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Fight a pipeline or buy it?


Rockies Today

September 18 · Issue #3 · View online
The big stories up and down the Rocky Mountains, curated by Mountain West News

Fight a pipeline or buy it?
The controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would move more Alberta crude, mined from the oil sands, to a port on the coast near Vancouver, alleviating congestion on existing pipelines and diversifying exports away from the U.S. Beyond exacerbating the ongoing antagonism between the energy sector and environmentalists, the pipeline’s divided Indigenous groups. While some staunchly oppose the pipeline, several Indigenous-led coalitions are vying for a majority stake in it.
Trans Mountain pipeline is dividing Canada’s Indigenous peoples
When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he was approving the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, Leah George-Wilson prepared for a fight.
George-Wilson, chief of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in Vancouver, said the $5.5 billion expansion will endanger the ecosystems of the inlet at the foot of her reserve. She’s challenging Trudeau’s decision in court.
Some 250 miles to the northeast, Michael LeBourdais was also following the government’s decision. But not because he opposes the pipeline. He wants to buy it.
LeBourdais, chief of the Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band near Kamloops, B.C., leads the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, one of several indigenous-led coalitions vying for a stake in the project. The groups say revenue from the pipeline, which carries crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the British Columbia coast, could alleviate poverty in their communities, and ownership would give them a voice in decisions about environmental protections.
“We’ve been shut out of the economy since Canada was created,” LeBourdais said.
He wants to buy a stake of at least 51 percent in the project and split the spoils with the indigenous groups directly along the pipeline route. By some estimates, the expanded pipeline, used at full capacity, could generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue for its owners.
Indigenous ownership could be “a game-changer,” said Ken Coates, a professor of public policy at the University of Saskatchewan.
Indigenous groups hold full or partial stakes in oil storage tanks and hydroelectric dams. But a controlling stake in a project the size of Trans Mountain, Coates said, would be unprecedented.
“This is actually the first time in Canadian history that they have the chance to participate in a major way and in an ongoing way in the kind of prosperity that Canadians take for granted,” he said.
More reporting on Trans Mountain:
Trans Mountain pipeline faces fresh legal challenges after court allows six appeals to proceed
Trudeau's oil pipeline tarnishes his climate credentials ahead of Canadian election
B.C. First Nation no longer supporting Trans Mountain pipeline
Scientists sound alarm over Alberta's new approach to tracking oilsands pollution
Teton ice in the age of climate change
Scientists try to understand the state of Grand Teton National Park's glaciers Scientists try to understand the state of Grand Teton National Park's glaciers
And in the Northern Cascades…
Chronicling the last years of a dying North Cascades glacier
Document reveals how BLM will disperse offices
An internal draft document reviewed by CNN reveals how individual offices within the Bureau of Land Management will be spread out across the West under the agency’s proposed reorganization plan.
Document reveals how Bureau of Land Management will spread offices across country in reorganization
As a part of this reorganization, the bureau will move some people who work in the Washington headquarters to the new headquarters in Colorado, but it will also move some headquarter-level workers to state offices. Others in the Washington headquarters will be moved to state offices to perform state-level jobs.
The internal draft document shows plans to move employees within the same office, like the FOIA office, which handles Freedom of Information Act requests for the agency, to different states. It also shows that some employees who work closely with Congress or other DC-based agencies are being moved to the other side of the country.
Employees will be notified of their relocation postings this week, according to the Bureau of Land Management’s acting director, William Perry Pendley. The exact number of employees that will be impacted by this move is unclear, but critics say these relocations are a thinly veiled attempt to break up the federal bureaucracy, while the administration feels the moves are long overdue.
Ed Shepard, former Bureau of Land Management assistant director and president of the Public Lands Foundation, a nonpartisan advocacy group made up of former Bureau of Land Management employees, told CNN the change is “going to be very effective at dismantling the agency. That’s going to be a consequence of these things.”
BLM fails to notify state offices of relocation plans, leaving 300 staffers unsure where they'll be sent
Colorado to challenge Trump on emissions rules
Colorado will fight Trump administration’s move to block California from setting stricter vehicle emission rules
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser vowed Tuesday night to challenge the Trump administration’s “unprecedented action” of revoking California’s authority to set its own auto mileage standards.
Colorado is directly affected by the forthcoming directive, given the state’s decision to mirror California’s low-emission vehicle standards. In August, Colorado adopted a zero-emission standard requiring that at least 5% of automakers’ vehicles available for sale by 2023 be electric.
“This action is a direct assault on our system of cooperative federalism and an effort to undermine the role of states in addressing #climatechange,” Weiser wrote on Twitter. “Colorado will be challenging this ‘unprecedented action.’ ”
In revoking California’s ability to set its own vehicle standards, the administration is asserting that only the federal government has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy.
Conservative and free-market groups have been asked to attend a formal announcement of the rollback set for Wednesday afternoon at Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington.
The Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project released a statement Tuesday saying the Trump administration’s move “would be a direct attack on Colorado’s participation in the Clean Cars Program.”
Phil Weiser
This action is a direct assault on our system of cooperative federalism and an effort to undermine the role of states in addressing #climatechange. Colorado will be challenging this "unprecedented action."
Meanwhile, in Alberta…
Shift to electric vehicles in Alberta is ‘inevitable,’ conference told
More stories we're reading today
BLM should address risks from insufficient bonds to reclaim wells
Utah hydrologist warns of economic, environmental impacts of climate change
Wyoming's governor approached Mexico about coal export possibilities
Inland port opponents call for health impact study on massive development
Study: ‘Failed collaboration’ preceded pronghorn displacement
The rate of teen suicide in Colorado increased by 58% in 3 years
Report says Wyoming has second-highest suicide rate
Montana's war on suicide 'epidemic' goes on
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O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 59812