Letter: Alberta's Trump-style tactics on TMX will only backfire


Re: Author documents Trans Mountain fight in novel, NOW, June 6

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Author Robyn Allan is totally correct in decrying the destructive impact of a potential ocean oil spill in her novel.

Having lacked the foresight to refine its highly toxic bitumen, Alberta questions why the government of British Columbia does not want greatly increased shipments on our waters. The Alberta government cries foul despite the fact that major scientific studies, including a federal government report, support the position taken by British Columbia. Those studies indicate that effectively cleaning up a major ocean spill of diluted bitumen mixed with sediments - such as the sediments in our Salish Sea - is highly problematic as the dilbit-sediment mixture would submerge or sink when battered by waves.
I believe Kinder Morgan knew that is the case, and that it is the underlying reason the Texas based company sought and obtained a National Energy Board ruling that kept the full details of its emergency plans secret. I believe it is also the underlying reason the National Energy Board refused to consider a National Academy of Sciences study which affirms the highly problematic nature of trying to clean up a dilbit ocean spill when dealing with submerged or sunken oil. 

In the meantime, Transport Canada, in its cosy relationship with industry, keeps sitting on its hands by failing to enforce oil pollution regulations which require effective emergency plans for the containment and disposal of dilbit in the event of an ocean spill. 
When the B.C. government, various municipalities, politicians, Indigenous communities, environmentalists and businesses exposed the truth about the unacceptable risk to our west coast environment and economy, Kinder Morgan retreated and sold the pipeline to our federal government.
British Columbians want to see all of us succeed, including our fellow Canadians in Alberta - for the benefit of our whole country. But in order to do so, Alberta needs to take fundamental steps, in a co-ordinated and co-operative strategy, to refine the tar-like, toxic substance it is trying to transport in vast quantities on the West Coast waters of our country. 
In that regard, it is important for the people and governments of Alberta and Canada to realize that the opposition to vastly expanded ocean shipments of dilbit is undaunted and formidable across all segments of B.C. society.

And that Trump-style attempts at aggressive intimidation by Alberta will only serve to galvanize the unwavering resistance on the part of British Columbians.
On the other hand, by adhering to the principle that "quality is job one" in all aspects of energy production, I believe Alberta and the rest of Canada can clean up their act and move progressively towards the economic and environmental solutions that will benefit our entire nation. Given our ever-deepening environmental crisis, we urgently need all hands on deck in dealing responsibly with cleaner energy solutions. At the very least, basic steps must be taken in the transition towards the urgent necessity for greener, renewable energy. 
John Sbragia, Burnaby

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