Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Great. Now Notley Imagines She's Speaking for All Canadians. You Too?

Rachel Notley is taking to the interwebs in her war with British Columbia. If it's war B.C. wants, it's war she'll get.

Now the Alberta premier, speaking for Alberta and all Canadians (including you, I guess) is going to expose the recalcitrant coastal curmudgeons, damned hippies and geriatric draft dodgers,  as never before.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Notley explained that this would drive home Alberta's message in the “ongoing dispute that British Columbia has triggered with Alberta and with all Canadians.”

“Albertans (will) be able to engage with people in other parts of the country to help make our point around why this is so important for Canada, for the Canadian economy, for Canada’s environmental progress, for all these issues,” Notley told a press conference in Edmonton, Alta.

But B.C.'s goal of improving scientific research into spills was actually supported by the federal government's Environment Department in 2016.

In January of that year, Environment and Climate Change Canada told the federal pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board, that there were significant "knowledge gaps and uncertainties with respect to hydrocarbon product behaviours in the marine environment," and that the company should commit to funding more research to strengthen spill response planning and risk assessment.

"Significant knowledge gaps." Now there's an understatement. 

As renowned Alberta ecologist, the University of Alberta's professor David Schindler wrote in a recent op-ed in the Edmonton Journal, we know essentially nothing about what a dilbit spill in British Columbia's coastal waters would mean. This admits of but two possibilities. Either the federal government hasn't researched the threat, which would make Justin Trudeau a despicable liar. Or it has done the research and, for some reason, has chosen not to share it with the public, especially coastal British Columbians. 

Me? I'm going to assume Ottawa has done the research and knows what a generational, environmental catastrophe awaits British Columbia's coast when, (not if but when and how often*) a wallowing, fully loaded supertanker has a mishap. And I'm going to make that assumption based on the decision of Dame Cathy McKenna's environment minister to quietly approve the use of the lethal chemical stew, Corexit, as an oil spill dispersant.

Before that other Albertan asshat, Shifty Steve Harper, rescinded it, our federal government imposed a tanker exclusion zone, that kept U.S. supertankers carrying Alaska crude oil to the lower 48 well out of British Columbia coastal waters. That wasn't dilbit. It was the far more benign conventional crude oil. Canada didn't implement that exclusion zone for shits and giggles. We knew the hazards even a conventional oil spill would pose to our coastal waters.

So, let's recap. Justin Trudeau's own environment ministry has said all along that the essential research into dilbit spills hasn't been done, directly contradicting this prime minister's empty assurances. The eminent science body, the Royal Society of Canada, says the research hasn't been done, not a lick of it. Alberta's most renowned ecologist, professor Dave Schindler says the British Columbia government's argument isn't intransigent. In fact it's pretty much unassailable. Trudeau lies to our faces and says his government has the science but won't produce it. Possibly his dog ate it. McKenna's environment ministry has green-lighted a vicious chemical compound that sinks oil spills straight to the bottom where the toxic sludge will contaminate the marine ecosystem for generations. And those uppity British Columbians should just shut up and keep their damned questions to themselves.

* during National Energy Board hearings, many experienced mariners from the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy and the merchant marine testified that a tanker spill isn't a matter of if but of when and how often.


Toby said...

I used to respect Rachel Notley but not anymore. At a time when we should be shutting down the tar sands and weaning ourselves off carbon fuels ramping up extraction makes no sense. Building Rachel's pipeline is even questionable financially. As the world shifts from carbon as a response to global warming the pipe could easily become a stranded asset. If/when that happens does Rachel intend to remove it from BC and clean up her mess? It doesn't look like she even intends to clean up Alberta's mess.

The Mound of Sound said...

Like Trudeau, Notley is planning on not being around when those hens come home to roost, Toby.