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Council of Canadians opposes Upland pipeline


Maude Barlow in Washington

In a speech outside the White House, Barlow calls on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, November 2011.

Earlier this week, TransCanada formally requested approval from the US State Department to build the Upland pipeline, a 300,000 barrels per day, 460 kilometre long Williston, North Dakota to Moosomin, Saskatchewan cross-border pipeline which would connect 70,000 barrels a day of fracked-crude from North Dakota to the Energy East pipeline.

In February, when the pipeline was first announced, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote US President Barack Obama a letter stating, “Your legacy could be one of helping the planet step back from the precipice of catastrophic climate change. We ask that you again exercise caution and good judgement and reject the Upland pipeline.”

Following TransCanada’s application to the US State Department, the Globe and Mail now reports, “The project is designed, in part, to connect fast-rising crude supplies from North Dakota’s Bakken oil play with the company’s planned Energy East pipeline… Initial capacity would be 220,000 barrels per day starting in 2020, rising to 300,000 barrels over time, spokesman Mark Cooper said.”

Reuters adds, “The C$600 million Upland line, announced in February, will take crude from North Dakota’s prolific Bakken field, where a shortage of pipeline space has forced producers to ship their crude by rail. …An official at the State Department confirmed the office had received the Upland application from TransCanada [on Wednesday], but said it has not yet had a chance to review it.”

And the Wall Street Journal notes, “The proposed $600-million Upland Pipeline Project … aims to transport up to 300,000 barrels a day of North Dakota crude to a connection in Saskatchewan. From there, approximately 70,000 barrels of that oil is expected to flow on TransCanada’s planned Energy East pipeline… The rest of the capacity would feed other pipelines, although it wasn’t immediately clear which ones.”

That “connection in Saskatchewan” would presumably be a tank farm TransCanada plans to construct in Moosomin. As we noted in November 2014, TransCanada intends to build a 1.05 million barrel receipt and delivery terminal in Moosomin as part of its Energy East pipeline project. TransCanada’s tank farm project manager Cody Knorr says, “The [Moosomin] facility will consist of three 350,000 barrel tanks. …One of these tanks is 200 feet in diameter and 60 feet high.” We have raised the concern that this terminal would pose a spill risk to the community and emit volatile organic compounds posing a further threat to air quality.

The Council of Canadians recently completed a tour in Saskatchewan to raise public awareness and opposition to the Energy East project.

Further reading
Barlow asks President Obama to reject Upland pipeline (February 2015 blog)
U.S. fracked oil to flow to Energy East pipeline in Moosomin, Saskatchewan (February 2015 blog)
TransCanada proposes an Energy East oil terminal in Saskatchewan (November 2014 blog)