Anything would be an improvement on the Enbridge bitumen shipping proposal as it stands.
To use David Black’s words in his recent column concerning his refinery proposal, “the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989 is often held up as an example of how bad an oil spill … can be”. However, a spill of bitumen at sea would be much worse.
The Exxon Valdez carried light crude. After four years of work, less than 10 per cent of the [oil] has been recovered.”
Some say that, with GPS-based navigation and double hulls, spills such as Exxon Valdez are not possible today. “They are wrong,” Black says. “Double hulls do not prevent hull fracture … most marine accidents are caused by human inattention.”
So another Exxon Valdez could happen in the Douglas Channel, even with Black’s refined products.
But, build the refinery and bitumen shipping terminal in a more acceptable location – in the Port Simpson area – and at the same time helping Northern Gateway to regain some B.C. public support.
And begin shipping bitumen to world markets sooner, while we wait for the refinery to be completed.
The relatively perfect solution would be to convince Kinder Morgan to also move to the Port Simpson area, also jointly with Enbridge and Black’s refinery.
This would very much reduce the threat of bitumen spills in southern B.C.’s very busy waters.
Maybe Mr. Harper could chat with Kinder Morgan folks and start the ball rolling – increasing greatly the possibility that any bitumen pipelines will be built in B.C., ever – as proposed.
North Vancouver, B.C.