Monday, April 23, 2018

If it takes a rant or two a day

I have held back for some time before publishing this column for Our World Tuesday, even hoping that the live-and-let-live side of me might prevail but, no, the indignant, opinionated, never-say-die part of my brain continues to believe the rant I've written here. I'm doing my best to reign in my anger and disappointment, but I admit I may not have succeeded.

Alberta's Premier, Rachel Notley, a member of the New Democratic Party, recently abandoned her party's left-wing mandate, in order to vote with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in approving further construction of Kinder Morgan's crude oil pipeline across the Rocky Mountains, then across British Columbia to the beautiful west coast.
British Columbia's premier John Horgan has been left in their wake to explain the why and wherefore to his concerned constituents in BC.


Since I wrote this rant, and put off publication until I had my anger under control, something has happened here in western Canada...

There has been an oil spill in
Premier Notley's province of Alberta!

Now here is proof that oil spills can happen anywhere at any time.
Proof right here in oil-producing Alberta.
What now, my fine-feathered friends?
Well, for what it is worth, here is the rant I wrote last week on the subject of mountains, pipelines, tanker ships, coastal waters, and oil spills.

Rachel Notley, left, Justin Trudeau, John Horgan (CBC photos)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may just have sealed the fate of the province of my birth: my beautiful British Columbia. 
I am very disappointed in young Mr. Trudeau, because even he, from his prime ministerial seat in our nation's capital, cannot guarantee that the expansion of the Kinder Morgan company's oil pipeline across the Rocky Mountains from Edmonton, Alberta, and from there through British Columbia, will not result in an oil spill of disastrous proportions.

Perhaps a mountain or coastal spill won't happen soon, maybe not in what's left of my lifetime, but crude oil pipelines can never be guaranteed safe. And spills do happen, and happen often, as Washington State residents, just across the international border from BC, can attest. And now, as Albertans have learned as well.

So bear with me (no pun intended, though bears can well be victims of a spill) and I'll give you my opinion. It is "an ill-favoured thing but mine own." (Thank you, Will S.)

The Prime Minister, together with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, would seem to have outwitted British Columbia's premier John Horgan in order to force on him, and on his fellow British Columbians, the hotly-protested continuation of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline carrying dirty crude bitumen more than 1000 kilometres (600+ miles) from Edmonton, Albertathrough the iconic Canadian Rocky Mountains, then across British Columbia to huge storage tanks built on the shore of Burrard Inlet, near the mouth of a beautiful steep-sided glacial fjord called Indian Arm.

As Trudeau and Notley and Kinder Morgan all know: any pipeline, anywhere, is a crisis waiting to happen. Certainly BC Premier Horgan knows spills happen, as do most residents of Canada's westernmost province. (See Alberta spill, above.)

The Kinder Morgan pipeline could break underground anywhere along its length, spilling the crudest of crude oil into a fragile ecosystem already strained by human usage. An underground break might take some time to be discovered, increasing the damage, as happened with this month's leak in Alberta.

The Prime Minister said that the oil is intended for foreign markets. This means, of course, moving it long distances in tanker ships!

Stanley Park, Vancouver
From beautiful Indian Arm, near the city of Port Moody, BC. huge tanker ships will carry Alberta's oil some 40 kilometres through Burrard Inlet, past the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, under the Second Narrows Bridge, past downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver, under the Lions Gate Bridge, past iconic Stanley Park, West Vancouver, and the University of BC Endowment Lands.
You might well wonder whereof I speak, and with what authority — and you'd be right to ask. Well, once upon a time in Vancouver long ago, part of my job at the Sun daily newspaper was keeping track of the ships that came in and out of Vancouver Harbour. It was interesting — I had to list the names of the ships and their countries of registration, some from far, far away, and I enjoyed the exotic names of some of the vessels. Marine traffic in the 1960s was nothing like it is now, of course, it wasn't unusual to see a dozen or more ships anchored offshore near English Bay, each waiting its turn to move under the Lions Gate Bridge to enter a terminal.
The port of Vancouver, BC, now has 25 marine terminals: 3 container, 17 bulk cargo, and 5 break bulk cargoAs of  this writing in mid-April, there are 104 vessels in port, with 55 expected arrivals.
159 ships is a whole lotta ships, and I don't know if Vancouver should be too nonchalant about the possibility of problems...maybe not this month, maybe not this year, but there is always the chance of disaster, which would undoubtedly be widespread.

According to an Angus Reid poll "67% of Canadians are concerned about the potential for oil spills in Canadian waters. Marine oil spills can occur when vessels are involved in accidents or incidents.  The consequences of large-scale oil spills on wildlife, ecosystems, coastal and Indigenous communities and local economies can be significant."

Any oil spill cleanup is a nasty business



Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You have a right to be angry and concerned. I'm not Canadian but I share your anger.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you that pipelines are a disaster waiting to happen for the environment. I don't know why other forms of energy aren't being developed in the Americas like they are in Europe and the Eastern Hemisphere. Electric cars, solar heat, geothermal, etc, etc.

Angie said...

Kay - I am with you 200%! There are other options for transportation that do not pose as significant a risk. I am currently gathering signatures in Montana to add more solar and wind sources of energy to replace coal - while recognizing that wind can affect birds, it is still a better solution than coal. In other words, no solution is without risk, but we should choose the best overall solution.

Thank you so much for your comment on my recent post - I loved the story of your 'adventures' in Kelowna. Sometimes our best life lessons come from those simple times!

Lady Fi said...

Now I'm angry too! When will we learn that oil is not the way forward!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh, you know I's with ya gal... there was a broken pipeline into Aberdeen at the end of last year, caused a bit of a stir... but there is so much apathy about this too. Sigh... YAM xx

Jenn Jilks said...

It is a complex problem, with many stakeholders, and many layers of concern. The environment, as you have said, which is a world-wide issue.
Alberta has lost so many jobs with the lower prices for oil.
B.C. doesn't want the pipeline running through it.
Investments in Canada, as there is a contract with the US-based oil company, which could cost us millions.We risk future investments, if we break this contract, which also affects us all.
First Nations, some bands want the jobs, others are more concerned about the environment.

I hear your anger. Don't let it eat you up. I protect hubby from all that, he needs to be calm, and stress-free to manage his cancer.
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON!

Kay L. Davies said...
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Kay L. Davies said...
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Victoria said...

Oh no...this is terrible news! I'm one hundred percent in agreement with you.

Powell River Books said...

Moving oil is a sticky business no matter how it is done. As long as we depend on oil for so many things it is going to be hard to get away from it. Hope your computer issues are getting better. - Margy

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Phil Slade said...

Money makes the world go round. But only for so long until we in our human greed destroy the world. Make your voice hears Kay.

All the best in your fight to preserve the beauty of Canada for future generations.

Raquel Jiménez Lastras said...

Es una pena y una desgracia que ocurran esos desastres ecológicos con el petroleo, y mas pena da que se podrían evita. es un mal que recorre el mundo entero.

Anonymous said...

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BumbleVee said...

Sadly, the oceans are in danger of far more than oil spills. Supposedly eco friendly Victoria and many other cities are still flushing raw sewage straight into the water .... China and other countries are doing the same along with dumping garbage in there ...the cruise ships are still dumping all of their garbage overboard even if they claim they don't ... the list goes on and on...and, in reality.... Trans Mountain Pipeline has run their pipeline since the 50's with no problems ... and, all they will do is parallel the one in existence with probably not much trouble at all...and, the upside? ....75% of our work force right here in Calgary and other areas of the province will have jobs once again.... maybe cleaning up our oceans and filtering some raw sewage before dumping would be a better idea... living without heat from fossil fuels will be impossible in cold climates. Electric cars will be impossible in cold climates. And, sadly, wind and solar power are not the way to get anything heated in the north and are a worse landscape blemish than a few oil rigs and sands projects. Wind turbines are being abandoned all over Europe and other areas... useless, rusted blights on landscape and too much trouble to tear down... and I'm not sure we want Cando reactors built right beside our cities in this country either.... what can be done? Who knows... but, shutting down fossil fuels is not the answer. .. and, what about the tons and tons of coal darkening the docks of Vancouver? .... hmmmmmmmm.... yeh, let's not go there.

magiceye said...

It is unfortunate that the world over mercenary conditions overrule all other life valuing decisions/thinking. When it comes to money nothing else matters. Earth and its inhabitants be damned.

NatureFootstep said...

those who caused the spill should pay the bill!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a disappointment! Sadly, I expect bad environmental news on this side of the border now (bad news from anything that goes on in Washington DC actually)... I'm sorry Canada is as bad.

Anonymous said...

Oh Kay, you're angry and rightly so. Any oil spill (anywhere in the world) is bad news!! Even I as a city slicker can understand that. Also, that we need to be more careful with God has given us:)
Also, about your post above about bacteria in wild salmon - so how do I know when I buy salmon if it's good or not? But maybe it's less dangerous what they're putting into beef...
Thanks for your comment today:)

Anonymous said...

Did my comment get through?
With so many nature photos and trips, if I haven't invited you yet(anyone can join), hope to see you at All Seasons - it's about the experience in your season - link up with one photo between Sunday and Wednesday 7pm, Pacific time - would be great to have you on board:). The titles for this meme always start with "All Seasons - "