Need to deal with Alberta mud

Need to deal with Alberta mud

Writer says the naysayers have a good argument in fear that a spill will wipe out fisheries.

As the battle over pipelines rages on, I thought I should get my “two bits” in.

The naysayers have a good argument in that they fear a spill will wipe out the river and/or coastal fisheries.

The “pros” say it will never happen. I, however, beg to differ.

In my 40-plus years in our valley I have witnessed two major ruptures in the gas line that runs through our valley and across the Telkwa River. Had this been oil or “Alberta mud” we may very well have lost our fisheries already. In the past 30 years we have witnessed the Exxon Valdez spill on Alaska’s north coast and the total destruction of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Both spills have proven to be impossible to clean up.

The pro group point out that 4,500 short-term jobs will be lost during pipeline construction over five years. Compare this to what we stand to lose long-term with no fishery.

To bring this argument up to date, we have to look at the NEB ruling two years ago laying out 150-plus conditions for beginning construction. Alberta couldn’t wait and they started construction right away.

To date, less than one-third of the conditions have been met. They have not dealt with the very critical aspects of this pipeline running through a very geologically active area. They have not dealt with how “Alberta mud” reacts with fresh water, salt water nor what will happen in the case of a winter break and this mud gets under the ice. They have not given any proof that it is ever possible to clean it up even with today’s technology.

Our provincial government has said when the above conditions have been met then and only then will the pipeline be allowed to continue. For this I take my hat off to them and hope they stand firm.

Our Prime Minister has thrown his weight behind big oil, to hell with the environment. At a town hall meeting in Nanaimo he pledged that the line will go through and in doing so he gave, as his father did some 40 years ago, B.C. the finger. In his defence, he never used his father’s verbology “fuddle duddle.” However, we can see that the apple never fell far from the tree.

Robin Hawes

Telkwa