Comparative Pipeline Politics: Oil Sands Pipeline Controversies in Canada and the United States

31 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2012 Last revised: 12 Sep 2012

See all articles by George Hoberg

George Hoberg

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Faculty of Forestry

Andrea Rivers

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Geoff Salomons

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Over the past decade, energy policy has become increasingly controversial in Canada and the United States, with Canada’s oil sands emerging as a major flashpoint of controversy. This paper will compare energy-environment policy and governance in Canada and the United States through a case study of two controversial oil sands pipelines: Keystone XL to the US Gulf Coast, and Northern Gateway to British Columbia’s West Coast. The cross-jurisdictional comparisons will provide enhanced leverage of institutions as a potential explanatory variable. Of particular interest are the procedural requirements for the review process and their relation to the larger legal and political structures of each country. The analysis yields some surprises. Courts, which are generally thought to play a more important role in the US, are shown to be a powerful force in the Canadian case. Subnational governments, generally thought to play a more important role in Canada’s more decentralized federation, are shown to be a more influential force in the US case. Timing turns out to also be very important, but not in the way typically conceptualized in the comparative literature.

Suggested Citation

Hoberg, George and Rivers, Andrea and Salomons, Geoff, Comparative Pipeline Politics: Oil Sands Pipeline Controversies in Canada and the United States (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108662

George Hoberg (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Faculty of Forestry ( email )

Vancouver, BC
601-822-3728 (Phone)
604-822-9106 (Fax)

Andrea Rivers

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

Geoff Salomons

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

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