Letter: Writer happy Indigenous communities oppose Line 5

Alberta’s tar sand production is doomed to fall to economic forces anyway

To the Expositor:

I am pleased to hear both the American and Canadian tribes in the Three Fires Confederacy around the Great Lakes have stepped up to lobby the various governments to shut down the 68 year old Enbridge dual pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac. Of course, Enbridge Inc., the host of fossil fuel refineries and groups with related economic conflicts of interest are screaming blue murder about the loss of jobs, forget the climate change issues for the short term. The real issue is that all of their arguments are moot once the Alberta tar sands shut down. Only the Canadian federal government is still propping up this economic and environmental embarrassment with billions of dollars of yearly subsidies, while the American, Chinese, Japanese and Korean investors have pulled out.  Alberta premier and United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenney continues to espouse a delusional view persistent in Alberta politics, that the province can once again make a fortune in the oil industry that will sustain the importance of the Line 5 pipeline.

Despite the radical drop of global oil prices in 2014, the high cost of processing dirty Alberta oil sands product and the gradual awakening to the dangers of global warming, the true nemesis causing the massive job losses in the Canadian oil sector is actually the US shale revolution. According to the Energy Information Administration: “US crude oil production averaged nearly 12 million barrels per day last month, up from 5.5 million barrels per day in 2011, more than doubling in recent years. Alberta’s production reached 3.7 million barrels per day last summer. The Energy Information Administration projects American production will increase to 13 million barrels per day by next year, something that will have reverberating effects on the demand for Alberta oil. That’s not going to change with a change in Alberta’s government. They can get rid of the carbon tax, they can have a referendum on equalization, but it’s not going to change the economic challenges from the US producing much cheaper, higher-quality light oil.

DS McPhail