We need to get off dirty oil

Supposedly, U.S. capitalist-billionaires-turned-environmentalists are trying to influence the outcome of the Enbridge Pipeline hearings.

Editor, The News:

Re: Enbridge oil pipeline won’t happen (B.C. Views, Jan. 18).

The environmental assessment process about of the Enbridge pipeline to Kitimat and shipping oil on huge tankers through our coastal waters to China has been hijacked by shifting our attention to attacks on our main environmental  groups.

The Harper government and the pro-tar sands advocacy group Ethical Oil have launched a campaign to discredit groups like the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina Institute and Sierra Club for receiving funding from “foreign“ resources.

Supposedly, U.S. capitalist-billionaires-turned-environmentalists are trying to influence the outcome of the Enbridge Pipeline hearings.

This is a red herring.

First of all, the tar sands are awash with foreign money, foreign ownership and foreign investments.

Fifty percent of the board of directors of Enbridge, a so-called Canadian company, are Americans.

Ethical Oil gets funding from “foreign“ sources.

If we want to ban “foreigners and their local puppets” from Alberta’s tar sands industry, there will be a lot of house cleaning to be done.

It is shameful that the Harper government has to resort to tactics like this to stifle any dissent and legitimate concern about the environmental impact of the pipeline.

It is pretty scary when people like  David Suzuki are called  “radicals” and accused of trying to subvert the hearing process.

Who then is allowed to voice any objections? How does this “subversion” happen? By making speeches? By making posters? By writing letters? By attending and presenting at the hearings?

If our government would really believe in democracy and freedom of speech, it would be shouting with joy that, under Canadian law, more than 4,000 individuals have the right and have chosen to express their views on a major industrial development.

It is really worrisome that a democratic process is being tampered with by our government by discrediting any dissenting voices.

The main issue here is, that we do not need this project. We can get more good, long-term jobs with less risk by investing in renewable, sustainable clean energy.

Oil is a dirty, non-renewable, polluting energy source.

We need to get off oil.

Germany has, in the last decade, increased its energy from renewable sources by 20 per cent, to be increase to 35 per cent by 2020, and has created a $50-billion renewable energy industry.

We do deserve the ‘fossil award.’

The Harper government wants to make a profit from shipping our raw, unrefined oil to China when we, at the same time, are still importing “foreign” oil to fulfill our own needs.

Mr. Harper just backed out of the Kyoto Climate Agreement in Durban because China and India do not do their part to stop polluting. Now he wants to make a profit by selling China oil to help it pollute even more.

How ethical is that? I think we better call it hypocritical oil.

Maria Raynolds

Maple Ridge


Dirty bombs

Editor, The News:

Re: Enbridge oil pipeline won’t happen (B.C. Views, Jan. 18).

Never mind that the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline would pass through 1,200 kilometres of pristine habitat and will cross 1,000 streams and rivers on its way to Kitimat.

Never mind that Enbridge has had 610 oil leaks from 1999 to 2008. The one in Michigan was more than a million U.S. gallons of toxic oil, costing  $700 million to clean up.

Never mind that Canada has a cap on what energy companies have to pay for environmental disaster cleanups. That cap is  an obviously inadequate $40 million dollars, and whatever the balance is to try to clean up a mess shall be picked up by the taxpayers of Canada.

As if that is not enough, my main concern is what would happen to that toxic sludge once it gets to Kitimat?

Up to two million barrels of toxic sludge would be pumped onto a supertanker that was never meant to sail into most ports in the world let alone 240 kilometres into the forth most dangerous waterway in the world. These behemoths are up to four football fields long and 68 meters wide. A full emergency stop takes three kilometres and 14 minutes.

There will be approximately 225 of these dirty bombs a year plying one of the most pristine marine habitats in the world.

Enbridge claims it would use ocean-going tugs to keep these  dirty bombs out of trouble, but really two tugs could not even move a fully loaded super tanker in rough weather. I suspect that the cost of this measure would not last long anyway and would be soon forgotten because of the prohibitive costs involved.

Never mind the thousands of other things that can go wrong in this harsh environment, each loaded supertanker has enormous inertia once moving and is hard enough to control at the best of times without the human error, alcohol, drugs, heart attacks, navigation equipment failures, Coriolis force, tides, currents, storms, mechanical failure, not to mention collisions with other vessels and natural obstacles that exist.

A supertanker disaster is not a matter of if, it is most assuredly a forgone certainty, and just one disaster would surely wipe out any monetary gain and loss of habitat for the people of B.C. and ultimately Canada.

Wayne Clark

Maple Ridge