There is no doubt that Keystone XL’s cancellation was a massive gut punch to the oil and gas industry and Canada’s security. After a battle of over 12 years, legal challenges, and billions in up-front investment to finally have pile laid across the border looked to be a success, but instead, it became a devastating loss. Now buoyed by their Keystone success, Canadian and American radical activists are once again turning their attention back to killing the Trans Mountain expansion project.
Let’s not be naive, just like XL pipeline, the low-intensity fight against TMX has continued even after final rulings from the Supreme court and final permits were issued. Having succeeded in reversing one pipeline project after it was approved and under construction, activists are emboldened that they might be able to do it again.
However, these activists taking on TMX make a fundamental error when it comes to arguments about protecting the planet’s environment. If they succeed in taking the world’s most responsibly produced oil off the market it will only allow the worst oil to take its place. It is self-evident this will be bad for the planet. If these activists truly cared about the planet, they would join the industry in promoting Canada’s world-leading environmental record and its commitment to reducing global emissions. For years, Canada has been met with criticisms about our oil and gas production. Canadian industry has responded with dramatic improvements in lowering emission intensity using technologies like carbon capture or using hydroelectricity to create LNG.
It’s no surprise either that many of Trans Mountain’s opponents are part of the usual foreign-funded suspects pushing to keep all of Canada’s hydrocarbons in the ground. Groups like 350.org (a major opponent of KXL), Greenpeace Canada, and others. Preliminary research reports from the Alberta Inquiry have shed even more light on the breadth and size of the foreign-funded anti-Canadian oil and gas campaign. Environmental truth has become a casualty of this anti-Canada campaign.
The radicals still claim that there is no consent from indigenous groups even though Trans Mountain has support from 120 of the 129 First Nations along its pipeline route. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has ruled that BC’s indigenous groups were consulted with in a meaningful way. Foreign-funded activists like to highlight fringe groups to try to make their point. The latest group being promoted are the Tiny House Warriors and some members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. These groups are funded by foreign organizations like Tides (Tsleil-Wautuh) and Greenpeace Canada (Tiny House Warriors). Greenpeace itself is using funding from Tides to target oil and gas production in Canada. It’s not surprising to learn that if you fund people to oppose pipelines, you might find people to oppose pipelines.
The most recent attack on TMX, falsely claims that reports from the Parliamentary Budget Office and Canadian Energy Regulator say that Trans Mountain is uneconomic and inconsistent with climate goals. Yet the reports found no such thing. Activists cherry-picked from hypothetical scenarios in the reports, made their own projections, and then falsely claimed the reports made these conclusions. It would be a surprise to the multi-billion dollar companies underwriting the cost of the pipeline with long term shipping contracts that their decision was uneconomic. The reality is oil and gas demand is growing in non-OECD developing countries – that has been confirmed by both International Energy Agency and OPEC forecasts. Studies show Canada can provide best-in-the-world oil and gas to these countries, and in so doing reduce overall global emissions by producing these resources responsibly in Canada.
Keystone’s cancellation now puts additional emphasis on made in Canada solutions like Trans Mountain.
Being able to export to the world through Trans Mountain will allow Canada to be the leader that the world needs on responsibly developed oil and gas. This will also help boost Canada’s economy with the massive recovery needed after COVID’s ravages.
It is important that the Canadian energy industry takes a stand and holds the line against these radical activists that do not have Canada’s or the world’s best interests at heart. If not, they might as well pack up their rigs and sell them to other countries that will develop their oil and gas in a way that won’t serve the planet.
The Canadian oil and gas industry directly supports 170,000 families, just like yours, and indirectly supports more than twice that number. Canada won’t benefit from economically hurting more than half a million families at this time. There are no “green jobs” for them to transition to. There is nothing that will do as much good for the global climate as allowing them to outcompete oil and gas from jurisdictions that don’t care about the environment or human rights.
It is time to take a stand for Canada, to defend our energy industry, and reduce global emissions at the same time.