Canada's pipelines remain stalled in a sea of regulatory red tape

As Canada's pipelines remain stalled in a sea of regulatory red tape, ongoing court actions, and political interference, the United States is pursuing a more determined course to end pipeline construction gridlock.

According to a recent article on OilPrice.com, US President Donald Trump will be taking on domestic pipeline opponents at the state level with a view to expediting pipeline construction.

This issue was also raised in a Bloomberg article that noted that the President may use national security concerns as the reason for enhanced federal involvement in pipeline construction.

Many states in the US' Northeast have used regulatory measures, such as state-level Clean Water laws, to block pipeline construction for US shale gas.

The President is looking at opportunities to limit the ability of states to stop projects which have been given federal approval, and which would allow US energy resources to reach domestic markets.

However, the moves being considered by President Trump, including bringing forward an Executive Order, could also be used to facilitate pipeline construction and terminal development for the international export of US energy products, including coal.

It is thought that the President will highlight these new approaches at his 2019 State of the Union address to be held on February 5, 2019.

The efforts by President Trump and the White House stand in stark contrast to those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government, who have all but abandoned pipeline construction, and allowed provinces to run roughshod over an issue which is fully within the federal domain.

The pending Alberta provincial election offers a glimmer of hope for Alberta's energy sector - certainly, the cancellation of the Alberta carbon tax will be a positive step forward for an energy facing crisis.

However, strong leadership at the federal level is what is required to actually get pipelines built - putting sound policy ahead of political expediency, and doing what's right instead of doing what will save Liberal seats in British Columbia and Quebec.

In a new column in the Financial Post, Alberta economist Jack Mintz noted Alberta's oversized contribution to Canada. He found that from 1961 to 2017, Alberta made net transfers to the federal government of $611 billion (in 2017) dollars. This money has been used to fund federal programs, invest in infrastructure across Canada, and maintain Canada's social safety net in every province.

He notes the danger to Canada if it loses Alberta as a source of wealth and prosperity.

Continued Liberal inaction on the pipeline file is fracturing national unity and leading to Alberta disillusionment with the Canadian Federation.

The political abdication of responsibility on the part of the Prime Minister and his lack of resolve towards fixing Alberta's energy crisis speaks not only to flaws in his policy but in his character.

It is a Prime Minister's first duty to defend the security of the nation. It is their next duty to maintain national unity amongst the Canadian Federation.

Prime Minister Trudeau likes to point out the differences between himself and President Trump frequently - here's a new one he can add to his list:

US President Donald Trump is showing national leadership to end US pipeline construction gridlock.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not.

Sincerely,

 

Alberta Can't Wait