EDITORIAL: Environmental value too high

The value of the environment is worth more than oil revenues.

In the standoff between B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford over the proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, the elected officials are forgetting the singular most important aspect of the debate – delicate coastal and mountain ecosystems.

Clark says B.C. needs to be financially compensated for environmental risks associated with the pipeline, while Redford insists her province won’t share revenue from the riches oil will bring.

Everybody wants a piece of the pie, but the entire pie will be spoiled if oil is spilled.

Up and down the B.C. coast, communities, including Nanaimo, are leaning more and more on tourism as an economic driver, but keeping ecosystems healthy for their own sake is just as important.

Arguing who gets how much oil revenue is pointless. Until a proven method to remove bitumen from cold water is established, there should be no pipeline.

Enbridge has already proven itself unreliable when it comes to oil spills. Just ask the people living in Kalamazoo, Mich., where an Enbridge pipeline spilled more that 1.1 million gallons of heavy crude into the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

And while an extensive environmental assessment is being carried out on the 1,177-kilometre Gateway route, how can anybody foresee a landslide like the one at Johnsons Landing? Or an avalanche. Or an earthquake. Or eco-terrorism.

It’s simply not foreseeable, but completely likely. Everywhere in the world where oil is being piped, oil is being spilled. It’s a certainty.

As a political leader, one that represents the interests of B.C. citizens, Clark needs to plant her feet firmly in the pristine shoreline sands of B.C. and tell Redford, whose feet appear to be firmly planted in the toxic tar sands, her pipeline is not welcome here.

The value of the environment is worth more than oil revenues.

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