NIMBY on Trans Mountain not working for B.C.

Like it or not, petroleum-dependency is not going away any time soon

Last week, gas prices in B.C. spiked, with the exception of a few bubbles, including Smithers.

While that smacks of typical gas retailing opportunism in advance of a long weekend, industry experts also pointed to the election of Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party government next door in Alberta.

During the campaign, Kenney famously promised/threatened to “turn off the taps.”

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, let us not forget the bluster of an election campaign is a far cry from the realities of governing. Alberta businesses might have something to say about messing with one of the strongest interdependent economic relationships in the country.

The looming potential showdown between neighbouring provinces, of course, was precipitated by British Columbia’s continuing obstruction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, which would carry bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to B.C. tidewater.

Given our economic reliance on fossil fuels, one might be forgiven for wondering if the ‘N’ in NDP stands for NIMBY.

At least on pipelines, B.C. is getting a bit of a reputation for being hard to play with.

To be fair, while Trans Mountain remains a sticky wicket, under the current government, the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline is getting built, mineral exploration and mining interests are proceeding full steam ahead and, one thing that seems to get missed an awful lot, is the fact that the Alberta oilsands are the biggest consumer of natural gas in Canada and most of that gas is piped from, you guessed it, British Columbia.

The future of humanity depends on finding energy alternatives for the sake of economic sustainability and our very survival. It is a work in progress for the nation, provinces, municipalities and individuals.

In the meantime, even if we all started driving electric cars and powering our homes with solar and wind today, our petroleum-driven economy is not going away any time soon. If we are not putting the stuff in our vehicles and furnaces and water heaters, many of the components in those things are made from oil.

We even eat the stuff. Cool Whip for your Easter pie, anyone?

And what about all of our electronics? The rare earth metals mining industry is on the precipice of an unprecedented boom because of demand for smart phones, computers, televisions, etc., etc., and yes, electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels. Those resources are not being extracted using non-renewables and will not be in the foreseeable future.

The existing Trans Mountain pipeline already transports 300,000 barrels of crude per day. We, the taxpayers of this country, now own the thing.

It is time to get on with it. NIMBY is not working for Canada, Alberta or B.C.

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