Canada approves pipeline connecting tar sands to Pacific coast

The pipeline, if built, would allow Canada to expand its oil exports to China

Topics: Canada, tar sands, Keystone XL pipeline, Keystone XL, ,

Amid fierce opposition, the Canadian government conditionally approved a controversial pipeline to transport crude oil from Alberta. Not Keystone — the other pipeline: a 731-mile-long system that will connect Alberta’s tar sands to the Pacific Coast, where it would be shipped onward to Asia.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which, if built, would transport up to 525,000 barrels per day, on the provision that Enbridge, its operator, manages to meet 209 conditions set in December by a regulatory panel (some of those conditions cite environmental concerns, ClimateProgress notes, though none mention the effect that burning up to 525,000 barrels of oil per day would have on climate change). It continues to face opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups that, as in the U.S., strongly wish not to see it built.

“The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made” to those groups, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement.

Harper, on the other hand, has been vocal about his strong interest in seeing both the Northern Gateway and Keystone built, despite heavy political pressure. The AP has more:



Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada’s national interest makes the pipelines essential.

He was “profoundly disappointed” that U.S. President Barack Obama has delayed a decision on the Texas Keystone XL option, and spoke of the need to diversify Canada’s oil industry. Ninety-seven percent of Canadian oil exports now go to the U.S.

Meanwhile, China’s growing economy is hungry for Canadian oil. Chinese state-owned companies have invested more than $40 billion in Canadian energy in the past few years.

“They are watching this very, very closely,” said Wenran Jiang, an energy expert and special adviser to Alberta’s Department of Energy.

“They told us as recently as a couple of weeks ago that further investment will depend on whether there will be at least opportunities to ship some of this crude to China. Currently all of their investment and production goes into the U.S. They are currently living with that,” he said.

Jiang said Canada ships all its oil to the U.S. so it’s vital that Canada diversify its energy exports. Canadian oil is sold at a discount compared to the prices elsewhere.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...