Energy Irony: Trans Canada Wants 15 Billion From Obama

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Governments, and the people, should be filing law suits against the energy industry for causing the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it. But instead, the opposite is happening.

From Reuters:

TransCanada formally seeks NAFTA damages in Keystone XL rejection

TransCanada Corp is formally requesting arbitration over U.S. President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, seeking $15 billion in damages, the company said in legal papers dated Friday.

The Keystone XL was designed to link existing pipeline networks in Canada and the United States to bring crude from Alberta and North Dakota to refineries in Illinois and, eventually, the Gulf of Mexico coast.

Obama rejected the cross-border crude oil pipeline last November, seven years after it was first proposed, saying it would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to the U.S. economy.

TransCanada is suing the United States in federal court in a separate legal action, seeking to reverse the pipeline’s rejection.

About 750,000 homes could be fitted with some really sweet solar arrays for that money. Let’s do that instead!

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14 thoughts on “Energy Irony: Trans Canada Wants 15 Billion From Obama

  1. It would require an amendment to the USA Constitution to prevent such law suits (since international treaties trump national laws). “Free trade agreements” have been universally bad for USA citizens, and profitable to the USA citizens’ enemies.

  2. I’m a little torn on this one. The US has screwed Canada many times over via the Softwood Lumber Treaty and under NAFTA Chapter 11 ( ) so ya we get a bit of our own back (sorta). Also more importantly this could educate the US population (and heaven forbid Congress) on one of the worst aspects of FT agreements – the ability of foreign corporations to sue you for passing laws (or not passing approvals) that affect their profit potential. What is essentially an assault on a country’s sovereignty (albeit a voluntary one via agreement signing.)

    The other side for me is I don’t want to see a carbon based energy company succeed in anything anymore.

    1. Douglas C Alder: The other side for me is I don’t want to see a carbon based energy company succeed in anything anymore.

      Looking over the entire proposed project, I do not see where the profit is in selling oil (“tar sands / tar shell”); the right-of-way is worth more than any and all oil Canadian corporations and send through a pipe. The lower liability and comprehensive insurance rates is worth more than the oil– it costs less to underwrite a pipe line than underwrite tanker ships and trains.

      There is a solution: the USA should put an import tax on every liter of oil going through the pipeline, making the oil too expensive to pump across the border. The USA constantly does this for other products.

  3. I agree with both Desertphile and Douglas Alder.

    I would also add that your opinion that “we” should be suing energy companies ” for causing the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it” is a bit overblown.

    First, what would you sue them for?

    Providing a legal product which everybody uses?

    Everybody uses fossil fuels, to drive their automobiles, to heat their homes, to transport goods and so on.

    In fact, one could argue that fossil fuels are essential.

    Secondly, as much as some people would like to draw an analogy to the tobacco case – it is misguided in my opinion.

    I think if all fossil fuel companies got out of the business, our country would grind to a halt pretty quick – and 300 million people would be screaming for them to get back into the business of mining and distributing coal, oil and natural gas.

    Renewables just cannot provide 100% of our energy needs.

    Not now and not for the foreseeable future.

  4. RickA, you managed to exclude from your highly selective fantasy list the things that fossil fuel companies are already being investigated for.

  5. RickA: “[….] I think if all fossil fuel companies got out of the business….”

    No one said they should; no one wants them to; no one said they can.

  6. Desertphile #6:

    What do you think the effect of “Governments, and the people, should be filing law suits against the energy industry for causing the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it. ” would be on fossil fuel companies?

    It would drive them out of business.

    That is the goal, isn’t it?

  7. Greg #4:

    Are you referring to the subpoena?

    That is just discovery for a fishing expedition.

    People are hoping to find something from the subpoena so they can justify a suit.

    I am not aware of what litigation you are referring to.

    Could you expand on what you think fossil fuel companies are currently being investigated for?

  8. Desertphile

    My point, such as it is, was not about profit, it’s about carbon based energy companies succeeding at anything going forward. It’s well past time to leave it in the ground and if that means companies like Trans Canada that enable the oil production companies by transporting their oil go broke – so be it, I won’t shed any tears for them, or any energy company that doesn’t have the courage and foresight to stop what they are doing and go full force on renewables.

    We are fast running out of time, if we haven’t already, to take effective corrective action to keep us under a 2C rise in temperature. Companies that continue to extract coal, oil and to a slightly lesser degree gas , are consigning the world to hell and my grandchildren to an early death. The Sixth Great Extinction is lumbering towards us, picking up pace and these companies are abetting it. There’s no “we can’t afford to take action, people will lose jobs, the stock market will crumble, the economy can’t absorb the change” argument that has any validity in the face of what is coming.

    The executives at Exxon who have known for decades what their company and others like it have done to the climate are as guilty of genocide as the Nazi leaders that went on trial at Nuremberg after WWII and as far as I’m concerned deserve the same fate.

  9. Douglas #9:

    I have to disagree about your Exxon guilt statement.

    Knowing that fossil fuels might cause some portion (currently not determinable) of the 8 inches sea level rise in the 20th century, or some portion (currently not determinable) of the 11 ish inches of sea level rise we expect in the 21st century does not a genocide make.

  10. ” “Free trade agreements” have been universally bad for USA citizens”

    I think it’s bit more complicated that that.
    a. you can replace the “USA” with any other country name.
    b. *Trade* in general benefits all participants

    It might be better to re-phrase the above as,
    “so-called free trade agreements are not made with the intention of benefiting Nations nor their citizens – their sole purpose is to benefit the mega-corporations whose bought-and-paid-for politicians introduce these agreements”.

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