LETTER: Obligation to defend environment

Right now, 300,000 barrels of unrefined heavy crude oil travel through Abbotsford every day, most of it destined for foreign markets

Right now, 300,000 barrels of unrefined heavy crude oil travel through Abbotsford every day, most of it destined for foreign markets.

Two hundred barrels a minute, 24 hours a day, every day, right under our feet.

Kinder Morgan plans to triple that.

I’ve lived in Abbotsford for 30 years. I’m not blind to my dependence on fossil fuel. It powers my truck, and without oil most of our agriculture, industries and retail businesses would not exist.

As much as I want to, I can’t argue to eliminate oil infrastructure because alternatives, while on the way, aren’t viable yet.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion dilemma is not about what we have now – what we are dependent on now – but how we will manage a sustainable future.

Yes, oil will very likely be our primary fuel for another two decades, and domestic refineries can provide us with those needs. But is it moral, is it ethical, for us to allow and support the growth of this industry knowing full well that our profits are gained by the destruction of our environment?

When Canada, along with 192 other nations, signed the Paris Agreement, we accepted the science proving there are limits to how much carbon our atmosphere can carry and still support a stable environment. We accepted science showing that if known oil reserves are all refined and burned, we will suffer catastrophic irreversible changes, possibly making our world uninhabitable.

Abbotsford cannot detach its responsibility from the rest of humanity, arguing that we don’t use the Kinder Morgan pipeline oil so it’s not our problem. Atmospheric CO2 loading from extraction, transportation and refining, leading to final use, is made possible because we, in Abbotsford, permit its transportation.

Can we stop the proposed 890,000 barrel-per-day plan? Probably not, but that doesn’t excuse us of an obligation to act in defence of what is right and just for millions today and in the future who will suffer the consequences, and for a planet that becomes increasingly vulnerable by the day.

It doesn’t excuse us from doing everything we can locally to develop new ways of working and living that will be more sustainable.

Abbotsford has adopted a progressive new community plan to that end. I won’t have it both ways. I intend to continue opposing the madness of growing an industry that I know will make future generations suffer.

John Vissers

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