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NEWS: The Grand Rapids tar sands pipeline planned for 2017

Another multi-billion dollar tar sands pipeline is in the works.

The Globe and Mail reports, “Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of PetroChina Co. Ltd., is partnering with TransCanada Corp. to build a 900,000 barrel-a-day project, called the Grand Rapids Pipeline System, 500 kilometres from northwest of Fort McMurray to Fort Saskatchewan, near Edmonton. …Though a route for the pipeline has yet to be selected, it’s expected it will carry oil from the MacKay River and Dover projects that PetroChina has largely secured from Athabasca Oil Corp. …The 50-50 partnership gives PetroChina the opportunity to secure a pipeline to an area of the oil sands where there is little current production, while TransCanada operates the project. …(PetroChina) needs pipe to carry away production expected to start in 2015 (with the pipeline built by 2017). Though there are potential Chinese ownership interests in the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the West Coast, the Grand Rapids system stands to be the first major pipeline in Canada partially owned by Chinese interests.”

This pipeline represents more harm to Indigenous peoples, the climate, water, wildlife and the land.

It also represents a major expansion of the tar sands – current daily production is 1.9 million barrels, so a 900,000 barrel a day project is huge. (Note: Though the Globe and Mail reports it as a “900,000 barrel-a-day project”, later in the article it says, “PetroChina envisions only 400,000 barrels a day, it will need 600,000 barrels a day of pipeline space, given that its heavy product must be mixed with diluent.”)

Given the imminent ratification of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Act – and analysis that China could use the investor-state provision in this agreement to sue for billions if the Northern Gateway pipeline project is scuttled – there should be additional concern that the 31-year agreement that Harper is pushing through with no formal public or parliamentary scrutiny, could be used to ensure that the Grand Rapids Pipeline System cannot be stopped.

To take action with the Council of Canadians ACTION ALERT against the Canada-China FIPPA, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2012/Canada-China-FIPA.html.