Photo: Sébastien Guillier-Sahuqué
Along with warm weather, April has brought a renewed push for tar sands pipelines to Alberta. Premier Rachel Notley and her government have come out swinging in favour of pipelines, saying getting oil to tidewater is the panacea for Alberta’s economic woes, and that revenue from these projects is needed to pay for climate action. The Alberta NDP have even just thrown their support behind Northern Gateway, a pipeline they haven't been in favour of in the past.
In reality, a future with any of these pipeline projects isn’t bright or green at all:
Pipelines won’t soothe Alberta’s economic problems: A new pipeline will have no impact on the price Alberta gets for its oil. With the current low price, tar sands producers are barely breaking even and it’s projected to stay that way. Pipeline construction also won’t create many jobs either, especially not compared to other sectors we could put money into. Investing in climate solutions like energy efficiency, renewable energy, and public transit all create more than twice as many jobs per dollar invested than pipelines & the Alberta oil and gas sector.
The proposed pipeline projects would violate Indigenous Rights: Rachel Notley and her government were elected on a promise to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). At the heart of UNDRIP is the principle of free, prior and informed consent. Many First Nations along all three proposed pipeline routes have not only not given their consent, but have stated their official opposition. If Alberta is serious about UNDRIP it means respecting that no from the peoples’ whose land it would be built on.
Pipelines are fundamentally incompatible with Canada meeting its climate commitments: COP21 means Canada has a responsibility to do its part to limit average temperature rise to 1.5-2C -- to have a decent chance at this more than 80% of our fossil fuel reserves globally must stay in the ground. Expanding the tar sands via pipelines (whether Energy East, Northern Gateway, or Kinder Morgan) is the opposite of what our climate science says we need.
We are asking the provincial government to stop the pipeline pushing and speed up the solar pushing, the wind power pushing, and the geothermal pushing. Investments in public transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, the public sector, and sustainable agriculture will all create more jobs than oil and gas expansion. They have the added side benefit of protecting communities here & everywhere from environmental destruction.
Sign on to tell Premier Rachel Notley and her government that more tar sands pipelines are not part of a prosperous and sustainable future for Alberta.
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