Must-read critique of Risks from Enbridge Pipeline


Read this exceptionally informative rebuttal to an Ebridge defender in the Northern Sentinel!

By Murray Minchin of Kitimat, BC – Jan 12, 2011

Allan Hewitson’s article in the December 22, 2010 Northern Sentinel, Miscellaneous coastal tanker traffic
suggests he must have incredible physical flexibility, which is
admirable, but it appears he’s managed to manoeuvre his head into a
location which affords a very limited angle of view regarding Enbridge’s
Northern Gateway proposal. Perhaps his position doesn’t allow him to
see many of the problems and unanswered questions, so I’ll try to shine
some light on them for him.

First of all, he was confused in thinking there are no
differences between transporting natural gas and bitumen, when they are
as different from each other as wood smoke is to cold molasses. When
natural gas escapes from a pipeline it dissipates into the air, leaving
the surrounding environment unharmed. Bitumen on the other hand will
flow downhill to the nearest waterway, then separate out from the
naphtha used to make it thin enough to flow through the pipeline. The
bitumen, which is heavier than water, will then sink to the river bottom
at a rate dependant on the speed of the current and how large the
globules of bitumen are. Hundreds of miles of river bottom and salmon
spawning gravel would be contaminated, crippling that river system’s
salmon based ecosystem as well as the food and commercial fisheries for
generations. It would also cause lasting damage to tourism throughout

In shipping the products there are equally dramatic
differences. Natural gas is cooled to -160 degrees celsius until it
becomes a liquid and reduces by 600% in volume. This means ships
carrying the liquified natural gas will call in Kitimat’s port every 60
days, or only 6 times a year as compared to Enbridge’s 225 oil
supertankers per year. Actually, one oil supertanker will be arriving
empty and one leaving full every 36 hours or so, so they’ll be making
450 separate transits through our waters per year.

Read full article


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.