The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Revolutionary Movement Fighting Tar Sands Pipeline Seizes Control of the Debate
By Andy Rowell
Patrick Daniel, the CEO of Enbridge, knows he's in trouble.
The leader of the company that wants to build the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to British Colombia to export dirty tar sands, admits that his opponents have “seized control of the debate."
Daniel is left playing catch-up, trying belatedly to spin a message about safety and the need to bulldoze a pipeline to carry tar sands across indigenous lands, beautiful forests and through a seismically active area.
Speaking on Canadian radio, Daniel complained that “Everything that we say sounds defensive and self-interested, and on the other side, everything they say ... is really taken as gospel—and it isn’t.”
Daniel then added that, “I think we’re facing a very strong, almost revolutionary movement to try to get off oil worldwide, and it creates a lot of passion and drive in those revolutionaries that are trying to change the environment in which we work.”
As part of the company’s catch-up, it has launched a counter public relations offensive, taking out advertisements in leading newspapers in British Colombia, Alberta and Ontario. The advertisements argue that the company has transported almost 12 billion barrels of crude oil in the last decade, with a safe delivery record better than 99.999 percent.
In Ottawa, the head of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Brenda Kenny, agrees that the industry is playing catch-up with its media messaging. “We should have been more communicative earlier ... We recognize that it is of high importance to Canadians at this point in time, and very important to our country. So you will be seeing a lot more of us.”
The advertisements and PR campaign cannot hide the fact that earlier this month a top Canadian cabinet minister criticized Enbridge’s environmental record, including its devastating spill in Michigan two years ago.
Heritage Minister James Moore said, “This project will not survive public scrutiny unless Enbridge takes far more seriously their obligation to engage the public and to answer those very legitimate questions about the way in which they’ve operated their business in the very recent past.”
But more importantly, Enbridge cannot escape the fact that last month the U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board released a scathing report that likened its response to the spill in Michigan to the bumbling Keystone Kops.
Tonight, CTV News at 6 explores the legacy of that spill in Michigan. The three-part series “investigates the devastating impacts of the spill, which gushed more than three million litres of oil into the Kalamazoo River and cost around $800 million U.S. to clean up."
The news channel warns: “Two years later many residents who were forced from their homes after the spill are warning British Columbians to think twice before allowing a pipeline to run through their backyards.”
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla
As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.
By Lauren Wolahan
For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.
They're prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.
By Elliott Negin
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.