CONTRIBUTION · 7th October 2013
"Despite our best efforts to prevent spills, incidents occur".
The less than reassuring quote above is from Enbridge's own corporate social responsibility reports, where they have to document all their pipeline spills from the previous year. Interestingly, it disappeared from Enbridge's reports after their 3.8 million litre diluted bitumen spill into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
As scary as that shoulder shrugging admission of guaranteed pipeline spills may be, it pales compared to how Enbridge answered the following question during the JRP hearings; "Itís my understanding that there is an operational life expectancy of this pipeline for 50 years. Do you foresee running it for any time longer than that, and how long would that be?"
Enbridge's Ray Doering answered, "Really, the...each pipeline that an operator manages has a unique internal corrosion management program, integrity management program associated with the operation of that pipeline, and a very valuable asset thatís proactively managed with that inspection management program really will have an indefinite life. In 30 years or 50 years, or beyond, the condition of that pipeline really will be the same as the condition when it was first put into service."
It is said the first casualty in war is truth, and so it must be with Enbridge while in post Kalamazoo damage control, because Mr. Doering's answer was given while under oath.
Joint Review Panels used to have the authority to deny proposals, but that power was taken away (after Enbridge's proposal was submitted) by one of Prime Minister Harper's omnibus bills. The Panel can now only make a recommendation. Harper has manipulated the system so that he alone will make the final decision early in January, 2014, unless he allows Conservative MP's a free vote to vote as they wish, or as their constituents wish.
Since the 1960's, British Columbia has had a voluntary moratorium on oil and gas exploration on BC's coast. Even though we're sitting on our own pot of gold, British Columbian's aren't willing to risk their coastline, salmon, or increasing whale populations. Why should we shoulder all that risk for Alberta? Besides, if the Tar Sands are the answer to Canada's economic wellbeing, why is Alberta in debt?
It is for these reasons, and more, that I believe it will be Canadians standing shoulder to shoulder who will stop Enbridge's Northern Gateway project if Harper decides to try and ram it through. First Nations, individual Cities and Towns, the Union of BC Municipalities, Alberta Unions, The United Church, and more, have taken official positions against the Northern Gateway proposal.
Kitamaat's Gerald Amos has been saying for years that there will be a 'Folk Storm' if Harper tries to force this project through against the wishes of British Columbian's, and with such broad spectrum opposition in BC and across Canada, we may all be surprised at how large the protests will be.
You can bet there will be rallies across Canada as Harper's decision day gets closer. If you oppose Enbridge's plans and haven't gotten involved yet, this is the time to contact your local environmental watchdog group to get on their email list. This will ensure you are notified where and when protests in your community will be held. Make this a priority before November.
We need to send loud and clear messages that no bitumen will be shipped from the north coast of British Columbia. This is especially important as plans are being investigated to have 7 trains a day carrying diluted bitumen to BC's north coast, and natural gas pipelines can be converted to carry diluted bitumen as is being proposed in eastern Canada.
Silence or non-participation will be interpreted as acceptance by Enbridge, their foreign investors, and Prime Minister Harper.