Canada Government Whining Over California Transportation Fuel Standards: Stuck In The Tar Sands


Canada's Natural Resources Minister, Lisa Raitt. Image credit:Ottawa Citizen

The California Air Resources Board, perhaps unintentionally spring-boarding from their acronym, "the CARB," voted nearly unanimously in favor of a rule to require "low carbon" or "Low-Carb" fossil fuels increasingly be sold in California.

The proposed requirement is based not just on vehicle-emitted CO2. It requires an accounting for a transportation fuel's upstream CO2 burden. Hence, those 'oil majors,' heavily vested in Alberta Tar Sands projects, as well as a builder of pipelines to carry Alberta's carbon burdened oil southward, are singing the Neglected North Blues for California's Governor.
The heavy carbon footprint of oil produced from Alberta tar sands means producers may eventually be locked out of US oil markets if this CARB rule propagates to other states (as has happened in the past with other CARB rules). And so, Canada has begun an 'unfair trade barrier' rant. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources for the Canadian federal government (pictured) is speaking up for European-Owned Oil Companies.

Via: Toronto Globe & Mail, Oil sands brace for American green fuel regulation. They tried their best but failed to stop it with a lobbying visit to California:-

OTTAWA — Federal and Alberta officials will make a last-ditch effort in California on Thursday to head off a regulation that would target oil sands emission levels and create a new barrier to the export of the unconventional oil.
California gets to define how Canadian operations must perform life cycle inventories:-
Under the low-carbon fuel standard, refiners and petroleum marketers will be required to track their supplies back to the wellhead.

This means marketers will have to provide an assessment of the carbon intensity of the fuel, based on guidelines being produced by staff at the Air Resources Board.

Plug your ears because here comes the whining:-
In a letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that was filed with the board, federal Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt complained that the proposed rules appear to single out oil sands producers for punitive treatment.

"We are concerned that crude oil derived from Canada's oil sands may be discriminated against as a high [carbon-intensity] crude oil, while other crude oils with similar upstream emissions are not singled out," Ms. Raitt wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.

"This could be perceived as creating an unfair trade barrier between our two countries."

A similar thing happened beginning in the late 1990's, when California as well as several other US States and the USEPA found an extensive problem with a rapidly dispersing, and very unpleasant fuel taste in drinking water sources caused by transportation fuel spills and leaks: it was Methyl tert-butyl ether or "MTBE." Prior to that, at the regulatory urging of USEPA, and based on industry proposals, MTBE was widely added to gasoline as an oxygen carrier ( to minimize carbon monoxide emissions) and as an anti-knock agent.

As MTBE use became widespread, groundwater contamination problems became so extensive that elected officials s began to complain on behalf of their constituents. At that point, USEPA decided ethanol, another good oxygen carrier, would be less prone to groundwater contamination. The switch was on. (This is what set us on the corn-based ethanol path, which was widened greatly by the US Congress under the aegis of energy security and also by pandering to the farm vote in the Iowa primary election.)

Consequently, USEPA filed notice of plans to phase out the MTBE blending requirements. The upshot was that large Canadian firms in the MTBE supply chain - no need to go over the chemistry or business names - made legal and trade barrier noises about the unfairness of the change. The point being, it is one more example of...

Foreign suppliers whining about changes to US Environmental regulations.
The same thing that happened with MTBE is now happening with the crude oil being made from Alberta Tar Sands. BP and Shell, both firms headquartered in Europe and variously invested in Canadian Tar Sands production, and speaking through their government surrogates, are whining about the CARB climate action.

Sidebar: It doesn't stop with MTBE and Low-CARB gasoline. BP currently has a US TeeVee ad campaign going about needing access to 'oil and gas in our backyards'. Since when are "our" backyards controlled by European companies?

More posts on all this mess.
Murphy Oil Seeking Nearly 700% Wisconsin Refinery Capacity Expansion... The Coming Texification Of The Upper Midwest
Carbon Capture and Storage "Oversold as Panacea" by Tar Sands ...
Tar Sand Investments Could Be Oil Industry's Version of the Sub ...
Obama Admits Canadian Tar Sands' Carbon Footprint a Problem (Phew ...
Economic, Environmental Costs of Developing Tar Sands & Oil Shale ...

Tags: Canada | Tar Sands