Oil history


Indigenous Voices and Resistance in Oil Pipeline History: The Dene Tha’ and the Norman Wells Pipeline

The actions, protest, and resistance in Sioux Nation Territory among Indigenous people, ENGOs, and other allies in North Dakota in recent months echo what Paul Sabin once referred to as “voices from the hydrocarbon frontier.” Once again, Indigenous people stand on the front lines of opposition to the development of […]


The Biggest Oil Pipeline Spills in Canadian History

In March 1950, four Alberta “pipeline walkers” spoke with a reporter from Canadian Press about their tireless work. Each worker walked twelve to fifteen miles per day, checking on pipeline facilities in the Edmonton district and looking for leaks, a consistent problem for Alberta’s booming oil industry in the mid-twentieth […]


Environmental History and the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Proposal

The National Energy Board is currently considering a proposal to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain Pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day (bpd). On Wednesday, May 27, 2015, the City of Vancouver published a series of expert reports on the pipeline expansion proposal and the Mayor, Gregor Robertson, announced […]


Burrard Inlet, Beaches, and Oil Spills: A Historical Perspective

Last week, British Columbians once again witnessed the effects of oil on Burrard Inlet. Local authorities cautioned residents to avoid the water along the shores in Vancouver and West Vancouver after a large slick of bunker fuel oil appeared on the surface of Burrard Inlet. Around 5pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015, a boater notified Port […]


Oil Pipeline Spill History at the National Energy Board of Canada Library

This week, I am taking advantage of some of the historical research materials available at the National Energy Board library in Calgary, Alberta. As we discussed on a recent episode of Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast, federal department libraries are incredible resources for environmental history. With the closure and consolidation […]


Tracking Canada’s History of Oil Pipeline Spills

Last week, CBC News published a series of articles about energy pipeline safety on Canada’s federally-regulated system of oil and gas pipelines, revealing that between 2000 and 2011 Canada suffered 1,047 separate pipeline incidents. Its findings confirm my own earlier research on the history of oil pipeline spills on the […]


Open Data on the History of Oil Spills in Alberta, 1975-2013 2

Global News has made a very substantial contribution to the study of the history of oil pipeline spills in Alberta. As I previously wrote in May, Leslie Young, Anna Mehler Paperny, Francis Silvaggio, and a production team from GlobalNews.ca assembled the most comprehensive chronology of oil pipeline spills in Alberta, covering […]


Nature’s Past Canadian Environmental History Podcast Episode 38 Now Available

Episode 38 Histories of Canadian Environmental Issues, Part 8 – Tar Sands: 29 May 2013 [audio: http://niche-canada.org/files/sound/naturespast/natures-past38.mp3][01:38:37] The northern Alberta tar sands (or bitumen) resource is the most well-known environmental issue in Canada today. Representing both a significant component of the nation’s resource economy, and the single greatest threat to […]


Alberta Oil Spill History Uncovered, 1975-2013 6

Leslie Young, Anna Mehler Paperny, Francis Silvaggio, and a production team from GlobalNews.ca have just compiled and published the most comprehensive chronology of Alberta oil spills, spanning a period from 1975 to 2013. Following an eleven-month investigation, the reporters acquired a nearly complete set of records regarding spills of crude oil, […]


Talking with Rick Cluff about the History of Pipeline Hearings in Canada

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of, once again, speaking with Rick Cluff on CBC Vancouver’s “Early Edition” about the history pipeline hearings in Canada. Rick and I discussed the Mackenzie Valley pipeline inquiry (1974-1977) and how it compared to the current hearings on the Enbridge-proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline. […]