Tanker risks

Resident concerned about oil tankers operating in B.C.'s coastal waters

With reference to the letter to the editor, Tanker Rules, by Noel Tyler I wish to add the following comments:

Mr. Tyler is right on the mark about the questionable safety of tankers plying the north coast of B.C.

Some time ago,  Gerald Graham, of Victoria-based Worldocean, a marine consultant  involved in B.C. oil spill issues for a quarter of a century, said the risks of a tanker oil spill are simply too great for the Northern Gateway pipeline project to proceed.

“The consequences of a major oil spill along B.C.’s north coast could be catastrophic and irreversible. B.C.’s  isolated coastline, lack of infrastructure and powerful storms all mitigate against effective oil spill response, Graham said.

Enbridge’s commitment to escort tugs and tethered tugs sounds pretty hollow in view of the fact that it is the carrier of the oil — the tanker owner, not Enbridge — who would be responsible for oil spill clean-up operations and associated costs.

While Transport Canada says tankers can safely access a terminal in Kitimat, Mr. Graham said the marine component of the project is in fact not safe.

Since these tankers will most likely not be owned by Enbridge and  might be sailing under a so-called flag of convenience, cleanup funds might not be available, leaving the B.C. taxpayers on the hook.

This whole issue again begs the question: Why are we not building our own refineries here in Alberta and add value to our oil?

Why not extend our pipeline to Eastern Canada where we are presently importing 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, the U.K. and Norway?

Why are we always so eager to let other countries add value to our own resources?

Take a guess.

Casey Berlanda

Vernon