Opinion Column

U.S. has motive to block Canadian oil

 Alise Mills, Special to 24 Hours

Pipelines at Canadian Natural Resources Limited's Primrose Lake oil sands project are seen near Cold Lake, Alberta. (REUTERS)

Pipelines at Canadian Natural Resources Limited's Primrose Lake oil sands project are seen near Cold Lake, Alberta. (REUTERS)

The war on pipelines in B.C. is not about spirit bears and rain forests.


It is about America’s economy.

American foundations have spent millions to halt Canadian pipelines and oil production.


The U.S. has powerful motives to block Canadian oil exports: to guarantee an oil supply until they are energy independent, and to lower prices by being Canada’s only customer.

Canadian environmental organizations have raked in at least $168 million from 75 American foundations like the Hewlett and Packard Foundations, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Pew Charitable Trusts. Much of that money funds opposition to pipelines and oil. Follow the money and it leads to a handful of wealthy Americans.

But those same foundations also fund American oil production.

The Pew Charitable Trusts gives millions to oppose pipelines, but funds the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, which partners with the Great Plains Institute to use new technology to increase U.S. fossil fuel production.

Senator Jay Rockefeller sponsored a bill to increase U.S. oil production by 300 million barrels a year, generating a net return of $100 billion over 40 years, all while his family's foundation funded campaigns to keep Canada's oil in the ground.

And whereas funders like Tides grant millions to “anti-tar sands campaigns,” foundations coughed up a paltry $1.5 million to anti-fracking campaigns. Fracking has enabled U.S. oil production to gush. Wouldn’t want to curb that, eh?

Environmentalists say they want to slow production and consumption of fossil fuels, but U.S. production is surging with the consent of those who wage war on Canada’s oil.

Meanwhile, they turn a blind eye to environmental risks at home.

The Port of Vancouver (Washington) plans to receive 380,000 barrels of Bakken Fields oil daily in four trains, each a mile-and-a-half long, travelling the narrow Columbia River gorge, loaded onto tankers.

Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, will haul a million barrels of unusually volatile Bakken oil every day across America’s pristine wilderness.

But that isn’t bothersome enough to engage activists and their funders.

Americans are exceptionally alarmed by energy insecurity. Being Canada’s only foreign customer gives them a private supply.

But we are vulnerable when they stop buying. We already lose $18 billion a year because they pay discounted prices.

But it could be much worse. And it will be, if Canada doesn’t get our oil to tidewater.

We need to build pipelines so that we become the sovereign architects of our own future.

Alise Mills is a political commentator who speaks for British Columbians for Prosperity. Visit moneytrail.ca.


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