July 13, 2017

Photo by Shell to Sea.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has invested heavily in a controversial fossil fuel project off the coast of Ireland that worsens the climate crisis and could pollute a local community's drinking water supply.

The Canadian Press reports, "The CPPIB will pay nearly $1.4 billion to become the largest partner in the Corrib offshore natural gas field, 83 kilometres off the coast of Ireland. The Toronto-based fund manager will initially buy a 45-per-cent interest in the project from a unit of the Shell energy business for £830 million."

The article adds, "After that deal closes, CPPIB plans to transfer a 1.5-per-cent interest in the project to Calgary-based Vermilion Energy Inc. for £19.4 million ($32.2 million). Following the transactions, Vermilion will have a 20-per-cent interest in Corrib and be its operator. Norway’s Statoil ASA would continue to have a 36.5-per-cent interest in Corrib and CPPIB will have the remaining 43.5 per cent."

July 13, 2017

The Council of Canadians campaigns against the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain and TransCanada Energy East pipelines, as well as numerous other controversial tar sands pipelines. The 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East pipeline alone would enable a 39 per cent increase in tar sands production from 2012 levels.

Pro-tar sands groups try to spin the numbers in terms of downplaying the impact of this on water. While the calculations can vary, even the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers admits that it takes about 3.1 barrels of fresh water to extract 1 barrel of oil from the tar sands, while the Alberta Energy Regulator claims companies recycle 80 to 95 per cent of the water they use.

But DeSmog Canada now reports, "The future of Alberta’s sprawling tailings ponds is in serious crisis. As of right now, there is no clear understanding if or how oilsands companies are going to clean up the 1.2 trillion litres of toxic petrochemical waste covering over 220 square kilometres in the province’s northeast."

July 12, 2017

NHK reports, "Before the opening session [of TPP talks in Japan today], Kazuyoshi Umemoto [the chair of the meeting] held separate talks with officials from 6 countries, including Canada and Singapore."

The Trudeau government continues to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) despite public concerns and the United States withdrawing from the deal.

The Associated Press reports, "Members of a Pacific Rim trade initiative rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump are to hold working-level talks Wednesday [July 12] in the Japanese mountain resort town of Hakone, west of Tokyo. ...Japanese officials say they are hoping the TPP talks will get a boost from the Economic Partnership Agreement reached with the European Union..."

The Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement was signed July 6 (though it still has a ratification process to go through and officials still need to agree to an investment dispute settlement system).

July 12, 2017

Jyrki Katainen

Agence France-Presse reports, "The European Union could exclude investments from its future trade agreements, including the one with Japan, which would facilitate their negotiation and ratification, said Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen on [July 10]."

That article adds, "European justice has recently found that virtually all the issues negotiated in a trade agreement fall within the sole competence of the European Union, with the exception of investments, which are also within the competence of the Member States. If investments were excluded from trade agreements negotiated by the Commission on behalf of the Member States, this would allow it - on paper - to conclude them alone, without being obliged to ratify them in each country, which takes years."

July 12, 2017

Image: Location of the KSM mine. Photo: Mike Kay | Rivers Without Borders

In 2002, the Harper government allowed a loophole in the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations of the Fisheries Act, giving the green light to mining companies to dump their toxic waste into lakes and creeks.

Originally introduced under the former Liberal government and intended only to apply to lakes already dead, Schedule 2 allows for the reclassification of a lake as a 'tailings impoundment area' no longer protected by the Fisheries Act.

In this June 29 blog we noted, "The Trudeau government has approved a 'tailings management facility' in the upper tributaries of Teigen and North Treaty creeks (which form part of the Nass River drainage system) near Stewart, British Columbia."