Monday, November 19, 2012

Canadians Enjoy Largest Oil Spill In History

Many British Columbians fear the possible environmental damage of the Northern Gateway pipeline running through their wilderness, yet paradoxically they and all other Canadians not only take pleasure from the largest oil spill in Canadian history, they want it to grow even bigger.

At almost 40 times the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and close to twice that of BP's rupture in the gulf, Canada's largest oil spill has a current area of 2,700 square kilometres. This spill of Canuck crude has been grown for decades, it has killed millions of animals, not to mention countless forests, and, because of public demand, is only getting larger.

Where is this environmental crisis? It's just outside your house, or your office, or anywhere you're reading this really. It's that black asphalt pavement that you drive on, that you need, and that you apparently can't do without.

It's that mix of aggregate and bitumen, yes, roads contain bitumen, the most crudest and dirtiest of oil substances, and not only has it been purposely spilled all over this country, 900,000 kilometres of it and still counting says the Ministry of Transportation, but Canadians paid the government to do it. They paid for this oil spill with tax dollars, with money from tolls, and of course they paid for it with immense environmental damage.

Canadians spent billions over the last decades spilling this mixture of oil and rock all over their country, including vast stretches of previously untouched natural wilderness. Canadians did this not because they are heartless creatures, but because they weighed the costs of environmental damage with the benefits of fast, efficient transportation; and the benefits won.

Some will surely argue that an oil spill from a pipeline like the one proposed in BC's north can not be compared to the paving of a few roads, this writer agrees. Where there is a chance of an oil spill happening and damaging the environment, it is a certainty for roads. Where an oil spill from a pipeline is an accident,  the bitumen spilled for motorways is on purpose. Where an oil spill takes years to be cleaned up, roads scar the land for decades. Where an oil spill disrupts one area of the environment, roads disrupt several.

But one does not have to agree that the totality of Canada's roads have damaged the environment more than any oil spill would; however they must acknowledge that the costs of an oil pipeline have to weighed with the benefits. And billions of dollars in additional government revenue from a pipeline to provide essential services with more doctors and teachers would certainly be a tremendous benefit.

However British Columbians decide the fate of their pipeline, hopefully they see that just as roads with all their bitumen bring the benefit of driving, a pipeline with its similar contents, though more secure, will put us on the road to a stronger economy.


The Mound of Sound said...

Gee, Scott. You shilling for Enbridge now? And where in your enormous mind did you get the idea that anyone takes delight in tarmac contamination? Your premises are flimsy and juvenile, chum. It's as though you can't wait to hear yourself speak. There are a few circuits missing in your logic board, Scott. You might want to see to that, now that you're a "Westerner" and all. said...

Mound, the premise that Canadians want more roads and wider highways is as old as the Model T.

I find your lack of sensibilities and rudeness distasteful.

the salamander said...

On the topic of purpose built roads .. I'm trying to differentiate (in a fracking context) between BC/Alberta roads/lack of roads.. and American states like Pennsylvania' or North Dakota's roads. Those are the 'roads' that are drawing my attention.

Fracking requires constant heavy truck access to drilling leases, to clear and build the drilling pads, excavate/line the storage ponds, get drill rigs, frack sand/chemicals in, up to 10,000 feet of drill pipe, built the freshwater pipeline to supply the site, get the compressor trucks and condensates in, continually service till the wells pump, get the connecting petro pipeline excavated/connected/aimed at the first compressor station, and 'remediate' what is now an active well site with empty ponds. (after heavy tankers haul away the contaminated flowback to deep injection disposal sites)

Its worth noting that Pennsylvania is finding they can't get enough revenue to repair their paved roads that were never intended for such traffic. What will happen in Canadian provinces that have a certain amount of similar roads being destroyed, but in general don't have realistic access roads is a completely different question.

This is why Stephen Harper is eviscerating Canada's environmental laws, fisheries/habitat protection, protected species laws, navigable waters legislation. How do we think tens of thousands of frack sites, whether in rainforest, boreal, wetlands, tundra, highlands will get built other than crashing through crude cheap disposable roads/right of ways. Every single one of those drilled/fracked/well sites must be connected by pipeline to compressor stations, then more collecting pipelines.. eventually to transfer stations for trucking to railheads.. or else direct to Port Moody or Kitimaat or southward or eastward.

Of course in Canada we have the double whammy of tar sands .. and required twin pipelines for dilbit and diluent. The largest industrial operation in the entire world, they say......

What's that famous line.. 'you aint seen nothin yet' ..??

Oemissions said...

people are always in denial about the extent of the costs re; their driving habit