Author: Markham Hislop

Podcast: Should Texas municipalities have more power to regulate oil and gas development?

Texas municipalities argue proposed legislation will strip them of any control over oil and gas activities within their boundaries A spat between Texas municipalities and an energy lobby group has erupted over local regulation of oil and gas development. We spoke to energy policy analyst Dr. Kenneth Green about the proper regulatory roles of cities and the State. On March 10, Rep. Drew Darby, chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee, and Sen. Troy Fraser, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee introduced identical bills (HB 40 and SB 1165) to limit local regulation of oil and gas activities. The Texas Municipal League says the legislation would expressly pre-empt most regulation of oil and gas operations by cities and all other political subdivisions. “If this bill is passed, you could have a drilling rig operating right beside your back fence, your child’s day care center, your church or a hospital with all of the around-the-clock noise, hazardous materials, emissions and truck traffic that accompany drilling activity,” said Executive Director Bennett Sandlin. According to Sandlin, many Texas cities have adopted setback requirements to create a buffer zone between drilling rigs and homes, schools, parks and hospitals.  He says the Texas Municipal League surveyed city ordinances in the Barnett Shale area in North Texas last year and found that 67 cities require buffer zones ranging from 300 feet to 1,500 feet between...

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Time to replace ‘bomb train’ tanker cars in USA, Canada

Canadian Transport Safety Board says even current upgraded tanker car standards are inadequate for oil by rail Recent northern Ontario oil by rail accidents argue convincingly that the unsafe Class 111 tanker cars – dubbed “bomb trains” – comprising the vast majority of both the Canadian and American fleets should be replaced in short order to prevent another catastrophic disaster like the 2013 Lac Megantic horror. On July 6, 2013 a 74-car freight train carrying Bakken crude oil – said to be like “gasoline from the ground” – ran away and derailed in the business centre of the sleepy rural Quebec town, causing a massive explosion that obliterated more than 30 buildings and killed 47 people. Since Lac Megantic, there have been a number of derailments, crude oil fires and explosions across Canada and the United States. Fortunately, no one was injured. Yet. Three recent northern Ontario derailments suggest we are living on borrowed time. On Jan. 13, 23 cars derailed 30 kilometres east of Nipigon. The cars were loaded with grain, intermodal containers, and six tank cars contained propane, several of which were punctured and leaked. On Feb. 14, a CN Rail train left the tracks near Gogoma, Ont., a village of 394 people approximately 600 kilometres north of Toronto. The train was hauling 100 Class 111 tank cars, 68 loaded with synthetic crude oil from Alberta and 32 carried petroleum distillates, according to the Transport Safety Board preliminary report. A...

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Here’s how you solve the Great Keystone XL Impasse

Bipartisan compromise only way to break political logjam on Keystone XL Warren Buffett made the news – again – saying Barack Obama should approve the Keystone XL pipeline. More wasted breath, if history is our guide. Since entreaties, Congressional pressure, and Canadian complaining haven’t convinced the President, is it time for a new approach? The old one isn’t working. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has so hectored Obama in meetings and in the media, there is now clear – and probably unresolvable – animosity between the two leaders. Various Alberta premiers have trooped to Washington hoping to advance TransCanada’s proposed 1,179 mile pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Gary Doer, the Canadian Ambassador to Washington, talks of almost nothing else but Keystone XL. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling regularly wrings his hands and sighs, telling reporters maybe THIS time Obama will come to his senses. That’s the insipid and completely ineffective Canadian approach. The American strategy has been more cantankerous, but ultimately just as ineffective. While Republican leaders were busy authoring a bill to force Obama to approve Keystone XL, the White House was busy telling everyone who would listen that the President would veto it. Which he did when it landed on his desk, arguing that the bill usurped Presidential authority. ”The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment,” said the top Republican in the House of...

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Obama arguments against Keystone Xl pipeline are flawed

If Canadian producers keep investing in new technology, Keystone XL could lower GHG intensity of heavy crudes refined on Gulf Coast President Barack Obama vetoed a Congressional bill supporting the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday, falling back on his oft-repeated arguments the TransCanada project is bad for the environment. But does his argument stand up to scrutiny? Each side […]

The post Obama arguments against Keystone Xl pipeline are flawed appeared first on Beacon Energy News.

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Is Norwegian sovereign wealth fund model right for Alberta?

Greg Poelzer argues for Norwegian sovereign wealth fund for Canada, Max Fawcett says model won’t work Should Canada and Alberta have Norwegian sovereign wealth fund style investments? In a new study, Saskatchewan academic Greg Poelzer argues in the affirmative, but energy journalist Max Fawcett tells Beacon Energy News that Alaska is the better model. Poelzer is the author […]

The post Is the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund model right for Alberta? appeared first on Beacon Energy News.

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