Plainly the Rachel-Justin partnership cannot, and Alberta’s prosperity is at stake[Ted Byfield Blog] “All the proposed pipelines in Canada have effectively been blocked.” So reads a triumphant posting on the website of the anti-pipeline lobby known as “Corporate Ethics.” A neighbor of mine had a considerably less exuberant reaction to Alberta’s pipeline standstill. Because of it, she had just lost her job. She certainly isn’t alone. By one reliable count, well over 100,000 jobs have been lost in the province in the last three years, much of it due to the halt in pipeline construction. In short, Alberta may be embarked on one of the worst economic disasters in its history.
VIDEO: America fracking its way back to world energy dominance
One keeps seeing small but ominous indicators. For instance an inoperative foot problem so afflicts my driving that it has forced me to sell my car. I asked a moderate price for it, received no offers and cut the price. Then I cut it again. Still no offers. “It’s the worst winter we’ve had in years,” says a friend in the automobile business. “People just aren’t buying. There are layoffs through the whole service sector.”
Meanwhile, new office space stands empty in downtown Calgary in expectation of a big boom that didn’t happen. Restaurants close. Streets seem empty at mid-day. Parking space isn’t anything like as hard to find as it once was.
The cause of this economic reversal is not mysterious. We have built or are building billion-dollar facilities to mine the heavy tar sands of Alberta, to process it, and ship it to where it can be refined into various fuel oils and gasoline. But once the plants were built we discovered we couldn’t gain legal authority for the pipelines to carry the product to various continental and world markets. Environmentalists oppose the pipelines m because the carbon content of the tar sands oil is too high, and will therefore hasten or worsen global warming. Indian bands simply don’t want pipelines crossing their territories.
So with billions already spent, the whole endeavor has come to a dead halt. The buildings sit there at Fort McMurray 275 miles (445b km) north of Edmonton, awaiting officialdom’s decisions. As one legal case against it is resolved, it seems that sets off two new ones, so the reality is that the pipelines may never be built.
This article continues at [Ted Byfield Blog] Key election issue: Can Kenney save the oilsand project?