Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says you can be green in the heart of oil country — and oil and gas pipelines can be a part of that green vision.
Iveson, who is in Vancouver today to speak at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, told CBC’s The Early Edition pipelines and sustainability are not an either-or proposition.
For one, he said, most of the crude that would be transported by pipeline is currently shipped to the coast by rail.
“What we’re seeing today is 700,000 to 1,000,000 barrels of crude capacity by rail which is about equivalent to what a pipeline would move,” he explained.
“As someone who is mayor of a community that is really the epicentre of Canada’s pipeline network but also has a considerable amount of rail traffic moving through it, on a risk management basis, we would always pick pipelines over rail.”
His comments come as the federal government is poised to decide on the fate of three pipelines in the coming days.
The government’s decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is expected to come after it announces its decision on Enbridge’s Line 3 and Northern Gateway pipeline proposals.
Whatever is decided, Iveson said new pipelines will not increase development in the oilsands because the Alberta government has put a cap on oilsands emissions.
“Our commitment around environmental stewardship is strong,” he said.
“The people who work in the resource industry along the frontlines are concerned about the water and ecosystems, concerned about the impact of their trade on the planet.”
Low carbon future for Edmonton
Edmonton has been working on transitioning to a lower carbon economy for decades, he added.
He said a number of green initiatives in the city are under way including a waste management plant that diverts 90 per cent of the city’s garbage from the landfill, biofuel technologies, and a upcoming carbon neutral neighbourhood.
Nevertheless, Iveson said the city, province, and country will still need fossil fuels — and the continued success of Alberta’s oil and gas industry — until it completes its energy transition.
“We’re talking about a transition here from energy systems, not a revolution.”
A federal government decision on whether to approve the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is expected by Dec. 19.