Wednesday, April 18, 2018
What We Need to See For Starters
Tankers, safe? No.
Even double hulled ships can founder in many ways. Their hulls can still be pierced by rocky projections, especially if they're battered against those rocks repeatedly in stormy seas. They can lose steerage. It does happen. They can suffer engine failure at a critical moment. Fires always pose a problem given that tankers are full of stuff intended to burn.
Now, a government that goes to some lengths to assure anxious citizens that an armada of heavily laden, clumsy supertankers can safely navigate the Strait of Georgia needs to tell those citizens, in detail, real detail, what happens when things go wrong. What happens if one of their tankers is broken on the rocks in a storm? What happens if there's a collision with another ship? What happens if the ship experiences a major fire? What happens if that tanker sinks?
The Georgia Strait, the passage these tankers will ply, has a maximum depth of 447 metres or a little over 1,665 feet. The mean depth is only 515 feet.
So, what do you do if you have a dilbit laden tanker broken in two lying on its side in 1,665 feet of water that's ripped by tides and currents? How do you make that safe? Have you got anything capable of handling a task that massive at those depths? If so, what? What if it's only at the mean, 515 feet. How do you make that safe? What have you got capable of handling that Herculean challenge? Nothing? That's what I thought.
What happens if those currents carry that dilbit out onto the seabed? How far will it go after a month, after three months, after a year?
We know that the marine food chain begins at the seabed. How much contamination will dilbit or just bitumen cause to the marine food chain? For how long? Decades, generations, essentially forever? How long does it take for the heavy metals and the carcinogens to leach out? How do those deadly elements enter the food chain? How do they work their way up the food chain through bioconcentration? How long before it reaches the salmon, the orca and the humpbacks? What havoc will it wreak on the seals and sea lions, the porpoise and dolphins? What about the Dungeness crab and the giant Pacific octopus, the sidestripe and the spot prawns, the squid? What will it do to our oyster beds, our mussels and our scallops? Will it turn the main prey fish, the herring and the sardines, into toxic time bombs for those many species which, without them, cannot survive? Will it take weeks, months, a year? How long will it continue to contaminate the marine ecosystem, one of the richest in the world? Decades, generations, essentially forever?
Trudeau, McKenna, Garneau, that idiot Carr, they all ought to have verifiable answers (they have lied, a lot. they cannot be taken at their word) to each and every one of these questions. They ought to have those answers at their fingertips. They ought to have it published and a leaflet delivered to every home in the area.
What's their plan if this enters the human food chain? Are they planning on closing off the Strait, perhaps the Salish Sea, to the public, to boaters and sport fishermen? Are they going to tell the fishing boat owners and their crews, the sport fishing guides, the whale watching operators, to start flipping burgers and selling fries? What's the plan for those people?
We know that Dame Cathy has approved the use of Corexit as an oil spill dispersant. It's the same toxic garbage that was used on both the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon disasters. It doesn't really disperse oil. It merely sinks it to the bottom. Research from the Gulf of Mexico revealed that Corexit makes oil some 52 times more toxic. However it does get oil out of sight and out of sight is, supposely, out of mind. Just approving the use of Corexit is an admission, what lawyers call a declaration against interest. It is an admission that they haven't got a hope of cleaning up a dilbit spill.
How are you going to make this right with anybody, everybody affected? Who's going to put up the money? Notley? She's broke. Trudeau? Fat chance. He's the last guy anybody should trust. He breaks his word as easily and often as ordinary folks break wind only they're a good deal less noxious.
What about our First Nations? We celebrate them when they recreate the voyages of their ancestors in their majestic and massive cedar canoes. As far as they're concerned the Salish Sea is their ancestral waters. What are you going to do if you ruin that for them? How can you conceivably make that right? How do you place a price tag on someone's ancient birthright?
What about the precautionary principle, Justin? It's the law of the land, the law of Canada. Its purpose is to protect ordinary Canadians, their homes and their livelihoods, from reckless dumbasses like Trudeau and Notley and Kinder Morgan and the bitumen barons who can't answer these questions. The onus is on them to prove that this can be done safely.
As far as can be told, Justin imagines the precautionary principle may be the law of Canada, just not coastal British Columbia. We are apparently beyond the protection of that law as far as Trudeau is concerned. He and his minions and the corporations they serve aren't too keen on answering these fundamental questions because they all know, full well, what that would mean to their infernal pipeline.
Update: I realize this is an angry post. Perhaps it should be tempered with a touch of levity. Here for your amusement is Justin Trudeau's mandate letter to Enviromin Cathy McKenna. Let the hilarity ensue.