COMMENTARY · 23rd February 2012
My name is Ann Parker and I believe that British Columbia's pristine coastal environment does not support a project like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline (ENGP), and that the costs associated with it will greatly outweigh whatever benefit it will bring.
We will lose any claims we have as a world heritage site and of the primeval beauty we are so proud of. Pristine steelhead fishing and the great outdoors - the losses to tourism alone would make the pipeline a failure even without a spill.
The eighty or so permanent low paying jobs (after the construction stage) we may gain for the entire province doesn't warrant the risk of losing everything what we value - our homes and our businesses, as well as the local assets and investments in the city of Terrace and all other Northern communities.
My background is in Geology; I have a Master's of Science in Exploratory Geology and have studied tectonics and natural resources for 5 years at the University of Warsaw. I have also worked for oil and gas companies like Nova-Corp International and PCL-Braun-Simon in Calgary; therefore know firsthand how great the risk of building the Enbridge pipeline in the north of BC is.
The proposed ENGP is going to cross seismically active areas of the Rockies, like the Cascadia fault which runs along the West Coast and active earthquake areas in the BC interior. This would have a tremendous impact on the safety of the proposed route of ENGP. Rock landslides, mudslides, flooding, erosion, and 15 feet plus of snow pack; avalanches, they are just a few examples of extreme weather in our North which could also adversely affect the safety of the proposed pipeline.
Aside from the human error factor (people get tired and make mistakes), there's the dangerous nature of the tar sands oil - namely DilBit. DilBit stands for Diluted Bitumen, a heavier and dirtier form of conventional crude oil. It is a highly corrosive, acidic and a potentially unstable blend of thick raw bitumen and volatile natural gas liquid. There is no doubt that the tar sand oil pipelines pose higher risks of leaks and ruptures than conventional crude oil pipelines due to the chemical instability of DilBit. This was confirmed by the oil spill in July 2010, which spilled close to one million gallons of DilBit oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
A coastal tanker spill is an additional threat to the proposed ENGP. The proposed course of oil tankers would run through the Douglas Channel, a waterway as narrow as 2 km in some places, lined with hidden rocks and other underwater obstacles. According to Environment Canada, Douglas Channel is the world's fourth most dangerous watercourse. The ENGP proposal has estimated 250 tankers per year would be required to cross the treacherous Douglas Channel before heading through the Hecate Strait. Gale force winds are common in the channel and increase the risk of an oil tanker disaster. It should also be noted that a marine vessel as big as an oil tanker, in case of any emergency, needs close to 2 km to come to a full stop.
The company behind ENGP, Enbridge Inc. has an alarming record of environmental accidents and cost-cutting half-measures in regard of safety standards.
Between 1999 and 2008 Enbridge recorded 600 plus oil spills on its pipelines.
Below is a list of major pipeline spills:
2001 - Alberta: 1,003,800 gallons leaked
2002 - Minnesota, USA, 252,000 gallons leaked
2003 - Wisconsin, USA, 189,000 gallons leaked
2007 - North Dakota, USA, 9,030 gallons leaked
2007 - Wisconsin, USA, 176,000 gallons leaked
2009 - Alberta, 168,000 gallons leaked
2010 - North Dakota, USA, 126,000 gallons leaked
2010 - Michigan, USA, 877,000 gallons leaked
2011 - North West Territories, 63,000 gallons leaked
And yet our environmental protection agencies warn us that one gallon of motor oil can contaminate one million gallons of water in our rivers, lakes and ground water, so "please be responsible" they urge us "and recycle your engine oil through a certified by the government company."
The question is not if the oil spill occurs, but when?
We can be rest assured that there will be spills: countless of little ones, then a couple of big ones in Northern BC interior and finally a devastating tanker spill on our BC coast. When they spill millions of gallons of DilBit, contaminate and destroy our land, rivers, lakes and ocean we will all regret it. We will try to sell our houses and businesses for a fraction of their original price and move quietly somewhere else, full of guilt knowing we didn't do enough to stop this project in time.
When we are evicted from our unsafe houses and lose our jobs we shouldn't rely on compensation from Enbridge Inc. either.
Victims of the Exxon Valdez spill in1989 are still waiting for their compensations, 21 years after the oil spill. The cleanup of this spill cost was more than $2.5 billion and still approximately 20 acres of shoreline in Prince William Sound are contaminated with oil.
Please, if you love our wild North as I do, love our beautiful and pristine province and want to stay here for years to come - act now. If you are a true British Columbian please stand up today against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project, if not for yourself - do it for your children and grandchildren.
Ann Parker, Terrace
I absolutely agree
Comment by lloyd on 26th February 2012
Water is our next biggest asset; lets try to conserve the lifelines of our province. DilBit and water don't mix.
Alberta - most toxic area on earth?
Comment by email@example.com on 25th February 2012
This is a video link to the dirty secret of tarsands oil production.
I love you Ann Parker
Comment by blocky bear on 24th February 2012
I have tramped,sailed, and flown up and down the the B.C. coast and the time has come for me to do whatever I can to prevent this government from defiling the heritage of the aboriginal and people of kindness to preserve the unique character of "our" coast!
Comment by F Breker on 24th February 2012
If Harper and his alta pig farming cronies want to make more money off the tarsands sludge - let them do it in their yard! Build a damn refinery in alta and refine that garbage there, quit sending our raw resources to China so they can get all the benefits of value added with no risk on their side. Are we just going to sit back continually while our raw materials go overseas? Give me a break!
Terrace BC Look @ One Another!
Comment by Frontier on 24th February 2012
To Terrace Daily Readers,
The reality we are facing a International crisis unfolding in your back yard. Each day you as future generations grow. Are losing your Canadian Constitutional Rights.
With in your Canadian Constitutional Rights are Charter Rights & Freedom. With in that legal tenure of rights. Clean Drinking Water, Protected Environment.
Provincial Liberal Party. Christy Clark - Recent Gordan Campbell have been selling BC Natural Resources to International Companies around the world.
Since Year 2002 a Mining Reclamation exploration activities have taken place all over BC.
Terrace BC - You have Alice Creek - Mayo Creek Exploration near Kalum Lake Region. In that area Opal - Crystal - other deposits have been discovered.
Again a International company is taking this resources.
The scary thing.
The environmental impact with Kitsumkalum Lake. How will the creek, watershed be effected from this development.
That lake is protected water shed. Very clean. Yet it contains many mineral deposits.
The watershed run off of mineral toxins, can enter the streams.
In this region a Dinosaur was discovered. Calling it a New Species.
The Tsimshian Tribes Called this " ASAGWLIGIT" other words Thunderbird. A sacred specie
Were done for once everything unfolds.
Ask yourself this question?
Did your Terrace BC Pioneer Ancestors survive on money alone?
No they survived on Natural Environment.
Eating natural foods. Local harvested developed.
We have a pioneer frontier right. To alter the future from destroying us.
So look at one another. Every man woman child in Terrace BC, Good the bad and Ugly are a statistically a local population. Under siege from International Elites about to take us over.
Sorry about reality.
Your all brothers and sisters now.
Thank you Anne Parker
Comment by LINDA HALYK on 24th February 2012
Maybe just maybe if we repeat this enough times, those in power will figure it out.
If not then maybe just maybe we can educate those that don't know.
Then maybe we can get other communities and towns to say NO like Terrace. Thanks again Terrace you make me proud.
I than you for your article Anne.
Comment by John DeMedeiros Cabral on 24th February 2012
Enbridge Protocol arrangements being used by Enbridge with First Nations and other Municipalities.Which could help the company in its bid to win approval for the project.Because it will be used in the regulatory hearings as examples of the companys efforts to consult with aboriginals and municipalities.The law requires First Nations to be consulted and accomandated.Which First Nations are accepting equity deals or money from Enbridge? And why are some in hiding and not gone public?Is it because they are secretly endorsing the company?Certainly these First Nations must know by signing these Protocol arrangements that they will be used by Enbridge to win the approval of the project.I have to question why so secretive?Let the Public know who you are.The public deserves to know.Is it because the Public is clearly against this project? I clearly dont have all the answers.But sure would like some answers.Good on you Ann Parker! I loved your article.It should make things a little clearer for those in the public who dont have any of the facts and a better understanding of whats happening here.Its good to see some groups in this region cant be bought.Unfortunately theres always some groups who have a price for anything even if its the cost of the beauty of this region we live in.
JRP is not funny
Comment by ron wilton on 24th February 2012
The sad, disheartening reality is, the JRP is a joke.
The JRP was 'set up' to mollify those of us who actually believe that we live in a democracy.
The actions of the various municipal, provincial and federal governments and their agencies who support this insane venture are proof that financial forces beyond our democratic beliefs, are in total, absolute control.
In a 'real' democracy, and for far less money than what the JRP joke is costing, we could have, and should have, had a referendum by the people of BC to say yes or no to this pipeline.
The governments and Enbridge and their 'partners' would have spent just as much money and energy as they are spending now to try and defeat democracy, just as they did with the HST referendum, but democracy would have prevailed.
Ironically, had we not shown those powers the strength of 'our' democracy through the HST referendum, they may have gone that route before 'creating' the JRP.
We now need to circumvent the JRP, expose it for the sham it really is, and do whatever it takes to have a referendum.
If being 'reasonable' fails (which it will with these governments), then we must hold the referendum outside of government auspices.
If they refuse to accept the inevitable result, we would then have to stage accelerating levels of civil disobedience, vis a vis, a general strike, sit ins, blockades, protest marches etc.
Short of armed confrontation, there seems to be little 'our' democracy can do other than continue to follow the dictates of the Judas goat JRP to our pre determined slaughter.
The JRP, just like this entire pipeline concept 'is' a very bad joke; how come no one is laughing?
Comment by Pat#1 on 23rd February 2012
Thank you for the reminder.