Letter: No such thing as ‘world class’ oil spill response

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The existing Trans Mountain pipeline has already spilled 82 times. That’s 5.5 million litres of oil. Even brand new pipelines are spill-prone (Nexen), and the recent MV Marathassa and Nathan E Stewart spills into coastal waters show that BC is not prepared for a spill. Kinder Morgan has been responsible for 1,848 oil and chemical spill violations since 1997, hardly inspiring confidence.

There is no such thing as “world-class” spill response. Industry considers “success” in cleanup to be a recovery of 10—15% of conventional oil. Leaving 85% of an oil spill in the marine environment is unacceptable. Kinder Morgan’s diluted bitumen would be even more impossible to clean up because it sinks. No technology currently exists that successfully cleans up bitumen spills in oceanic environments.

A diluted bitumen spill would result in mass public exposure to dangerous levels of benzene gas and other toxins. These petrochemicals are cancer-causing and can inflict serious injury on humans. Doctors have warned that a rupture or spill could cause acute and long-term health effects from asthma to cancer, calling for a Cumulative Health Impact Assessment of the project. The Kalamazoo River diluted bitumen spill caused numerous negative health impacts.

More than 320,000 jobs in the Lower Mainland rely on the natural environment. More than 60,000 jobs on Vancouver Island rely on tourism. In comparison, Kinder Morgan would create only 50 permanent jobs and could be a “disaster for jobs in BC”: Unifor, one of Canada’s largest unions for energy workers, opposes the pipeline because it could cause Burnaby’s Chevron refinery to close.

Redirecting fossil fuel subsidies to clean, renewable energy would create six to eight times more jobs. Stop Kinder Morgan.

Allan Crawshaw


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