Bernie Smith’s offering in the June 5 edition headed, No Sure Thing, was a disappointment; it was not up to his usual standard of logic.
After saying he and his wife, given their joint time at sea, face with “trepidation” the public view of the “inevitability of a catastophic oil spill on our pristine coast.”
He avers that they “never experienced any oil spills during our considerable time working at sea.”
Surely Mr. Smith is not suggesting the press reports of infamous oil tanker disasters such as the Valdez, the Braer or the Sea Empress, are fictitious? If not, then we are bound to conclude the question is not if one occurs, but when.
If only he had skipped that dubious reasoning and gone straight to his proposition that, if we must use oil, let the crude be processed close to the extraction site and the finished value-added product be shipped.
He rightly says that such products are much less damaging when spills, big and small, occur. Many of us would also suggest that pipelining such products from Alberta to the industrial heartland would add to Canadian petroleum security and reduce overseas shipments that now travel up the Saint Lawrence.
As for his assertion that shipping through Prince Rupert would be safer than through Kitimat, it must be conceded that the ocean shipping phase of that route would be environmentally safer but the piped product still has to cross numerous river valleys.
There is even some tentative evidence that the Kitimat proposal is a stalking horse meant to draw our ire while Enbridge works out a proposal to ship by rail to Rupert — along side of the last major salmon bearing river in B.C.
Finally, the most egregious aspect of the whole business is the mindlessly stupid idea that we should take up the dirtiest possible source, the tar sands, and waste up to nearly 30 per cent of the synthetic product’s potential energy by burning increasingly scarce natural gas or nuclear power to extract it.