Alberta, BC plan for oil-by-rail in case pipelines fail

Alberta, BC plan for oil-by-rail in case pipelines fail

Alberta, BC plan for oil-by-rail in case pipelines fail
A 2012 CN derailment in Alberta

by Steven Chua, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A task force report has been handed in to the British Columbia and Alberta governments that examines the idea of transporting oilsands’ crude via rail if proposed pipelines don’t get the green light, government documents show.

It’s an idea the environmental group ForestEthics calls “underhanded.”

It’s a “backdoor way for industry to bring tankers to the coast without the same sort of public oversight or public process that we’ve had around the Enbridge pipeline or would have around the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” said Ben West, campaign director for ForestEthics.

Oil-by-rail a back-up for pipelines

A joint provincial working group was announced by premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford in July to develop recommendations related to energy exports and the opening of new export markets for products like bitumen for the two provinces, including pipeline and rail transport.

“Rail can be considered a viable alternative to pipeline movement based on costs of transport,” the terms of reference for the group states.

[quote]If pipelines are not developed, rail will step into the void to deliver bitumen to the West Coast.[/quote]

West said the report raises safety questions, especially in light of two recent high-profile train accidents.

Recent derailments, explosions spark fears

Oil transport by rail has become a contentious topic after a train containing crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Que., in July, killing 47 people, and another train exploded without injuries last month in North Dakota.

“Myself and other people were pretty freaked out about what happened there,” West said of the two fiery blasts.

The provincial working group was mandated to submit a report to both leaders by the end of December.

An Alberta government official did not respond to a question about the completion or release of the report, while an official in Clark’s office said the report is complete but that no date has been set for a public release.

CN Rail declined comment.

The task force is led by Steve Carr, deputy minister of natural gas development in B.C. and Grant Sprague, deputy minister of energy in Alberta.

No one from either ministry could be reached for comment.


3 thoughts on “Alberta, BC plan for oil-by-rail in case pipelines fail

  1. With recent train derailments in Quebec and N. Dakota, this is the red herring being promoted so people will accept a pipeline.

    I mean think about this; if the pipeline breaks it will damage the ecology of many rivers that may be tributaries to the Fraser along with a lot of other environmental damage. If a train derails we get the same thing or similar.

    Further and more importantly Kinder Morgan or was it someone else? Applied to twin the pipe into Burnaby, they also applied quietly to run bitumen in the pipeline. So we will have tankers loaded with this crap in Burrard inlet and going by Stanley Park?

    Was there a CP train that derailed some time back in the interior and went down 1000 ft. slope or something?

  2. Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows.

    Ms. Redford with academic and good deeds accreditations longer than most arms and Ms. Clark with none and none.

    We can reasonably expect Ms. Clark to sell herself to the highest bidder, but what has caused Ms. Redford to become a woman of the streets?

  3. These guys are never going to accept an environmental reason for not doing this. An economic argument like, it takes more energy to get the tar sands out of the ground and ship it to overseas markets than the amount of energy that’s being produced and shipped. If public subsidies were removed, the Canadian Tar sands would become unprofitable and the goo would stay in the ground where it belongs. A true Conservative would stop the corporate welfare, save taxpayers money and in the process stop this environmental nightmare.

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