December 21, 2016

2016: The year Canada’s Energy Citizens were heard

Congratulations, Energy Citizens. This was your year.

As 2016 draws to a close, we want to thank you for everything you have done in support of oil and gas developed the Canadian way over the last 12 months.

It was another challenging year. Commodity prices started down the road to recovery, but it’s been slow. The worst wildfire in Alberta’s history raged through Fort McMurray, the epicentre of Canada’s oil sands. And while it’s still early days, it would seem the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president will likely accelerate America’s transition from our biggest energy customer to our biggest energy competitor. Yet despite these challenges, thanks to you we head into 2017stronger and with a renewed optimism for what comes next.

The year starts with three major project approvals secured: the Line 3 and TransMountain pipelines and the Pacific NorthWest LNG project. The pipelines will open up new markets for Alberta’s oil sands by carrying product to tidewater. Trans Mountain will also give us a direct access to world markets and the ability to sell our natural resources for higher prices. The Pacific NorthWest facility will pump nearly $3 billion into Canada’s GDP. Together, the three projects represent well over 100,000 jobs and billions of dollars in taxes that governments can use to ensure Canada continues to have one of the best qualities of life in the world.

Energy Citizens played a huge role in these approvals. All told, our letter writing campaigns in support of these projects resulted in more than 40,000 emails and other communications sent to elected officials, including more than 10,000 to Members of Parliament and nearly 20,000 to the Prime Minister’s Office. In an era where it only takes a few tweets and a maybe a hundred emails to get a politician’s attention, the impact of several thousand can’t be overstated.

Energy Citizens made more than 1,600 submissions to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in support of LNG and a truck rally that went all the way from northern BC to Ottawa that demonstrated how real this movement is.

It was also an important year for COSIA - the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. This group of energy producers was formed in 2012 with a mandate to accelerate improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through new technologies like molten fuel carbonate cells that capture CO2 while generating clean electricity. In 2016, COSIA’s total lifetime investment in these new technologies crested $1.3 billion.

Our digital presence continues to grow. A little over a year ago we had only 10,000 Facebook followers. Today, that number stands at 150,000. Our posts are shared an average of 1,400 times and seen by up to 1.5 million people. Your on-line activity is having a positive, powerful impact in the debate over the responsible, safe development of Canada’s energy resources.

The more vocal Energy Citizens are, the stronger our movement is.

And that is important as we look ahead. In 2016, we proved Canada’s Energy Citizens are growing both in number and influence. We were seen and we were heard. So thank you. But there’s always more work to be done.

Looking ahead to 2017, pipeline construction will be the next hurdle to clear. Approvals are one thing. Ensuring our leaders know they have the support of the majority of Canadians, not a vocal minority of industry opponents, will be critical if we want these projects to continue to move forward. That’s where Canada’s Energy Citizens will step up.

Never forget, developing energy the Canadian way is the best way. We have a powerful and positive story to tell. As this year showed, more and more Canadians are listening.

Brad Tennant
Canada’s Energy Citizens

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