See What the Exxon-Valdez Would Look Like on BC's Coast

Mon, 2012-10-22 05:00Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

See What the Exxon-Valdez Would Look Like on BC's Coast

Principally, I oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Like a lot of other people I think it's reckless to develop the tar sands at the rate we currently are. I think it's reckless to look to export our unrefined resources to other countries. And I think it's reckless to suggest we disregard the rights of First Nations communities and the wilderness they depend upon to bolster profits for a corporation like Enbridge that has, at every turn, disappointed a watchful public. 

I am from British Columbia and have always lived a stone's throw from the ocean. As a kid, my family holidayed in Tofino, where my mother introduced me and my four siblings to the secret world of tidal pools, an aquatic universe I've never lost my wonder for.

 
What we learned as kids there, on those cold shores, were the formative lessons of childhood: patience is a virtue; the best things in life are free; and you don't build a pipeline through one of the planet's last remaining intact old-growth temperate rainforests and flourishing coastal ecosystems. 
 
And it isn't a stretch to connect what happens in Kitimat or the Douglas Channel with Tofino or Vancouver Island. Just take a look at these images comparing the 'zone of impact' from the Exxon-Valdez disaster and a comparable spill on the BC coast:
 
These images are from an excerpt of Frank Wolfe's recent documentary On the Line. In the film Wolfe travels the proposed route of the Northern Gateway Pipeline by foot, bicycle, and kayak. 
 
Here's the excerpt from Youtube:

Comments

A couple of problems with this comparison.  

First, the Valdez was carrying conventional (i.e. floating) crude oil.   Bitumen is said to separate from its dilutents and then sink to the bottom.    Wouldn't this result in a much different distribution pattern and, potentially, a far more difficult clean-up challenge?   Do we have any idea how deep water currents could spread this stuff.   Would it naturally find its way into crevaces on the rocky bottom.

Another problem, as I understand it, is that the Exxon Valdez was miniscule in comparison with the size of the tankers intended to ply the Hecate Strait and Douglas Channel.

Overall, the Exxon Valdez catastrophe could have been far worse.   It could have gone straight to the bottom as befell our ferry, Queen of the North, and potentially could befall the Northern Gateway tanker traffic.

If you look at the losses incurred by the Valdez, fishermen driven out of business and into receivership, only to wait 20 years for a settlement.  Exxon Valdez caused permanent loss of jobs.  Yeah!  Sign me up for that! (If you do any work on the coast or along any of the water ways, you should be opposed to it.)

Calling all those who oppose this pipeline 'extremists' is precisely why the Federal Government is failing.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Christy+Clark+predicts+national+po...

Heck Christy Clark was for the pipeline, but the people of province don't want it.

 

The CERI industry report is equally clear on precisely what BC will receive for this pipeline, $50 million a year in taxes, and that's it.  Can you replace a tourism and fishing industry for $50 million a year?  Can you insure the BC environment for $50 million a year?

 

(FYI: I tend to support Christy Clark's current stance.  Pony up or get lost.)

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