Tag Archives: Northern Gateway Pipeline

Ride the Pipe: Michelle Staples


Read this blog posting by Michelle Staples at Ride the Pipe, a project to engage with and photograph the people most affected by the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline and to capture the landscapes and seascape that will be altered by construction or destroyed by an accidental oil spill. (August 24, 2012)

Read more: http://ridethepipe.ca/blog/michelle-staples/


Enbridge oil… why it’s insane


Eagles are swarming to the dumps on Vancouver Island by the thousands. Killer whales are being found dead in Alaskan rivers, never known to happen before, starvation the cause. Widespread deaths of grizzly bears on the central and northern coast occurred last winter due to starvation. It is believed that all of these vulnerable predators have been triggered by the collapse of the salmon runs.

Whatever the cause of the collapse that is being debated, from over-fishing to the ISA virus, sea lice, pollution and the recent leak of million of gallons of radioactive water from Fukishima into the ocean, the fact remains that the salmon are on the brink and very close to extinction. Since they are the backbone of our coastal ecosystem, as well as the lifeblood of first nations cultures, everything that depends on them will die. Including the forests who are fed by them. Then I ask the proponents of Enbridge and the government of Canada, how can we afford a pipeline project that puts this damaged ecosystem at risk of beyond repair? To put it more fairly, given the nature of pipelines, oil spills will happen… In waterways. In fish habitat. Enbridge admits that there will be spills, that they can be “managed” but not eliminated.

The Polaris Institute calculated 804 spills occurred on Enbridge pipelines between 1999 and 2010. How soon can one find the beginning of a leak in this vast stretch of wilderness, a stretch of 1170 km that cross over 800 fish bearing rivers and streams? Three are important for salmon spawning. Enbridge admits that steel can corrode with water, bacteria and various chemicals. How do you clean up corroded pipelines in a distant future? They would have to be consistently maintained or dealt with… indefinitely. Factor in room for human err in their construction.

Factor in that scientists have been saying that the west coast is due for the Big One. From northern Vancouver Island, to the Haida Gwaii, the Pacific plate is sliding to the northwest at about 6 cm/year. The boundary between these two giant plates is the Queen Charlotte fault – Canada’s equivalent of the San Andreas fault. The active Queen Charlotte Fault has generated three large earthquakes; in 1929, a magnitude 7 occurred, in 1949, a magnitude 8.1 (Canada’s largest recorded earthquake) causing nearly a 500 kilometer long segment of the Queen Charlotte Fault to break and a magnitude 7.4 in 1970. Since 2001, four earthquakes have occurred from 6.3 to 6.8. How would pipelines resist an earthquake? How would a super tanker stand up to a tsunami? It is not possible to clean up a mess of this scale. I haven’t heard anyone bring up this specific risk. I can believe it because there are just too many other reasons why not to build the pipeline.


Oil Pipelines and Tankers: A Bad Proposition for BC’s Economy and Environment


There are two stories about pipelines this week – the first was a Vancouver Sun article October 25. Here it is, in part:

Sixteen business and labour leaders have signed an open letter to British Columbians urging their support for natural gas and oil pipeline proposals across the northern half of the province which they say are needed to link Canada’s energy resources and B.C.’s economic future more closely to Asian economies.

The letter marks the first public relations campaign aimed at swaying opinion province wide towards energy projects in the North. Up until now, only regional support groups have been formed, such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Alliance, which is actively supporting Enbridge’s $5.5-billion Alberta-to-Kitimat pipeline project in communities along the pipeline route.

The letter was written by former federal transportation minister Chuck Strahl. Signatories include former international trade minister David Emerson, the B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council, the Business Council of B.C., the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the country’s largest industrial association.

As for the second story, on October 24 I attended the Jack Webster Awards dinner where Kevin Redvers of CTV did a story called Black Blood – Tainted Land. What a sight with dying caribou showing the results of an oil spill two years ago and how the black ooze is still there with the consequent loss of a staple part of the diet of First Nations.

Clearly the business and labour people don’t care a fiddler’s fart about the environment and any concerns they might have are a carefully disguised secret.
The people of BC have a choice to make – at least they would if we had democracy in this province. It is a clear either/or – either we follow the union and business leaders and have the certainty of oil spills or we don’t.

We will have spills – there are no ifs ands or buts about it. The federal Department of Environment, scarcely made up of wild eyed environmentalists, says this about tanker traffic out of Kitimat – there will be a 1000 barrel spill every four years, a 10,000 spill every 9 years! One can only imagine what the odds are for a spill from pipelines!
These pipelines traverse over 1,000 kilometres of wilderness which, amongst other things, contains three of the most important fisheries we have. The pipelines are impossible to patrol and any spills will be difficult and time-consuming to deal with and, as Kevin Redvers has demonstrated, the damage is permanent.
Moreover, BC makes dick-all out of this – we are simply the right-of-way.
This, then, is the bottom line: We will trade our wilderness for infinitesimal rental money with certain environmental catastrophes. Don’t believe for a moment that pipeline companies will “minimize” the risk. Even if that were true, which it isn’t, the consequences are so terrible that this feeble statement is an insult to our intelligence. Moreover, the jobs will be short term and will be mostly from out of province.
Please believe it – the spills will come, our rivers and wilderness will be damaged and the damage will be huge and permanent.
The Campbell/Clark government must hold a referendum and let British Columbia citizens decide the fate of their favoured and much loved province.


BC Oil Tanker Ban Motion Passes in Commons


The House of Commons has adopted an NDP motion calling for a ban on crude-oil tanker traffic off British Columbia’s north coast.

But the motion, which was passed 143-138, is non-binding and is likely to be ignored by the Conservative government.

Canada has had an unofficial moratorium on tankers off B.C.’s north coast for decades. But New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, the B.C. MP who put forward the opposition motion, said it is vital to enshrine the unwritten moratorium in legislation.

It comes as Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has proposed sending up to 225 oil tankers every year out of the port of Kitimat to carry crude oil to new markets such as Asia and the western United States as part of its Northern Gateway project, which also includes a proposed pipeline from Alberta to the port.

A coalition of First Nations, commercial fisheries and environmental groups from the Pacific Northwest Coast has called for a ban on oil tankers in the region, claiming the local economy is in jeopardy because of increased traffic.

Read full CBC article here 



Kitimat Councillor Steps Down From Enbridge Community Advisory Board


Tuesday, December 07, 2010 03:53 AM

Kitimat, B.C. – A Kitimat councillor has stepped down from the Enbridge Community Advisory Board, calling the process a “sham”. 
Randy Halyk says he originally joined the board because he felt that Kitimat should have a voice, that it was a good way to find out about the positives and negatives of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and open a dialogue with Enbridge. However, he says the CAB has morphed since its early days and has degenerated into and Enbridge vehicle to stifle community participation.
“Throughout this time the group was changing, the vacant chairs where being filled, new faces appeared around the table but not one citizen of Kitimat only companies set to make a profit. The CAB is now ostensibly made up of project supporters from the Lower Mainland, from Terrace with a few from Kitimat including our EDO, with the remaining being Enbridge Staff.
Furthermore, I don’t know how you can call what remains, “a Community Advisory Board” when most members are from out of town and the region. “
Read full Opinion250 article here