We kan’t let this Keystone Kompany kill our koast

Keystone XL pipeline will definitely be a path to our future - but what future?

As someone who essentially makes his living from the avails of advertising, I have to give  two thumbs up to the Enbridge effort. Sure, it has been called saccharine and propaganda and it has been booed in at least one theatre, but it’s a real gem in terms of truth in advertising, and I very much appreciate that.

It’s not a pipeline, it’s a path to our future.

Never a truer word was said.

What’s at stake here is not just a pipeline, it’s much, much bigger than that. What’s at stake is the future of this whole province and coast and the future of all the people and animals and plants and watersheds that  call it their home.

I guess the question has to be exactly what that future looks like.

The outlook at this point isn’t encouraging. A report released this week by U.S. National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman was withering in its critique of Enbridge’s handling of the 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

She didn’t pull any punches, calling the company’s actions akin to those of the Keystone Kops in their response to the spill. That sounds about right. It took 17 hours for the 840,000 gallons of heavy bitumen crude oil to spill into the river, a creek and nearby wetlands.

Klowns? Yup, but I would suggest one more akin to something out of a Stephen King novel than a Red Skelton or a Bozo.

That was just one spill, but there have been others.

Using data from Enbridge’s own reports, the Polaris Institute calculated that 804 spills occurred on Enbridge pipelines between 1999 and 2010, releasing about 168,645 barrels of hydrocarbons into the environment.

Now this same kompany wants to build this oh so aptly named Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. koast. I guess the XL stands for extra large — the Fatty Arbuckle of environmental screwups.

Now, the question is, what are we going to do about it? Our provincial government has  been entirely uninspiring and hasn’t even made a presentation as an intervenor. They haven’t taken a position on what is likely to be the biggest environmental issue in a generation. How infuriating is that?

There’s clearly no help coming from that quarter.

Meanwhile, our federal government is so enthusiastic about the idea that I couldn’t vouch for what would happen if that nude painting of Stephen Harper was in the room when the pipeline was being discussed.

Their so-called budget bill cut back on the Coast Guard and on environmental regulation just in time for the Enbridge debate. We can’t look for help there either.

Did I say Enbridge debate? For now maybe, but it looks like it’s time to mobilize. It’s an Enbridge fight they’re picking and if so, it’s up to us to ensure it’s an Enbridge fight they’re going to get.

 

After all, it’s not just a pipeline, it’s a path to our future.

 

Neil Horner is the associate editor of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News. He likes the Enbridge ad

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