Orwellian refinery

David Black, owner of the Black Press Group, says he wants to build an oil refinery in Kitimat.

David Black, owner of the Black Press Group, says he wants to build an oil refinery in Kitimat. He claims coastal pollution would be less harmful if a tanker carrying refined petroleum products, rather than diluted bitumen, has an accident.

I’m befuddled. Why not build the refinery in Alberta and minimize the bitumen pollution that would result from a pipeline failure? The Alberta option would also eliminate the added expense of building a recycling pipeline for the toxic distillate used to thin that gooey heavy oil. I can think of two reasons: (1) refining crude oil requires enormous quantities of water, and (2) Enbridge intends to ship bitumen out of Kitimat come hell, high water or a refinery.

When I heard the company spearheading the bitumen refinery proposal was called Kitimat Clean Ltd, I instantly thought of George Orwell’s book 1984, a tale about tyranny, the Ministry of War is called the Ministry of Peace and the Ministry of Propaganda is called the Ministry of Truth. Kitimat Clean sounds like a name dreamt up by a team of public relation consultants after they consumed too many martinis.

Hopefully Mister Black will not misuse the power of his newspapers to limit criticism of the Northern Gateway project and thereby manipulate public information. As anyone can see, there is now the potential for a conflict of interest.

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon