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NEWS RELEASE · 20th April 2011
Standard methods from BP disaster recycled in Enbridge oil spill response plan
Enbridge is attempting to dampen mounting opposition to their Northern Gateway proposal by reassuring Canadians that they will use “state of the art” technology in an oil spill cleanup – even though there has been no improvement to those same ineffective methods which were used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe one year ago today.

Enbridge’s recently released General Oil Spill Response Plan proposes using conventional spill response equipment such as booms and dispersants, which have failed in overall cleanup and environmental protection in the Gulf disaster. Fishermen and coastal communities are still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the record 4.9 million barrel oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Enbridge’s plan offers no reason to believe that it could deal any better with an oil spill on Canada’s Pacific North Coast.

“On the anniversary of the BP Gulf disaster, Enbridge’s spill response plan is an insult to the communities at risk,” says Nikki Skuce of ForestEthics.

Oil spill containment booms are known to fail in strong currents and large waves – both of which are prominent characteristics of Canada’s Pacific North Coast waterways. Oil simply washes above or below the booms when water conditions are not calm. Wind and fog further complicate oil spill response capabilities.

Enbridge also proposes using highly toxic chemical oil dispersants – the same kind that BP deployed above and below the water of the Gulf to try to dissipate oil slicks. Dispersant effectiveness has not been demonstrated in cold waters, on viscous heavy oil such as tar sands crude, nor has it been shown to minimize oil spill effects on the environment.

“There is nothing state-of-the-art about Enbridge’s empty promises,” says Katie Terhune of Living Oceans Society. “They have shown no proof that they can clean up an oil tanker spill.”

Enbridge’s response plan also includes doing nothing (“natural recovery”) and gauging media attention to determine how and if they will respond.

“Just like BP, Enbridge has no adequate plan or appropriate technology to deal with oil spills across the proposed pipeline and tanker routes. We need to stop Northern Gateway before we face the same fate as those suffering in Louisiana,” says Skuce. Enbridge will not be releasing more detailed operational plans until six months prior to project commissioning, which will only happen if the project is approved by a federally appointed review panel. “By then it will be too late for the panel to review and make an informed decision on the validity of Enbridge’s oil spill response plans,” said Terhune.
I have asked this before..
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 25th April 2011
...but I will do it again, James. Can you name me one (just one) proposal for a refinery in Canada in the last 20 years that was opposed and denied approval due to environmental opposition?
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 22nd April 2011
I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but your comment is just that - an opinion. One with a minimal link to fact regarding your statement "I don't think there has been a refinery built in Canada in the last 20 years, and this is because of the environmentalists opposition.".

The biggest obstacle to the building of refineries is not environmentalists, as you indicate, but the cost to take on such an endeavour.

There have been a number of bitumen upgraders built to service the oilsands that went through without being halted by environmental opposition(BA Energy Inc., Exxon Mobile, Husky Energy, and NW Upgreading Inc. to name a few). Upgraders, that turn bitumen into synthetic crude to be further processed by a refinery, also take a huge toll on the environment as they employ many of the same processes as an oil refinery.

As there are a number of oil refineries in the U.S. that are under-utilized it is much more cost effective for the oil industry to ugrade the bitumen in Alberta and pipe it to a refinery in the U.S. as the industry does for almost 90% of their product. The Asian market is a very small part of the whole process.

The oil and gas industry will get their product to market in the most cost effective way with no regard for who benefits outside their circles. Environmentalists are not an obstruction to the process but a means of keeping it in check to ensure a balance between industrial and individual interests and benefits.
History Repeats itself
Comment by A.Heidl on 21st April 2011
The old adage is true "History repeats itself".
For years the government and large corporations care nothing about preserving the environment, but about the increase of dollars in their bank account. They will put together an emergency contingency plan that will help only to blindly ensure the people that safe measures are in order to resolve solutions quickly.
It is time for the people to stand up for their land and safety and be heard.
We the people need a leader who is going to sincerely be concerned for the well being of the people and the ecosystem without a false agenda.
It would make sense for the government to want to boost the economy by creating new jobs that are associated with preserving our ecosystem.
Canada needs leaders for the future that will help to preserve our beautiful land and bring financial stability to the people.
Comment by James Ippel on 21st April 2011
I too would like to see Refineries built at the point of extraction but is is pretty well impossible to build a refinery in Canada. I don't think there has been a refinery built in Canada in the last 20 years, and this is because of the environmentalists opposition.
Taking a rough guess, any company wanting to build a refinery would have to spend millions in all kinds of studies over a probable 10 year period, and then could/would still be turned down.
Bottom line, it is cheaper to send our raw materials overseas for processing and eliminating jobs we desparately need.
Prime example of being turned down after spending millions is the Prosperity Mine in the Chilcootin. There went hundreds of jobs both short and long term.................
Comment by Gary Edwards on 21st April 2011
"Enbridge’s response plan also includes doing nothing (“natural recovery”) and gauging media attention to determine how and if they will respond."

So this multi billion dollar company could conceivably pay off the Business friendly Mainstream Media to basically look the other way in reporting spills from their pipeline? It's a good thing that the internet media are surging ahead of the MSM in popularity.

Nothing short of a multi billion dollar up front bond should accompany any licenses to proceed with this fiasco. And when the bond has been dipped into to cover ALL costs of 100% cleanup then the license to do business should be suspended until that money is replaced. Period.
Comment by Walter Fricke on 20th April 2011
Containment booms are proven to be ineffective in currents over one knot. There are portions of the Douglas Channel that currents of several knots with the incoming or out going tides. They are also ineffective in a flowing river or stream. I still wonder why they don't want to create thousands of jobs, and build refineries near the extraction point and send the finished product by rail or truck tanker.