The federal government is not subjecting foreign oil imported into Canada to the same environmental standards is has imposed on Western Canadian oil.
Canadian companies that want to build pipelines now have to account for what are called upstream and downstream emissions before the federal Liberals will approve their construction plans.
Basically, pipeline companies have to take responsibility for all the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the oil or bitumen as it is extracted from the ground, even before it enters their proposed pipeline. And they must own the emissions after the oil leaves their line to be refined or used in power plants or vehicles.
This requirement is new since the Liberals took over in Ottawa. It came out last summer after a bunch of Liberal appointees joined the National Energy Board (NEB).
It is, effectively, a death sentence for any pipeline not yet approved. And that is why environmentalists, such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief adviser Gerald Butts (the former Canadian head of the World Wildlife Fund), have pushed for it for years.
Eco-activists calculated that if they could get the NEB to impose upstream and downstream regulations on pipelines, the projects would become so uneconomical that companies proposing them would walk away.
That is exactly what happened with TransCanada’s Energy East project last September. One month after the new upstream/downstream rules were imposed, TransCanada announced it was abandoning the project.
It was a huge victory for environmentalists and for the Trudeau Liberals.