Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

CEP takes on bitumen exports

CEP takes on bitumen exports
Today staff
Thursday August 09, 2007

Fearing Canadian jobs going down proposed pipelines to the U.S., the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) will intervene in upcoming regulatory hearings.
At the heart of the matter is the union’s intent to protect Canadian jobs, fostering development of the Canadian economy instead of watching all the benefits go south of the border, officials say.
CEP represents about 2,400 workers at Suncor Energy. It isn’t clear whether Suncor product is set to flow in any of the pipelines being opposed.
In the most recent application, CEP, Canada’s largest union, applied for intervenor status at the hearings scheduled for Enbridge Pipelines’ Alberta Clipper project.
Andrew Cameron, a National Energy Board (NEB) spokesman, said the regulator will be confirming its list of intervenors for Alberta Clipper shortly. He added there is no reason to believe that CEP will not be granted intervenor status.
The Alberta Clipper hearings are to begin Nov. 5 at an undetermined location. The proposed project is a new 1,607 kilometre line from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wis., and is expected to be in service by mid-2010. It would have an initial capacity of 450,000 barrels a day.
“We want the NEB and the government of Canada to stop looking at the development of our energy resources and particularly the Alberta tar sands in isolation of the broader economic social and environmental good of the country,” said Dave Cole, CEP president. “The Alberta Clipper project combined with the Keystone pipeline and others will see literally millions of barrels of bitumen shipped to the United States with minimal economic benefit for Canada.”

He added the union’s intent is to continue to fight for development of Canadian resources for the good of Canada as a whole.
At least 18,000 jobs would be created if the oil slated to be pumped into the U.S. through the Alberta Clipper were processed and refined in Canada, said Coles.
CEP members in the energy sector work in every region of Canada ranging from exploration in Fort McMurray to the Hibernia oil fields offshore of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Its intervenor application, said the union, is “committed to ensuring that Canadian oil and gas resources are developed and utilized in a manner that fosters economic development in Canada and does so in a manner that is consistent with meeting the challenges of climate change while providing secure energy supplies for Canadians in the future.”
It continued that the “potential detrimental impact of the Clipper project on the economic development of Canada’s oil and gas industry and on the energy security of Canadians is so significant as to require a rigorous and thorough assessment of the need for and impacts of this project.”
CEP has also been granted intervenor status at an NEB hearing scheduled to begin Aug. 13. Phase one is being heard at the NEB building in Calgary. This hearing focuses on Enbridge’s Southern Lights pipeline project. While CEP’s specific interest is the same in both applications, this one also expresses concern about value added production of Canadian energy resources.
The Keystone project by TransCanada Pipelines is between the concluded hearing and the release of the reasons for decision by the NEB.
Jennifer Varey, a spokeswoman with Enbridge, said it was not appropriate to comment on the Alberta Clipper application and CEP’s concerns about it, given the timing of the Southern Lights hearings. She added any comment may influence the Southern Lights hearing.
“Alberta Clipper will ensure that timely new pipeline capacity is available to meet producers’ needs to transport growing supplies of crude oil from Alberta’s oilsands and the northern Unite States to refinery markets in the U.S. midwest,” said Patrick D. Daniel, Enbridge president and CEO in a statement released May 31. “The combination of Alberta Clipper and Southern Access which is currently under construction, can ultimately provide transportation capacity of up to 1.2 million barrels a day from Alberta to the U.S. midwest.”
An NEB report from July noted Canadian crude oil pipelines are facing an impending transportation bottleneck.
An Assessment of the Canadian Hydrocarbon Transportation System says by the fourth quarter of 2007, western Canada pipelines could be facing periods of apportionment -- a situation in which available pipelines space is apportioned or shared among shippers.
With no significant additions to the Canadian pipeline system planned before 2009, apportionment could be in place for up to 18 months.

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