Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

“It’s our environment and our economy”

with 3 comments


A guest post by Andy Shadrack

If Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Trudeau think that they can dictate to British Columbians on the basis of whose economy and environment is more important, then they need to think again.

We have an important sport and commercial salmon fishery, and a coastline that is the envy of every tourism operator in the country. And yet Ms Notley and Mr Trudeau think we should sacrifice our economic interests for theirs.

First, no amount of money could fix a crude oil spill. Just ask the Alaskan fishermen and First Nations people impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill. So we are not talking about exporting twinkies, lumber, natural gas or even coal. We are talking about a substance that could severely damage or destroy our marine ecosystem.

BC has only one marine ecosystem and no amount of money could help rebuild it. Question: why are Alberta and Ottawa not supporting refining tar sands crude where it is being mined?

That way we could all benefit from purchasing Canadian refined oil products and end the importation of foreign oil. The answer I keep getting is that it is too expensive and not a viable economic solution.

Well, guess what, exporting crude oil through BC’s fragile marine ecosystem is not a viable economic alternative either. Nor do we want to be held hostage to Alberta’s economic needs.

We in BC have as much right to protect our environment and economy as Albertans. So, Ms Notley, a little less of “it’s our right” and “the federal government has made adecision”, as Mr Trudeau also promised us that the impacts of resource extraction would be balanced against the needs of protecting the environment.

It’s our environment and our economy that’s at stake here, so please start by respecting us and that fact. After that, we can negotiate as equal partners in confederation and not from some subservient position of just because you mined it, you have a right to export it.

Andy is someone I met when I joined the Green Party of BC. He posted this on his facebook page today. I decided to copy and paste it here.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 13, 2017 at 5:25 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Along with refining bitumen in Alberta, the proponents could also pipe a lot to the refineries at Anacortes, Cherry Point and Ferndale in northern Washington, where it could begin to replace Alaska crude. There might still be refined product heading out through the Salish Sea, but there’s potential to free the Sea from bitumen shipping and most crude oil shipping.


    June 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm

  2. There is a direct connection from TML to the refineries you mention, and Kinder Morgan are already saying that they will ship directly to these refineries.

    Two points to bear in mind. The GHG impact is the same wherever this stuff is taken. And bitumen diluted with fracked condensate is about as bad in terms of GHG as any fossil fuel. The only way to avoid that is to Leave It In The Ground.

    Pipelines leak. Every pipeline has had and will have leaks. No clean up is ever 100% of the spilled material. The environmental impacts of spills – on land or at sea – are catastrophic. The local ecosystems impacted by the Exxon Valdez, or the Torrey Canyon or Deepwater Horizon have not recovered yet – and likely never will. The companies that owned those properties have not paid anything like enough compensation – and never will. Many spills from pipelines are not reported by their operators – and have only come to light due to local protests.

    Electricity can now be made from wind, solar and geothermal resources in a sustainable fashion with near zero impact and cheaper than any fossil fuel. We do NOT need the tar sands to continue to enjoy our current lifestyle. We do not need fracking, SiteC or LNG either.

    Alaska North Slope crude is not equivalent to Alberta dilbit.

    Stephen Rees

    June 13, 2017 at 7:53 pm

  3. I totally agree with your post, Stephen.

    Trudeau needs to pay attention to the potential political consequences of allowing 500 more tankers to sail off the nose of Canada Place and through BC’s pristine Gulf Islands. Should the pipeline be shoved through, the red Liberal ridings delivered to Trudeau by Metro Vancouver will no doubt turn orange and green after the next federal election. He may actually be the catalyst for the rise of a powerful NDP-Green alliance federally, and a series of minority governments.

    Notley must be frustrated. But neither BC or any other jurisdiction cannot be held responsible for the root cause of their dilemma: The utter lack of diversity in the Alberta economy. This is a shame, especially after her talk about promoting renewables (Alberta has such huge potential) and economic diversification led to a strange brew where these elements, along with a carbon tax, supposedly gave her a “social licence” to expand oil sands operations.

    Notley and Trudeau cannot have it both ways, and one day they will be forced to make the choice and stop talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    Alex Botta

    June 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm

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