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With Keystone XL in Limelight, Enbridge Plans 'Aggressive' Pipeline Push

First Nations call to end all tar sands development

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

An Enbridge pipeline, which will soon be able to carry over 1 million barrels per day of toxic tar sands, snakes through pristine wilderness. (Photo: CBC)

As Transcanada's Keystone XL pipeline project has become the subject of increasing protests and scrutiny, the Edmonton Journal reports that Enbridge has quietly amassed a comprehensive network of pipelines capable of moving more than one million barrels of toxic tar sands per day (bpd).

According to the reporting, Enbridge's total "combination of line expansions and new construction represents more capacity than TransCanada’s 830,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline."

Thus far, environmentalists and critics of tar sands have primarily focused their efforts on the Keystone XL pipeline, with tentative success. Increasing protests and awareness of tar sands' calamitous effects have temporarily curtailed Transcanada's pipeline project and, according to an "unnamed US official," the Obama administration has further postponed the final decision "to sometime at the beginning of the summer."

According to Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco, the oil giant has been working "aggressively" to counter the resultant and growing bottleneck of tar sands by developing their own network of pipelines in an effort to move oil from Alberta, Montana and North Dakota to markets on the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard.


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“Over the next three years we’re investing $15 billion in three initiatives that can provide additional markets for about one million barrels of Alberta production. And that is in addition to all the regional pipeline development we’re undertaking in the oilsands and elsewhere.”


Last week, representatives from over 25 US and Canadian First Nations tribes met on Yankton Sioux land in South Dakota to craft and sign a mutual-support treaty calling on governments to halt all pipeline projects and put an end Alberta tar sands development.

"Oil sands projects present unacceptable risks to the soil, the waters, the air, sacred sites, and our ways of life,” the treaty states. Signers pledged "mutual and collective opposition to the XL pipeline, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines through British Columbia, and the Kinder Morgan trans-mountain pipeline and tanker projects that are being reviewed by the Canadian government."

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