Le Blogue Broadbent

Big Oil, we’ve got your back

Need more evidence that Big Oil has conservatives playing by industry rules and not vice versa?

Internal records from the Alberta government, released under the provincial freedom of information law, show how hard the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has been working to neuter and push off proposed rules regarding capping greenhouse gas emissions (kudos CBC).

You see, "higher stringency requirements" would "impact production and revenue," so they "should not be fast-tracked," according to CAPP.

This snapshot into behind-the-scence negotiations between industry and government looks familiar to people in Ottawa, where Big Oil has a very receptive audience with federal Conservatives.

Remember last year's massive budget implementation bill? CAPP recommended the Conservative government pack a series of laws to weaken environmental rules into the omnibus bill, instead of multiple pieces of legislation. The Conservative ran with the suggestion, and the massive budget implementation bill put clean water, species at risk and public participation in environmental hearings in peril.

Is it any surprise that Canadian oil companies are lagging far behind international peers when it comes to environmental performance reporting?

Bloomberg analysed data about repoting things such as emissions, spills and water use, and reported Friday that the 10 largest oil and gas companies in Canada scored an average of 31.7 out of 100 on environmental-performance disclosures in 2011. In contrast, U.S. and European competitors scored higher, including Exxon Mobil (54.6) and Royal Dutch Shell (48.8). BP, responsible for the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010, scored 62.

Is this what free rein looks like?

Photo: pembina. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.