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Sunday, May 25, 2014

TransCanada plans to ship oil by rail to the U.S. until pipeline is approved

   Canada column for Sunday, May 25/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   TransCanada Corp. is determined to get its crude oil to the U.S. – even by rail for now – after another regulatory delay of its proposed Keystone XL pipeline project.
   Company president Russ Girling expressed his frustration to policy-makers in New York and Washington after learning that the ongoing Nebraska court dispute over the pipeline route has caused the presidential approval process to be delayed indefinitely.
   TransCanada will take interim measures to ship its oil “between now and when we can build a pipeline,” he said.
   His main message in the U.S. was that TransCanada will proceed with shipping oil by rail instead of by pipeline to refineries in the southern United States.
   The company already has oil-storage facilities in Hardisty, Alberta and Cushing, Okla., and is considering building new storage space in Steele City, Neb.
   It’s not a cleaner or safer option but would move the oil to XL’s already completed southern portion, Girling said.
   The initial objective is to ship up to half of the 830,000 barrels a day the pipeline is designed to carry.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Three ex-railway workers arrested in Quebec oil-tank train disaster

   Canada column for Sunday, May 18/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Three former employees of the insolvent Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway have been arrested on 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death after last summer’s deadly derailment in Quebec.
   The arrests concern an oil-tanker train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
   Engineer Thomas Harding, Jean Demaitre, manager of train operations, and Richard Labrie, railway traffic controller, were released from custody on $15,000 bail each.
   The unattended train parked for the night rolled back into the town with 60 tank cars derailing and several exploding.
    It had been carrying millions of gallons of crude oil en route to the Irving oil refinery in New Brunswick from the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota.
   Central Maine and Quebec Railway, the company buying the assets of the insolvent railway, is planning to resume the shipment of nonhazardous goods soon, said John Giles, president and CEO.
   The company wants to ship oil after track safety improvements are made, he added.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Pro-choice candidates are only welcome to run for federal Liberals in Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, May 11/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Anyone who isn’t pro-choice is not welcome to run for the federal Liberal party in the 2015 election, says leader Justin Trudeau.
   The bombshell announcement to bar candidates who don’t support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion could dash the comeback hopes of several previously defeated Liberals.
   The only exception is for incumbent Members of Parliament even those sharing the belief that abortion is morally wrong.
   Trudeau, who said the party has been pro-choice since 2012, does not believe a government should regulate what happens with a woman and her body.
   “I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills,” Trudeau said.
   Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s abortion law as unconstitutional in 1988.
   Two topless women disrupted an anti-abortion rally Thursday by thousands of people on Parliament Hill when they rushed the stage shouting “my body, my rules.”
   In another controversial stand, Trudeau earlier called for the decriminalization of marijuana.