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Canada Oil lobby hits out at Environmental minister and Bill C-69

A political bonfire was lit earlier in the week after federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced Ottawa had rejected nearly 100 amendments to Bill C-69. Most of those rejected amendments had been proposed by CAPP, and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), two major oil lobby groups in Canada.

McKenna said on Wednesday that conservative premiers, MPs, and senators, as well as the CAPP and CEPA, wanted a bill that would guarantee every pipeline proposed would be approved without any environmental assessment being done.

“They want us to copy and paste recommendations written by oil lobbyists that would block court challenges, that would make it easier for future governments to ignore the views of Indigenous Peoples,” she said.

Energy industry executives gathered at the Global Petroleum Show conference in Calgary last week took offense to McKenna’s announcement on Wednesday, accusing her of “ignoring legitimate concerns and charging ahead with the bill, regardless of its impact on the economy, investment or jobs,” according to the Calgary Herald.

A gloomy oil industry forecast
On Thursday, CAPP announced Canadian oil production will grow by 1.4 percent annually until 2035, halving its estimate from five years ago due to what the group claims are a lack of new pipelines and inefficient regulation, Reuters’ reports.

Output will increase to 5.86 million barrels per day by 2035, higher than CAPP’s forecast last year, with most of the growth coming from thermal oil sands projects in northern Alberta.

CAPP forecast capital investment in the Canadian oil and gas industry would fall to C$37 billion ($27.76 billion) in 2019, compared with C$81 billion in 2014. So the announcement on future energy industry production and the loss of future investment in the industry – along with McKenna’s comments on Bill C-69 and the energy industry in general – has provoked open rebellion.

“I’m very troubled with some of Minister McKenna’s comments,” McMillan told reporters after presenting the forecast at the Global Petroleum Show conference in Calgary, reports the Huffington Post.

“She continues to profile our industry as if we aren’t responsible. It’s disrespectful and it’s not true … I feel their cherry-picking of issues inside this bill to enflame Canadians and then pass that over the industry, and the bill as a whole, is disrespectful to the industry — our industry, other industries, and Canadians at large.”

The coming week in review
The coming week is going to be one heck of a political barn-burner and will have a great impact on the future of energy projects in Canada. The federal government will be making two major decisions, according to CBC Canada.

One will come on Tuesday when the federal cabinet will announce if it will approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension. This decision comes about after a second round of consultations were conducted with Indigenous communities along the pipeline’s route.

The Senate will also take a final vote on the Liberal government’s controversial overhaul of federal environmental assessment legislation — bill C-69.

It will be a trying week for Canada for a lot of reasons. It comes at a time when the climate crisis has become very real to many Canadians, in the wake of extreme weather events that have caused severe flooding, destruction of property and wildfires.

However, we must add the damage to the energy sector caused by a lack of pipeline capacity and the huge increase in U.S. oil production. And the damage to future pipeline capacity is not just a worry for Canada. There has been a big increase in opposition to new pipelines in the U.S. lately.

Bottom Line? It is getting more difficult to justify drilling more oil and gas wells and building more pipelines when the world is trying to get away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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