Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

"Knocking tar sands bolsters Northern Gateway"

Unfortunately for all of us and not just the venerable Ms Yaffe, this is not in fact, true. The plans of Kinder Morgan, et al to pump more and more tar sands bitumen via a pipeline through the Rocky Mountains and down into Vancouver (Burnaby) to both bolster a Chevron and perhaps a Shell refinery there, while loading up tankers in the Vancouver Burrard Inlet to ship out to places both near (California) and far (Asia) has been touted as "making Gateway redundant". Tar Sands bitumen shipments from the Burrard Inlet is not a victory. However, she is correct that industry will make this _argument_, just as they have used the Horizon Deepwater disaster as a way of highlighting tar sands as better, rather than the more obvious point that it illustrates the need to get off of hydrocarbons like these completely.


Knocking oilsands bolsters Northern Gateway

'Rethink Alberta' campaign dissuades U.S. from buying 'dirty' oil, but makes Enbridge project more imperative

By Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun August 13, 2010

Environmental groups working to discredit Alberta's oilsands ought to consider the irony inherent in their escalating campaign.

That is, the more successful these groups are at raising concern about so-called dirty oil in Alberta and a spiderweb of pipelines transporting the evil brew to refineries across the continent, the more imperative it becomes for Canada to proceed with the Northern Gateway Project, an initiative that could threaten fragile ecosystems in northern B.C.

As Americans become persuaded to stop buying the Fort McMurray bounty, it will be increasingly necessary for Canada to diversify its market for the product.

Which of course means finding ways of getting the oil to fast-growing, energy-hungry Asian countries -- which is what Enbridge's controversial Northern Gateway Project is all about.

It is not as though the choice is between pumping the oilsands product or shutting down the operation. The choice, realistically, is between shipping the product to the U.S. -- presumably displacing more politically problematic Middle East oil -- or, if the U.S. isn't buying, shipping it to China.

So the truth is that the environmental groups are, in effect, making the Northern Gateway Project more imperative for Canada, despite their own warnings that the project would bring dangerous tanker traffic to B.C.'s coastal waters and threaten northern B.C. rivers and the aboriginal groups dependent on them.

The $5.5-billion project will feature a port in Kitimat and pipelines stretching from there to Fort McMurray, Alta. Promising thousands of jobs, Northern Gateway is under review by federal regulatory authorities.

Environmental groups in the past couple of years have aggressively stepped up their anti-oilsands campaigns south of the border, initially targeting Fortune 500 companies and, more recently, politicians and the public.

In the latest "Rethink Alberta" campaign, sponsored by no fewer than 10 environmental groups, U.S. and British tourists are being dissuaded from visiting a province with "42,000 acres of toxic tailing ponds," where "three million of gallons of poison are leaked into the water system."

The ads, predictably, are quite effective in the same way a campaign against slaughterhouses would be effective.

Mining oil is always going to be a dirty operation. The real answer is to convince consumers everywhere to become more energy efficient.

But because the ads are so effective -- an Angus Reid poll this week revealed that U.S. and U.K. respondents, after seeing the advertisement, turned off the idea of visiting wild rose country -- chances are good that U.S. consumers increasingly will be leery of oil from Alberta.

Enbridge and its shareholders understand this. It was unfortunate for them that, just as people were contemplating the pros and cons of the B.C. pipeline, another Enbridge pipeline ruptured July 26 on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, leaking thousands of barrels of crude.

In fact, Enbridge averages 25 spills a year in the U.S., so if Northern Gateway gets built inevitably there will be spills in northern B.C. Doubtless at some point a tanker accident will occur along B.C.'s pristine coastline.

At this point, Enbridge is so keen to safeguard any public support it has for its Northern Gateway Project that the company is offering to buy up homes along the section of the Kalamazoo River that has been affected by the oil spill.

The environmental groups soon will be turning their full attention to the evils of the northern B.C. project.

But they should recognize that their own push to kill the U.S. market for oilsands oil will have bolstered the commercial case that will be made on behalf of Northern Gateway.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


Oilsandstruth.org is not associated with any other web site or organization. Please contact us regarding the use of any materials on this site.

Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

User login


Syndicate content