The Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) is a pipeline underway in Western Canada which will transport petroleum liquids west to domestic refineries as well as for export abroad. Like all other Canadian pipelines, TMX has met stiff opposition from activists who have spoken several mistruths about the expansion project.
In light of having a more balanced, fact-based and inclusive discussion around why Canadians should support TMX, we’d like to debunk some of the myths spread by opponents who ignore the facts.
So, let’s get to dispelling the misinformation with these top three Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline myths debunked! For more myth-busting articles, be sure to check out:
- Trans Mountain & the Environment: 21 Facts
- 3 Reasons Why Insurance Companies Should Support Canadian Pipelines
- Top 3 Coastal GasLink Myths Debunked
MYTH #1 – Affected Indigenous Communities Do Not Support TMX
Trans Mountain protestors purposely leave out important context when talking about Indigenous opposition to the project. They say Indigenous groups don’t support TMX, but don’t specify exactly how many First Nations don't want the project built.
Why? Because if they did, the facts wouldn’t support their claims.
According to the latest news, 120 out of 129 affected First Nations communities along the TMX’s route either support or do not oppose the project. Furthermore, TMX had signed 69 benefit agreements with 75 Indigenous communities worth $580 million as of February 2022, and is expected to generate over $2.7 billion in Indigenous-based contract awards.
Sure, there are a few select Indigenous communities against TMX who have just as much of a right to say “no” to the pipeline as proponents have the right to say “yes." But both sides should be heard, no?
Also, TMX protestors suggest that the First Nations communities who do not oppose the project but have nor stated support for it either are somehow also against it.
How does that work, exactly?
Anti-pipeline activists should be more specific when they say that Indigenous groups oppose the project and be committed to a more balanced and fact-based discussion with the Canadian public, don’t you agree? Also see:
MYTH #2 – Trans Mountain Threatens British Columbia's Coastline
We’ve heard this time and time again from environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) that the Trans Mountain Expansion is a major threat to British Columbia’s coastline.
There’s just one problem with this alarmist ENGO rhetoric: Trans Mountain has been operating safely without marine incident since it began exporting oil many decades ago.
Yes, you heard that right.
Since 1956, Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine Terminal tankers have safely transported petroleum products through the Port of Vancouver without a single spill.
Canada’s federal government has also committed to ensuring that doesn’t change with its $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan (OPP). The OPP’s interactive map of Canada shows the location of each project and initiative that has been announced to date, including:
- New Coast Guard stations along the BC coastline
- Funding research projects to understand the impact of underwater noise on marine life, including Southern Resident Killer Whales
- Funding projects to help restore coastal aquatic habitats that will benefit several key species including Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon
- Partnerships with Indigenous groups to develop a web-based system that increases access to local maritime data
- Establishing a partnership with North and Central Coast First Nations in BC to work together on marine safety and oceans protection
- Installing new environmental response equipment to help the Coast Guard respond to environmental threats
- Constructing six new radars to provide an accurate picture of traffic in BC waters
Furthermore, TMX has worked hard to identify and propose additional safety measures to further mitigate risks involved with more tanker traffic transiting the Port of Vancouver. Once implemented, they will increase the level of care and safety in the region to well above globally-accepted shipping standards.
If the past is any indicator of what’s to come, we can rest assured that TMX will take every precaution – as it has for nearly 70 years – to prevent any marine incidents in the Port of Vancouver, Salish Sea or other waterways. Learn more:
MYTH #3 – There is No Demand for TMX’s Oil
Pipeline opponents suggest that the TMX is useless because there is no demand for the extra oil it will bring to global markets.
But that is just not true.
Apportionment on the Trans Mountain and the amount of expanded capacity already accounted for by committed shippers gives us a good idea of demand for its heavy oil.
For example, of the TMX’s future shipping capacity of 890,000 barrels per day, about 700,000 bpd has already been accounted for by shippers.
Does that sound like a pipeline that isn’t needed?
Additionally, growing heavy oil refining capacity in Asia and Californian refiners geared towards heavy feedstock are likely future takers of any excess TMX capacity not currently reserved by shippers.
The International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook 2021 found that global oil demand is expected to reach ~104 million bpd by 2035, then will slowly drop to ~103.5 million bpd by 2040 (Stated Policies Scenario).
It seems the world will need oil for a long time.
Hence, what better place to source oil supply from than responsible producers like Canada, a country with strong protections for human rights and the environment?! Learn more:
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