Letters to the Editor

Twinned Kinder Morgan pipeline of little benefit to B.C.

Editor: If you check on Alberta’s finances, you will be shocked. It turns out with all their gas and oil income, the government is still  mounting up billions of dollars in deficit. If oil money worked the way we are told it does, they government should  have massive surpluses. This is under a Conservative government.

In my view, as long as you allow governments to have deficit financing, that is what you will get. Alberta has long been lucky enough to avoid a PST, but the present trend appears to be doing that by changing the former Heritage Fund to heritage debt.

The Fraser Institute has reported on the downward spiral.  Small wonder the Alberta premier is unwilling to share any oil revenues with B.C. Her province is going broke and it is about time someone owned up to the fact.

Their premier calls it the bitumen bubble and explains that without massive increases in bitumen export, Alberta is in trouble. Others suggest a more responsible stewardship of provincial finances would have the same effect.

Christy Clark and the B.C. government should stay the course on careful spending and be extremely careful when dealing with huge multinational companies who promise big profits which, by design, they plan to keep for themselves rather than share with the taxpayers of B.C.

The chances of spills along the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline is 100 per cent, if the past performance of the Trans Mountain pipeline is examined. The only thing one can hope for is that spills will remain relatively small, infrequent, and occur in the least ecologically sensitive areas.

While no one can say for sure that we will have a large spill, neither can anyone guarantee we will not. The technology to minimize spills has improved but it is nowhere close to foolproof. Bitumen is a relatively new substance with properties different from conventional oil, making it more difficult to contain or remove, especially in water. It is recognized that at this point pipelines are safer than other means of transport, but it still does not ensure that disasters will not occur.

One of the reasons not to build on the floodplain is that in a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood, massive amounts of bitumen could be released into the groundwater supply, the Salmon River and downstream into the Fraser River. Fish kills would be inevitable.

Agricultural production in the fertile valley would be curtailed and the economic impact on the village of Fort Langley would be massive. Any economic benefits from the proposed pipeline in our community are small and will be mostly only during construction, while the potential for economic losses will remain for the life of the pipeline.

It is hoped these issues will be carefully weighed before we give in to the demands of large foreign companies.

I recognize that B.C. needs fossil fuels to sustain our way of life at present. The proposed pipeline does nothing to ensure a constant supply of oil for B.C. consumption, but rather will simply transport it from Canada to other countries.

While we may become much less dependent on carbon fuels in the future, we should ensure that the present pipeline through our community will supply our needs until we can substitute reasonable alternatives. It appears that Kinder Morgan is much more interested in foreign markets than protecting the needs of B.C.

It is imperative that the people and the government of B.C. make sure the interests of British Columbians are served before any outside pressure group, no matter how well-financed or politically connected.

Gary Smith,

Fort Langley

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