Pipeline could destroy B.C’s coastline


Panel hearings have begun for the Northern Gateway Project.


Panel hearings have begun for the Northern Gateway Project.

The Enbridge Pipeline from northern Alberta to Kitimat would have adverse effects on numerous waterways and fish habitat, and the strong possibility of oil leaks.

The proposed super tanker route along the B.C. coastline is sheer insanity. Picture a huge vessel, more than twice the size of a B.C. Ferry, having to navigate a narrow, shallow channel, with very rugged shorelines, in an area known for its inclement weather.

Existing plans would have more than 200 tankers per year travelling this channel, some of them carrying up to eight times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez! Twenty years after that disaster there is still toxic oil remaining. A spill of bitumen would be catastrophic, destroying hundreds of kilometers of coastline, and would take years to clean up.

How such a project could even be considered, given the risk, is incomprehensible. Oil equates to money for the companies and their shareholders, royalties for government, and huge tax revenues.

This landlocked oil is the dirtiest oil on the planet. The greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands are so bad that the rest of the world has condemned Canada for its inaction on these issues.

Communities to the north of the tar sands are already seeing the effect of toxic chemicals in their waterways. They want no further expansion of production. The Keystone Pipeline to Texas, though less dangerous than Northern Gateway, has strong opposition on both sides of the border. It has been delayed, and may be cancelled.

This oil should not even be exported. It is an oil reserve roughly equivalent to that of Saudi Arabia. Canada could be self-sufficient in oil and petroleum products for decades, instead of risking disasters such as the destruction of the coastline of British Columbia.

Michael Atwood

Chimney Lake