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Controversial pipeline proposals have been making news north and south of the 49th parallel. The Alberta oil sands are eager to export crude to Texan and Asian markets, but many states and provinces along the routes are raising concern. Is it just a case of “NIMBY” or something more? In British Columbia, where the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project would carry crude oil from Alberta to B.C.’s ports and onto Asia, opposition is mounting.
During Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s visit to B.C. this week, she inadvertently made a great case against the Enbridge pipeline. She accused B.C. Premier Christy Clark of looking out for her province’s best interest just for the approval ratings. Redford seemed to forget that elected officials are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents. A recent Angus Reid poll reveals that (at least) 59 percent of British Columbians oppose the pipeline. So, yes, it is a pivotal issue in which Clark wishes to side with voters, and that is not a bad thing!
Redford went on to state “…that there isn’t any particular province that should get more access or less access to international markets based on their geographical location.” However, her comment only serves to highlight the hypocrisy: Alberta is reaping benefits from its geographical location (receiving billions in oil sand royalties) while begrudging British Columbia for wanting to preserve its geographical assets, including marine life and the livelihoods that depend on it staying oil spill free.
The clincher in Redford’s unconvincing case for the pipeline came when she talked about being “…fair not only to this generation but to those that follow. And this means doing what’s right…” Really? What’s fair is respecting B.C.’s decision to reject shouldering undo risk for other’s gain. What’s fair is protecting our land and water from inevitable oil spills, so future generations are not left with our mess. What’s right is investing in renewable energy technologies, not building more infrastructure for harmful, finite fossil fuels. What’s right is using our fossil fuels to make wind turbines and solar panels, not just make a dirty buck.
Fortunately, most British Columbians see the real risks of the pipeline, even if Redford can’t see through her oilsand –colored- glasses.
Have your voice heard! Until August 31, submit an online letter, via the Living Oceans Society, to the Joint Review Panel for Enbridge.
Written by Daphne Hankonen