The federal government's decision today to move ahead with Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline expansion flies in the face of efforts to prevent a 2 C increase in global average temperature, as Canada committed to in the Paris Agreement.
Giving a green light to the Kinder Morgan project, in particular, doesn't make sense from an environmental or an economic perspective. "This decision, along with the recent approval for Pacific NorthWest's highly polluting LNG project near Prince Rupert, is forcing fossil fuel infrastructure where it's not needed or wanted," David Suzuki Foundation director of science and policy Ian Bruce said. "We should finance a shift to renewable energy projects rather than support large, outdated infrastructure projects that lock us into climate-altering fossil fuel use for years to come."
The controversial decision comes amidst opposition from 59 First Nations and 21 municipalities representing more than two million people. The pipeline expansion would bring bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to B.C. for export.
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If built, these projects could lead to upwards of 34 million tonnes of emissions, putting significant strain on Alberta's plan to cap oilsands emissions at 100 million tonnes.
The David Suzuki Foundation opposes all fossil fuel infrastructure expansion, including Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion which will increase tanker traffic seven-fold. "British Columbians are right to worry about the effects of oil spills on sensitive marine environments, killer whales and their communities' health," David Suzuki Foundation Western Canada director general Jay Ritchlin said. "Oil spills will happen and they will never be fully cleaned up." Research confirms there is no spill response technology to effectively clean up diluted bitumen. "Even without an oil spill, this level of increase in shipping traffic is distressing for the future of the 80 remaining southern resident killer whales.
"The Salish Sea is an iconic part of Canada's economic, natural and cultural history, supporting wildlife and outdoor adventure and providing livelihoods to thousands in commercial fisheries and tourism. It's far too precious to risk a heavy crude oil spill and that's exactly what this project does," Ritchlin said.
Concerns have also been raised about limitations in the public consultation process and the collapse of public trust in the National Energy Board. "This is not a sound, evidence-based decision. We expect British Columbians to fight this decision and demand that Canada stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. Clean technology is the fastest growing sector in Canada's economy. That's where we need to invest in Canada's best interest," Ritchlin said.
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Jay Ritchlin, Director General Western Canada, David Suzuki Foundation
Theresa Beer, Senior Communication Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation