TransCanada Corporation is suing the US government over the denial of an oil pipeline to carry oil from Canada to the US and eventually down to the Gulf of Mexico. According to Reuters TransCanada are seeking $15 billion in damages under chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Chapter 11 allows investors to make claims against the Governments. (Imagine what will happen when the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is signed by the governments involved in that dodgy set up). Apparently cross border decisions also fall under the Presidents judgement.
This from Reuters;
‘James Rubin, an environmental regulatory lawyer with Dorsey & Whitney, said Keystone’s federal court suit would be "challenging.” He noted that courts have considered cross-border pipeline decisions before and have generally found they fall within the president’s discretion’.
So why has the president denied this pipeline which is in fact much safer than the current rail transport used now? Warren Buffets Berkshire Hathaway Company owns BNSF Railways with railroads being the current choice for oil transportation within the US. A Business Insider report from July 2015 suggests that after many accidents involving derailed oil tanks the US and Canadian regulators announced that new safety rules would include that all trains with oil as cargo would need to fit Electronically Controlled Pneumatic brakes. The Republicans disagreed with this plan saying it would put unnecessary costs of $3 billion on to railroads and would potentially jeopardise safety. The main winner of this bid by republicans to challenge the new safety regulations will be Warren Buffet.
A report from The Washington Post headlined “Trains are carrying-and spilling-a record amount of oil” suggests that in 2014 alone some “141 unintentional releases” of oil from rail tankers were reported. Here is some more from that story;
‘More than 141 “unintentional releases” were reported from railroad tankers in 2014, an all-time high and a nearly six-fold increase over the average of 25 spills per year during the period from 1975 to 2012, according to records of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The year 2013 had fewer accidents but a much larger volume of spilled crude: 1.4 million gallons, an amount that exceeded the total for all spills since record-keeping began in 1975’.
Here is a report by ecowatch on a Montana 21 tank derailment/spill in July 2015.
Here is a report from The Globe and Mail on a 12 tank oil derailment/spill in November 2015, which incidentally was their second derailment in 2 days, one Saturday and one Sunday. The Saturday derailment was a spill of Ethanol from BNSF.
47 people died in Quebec in this derailment reported by the star.
The Keystone XL pipeline project has its oppositions such as Esquire magazine and The Berkshire Eagle which have made dodgy claims against the project which TransCanada have had to respond to. Esquire Magazine suggested that oil sand production is the worst of the fossil fuels and The Berkshire Eagle suggest the oil would be sold overseas. These claims stated by TransCanada are false. So with this situation of the pipeline being denied is it really all for the environment or does money and influence play a big part in the decision making process.
Either way if TransCanada, being part owned by 376 institutions such as JP Morgan, Swiss National Bank, and Her Majesty the Queen in right of the province of Alberta, win the law suit and the US government have to pay the $15 billion then the American citizen loses out because it is the citizens who actually pay the governments bill. Conversely if the US government win the law suit and stick with the railroads the US citizen loses out by way of more railroad incidents and possibly more deaths.