An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ALL ONE HAS TO DO is drive past the airport or up the North Thompson Valley along Westsyde Road to know that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is going to happen.
Protests won’t stop it. Environmentalists won’t stop it. Neither will a report released this week by the Canada Energy Regulator that says it might not be needed.
That’s right, the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly the National Energy Board, the outfit that has the power over federal approval of pipelines. The report doesn’t take a position on whether Trans Mountain should or shouldn’t be built, but it does say that if Canada strengthens its climate policies it won’t be needed.
In fact, it says the Keystone XL pipeline might not be needed either. However, the report also says that if no substantial new energy policies are introduced, the new pipelines will be needed but will be the last ones required to handle what growth is left in the oil industry.
Judging how much pipeline capacity is needed is a tricky business. One industry expert says it’s not a case of building for total annual flow but for peak demand.
Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, likens it to building freeways based on the total number of cars that drive on them rather than building for peak periods.
It reminds me of the winter conundrum at City Hall: buying enough snow plows for average snowfalls versus enough for the biggest snowfall of the year, except the City spends for the average rather than the peak.
Meanwhile, along the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline up and down the North Thompson, trucks, machinery and crews are hard at work preparing the rights of way for the trenching and pipe installation that will be underway in earnest within a few weeks.
All the protests and reports in the world won’t stop it from happening.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.