|The following are selected extracts|
The fight in Texas against the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline continues despite its being over 75 percent complete. Pending cases against TransCanada and departments of the US government cite fraud and improper use of eminent domain.
The lawsuits allege that the government is serving the best interests of a corporation rather than those of the people it is mandated to protect. Recently, mandatory inspections done with a water pressure test along a portion of the southern route revealed anomalies.
Evan Vokes, a pipeline safety whistleblower and materials engineer, told a Canadian Senate committee yesterday that TransCanada Corporation "has a culture of non-compliance," but the company says it takes "great exception" to Vokes' claims that it does not take safety and compliance issues seriously.
Calgary-based TransCanada is the proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline to ferry raw bitumen to the Gulf of Mexico. The multi-billion dollar pipeline would accelerate tar sands production, which on a per barrel basis creates three to four times more climate-changing emissions than conventional oil.
Dozens of anomalies, including dents and welds, reportedly have been identified along a 60-mile stretch of the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, north of the Sabine River in Texas.
In the past two weeks, landowners have observed TransCanada and its vendor, Michels, digging up the buried southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline on their properties and those of neighbors in the vicinity of Winnsboro, Texas. Some of the new pipeline has been in the ground on some owners’ land for almost six months.
Landowners along the nearly 500-mile southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline say contractors have been excavating long-buried lengths of pipe to repair apparent defects. They've documented stakes jutting from turned-up dirt near the pipeline right-of-way through East Texas that read, "anomaly," "dent" and "weld." They've seen sections of excavated pipe -- some buried for as long as six months -- spray painted with the words "cut out."
"Here this pipeline has been in the ground for months and now they're here again," Winnsboro landowner David Whitley told Public Citizen. "An independent TransCanada inspector has told me there are all these anomalies on land up and down the pipeline along this 60-mile stretch, including the one on my property they are digging up now."
A University of Regina official who was connected to the IPAC-CO2 case is now being connected to a second carbon-capture controversy. Court documents say Ian Bailey, who headed up the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO), played a central role in a dispute between the institution and two private companies.
In 2008, he was the University's representative in negotiations with Saskatchewan-based HTC Purenergy and South Korea-based Doosan.
Late on a Friday afternoon in early March, the State Department released a 2,000-page draft report downplaying the environmental risks of the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would ferry oil from Canada's tar sands to refineries in Texas, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
But when it released the report, State hid an important fact from the public: Experts who helped draft the report had previously worked for TransCanada, the company looking to build the Keystone pipeline, and other energy companies poised to benefit from Keystone's construction.
After concerns were raised about an apparent conflict of interest one at of Saskatchewan's most prominent scientific ventures, some started asking: were hundreds of thousands of tax dollars wasted?
Carmen Dybwad, CEO of the Regina-based International Performance Assessment Centre for the Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (IPAC-CO2), says she was stunned when she first arrived and found out hundreds of thousands of dollars were pouring out of IPAC's bank account and going to a single private vendor.
Polaris Institute report calls for public inquiry into how oil money is distorting Canada's democracy. Image via Shutterstock.Oil and pipeline companies, including seven of the world's largest corporations, have intensified their lobbying efforts in Ottawa over the last four years and held 2,733 meetings with public officials.
These lobbying efforts directed by 27 energy companies and eight industry associations appear to have resulted in dramatic public policy changes such as the gutting of specific environmental legislation.
Public corporations routinely tell shareholders that their views matter. The Chevron Corporation, for example, said in its 2012 proxy statement: “Your board welcomes dialogue on the topics presented in the stockholder proposals on the following pages.”
So it might seem odd that last month Chevron subpoenaed one of its investors, Trillium Asset Management, which has sponsored numerous shareholder proposals at Chevron over the years. The oil company demanded documents related to those proposals. The subpoena also asked for records of discussions Trillium had about these proposals with the media.
Environment Canada scientists have confirmed results published by researchers from the University of Alberta showing contaminants accumulating in the snow near oilsands operations, an internal federal document has revealed. They also discovered contaminants in precipitation from testing in the region.
But the researchers were discouraged from speaking to reporters about their findings, first presented at a November 2011 conference in Boston of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, says the document, released to Postmedia News through access to information.