Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Making note of current Trans Mountain turmoil, Eagle Spirit's Calvin Helin once again points the compass towards the North Coast

As the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau tries to find its path to deliver the Trans Mountain pipeline to the finish line in Burnaby, a proponent of another project is suggesting a course change, with the Eagle Spirit pipeline proposal now being offered up as solution to the need to get Alberta oil to global markets.

With the backdrop of the International Pipeline Conference and Expo in Calgary as the stage, Calvin Helin, the President of Eagle Spirit, spoke to the theme of the Eagle Spirit pipeline proposal. Noting in a number of interviews that in his view, should the Federal government back off of its plans for an oil tanker moratorium on the North Coast, that the Eagle Spirit plan, to ship oil to global markets from a terminal on  the North Coast, would have few troubles in passing any National Energy Board review issues.

A declaration that perhaps might be a tad optimistic on his part, particularly given some of the dedication towards an Oil tanker moratorium that has been found on the North Coast and the previous opposition to the Eagle Spirit plan that has been found across the region.

Beyond the Eagle Spirit reaction, just taking a quick review of how the recent environmental assessment process for a number of Prince Rupert area LNG projects went forward might offer up a sample of some of the push back that lays ahead as Eagle Spirit continues to move its initiative forward.

As those that followed the LNG process will remember, those engagements came with a number of submissions in opposition to the proposed development plans of the last few years and engaged the community on both sides of the issue in full and sometimes emotional debate.

By the end of the LNG reviews through 2015-2017, Prince Rupert had seen three proposed projects abandoned, one eliminated before the process even got underway, with one other currently in a long term slumber at the moment.

For Mr. Helin though it's all systems go in his push to deliver what he is now calling a multi-pipeline energy corridor. 

Some of his confidence towards the Eagle Spirit project is its focus on shipping by pipeline upgraded bitumen, and not raw bitumen from a facility in Alberta, hailing the process that is to be used by RII North America that reduces the amount of CO2 from the environment.

Which is something that the Eagle Spirit CEO notes will mean no tailings ponds, with the facility  making use of recycled water, reducing the environmental footprint that the processing may deliver.

In an interview with BNN-Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, Helin recounted some of the past history to the Eagle Spirit plans and how he notes that the environmental model meets all the concerns of the chiefs and the environmentalists.

As part of the Eagle Spirit path ahead, Helin observes that the company has met with the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, with plans in motion to meet with BC.

Hew also notes that the Eagle Spirit objective is to have an accord signed between the Indigenous leaders of the Chief's council and the three provinces, something he believes is realistic and possible.

Mr. Helin also turns the tables on the Federal government to a fashion, calling attention to the Federal government's bill C-48 banning shipments of Oil from the North Coast.

Helin suggests that much like the Trans Mountain pipeline process which was taken to task for lack of consultation with First Nations; the oil moratorium push from the Trudeau Liberals also came without consultation with the First Nations that are among those in favour of the Eagle Spirit project.

While a Go Fund me initiative to fund a challenge to the Federal legislation seems to have stalled,  towards those concerns he also makes note of the moves by the Lax Kw'alaams community in  seeking to quash the bill if it becomes law, adding that other First Nations in Northern BC and Alberta may be filing their own writs.

Mr. Helin also observes that Eagle Spirit will also be appearing as part of the Senate Committee Review that is currently underway related to Bill C48, with the company looking to find support in the Senate to stop the bill.

He also reviews the fall back plan that Eagle Spirit has, which would be to shift the terminal location to Hyder, Alaska leaving it the Federal government to take up any shipment concerns with the US government and the Trump administration.

The full BNN interview can be reviewed below:

Eagle Spirit Chair on what's new for the pipeline proposal
Eagle Spirit president says pipeline from northern Alberta to Prince Rupert could win NEB approval

You can review some of the past items of note related to the Eagle Spirit proposal from our archive page here.

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