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'Oil, Canada': Enbridge Sings ProudlyRoger Butow Salem-News.com 'Odd Man Out'
Canada’s Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. Is Hell-bent On Destroying Both USA and Canadian Ecosystems.
(LAGUNA BEACH) - Hey, hey, my, my, the rapacious and greedy search for junkie oil to satisfy the gluttony of world supplies will never die. And that friendly, peaceable neighbor to the north, Canada, the one that keeps lecturing us how ecologically and politically correct they are?
Well, recent eco-fiascos both on their home soil (or what’s left of it) and here in the USA reveal their unbridled corporate greed, their failed oversight and the poorly regulated adverse impacts which are helping nudge the planet towards a perennial winter, so they’re no better than us. Maybe they’re accustomed to zero sunlight for months on end or even forever, you can’t miss what you never had?
There is a small but venomously vocal Canadian group of pseudo-thinkers who hypocritically insist on denigrating America and Americans categorically, so if you’re not in that group you might want to stop right here.
If you ARE in that pitiful grouping of constantly whining critics, portraying Canada and the world as our victims, then put your cup in your crotch and strap on your hockey helmet---You’re in for a bumpy ride, “Just Push Play.”
As Rod Serling (Twilight Zone) used to say, for your viewing pleasure please consider a case in point: “oil sand” or as it is sometimes referred to “tar sand”. It’s about the same quality and consistency as those tar balls you find on the beaches in the Gulf. And “Oil, Canada” as personified by Enbridge Inc., Enbridge Energy Management, L.L.C. and one of its Houston-based subsidiaries, Enbridge Energy Partners L.P., led the Canadian pack this summer in fiscal penalties. Actually, to investigate Enbridge is to confront fractal madness, a descent into corporate complexity, a layered labyrinth of sheer craziness. Maybe they’d get fined more often if they could just answer that Abbott & Costello quandary “Who IS on first?” 
Unlike the Clean Water Act (CWA), which can involve Assessed Civil Liabilities based upon total volume spilled (gallons) PLUS per day and per incident sanctions, pipeline fines are limited to $2.5 million per incident. Period. This is a mere pittance when compared to the economic benefits of non-compliance, injuries/deaths and irrevocable environmental damage. It might represent 1% of the cost of doing business---On our soil. 
The CWA also allows for individuals to be punished with not only fines but also incarceration, and wouldn’t you just love to make examples of them, have these Gordon Gekko a-holes in prison where they can’t cause more harm? Congress is considering reform (per always), upping the fine limit ceiling for pipeline failures. Don’t bet the farm on that one happening anytime soon when oil lobbyists from both the USA and Canada have oodles of bribe bucks unspent. That is if farms exist in North America’s future imperfect.
For the purposes of this column we’ll just use EEP generically because frankly it’s way too complicated to figure out in this Rubik’s Corporate Cube who is who or what is what----Another trick these multi-national corporations use to obfuscate. See how much Canada is like us, so why the snobbery?
Regardless, EEP has found a $$$ viable niche, is leapfrogging over the rest of those petro-pimp daddies due to its expanded focus on the pipeline infrastructure (cartage) profit margin. It also assists/partners with the world’s largest corporate oil gluttons, the ones that keep us addicted and increase our slide into either (A) Forever Winter, (B) Forever Summer, or (C) Never-Never Land, Final Lights Out, The Big Sleep, Elvis Has Left The Building.
As they say, life is about choices, so do you wanna supersize that oil spill, and how would you like your Planet Earth, parboiled, atmosphere un-breathable or frozen (breathing optional)? Here’s their website, I’ll take a nap and you get back to me when you figure this maze out, eah hoser? 
Here’s a primer on bituminous oil/tar sands:
“Bituminous sands: Colloquially known as tar sands, or oil sands - are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The sands contain naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water, and a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen. Oil sands are found in large amounts in many countries throughout the world, but are found in extremely large quantities in Canada.
Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as the production of conventional oil. If combustion of the final products is included, the so-called "Well to Wheels" approach, oil sands extraction, upgrade and use emits 10 to 45% more greenhouse gases than conventional crude.
Extra-heavy oil and bitumen flow very slowly, if at all, toward producing wells under normal reservoir conditions, the sands must be extracted by strip mining or the oil made to flow into wells by in situ techniques which reduce the viscosity by injecting steam, solvents and/or hot air into the sands. These processes can use more water and require larger amounts of energy than conventional oil extraction.
Like all mining and non-renewable resource development projects, oil sands operations have an adverse effect on the environment. Oil sands projects affect: the land when the bitumen is initially mined and with large deposits of toxic chemicals; the water during the separation process and through the drainage of rivers; and the air due to the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions, as well as deforestation. Additional indirect environmental effects are that the petroleum products produced are mostly burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere” 
And like that seminal Twilight Zone series, Canada’s Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP) story is twisted and disquieting, their testimony at US Congressional and Department of Transportation hearings obtuse and even obnoxious. To listen to them and their governmental thugs is to feel as if you went to sleep on one planet and landed (woke up) on a different one more closely resembling Alice-In-Wonderland. EEP has been in our regulatory gun sights due to its thousands of miles of gas and oil pipelines that criss-cross the US-Canada border. 
It should also be noted that the tailings, the residual particulates and sediment of oil sand extraction, often get dumped into or near the settling basins containing the contaminated wastewater used for the gamut or series of processes implemented. Invariably, they’re located near streams where they draft/divert huge volumes of pristine drinking water, returned later as chronically contaminated runoff. So they take precious potable and leave contaminated death, for plants, animals and humans. These tar sand extraction processes are very similar and in many cases use the same invasive and destructive technologies of the dreaded hydro-fracking , the subject of my July 3, 2010 column for Salem-News.com.
EEP helps, for hefty fees, hydro-frackers to move their ill-gotten gain through antiquated, on the verge of eruption supply lines through densely populated corridors. The same piles of irrevocably denuded and polluted land, funky air and useless water as frackers like BP and Halliburton. 
It’s become very chic for outsiders to criticize the United States of America, and even more hip to blame us for all of the world’s ills. Historians, if there are any left in a century, will probably have a better perspective---But then again history is written by the victors and right now ecologically and economically speaking we’re all anxious about whether there will even be human scribes by 2100 AD.
Formerly, our past relationship with Canada was easy: They sent us Moosehead beer, we sent them our draft dodgers. Great trade balance. They sent us Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Buffy St. Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, we tacitly agreed to protect them from that same wild and crazy guy, Kim Jong-il, he of the “I shot a missile into the air, it fell to Earth I know not where” fame. This is a symbiotic fair trade practice, but Canada obviously needn’t spend money or show interest in protecting itself when it knows that it’s in America’s best interest to assure this continent isn’t invaded. Then again, they have hired BLACKWATER to train their military as reported by Tim King in Salem-News.com. 
That small but vocal Canadian clownish clique loves to use a famous phrase attributed to Einstein when they take my country to the metaphorical woodshed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Well, these people have been venomous in their attacks over a long period of time, demanding that we change and whattayaknow, they’ve had zero effect, we haven’t changed one iota! So NOW who’s insane?
Your cuapitalistic founders were some of the same sadistic goofs as ours, those vagrant Europeans hell-bent on wiping out indigenous native Indian populations invoking Caucasian-superior manifest destiny, raping half of a continent (and the women) for God and profit---and not necessarily in that order.
For that noble cause of creating Canada, the land “Up under” had blood thirst and greed aplenty. So when they point their hypocritical fingers at America, lecture us and self-righteously wag them in our faces, consider this ditty that gives you a peek into how Canada integrated its population:
“From the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged Aboriginals to assimilate into their own culture, referred to as Canadian culture. These attempts reached a climax in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with forced integration. Due to laws and policies that encouraged or required Aboriginals to assimilate into a Eurocentric society, Canada may be in violation of the UN Genocide Convention that Canada signed in 1949 and passed through Parliament in 1952.The residential school system that removed Aboriginal children from their homes for placement in Christian-run schools has led scholars to believe that Canada can be tried in International Court for genocide. In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of the Canadian government and its citizens for the residential school system.” 
Remember the TV cartoon series Rocky & Friends? What’s faster than a speeding Rocket J. Squirrel, tramples more heavily than a Bullwinkle J. Moose in heat and Snidely Whiplash enough to exterminate entire eco-systems in a single gas explosion, oil spill or pipeline rupture? Why it’s our wonderful friends from that same Great White North, subsidiary sister Enbridge Inc., that’s who. Corporate HQ is in Calgary, Alberta Province. The corporation with aging pipelines from decades gone by that refuses to have a conscience and spend the bucks necessary for basic preventative maintenance.
Maybe the L.P. in Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. stands for Long-Playing, because this “Dudley Do Wrong of The Mounties” has been mewling and kvetching over strict compliance with American enviro-laws seemingly forever.
Regardless, singing the same old tune, Canada stands in line with the rest of our hectoring naysayers, haranguing us, telling us we’re (A) Rotten, (B) Dying, (C) Already Dead, (D) The greatest health and safety threat the world has ever known, or (E) All of the above.“O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”That’s how their anthem concludes, and from recent articles posted by some Canadian news media, they not only can’t keep from contaminating our side of the border, or helping American corporations to do so, but they’re not standing guard and doing such a hot job on their side either. What they are doing is just like us: Mortgaging Canadian children’s future for upfront scoots (money).
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber might have been whack in his bizarre solutions for perceived gripes, but ironically his issues are germane and could be seen as an algorithm, a formula or recipe for global failure and self-extermination.
Mix: Out-of-control technological advancements + Out-of-control industrial greed + Out-of-control governmental hegemony= Dead Planet Earth.
Peter Farb was an American author, anthropologist, linguist, ecologist, naturalist, and spokesman for conservation, and his paradoxical quote begs for a revisiting. As he wrote in his novel Humankind (1978): “Intensification of production to feed an increased population leads to a still greater increase in that population.”
Apply this to the subject before us and one could add this element to the Kaczynski Equation, we’re in an exponentially self-destructive race to out-consume, to outstrip the Earth’s abilities to support us because we have an out-of-control population problem. The world is back to being flat, at least metaphorically, and such an economically globalized culture has created its own unique memes.
China is the ugly poster child of this catastrophe-in-progress as it is on the precipice of no longer being capable of supporting its own population---It will be forced to expand through hegemonic strategies, and then what Brave New World will that be? Readers can look up “Carry Capacity” and find the basic principles at work worldwide. <
Arguably, EEP should change their name to EEK, as in Rocky’s fellow cartoon character Capt. Peter “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz of the S.S. Athabasca “Eek, egads and gadzooks, old fellow, are those OUR antiquated, rusty old major lines rupturing and puking million of gallons of oil into pristine American river habitats?”
As a Twilight Zone sidebar, with all due apologies to Oscar Wilde, who says life doesn’t imitate art? That S.S. Athabasca Capt. Peachfuzz was in command of? The largest, most invasive, most polluting tar sand fields and vicinity are called (tah dah) ATHABASCA, near the major boomtown city of Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta. 50 years ago Rocky’s creators were our childhood equivalents of Nostradamus, some Fractured Fairy Tale, eah?? 
About 2/3 of Alberta’s exported oil and almost ½ of Canada’s comes from this region. The Athabasca deposit is the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of three major oil sands deposits in Alberta, along with the nearby Peace River and Cold Lake deposits.
Is that stinky phosphorus and sulfur smell extracted tar sand or are those burps and belches just explosive intestinal gas from Canada during a southerly Chinook, you know just an effusively happy bag of flatulence, gladdened to see us, the suckers in their wicked oil extraction game?
You know, Canada, right, America’s top hat, the one that keeps our northern border state’s heads from freezing solid and keeps us a safe arm’s distance from Sarah Palin?
Now take EEP, please. Take them back to Canada, hosers, do the right thing ecologically and put them out onto an ice flow for polar bear munchies. Take them up to Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Let ’em walk the plank off the top floor of the Fairmont Chateau----A towering obscenity that destroys one of the most beautifully scenic lakes in the world. Spectacular hotel? Well, it’s a spectacle, that’s for sure.
Look at it with fresh eyes, look how it dominates and overwhelms the scenery, yet the Canadian government masks this blight in rosy verbiage and boasts: “The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise resort hotel is recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism, values at the heart of this proudly Canadian historic resort.”
They even call it a “Diamond in the Wilderness”! Howsabout an unnatural pile of manmade crap, a blight upon the land, idiots? What kind of imbeciles looked at this spot and said “Hey, what a great place to ruin, eah hosers?” 
EEP will never achieve the goal of being carbon neutral. EVER….because there’s no profit in that. Despite the ersatz-intellectual disclaimers, Canada is indistinguishable from the USA in terms of eco-culpability. Here’s just a short list of the most recent enviro-crimes:
(1) A major rupture in the world’s longest pipeline spewed more than a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River (Michigan).At the time of the leak, it was transporting heavy oil with an American Petroleum Gravity rating of 11, representing a mix of steam-extracted tar sands mixed with napthalene as a diluent.”
Naphthalene is the thinner or dilution agent of choice, classified as a benzenoid, a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH).
The most familiar use of naphthalene is as a household fumigant! 
EEP has repeatedly refused to upgrade and/or fix all of the long-standing deficiencies and defects noted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency of the US Department of Transportation. Years ago, EEP was warned about over 329 defects in the system, fixed only 61 of them and now they wonder why it failed, eah? Worse, the control room was a remote location (Edmonton, Alberta) so EEP wants to blame poor response time on its own logistical (read cheap, really cheap) deficiencies. It took nearly 18 hours just to confirm they even had a leak! 
(2) A major pipeline disruption near Chicago was of an unknown amount, though EEP’s American subsidiary claimed 250,000 gallons recovered with only a few thousand unaccounted for. Must be the same optimistic and opium-smoking statisticians that counted the enemies killed in Vietnam or reported on the BP bozos. 
(3) A proposed widening of a small arterial highway through pristine wilderness in northern Idaho looks like EEP’s next fiasco.
For a major new oil distribution strategy, EEP is trying to help jumpstart a more far reaching joint venture emanating at its fields some 1,100 miles north in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.
Energy resource conglomerates have informed both the Idaho and Montana departments of transportation that they hope to partner with EEP, but must send over 200 enormous shipments of petroleum equipment — some 210 feet long, 24 feet wide and 30 feet high — up remote Highway 12, through Montana and into Canadian tar sand fields. Through the last of what wilderness is left along the Clearwater River, through sacred Native American Nez Perce grounds.
Notice how many times the white eyes screw the indigenous populations over paper (money)?
(4) Enbridge fined in fatal Minnesota accident: “Enbridge Energy Partners has been fined more than $2.4 million for violations of federal pipeline safety regulations that led to the deaths of two workers, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday. The fines are related to a Nov. 28, 2007, incident in which two Enbridge employees were killed after repairs to a company pipeline on the Lake head system in Clearbrook, Minn., caused leaking oil to ignite. Enbridge failed to conduct maintenance and repairs safely, clear the work area from possible sources of ignition, and hire properly trained and qualified workers, regulators found during a yearlong probe. Enbridge Energy Partners, based in Houston, operates most of Enbridge Inc.'s U.S. pipelines. The company couldn't be reached for comment.”
As Canada’s #2 pipeline shipper and a significant presence in the USA, I would imagine that many mutter to themselves that EEP is only the messenger, not the petrochemical message. On the other hand, for hefty corporate and board member profit, they are in evil collusion with the larger American companies like Shell, Exxon and Mobil, plus the international cartels and the Canadian ones. They play the role of Judas, selling both their own and our eco-systems, well, literally down the river, preferably a formerly clean one with a few threatened or endangered species. Alberta’s oil fields, tar sand included, are reputed to be second only to the Middle East in potential. 
(5)In Texas on January 10, 2010 EEP negligence struck again resulting in a mere handslap:
“This summer the Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Enbridge for “willful” and “serious” violations after a chemical release at a company natural gas processing plant in Texas resulted in the death of a worker. According to OSHA one employee died and another was left in critical condition on Jan. 10 when hydrogen sulfide was released as workers replaced a faulty valve on a waste heat boiler in the sulfur plant.
Federal officials say Enbridge failed to develop and implement safe work practices for workers exposed to hydrogen sulfide and failed to provide the workers with respirators — required personal protection equipment.
These violations were committed, they said “with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.”
OSHA also cited Enbridge for failing to review current operating procedures, failing to inform contract workers of the known potential fire, explosion or toxic release hazards related their work and not requiring the use of necessary flame resistant clothing.
The agency assessed $152,100 in fines for these violations.” 
As posted in Financial Post by reporter Carrie Tait:
Don’t Stall Enbridge, Alberta Warns U.S.:
“Alberta’s energy minister Ron Liepert raised the possibility Monday of a free trade challenge if U.S. “political games” lead to a lengthy delay in the reopening of a crude oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Inc.
Brenda Swick, an international trade lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault LLP in Ottawa, said Canada would be on solid ground should it square off against the United States regarding the Enbridge line — or concerns over the cleanliness of Canada’s crude.
“Under both the [North American Free Trade Agreement] and [the World Trade Organization], the U.S. does not have the right to interfere with the sale of energy and petrochemical products from Canada on the basis of where they came from or how dirty or clean they think that origin is,” she said.
Both NAFTA and the WTO agreements prohibit the United States from taking any measures, “whether in law or practice which unjustifiably prohibit or restrict” the supply of energy from Canada to the U.S., Ms. Swick said.” 
Is it just me or does Ron Liepert look like a corporate Mafioso bag man to you as he threatens reprisals? And am I the only one seeing irony in Canadian governance using NAFTA as a shield or worse a spear, basically extorting non-compliance, little enforcement and preemptively blocking larger fines or sanctions, now limited as noted to only $2.5 million per incident?
This is the same argument that another foreign corporation used, good old buddy BP, when they realized their liability had a fiscal cap far less than actual damages. Pay off the right officials to use another country’s resources, destroy their environs when you screw up, and just include fines as part of your financial risk assessment. Paying 1% of your profit margin as a fine for a project is just good business management.
Nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong. That country without polluting emissions, let them cast the first humungous carbon footprint! Like an arranged marriage in a strict culture, divorce is not an option for the USA and Canada. We’re neighbors who aren’t setting sail for another residence anytime soon, so lowering the acrimonious rhetoric might provide fertile ground for dialogue about improvements. It’s a lifeboat with limited resources and beaucoup adverse impacts for abuse thereof, dummies, get it?
As for those of you from Alberta who gaze in hatred across the southern border and chastise us, realize that you’re gazing into your own future. The things you find us lacking ecologically? If you don’t watch out where you’re going you’re going wind up where you’re headed. “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Frederich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil). You not only don’t like us, you don’t seem to be learning from our mistakes either. Now who is stupid?
Canada is blithely traveling the same path as the rest of the nations ratcheting up deforestation and resource stripping. As author and anthropologist Daniel Quinn would probably concur, its commitment to “unlimited competition” is equally suicidal. Readers would do well to read Quinn’s seminal ISHMAEL trilogy. “Totalitarian agriculture,” the absurd spreading of human domination over the planet’s resources has also been facilitated by “totalitarian religion," the humans first, everything else last, zero sum game that has led us to the precipice of mass extinctions.
The last 10,000 years, basically the advent of agrarian settlements, represent a divergence that is finally shown for its illogical corruption, beginning out of control entropy. The real estate bubble that’s burst? Well, our planet’s resource bubble cannot grow, these resources are finite and limited, and they too are popping.
For these totalitarian religions, self-justification is achieved by positing a God or gods that magically began 10,000 years ago-----As if God turned a switch and created Himself/Herself, suddenly we both came into existence, He/She decided to communicate with us, and POW! We went from nomads or semi-nomadic people who left more than they took from the land to worshipping squatters.
We as a species went from “Leavers” to “Takers,” and like a bank account now there’s not much left to take. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all assert their rights as the sole chosen ones, and it’s no coincidence that now in open animosity they are on the verge of destroying the world to save it. Dragging the rest of down with them, we were more in tune, in balance with Nature when we were animists, pantheists or polytheists. And the planet’s life forms were safer.
As for the parochial, provincial narrow-minded Canucks who spit on our flag, rant across the tundra at us? Well, scrape the permafrost off of your mirrors, take a realistic look at part of the problem: You. Why you try to run our lives when you can’t even run your own very well is beyond me. Global consumerism is a cancerous virus that EVERY international conglomerate business EVERYWHERE acquires then peddles.
Canada is no better than we are, it’s just as ecologically corrupt, pinnacle producers and purveyors of pollution, just as much an industrialized corporate sell-out as us, so cut the superiority crap partner, and take off, you hoser, eah?
FYI: If a project near you has some interesting enviro-aspect(s) that you think is/are worthy of Salem-News.com coverage and our readers attention, feel free to contact me with a very brief synopsis. Water-related “Blue Interventions” are my specialty!
Launched in 2010, Odd Man Out is the creation of Roger von Bütow and his OMO columns are written exclusively for Salem-News-com. Born and raised in the LA Harbor area, son of a German immigrant father, he's been in Orange County for 45 years and is a 38-year resident of Laguna Beach, Ca. In 1998, he began his professional career in environmental review processes (CEQA, NEPA, MND, MND and EIR/EIS). He's a rare mix of cross-trained builder, writer and consultant as he brings his extensive construction experiences dating back to 1972 into his eco-endeavors. He has tremendous field and technical expertise in successful watershed restorations, plus wastewater, urban runoff, water quality monitoring/improvements and hydrologic mechanisms. He's built everything from commercial spas to award-winning private residences, and provided peer review and consultant analyses for single homes, subdivisions and upscale resorts.
His resumé is extensive, try an online GOOGLE search of his personal journey and historical accomplishments. His consultation fees are reasonable and if you've got a major project that alarms you, that needs creative intervention, then he's your man. His credentials and "CV" can be provided upon request.
Contact him at his office: (949) 715.1912 or drop him an email: email@example.com
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