LETTER: Exxon Valdez poor comparison to B.C. tanker fleet

Mr. DiCastri’s letter on this subject (Oil tanker spills are not a hypothetical subject, The NEWS, Feb. 27) is another example of uninformed environmental fearmongering. He cites the Exxon Valdez tanker grounding in 1989 in Alaska (not on our coast, as he claims) to argue against increased tanker traffic through Vancouver. The Valdez disaster was the result of the tanker being single-hulled, a captain failure and the absence of navigating marine pilots. (And, for the record, the destruction caused has not lasted forever.) The tankers plying B.C. waters are double-hulled, guided by highly trained pilots and escorted by three tethered tugs. That is why for 50 years there have been no tanker spills on the West Coast or, indeed, on the East Coast,which would be energy-starved without tankers.

Mr. DiCastri asked what idiot approved the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline. It was the internationally well-regarded National Energy Board (NEB), after extensive and prolonged study of all the ramifications of the project, conducted without political interference. I believe no other resource-dependent country in the world applies stricter review and regulations than the NEB, despite inevitable opposition to its findings.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion now at issue does not benefit only Alberta as he seems to think. The new employment and resulting increased tax revenues paid by companies will help provinces and the federal government provide increased funding for health, education and social welfare needs pretty well across the country.

Finally, without the pipeline extension to access world markets, Canadian oil exports will continue to face a significant discount and revenue loss in the U.S. market. Moreover, more oil will be shipped by rail, riskier transportation than by pipeline.

Michael Berry

Qualicum Beach

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