This is an open letter to NDP leader Adrian Dix and his Energy Critic, John Horgan.
It’s time, gentlemen, to pee or get off the pot.
The issues of the proposed Enbridge pipelines and tanker traffic on our coast demand your immediate statement of policy.
In order that there be no misunderstandings, here are the facts, gentlemen – not assertions or opinions but plain simple to understand facts:
- A spill from both pipelines and tankers is a dead certainty.
- There is no way these spills can be cleaned up.
- The record of Enbridge is appalling.
- First Nations, be they on the coast or along the proposed pipeline right of way are opposed – 131 of them.
- Neither the federal government nor Enbridge have considered the real possibility of terrorism or vandalism.
The pipelines, one to take the bitumen to Kitimat and the other to take gas condensate back, traverse arguably the last untouched rain forest on earth. It’s certainly as rugged and remote from civilization as anywhere else.
Unlike other pipelines Enbridge has built, the route for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline crosses the rugged, mountainous terrain of the Northern Rockies and the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Enbridge has no experience in this sort of terrain – most likely because no other government has been so stupid and uncaring as to give them or anyone else a right-of-way. The pipeline would cross some 1,000 streams and rivers, including sensitive salmon spawning habitat in the upper Fraser, Skeena, and Kitimat watersheds. Five important salmon rivers that would be impacted are the Stuart River, Morice River, Copper River, Kitimat River and Salmon River.
Surely you must be shocked to know that this pipeline is to be constructed by Enbridge which, since 1998, has had 811 “accidents”. The bottom line is, gentlemen, that this project would, beyond any doubt, have spills in terrain inaccessible except by helicopter, which spills would have a disastrous and permanent impact on our beautiful province.
There is nothing Enbridge can do after a spill – they can’t get there. Certainly no heavy equipment could be taken there and, even if it could, the damage will be permanent.
A useful step would be to look at the situation in the Kalamazoo River where Enbridge had a leak in July 2010 which has not been cleaned yet and never will be – the damage is forever. (You will note that Kalamazoo, Michigan is not deep inside rugged mountains.)
Let’s look at tankers on the coast.
Again, a spill is a mathematical certainty, certified as such by Environment Canada, scarcely full of radicals. Double hulling will help diminish the number of spills but they still are a certainty. In the past two years 4 double hulls have sunk.
Just as a luxury cruise ship can run aground in broad daylight under sunny skies and kill 29 people, a tanker will spill. And the consequences will be horrible.
Then there is the Kinder Morgan line into Vancouver. I’m not in a position to compare the old Trans -Mountain line with the proposed Enbridge line nor compare the consequences of a leak. What I can say is that there will be leaks – as there were earlier this week near Abbotsford and in Burnaby before that – and the spill will be permanent. With a tanker accident in Burrard Inlet and the Strait of Juan De Fuca, surely you can visualize the calamity that would mean to the Gulf Islands and southern coast of Vancouver Island and to the North Arm of Burrard Inlet and Vancouver Harbour itself.
Again, gentlemen, we are not talking risks but certainties.
Mr. Dix, Mr. Horgan, what more do you need for you to speak out in firm commitment from you and the NDP condemning the proposed Enbridge pipeline, the tanker traffic out of Kitimat, the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker traffic through and out of Vancouver?
I wish to speak plainly. There are many who think that the Common Sense Canadian supports the NDP.
We do not – we stand for a political commitment against the catastrophes I have described. That commitment cannot fairly be inferred from snippets of criticism, but only by you, Mr. Dix, declaring your firm opposition to these certain pipeline/tanker disasters.
If you don’t take a firm stand, what is to differentiate your position from that of Premier Clark?