Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Pipeline to be Built on Lies

A University of British Columbia study finds just one tanker spill from the Northern Gateway supertanker project could more than wipe out any financial benefits accruing to the province from the pipeline.

Just one.  Remember, local Coast Guard personnel have warned that, when it comes to a supertanker disaster on the northern coast, it's not "if" but "when and how often."

Enbridge predictably argues the UBC report is deeply flawed.   The company, with the spotty history of pipeline accidents and that refuses to reveal who will actually own the Northern Gateway pipeline, says the chances of a supertanker spill are highly improbable.  Enbridge claims it's a once in 15,000-year event. 

I suppose the extreme unlikelihood of a catastrophic tanker spill explains why Enbridge, the bitumen producers and the tanker owner/operators have an intricate liability "cut-out" scheme for the Northern Gateway pipeline.   After all, why should they be on the hook for something that's simply not going to happen?

"The loss estimates don't include the cost of spill response, clean-up and litigation, which could run as high as $9.6 billion, the researchers said. Northern Gateway pointed out that cleanup costs of a tanker incident at sea would be paid for by the responsible party, 'not the fishing industry or the public.'"

More bald-faced lies.   Tanker owners will have a liability limited to a fixed sum insurance they will carry.   That insurance was reported to be about enough to cover a week worth of oil spill recovery efforts (if waters remain unnaturally calm).    Sure the costs will be covered by the responsible party but neither Enbridge nor its pipeline partners nor Alberta nor the tanker owners  will be "responsible."  In that reality, responsibility defaults to those at the end of the line, the British Columbia public.

Joy Thorkelson, a Prince Rupert city councillor and North Coast representative of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union, said she believes the costs to ocean industries would be even higher than estimated.

Thorkelson said the pipeline is a risk to salmon, in particular, in rivers and at sea.

"I'm quite sure that Prime Minister Harper has written off the commercial industry in favour of the oil industry. The fact that he wants to write off a renewable industry and a resource that belongs to the people of Canada in favour of oil is really criminal," Thorkelson said.

The Enbridge approach boils down to "trust us."   And yet, while Enbridge appeals to regulators for their trust, it tells blatant lies to their faces.   And when it can't lie, it simply refuses to answerWhy is Enbridge so openly dishonest and secretive?   It has to be confident that it can freely indulge in this chicanery without consequence.   Would Enbridge be doing this unless it knew the fix was in, that these hearings are just another rubber stamp?

When Harper gave his blessing to China's takeover of Nexen that had to come with a side deal on the Northern Gateway.   Why would China pay 60% above value for Nexen without the federal government's assurance that opposition to the Northern Gateway would be swept aside and all necessary environmental approvals would be mere formalities?

Prince Rupert city councillor, Joy Thorkelson, is right.  This is criminal but just try to prove it.


Anyong said...

What else is new?

hemcoined said...

Responsibility defaults to those at the end of the line.
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