Letters: Role: world class energy transportation

Independent Joint Review Panel created for Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

Editor, The News:

Re: Protestors disapprove pipeline decision (The News, June 20).

While pipeline protesters are ideologically opposed to resource development, I think most people will agree that the only rational way for governments to deal with major development projects is to base those decisions on facts and expert scientific advice.

That is why, four years ago, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency created an independent Joint Review Panel (JRP) to review the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

The panel heard from over 1,450 participants, and reviewed over 175,000 pages of evidence and 9,000 letters of comment.

In December 2013, the panel’s report concluded: “Based on a scientific and precautionary approach to this complex review, the panel found that the project, if built and operated in compliance with the [209] conditions set out in its report, would be in the public interest.”

After a careful review of the JRP’s report, our government has accepted the recommendation to impose those 209 conditions on this pipeline project. These include requirements such as in sensitive areas, making the pipeline walls 20 per cent thicker than current standards, increasing the frequency of in-line inspections beyond current practices, requiring the use of two escort tugs through the Douglas Channel, and deployment of additional radar to monitor marine traffic.

It’s important to note that before the project can be built, the proponent must provide the National Energy Board with detailed plans addressing the requirements for environmental monitoring of pipelines, marine environmental effects, habitat restoration, and oil spill preparedness, to list just a few.

Natural resource development can transform communities by creating jobs and stimulating economic growth, but it must be done safely.

Our government’s role is to ensure that the regulatory system for energy transportation is world class. It is now up to the company to accept the 209 stringent conditions and demonstrate that they can meet our world class standards.

Randy Kamp, MP

Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge–Mission


‘Ignoring science’

Editor, The News:

Re: Protestors disapprove pipeline decision (The News, June 20).

People who follow federal politics weren’t surprised about cabinet’s decision to approve the Enbridge Pipeline.

After all, our Albertan prime minister has been all about making Canada into a world energy superpower.

To make life easier for ‘Big Oil,’ he has muzzled scientists, antagonized First Nations people and thrown out much of the legislation previously used to protect our environment.

Stephen Harper’s also embarrassed many Canadians by making a mockery of proposed international emissions standards, such as those found in the Kyoto protocol.

Given this consistent track record, I’ve been left wondering what’s really behind the silence on Enbridge coming from the prime minister and his B.C. caucus.

Mike Gildersleeve points out that climate change is essentially the “elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about.” The last several years have seen reports from a number of groups – including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United States government – which calculate the potentially disastrous economic costs of doing nothing about climate change.

Most recently, Hank Paulsen, former U.S. treasury secretary, and Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, via the “Risky Business” report, that we have no time to waste if we are to stave off the worst economic consequences of climate change. This is essentially the same message the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change and people like David Suzuki have been putting out there for years.

But when the World Bank, the IMF and members of the billionaire class point out that it’s economically foolish to put off our transition to renewable energy sources, we’re likely witnessing a growing consensus about which energy projects will make the most sense for our collective future. It’s a no-brainer that the continued development of the oil sands is unlikely to be a popular project with those who understand the climate change issue well.

President Barack Obama has yet to approve the Keystone XL project, despite the best efforts of former Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and former Alberta Premier Alison Redford, indicating that business as usual may already be over.

In February, Mr. Obama publicly took Mr. Harper to task about his feeble efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the “Three Amigos” summit in Mexico.

Then there were the Calgary floods of 2013, which killed four people. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has called the cost of this flood event “staggering,” and while it’s already the costliest disaster in Canadian history, we don’t yet know the final total. Alarmingly, affected people discovered that their insurance didn’t cover damage caused by ground water.

The insurance industry continues to reduce what it covers, while increasing deductibles and premiums to ensure its sustainability and reduce its exposure to risk.

Could it be that the message Mr. Harper was ignoring when it came from scientists is one he can’t ignore now, that it’s coming from bankers, insurers and fellow politicians?

Elizabeth Rosenau

Maple Ridge