Why am I supportive of the federal government’s recent decision to allow the Northern Gateway Pipeline project to move ahead, subject to tough conditions? As a lifelong environmentalist, I’m often asked myself that question.
My answer begins with a single fact: there are a billion cars in the world that need oil products everyday.
We have no choice but to make those products available somehow. And a pipeline is the best way to get the fuel to the transportation fleet.
Given current industry standards, and in particular given the enhancements proposed around Northern Gateway, both by the proponent and by the regulators, my view is the pipeline is our best and safest option, and certainly better than rail transport.
But when I say we have no choice but to deliver oil-based fuels to the transportation fleet, I know I’m on solid ground.
If we stopped using oil overnight, half the global population would die as a result of a loss of food distribution, health care and emergency services among other crucial fuel-based needs like heating or cooling.
Moreover, an immediate end to oil use would result in every accessible tree being cut down for fuel.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that a modern, carefully planned, heavily regulated and properly maintained pipeline is so fraught with unmanageable peril that it must be stopped at all costs.
Nearly 300,000 kilometres of U.S. petroleum transmission pipelines move crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products to consumer markets daily. At less than 1,200 kilometres, Northern Gateway seems manageable in comparison.
The federal government’s approval of Northern Gateway was a decisive step toward Canada no longer being held hostage to the U.S. market for our valuable oil.
In this era of strong regulation and intense public scrutiny over energy development and transmission, I support that decision.
Pipelines are safest way to move oil
Patrick Moore’s op-ed in favour of building the Northern Gateway pipeline is reasonable and without hysterical rhetoric to stop the world from using all petroleum products now.
The consequences of the latter are dire indeed.
We fail to recognize that at present there are 300,000 kilometres of U.S. petroleum transmission pipelines in use and another 1,200 kilometres is a small addition.
The Canadian oil industry is well regulated — in fact, it is one of the best in the world.
The question remains: do we move our oil products by rail or by a much safer way — with pipelines?
Mataya Varsek, Vancouver
Moore recruits more pipeline opponents
Every time Patrick Moore speaks, we who oppose pipelines in B.C. know that we will have hundreds of immediate converts. Moreover, Moore will once again confirm to the rest of us that we are right.
Keep Moore coming; he is the best recruiter we in the real environmental movement could possibly have.
Rafe Mair, Lions Bay