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Why doesn’t this huge oil pipeline reveal its secret proponents? | Canada

Located in Vancouver’s harbor, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation has lived for thousands of years in a cove with mountain views in the Pacific Northwest.

However, less than 2 km, or just over a mile, across the water from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation reserve is a jarring juxtaposition. This is an industrial terminal for a large Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Oil tankers have visited the terminal frequently every week for years, but are now expanding, and Trans Mountain can triple the amount of oil it transports from Alberta’s inland oil sands to the west coast. I can do it.Traffic will increase Seven fold – Bring in 34 giant oil tankers a month A Canadian government-owned company predicts three barges.

In traditional water rituals, supertankers have already dwarfed Tsleil-Waututh cedar strip canoes, said Charlene Aleck, a spokesman for the Sacred Trust Initiative.

“It’s that look of the battle between David and Goliath,” Alec said.

Last week, project opponents suffered Big retreat In that struggle. As the climate change front expands, initiatives and related environmental organizations are targeting insurers and other financial institutions that enable pipelines and other fossil fuel projects, increasing public pressure on businesses. I will.

However, in response, Canadian regulators have agreed to Transmountain’s request to keep the insurer’s name secret.

And they are not the only ones. California authorities have also refused to require insurers to invest in fossil fuels and disclose the projects they undertake.To Connecticut – US Insurance Hub – A lawmaker is trying to get the industry to reveal their investment in fossil fuels and the premiums they charge companies.

Biden administration too Strategic Demanding greater transparency about the risks companies face from climate change as extreme weather conditions worsen and disrupt the economy.

Shirley Alec. Behind her is Trans Mountain’s Marine Terminal near Vancouver, which is growing significantly as part of the project. She stands in the Tsleil-Waututh Nation reserve. Photo: Marc Fawcett-Atkinson / Courtesy of Canada’s National Observer

Carmen Balber, executive director of California-based Consumer Watchdog, said insurers supporting the fossil fuel industry are working against their own interests and will eventually leave the public to clear the turmoil. It was.

“What if the doctor provided cigarettes in the waiting room … What if the firefighters were handing out matches and flamethrowers?” Barber said. “It doesn’t make sense that the insurance industry is causing the very disaster that is insured.”


Pressure campaigns against fossil fuel insurers have become an important strategy in the international environmental movement.

“Basically, without insurance, there is no project approval or project funding,” said Ross Hammond, senior insurance strategist at Sunrise Project. *

Hammond said insurance companies were thought to be educated about climate risk until about four years ago. They first sounded the alarm about the crisis of the 1970s.

“The problem is that the other side of the equation isn’t included … what the insurers themselves are doing to exacerbate the problem,” Hammond said.

In California, Watchdog Group tried in 2019 I failed Ask the state insurance department to request insurers to disclose which fossil fuel projects they support.

Today, public supporters are looking to Connecticut, where many insurers are based. Legislators there proposed requiring insurers to disclose the premiums they would charge on fossil fuel projects. Therefore, the public has an idea of ​​how dangerous they are. The bill was approved by the State Senate Committee in a bipartisan vote.

The Biden administration also suggests that the Treasury may require certain climate disclosures from the financial sector. Future orders from the White House are expected to require the Federal Insurance Department to also investigate climate change disclosures.


TThe Trans Mountain pipeline, purchased by the Government of Canada in 2018, stretches 1,150 km, or more than 700 miles, from Edmonton to Vancouver, just above the Pacific Northwest. Its expansion aims to increase oil exports to Asia.

The Trudeau administration is facing intense political pressure on projects it acquired after Kinder Morgan threatened. I will walk In opposition from British Columbia. Despite the stated commitment to climate change, it has spent billions of dollars on purchasing and operating pipelines.

Steel pipes for the Government of Canada's Trans Mountain Expansion Project will be a stockpile site in Kamloops, British Columbia in June 2019.
Steel pipes for the Government of Canada’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project will be a stockpile site in Kamloops, British Columbia in June 2019. Photo: Dennis Owen / Reuters

Types of western oil Canada – Mostly heavy crude oils, which are high in sulfur – are more complex and expensive to refine than other types of oils. Trans Mountain cites opposition from environmental advocates as one of the reasons they want to keep their insurance companies secret.

However, activists have pointed out a series of other difficulties facing the project that can make it difficult to obtain insurance.

Robin AlanUnderwriting expert economist and former president of British Columbia Insurance Corporation said the company’s struggle to apply insurance was not due to public pressure campaigns. This is because the insurance industry considers a 68-year-old pipeline with recent oil spills and checkered safety records to be a high-risk customer.

In a letter to regulators, Trans Mountain said that insurer disclosures caused a “significant loss” to the company and “insurers” due to “targeting and pressure” on insurers from groups opposed to the pipeline. It could “damage your competitiveness.”

Trans Mountain did not respond to a request for comment. When the pipeline was re-approved by the Government of Canada in 2019, the pipeline vowed to invest the money it earned in operating it in the “Canada’s Clean Energy Transition.”

The pipeline is also Set of 156 conditionsIt is designed to mitigate a wide range of risks, from environmental issues such as water quality and fish habitat to impacts on sea transport and indigenous communities.

In June 2020, 190,000 liters of crude oil leaked from a compression fitting failure at one of Trans Mountain’s pumping stations in Abbotsford, British Columbia. According to a review by the Japan Transport Safety Board Canada’s. Some of the oil polluted nearby farmland.

4 months later Samatal SaharA 40-year-old employee of a Trans Mountain general contractor was killed in an equipment attack at a pipeline construction site. Then, in December, another contractor said, “Serious injuryAt the Burnaby Terminal in the pipeline.Trans Mountain suspended construction for several months and reopened in February after vowing to Retrain workers and supervisors..

Alain also called the timing of Transmountain’s request to Canadian energy regulators “very suspicious.”the company Submitted the request Indigenous youth from the Braided Warriors group Peacefully occupied downtown Vancouver office buildings for AIG..

According to the environmental group Stand.earth, former insurer Zurich has confirmed that it does not intend to reinsurance the pipeline, followed by Munich Re and HDI.

Others (AIG, Chub, Energy Insurance Mutual Limited, Liberty Mutual, Star, Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting Limited, WR Berkeley) declined to comment or did not respond.


For Tsleil-Waututh, who called themselves “inlet people,” the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is an existential threat to their lifestyle.

According to Alec, Tsleil-Waututh has been enthusiastic about restoring the local ecosystem, cleaning the recently harvested clam floors, and witnessing both the return and spawning of herring fish for the first time in 60 years. I did.

“Tanker traffic and oil spills only undermine all possible rehabilitation we have done,” she said. “This project only destroys everything.”

Trans Mountain says it has signed 59 unique non-disclosure agreements To compensate indigenous groups along the pipeline route, but critics say the company did not get the consent of the appropriate title holders.

Judy Wilson, secretary accountant of the British Columbia Indian Chief Coalition and chief of the Nesconlis Indian Band, east of Kamloops, built the original pipeline through disputed land that was never transferred by indigenous peoples. Claims to have been done. She said the project should disclose its supporters.

“When they are so influencing the hometown of our territory, they must be transparent about who guarantees it, and all aspects of the business,” Wilson said. I did.

* Sunrise project Floodlight..

Why doesn’t this huge oil pipeline reveal its secret proponents? | Canada

Source link Why doesn’t this huge oil pipeline reveal its secret proponents? | Canada

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