Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

$983M jumbo pipeline project touted by TCPL [North Central Corridor]

Intro Rant:

It is very important we think about this correctly: The North-Central Corridor is the "alternative" to nuclear power. Both of these proposals are entirely driven by the energy input needs of cooking, digging, flipping and poisoning the earth in the Athabasca region, north of Fort McMurray. Both would devastate yet further many indigenous territories in the north, including the "Tear Drop" traditional territory of the Lubicon Cree Nation. Both would not only facilitate but vastly expand the consumption of energy for the increased output of the tar pits.

The reasons that the tar pits need to expand can be found in the geological reality of peak oil, combined with the news stories around Iraq, Venezuela, Iran and more. This oil is being set to help subsidize the war efforts against populations around the world who would rather use their oil revenue to feed children and help the illiterate read. For that, we must bomb them-- and destroy the very biosphere to get a huge quantity of this mock "oil".

So, rather than accept the "conclusion" we are being told is "none of our business" by the very fact of omission, we need not accept nonsensical debates around whether we want to support a nuclear poisoning of northern Alberta (never mind what gets done to the people, most likely indigenous, and the water wherever they are to mine the uranium and then transport it) or "instead" choose to steal the land of the Lubicon, but more importantly, to build the Mackenie Gas Project. The MGP, following the entire Deh Cho Valley, would be a devastation of one of the most important tracts of (mostly) undisturbed land there is in the world. It is also still majority Dene (and Inuvialuit) and that fact would not survive the process of the pipelines construction.

So, basically, nuclear or pipelines is like asking someone to pick the method of their execution. We instead should challenge the entire picture-- no new infrastructure to expand a vast crime against huge swaths of the Athabasca region, all being performed in the name of the "right" to bomb, kill and maim people for the crime of wanting to control their own resources and not being white or "first world".

There is too much at stake to let these corporate criminals set the agenda. WE should fight on all levels, stop the nukes, stop the pipelines and shut down the tar sands. Not to honor the Kyoto Accord, but to honor human dignity and a right to build a world where life itself is honored.


$983M jumbo pipeline project touted by TCPL
Gordon Jaremko, edmontonjournal.com
Published: 6:05 pm

EDMONTON - A new jumbo pipeline will be built across northern Alberta for express deliveries to natural-gas guzzling oilsands plants under industry plans announced Wednesday.

TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. unveiled the $983-million project, called North Central Corridor, on the heels of a forecast by the National Energy Board that bitumen-belt gas consumption will nearly triple by 2015.

The schedule calls for construction to begin before the end of 2008, if approval can be obtained in time from the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board. A target of April 2010 is set for starting deliveries.

No job estimates were released.

Comparable oilsands pipeline construction now underway across Jasper National Park employs 560 tradesmen and managers. Pipeline projects avoid worker shortages by paying top dollar to a national pool of mobile specialists. Hourly wages on the Jasper job are $87.55 for welders and start at $21.42 for labourers.

Jumbo pipe, 42 inches (105 centimetres) in diameter, is on order for the northern gas line, TransCanada communications officer Shela Shapiro said. Construction contracts will be awarded soon, she added. The company seeks speedy regulatory approval.

The proposed route, from a western inlet about 600 kilometres northwest of Edmonton to an eastern outlet in the heart of the bitumen belt midway between Fort McMurray and Cold Lake, follows established "infrastructure corridors" such as power lines, TransCanada said.

No objections were raised in extensive consultation with landowners, aboriginal communities and other "interested stakeholders" in the sparsely populated forests and muskeg swamps the line will cross, the firm said.

No single industrial customer or cluster of plants has booked up the proposed gas delivery capacity, Shapiro said. The new line will be built to satisfy rapidly growing demand by all oilsands developers, she reported.

Initial deliveries, of 1.3 to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, will exceed the planned opening capacity of the $16.2-billion Mackenzie Gas Project, now scheduled for construction by 2013 at the earliest. But gas use in thermal bitumen production and upgrading, plus oilsands plant power stations, will jump to 1.8 billion cubic feet a day by 2015 from a current 650 million cubic feet daily, the NEB said in a forecast released late last week.

The projected daily oilsands consumption in 2015 is equivalent to annual gas use by 14,000 Alberta homes. A typical Edmonton or Calgary household uses 135 gigajoules (128 thousand cubic feet) of gas in a year, Direct Energy Regulated Services reports.

A new pipeline for express gas deliveries to the oilsands has been on industry drawing boards since the late 1990s and has repeatedly ignited protests by environmental organizations. Conservationists lined up to resist the Mackenzie project when its roving environmental review panel held Edmonton hearings earlier this year.

Protesters said the Arctic would be spoiled only to nurture the most polluting arm of Alberta industry. But Mackenzie project senior partner Imperial Oil, also a top bitumen producer, said the oilsands rush would continue even if the Arctic gas project froze.

The two major branches of the fossil-fuels industry are developing independently, the firm told the Edmonton hearings shortly before announcing a three-year delay of the Arctic pipeline, due to climbing costs and slow regulatory procedures.

TransCanada's oilsands fuel line does not rely on the Mackenzie project. Supplies will come from prolific gas fields in northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia, Shapiro said. There will be enough gas to satisfy Canadian needs despite increased consumption by oilsands plants, the NEB predicted. The pinch will be felt in the United States.

Gas exports are forecast to shrink by as much as 40 per cent over the next 10 years.


© Edmonton Journal 2007

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