The BC Coast Tanker Highway

Not only would the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline cross the Great Bear Rainforest, it will introduce super tankers (VLCC) with capacity of up to two million barrels of oil navigating along the treacherous coastal BC waters.

The Pacific Ocean is to become a crude oil highway. Dalian, in Northeast China, has been selected as a probable location for export delivery of the diluted bitumen. It has a very large oil port there that can dock deep-sea crude carriers. It also has an extremely large refining capacity, including the refining of petrochemicals. China has also been busy building super tankers to carry the crude. So everything is already in place on that side of the Pacific.

Our Prime Minister reiterated his support for oil expansion at the Davos World Economic Forum, calling it a “national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the United States and specifically to Asia." Speaking to a packed room of oil patch executives and other members of the Alberta Chamber of commerce,  Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver said: “Environment Canada is a strategic partner to everyone in this room – everyone who does business in Calgary, everyone who does business in Alberta, everyone who does business in Canada,”  Apparently, the mandate of Environment Canada is now seconded to that of the Natural Resources Minister. Someone needs to tell Minister Oliver that:

Environment Canada's mandate is to

  • preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment, including water, air, soil, flora and fauna;
  • conserve Canada's renewable resources;
  • conserve and protect Canada's water resources;

Protecting business interests is not part of Environment Canada's mandate.

We are (sadly) accustomed to highway accidents, where lives are lost, cars and infrastructure is damaged, and thousands of hours of productivity is lost as people sit in congestion. BC Ferries' Queen of the North lies sunk in 1300 feet of water just past Hartley Bay and off Gil Island in Grenville Channel where tankers would turn when exiting Douglas Channel from Kitimat. One accident, spilling 2 million barrels of crude oil, is bound to happen when you have hundreds of trips across the ocean throughout the years.

The more I learn about the scope of the NGP, the more I am amazed at the - well, hubris - hardly covers it, but the arrogance of both business and government, that they would think this precendent setting project would not wake sleepy, apathetic, generally content and sheeplike Canadians into a cohesive protest the likes of which have not been seen in Canada before.



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