I would be delighted to report that Premier Clark’s recent musings about the proposed Enbridge pipeline were a positive step but unfortunately must report that she misses the point – badly.
Her position evidently is that BC is not benefiting sufficiently from the pipeline.
The first and fatal flaw is that she doesn’t include tanker traffic, for if Enbridge goes through it must be accompanied by tanker traffic or the whole exercise is pointless.
The second and also fatal flaw is that the Premier puts the argument in monetary terms. Enbridge itself admits that it will have leaks in the same way an airplane company will have crashes. This is the critical point, for to say we’re not getting enough money from Enbridge says that we’re OK with a spill here and there as long as we’re adequately compensated. This will result in Enbridge, the government of Alberta and Ottawa coming up with a compensation package suitable to the Clark government.
Let’s remember three things: there will be spills, they will be in places no clean-up crew can reach, and there is no way bitumen, freed from the condensate which allows it to be piped, can be cleaned up anyway.
Never mind the terrible response by Enbridge to its Kalamazoo spill – the message there is that clean-up, even in a readily accessible location, can never happen. To that gloomy fact, add the admission by Enbridge and remember that there will be many spills over the years and, because cleanup is impossible, we will have more and more of our wilderness destroyed. We’ll be looking at Enbridge, a serial polluter, with the only questions being when and how bad.
I, for one, care about our land and the ecologies it supports, such that to me money doesn’t even enter the discussion.
What Premier Clark is doing is looking for a price for our wilderness and I say that this is irrelevant – no price is enough.