Re: Old man take a look at your facts (B.C. Views, Jan. 22)
Tom Fletcher calls Neil Young’s tour to raise public awareness of the Alberta tarsands “an American enviro-assault on its dependent northern neighbour.”
Neil Young, a Canadian, speaks with passion and first-hand knowledge about the Conservative government policy toward First Nations and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, having visited the tarsands.
Young expresses a viewpoint held by many Canadians. Piping bitumen from Alberta’s tarsands through British Columbia to the ocean, then shipping by supertanker to China, defies common sense. Can we assume the bitumen will even make it safely through Enbridge’s oil pipeline to the Pacific? If it does leak, it will have disastrous effects on First Nations communities, their way of life; as well as fisheries, wildlife and tourism.
Joe Oliver, Harper’s Minister of Natural Resources, suggests current technologies will safeguard the environment from any potential accidents. Let’s assume the bitumen makes it through Enbridge’s pipeline without a leak all the way to its B.C. coastal destination, Kitimat. The next step is loading the bitumen onto supertankers, which then have to navigate through the channels out of Kitimat.
These multi-hulled tankers are no match for what is known as one of the most treacherous waterways on the planet, with its narrow channels and rugged edges, likely unforgiving to large ships swaying in the waves. An oil spill has the potential to cause immeasurable environmental damage along Canada’s West Coast, likely spreading out towards Vancouver Island and beyond.
Assuming these supertankers make it safely to China, what are the consequences then?
The world is constantly made aware of the Chinese population suffering the effects of horrendous air pollution.
Is this northern pipeline project safe and healthy for our small planet and all the species which live on it? Where are the visionaries to wean us off our addiction to oil? We need leaders to lead the way toward a brighter, safer, cleaner world, not those who are bringing us back into darker ages.