David Black

David Black

Another View: Refinery will build a future for B.C.

Part two of David Black's commentary on oil refinery

This is the second of two columns addressing what I see as the greatest threat to the B.C. environment in our lifetime.

The Alberta oil industry’s Northern Gateway plan is to export bitumen to Asia via tankers from the B.C. coast. Under no circumstances should we allow that to happen. A bitumen spill at sea could destroy our coastline, together with the fish and wildlife that depend on it, for hundreds of years.

My first column discussed the light oil spill by the Exxon Valdez and the terrible toll it took on the Alaskan habitat and fishery. It also gave proof that a bitumen spill would be far worse. A bitumen spill would be almost completely unrecoverable because it would sink and stay on the bottom of our seabed.

The solution that is best for Canada is to build a refinery in Kitimat. I am promoting and backing this solution. It will convert the bitumen to very light fuels that would float and evaporate if ever spilled. There are other enormous benefits:

• There will be a major reduction in greenhouse gases. We will use new cutting-edge Canadian technology in our refinery. It will be so clean that in combination with oilsands extraction there will be less CO2 than in the huge conventional oilfields and refineries of Iraq and Nigeria. In other words, the Kitimat refinery will neutralize the extra greenhouse gases generated in Canada’s oilsands. This refinery will be built in Asia if not in Kitimat, and if so it will emit double the CO2 of our new design.  This is the reason that Andrew Weaver of the BC Green Party is in favour of a Canadian refinery.

• An Asian refinery will also generate 100 train cars a day of very dirty coke (much fouler than B.C. coal) which will be subsequently burnt in the atmosphere to create power.  The Kitimat refinery will not result in the production of any coke. As we all live on one planet, it is far better for the global environment to build this refinery in Canada.

• Construction of the refinery will create 6,000 jobs in B.C. for five years. Operations at the refinery will result in more permanent jobs than any project has ever created in B.C. with approximately 3,000 direct jobs. These will be highly paid permanent jobs. These jobs will be available for the life of the refinery which should be in excess of 50 years. In addition there will be thousands of other jobs created in spinoff local petrochemical companies and in indirect employment throughout the province.

• The Canadian and provincial governments, local regional districts and municipalities, and many First Nations, will share in billions of new tax dollars each year.

Unfortunately our Canadian oil companies are not interested in building a new major refinery. They are focused on extraction which is more profitable than refining. One of them challenged me to spearhead the refinery myself, so I am doing that. We have a solid business plan and as a consequence Chinese banks and other institutions are prepared to lend us most of the funds required to build the greenest and most efficient refinery in the world. We are currently moving ahead with engineering design and environmental work.

We will also build a safe pipeline from Alberta to the refinery, with the active participation of First Nations.  Modern pipelines can be built and operated safely. Leak data is available for everyone to see on Canadian and U.S. government websites and it proves recently constructed pipelines are not leaking. Furthermore some of the best pipelining companies in the world are based in Canada.

In addition we will build a fleet of new tankers, powered by LNG rather than Bunker C oil, to transport the refined products to Asia. This way we know the tankers will be state-of-the-art and as safe as possible. The fleet will be owned by a company based in B.C. so it cannot shirk its legal liability if there ever is a spill at sea.

Let me be up front about my biases. I am for creating thousands of good permanent jobs in B.C. I am for creating billions of new tax dollars for government coffers. I am for reducing the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. I am for building an oil pipeline that will never leak. I am for building a modern tanker fleet that carries only refined fuels that float and evaporate if spilled. I am against shipping bitumen in tankers.

If you agree that we should not put bitumen in tankers please contact your local MP and say so.  The Canadian government makes a decision on Northern Gateway next month.

David Black

Just Posted

Pacific sand dollars are a local species which belong to the same group as sea urchins. While alive, they are covered entirely by thousands of densely packed, short and slender spikes. (Photo courtesy of Louise Page)
The peculiar life of a Pacific sand dollar

UVic biology professor Louise Page offers a glace into sand dollars’ world under the water

Dr. Omar Ahmad, Island Health department head of emergency and critical care medicine (left to right), Avery Brohman, Island Health executive director, and Joe O’Rourke, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards vice-president and general manager, highlight a recent $2.65 million donation toward the Its Critical campaign. (Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign exceeds $7 million fundraising goal

Funds going towards equipment and a permanent High Acuity Unit

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read