(re: Enbridge Northern Gateway project)
An Enbridge CEO was heard saying, “With every project this size there is an element of risk.”
He went on to say Enbridge is taking every precaution to minimize these risks.
Our federal government obviously does not share his philosophy.
With a stroke of the pen they gutted the Fisheries Act Section 35 that served us well for almost 150 years.
Corporations like Enbridge can now push a pipeline through any watershed with little or no environmental oversight.
Industry now governs itself in regards to environmental issues.
Economics, not the environment now plays a very important part in the decision-making process.
The question arises, is it cost effective?
Will it play an important part in the above decision-making process? Shortcuts will be taken if they are considered to be cost effective.
Let’s step back for a minute and look at the risks.
Enbridge owns and controls approximately 13,500 km of pipeline.
Over the past 10 years they experienced 800 spills averaging 80 spills per year, one spill for every 175 km of pipeline.
Not very encouraging considering they want to push 675 km of line through B.C.
The law of averages gives us a probability of approximately three spills per year.
Remember, any spill, no matter how small, in a watershed is very major.
Working with this information we can estimate more than 200 barrels of oil was lost for every spill.
Imagine for a minute what 200 barrels of oil would do to the Morice River watershed.
Enbridge’s latest spill was in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where more than 2,200 barrels of oil were lost.
It took Enbridge more than 18 hours to respond in easily accessible terrain.
The B.C. section of the line is anything but easy and accessible.
The proposed line crosses approximately 1,000 rivers and streams, each of which contributes to a major watershed.
My concern would be the Morice River watershed, a world-class fishery that is exceptionally pristine and beautiful.
In discussion with a friend it was pointed out there will be computer controlled shutoffs every eight km of pipeline.
“You have nothing to worry about,” my friend said.
How much is nothing?
How many residual gallons of oil would eight km of pipeline hold between shutoffs?
Oil that has the potential to drain into a watershed, like say the Morice.
Try 1,950,335 gallons.
Nothing to worry about?
Taking the above information into account, ask yourself two questions: How long would it take to respond to a spill in the Morice watershed and what would more than a million gallons of oil do to our rivers, the Morice and Bulkley?
An estimated 300 − 600 full-time, long-term jobs for the Pacific northwest will be created, with a great deal of risk.
Balance that against 5,500 jobs in the wild salmon fishery that we stand to lose, jobs with no risk.
Pipeline right-of-way tax will contribute $80 − $90 million per year with a great deal of risk, whereas the wild salmon fishery contributes $550 million per year, including the Pacific coast with no risk.
It is our duty for future generations to minimize damage to the environment. Please research the fact to support or oppose Enbridge’s pipeline.