Letter: ‘We refuse to have toxic bitumen shoved down our throats’

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Time to tell Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau, and big oil that they can choose not to drink B.C. wine, but we refuse to have toxic bitumen shoved down our throats.

The Kinder Morgan project threatens both our economy and our environment. Diluted bitumen is toxic and unsafe. Increased tanker traffic makes the risk of a catastrophic dilbit spill totally unacceptable… it would destroy our sensitive marine ecosystems, fishery and tourism jobs, seaside communities, First Nations resources, and the beauty of our west coast. Such a spill can never truly be “cleaned up.” Nearly 30 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, the coastal ecosystem in Alaska’s Prince William Sound is permanently damaged. Thousands of gallons of oil still pollute the beaches and the oil is still toxic to marine life. The notion that a “world-class spill regime” would fix things in BC is an unproven pipe dream… recent real-world experience shows that spill response on our coast is totally inadequate.

Most of the bitumen is destined for US markets and not Asia!! Kinder Morgan already has guaranteed access for 60 crude oil tankers a year. Port Metro Vancouver reports that in 2016, KM shipped 17 tankers to U.S. ports and the equivalent of one tanker to a non-U.S. port.

Why isn’t the existing access being used? Because, in spite of Rachel Notley’s strident claims about lost jobs, demand for Alberta’s heavy bitumen is actually shrinking on the world stage since lighter, less toxic oil is readily available. It’s long past time for Albertans to get off their stranded assets and to diversify their economy with sustainable energy projects. PM Trudeau; stop listening to Alberta whine and have a glass of BC wine.

George Sranko

Oak Bay

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