Opinion

Editorial — A nuanced approach to oil and gas development

Some Albertans just can’t understand it, but many B.C. residents do not want to roll over and do everything the oil and gas industry pushes for. And much of this resistance is not from those described as far-out environmentalists, but comes from business people and ordinary citizens who live here and don’t want to take unnecessary risks with the environment.

The latest proof of this comes with Eagle Spirit Energy, which is proposing a pipeline alternative to Northern Gateway. It already has significant buy-in from First Nations groups in northern B.C., and if enough financial resources are made available, it just might work.

Interestingly enough, Eagle Spirit is working with the Aquilini Group, owner of the Vancouver Canucks. The Aquilini family are based in B.C., have operated businesses here for years, and understand the province quite well.

The same can be said for David Black, whose company owns this newspaper. He is heading a plan to build a  refinery at Kitimat to ship refined oil products across the ocean — not bitumen. Eagle Spirit also opposes shipping of bitumen from B.C. ports, feeling the environmental risks are simply too high.

Meanwhile, residents of Kitimat, a town which would benefit economically from Northern Gateway’s proposed terminus, voted 58 per cent Saturday in a non-binding referendum against Northern Gateway’s plans.

Most British Columbians are not anti-oil. They do want oil and gas companies to respect First Nations whose territories are affected by pipeline routes, and they value the environment. They want jobs and growth, but not at any price.

That nuanced stance is rarely understood in Calgary.

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