Line 9 to Wisconsin – The Minnesota regulators sent its government officials back for more environmental study on the stretch of the Enbridge pipeline that crosses northern Minnesota. The regulator will decide in April if it approves the small piece of line that runs through that state.
In the past couple of months there were 3 protests in Superior Wisconsin (the end of the pipe) that resulted in misdemeanour arrests. Three of 15 protesters were arrested on November 15th when one protester chained himself to some equipment. It is – 17C in Superior today, not ideal for protesting.
Keystone XL – Nebraska regulators approved TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline through that state in November. That is the final approval needed in this decade long plan to build the line. But… of course with a wrinkle. They changed the route to make it 5 miles longer and force TransCanada to deal with different landowners. TransCanada asked them to reconsider that changed alignment but the regulator said “no dice”. TransCanada is currently reviewing the Nebraska decision and hasn’t made a final decision to proceed. They have committed to make a decision by the end of the year.
TransMountain – Kinder Morgan won its latest skirmish with Burnaby City when the NEB decided that Burnaby’s tree cutting and zoning bylaws would not be applied. But a few protestors showed up at the Westridge Terminal to obstruct and delay construction of the tank farm. A group of 7 to 10 of what some might uncharitably call “old hippies” showed up to disrupt entrance to the site and then scram before the cops arrived. The protesters call themselves the Justin Trudeau Brigade. Weather in Burnaby isn’t so good for protesting today, + 3C with 100% chance of rain.
Seven First Nations, the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver, and two environmental groups are asking the Federal court of appeals to overturn the decision to approve the expansion of the $7.4-billion pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. The City of Vancouver is suing separately, claiming the environmental assessment didn’t consult citizens enough.
Northwest Refinery – after a decade of negotiation, planning and construction.; Alberta’s newest refinery made its first barrel of fuel. The Sturgeon Refinery near Gibbons will produce 40,000 barrels (6 million litres) per day of ultra low diesel. This project was kick started when the Alberta government offered to commit some of its share of bitumen barrels to the project. Full commercial operation of Phase 1 is expected sometime in the first half of next year.
The Alberta government’s fascination with booze continues. This week Finance Minister Ceci announced a reduction in the excise tax on made in Alberta spirits (whiskey, vodka etc.). A while back when Alberta reduced the volumes that distillers had to produce; 21 small scale distilleries popped up. Now government reduced the excise tax to give them more room to be profitable. It is a “me too” program since the beer people got a grant program earlier (which turned out to be offside with the Internal Trade people). The cost of the program will be $1.4 million in foregone revenue.
The feds and the province had a showdown about who will get the excise taxes from pot. Originally the feds wanted to have half the excise duty. When the smoke cleared (so to speak), the provinces will get 75% of the excise tax and the feds 25% and their amount will be capped at $100 million. The municipalities will have to deal with the provinces to get there share.
Government will set the excise duty at $1 per gram (plus GST) and expects to see a billion dollars from 400,000 kilograms of weed sold in the legal market. The estimate is that legal pot will capture only 25% of the market in the beginning. One gram of pot might be priced at $8 before taxes. The excise duty would add $1 to that cost, and then GST would be added.
And speaking of 25-75 – at a meeting of Alberta municipalities, a motion to lobby the feds to repeal the marijuana legislation was defeated by that margin.
400 people died between January and the end of September from fentanyl, compared with 357 for all of last year. That is an average of almost 2 people per day from accidentally overdosing on fentanyl and other opioids.