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Fri Dec 20, 2013, 03:28 AM

Regulator OKs oil pipeline to Pacific Coast

Source: Associated Press

Regulator OKs oil pipeline to Pacific Coast
By ROB GILLIES
— Dec. 20, 2013 3:02 AM EST

TORONTO (AP) — Canada's regulator recommended Thursday the government approve a proposed pipeline to the Pacific Coast that would allow Canada's oil to be shipped to Asia.

A three-person review panel said opening Pacific markets to Canadian oil is important to the economy and thus supported Enbridge's controversial pipeline. There are 209 conditions, but no major potential stumbling blocks such as a route change.

Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said the government will review the report and consult with affected aboriginal groups before making a decision. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government has staunchly supported the pipeline after the United States delayed a final decision on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

~ snip ~

There is fierce environmental and aboriginal opposition and court challenges are expected. Opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential Exxon Valdez-like disaster on the pristine Pacific coast. About 220 large oil tankers a year would visit the Pacific coast town of Kitamat.


Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/regulator-oks-oil-pipeline-pacific-coast

7 replies, 976 views

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:20 AM

1. Quarter century later, Exxon Valdez spill STILL not cleaned up or compensated for!

Ultimately, no one really knows what the long-term impacts of large-scale oil spills will be. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, for instance, the region’s productive herring fishery suddenly collapsed four years after the spill occurred, and it has yet to recover.

In addition, oil has lingered in the ecosystem far longer than many predicted. A 2001 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study surveyed 96 sites along 8,000 miles of coastline and found that “a total area of approximately 20 acres of shoreline in Prince William Sound is still contaminated with oil. Oil was found at 58 percent of the 91 sites assessed and is estimated to have the linear equivalent of 5.8 km of contaminated shoreline.”

In 2010, the journal Nature explained that some researchers initially calculated that Exxon Valdez‘s oil would dissipate within years or even months or that it would quickly degrade or be washed away by high-pressure hoses. However, due to the natural geology of the environment, pockets of oil have remained, buried half a meter below the surface of some beaches.

Critics of the delay say the ongoing struggle to hold Exxon accountable for unanticipated environmental damages in Alaska offers clear lessons to be learned regarding the continuing process of determining BP’s long-term liability for the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, a spill that was 20 times larger than Exxon Valdez.


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/07/15/2301451/25-years-after-exxon-valdez-oil-spill-company-still-hasnt-paid-for-long-term-environmental-damages/

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:20 AM

2. The writer of this piece needs to wake up.

After Fukushima it is difficult to describe anything associated with the Pacific as pristine.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 07:54 AM

7. With your logic, if one has skin cancer, no point in quitting smoking?

Or perhaps, someone has a 3rd degree sunburn on their face, so ignore the gangrene in their foot?

The issue is not the pristineness of the entire vast Pacific Ocean, it is the pristine condition of the the pathway of the proposed pipeline from Alberta through British Columbia, and the waterways through which the huge oil tankers would have to navigate. And of course, any huge body of water is not going to be totally pristine - however it's presently pristine enough in the B.C. area to support a major fishing industry. A major issue is the impact on fisheries. As I posted/documented elsewhere on this thread:

"There has been an informal moratorium on all oil tanker traffic off the coast of BC since 1972, renewed by the House of Commons in 2010 after the Harper government said there was no official moratorium. As for the Northern Gateway pipeline, all we have been told is that Enbridge, the pipeline’s owner, says it has a foolproof plan to manage all this. The area is one of the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet, all based on the salmon. It is critical habitat for seventeen types of marine mammals, including the endangered blue, fin, right, sei and orca whales. Rivers critical for sixty percent of BC’s multi-million-dollar salmon catch run through the region."

As to Fukushima's discharge of irradiated water, there remains a variety of projections on how the water has dispersed and how much the radiation has been diluted. It may or may not prove to have an impact on B.C. waterways & salmon.
As to the impact on fisheries of ONE spill by a tanker, the Exxon Valdez, read on:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/06/exxon.valdez.alaska/
(snip)
Three years after the 11 million-gallon spill in Prince William Sound blackened 1,500 miles of Alaska coastline, the herring on which he and other Cordova fishermen heavily relied disappeared from the area. Platt and some others stuck around, fishing for salmon and hoping things would improve. The herring never returned to Cordova. Platt's income plummeted, severely straining his marriage and psyche. He dipped into his sons' college funds to support his family. . . People's lives were ruined.

The herring loss alone has cost the region about $400 million over the past 21 years, according to the developmental director at Cordova's Prince William Sound Science Center. The average fisherman suffered a 30 percent loss in income after the spill, but those who specialized in just herring lost everything, Kopchak said.

"The Valdez oil spill was a tragic accident and one which ExxonMobil deeply regrets," Exxon said in a separate statement" . . . As a result of the accident, Exxon undertook significant operational reforms and implemented an exceptionally thorough operational management system to prevent future incidents. ExxonMobil has a long history of community support throughout Alaska and we continue to expand that focus," the statement said.

Well, we all see how well that "exceptionally thorough operational management" worked out in Arkansas, where the state has had to sue Exxon to clean up its major spill there. So the Canadian company assures us it has a fool proof plan? Cripes. What next - sell us the Brooklyn Bridge?

If you are located in Texas, any chance you have a personal interest in the oil bidness? Full disclosure on that subject, if you please.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:58 AM

3. Chinese Goliath has invested BILLIONS in private Canadian energy interests.

The peoples of the First Nation and Canadian environmentalists are truly David versus Goliath, particularly with Prime Minister Harper's conservative government support for this dirty oil pipeline.
From the OP link:
"The Northern Gateway Project is being vehemently opposed by Indigenous Peoples who will not put their territories, waters and communities at risk," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. "We are prepared to go to the wall against this project. We have no choice."

Meanwhile, China's growing economy is hungry for Canadian oil. Chinese state-owned companies have invested billions in Canadian energy in the past few years.

"They follow this quite closely," said Wenran Jiang, an energy expert and special adviser to Alberta's Department of Energy.

He said Canada's regulator hasn't put any major conditions on the approval.


Here is an excellent, detailed and really shocking article spelling out how Canadian PM Harper has gutted environmental regulation, assessment, oversight and enforcement across the board in Canada, and in particular in regard to the dirty oil pipeline:

The Harper Conservatives and Their Dirty Oil Pipeline

The Harper Conservative majority government has “streamlined” the environmental assessment process to speed up development, by removing 3,000 projects from review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). Of course, nationwide, the big one that is still in there is the Enbridge “Northern Gateway” pipeline to carry tar sands crude from Alberta to Kitimat, BC, which this Alberta-based government wants very badly.


What is at stake environmentally is discussed in an Oct 7th Toronto Star article titled ‘Why Northern Gateway shouldn’t go near Great Bear Rainforest,’ by John Honderich, Chair of the Toronto Star‘s Board of Directors. It points out that recent legislation weakening the federal government’s obligation to do environmental protection is more than anything else aimed at preventing environmentalists, native groups, and the BC provincial government from blocking or delaying the construction of this pipeline which is intended to carry dirty tar sands oil from Alberta to Kitimat, BC to go onto oil tankers bound for the Asian market. The article notes that “the fierce opposition of the Coastal First Nations to the project is well known” and their rights to the land have never been ceded. The tankers departing from Kitimat would pass through dangerous waters: first the 2-3 km wide 70 km long Douglas Channel and then around 27 km long Gil Island with the channel narrowing by half. It was at the northern tip of Gil Island where in 2006 the BC Ferry Queen of the North missed a turn, ran onto the rocks, and sank. It is true that cargo vessels, e.g. ore carriers, have been carrying commercial cargo along this route for decades, but modern supertankers have never done so, and they are six to seven times as long as a typical ore carrier and need at least half a kilometre to alter course. Furthermore, a load of bauxite sinking to the bottom of the channel is much less of an environmental threat than “a supertanker disgorging millions of litres of molasses-like bitumen.” This area is the world’s second largest temperate rainforest, called the Great Bear Rainforest because of the spectacular population of black, grizzly, and kermode bears that live off the abundant salmon runs. By comparison, tankers loading at Valdez, Alaska and going out through Prince William Sound have it easy and safe: the exit from Valdez Arm and past Bligh Reef (where the Exxon Valdez went aground) into open Prince William Sound is about 30 km, and the tankers are always escorted by tugs. Two tugs escort each laden tanker through Prince William Sound and remain at Hinchinbrook Entrance until the vessel is twenty-seven kilometres out to sea. Will tugs escort tankers from Kitimat to the open sea? The nearest Coast Guard is in Prince Rupert, 135 km northwest of Gil Island.


There has been an informal moratorium on all oil tanker traffic off the coast of BC since 1972, renewed by the House of Commons in 2010 after the Harper government said there was no official moratorium. As for the Northern Gateway pipeline, all we have been told is that Enbridge, the pipeline’s owner, says it has a foolproof plan to manage all this. The area is one of the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet, all based on the salmon. It is critical habitat for seventeen types of marine mammals, including the endangered blue, fin, right, sei and orca whales. Rivers critical for sixty percent of BC’s multi-million-dollar salmon catch run through the region.


During this year there has been a gutting of Environment Canada and Fisheries & Oceans Canada. Scientists whose research might conclude environmental damage have been fired. (Not “de-funded” because some of them are internationally renowned and could attract funding, and the Harper government doesn’t want that.) Government scientists are now followed around at international conferences by “minders” who make sure they don’t speak out of turn. Submitted papers that don’t follow the industry line are excluded. I experienced that personally – a submitted paper critical of massive dispersants use, as happened in the Gulf of Mexico, was rejected for a regular session of an Environment Canada conference in Vancouver, as too political and not really a technical paper. However, many papers promoting the use of dispersants were presented by industry and government attendees. The UK newspaper The Guardian published an article by their US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg about a revolt by Canada’s leading scientists against sweeping cuts to government research labs and the government’s pro-industry policies, saying that Harper is accused of pushing through a slew of policies weakening or abolishing environmental protections – with an aim of expanding development of natural resources such as the Alberta tar sands. (N.B.: This is not Canadian partisan opinion.)



From issue #63


http://subterrain.ca/blog/108/the-harper-conservatives-and-their-dirty-oil-pipeline

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 06:00 AM

4. Horrible idea!

Greed and hubris have clearly made these people go insane. This is a horrible idea!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 06:24 AM

5. Arkansas Oil Spill: U.S. Government and Arkansas Sue ExxonMobil Over Spill

Ironically, the spill, which occurred on March 29, came just days after the company was awarded the Green Cross for Safety medal, in honor of its "comprehensive commitment to safety excellence," by the National Safety Council. Clearly it was a bit premature.

The Justice Department and the State of Arkansas are seeking damages for alleged violations of federal and state waste and pollution laws respectively, while Arkansas is also seeking a ruling that Exxon is liable to pay for damages resulting from the spill of about 5,000 barrels worth of oil. During a news conference, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said that the "lawsuit is based on the fact that the pipeline rupture caused the release of Canadian tar sands oil that polluted the state’s air, soil and waters, has caused a significant and lasting negative impact upon our state’s environment, and Exxon as responsible party for the incident should be penalized for those impacts." The company says that it is aware that the lawsuit has been filed but has yet to review the allegations against it.

As TransCanada, the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, has stepped up its efforts to combat opposition to the project by hiring a "communications specialist" with no known experience on energy and environmental issues, the damage caused by the spill in Mayflower highlights just a few of the very real dangers posed by the short-sighted project.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/48887/arkansas-oil-spill-u-s-government-and-arkansas-sue-exxonmobil-over-spill

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Response to mitty14u2 (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 07:30 AM

6. Arkansas can look forward to Exxon stalling for a quarter of century as they have with Valdez.

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