Environmental economics reframe pipeline debate

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | October 10, 2012

A 750-mile pipeline across Canada cuts through First Nation lands and pris­tine envi­ron­ments to bring oil-rich tar sands to a new ter­minal on the Pacific Ocean. The com­pany behind the project, the Cal­gary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc., argues that the pipeline will create thou­sands of jobs and an influx of cash from the Asian com­pa­nies that will buy and process the tar sands.

But the eco­nomic analysis pre­sented to the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment does not account for the pipeline’s envi­ron­mental impact, including the poten­tial for a spill, said Matthias Ruth, a North­eastern pro­fessor with dual appoint­ments in the Col­lege of Engi­neering and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

Ruth is at the fore­front of the emerging field of envi­ron­mental eco­nomics, which focuses on devel­oping methods to account for unquan­tifi­able envi­ron­mental con­tri­bu­tions to the economy. Read More

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