Matters of Concern to the Polity --
Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project
Energy Board Predictable
Demonstration in Vancouver against National Energy Board approval
February 22, 2019.
The National Energy Board (NEB) has once again
Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. A successful court
challenge of the original approval meant the NEB had to consider
the effects of increased tanker traffic in the Salish Sea.
Prime Minister Trudeau has long hailed the
in the national interest and a great contributor to jobs and even
emphatically declared, "It will be built." His government
executive has long expressed enthusiasm for the expansion and
even bought the old pipeline and the plans to build a new one
from the U.S. owners who had appeared increasingly anxious to
Canadians have seen
firsthand from the SNC-Lavalin
that when the PMO declares something important for jobs, the
national interest, and the partisan interests of the Liberal
Party in its goal for re-election, then no quasi-independent
agency of the government or individual politician is allowed to
question and interfere with the government's plans to serve
Other events have revealed why the ruling elite
compelled to push for an additional pipeline to carry heavy crude
oil from Alberta to the BC Lower Mainland. The U.S. military
wants the heavy crude because once refined it powers many of its
planes, ships and vehicles. The existing Trans Mountain pipeline
connects with another one transporting some of the crude directly
to Washington State, while tankers can fill up in Burnaby and
make the relatively short journey south to Washington and
California where refineries designed to process heavy oil have an
The need for heavy crude from the oil sands has
compounded with the U.S./Canada sanctions, blockade, interference
and threats of war for regime change in Venezuela. Heavy crude
oil from Alberta and Venezuela is similar. Alberta is being used
in part to reduce U.S. purchases of Venezuelan oil and to block
from going elsewhere. This means Alberta oil has come under even
closer control of the U.S. imperialists and their campaigns and
wars for world domination.
The professed plan to increase heavy oil
has been exposed as never being the intention of twinning the
Trans Mountain pipeline to the Lower Mainland. Many have pointed
out from the documents of the original NEB hearings that almost
all the confirmed purchases of Trans Mountain crude are U.S.
refineries or their proxies. By ship, Vancouver is considerably
farther from East Asia than BC's northern ports at Prince Rupert
and Kitimat. With this in mind, it appears suspicious that the
Trudeau Liberals quashed the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway
Pipeline project to build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim,
Alberta to Kitimat, BC. The previous Harper federal government in
2014 approved the Gateway project, which many argued would make
transshipment to Asia more feasible.
In addition to blocking the Northern Gateway
Trudeau government intensified the pressure for an expanded Trans
Mountain Pipeline to Vancouver when it passed Bill C-48, the Oil
Tanker Moratorium Act in 2018. This legislation bans oil
traffic from the waters off both Prince Rupert and Kitimat while
not affecting tankers carrying liquefied natural gas or ships
carrying other cargo, including goods designated as dangerous.
Ironically, the escalating U.S./Canada campaign for regime change
in Venezuela may lead the Trudeau Liberals to revive the Northern
Gateway project and overturn Bill C-48, allowing the U.S.
imperialists to pressure Asians to buy Alberta crude shipped from
both Vancouver and Kitimat rather than purchase Venezuelan heavy
oil. Reports say that China and south Korea recently purchased
several tankers of crude out of Westridge Terminal at discounted
The 2019 NEB reconsideration approval for the
pipeline notes the adverse impact of increased tanker traffic off
the southern BC coast but dismisses any concerns in favour of
approving the project. The report states, "In consideration of
Project-related marine shipping, the NEB recommends that the
Government of Canada find that [the adverse effects] can be
justified in the circumstances, in light of the considerable
benefits of the Project and measures to minimize the
Many in the Lower Mainland cite great concern
shipping in the Burrard Inlet as a threat to Vancouver's
significant tourist industry, the many beaches, sea wall hiking,
recreational boating and to marine life. With the expanded
pipeline, tanker traffic travelling to the Westridge Marine
Terminal in Burnaby will grow from five to 38 much larger tankers
The NEB approval of Trans Mountain is now in the
federal Cabinet, which of course already purchased the pipeline
as a public enterprise and constantly sings its praises. Many
observers believe that Trudeau, for tactical cartel party
reasons, will wait to approve the project until after this year's
October federal election.
Opposition to the Trans Mountain Project has not
in the least as Indigenous Nations and others in BC, especially
the Lower Mainland, are vehemently opposed and have refused to
give their consent. The Communist Party of Canada
has examined the economic,
political, social and environmental arguments for the project and
deems them lacking in substance.
The project is destined to feed
the U.S. war economy and its insatiable demand to power its
active military operations for world hegemony and regime change
where it suits its interests, which is a grave danger for all
humanity. Canadians want an alternative to integration into the
U.S. imperialist system of states and war economy. An important
aspect of seeking an alternative is opposing the present
1. From S&P
"Three crude cargoes loading in November from
bought by Chinese companies, with the first cargo for November 10
loading taken by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or
CNOOC, a shipping source with close knowledge of the matter
"CNOOC had also chartered an Aframax tanker, the Nordtulip,
to ship crude from the Westridge Terminal in Vancouver to China
that was loaded on October 13, at a lump sum rate of $1.2
million, the shipping source said.
"Chinese traders indicated that CNOOC could have
heavy sour Cold Lake Blend or Western Canadian Select crude into
its latest shopping basket, but a company official declined to
comment on the heavy sour Canadian grade it has purchased.
"The latest round of Canadian crude purchases
heels of rapid decline in Australian heavy sweet crude output,
coupled with a sharp slowdown in China's imports of heavy crude
"ChemChina typically led the independent sector's
purchases from Australia but that's a dying trend now [due to
limited availability] ... it's no surprise to see China's search
for heavy crude oil stretching to Canada," said a sweet crude
trader based in Beijing.
"Apart from Chinese end-users, south Korean
picked up a few Cold Lake Blend cargoes earlier this year.
"The U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned
could block exports of roughly 500,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude
bound for U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. For Asian buyers, this
mean that crude supplies from Saudi Arabia and Iraq that would
typically flow to the region would be diverted to U.S."
2. TML Weekly has
reported extensively on the
Mountain Pipeline Project and the integration of Canada's energy
sector into the U.S. war economy. Many of these articles are
listed below in chronological order:
Weekly, January 30, 2016.
Nation," Peggy Morton, TML
Weekly, August 6, 2016.
Canadas Have Emerged," Philip Fernandez, TML
Weekly, December 10, 2016.
Pipelines," Peggy Morton, TML Weekly, March 4,
Pipeline Expansion on Traditional
Kanien'kehá:ka Territory," TML Weekly, October
Pipeline Dispute Between BC and Alberta:
Splitting the Polity in the Service of Contending Private
Interests," TML Weekly, February 24, 2018.
TransMountain Pipeline Controversy: Clash of Interests Between
Energy Monopolies and Working People," Peggy Morton, TML
Weekly, March 10, 2018
and Rally in
Burnaby, BC Against Kinder Morgan Pipeline Extension: Thousands
Take a Stand -- No Consent! No Pipeline!," TML Weekly,
March 17, 2018.
K.C. Adams, TML Weekly, April 21, 2018.
Consent, No Pipeline!: Militant March in Vancouver Against Kinder
Morgan Pipeline Expansion," TML Weekly, May 19,
Item for NAFTA Negotiations Fueling the U.S. War Machine,"
Adams, TML Weekly, May 26, 2018.
Weekly, June 2, 2018.
Morton, TML Weekly, September 8, 2018.
Surrounding Trans Mountain Pipeline Trudeau Government's
'Getting It Right,'" Peggy Morton, TML
Weekly, October 13, 2018.
Outlook," Dougal MacDonald, TML
Weekly, December 1,
This article was published in
Volume 49 Number 8 - March 9, 2019
Matters of Concern to the Polity --
: The National
Energy Board Predictable