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Keystone pipeline foes energized as tumbling crude prices pinch oil sands

Members of American Indian Movement (AIM) in Colorado protest Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands.

Members of American Indian Movement (AIM) in Colorado protest Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands.

Jim Snyder, Financial Post/Bloomberg News, October 27, 2014

Falling oil prices have energized opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

U.S. benchmark crude has tumbled 10% this month, closing at $81.01 a barrel in New York trading last week, and further declines are forecast. At $75, a government analysis said producers may be discouraged from developing Canada’s oil sands without pipelines like Keystone.

“It changes the narrative quite a bit,” Anthony Swift, an international lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, said of the tumble in crude prices. Read the rest of this entry

Video: Karistatsi Onienre: The Iron Snake

Published on Jul 9, 2014 by Clifton Nicholas

The tar sands are the most polluting resource extraction operation in the world today. This film discusses some of the issues surrounding the tar sands and the impending development of pipelines in eastern Canada and pipelines in western Canada to open markets for this dirty energy. This documentary concentrates on the Indigenous struggles against the tar sands and the impending expansion of this operation if the western and eastern pipeline projects succeed. This film was made possible with generous donations film footage of independent filmmakers from submedia.tv and Greenpeace Canada as well as support from Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign and Idle No More Winnipeg.

Northern Gateway pipeline: First Nations outline constitutional challenges

"Grand Chief" Stewart Phillips of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“Grand Chief” Stewart Phillips of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says at least 9 legal challenges have been launched

By Mike Laanela, CBC News, July 14, 2014

Several B.C. First Nations are launching at least nine court challenges to try to block Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, leaders revealed at a news conference this morning in Vancouver.

The First Nations leaders said they will argue the proposed pipeline and its recent approval by the federal government is a constitutional violation of their aboriginal land rights in their respective territories, particularly in light of the Supreme Court of Canada victory last month by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation. Read the rest of this entry

Fort MacKay First Nation members short on cash after oilsands profits dip

Tar Sands factory complex in northern Alberta.

Tar Sands factory complex in northern Alberta.

Band CEO blames low profits for missing annual payments

CBC News July 11, 2014

Some residents from the wealthy Fort McKay First Nation are in financial trouble after the band failed to provide an expected dividend from oilsands profits last month.

Band members have long been receiving the payment, known as a PCD, which the band is able to pay out due to profits gained from oilsands-related operations. Recently, members collected more than $10,000 per year from the funds.  Read the rest of this entry

First Nations’ cancer linked to Tar Sands’ toxins in wild food: study

Tar Sands in northern Alberta, where Native band councils work with industry and benefit from the toxic destruction of their environment.

Tar Sands in northern Alberta, where Native band councils work with industry and benefit from the toxic destruction of their environment.

Deeply frustrated by provincial denials of health concerns, two First Nations commissioned their own study using out-of-province university researchers to examine oil sands pollutants in their foods.

by Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer,July 8th, 2014

Two northern Alberta First Nations downstream of massive oil sands smoke plumes and tailing ponds released a human health study Monday, implicating the growth of the industry to many serious Aboriginal health concerns, including cancer.

The worry?  Oil sands pollution is contaminating their wild food. Read the rest of this entry

Kinder Morgan’s $136 million pipeline ‘war chest’ to be paid by Canadians

Oil tanker prepares to fill up with Alberta Tar Sands oil at Burrard Inlet refinery.

Oil tanker prepares to fill up with Alberta Tar Sands oil at Burrard Inlet refinery.

“The decision to enable this unfair advantage is unprecedented. The approach has been rejected out of hand by US regulators,” said economist Robyn Allan.

Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer,July 1, 2014
In what an economist calls an “unprecedented” decision, the National Energy Board has allowed Kinder Morgan to build up a $136 million ‘war chest’ to fund its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion application through shipping surcharges. The charge, called a “firm service fee”,  allows Texas-based pipeline company Kinder Morgan to offload the cost of the pipeline application to Canadians.
“The decision to enable this unfair advantage is unprecedented. The approach has been rejected out of hand by US regulators,” said Robyn Allan, an independent economist and former CEO of ICBC, who outlined the finding in her report. 

Read the rest of this entry

First Nations Being Courted to Back Tar Sands Refinery Projects on Their Land

Calvin Helin of Eagle Spirit Energy, which proposes a bitumen refining facility on the coast.

Calvin Helin of Eagle Spirit Energy, which proposes a bitumen refining facility prior to transporting Tar Sands by pipeline to the coast.

Companies behind refining proposals are trying hard to avoid the mistakes Enbridge made on Northern Gateway pipeline—but an uphill fight awaits.
By Elizabeth Douglass, InsideClimate News, June 23, 2014

Despite last week’s approval from the Canadian government, uncertainty still dogs Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline largely because of a vow from key aboriginal communities to block it.

Others in the oil industry are trying hard to avoid the mistakes Enbridge made when it comes to approaching Canada’s powerful First Nations about projects that could contaminate their lands and waterways.

Pacific Future Energy Corp.’s recent refinery proposal is the latest example. Read the rest of this entry

TransCanada looks to ship oil to U.S. by rail amid Keystone XL delays

Train cars carrying crude oil burn after derailing in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 2013.

Train cars carrying crude oil burn after derailing in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 2013.

Calgary-based company has waited more than 5 years for the Obama administration to make a decision

CBC News, May 22, 2014

TransCanada is in talks with customers about shipping Canadian crude to the United States by rail as an alternative to its Keystone XL pipeline project that has been mired in political delays, according to company president and CEO Russ Girling.

“We are absolutely considering a rail option,” Girling told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in New York Wednesday. “Our customers have needed to wait for several years, so we’re in discussions now with them over the rail option.” Read the rest of this entry

First Nations prepare for fight against Energy East pipeline

Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, May 20, 2014

TransCanada's headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.

TransCanada’s headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.

First Nations activists are turning their attention to TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East project, vowing to mount the same kind of public opposition that threatens the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States and Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway in British Columbia.

Some 70 First Nations leaders met in Winnipeg recently to plan a strategy they hope will block TransCanada’s ambitious plan to ship more than 1 million barrels a day of crude from Western Canada to refiners and export terminals in the East, despite widespread political support for the $12-billion project. Read the rest of this entry

Bear attack at Suncor site kills 1 worker

Black Bear 2CBC News, May 07, 2014

A Suncor employee has been killed by a bear at the company’s Oil Sands base, 25 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

The RCMP say they were called just after 2 p.m. MT Wednesday after receiving reports of a large, male black bear attacking and killing a worker at the Suncor base camp.

The female worker was declared dead on the scene. Read the rest of this entry

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