The Oil Behind the Wind Project — Who Really Owns GMP?


WHO’S REALLY BEHIND GMP?  Turns out, it is in part Enbridge, a not-so-green tar sands developer.  Read more below.

As you know, GMP is owned by Gaz Metro, which in turn is owned by various other corporations and holding companies.  At the top of this pyramid are two companies, Trencap and Enbridge.  Trencap (which owns 61.1% of Gaz Metro) is made up of Caisse de depot et placement, Quebec employees retirement fund; Fonds de solidarité, a private retirement fund; BC Investment Management Corp, British Columbia pension fund; Regime des rentes du mouvement desjardin, another pension fund; Regime de retraite de l’universite du Quebec, college pension fund.

Enbridge (38.98%) is another story:  they are considered one of the key players in tar sands development, and not a green company overall.  They’re primarily a pipeline company, with lines running from the Alberta tar sands fields all the way to near Chicago.  About a year ago, one of their pipes leaked 840,000 gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, a disaster still not cleaned up.  This is just the latest in a series of more than 800 Enbridge spills over the last 10 years, releasing a total of 168,000 barrels of oil, not including the Kalamazoo spill.

Perhaps worst of all, they are planning a project called the Northern Gateway Pipeline (similar to TransCanada’s Keystone XL) running from Alberta to ports on the British Columbia coast.  The intent is to ship tar sands crude to China, Japan, and other Asian markets. Like the Keystone pipeline, it’s likely that this would mean “game over” for the climate, as Bill McKibben likes to say:  according to a report by a Canadian environmental group (the Polaris Institute) “the 525,000 barrels per day flowing through the Northern Gateway pipeline would facilitate an expansion in the tar sands that would produce an additional 6.5 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.”

Enbridge has a long and dismal record of expropriating land from farmers and Native peoples for their projects (sound familiar?), often using eminent domain.

Their corporate structure is almost impossible to decipher, with numerous partnerships and holding companies created for god knows what purpose.  Here’s a typical passage from the Polaris report:

“Houston-base Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP) owns many of Enbridge’s US pipelines and natural gas infrastructure….  EEP is actually operated by another independent company, Enbridge Energy Management, whose principle activity is to manage EEP’s business and affairs.  However, neither EEP nor Enbridge Energy Management … have any employees [because] all of EEP’s pipelines and other assets are operated by employees of Enbridge…  Yet, EEP is legally an independent U.S. company and its stocks are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2008 EEP’s $10 billion in annual revenue was good enough to rank it 268th on Fortune magazine’s list of the 500 largest U.S. companies by revenue.”  And that’s only one of the many subsidiaries and shell companies Enbridge owns partially or outright.

The connection between GMP and Enbridge — one of the worst climate change actors — should rub some of the greenwash off the Lowell project, and raise concerns about the merger.  At the very least, GMP ratepayers should know that every time they pay their bill, a portion of the profit climbs the ladder into Enbridge’s coffers; maybe it’s invested in further tar sands development or maybe it goes towards the CEO’s $6 million annual salary, but it’s not particularly green in any case.

There’s likely a lot more here, especially in light of the part of the Comprehensive Energy Plan that calls for a natural gas pipeline down the western side of the state, the desire for transmission corridors from Hydro Quebec to southern New England, and so on.

The Polaris report is at http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/attachments/5063_EnbridgeProfile.pdf

The NWF story on the Kalamazoo River spill is at http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Policy-Solutions/Drilling-and-Mining/Tar-Sands/Michigan-Oil-Spill.aspx

And to see Gaz Metro’s corporate structure, go to http://www.corporatif.gazmetro.com/lentreprise/structure-corporative.aspx?culture=en-ca

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31 comments on “The Oil Behind the Wind Project — Who Really Owns GMP?

  1. As for the majority owner, Trencap, it makes diabolical sense for a natural gas broker to invest in large-scale wind.

    Because wind is so variable, it needs back-up generation that can respond quickly enough to avoid destabilizing the grid. That need is provided by open-cycle natural gas–fired turbines (OCGT). More wind = more gas plants.

    The diabolical part is that OCGT is much less efficient than combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT), which, however, can not ramp quickly enough to balance wind energy production. Also factoring in the extra emissions due to rapid ramping (like city driving vs. highway) several analysts have determined that wind + OCGT produces more emissions that CCGT alone.

  2. windy says:

    Hey guys – tell it to McKibben – frequently enough so he hears us.

    He has a lot of clout and his support of big wind is doing damage to the cause.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bill-McKibben/116439015075458

  3. freddy crouger says:

    Well that should come as no surprise Gaz Metro is an energy company duh.. Just how clean is your house ask one of the biggest anti winders among you Keven Mcgrath from Lowell about his Humvee with the “NO WIND” license plate about his job as an engineer for a large South American off shore oil drilling company. Notice on this website and from the Lowell Mtn Group he is always listed as “energy expert” ha dont want anyone to know the truth about your engineer huh??

    • wood chuck says:

      Hi Freddy,

      I know who you! If I remeber right I was a General Manager of a 60 mw plant in South China. You have been in my house ya know I have the furnature to prove it. I also remember managing 16 hydro sites in NH and VT? I think that was me?? Also there is this thing called a business plan (Pro Forma) Try writting one or better still have one of your undelings (They are not too bright) write one for you.

      Just plug in the accelerated depreciation and subsidies and see the bottom line!! There it will be the TRUE story behind wind our tax dollars lining corporate Canadas’ pockets.

      A real no brainer..

      Lets get the facts straight buddy. I am building off shore rigs in Singapore not Brazil? I will park my H-3 when you decide to walk…..

      Why not stop by the house and we can have a chat?

      The Lowell project will be a dismal failure and guess what my friend….EVERYONE WILL KNOW…Why??

      I live there Einstein lol

      Too easy lol

      • freddy crouger says:

        Wood Chuck/Kevin,

        My sincerest apologies Singapore not Brazil how could I be so stupid. Keep up the good work setting up those wonderfully environmentaly friendly drilling rigs. I am glad to know smart folks like you are working hard to suck more oil out of our mother earth and dam up our rivers and streams to create our energy needs while opposing wind energy. You claim to not be a NIMBY but it is clear from your comments “I will park my H-3 when you decide to walk…..” you could give a shit less about our environment. So what did that comment mean you wont care about using fossil fuels until I stop driving? The hypocrisy is staggering. How many dollars of your paychecks have come from government subsidies? Worked at a 60 mw plant in China 16 hydro sites in NH and VT and now building off shore rigs in Singapore. Anyone else see the hypocrisy here??? To easy Kevin way to easy lol.

  4. Vermonter says:

    It has been said thgat the town of Lowell voted for this mess….Hmmm I wonder did they really know what they were voting on? GMP never asked Albany and Craftsbury how they felt? I remeber a company that came to Lowell back in 2004 and the people said NO! Yet there was no money on the table (or on the ballot for voting) Sounds like a real bribe to me? What about people that will listen to the noise and see the mess from their homes? Sounds like greed to me..

    • Trigger says:

      freddy do you dream this up as you go along lol…You were saying subsidies for people in the off shore drilling industry? I do recall you filling up your vehicle when I saw you a few months ago?

      You have to be on crack….Destroying the ridge lines in Lowell ( freddy (A.W) did your mommy show you the latest photos??) for green energy that does not work more than 30% of the time.

      I think that subsidies thing may have been a sore subject for you.

      You need to sit down and realize people are not buying your bag of chicken manure….That is right AW once the lowell project realities were expossed out side lowell you were toast….

      ya can try and controll lowell but the rest of us living in Craftsbury and Albany?? Build em and they will come… You bet they will come….They will come alright!! the media will expose GMP and you dirty cronnieds and be held accountable..No pal this is far from over!!

      Yer boxed in lol……The truth always comes out

      you really are a funny icon and entertaing !!!

  5. Sadtosee says:

    well lowell needed the money now lets’ see if it was worth destroying a mountain

    • vermonter says:

      It seems to me that Trip Wileman stands to make a lot of monety here. He is the guy that owns all the land right? What are the subsidies he is talking about as he writes for Mr Fredy? Hmm does not feel right to me?

      • Trip Wileman says:

        “Vermonter” – I would respectfully suggest that this entire tread is largely a distraction. Just as I don’t know who you are (or care), neither do I know who Freddy or even Woodchuck is (desite a seemingly apparent admission by the latter). Kingdom Community Wind is driven by GMP and VEC’s desire to meet the needs of their Vermont ratepayers/members – which in turn is largely driven by state mandates. In that context who the shareholders are of GMP, Gaz Metro, etc is immaterial (besides, as regulated utilities they would earn the regulated rate of return on their investment regardless).

        Ditto for the attacks on my susposed motivations, or even what kind of car one notable opponent drives. Yes, the hummer is the poster child for environmental irresponsibility, but the H3 is not the H1, and I would suspect no worse environmentally than the F-250 I drive, or, for that matter, my wife’s Expedition. The simple reality is that a Prius would function on many of the roads in Lowell.

        I submit that the game of trying to figure out who may be hiding behind what name and thevassociated personal attacks does little but taint the conversation for the worse, so that many who may have something constructive to add, or who may otherwise be open to your position, tune the conversation out entirely.

        At any rate, a few comments submitted for your consideration.

      • Trip Wileman says:

        I meant to say that a Prius would NOT function on many of the roads in Lowell.

  6. freddy crouger says:

    These are the real Nelsons you are fighting for as I have said hypocrisy abound!!

    Editor’s note: Rich Carbonetti is owner of Round Top Woodlot Management Co. He lives in Albany.

    I want to be clear this is not a statement for or against the Lowell wind project. I have an enormous amount of respect for those who are thoughtfully supporting or challenging the role of industrial wind energy in our state’s energy future.

    Rather, I want to discuss why we have found ourselves in this situation from a planning standpoint. In cases where land use and environmental issues are at stake, there are almost always critical points that we can look back on that could have changed the present situation.

    Particularly I want to discuss how two people at the heart of the wind tower matter, Don and Shirley Nelson, helped to fight the very process that could have stopped the wind towers—town planning. I do this because it is important to evaluate how we got here, so that maybe we can do things differently in the future. I also believe the whole story needs to be told, because a lot of people have sympathized with and supported the Nelsons, and before sympathy and support are freely given I think it is important that all the facts are out for everyone to judge for themselves.

    Here is the history: In the 1980s, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 200. This bill was designed to promote local and regional planning efforts. Included in Act 200 were funds available to communities in the form of grants that could fund resource assessments and ultimately the development of town or regional plans. At the time, I had recently moved to Albany and as a forester with knowledge of resource issues I was asked to serve with several other residents to look into Act 200 funding for our town. Well, to our surprise Albany was awarded the very first planning grant in Vermont. Mind you, this grant was only to provide funding for a community study of the resources in town such as: forests, wildlife, recreation, and agriculture as well as to determine how our town’s residents valued these resources.

    Almost immediately a revolt formed against any planning efforts at all in Albany, as well as in many other NEK towns. A group developed called Citizens for Private Property Rights or something like that. In Albany this group’s efforts were spearheaded in part by Don and Shirley Nelson (despite the fact that they live in Lowell!). The Nelsons even had a float in our annual Labor Day parade extolling the absolute rights of private property owners.

    Those of us supporting the grant’s purpose—and planning in general—were labeled “flatlanders” who only wanted to take away the rights of locals to do what they saw fit with their private property. When the rhetoric was at a high pitch we asked opponents of planning whether or not they were concerned that maybe their neighbor might choose a use for their land that was inappropriate like starting a junk yard or dump, or even some industrial plant. In response they called us alarmists and accused us of supporting our vision for Vermont at the expense of private property rights.

    Then about 15 years later, I was involved in an effort to stop liquidation timber cutting in Vermont. I worked with three other foresters and many interested parties to pass Act 15, the Heavy Cut Law.

    In response an opposition group called POST (Property Owners Standing Together) formed. Guess who joined POST and posted their land due to this alleged incursion on private property rights. You guessed it, the Nelsons and a number of their supporters. Again they were vocal opponents of the idea that their right to do with their land as they saw fit would be negatively impacted by the government and by community planning.

    By now I hope all this talk of GMP trampling on the “poor” Nelsons should sound a bit silly. Now that the value of Nelsons’ farm has—in their mind— been negatively impacted by Trip Wileman’s use of HIS property “as he sees fit” it seems that Trip’s private property rights are not so important to the Nelsons. This strikes me as wanting to have your cake and eat it too. In the 1980s and 90s the Nelsons argued that everyone should have the right to do with their property as they see fit, but now that it might harm them they want to restrict Trip’s property rights. Suddenly the Nelson’s are concerned, as we predicted they would be way back when, that there is a land use on an adjoining parcel that could negatively impact them! What a concept.

    Also, I wonder if the Nelsons have honestly informed all of you supporting them that they fought not once but TWICE to insure that Trip would have the right to do with his land as he sees fit.

    In the end, we could have had a thoughtful process in our town and across Vermont that would have considered what these ridgelines mean to us, and what should and should not be done on the ridgelines of Vermont. But this process became impossible when the Nelsons, and many other NEK residents, fought planning tooth and nail. At that time they apparently put their property rights above the rights of all of us to determine the future of the NEK and Vermont and now they are paying the price.

    I would also like to see the journalists covering this story do more than simply present the narrative that the Nelsons are being railroaded by GMP. Hopefully the history of planning in Albany makes clear that the real story is the missed opportunity that residents of the NEK and all of Vermont had to identify these unique ridgelines as valuable resources in need of protecting. Maybe the Chronicle should investigate how many of those speaking out against the wind towers voted to send the planning money back in the 1980s. Those voting results could go a long way to understanding why those questioning the validity and value of industrial wind now have very little say in the process. In the 1980s we argued that something like this could happen if we didn’t institute some form of planning, but people like Don and Shirley argued that any infringement on property rights is bad. Well, under that logic Mr. Wileman owns his land and he should have the right to use it as he desires.

    So for those of you trudging up the mountain above my home in Albany, ask the Nelsons next time why they have changed from virulent opponents of thoughtful planning to neighbors somehow wronged by the very rights they sought so strongly to protect.

    All I have to say to those of you who pilloried planning and the Heavy Cut law, what goes around comes around. In the end we often get exactly what we deserve when we forget that we should be a society of we and not a society of me.

  7. Trip, by your logic I wonder what you will get that you deserve for allowing an important natural area performing important ecological functions to be destroyed. Perhaps when the next heavy rain happens and the waters come flooding off the mountain you will find out. Your attitude towards your nearest neighbors is most unpleasant.

  8. Trip Wileman says:

    Not me (if I am the “Trip” ou are referring to), but I am reading with interest.

    • windy says:

      Trip,

      May your ill-gotten wealth bring you pain and strife in proportion to that you have inflicted upon the earth.

      • freddy crouger says:

        Windy,

        May you stand hard fast to your convictions and show the work how strong and committed to this cause you are. Chain your self to a dozer on the mountain in protest you want media attention that will do it! But hey its better to have others put their safety on the line in the blast area than you get off your couch and do something about it! Were you one of the cowardly persons who filmed themselves on Trip’s land?? Be a man take a stand go offer yourself to the sheriff and confess your crime. But hey that would never happen right and I will tell you why you are a coward. A real environmentalist would be over the line not hiding on the other side encouraging others to do their bidding.

    • freddy crouger says:

      Sorry about the confusion Trip, I guess if someone points out the hypocrisy of the anti-wind folks using clear concise language without resorting to name calling, blatant lies, exaggeration, supporting criminal behavior, and general ignorance they think it must be you. You should take it as a compliment. And for Lowellmountainnews/Annette Smith I can promise you Trip is not the only one who knows your fingers and wallet are all over this “occupation”. So Annette, who paid you to write the Mission Statement or are you doing it to feel better for loosing your fight against Sheffield? Or is this all a scheme to get more gullible folks to send money to the P.O. Box you and Steve Wright share for donations????? Getting a little close to home now huh Annette??

      • Dear Freddy,
        I am not Annette Smith and she did not write our mission statement. A group of us developed it. There are over 200 Mountain Occupiers.
        Maybe you should find somewhere else to share your opinions and false accusations.

    • Kevin McGrath says:

      Thanks trip

  9. freddy crouger says:

    We will see Annette we will see. And im sure once the project is finished and the donation money has dried up you will forget all about KCW as you will be consumed in another paid gig against private property owners.

  10. Jane Viens says:

    You what they say when people assume….well that what they are and have done!! Good for you Freddy!!!! I enjoy reading your comments!!! You ALWAYS speak the truth and hit the nail on the head!! These people however will continue to take it and twist it, turn around to what they want so they can make their slams,etc!!! You see they have no leg to stand on and this the only way that they can get attention!! You have made my day and please keep up the GREAT work!!! There are alot of people out here who just don’t speak up in this forum that are right there with you!!! Thanks for supporting the little guys who has to work his a** off and can’t just sit on mountains and protest!!

  11. freddy crouger says:

    Thanks Jane but lets be honest here most all the commenters on here do not sit on the mountain. Folks like Annete Smith, Steve Wright, Kevin McGrath, Deborah Blair, Jim Blair, Dennis Liddy, Anne Morse and on and on use others to progress their agenda. Specifiably the Sterling College students from Craftsbury they use the college vans to transport folks to the protest site. Tell your Husband to keep up the good work I am proud of his work on this project its a good start and MUCH better than sitting back and doing nothing about our future like most of this country has for the last 50 years.

    • windy says:

      NO one should have to sit on the mountain to guard the constitutional rights of property owners or the sanctity of nature.

      What does Ken Davis say about property rights these days as he proceeds to clearcut the way for overt corporate trespass on individual citizens?

  12. Sadtosee says:

    this is all very cool to read lol…….

  13. Peter Romans says:

    My first and last time on this blog . Why provide a forum for obtuse oral masturbation? The self adulation is an obscenity. Log on here for exposure to very lonely people. Peter Romans

    • Hi Peter,
      I understand and agree with your frustration from the comments on the blog lately. Unfortunately we have no control on what is written. It has been our intent to post everything that comes in so there can be a constuctive dialog from both sides. We are in hopes that your comment will have an affect on the intellegence of the comments coming in, in the future. Thank-You, Stacy

  14. freddy crougar says:

    In response to Lowelmountainnews/Annette Smith :
    “Dear Freddy,
    I am not Annette Smith and she did not write our mission statement. A group of us developed it. There are over 200 Mountain Occupiers.
    Maybe you should find somewhere else to share your opinions and false accusations.”

    Well well well nice try however below is the link from your webstite to the mission statement if you open the metadata you can see your name clearly as the author. Now who is really spreading false accusations?

    For those dont know how to read the metadata here is what it said:
    Title: MISSION STATEMENT
    Author: Annette Smith
    Producer: Mac OSX 10.6.8 Quartz PDF Producer
    Content Creator: Microsoft Word

    Still in denial??????

    https://lowellmountainsnews.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/mission-statement-of-the-lmo.pdf

    • My Dearest Freddy,
      My name is Stacy Burke. I write this blog that seems to have consumed all of your time recently. It makes me feel very powerful that I could have such an influence on you.
      I have great respect for Annette Smith. I sent her our mission statement to format. Believe me none of us are getting paid for anything we do. It is all being done on principle. This is intended to be an informational blog. If you don’t agree with the information why read it?
      And what are your motives? Do you just enjoy arguing? If so please go somewhere else. If you still feel the need to argue and continually waste our readers time, why not just go directly to me?
      vtstacyb@gmail.com

  15. windy says:

    Freddy – you are TRIP-ing over your own words.

    Why don’t you just shut up and enjoy the devastation you have wrought.

    As my grandmother always said,
    Damnú ort d’anam don diabhal!

  16. freddy crougar says:

    Windy get your facts right I am NOT TRIP only reason I even know who he is is from this blog. Perhaps I am a spy in your occupation. Perhaps I am Wood Chucks alter ego (The Teller of Truth Maybe?) or who knows maybe I am just another resident of Lowell getting pissed of you cant respect our vote? Either way you have been exposed as liars and working for Annette read the above comments and take a look for yourself if you still dont believe follow the link and maybe you cant start to think for yourself and stop drinking the Annette cool aid. But I do have to give her credit She is pretty crafty:)

  17. Jane Viens says:

    I don’t find reading Freddy a waste of time at all!! Freedom of speech as you say. That’s what comments are for!!! Makes people think and if you notice it started people responding!!! Keep up the good work Freddy!!

Comments are closed.