Nothing to make light of

A response to Ray Maslek's Aug. 10 article: Stop Bleeding Money to the United States.

I was disturbed to read the Aug. 10 op-ed by Ray Maslek, Stop Bleeding Money to the United States, and the dismissive approach he takes to opposition regarding the proposed Enbridge pipeline.

Having hundreds of super tankers navigating a route of over 300 kilometres towards the open sea through the fourth most dangerous waterway in the world is, in my opinion, sheer madness.

Perhaps the author is being unduly influenced by Enbridge’s public video and map where 1,000 square km. of islands have been removed in a seeming attempt to make the tanker route appear more open and far less treacherous than it is.

In theory, and depending how it is done, it makes a certain sense to find other markets considering that under NAFTA we are obliged to export our oil and natural gas to the US at relatively low prices.

However, it is irresponsible to make light of the seriousness of the risks involved or ignore the concerns of those whose lives and livelihoods stand to be most affected when things go wrong.

In the words of Edward Wray, a retired West Coast sea captain that has navigated every part of our Northern Coast, “Why would anyone in their right mind ever consider running super tankers through the seascape around Kitimat?”

In The Douglas Channel Watch (DCW) submission to the Joint Review Panel they mention that for normal oil spills a good recovery rate is 30 per cent but for raw bitumen it is only seven per cent.

The consequences of a bitumen spill on local fishing and tourism economies would be devastating.

DCW also notes that the projected four-hour containment time for an oil spill in the coastal BC mountains is unrealistic given that it took 14 hours just to locate a 3.8 million litre spill in the flat farming country of Alberta.

For example, the slopes of Mt. Hoult, where the proposed pipeline is to pass, are deeply cut by very active avalanche, rockfall and debris chutes.

Clearly, it’s time to get serious about alternatives to pushing raw bitumen pipelines and massive super tankers through our pristine forests and waterways as a way to shore up the economy.

Alex Atamanenko, MP

B.C. Southern Interior