We were played; But we should own the game

By Peter Lang

First published in the Chronicle Journal Oct 13, 2017

MAKE no mistake about it, we were played, big time, by TransCanada Pipelines (TCP) and Big Oil producers over the Energy Ease pipeline proposal. And while Energy East is now cancelled, we, the little people, should still try to understand what happened. For it’s never over when the game is for big profits.

When they told us that the re-purposing of the existing mainline gas pipeline was to supply Eastern Canada with domestic oil from Alberta our tendency was to approve the conversion from natural gas. But then we discovered that the ‘oil’ was actually dilbit (diluted bitumen), and that the Eastern Canada refineries really didn’t have the capacity or the massive capital needed to refine dilbit. By their ‘tidewater marketing scheme’ TCP really wanted to export it.

Read moreWe were played; But we should own the game

A Lappe consensus on Energy East pipeline

By Peter Lang

First published in the Chronicle Journal January 24, 2017

In contrast to the Common Voice forum at the Oliver Road Community Centre on the subject of “significant water crossings,” there was a consensus outcome at the Lappe meeting on Saturday morning, Jan. 21. Despite slippery road conditions about 15 people attended. While the first part of the meeting was a prepared presentation to set parameters for the discussion, instead of breakdown, this time the meeting achieved consensus. And to make it clear that the meeting wasn’t ‘stacked by the pipeline opposition,’ this consensus arose from a group where only a few knew each other prior to the meeting.

Essentially, after it became obvious that virtually all of us were opposed to the Energy East pipeline proposal itself, we held a vote — and all but one agreed that the CVNW consultation process was flawed.

Read moreA Lappe consensus on Energy East pipeline

Narrow scope of forums shows task force bias

By Peter Lang

First published in the Chronicle Journal January 17, 2017

Having followed the Energy East pipeline issue for a number of years, I believe that the very narrow scope of the upcoming Common Voice forums, as noted in The Chronicle-Journal, Jan. 2, clearly shows its bias. To suggest that our main concern for the Lake Superior watershed boils down to identifying ‘significant waterways’ and installing supposed state-of-the-art valves is simplistic and foolish.

First and foremost: The stretch of pipeline slated for conversion from natural gas to tarsands bitumen is decades old, and has already suffered a long, documented list of leaks and explosions. From the Ontario Energy Board hearings, and from various Canadian Transportation Board investigations we have learned that those incidents most often resulted from a combination of stress corrosion cracking, and aged, defective coatings. If safety was their overriding concern, why isn’t Common Voice demanding a brand new pipeline to safeguard our region?

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Pondering Pipeline Possibilities

Gordon Laxer Energy East Position Evolves.

Published in the CJ Thu May 19, 2016 as Pondering Pipeline Possibilities

Gordon Laxer spoke at the Finlandia Hall Wednesday, hosted by Environment North and the Thunder Bay Environmental Coalition. He outlined the theory behind his latest book, After the Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians. Laxer is a PhD, the founding director and former head of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, political economist and professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, and a prominent public intellectual. He was a founding member of the Council of Canadians. He endorses Naomi Klein and the Leap Manifesto and offers a workable framework for a transition to a green economy.

Laxer’s position on the proposed Energy East pipeline has evolved since the publication of his book. In it he had indicated that he was supportive of EE for the sake of Canadian energy security and sovereignty. He qualified this stance by stating as we phase out our dependence on fossil fuels, Energy East should ship conventional oil to Eastern Canadian consumers for another 15 years, (as opposed to rip and ship bitumen overseas).

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NOMA Hears One Side of the Story (Again!)

First published in the Chronicle Journal May 7 2016
By Peter Lang
On April 28, uninvited and without the $450 delegate fee, I was allowed to observe TransCanada Pipeline’s presentation to NOMA’s annual general meeting. It must have been the 1,000 signatures on our petition to reject the proposed Energy East pipeline… And, as with TCP’s address to City Council last August, the corporation was spared any contrary public input.

In his address, TCP’s Stefan Baranski first implicated us in the global demand for oil by asking, “How many of you drove here today?” He then followed with projections to show that increasing demand — after which he declared — “We have the oil!”

We know that. It’s what we should do with it now that we begin to understand climate change, the science behind it, and in light of Canada’s commitments to the Paris Summit last December.

Read moreNOMA Hears One Side of the Story (Again!)

Truth about pipeline is ‘highly unlikely’

First posted Saturday, November 28, 2015 in the Chronicle Journal

by Peter Lang

At their open house at the Italian Cultural Centre on Nov. 30 TransCanada Pipeline Corporation (TCC) will tell you that a significant leak on their pipeline is “highly unlikely.” They will cite continuous remote sensing, regular flyovers, and the latest ‘smart pig’ technology to support their conjecture. And they will relate this at a pleasant one-on-one wine-and-cheese-type gathering which is cleverly designed to avoid a public forum — wherein together we could have asked the difficult questions, and critically weighed their answers. In fact, TCC will credit this open house as “a community consultation” when it is merely corporate flim flam.

Read moreTruth about pipeline is ‘highly unlikely’

Walking With Our Sisters a moving experience

Thursday was my birthday. To celebrate, my wife took me to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to see the exhibit, Walking With Our Sisters. And, while I knew that it was commemorative in honour of murdered and missing First Nations women, I had no idea that the exhibit would affect me so deeply.

Upon entering, visitors are met and introduced to the significance of what they will see, and then ‘smudged’ by an Elder who blesses you and sets you on your way.

Read moreWalking With Our Sisters a moving experience

The end of growth

In response to Barry Beaupre’s request to The Chronicle-Journal to make climate change a priority you indicated that you had published some 299 articles on the subject over the last year (A Knowledge of Climate — letter, July 10). I have noticed, and I applaud your efforts. However, I believe that we are still missing the point — which is that we have an underlying errant belief in the myth of economic growth. And that belief is linked powerfully to our inability to stop or even mitigate climate change.

In The Chronicle-Journal editorial of July 11, entitled The Trains Among Us, you focused on the dangers posed by the exponential use of trains to haul oil, and concluded with a call for “more effective regulatory vigilance.” Yet the underlying and unquestioning economic assumption remained that oil (it would seem all of it) “has to reach markets.” After those 299 articles it leaves me to wonder when the 100th monkey will look at the same big picture and finally come to a different conclusion.

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Get ready for the next round with Cliffs

So, Cliffs Natural Resources has opted out of its environmental review process — for now (Chromite Mine Plans On Hold — CJ, June 13). But, without doubt, they’ll be back to offer us all jobs and prosperity when we’re ready to offer them less environmental red tape. There’s simply too much chromite in the Ring of Fire for them to disappear for very long.

Read moreGet ready for the next round with Cliffs

Ensure environmental security of Ring of Fire

Open Letter to Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines

It is with respect that I write to you on behalf of Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet (CUSP). From my experience I believe that you are a person who believes in doing the right thing and I believe that you have worked hard for your constituents for almost two decades.

However, I am concerned for us all with regard to the Ring of Fire development, and the upcoming negotiations with your federal counterpart,

Read moreEnsure environmental security of Ring of Fire