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One must, I suppose, take newspaper tycoon David Black’s offer to build a refinery near Kitimat seriously, although the idea is preposterous on several fronts.

For openers, he doesn’t tell us who will be behind such a refinery. He admits he doesn’t have the money – an important matter.

Of course, Mr. Black tosses out employment as jelly bean for us to enjoy, citing 6,000 jobs over the six year construction period and 3,000 long-term in the operation of the refinery. He doesn’t mention any research on this issue – one must take these numbers with the skepticism which always rightly greets announcements of undertakings like this.
Mr. Black ignores the fundamental issues here.

He ignores the certainty that the pipeline will continue to have spills of bitumen – Enbridge averages one per week – and BC will watch as its wilderness is incrementally destroyed.

It’s interesting to note that Mr. Black doesn’t deny the dangers from oil tankers but allays our fears by saying that because refined oil and gasoline will be replacing bitumen, that our worries are over!

What also is puzzling is the timing of this announcement.

Mr. Black is a self-made billionaire who admits that he knows bugger all about refineries. This suggests that he has some backers in the oil business who are a bit shy about having their pictures in the papers.

Wasn’t the deal that the main customers were Chinese who want the raw bitumen to refine themselves?

Was this idea from David Black? If it means anything at all it must be a diversion to focus on jobs! Jobs! The announcement attracted attention – but when one reads it, it’s a damp squid.

In my view, the public will have no trouble seeing this proposition for what it is – environmentally unacceptable and as not only no improvement on the Enbridge proposal but, on analysis, worse.

Mr. Black should stick to publishing newspapers.

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