Our Letter to Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resource in response to his Statement Regarding Transmountain Expansion. Please feel free to cut and paste or borrow from it for your own. (Email: Jim.Carr@parl.gc.ca)
We also cc'd Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca, Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca, and Carolyn.Bennett@parl.gc.ca.
To the Honourable Minister Jim Carr,
I am writing to share with you my utter disappointment upon reading your Statement Regarding Transmountain Expansion (April 8th, 2018). I am writing to share with you that the rhetoric you and the Prime Minister continue to put forth, that of being able to grow the fossil fuel economy as well as protect the environment and take meaningful action on mitigating climate change is not being bought by Canadians, you are losing our trust. Your rhetoric flies in the face of scientific and economic evidence, as well as your government’s own Paris Climate commitments.
Perhaps you would have more credibility on the environmental front if Canada were anywhere close to meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals, or if those goals were not the same low bar targets developed by Stephen Harper’s government, or if you presented any notion of how to both meet these targets while growing oilsands extraction by 33% by 2030 (with an associated 40% increase in GHGs) as planned.
Perhaps you would have more credibility if the Kinder Morgan project were subjected to recently revamped environmental impact assessments that your own government put forth: it only seems logical that if it is admitted that the environmental assessments that the Transmountain project went through were not good enough, why should we believe that it is environmentally sound?
Perhaps you would have more credibility if you did not seem so terrified of the BC government trying to protect its coast from a disastrous bitumen spill, as per the scientific uncertainties in bitumen cleanup outlined in this report by The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel: The Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments”.
In addition to the incredulity you have fostered on the environmental front, the economic viability for this project (and the increased extraction of oilsands bitumen in general) seems dubious as evidenced by Kinder Morgan’s own fiscal worries. Despite what you would have us believe, there is no current established market for Canadian bitumen overseas, nor any projected market to warrant the projected increase. Indeed, this is why global oil players such as Exxon-Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total S.A., Statoil, and Marathon Oil have recently sold or written off vast Alberta properties while taking billion-dollar hits to their bottom line or asset base. The economic gain you cite is short term only, and only for the fossil fuel industry big players. Canada should be figuring out how to phase out production in the oil sands and create a just transition for workers by investment in training and infrastructure for renewable energy, building retrofitting and other jobs that actually will grow our economy for a fossil free future.
Finally, but most importantly, it is shameful that your statement in support of the Transmountain project, while emphasizing the federal “jurisdiction”, fails to address or even mention First Nation rights, or the Indigenous-led resistance both in the courts and on the land. Shame on you, in an era of reconciliation and UNDRIP that you could mention the word jurisdiction, or constitution, without referring to Indigenous rights and sovereignty. It is clear to me that the trust that led many Indigenous people to vote for the Trudeau Liberals has been violated, largely in part because of this project, and that seems to me enough of a reason to rethink the federal government’s stubborn-ness in seeing this foreign owned project go through.
I ask that you stop interfering in the business plan of this foreign owned company, stop threatening the province of BC for trying to protect it's citizens, and respect the massive community and First Nations opposition, and their right to protest, against this foolish project.