No More Tankers (Please)

Transition Sooke and Awareness Film Night will formally request a second question on November’s ballot at tomorrow night’s (Jul. 21) meeting of the District of Sooke council, 7 p.m. at 2225 Otter Pt. Rd. Please join us and let’s pack the room! The presentation’s set for shortly after 7 p.m. and it’ll be followed by a public comment period where audience members can join the dialogue.

The proposed question (subject to a rewrite by council) reads: “Should Sooke join other municipalities in renewing and restating its opposition to the expansion of oil tanker traffic in coastal B.C. waters?”

Mayor Milne expressed his concerns in a January, 2012 letter to Ottawa and received the unanimous backing of council in so doing. Here is a great opportunity to complete the election cycle with a question on our municipal ballot that allows local citizens to “renew and restate” those sentiments in light of the Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain pipeline projects.

Read more about it in a special newsletter produced by Transition Sooke core team member Sofie Hagens, which you can find online here.

Now read on for a bonus outtake from Sofie’s newsletter focusing on comments made by former federal Minister of the Environment David Anderson at our recent Enbridge Decision public forum. All the more reason to exclaim once more with feeling: NO MORE TANKERS!



Time to Pull the Plug on the Enbridge-Northern Gateway Fiasco

During Transition’s public forum on June 26 in Sooke, former federal Environment Minister David Anderson highlighted three major problems in the Enbridge saga (not that there are only three, he said with a laugh, but his time at the podium that night was limited).


1. No Financial Benefits

About two tons of tar sands are required to produce one barrel of oil. Roughly 75% of the bitumen can be recovered from sand. The cost to produce one barrel of oil from the tar sands is $110. In comparison: Iraq can pump up a barrel of oil for $3 plus $2 royalties. Hmm, what’s wrong with this picture?

On top of this no one knows of any signed contracts where the oil will end up. There is no buyer of the bitumen yet and presuming that China will take whatever comes along is not realistic. China is only interested in the cheapest they can find on the world market. Since they have a big influence in Africa, oil is more likely to come from there than from the Canadian tar sands.

Since the cost to produce oil from tar sands is so high, the profits will be limited for Enbridge. According to Anderson Enbridge will soon demand tax cuts to stay in business.

2. No clarity in “the details”

The company fails to name the companies that Enbridge will contract to transport the bitumen from Alberta to Asia. No one seems to know who is going to deliver the actual pipeline. Will it be “Made in China”? And once it arrives in Asia, who is even going to buy the bitumen?

3. Bad Corporate Culture

Accident after accident in industry after industry has shown that corporate culture is an extremely important factor in worker and environmental safety, noted Mr. Anderson.
After the Michigan spill caused by Enbridge, the National Transportation Safety Board held a detailed investigation focused on the causes, the immediate reactions and the clean-up of the bitumen. The outcome was not pretty: Enbridge was described as a “keystone kops” operation, a devastating comment made by board chairperson Ms. Deborah Hersmen. That opinion is based on Enbridge’s flagrant disregard for safety and for safety procedures prior to the spill as well as the extraordinary level of incompetence displayed during the incident that increased the amount of bitumen spilled by fivefold. Follow-up procedures after the spill were equally alarming. All this is outlined in the National Transportation Safety Board’s report, and the companion report of the responsible administrative agency overseeing pipelines, the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

But do you think the Canadian government even wants to take a look in this report? According to Harper’s team they cannot validate it as it was made by an organization outside of Canada. No further follow-up is required according to them.

Given the detailed exposure by the US agencies of the cowboy culture at Enbridge’s management, it is now clear that Enbridge is the last pipeline company on the continent that should be given the mandate to build and operate it.

The full report by NTSB:

A synopsis of the report (scroll down to bottom of page):

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