Putting pipeline in perspective

Resident questions the economic impact of the oil industry

In response to the letter titled “Let’s benefit from our own supply,” in terms of the importance by value of  the gross domestic product of Canada, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction were 7.96 per cent  in 2013.

In Canada in February 2014, there were 17,504,000 employed people. Mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction jobs numbered 319,400. Of these, 195,200 were oil jobs.  This breaks down to 1.1 per cent  of the jobs in Canada.

The point made here is that more than 98.5 per cent of jobs are in the other sectors.

As to job creation regarding the Northern Gateway pipeline, Robyn Allen quotes Enbridge, “There will be 3,000 construction jobs at the peak of construction.” She says that in their report, the peak of construction is a three-month period in the third year of a five-year project. These are temporary jobs.

Did you know that 4,300 permanent jobs  on the  B.C coast would be lost if there was an oil spill? Canada has the eighth largest commercial fishing and seafood industry in the world.

First Nations would be disastrously  impacted if there were an oil spill or an oil leak from the proposed pipelines? Do we not owe it to all of these people to not increase the potential for environmental disaster by transporting bitumen to Kitimat and exporting it.

In North America there have been, on average, 250 (never less than 220) pipeline incidents per year for the past 20 years costing $6.3 billion in property damage. To mention a few, there’s Marshall, Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, the Athabasca pipeline north of Edmonton and two leaks in Red Deer, one in 2008 and June 2012. The list goes on and on.

Double-hull tankers have oil spills. How about the Eagle Atome in  Port Arthur, Texas and the Bunga Kelona in Singapore in 2010?

The Northern Gateway pipeline would carry Alberta oil to Kitimat for export, not domestic use. We are not benefiting from our own supply. We are not building refineries and creating jobs. This is good money for the oil corporations and Alberta.

How does exporting oil warrant the  negative effects for B.C.? Exactly who would pay for a Northern Gateway pipeline leak or a tanker spill? How much would they pay?  Will B.C. taxpayers have to foot the bill? The Canadian government ship-source oil pollution fund only has to pay out $161 million per spill, and this only if certain conditions are met.

Remember the Exxon Valdez spill? Cleanup costs were more than $3.8 billion.

Why would  B.C. even contemplate a deal where the environment, the livelihood of First Nations  and  permanent jobs would be compromised with minuscule benefit.?


Wanda Bristol