With the federal government decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline looming, this year's World Oceans Day takes on even greater meaning for B.C. Anyone who has lived on our coast knows how important our oceans and our beaches are to our lifestyle, our economy and our identity as British Columbians.
The review process for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has stripped away valuable opportunities for public input to ensure that the entire review process takes no more than 15 months. Unlike the review process for the proposed Northern Gateway, there will be no cross-examination of evidence or oral hearings in affected communities.
Kinder Morgan would like us to believe that their Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia is a better proposal than the one Enbridge has put forward, and that they're a more responsible company. Of course, as a climate activist I don't see any oil company proposing to expand oil consumption as playing a positive role in today's day and age. But given all of Enbridge's bungling as of late, some folks may be swayed by this argument.
As our government proposes that we become a "super highway" for oil tankers they are simultaneously reducing both the prevention and the response capacity to deal with an accident in what is already Canada's busiest port. This represents a perfect storm of the conditions that could lead to an oil spill.
Has there ever been a successful clean up from a massive tanker spill? Should an accident occur involving a large ship, serious inadequacies in B.C.'s response capabilities would hinder rescue and containment operations. And oil spill technology only works in ideal conditions with very little wind and waves; the behavior of diluted bitumen in the ocean is a complete unknown.