LETTER: Refining bitumen not a good idea

One of the arguments against increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline conduit is that it will encourage further mining of the Alberta tar sands.

Environmentalists have long asked that the tar sands operations be curtailed.

The whole process of open pit mining and using energy and water to extract bitumen from the sand is filthy and expensive in every way.

In early April, the news came out that Canada is experiencing global warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. A couple of months later, while positioning the Green Party for the federal election, Elizabeth May told Albertans she is okay with the tar sands because they are in Canada.

Pipelines aren’t the problem, it’s what’s in the pipes, she said. It should be Canadian bitumen based product.

Refining bitumen in Alberta for use in Canada is not a good idea. In June 2018, arguing against the Enbridge line proposed to carry Alberta’s product to refineries in Texas, John Abraham wrote in The Guardian Weekly: “We cannot say ‘climate matters’ and then facilitate tar sands extractions. We also cannot say ‘we didn’t know’ when our children ask us why we made poor decisions.”

It does matter where the fossil fuel is sourced, where it is used, and how soon we can transition to clean energy.

Heather Phillips, Sooke

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