, as do First Nations who have signed partnership agreements, and all state governments along the pipeline route.

“Prime Minister Trudeau raised the issue with President-elect Biden on their November 9, 2020, telephone meeting, agreeing ‘to engage on key issues, including … energy cooperation such as Keystone XL.’

“We renew our call on the incoming administration to show respect for Canada as the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally by keeping that commitment to engage, and to allow Canada to make the case for strengthening cooperation on energy, the environment, and the economy through this project.

“Should the incoming U.S. Administration abrogate the Keystone-XL permit, Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s $1.5 billion.

The Democratic candidate and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

Biden to cancel KXL pipeline first day in office, report says

It will be a huge blow to Alberta, which has invested heavily in the pipeline.

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US President-elect Joe Biden is sent to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project on the first day he enters the Oval Office, says a report.

Biden was vice-president and stood by President Barack Obama on November 6, 2015, in the Oval Office when he cancelled Keystone. President Donald Trump overturned that decision and granted a permit.

It will be a huge blow to Alberta, which has invested heavily in the pipeline.

Alberta has already invested more than $1.5 billion with operator TC Energy. Another $6 billion in loan guarantees has also been made available to the company.

CBC News on Sunday reported a briefing note from the Biden transition team was widely circulated over the weekend after being shared by the incoming president’s team with U.S. stakeholders. 

The words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” appear on a list of executive actions supposedly scheduled for Day 1 of Biden’s presidency, said CBC.

Biden has said he will sign a raft of executive orders on his first day in office, on January 20, including revoking a Donald Trump-imposed limit on travel from Muslim countries.

During the campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta.

The Democratic candidate and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Alberta and federal governments have promised to lobby Biden hard on the benefits to letting pipeline construction from the Alberta border to Nebraska proceed.

In November, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was optimistic the pipeline would get the go-ahead.

In March 2020, Kenney ordered the Alberta government to buy a $1.5 billion stake in the project that appears to be in deep trouble.

“U.S. energy security is dependent on Alberta as the United States’ largest source of oil imports. Much of the American economy is fuelled by Alberta energy. We look forward to working with President-elect Biden’s transition team and future administration to ensure that this vital economic partnership continues,” said Kenney.

“Canada and the United States must work closely together to protect lives and livelihoods through the COVID crisis, and to return our economies to growth. Alberta looks forward to doing our part in advancing that growth agenda, working with the next U.S. administration and Congress.”

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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