0 Comments | Jan 09, 2012

Harry Swain, PacMARA Advisory Board member, talks about Kitimat oil pipeline

Today in the Business Blog  of the Globe and Mail, we find a piece by Mr Harry Swain, a member of PacMARA’s Advisory Board and former federal deputy minister of Industry Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, on Enbridge’s proposed pipeline that would take oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Port of Kitimat.

In his article, Mr Swain says “On the environmental side, the media coverage has been almost entirely about the risks of the pipeline itself. Leaks or bursts could seriously damage any of the 600-odd streams it must cross, many of which are key parts of salmon ecosystems”.  However, he inquires “… what about the saltwater side of this transport system?”.

Mr Swain describes the route to Kitimat as “… 300 km of tricky navigation in waters distinguished by fog, storms, and quite amazing tidal currents.”  He further describes the preparations needed to “… reduce navigational risks to an acceptable minimum …”.   These would include an expanded pilotage system, with new stations at Kitimat and Banks Island, boats to service the tankers, as well as Coast Guard ships to supervise the transits and to respond to emergencies.

An alternative route to Prince Rupert is suggested by Mr Swain which would give a more direct entrance to the Pacific Ocean reducing the probability of a tanker disaster and the investment by the Coast Guard and the Pilotage Authority.

At the end of his piece Mr Swain urges to ask ourselves: “… why Enbridge chose the less safe route, and whether we as taxpayers have to pay the premium for the risks the company has created”.

A full copy of this article can be found here.

**Please note that PacMARA takes no position on the Enbridge’s proposed pipeline issue.

Leave a Reply

* Required
** Your Email is never shared