Environmental activists, politicians of all stripes and First Nations leaders are shaking their heads following David Black’s announcement last week that he wanted to see an oil refinery built in Kitimat to process the bitumen coming from the tar sands.
Like many, I oppose the pipeline for environmental reasons.
After speaking with local First Nations leaders, I think it’s going to be a very long time before the Northern Gateway pipeline sees its first drop of oil, if ever, no matter what Stephen Harper or Chinese industrial magnates might have up their sleeves.
But, unlike most, I’m tipping my hat to David Black for at least trying.
Whether we like it or not, the tar sands are going to continue flowing and one way or another the bitumen will find its way to a refinery somewhere.
There are many downsides to Enbridge’s proposal and most people are more than happy to point them out, including Black.
To his credit, Black said if Enbridge can’t come up with a credible and safe method to get the bitumen to the refinery, then he wasn’t interested.
Regardless, the one thing lacking from the pipeline debate, until last Friday, was a sincere attempt at solutions.
David Black changed all of that last Friday.
He may not have all the answers, but at least he presented a plan that would solve a few problems, jobs in B.C., adding value to a Canadian product and avoiding the shipping of bitumen, the most environmentally damaging form of oil.
In one bold move Black solved an anemic job market and found a better solution to shipping oil.
For that I commend Mr. Black for his initiative, for looking through the problem and trying to find solutions.
Black has yet to find backers for his proposal and so is dipping deep into his pockets for the couple of million dollars it will cost to get the environmental assessment process going.
Kudos again to Mr. Black for putting his money where his mouth is.
Yes, there are still many issues to be dealt with, but rather than just saying no, Black has tried to find a solution.
It’s a beginning.