I hope you’re enjoying your summer. Here at Living Oceans we’re in full swing now that the Enbridge Joint Review Panel hearings for Port Hardy are less than one week away. If you’re in the area, why don’t you join us on August 7 for a peaceful rally to further help the JRP members understand that we don’t want tankers on our coast. We’ll meet in front of the Port Hardy Civic Centre (7450 Columbia St.) at 6:45 pm.
If you can’t attend the hearings to make an oral statement or if you’re uncomfortable speaking in front of a crowd, there’s still a chance to be heard. Everyone has the option of submitting a written comment to the JRP panel. The deadline for submitting a written comment is August 31, 2012. Please note that it is a two-step process: you must send your letter to the JRP Panel as well as Northern Gateway and its counsel. The websiteclearly explains this so please read the directions carefully.
Many people have expressed concern over what they will say/write to the panel. The panel, according to Enbridge Executive VP Janet Holder, will seek to answer two questions:
- Will the project cause significant adverse effects on the environment?
- Is the project in Canada’s public interest?
It’s helpful to keep these questions in mind while crafting your letter. Below I have included some facts and links that you can use to help inform your writing.
- Kitimat, the proposed new terminal site, is the front door to the Great Bear Rainforest. Along our entire spectacular coastline, we understand the relationship between clean waters, clean shorelines and a healthy environment on land. Any threat to the ocean environment here is a threat to the integrity of the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Enbridge’s safety record has been slammed by federal regulators in the U.S., who investigated their pipeline spill in to the Kalamazoo River. That spill was two years ago and there has just been another pipeline rupture in Wisconsin. It seems that Enbridge is unable to inspect pipelines well enough to ensure their safety.
- This pipeline route would follow some of the most challenging terrain ever crossed by a pipeline—lands prone to slides, floods and debris torrents; the headwaters of three of our most productive salmon-bearing rivers; in all, over 800 lakes, streams and rivers.
- The super tankers that will carry tarsands bitumen to China are too large to safely navigate the narrow approach to Kitimat through Douglas Channel. Kitimat is presently served only by much smaller chemical tankers—a Very Large Crude Carrier travelling at 10-12 knots through 90-degree turns and at least one turn of the tide in a channel as narrow as two km is a recipe for disaster—a threat to itself and to all othervessel traffic in the area. At full production, Enbridge’s project would require 320 tankers per year.
- Once spilled, diluted bitumen is impossible to clean up. Enbridge said they would have the Kalamazoo River spill ‘cleaned up’ within two months. Two years later, they are forced to admit that the oil has sunk into bottom sediments and the only way to retrieve it would be to bulldoze the river—something it would never recover from.
- World class oil spill technology would be useless on spills in northern B.C. waters. First, the oil would have to float: 40% or more of bitumen is composed of elements that are heavier than water and they will not float. Second, in order for booms and skimmers to work, the weather must be reasonably calm and the current not more than one knot. There are few places on the Central and North Coast where such conditions pertain.
- Exports of unrefined tarsands bitumen are bad for B.C. and bad for Canada: We’re exporting jobs and real wealth creation along with the unrefined product. Worse, the big price that Enbridge hopes to get from China for the tarsands will drive up the price of oil across Canada, at the same time as it inflates our currency. We will all lose in this scenario—except perhaps Alberta, where windfall gains can hopefully be put to work cleaning up the spills and the water polluted by the industry.
For more resources, please visit our Reports and Publications on Tankers and dive deeper into the issues.