Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NEB: Rubber-stamping pipelines and boasting about it

Hostile to the public interest. Conservative Party agent. Oil sector agent. In league with Satan. Pick your description, either the formerly respectable National Energy Board, which you pay for, will not help you understand and possibly object to an oil or gas development in your neighbourhood.

Fascism. Now read this.


Alison said...

I'm not sure if people realize how this situation came about.

The energy lobby group Energy Policy Institute of Canada, or EPIC, headed up by
**Bruce Carson of, uh, Bruce Carson fame
**energy lawyer Doug Black, since made Senator Doug Black last year
**Gerry Protti, founder of the oil industry lobby group CAPP, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers,
**Justin Trudeau campaign chair Daniel Gagnier --
and comprised of all the major energy companies, was formed to provide the government of Canada with a National Energy Strategy.

Their recommendations on regulatory streamlining were implemented in the 2011 400-page omnibus bill, Bill C-38, which amended or repealed 70 federal laws in a single bill, including gutting environmental legislation and streamlining the regulatory review process.

As they put it in their 2012 presser :
"Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced legislative changes that would put EPIC's recommendations into federal law. Regulatory changes within omnibus Bill C-38 reflect recommendations of EPIC surrounding regulatory streamlining."

These EPIC-based regs now comprise the rules under which NEB successfully restricts access to their public meetings, as the letter from Louisette Lanteigne linked to in the post attests.

Some of EPIC's other regulatory recommendations state that the legal granting of mineral rights presumes the right to get the product to market via pipelines or else that right is meaningless, and that all environmental considerations are also de facto secondary to that primary right for the same reason.

We're really in trouble here.

1)Having succeeded in restricting public access to the NEB review process, oil companies can now take their NEB approval off to court to prevent public protests by court injunction, leaving citizens with no legal recourse of action, resulting in

2) RCMP being brought in to defend the interests of a foreign pipeline company from local citizens, as reported in a media that includes

3) the Postmedia-CAPP deal to publish "reports on subjects CAPP needs to bring to the forefront of Canadian consciousness", which is unlikely to incline media to publish news that might disturb the wa of the hand that feeds them - like that one of the NEB board members is the former CEO of Operations at Trans Mountain Pipelines...

4) as various fake astroturf tarsands boostergroups are founded by Power of Canada through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Boris said...

We're in trouble, but I think it's wise to look for points of failure in the conspiracy. The obvious one is the price of oil. If energy prices stay low or continue to drop, companies won't invest in pipelines especially if those pipelines will only make it easier to bring oil and gas to the market thereby risking an increased drop in price. Of course, market conditions do nothing for the anti-public mechanisms now in place.

The second point of failure is public resistance. The RCMP embarrassed themselves with their arrests on Burnaby Mountain, and I think it's unlikely that communities will give much of a damn if their protests are considered illegal.

Third point is the international focus. Oil and climate is THE issue today and petro-states are increasingly looking like the global creepy uncle. If the state comes down hard on protests in naked alignment with oil companies, foreign reporting will reflect that. The Cons already give speeches to empty rooms at international meetings.

The whole thing reeks of a piss-ignorant desperation to preserve a dying industry. The conversation about who lives and dies in climate change is already starting and our hillbillies are playing at pipelines? In 10 or 20 years, their markets will be gone.

Boris said...

Good quote from Nathan Cullen:

They made a fatal mistake that convinced the public there's no fair process, that it's a rigged exercise in which the answer is always going to be the same: Yes to every pipeline no matter what the opposition, no matter what the economic or environmental impacts are.

Steve said...

The goverment has been putting all its regulatory effort into preventing wind spills and solar overload.

Anonymous said...

What is also really interesting is that none of the main media people have picked up on Richard Kinder's colourful past.
The CEO of Kinder Morgan is an ex Enron Exec on whose watch the fraudulent accounting that led to the demise of Enron began.

It is also interesting that only a year ago that Wall Street called Kinder Morgan a "House of cards."

It makes me wonder why such an economics genius as Harper is doing business with a man with such a shady background.
It also puts into perspective the wishes of John Manley to go easy on corrupt CEOs and businesses.

Alison said...

Two days ago in the House, Harper abandoned the concept of climate regs for the tarsands :

“Under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy, it would be crazy economic policy to do unilateral penalties on that sector. We are clearly not going to do it.”

Meanwhile the NEB is planning on opening a PR storefront in Vancouver next year in order to interact with the people. Won't have any actual Nebbies who previously worked for Kinder Morgan doing the interacting, I'll wager.

The Mound of Sound said...

Stomach churning but just the sort of thing around which resistance can build.