Yes it's about Enbridge and Northern Gateway so don't read on if you still deny facts about that project.
The Federal government, Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, just announced in a carefully worded release that 'Canada will strengthen its response plan for oil spills at sea ahead of the development of new pipelines
that would sharply increase tanker traffic in Canadian waters if they
This so called strengthening means that
instead of a $161 million budget out of a clean-up fund per incident
being available, Lisa and her gang will allow the use of the complete
fund of $400 million as a clean-up. That could be on the FIRST oil spill
in the Douglas Channel. If you've ever been on an Alaskan Cruise trip
through the Inside Passage, you'll know how pristine that area is.
hundred million seems like a lot doesn't it? Considering if you won the
Lotto for 50 million you'd expect to live the rest of your life in
luxury. But we need to consider the facts of money.
Kalamazoo oil spill which was on a river easily accessed by clean-up
machinery, Enbridge has been called back several times by the US
government to re-clean certain areas of the 40 miles still polluting that
river. As you should know by now, bitumen doesn't float like oil on
water, it sinks to the bottom! And continues to spoil the water, flora and fauna for years.
order to pump oil tar sands through a pipeline, certain chemicals need
to be added, most of which are a trade secret so we the public have no
idea what they actually are, and it also must be heated to liquify it
for passing through the pipe.
The costs, (so far) of the Kalamazoo spill clean-up have amounted to $1,039,000,000.00! That is 1.039 BILLION DOLLARS!
that clean-up was handled by simply driving trucks up to the river edge
and using vacuuming equipment and booms on that lazy flowing river! There is NO road access anywhere close
to the Douglas Channel which has tidal differences today of a high of 19.28 feet to a low of 1.51 at Kitimat! All that water from the Hecate Straight at the open sea travels about 147 kilometers or 87 miles. It would seem that Enbridge doesn't want a repeat of costs like Kalamazoo and has lobbied the Canadian government on it.
So what the government has
done, is release Enbridge from their responsibilities, and put the onus
on the Canadian taxpayer to cover the costs of any massive spill! She
also said the government will lift its ban on the use of dispersants in
when using them offers a net environmental benefit. Dispersants are
chemicals that break down oil slicks but can also harm marine life. So
how can that be worded as a net environmental benefit? By talking
faster? [Lisa Raitt is the same Minister who announced new rules for
shipping dangerous goods by rail, after the Lac Magentic fire
disaster, rules that say municipalities need to be told what toxic
chemicals or flammable liquids go through their communities! BUT, and
here is the attitude of our federal government towards our safety; the
officials only can be told what dangerous cargo went through their area a
YEAR later! And then only a few officials are told who are sworn to
So can we take our Transport Minister seriously when she now pimps for the tar sands oil industry?
get back to that oil clean-up cost. In our case if the cost would be
the same as the Kalamazoo spill clean-up, we the taxpayers would be on
the hook for $639,000,000.! Not to mention the peripheral British
Columbia costs of rehabilitating any wildlife or villages in the area.
have a look at the route of oil tankers full of tar sands bitumen crude
with added secret chemicals. Are you as optimistic as Harper and Raitt
that these ships will be able to maneuver those narrow passages without
incident? Even in open sea it takes an oil tanker in 'crash stop' mode 14 minutes or three kilometers to stop!
Do you really believe Mz Raitt that $400
million will cover a spill or a tanker running into an rocky island in that
wilderness? In fog or snow? But they're going to have special tugs, built for the
purpose, they say. Haven't seen any announcements from ship builders, have you?
Don't know of any channel pilots currently traveling that contorted
route right now who could guide them either!
So what is
at stake here? A potential disaster of massive proportions. The Chinese
want our tar sands oil. They'll do whatever to get it. Somehow ??? they
have convinced the Canadian government that shipping it via pipeline and
tanker is the best possible method of getting it.
There are some
proponents of rail shipping, gaining ground right now. Ok, but is that
the same liquid chemical oil that would seep into waterways if a train
tanker car derails? Yes but each car carries a finite amount of oil. No pump working all night.
And one could ask, why does it have to be liquified here
in Canada in the first place? If we could get that raw bitumen to China
by whatever means, why couldn't the Chinese produce their oil cheaper
There is also the plan that no one wants to discuss, of
processing the tar sands ourselves and selling the value added product,
via piping it to our own existing Eastern Canada refineries.
is what the raw product looks like, a crumbly mixture of black sand,
before processing it with chemicals and heat for piping it hundreds of
miles. Why couldn't this product be simply loaded into rail hopper cars,
like our coal shipments use now, and sent to the Roberts Bank SuperPort?
facility is already set up for that kind of delivery. Part of it could
be converted to handle the dry bitumen product. It could then be loaded
into bulk carrier ships, sent off to China without the danger of an oil
spill on land or wilderness channel and the lingering carcinogens and
We could leave it to China to
convert their own bitumen to oil. Alberta gets to sell it, China gets to
use it. Win win, without the environmental problems. But it seems that
no one wants to see or talk about anything BUT the Enbridge pipeline to
Kitimat. With a different plan, Enbridge would be cut out of the
action. Northern Gateway would lose. And who knows how much has been paid
to who to make sure the process goes according to plan? However secret
that plan is supposed to be.
Me? I don't trust our
federal government, Steven Harper or Lisa Raitt to handle it fairly or
for the benefit of Canadians. Everything they say is carefully worded.
And they treat themselves as third world officials who can be had.
Manipulated. By taking Enbridge off the hook for the actual costs, they
invite a bankruptcy to whatever company Enbridge forms to run this
pipeline. Sort of like the USA has done with the drug companies, make
them unaccountable to disastrous results to the populace.
spite of Janet Holder of Enbridge/Northern Gateway being on TV almost
every day telling us she and the 'Joint Review Panel' (sounds
important, doesn't it?) approve of the pipeline, I can only suggest she
move to Alberta and preach to the converted. And tell your PR folks the
little heart shaped lake in your video isn't working.
is a lot for you and I taxpayer to pay if the spill was in the
Chiliwack river, even the Fraser. But who knows the costs of trying to clean a remote
wilderness full of inaccessible mountains and winding rising and falling tidal channels.
we really want to lay ground rules that mean nothing? Yes, you 'deny'
people will continue using the word economy. But it might have lost it's
And no carefully worded statement is now beyond the scrutiny of the people affected.
But isn't this what we feared years ago? That the desires of a few would over-rule the concerns of many? And that people in Ottawa or China, or even Alberta have little interest in beautiful British Columbia.
Lisa Raitt new rules on pipeline safety
Kalamazoo river clean up costs
Dangerous goods by rail rules a joke?
NOTE: that the announcement today, (May
15) by Federal Minister Greg Rickford about oil companies covering all
costs, would be for pipelines land based only, and do NOT cover a marine
spill. Details still need to be explained in real life.
And also note that BC Environment Minister Mary Polak released a consultation report last
month on the land-based spill regime, which was described as a "complex
matrix of regulations and policies." But Mary has a reputation of doing what she's told and we think most things are complex to her.