Enbridge response to Gitxsan controversy

Enbridge has released a response to the controversy over its agreement with Elmer Derrick of the Gitxsan Treaty Office.

Agreement With Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs

• Enbridge
Northern Gateway Pipelines welcomes the agreement with the Gitxsan
Hereditary Chiefs on behalf of the Gitxsan Nation. We believe it
demonstrates vision and leadership and will bring significant benefits
to the Gitxsan people.

• The agreement is between the
Gitxsan First Nation as represented by Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs, and
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines. The Hereditary Chiefs hold title to
Gitxsan territory and are the negotiating authority for the Gitxsan

• The agreement is expected to deliver $ 7 million
in net profit to Gitxsan. Northern Gateway is providing financing. This
commitment to partnership has helped provide foundation for pending
Gitxsan and Enbridge dialogue regarding regional renewable energy

• Aboriginal participation in Northern Gateway is
an important goal, and one we have worked hard to achieve. The design of
our benefits offering reflects years of consultation with First Nations
and Métis communities along our existing and proposed pipeline

• We believe these commitments will break
new ground by providing an unprecedented level of long-term economic and
social benefits to Aboriginal communities in the North. We are working
to ensure Northern Gateway will create a positive long-term impact on
the economy and way of life of northern residents, particularly
Aboriginal communities.

• Through equity ownership,
Aboriginal people will be able to generate a significant new revenue
stream that could help achieve the priorities of their people – such as
improved health care, education and housing.

All quotes can be attributed to Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway.

First Nations support Northern Gateway pipeline, Enbridge CEO says: Edmonton Journal

Energy Politics 

Peter O’Neill writing in The Edmonton Journal reports First Nations support Northern Gateway pipeline, Enbridge CEO says

Daniel, in an exclusive interview with The Edmonton Journal, said critics have seriously underestimated his company’s support among First Nations anxious to take advantage of economic development opportunities in northern B.C.

Enbridge, faced with an aggressive public assault this week from B.C. environmental and aboriginal groups, countered Friday with the Gitxsan First Nation announcement that it is taking an equity stake in the pipeline….

Daniel boldly predicted in the interview that at least 30 of the 45 First Nations along the 1,170-kilometre pipeline route from Bruderheim, near Edmonton, to Kitimat on the B.C. coast, will have deals with Enbridge by next June.

And he said he hopes all 45 will be onside by 2013, when Enbridge hopes to get regulatory approval to start a project that is set to be completed by late 2017.

The article also reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper once again defended the importance of Canada finding a way to get oilsands bitumen to Asian market.

It concludes with Daniel’s response on the problem of tanker traffic:

I’ve been saying as much as I can publicly that if we can’t do this as Canadians, who can? About 70 to 80 per cent of the world moves by tanker right now, and it moves safely and soundly from countries where you wouldn’t expect them to have standards nearly as good as Canadian standards,” he said.

“Can I give an absolute guarantee? No. But if we can’t do it as Canadians, who can?

Haisla won’t “negotiate” with Enbridge until after Joint Review decision, Ross says

Energy Environment First Nations

Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross speaking at the September 2011 District of Kitimat public forum on the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said Friday that Haisla will not “negotiate” with Enbridge over its planned Northern Gateway Pipeline until after there has been a decision from the Joint Review Panel on  whether or not the pipeline is in the public interest.

Ross said the Haisla had recently written to Minister of the Environment Peter Kent, asking if the Crown was prepared to enter the constitutionally mandated consultations with First Nations over the pipeline.  Ross says Kent’s reply indicated that there would be no Crown consultations until after the conclusion of the Joint Review Process.

The Joint Review Panel hearings begin in Kitimat on January 10, 2012.   The hearings will proceed in two stages, first hearing presentations from registered intervenors, with the second phase hearing from members of the public who wish to give 10 minute comments on the pipeline project. That stage of the process could take up to three months before the panel can even begin to consider a decision.

Reacting to today’s decision by Gitxsan hereditary chiefs to sign an agreement with Enbridge to take a $7 million partnership stake in the pipeline, Ross said he was surprised by the move, “given the opposition from the public so far, and we’ve be told that in terms of consultation and accommodation [with First Nations].”

Earlier today, in the news conference with Gitxsan heriditary chief Elmer Derrick, Enbridge executive vice president of Western Access Janet Holder told reporters that the company was negotiating with all 50 First Nations along the pipeline route.

Ross disagreed with that term. He said, “The Haisla are not negotiating with Enbridge. You can’t confuse negotiation and talking.” He said without the participation of the Crown there is no real  process for negotiations and accommodation with First Nations over the pipeline.

Ross said any talks with Enbridge by First Nations shouldn’t be considered negotiations unless there is some type of formal agreement saying “we are in negotiations.”

Ross also said  in terms of  possible agreements with Enbridge  “it is pretty easy to negotiate in an area where there will be very little impact.”

The Haisla, he said,  have all three major impacts from the Northern Gateway project, “the pipeline, the terminal and the tankers.  It`s pretty easy to negotiate if you`re not paying the full price.  The Haisla will pay in full if the project goes ahead.”

The Haisla have always  been wary of the Enbridge project but have also been careful in stating their opposition to the pipeline.  At public meeting in Kitimat in September, Ross said, in part.

As far as we can tell, based on oil company’s track records, there will be a spill whether it is pipeline, terminal or tanker.

The only questions are how much oil will be spilled, who will clean it up and who will pay for the cleanup. We’ve been accused of NIMBY but in terms of our concerns, when it comes to a spill, we predict a POTB (Passing of the Buck) will occur…

And ultimately, apart from the acceptable risks that Haisla have already taken on against our will as well as current risks that we are a part of mitigating, why do we want to consider a project that has the potential to destroy the beauty of our resources that are still left?

We are not opposed to development, but in the case of oil export or oil by products import/export, the Precautionary Principle still makes the most sense

Other First Nations also reacted strongly to the Gitxsan chiefs’ decision.

In a news release Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) representing the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs said:

Enbridge is just not going to happen. We have said no and banned this pipeline from going through our territories – not only to protect ourselves and our lands, but also all the communities downriver from our lands. We have reviewed the project, and we have made a decision based in our traditional laws that we will not allow the devastation of an Enbridge oil spill in our lands to affect us and other communities further away who are all connected to us through the water.

Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, speaking for the Yinka Dene Alliance, stated:

Enbridge has always had a strategy of offering money to lots of First Nations. Lots of First Nations have refused this money. This is just the same old divide and conquer tactic we’ve known for centuries. It doesn’t matter who they get a deal with. The wall of First Nations saying no is unbroken. They plan to come through our territories and we’ve already said no, and we’ll use every legal means we have to stop them.

Their proposed pipeline is against our laws because we refuse to put our communities at the risk of oil spills. Water means more to us than money. We know we have overwhelming support from a large majority of British Columbians for stopping this dangerous Enbridge pipeline.

First nations seek fresh start with Enbridge over pipeline to coast: Globe and Mail

Energy Environment Politics

Carrie Tait writing in the Globe and Mail in First nations seek fresh start with Enbridge over pipeline to coast

First nations groups protesting against Enbridge Inc.’s controversial pipeline to the B.C. coast will reconsider their opposition to the project if its regulatory approval process is put on hold.

The Coastal First Nations in a September meeting told Pat Daniel, Enbridge’s chief executive, they want the Joint Review Panel (JRP) to delay hearings on the company’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline so negotiations between the two sides can resume and a stronger relationship can be built….

The Coastal First Nations say it is not to late for Enbridge to win them over on the Gateway plan.

“If we could have a fresh start and were able build a good relationship, the Coastal First Nations might be willing to take another look at the project,” Art Sterritt, the group’s executive director, said in an interview. “That wouldn’t mean we would necessarily come out and agree with it, but we would certainly take a closer look at it.”

We’re not afraid of Kitimat, Oregon rivals say, as papers filed for LNG export terminal permit


The Jordan Cove Energy Project, often cited by energy industry experts as Kitimat’s chief west coast rival as a liquified natural gas export project,  sent a $50 filing fee to the United States Treasury on Friday,  thus notifying the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the company  is seeking to export liquified natural gas from its planned $3.5 billion terminal at Coos Bay, Oregon.

Although testimony at June’s National Energy Board hearings cited Coos Bay as a rival that could take LNG business away from Kitimat, the view from Oregon appears to be just the opposite.

545-jordancove.jpgJordan Cove project manager Robert Braddock told the industry newsletter, Platt’s Gas, that he is “not afraid of competition from the north, where Kitimat LNG is planning an export terminal in British Columbia. ‘We actually presume that Kitimat would be built,” Braddock said. “We assume that we would be built number two and we think there is plenty of room for two such facilities on the West Coast.’

Braddock also told Platt’s that Oregon is not a rival for BC or Alberta gas nor competition for LNG terminals in Louisiana and Maryland. “The principal difference is we have access to a different range of resources from both Canadian gas and US gas. But equally important is we would have certainly much closer access to the Asian markets,” he said.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that prospective customers in Asia for the Coos Bay project may be waiting to see what happens in Kitimat before signing on with Jordan Cove. Braddock told the Oregonian that the  company “is still testing the waters with potential customers, and won’t go ahead with the expensive and byzantine permitting process without firm commitments from terminal users.”

The pro forma initial application filed Friday informs the  US Department of Energy that company wants to export up natural gas to countries  that have a free trade agreements with the United States.  Similar to the National Energy Board hearings on KM LNG, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must now hold hearings on the export licence application.

In another similarity, a few years ago, the Kitimat  plans called for an LNG project to import gas. Jordan Cove received  approval in 2009 to build a terminal to import LNG and to build a 370 kilometre (280 mile) pipeline that would carry the gas to Malin, Oregon, on the California border.  

If the US Department of Energy approves the new application, the terminal would become an export, not an import, facility.

In another parallel with Kitimat, like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project bitumen export proposal, the Coos Bay project has prompted stiff opposition for years. The Oregonian reports “landowners and environmentalists in the region mounted a fierce campaign to block three proposals to build LNG import terminals in Oregon, including the one in Coos Bay,” in the belief that the terminals and associated pipelines would harm forests, farms and salmon habitat.  The newspaper also says that local business groups and unions have supported the import projects, which would bring jobs and tax revenue.

An environmental lawyer, Susan Jane Brown, a staff attorney at the Western Environmental
Law Center, told Platt’s Gas she is still digesting the news, but that said the export
plan will likely rankle her clients, environmental organizations and
landowners. “It would be one thing to
import a good that would be used domestically. But exporting a
domestic product that they have long advocated that we need
domestically, it is a bait and switch,” she told Platt’s.

A powerful local politician, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat  is skeptical of the idea of exporting LNG from the US and told the Oregonian: “I think it’s premature to conclude that the United States now has so much natural gas that it can afford to export it overseas…I think there ought to be a time-out on approving LNG exports until there is a better understanding of how much natural gas there is, whether it can be safely extracted, and what the impact on the U.S. economy would be from LNG exports.”

Sen. Wyden’s opposition is in stark contract with the various consultants and economists who testified at the Kitimat hearings in June which envisioned a totally integrated North American natural gas marketplace with pipes snaking all over the continent delivering the cheapest and most convenient gas to the nearest market.  Wyden’s remarks may be an indication that American politics could put the break on the ideal free market visions of the experts that were expressed before the NEB.

548-ruby logo.jpgSimilar to plans to take shale gas from the Horn River Formation in northeastern BC, Jordan Cove would tap into the Ruby Pipleline,  a  1,000 kilometre (680-mile), 42-inch diameter that would carry shale gas from the Rockies to a hub in Wyoming and then to Malin, Oregon to connect with the Jordan Cove pipeline there.

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Harper kills bitumen export ban, support for ocean monitoring group: reports

Energy Links

According to media reports,  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has killed support for the Pacific North Coast Integrated Area Management Initiative (PNCIMA) set up to monitor the ocean on the northern BC coast, while at the same time killing a plan to ban export of bitumen to countries with poor environmental records.

The Calgary Herald
, in Harper backs off from initiative that threatens opposition to Northern Gateway pipeline

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has withdrawn support from a deal with the B.C. government and First Nations due to concerns about excessive influence by U.S.-funded environmental groups in the development of an oceans management plan for the B.C. north coast….

There were specific concerns that a new plan being developed under the Pacific North Coast Integrated Area Management Initiative (PNCIMA) could be used to rally opposition to Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.’s proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline that would funnel diluted bitumen crude from Alberta’s oilsands sector to Asian markets docking at Kitimat, B.C.

A letter dated Sept. 1, and sent to the B.C. government, three First Nations groups and the environmental organization Tides Canada, said Ottawa is withdrawing support for a proposed agreement that would have resulted in $8.3 million, from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation of Palo Alto, California, to fund the PNCIMA process.

The letter, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada regional director general Susan Farlinger, said the government still intends to come up with an oceans management plan by 2012 in co-operation with B.C. and First Nations.

The Vancouver Sun reports Conservatives’ promise to restrict bitumen exports falls by wayside

The Harper government has quietly buried a controversial promise to ban bitumen exports to countries that are environmental laggards…

One person familiar with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s surprise announcement during the 2008 federal election campaign said the pledge was simply electioneering at the time and was to be “buried and never seen again.”

Alberta’s energy minister also wonders whether the campaign promise is even a government policy any longer, noting the issue has never been discussed with him during his two years in the portfolio.

However, a spokeswoman for federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Wednesday the government policy — designed to halt the flow of raw bitumen and jobs overseas — remains in place but is being regularly examined.

Link Pacific North Coast Integrated Area Management Initiative

Editor’s note:A double standard?

On the issue of the PNCIMA, the controversy is over money for the organization from the foundation set up by the founder of Intel, Gordon Moore.

Moore is famous not only for starting the successful chip company but for Moore’s Law, which has governed the accelerating pace of technological change in the past decades and is described by Wikipedia in Moore’s original formulation: “The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This trend has continued for more than half a century…”  That simply means that computer processing power can be expected to double every two years.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, according to the Herald, called for the money to be channeled through a group called Tides Canada.

Support for Canadian environmental efforts by American foundations has long been the subject of a heated campaign by blogger Vivian Krause who told the Herald, “I’m pleased that taxpayers’ money will no longer further a foreign-funded campaign that is against Canadian interests,” Krause said, adding that foundation money should go to the developing world.

Krause says she is an independent commentator. She  once worked as Corporate Development Manager for North America for NUTRECO, one of the world’s largest producers of farmed salmon and fish feed but disassociates herself from current public relations campaigns by the fish farming industry.  Her online biography says she spent some part of her childhood in Kitimat.

Krause is a favourite of many of the right wing columnists across the PostMedia newspaper chain.

While Krause may have some valid points, one wonders why  for Krause and her supporters on the business pages across Canada, that it is perfectly acceptable for the billionaires in the transnational energy industry, many of them American, (as well as the state owned Chinese energy companies)   to spend corporate  millions supporting the oil sands and the pipelines, while is not acceptable for another American capitalist billionaire to spend his money earned in the free market to support his views on the preservation of the environment.


Kelp has great potential as green biofuel studies suggest

Energy Environment Biofuel

522-tywynsurf.jpgA surfer enters the water on a stormy beach at Tywyn, Wales, July, 2008.  Scientists from nearby Aberystwyth University  have studied kelp as a potential biofuel. The kelp was growing near a rocky outcrop some kilometres south of  Tywyn at Aberystwyth Beach near Ceredigion.  (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)


Kelp has potential as a renewable biofuel resource because it is a fast-growing, large “macro-algae” that could be harvested, processed and turned into ethanol, methane or bio-oil, according to a recent study in Wales.

The study by Jessica Adams  and colleagues at Aberystwyth University in the west of Wales was presented at a biology conference in Glasgow on July 4, 2011 and published in the journal Bioresource Technology.

Coastal Wales has a similar environment to the west coast of North America and  both regions are abundant in kelp.

In her paper, Adams says that most biofuels today come from terrestrial sources such as agricultural products or forests, and both sources can cause environmental problems.  Harvesting kelp  for biofuel would mean that potential food crops,  such as maize, would not be taken out of the food supply chain. She says the ocean  accounts for half of the primary biomass on the planet, but has not been used very much in the search for biofuel.

Her study, assisted by the Energy and Resources Institute at the University of Leeds, concentrated on the potential that kelp has for producing fuel at various times of its life cycle during the year.

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By analyzing the chemical composition of kelp harvested  at low tide at rocky outcrop on Abesrtystwyth Beach, Ceredigion, Wales, Adams and her colleagues determined the best time to harvest the kelp for use as potential biofuel, which in the case of Wales, was in July when the kelp had the highest levels of carbohydrates, including two key sugars, mannitol and laminarn, which are easily converted to biofuel. Those carbohydrates could be fermented or put through anaerobic digestion to produce either ethanol or methane. Another method is pyrolysis,  a method of heating the fuel in the absence of oxygen, which can produce bio-oil.

Another advantage that kelp has over terrestrial plants is that it contains little cellulose and thus is easier to handle when creating biofuel.

The First Nations of British Columbia used the kelp for centuries, as a place to find  fish, crustaceans and shell fish in the kelp beds or to hunt seals that fed on the fish. In some parts of the BC coast, First Nations used kelp branches to harvest herring roe  (before the collapse of the herring stocks)

 For the past century, modern use has concentrated on the minerals the kelp produces,  it was burned to obtain soda ash (sodium carbonate) , used for the production of soap, ice cream and lotions as well as in some processes for making glass. 

Kelp is increasingly popular as a health food, both as an edible seaweed and for health supplements.   In British Columbia, kelp is harvested  for health food at a time of peak mineral content, when the content is  25 per cent to 50 per cent minerals,  including potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iodine. Salt extracted from BC kelp is high in potassium and thus attractive for people on low sodium diets.

For biofuel, however,  the time when kelp is highest in minerals, and thus attractive to the current harvesters, is not the time it would be best for biofuel.  Adams says: “Seaweed ash has previously been reported to contain, potassium, sodium and calcium-carbonate  and high concentrations will lead to increased slagging, fouling and other ash related  problems during thermochemical conversion.”

In Wales, Adams’ study showed that the mineral concentration in the kelp peaked in March and was lowest in July, a time when the carbohydrate content is also higher.  She says   “This means that a July harvest would provide the highest heating value and the lowest ash  and alkali index values, making it the best month for harvesting  for thermochemical conversion.”

It appears also that cleaner water will produce kelp that is better suited to biofuel conversion, since the kelp her study used from Cardigan Bay had a lower mineral content than kelp from areas off Cornwall where effluent from the tin mines was carried by rivers into the ocean in that region.

An earlier small pilot project in 2008 at a royal estate on the north coast of Scotland looked into the possibility of setting up a kelp farm that could potentially used for biofuels.  That project showed that using kelp for biofuel meant that agricultural land did not have to be taken out of production for biofuel planting and even that agricultural runoff could be used to fertilize a concentrated kelp farm.

The species of kelp used in the Welsh study had high concentrations of both water and minerals and  that is whyJuly was the optimal time for a possible biofuel  harvest.  Other species, in other areas,  once studied, might be better suited to be used as biofuels. Adams concludes by saying: “Macroalgae or macroalgal residues could pryrolysted to create a bio-oil or used in hydrothermal liquefaction to make bio-crude  in a process which does not require the initial drying of the feedstock.”

Map of the kelp beds on the north coast of Haida Gwaii, taken from the BC provincial government kelp inventory survey.

Correction: An earlier version of the story said the journal was Biosource Technology. This has been corrected to Bioresource Technology.

“Front End Engineering” begins for BC LNG


The Hart Energy  E&P (exploration and production) newsletter is reporting that an Overland,  Kansas based company, Black & Veatch,  a multi-billion dollar, employee-owned engineering firm founded in 1915,  is beginning front end engineering (FEED) for the second proposed Kitimat liquified natural gas facility, BC LNG.

Although no information appears on the Black & Veatch website, the newsletter quotes Tom Tatham, the managing director of  Douglas Channel Gas Services Ltd, the company which will contract with energy firms wanting to export through the BC LNG facility as saying:  We are looking to build the majority of the LNG export facility on a standard Panamax barge to minimize the physical and environmental impact in this scenic area.”

(The name Panamax derives from the maximum size that a barge or ship can be to pass through the Panama Canal, which means the LNG from the port of Kitimat could be shipped to anywhere in the world, not just to the projected Asian market)

 Black & Veatch has developed a process called PRICO which Tatham says  is ideal for this type of application because of its smaller footprint and flexible operations.

Black & Veatch’s engineering planning is scheduled to be complete by January 2012 and will provide a “definitive estimate” that will be used for costing  engineering, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of the facility.

The newsletter quotes  says Dean Oskvig, president and CEO of Black & Veatch “The global LNG export market is extremely cost-competitive,” and  Oskvig says the company`s process will be scalable and thus allow the partnership to bring liquified natural gas to market at a competitive price.

The Black & Veatch website briefly promotes  the PRICO process as simple, flexible, reliable and economic but gives few details.

The company has an Edmonton based Canadian subsidiary.


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Japan Quake Is Causing Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels: New York Times

Energy Link

New York Times
Japan Quake Is Causing Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels

Japan, the world’s third-largest user of electricity behind China and the United States, had counted on an expansion of nuclear power to contain energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, its nuclear program is in retreat, as the public and government officials urge a sharp reduction in the nation’s reliance on nuclear power and perhaps an end to it altogether.

As its nuclear program implodes, Japan is grappling with a jump in fuel costs, making an economic recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami all the more difficult. Annual fuel expenses could rise by more than 3 trillion yen, or about $39 billion, the government says….

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called for a gradual move away from nuclear energy, and proposed a goal of generating 20 percent of Japan’s electricity from renewable sources, including hydroelectric plants, by the early 2020s. The Parliament is debating legislation to spur that change…

Japan’s liquefied natural gas imports have jumped for three consecutive months, squeezing global supplies amid strong demand from China and other emerging economies…