Gateway pipeline unsustainable, energy union tells NEB
OTTAWA -- In its submission to the National Energy Board, Canada's largest energy union says the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is being built to export more bitumen than we could even produce by 2025.
In the process, the pipeline will cause profound damage to the environment, cost more than 26,000 Canadian jobs, and put Canada's own energy needs at risk, says the brief submitted today by the the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP).
"These are all serious threats to the public interest that should be examined carefully by the NEB as its mandate demands," says CEP President Dave Coles.
The CEP submission refers to independent research which shows that current Canadian export capacity will exceed Western Canadian projected production until 2025, and after 2025 Northern Gateway will add significant additional surplus capacity to that created by Keystone XL and Kinder Morgan (TMX).
The union also hired one of Canada's leading economic consulting companies, Informetrica Inc., to assess the potential impact of the Northern Gateway project.
"A study by Informetrica shows there are an estimated 26,000 jobs that would otherwise be created in the Canadian economy if bitumen extracted in Alberta was simply upgraded in Canada," says Coles. "As with the Keystone XL pipeline, Gateway would take thousands of jobs away from Canadian workers."
The brief points out that two major refinery closures in Ontario and Quebec have created even more of a dependency on foreign suppliers for refined petroleum products: gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil.
"Canadians should also be alarmed that, while Canada exports most of its bitumen to foreign sources, Atlantic Canada and Quebec import 90% of their oil, and Ontario imports 30%," says Coles.
"Without access to the increased supply of Western Canadian crude, Eastern Canada has suffered a loss of refining capacity, a loss of jobs and gasoline supply problems. Meanwhile, hundreds of workers where thrown out of high-skill, well paying jobs and many additional direct and indirect jobs have been lost.
"We need a policy based on economic stability, job creation, environmental sustainability, and energy security for Canada. Stakeholders – including the oil industry, governments, environmentalists, First Nations groups and labour unions -- to come together and create a sustainable energy policy.
"Our union understands the importance of export markets and the need for pipelines to serve them. We also understand the importance of a healthy oil and gas industry that can provide stable, good jobs for our members, and create wealth for their communities and all Canadians.
"With the amount of public attention being given now to Gateway and to Keystone XL, now is a perfect opportunity to work toward an energy strategy for Canada," concludes Coles.
The 135,000-member CEP is Canada's largest union of energy workers, with about 35,000 members who work in the oil, gas and petro-chemical industries.