U.S. greens shut down Canadian oil – by Vivian Krause (National Post – November 29, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

For U.S. foundations, this is about fossil fuels

Vivian Krause is a Vancouver researcher and writer. On Twitter she’s @FairQuestions.

Heads up, Canada! Our one and only big energy customer, the United States, isn’t going to need Canadian oil any more. That’s the implication of the International Energy Agency’s latest predictions. The U.S. will be the world’s largest oil producer by 2020 and the largest oil exporter by 2030. Some say this could happen a lot sooner.

At the same time that the U.S. is fast becoming an energy exporter, American charitable foundations are restricting Canadian fossil fuel development with conservation initiatives that put huge areas of land off-limits to natural resources development. Whether it is their intention or not, large conservation areas are de facto trade barriers that would restrict Canada’s marine access to global energy markets — on all three coasts — and maintain the U.S. monopoly on Canadian exports, keeping Canada over a barrel and on the sidelines of the global energy market.

The downside of the U.S. monopoly on Canadian exports is huge. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources told the B.C. Business Council in a speech Tuesday that the Canadian economy loses out on $18-billion annually – $50-million every day – because Canadian oil is sold into the U.S. market below market value.

For the Canadians on the front lines of environmental conservation initiatives, it’s all about saving the bears, caribou, salmon and so forth. But for the U.S. foundations that fund these initiatives, this is about oil.

The largest environmental initiatives in Canada are the Great Bear Rainforest on the north coast of B.C., the Canadian Boreal Initiative and the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative. In all three, the big funder is an American foundation.

Since the late 1990s the San Francisco-based William & Flora Hewlett Foundation (“Hewlett”) and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation (“Packard”), both created by the founders of tech giant Hewlett-Packard, have paid US$90-million to First Nations and environmental groups, tax returns show.

The Seattle-based Wilburforce Foundation, created by Gordon Letwin, one of the founders of Microsoft, has granted at least US$23-million to B.C. ENGOs and is the big funder behind the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative which would restrict mining and energy development on a huge swath of North America, 3,200 km long and 500 km wide.

Hewlett’s Western Conservation strategy, co-funded by Wilburforce and others, aims to protect iconic species such as grizzly, lynx, beaver and bighorn. But there’s more to it than that. This initiative aims to restrict fossil fuel development on 85-million acres in the U.S., Alberta, B.C. and Yukon. In essence, they want eight parks, each the size of Switzerland.

Another Hewlett goal is that the energy supply is at least 25% renewable. As such, the focus on British Columbia is peculiar. B.C.’s energy is already 94% renewable, one of the best in the world.

For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/11/28/vivian-krause-u-s-greens-shut-down-canadian-oil/