LETTER: Refine oil close to the source

Oil will end up somewhere, whether by pipeline or rail

So the government approved the Northern Gateway pipeline. No surprise there! The feds and the oil industry have lied to us repeatedly. The environmentalists have done the same.

I for one am not willing to live in a cave somewhere waiting for a green solution that I can afford, nor do I want to see the government or the oil industry to completely dismantle all the environmental safeguards that used to exist and spread tons of poison all over the land or in the water.

It’s time for a serious re-evaluation of the whole thing. We have oil. Lots of it and it’s going to end up somewhere through existing pipelines or even worse by rail. A pipeline is a much safer way to ship it. The fact that our oil is in the form of tar and requires a dilutant to ship it is one of the most serious drawbacks. A spill of bitumen or the dilutant is the worst possible disaster.

Once we can accept the fact that industry is not going to leave the product in the ground unless we make it impossible for them to ship it somewhere through legislation. That of course is ridiculous. The loss of jobs would cripple the country.

Refine it. Somewhere closer to the source (Northwestern B.C.). It provides long-term jobs. It provides a product more suitable for domestic consumption. It provides a product for export that has can be sold at a world price instead of the deep discounts we export many of our resources. The corrosive dilutant would not have to be pumped through the pipeline which reduces the possibility of a leak. The refined product, which is then piped to the coast (for domestic distribution/consumption or export), is much easier to clean up in the event of a spill.

In the end, Enbridge or Kinder Morgan needs to be very strictly regulated to help avoid a spill and must be forced to provide the necessary funds and support to immediately respond to any spill.

All that said a significant chunk of all resulting royalties should be forced to be used to promote and implement alternative energy.  Then one day the pipeline wars will be completely unnecessary.

F. Forshner

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