Enbridge not B.C.’s only risky project

Woodall's column says Enbridge is not the only company that poses a risk to B.C.'s environment.

Enbridge has had 800 oil leaks, releasing 170,000 barrels of oil since 1999. But this isn’t just an Enbridge issue, it is an industry issue.

In 2010 in Alberta, the oil industry had a average of nearly two pipeline failures/day, spilling 9,350 litres. This summer alone there have been three major leaks in Alberta: 1. Enbridge — 230,000 litres spilled onto farmland from the Athabasca Pipeline; 2. Pace Oil and Gas Ltd — 800,000 litres spilled onto muskeg (unknown how long it had been leaking, discovered by plane); and, 3. Plains Mainstream — 475,000 litres spilled into the Red River.

And this same industry that wants to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline through some of B.C.’s most pristine wilderness and over 800 water-course crossings. Oh, and Enbridge states its ability to detect leaks along the route won’t be known until it’s built.

This is a disaster waiting to happen and it shouldn’t be built.

From the political spectrum we have the Alberta Premier Alison Redford stating spills aren’t the norm, With all the spills, it appears it is the norm. And then comes Darin Barter, spokesperson for the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board: “I know our pipelines at this point, we consider to be adequate,” he says, talking about the perverbial ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand syndrome.

And in B.C., beware the non committal offerings by both parties. It appears Christie’s focus is strictly financial, even though she’s has it on the bottom of her list and the environment number one. Give it a rest Christie, you’re as transparent as Gordo was about the HST. Adrian Dix was adamant in opposition to the pipeline, but then he changed his tune to making the process go through another tax-funded environmental assessment. Gee, another panel of non-expert experts.

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake at the Prince George hearings stated he was clearly concerned about incomplete responses from Enbridge experts and their non committment to detection systems. This alone should give us pause.

And Mr. Lake’s concerns are further validated by the Enbridge Kalamazoo River spill of millions of litres of oil in 2010. Last month, Enbridge told its investors that the Kalamazoo River was cleaner than before the spill, and within hours the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered cleanup in three locations (5.5 miles)., Oil buildup was so bad that it was generating an oil sheen and oil globules that were in danger of spreading. Yet there is oil contamination in another 32 miles of the Kalamazoo, which officials say dredging is necessary to remove, though it would cause more damage to recover the oil. Could you imagine this scenario on B.C. spawning grounds?

As environmentalists and B.C. citizens (57% of whom oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline according to a Angus Reid poll) battle against the proposed Enbridge pipeline, it may be a battle that is already lost. The protest in Victoria focusing on tanker traffic with the 230-metre banner representing a tanker is small compared to the LNG super tankers that are 345 meters long that will be visiting Kitimat once the Pacific Trails Pipeline is built. The liquified natural gas line route construction began this summer, which basically has the same right of way as the proposed Enbridge line and is supported by both B.C.’s Liberals and the NDP (the same party that opposes an increases in tanker traffic), and it appears the only opposition has come from the Wet’suwet’en nation, with very little media attention. NDP energy critic John Horgan quipped, “it doesn’t stick,” referring to oil. Well no, but it is lethal to fish and has an explosive property which can cause forest fires, and a LNG spill on a spawning ground can be as lethal as oil.

Even if the Enbridge project is scrapped, could there be a merger with the LNG line, synergy for energy.

Both pipelines are not favorable to pristine wilderness, waterways and wildlife movement; the risk is too high. Iif the Pacific Trails Pipeline goes unchallenged, then tanker traffic will increase and oil will be transported.

It may not be Enbridge, it may be EOG, Apache, and Shell lines that transport oil and another part of B.C.’s wilderness will disappear forever.

 

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