Sunday, June 03, 2018

The Perils and Pitfalls of the J. Trudeau Memorial Pipeline - They're Very Real

To hear many east of the Rockies tell it, a dilbit spill in British Columbia's coastal waters isn't going to happen, although it is, and, should it, they have a "world class" oil spill response programme, although they don't. Those are just lies they have to spin to scrub the narrative of their "national interest" claim. Isolate all the problems and then you can say it's a matter of economics and one recalcitrant province.

South of the border, the Americans are remarkably candid about the realities of an increase in tanker traffic resulting from the J. Trudeau Memorial Pipeline expansion. Their honesty is a refreshing break from the nonsense this prime minister tries to force feed British Columbians.
The presence of that much more oil puts the Strait at a “very high” risk of spills, according to one study by Canadian authorities. Another showed that in six of seven simulated spill-response drills by B.C. officials, more than half the oil during a major spill would have remained in the water five days after a hypothetical accident. 
“We haven’t felt that in the past the standards and capability across the border were as strong as they are on the U.S. side,” said Jensen, with the Department of Ecology. 
In addition, oil-sands petroleum has in previous accidents proved more difficult to clean up than North Slope crude. A former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chemist has argued that oil from Alberta could sink if left on the surface too long, making cleanup virtually impossible.

“We don’t really know how to clean a spill of that stuff up,” said Kongsgaard, of the Puget Sound Partnership. “You’re not going to hear from the cleanup people that we really understand how it behaves at all.” 
But the fact that Haro Strait and Boundary Pass just to the northeast are the most likely place for any serious accident poses a special kind of concern for many officials. 
The region’s endangered killer whales concentrate in those areas, and “We’ve seen that they don’t move around to avoid spilled oil,” said Brad Hanson, a marine-mammal expert with NOAA.
It's times like these that you get to know your friends from your, let's put it this way, your adversaries. The way I see it, our adversaries are the Alberta thugs, Notley and her soon to be replacement, Jason Kenney, and the Ottawa thugs, your prime minister Trudeau and his pack of drylander MPs. It is passing curious that on this pipeline/supertanker steamroller, Justin doesn't have one of his British Columbia MPs leading the charge. Those cowards have gone mute, perhaps Justice Minister Jody excepted and even Jody is keeping her lip buttoned. The rest are fretting about whether they'll get their asses handed to them next year. No, the Gang of Four are Quebec's Trudeau, Manitoba's Carr, Ontario's McKenna and Quebec's Garneau.  A dilbit spill will be no skin off their asses. And, to prove it, McKenna even approved massively toxic Corexit as an oil spill dispersant.

But we do have friends. We have friends in Washington state and Oregon and California, even in Alaska. Notley and Trudeau remind us of the difference between friend and - well, adversary. Notley showed that she's no friend when she passed legislation allowing her government to cut off oil and gas supplies to British Columbia. Trudeau, our other adversary, let her get away with it.

Washington governor, Jay Inslee, however showed that we have a real friend to the south when he assured BC premier Horgan that Washington would supply us with the required fossil fuels if Alberta put the screws to us. It almost seems reminiscent of the Berlin airlift. Notley, with Trudeau's concurrence, threatens to disrupt life for ordinary British Columbians if we don't submit to her will. And then the Good Guys put in an appearance with a friendly "fear not."

Times like these make me just a little sympathetic to Donald Trump who cannot find the billions of dollars he'll need to build his wall along the Mexican border. British Columbians already have the wall we might need. It's huge and it's granite and it reaches thousands of feet into the sky. It's even aligned right, north and south. It's the Rocky Mountains and all the other mountain ranges west of it.

It's not unusual for newcomers to have trouble adjusting to those mountains. They complain that the mountains make them somehow feel cut off from their families and home provinces. Some just go back from whence they came. Some find those mountains distressing but most of us find them assuring, our own Great Wall.

Our majestic mountains create not just a physical divide but also a psychological separation. I wonder if Trudeau gets that. I'm not sure he does.


the salamander said...

.. argh..
The entire point of the exercise is to never ever have a dilbit spill
Hell.. we nave yet to prove we can 'clean up'
a tugboat or ferry fuel tank rupture

A raging Nor Wester, near Haida Gwaii
or even a dead engine supertanker pounding upon the rocks..
its game over.. World Class ? Dreamland
Talk talk from the anal regions of arses.. political arses

The Mound of Sound said...

We're still stuck with a boom and siphon operation that is absolutely useless in anything but calm seas and open water.

They tell the rubes that their system is "world class" but world class is bloody awful. They're well below Washington state standards but that's what happens when you're trying to flog bargain basement priced dilbit. You cut every corner, safety margins included,to lower costs. That's why neither Trudeau nor Notley will even discuss the idea of refining the crud out of their bitumen on site to make it vastly safer to transport. It's that attitude that tells us just how insignificant we are to Ottawa.

Anonymous said...

This pipe is only the beginning of the nightmare coming BC's way. Scheer is headed for a majority in 2019 and he wants to dig up the other BC pipelines to bring Alberta's bitumen to China.

Free trade with China is the real kicker. The entire purpose of it is to make Canada (like Australia and New Zealand) a Chinese resource colony. (And recent headlines would suggest they are interested in more than just resources.)

Did you see that infographic on G&M with the tankers navigating the complex waterway from the KM port? How it looks when the traffic jumps 10 fold?

Just imagine how a continuous train of filthy bitumen supertankers is going to stink up 'the view' in BC. And the people can only pray there is no pile up!

Kinder Morgan: Weigh Anchor

Because Pictures! said...

Our leaders be damned (including the one we’ll elect at the end of this week), we are still opposed to the pipeline. And hooray for Washington State! Their oil is probably cheaper than Alberta’s anyway.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon 2:25 - I did see the Globe animation. It did carefully skirt issues such as the behaviour of dilbit when spilled and the consequences that would have across the Salish Sea including Washington's Puget Sound.

I've noticed that no one is interested in the particulars of the supposed "world class" dilbit spill response or how it stacks up against Washington's strict tanker controls.

Anonymous said...

IMO, the only card BC has to play is a separatist movement. But first you have to get Proportional Representation passed. A separatist party would divide the opposition to the pipelines and put the Neo-Liberal party in power for all eternity.

BC has 5 million people which is the same population as Norway. Norway does pretty well decided their own fate in the world.

Canada is going down the tubes anyways via free trade with TPP nations and China. BC has nothing to lose if they win separation.

I also think America would be much better off if broken up into two or 3 countries or super-states.

Canada, America and the EU are too big to fail and they are failing big time! Time to break things up!

As well as these mega-corporations that just suck wealth out of the economy.

If it's got now use: break it up! Giant entities just give corrupt people enormous amounts of power which they abuse to the fullest. They contribute absolute nothing to the world.

bill said...

Mound, my understanding is that BC. wants to delay shipment of bitumen until a proven safe way of cleaning up spills is available. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been an effective clean up of any type of crude oil spill in history. Combined with the physical fact that there is not a single safe port in BC. to bring super tankers into, this should be the message that should drown out the Neo liberal propaganda.
There is a case in the Yukon a couple of years ago where First Nations that have finalized land claims have shut down fracking and seismic surveying until as the key words go, THAT IT IS PROVEN SAFE TO ALL HUMAN AND ANIMAL LIFE. Maybe BC. could use this as part of their defence as the message that is being put out is that they want to ban oil shipments by the oil lobby. Micheal Harris wrote an article a couple of months ago that fishermen and First Nations in Nova Scotia were trying to end seismic surveying off the coast as there was clear evidence of it interfering with mammals and other marine life.

The pro oil movement and their Neo liberal buddies have spent billions and own most means of communication getting out their message of lies that the future lies in continued increasing use of fossil fuels. Somehow the true story needs to get out to the public along with delays in expansion until they can prove that the industry is safe. this will require co-ordination across the country to delay for a few years until the rest of the world races ahead of us and there is simply no major demand outside North America for fossil fuels as a source of energy. Even Saudi Arabia is building refineries against a future when the primary use of oil is the thousands of products other than fuel that we use it for.

Hugh said...

"Did Canada buy an oil pipeline in fear of being sued by China?

The logic to Trudeau’s action may lie in an obscure and overlooked 2014 agreement to ensure China got a pipeline built"

"So what’s going on?

The logic to Trudeau’s action may lie in an obscure and often overlooked agreement called the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Fipa).

This agreement, ratified in 2014, was negotiated by the previous Harper government. It was passed without a vote in Parliament. Fipa, which remains in place until 2045, was signed to ensure that China got a pipeline built from Alberta to BC, among other benefits."