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REPORTING · 30th January 2014
Paul McCavour
Before the citizens of Kitimat vote on whether or not to approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline (NGP), consider this: The revenue from the pipeline over 30 years would not be enough to fund healthcare and education in BC for one hour a year. That’s right; one hour.

Healthcare and education in BC costs $22 billion a year. With increases over 30 years, costs will rise to approximately $675 billion.

According to Enbridge’s own figures, the province’s tax revenue generated from the NGP over 30 years will total $1.2 billion. Sounds like a lot of money? It isn’t. Contrast our healthcare and education costs over 30 years – $675 billion – with the total tax revenue from the Northern Gateway Pipeline over 30 years – $1.2 billion – and we begin to realize the risks just aren’t worth the monetary gain. Are we being sold a bill of goods? As usual, corporations stand to make billions but BC would only get the crumbs from the table.

Currently, much of the crude oil shipped to the U.S. is discounted $10­$40 a barrel. At some point, will the projected 525,000 barrels of oil flowing through the NGP for export overseas be discounted, and will BC refineries get that discount? The pipeline will affect all of BC but the impact will be greatest in Kitimat. Yes, the project will create jobs – a projected $4.3 billion in labour­related income over 30 years, or $143 million per year. This meagre amount of revenue still does not justify the risks of pipeline leaks or tanker accidents fouling the shores.

One accident and the pipeline could end up costing us more than we would ever collect. Enbridge’s track record is not stellar; some 600 leaks and breaks of various sizes over ten years gives one pause to think what could happen over 30 years.

In addition to environmental risks, there are social risks to consider. Will tanker traffic disrupt other industries in BC, such as fishing or tourism? Will the cost of living increase in Kitimat? Will taxes rise? Will real estate prices go beyond the reach of minimum­wage earners and families hoping to move into the area?

We can’t be afraid of progress, but is the Northern Gateway Pipeline project really progress? Ultimately, we need to wake up to the fact that natural gas will soon be overtaking oil as the world’s dominant energy source, so will there be a future demand for our oil beyond 2020?

Paul McCavour
Osoyoos, BC
"Osooyos "
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-SooS on 2nd February 2014
Also in thirty years Provinces population may double!
Check Your Numbers
Comment by Kitimat Expat on 31st January 2014
Maybe you should grab a calculator and check your numbers. The costs that you are referring to seem rediculously high and the benefits BC will get through income tax (assuming you work) and all the royalties etc will be higher than the number you quoted. Seems a bit biased in your numbers but then again, I am also a bit biased because I have to work in Alberta to bring tax dollars back to BC. Much rather be at home!