Supertankers sell us short

An open letter to Stephen Harper questions the wisdom of opening B.C. waters to supertankers

Dear editor,

An open letter to Stephen Harper:

Is Supernatural B.C. destined to become a supertankers terminal for Alberta?

This summer, while visiting Haida Gwaii, I attended a potlatch to celebrate 20 years of collaboration between the Haida Nation and Parks Canada for the protection of Gwaii Haanas Park. Gwaii Haanas is 5,000 acres of pristine wilderness protected from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the oceans — one of the only truly protected areas in the world!

Being there has made me more aware of what we stand to lose if supertankers are allowed in B.C. waters. And if even only one of them has a spill… Imagine the deadly consequences to Gwaii Haanas and the rest of B.C.’s coast.

After reading further about Canada’s future plans for oil production, I have some serious questions to ask you Mr. Harper. You say these plans are for the National interests, but whose national interests?

I agree with a quote from The Star: ”The rapid extraction and export of raw bitumen without domestic upgrades and refining does not enhance Canada’s productive capacity – it shrinks it!”  Plus the amount of shipping, pipelines, etc. needed to get this unrefined bitumen to Asian markets, in my mind, does not add up to a sensible business plan. In fact it puts Canada’s “supernatural” qualities at great risk for very little monetary return to our nation.

The bitumen now being extracted in our Tar Sands project needs to be mixed with diluents to make it flow through the pipelines; however, Canada does not produce diluents, and must import them from the Middle East. So this means: first the supertankers will be arriving with this hazardous material for diluents, piping it north to the Tar Sands; then the dilbit (bitumen plus diluents) will be piped back to the port and loaded unto the supertankers for shipping to the Asian markets. This plan involves twice the risk to our environment for what kind of a monetary gain to us?

I’m not a big fan of oil refineries…but I certainly would choose them over the current plan for B.C.’s coastline. In a business sense, the refineries would bring value-added jobs to Canada…and we all know that means a brighter economic future for us all — and future generations.

As someone once said: “Foreign countries understand this – that’s why they want our unprocessed bitumen”.

Why are you selling us short?

 

 

Dawne Cressman

Mayne Island

 

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