The B.C. government is right to be concerned about oil spill risks along the coast, says letter writer. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Oil spill risks in strait require further study

Size and likelihood of a major spill have been underestimated, says letter writer

To the editor,

Supposedly the crux of the ‘spat’ between Alberta and B.C. is about what can flow down a federally regulated and approved pipeline.

More accurately, the spat is more about whether the increased flow of diluted bitumen can be cleaned up if a spill should occur along the route or during and after it is loaded onto tankers and shipped out through the narrow, crowded waters of Vancouver harbour to the open ocean.

While the pipeline is supposedly in the ‘national interest,’ the National Energy Board refused to consider its economic or job creation potential, stating that those considerations were beyond its scope.

The increased flow of oil into the terminal on Burrard Inlet will increase tanker traffic from about five a month to one a day. Once the oil is in the ships, Kinder Morgan has been required by the hearings to anticipate how a spill could be handled before it fouled the harbour, adjacent ocean and every living thing it touched. Contrary to international best practices for oil spill contingency planning that requires planning and preparedness to respond to the worst possible spill under worst possible circumstances across the entire route, the National Energy Board allowed Kinder Morgan to consistently underestimate the size and likelihood of a major spill while the evidence it was allowed to produce, in hearings that did not allow for cross examination, to prove that diluted bitumen can be cleaned up once in the ocean were farcical.

While the position of Premier Rachel Notley of Alberta in promoting the pipeline is understandable, are B.C. taxpayers prepared for the cost of cleaning up a major spill that could foul our coasts, destroy our salmon runs, whales, clam beds, tourist industry, that will cost far more than the purported profits and jobs arising from the export of oil? Considering that the ‘national interest’ has not had to be defined or measured, Premier Horgan is quite right to insist on proof that dilbit can be cleaned up properly by those responsible before risking B.C.’s environment.

Liz Fox, Lantzville

To the editor,

Re: B.C. wine ban is sour grapes, Editorial, Feb. 15.

As I am passionate about the environment, including our oceans, I am opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

I have a better use for the pipeline than oil. It could be used to pipe BC wines straight into Alberta, and make more people happy.

Linda Whittome, Duncan

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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