To the Editor,
Every slick has its rainbow sheen, and the Kinder Morgan President’s letter is no different. Ian Anderson wrote colorfully in terms of jobs with only a fraction of the story. The amount of permanent wild salmon fishery job losses due to a ruptured pipe or sunk tanker in the spring could easily eclipse all employment gains from pipeline construction and maintenance.
With no spill response details, Anderson’s double speak about diluted bitumen studies is not at all reassuring. Christy Clark coined the term “World Class” in reference to necessary response plans for B.C. to approve of Trans Mountain expansion, and Anderson uses it without definition. What can it mean though? How fast was the public notified when Husky Oil’s pipeline ruptured near the North Saskatchewan River, polluting the drinking water of nearly 100,000 people in 2015? Wasn’t it riverside residents who notified authorities that oil had leaked into a creek leading into the Red Deer River in Alberta in 2012? Isn’t it telling that the once very abundant herring runs have not returned to Valdez Alaska in 29 years? Don’t expect herring there anytime soon. Three parts per million of oil will kill herring eggs; salmon have similar lack of tolerance. World Class isn’t hard to beat with this kind of track record, and that’s just a few examples from this continent.
Exporting raw oil is similar economically to selling off unprocessed logs. It’s a no-brainer of bad economics. Anderson writes about Saskatchewan steel workers who are ready to make the pipes, but fails to discuss the lost employment potential when not refining, processing, and marketing those oil products regionally; all that potential is piped and tankered to foreign economies-Canada’s globalized trade partners. For this reason Interfor, the oil sands largest union, intervened against Trans Mountain expansion. Shouldn’t Notley’s Alberta NDP pay heed to such a strong union voice, instead following the pipeline spin doctors?
It is right for Horgan’s B.C. NDP to put the brakes on Trans Mountain in spite of Ottawa and Alberta’s poor choice to push expansion forward. Despite the National Energy Board process, the plan is not well thought through. Clearly the process is deeply flawed if not entirely biased. With crude problems come extreme measures, and no amount of corporate and government green-washing and false cries of job losses can cover up the eminent threat that this expansion poses to both ecology and economy.