Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “economic”

Obama Can Force Oil Sands to Clean Up Their Act

Keystone XL pipeline now awaits the decision from President Obama for the go ahead.

The pipeline, when completed would carry oil sands heavy crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It is well documented that the extraction and consumption of the oil would significantly worsen global warming and contribute to increasing overall environmental and ecological damage to a vast part of northern Canada.

Governor of Nebraska Backs Route for Pipeline
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: January 22, 2013

WASHINGTON — The governor of Nebraska on Tuesday approved a revised route through the state for the Keystone XL pipeline, setting up a decision for President Obama that pipeline opponents say will be a crucial test of his intentions on climate change. Read more…

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Rants of a Christian Enviromentalist

I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.

Earth

View from Space

Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.

It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.

I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians  I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.

The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.

What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.

Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Tilley,

Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.

As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.

“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”

I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:

With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.

OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.

Government Hides Proof of Oil Sands Contamination
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4450

Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?

We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-development-polluting-alberta-lakes-study/article7014184/

Oil Sands Polluting Area Lakes 
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/393673-report-oilsands-polluting-area-lakes

Oil sands pollution ‘clearly evident’, government-funded study says 
http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/07/government-funded-study-concludes-toxic-hydrocarbons-from-oil-sands-pollute-lakes/

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013

Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.

Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.

PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.

Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.

“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.

Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”

In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”

Hard to Stay Conservative

In principle, most Tory voters agree with bill C-38, but, it just may be to all encompassing to be comfortable with. What is creating some suspicion is that there are virtually no columnists writing in favor or defending the budget as written. Would it not be in the Tories best interest to break the budget up into appropriate segments? As it stands, few Canadians have any inkling of what the budget contains. 600+ pages is far too much to digest.
Is this the Harper thinking? A Tory voter is a Tory voter, just get it through in one big shot, we have three years to let any criticism fade and they will vote Tory again regardless. There is very good chance many can be persuaded not to vote Tory again.
Or are the Tories making one big offensive knowing that they are most likely to lose their majority come 2015? Their debate in the House is not helping them.
To make things worse, the out-right lies and innuendo coming from the likes of Levant and Adler, just add to the suspicion that maybe the critics on the left have a point. The budget is to large. Maybe there is some curious parts to this legislation that need more time and debate.

Axis of Oil

“Axis of Oil” Poses Significant Problems and Questions for Canada

Prime Minister’s Focus on Money and Markets Ignores Issues of Energy and National Security, Human Rights, Syria, and More

“Canadians simply cannot and should not make the dramatic economic and social shifts Harper is aggressively orchestrating without more information.”

Hilites:

  • Canada becoming a colony of China.
  • Shipping jobs off-shore.
  • Compromises Canada’s foreign Policy.
  • During the 2008 federal election campaign, Stephen Harper promised he wouldn’t export raw crude to countries with weaker environmental standards than Canada, protecting Canadian jobs.
  • The oil and gas sector already has nearly two times the amount of foreign investment compared to the average in other areas of our economy with twice the percentage of profits leaving Canada.
  • Concerning Chinese oil sands investments, estimates vary because of the lack of transparency, but it’s at least $12 billion and as much as $20 billion.
  • Not only jobs will be lost, but energy security and even national sovereignty are at stake. As Anthony Campbell, former head of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, has pointed out: “We are sitting ducks.” We are losing our ability to control the oil sands and our energy future.
  • Even Enbridge has admitted that its pipeline will be of no benefit to Canada if it doesn’t secure the so-called “Asian Premium” – a higher crude price.
  • Canada will slowly become a petro state with all the negatives we’ve witnessed around the world.
  • The absurdity of so-called “Ethical Oil” is made transparent when you consider our increased, unquestioning partnership with China. After all, China is also working closely with Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. This fact also makes a mockery of any government concerns about “foreign” influence among opponents of the Enbridge/China pipeline.

Axis of oil?
February 9, 2012 15:38
John Robson looks at Elizabeth May’s alarmist language when it comes to the oilsands.

Wildrose reaction to May’s comments
February 9, 2012 15:49
Krista Erickson speaks with Alberta Wildrose leader Danielle Smith about the Alberta budget and Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s latest oil comments.
Says May’s agenda is to shut down the oil sands and tankers must be allowed to travel in BC waters.

Some History on China and Oil

Some history which may give some insight to the why and how of China, their industrial and foreign policy.

In order to evaluate the pros and cons of the Gateway Pipeline Project, we must first have an understanding of the players involved.

I am not an historian. I am a Canadian citizen deeply concerned about the ecological, environmental and economical effects the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline will have on our country. This report is taken from what I perceive to be factual information from sources I have been able to research and trust to be authentic and factual.

Since the mid ’50s, China has been developing it’s economy out from primarily an agriculture base to what is now an industrial super power. The 1960s saw rapid change as China sought foreign investment and technology in order to compete in international affairs. Many western corporations were attracted to the economic advantages of conducting business with China, a huge low cost labor pool and a huge market for consumer goods of all types. As industrialization took place, so did the need for energy. China has fairly large oil reserves both onshore and offshore which remained virtually untapped until recently. China sought energy sources mainly from nearby Iran and Russia.

Politics of course, has played a huge roll in Chinese industrial development. China and Russia, although both communist, never saw eye to eye on politics. As long as the Cold war between the US and USSR remained, Russian trade with China continued to increase. Since the end of WW2 western interests in the South Pacific played a huge role influencing the politics of the region. China also kept an eye on the South Asian countries stemming the tides of democracy. China proved it’s military interference capabilities first in North Korea in halting democracy in the peninsula and later in Viet Nam assisting the North Vietnamese communist regime to drive out the American forces.

In the late ’70s, China turned south to the Southern countries around Malaysia to further it’s energy supplies. China required more oil resources and looked to Iran. China had border disagreements though with Afghanistan. China needed to come to terms with Afghan leaders in order to ensure a secure and shorter route to it’s largest energy trade source, Iran. This upset the USSR who was experiencing loss of control and influence over it’s southern states and with it direct control over the oil resources in the area. Russia wanted to build a pipeline through Afghanistan to India. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 which led to a 10 year war in which, with Chinese support and indirect US support, drove out the Russians but left a chaotic fragile regime of warlords to rule over the country. A perfect climate for anti-western culture which the Taliban took advantage of along with support from neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

When the US/USSR cold war ended in 1981, it left a huge area of the North Middle East with instability and further unrest threatening access to precious oil resources for western powers. Every country was seeking the control of oil resources and sales and especially the dollars that came with them. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. acted to prevent the confrontation from widening, largely in order to prevent additional disruption to world oil supplies and to honor U.S. security assurances to Saudi Arabia. As a result, the U.S. reacted to Soviet troop movements on the border of Iran by informing the Soviet Union that they would defend Iran in the event of Soviet invasion. The US supplied armaments to the then weakened Iranian Military to back up this promise.

Relying on western promises and oil revenues, the Shah pursued his goal of developing Iran as a regional power dedicated to social reform and economic development pleasing to western countries. Yet he continually refused to allow any civic and political freedom, remaining unresponsive to public opinion. The Shah’s government collapsed following widespread uprisings in 1978 -1979 and consequently an Islamic Republic was formed bound to uphold Islamic law, condemning Israel and it’s allies especially the USA.

After the Soviets were halted in any expansion of access to the Mid East oil reserves, Iran, with a strengthened military, both from US and China, took to widen control over the area by threatening a then unstable government in neighboring Iraq. In 1980, Saddam Hosien attacked Iran in an attempt to gain the upper hand in what he hoped would reunite the State of Persia under his Sunni leadership. The resulting 8 year Iran-Iraq War permanently altered the course of both Irani and Iraqi history. The USA, realizing an eastern influence and fearing loss of continuing supply from the oil reserves, aided the then befriended Saddam Hosien of Iraq, supplying weapons and technology. The Iranian Republic which formally denounced all religion but Islam, found itself cut off from western trade when a UN sanctioned embargo was introduced. With western alienation, Iran was forced to turn even further to China for trade and alliance.

Back in the late 1990s, China was desperately seeking new resources for crude oil which they could control and have dominant access to. The Canadian tar sands at that time were too costly to invest in for an industrial developing nation such as China. China was turning increasingly toward Iran especially with the US threatening a tighter embargo on Iranian exports. China was deliberating with the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. The Bush administration disapproved of this deal outright which would give not only the Taliban a huge source of revenue, but strengthen their ability to create havoc against the USA and would also strengthen China’s ability to become the foremost industrial force in the world overtaking the US.

The Taliban out-thought themselves and fell into the trap of attacking the USA by crashing aircraft into the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, believing that in the event of retaliation they would be aided by Chinese forces as were North Korea and Viet Nam. The US led Western Alliance struck back as planned but, the Chinese, still needing the western nations as trading partners for their growing industrial products, remained ‘supposedly’ neutral and allowed the Taliban, Pakistan and Iran to face the consequences basically on their own.

China is greatly suspected of introducing and aiding both North Korea and Iran in their efforts to gain nuclear energy and weaponry along with the delivery systems and other advanced technology. US State Dept.: “China is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 180 active nuclear weapon warheads and 240 total warheads as of 2009, which would make it the second smallest nuclear arsenal amongst the five major nuclear weapon states. According to some estimates, the country could “more than double” the “number of warheads on missiles that could threaten the United States by the mid-2020s”. “China has yet to define what it means by a “minimum deterrent posture”. This, together with the fact that “it is deploying four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, invites concern as to the scale and intention of China’s nuclear upgrade” “(US) –has concerns over possible Chinese biological weapon transfers to Iran and other nations…and have received reports regarding transfers of dual-use items from Chinese entities to the Iranian government…”

Over the next 10 years, while western nations did their ‘best’ to sort out the Afghan / Pakistan debacle and also keep Iranian interests in check, China went about their goal of securing oil resources with the huge profits they were receiving selling products to western consumers. They have recently secured a deal to build a pipeline through Afghanistan which will tap into the oil fields of Iran and south Afghanistan. They purchased several large shares of energy companies, many operating in Canada. Not only were the tar sands becoming a viable resource, Liquid Natural Gas is in abundance in Western Canada also and China is bent on securing these resources.

Predictions on the Gateway Project

My Predictions on the Gateway Project

  1. Regardless of the findings of the Pipeline Joint Review Panel, the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline, (newly dubbed the Panda Pipeline) will go through. PM Harper wants it and that is all it takes. He will sign the deal. Any consultation is just political pandering.
  2. There will be large scale environmental NGO and First Nations backed protests across the country. Canada will become a symbol of anti-environmental, anti-aboriginal legislation around the world.
  3. As the pipeline is being built, there will be countless protests with opponents standing in the way to the point where the army will have to be called. The police will not be able to deal with the situation alone.
  4. Construction problems mainly due to failure to maintain safety and environmental standards will plague the project. A parliamentary review will be called.
  5. PM Harper will resign in 2016. Conservatives will lose the following election.
  6. The pipeline will take 2 years longer to complete than anticipated, the cost over-runs will be almost double the estimated price. Canada will be on the hook to pay for the extra costs, in about 6 billion dollars when all added up.
  7. The Keystone Pipeline through the US will pass and completed about the same time.
  8. A hurried expansion in the tarsands will take place to ensure delivery to both to the detriment of environmental standards.
  9. When the pipeline is first opened in 2019, 2-4 leaks will appear creating 5 to 10 million dollars in environmental damage and recovery.
  10. As the first tankers attempt to enter BC waters they will be met with an armada of war canoes, fishing boats and private vessels. The Canadian Navy will be called out to clear a passage. Several boats will be capsized.
  11. Enbridge will sell it’s share of the Gateway Pipeline project leaving it entirely under Chinese corporate management.
  12. An oil spill will occur within 5 years of operation. Cleanup and compensation to First Nations loss will be in excess of 2 billion dollars. A new moratorium will reduce tanker size.
  13. Law suits over responsibility for cleanup will continue for 10 or more years.

..And then again, I may be wrong.

Worth the Price?

Tarsands Oil Exports vs BC North Coast
Which is worth more? Tarsands oil exports to China, or securing the ecology of the BC North Coast. Is it an either or situation? Can we have both?
Enbridge’s economists have calculated that building the pipeline and shipping out Alberta crude will increase the gross domestic product of Canada by $270 billion over the three decades. What is the BC North Coast worth? Can it’s value be quantified in dollars?
Enbridge admits there will be incidents, but can be limited to less than what was spilled at Valdes. Their own analysis predicts 250 kilometers of coast line contamination in the first week after a spill. “Protection of environmental, socio-economic, and cultural sensitivities will be prioritized, and response strategies will be developed to limit potential adverse effects.” NGP-FS-03-003_Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Coast Guard reports 8 incidents in the years 1999-2010 involving bulk carriers and general cargo vessels with experienced captains and certified pilots aboard along the same routes the tankers will travel. The largest of these vessels being less than half the size of mega tankers.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has identified 15 Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the newly designated Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area “… areas worthy of enhanced protection”. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/329206.pdf
Another important question is; Can Canada trust China?
Are we allowing too much Chinese state controlled investment in our resources? Will there come a time when China is calling the shots? They refuse to ratify an agreement on investments to date. Their foreign policy and actions are abysmal at best.
Is the Pipeline Joint Review Panel just a political facade? Will it’s findings carry any weight in the final decision? PM Harper seems to have already endorsed the project and is about to ratify an agreement in principal while in Beijing this week.
Maybe we can nickname the project, the Panda Pipeline.
Where does the interested Canadian turn for a rational view on the Gateway Pipeline Project?

Prediction

As my first post I will make a prediction.
By 2015 the world economics will be in total disaster.

I say this from looking at the economic and foreign policies of the USA which are a disaster now and who’s politicians are refusing to change. China is the world’s most powerful country, they hold the US purse strings and the US has no choice but to dance to the tune the piper is playing. The only thing holding China back in expanding an empire is oil and they are the only power nation left able to purchase oil without going further into debt. To US disgrace they are doing so mainly on US monies.

I liken US politics to two negotiators. One insists that 2+2=7, the other convinced that 2+2=5. Even if they compromise, they will be wrong. Not to say that the USA is worse than most other G20 nations, just that they have the most influence economically. Seeing the results from the primaries last night, it is obvious that nothing is going to change. The truth hurts and is about to hurt more.

To the American peoples all I can say is – A little humility and down sizing will go a long way.

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