On November 12, Awareness Film Night screened the excellent film “Stand” in which the pristine wilderness of B.C.’s West Coast was shown. The film presented the argument that we need to prevent super tankers carrying diluted bitumen (dilbit) from traveling along the coast, as an oil spill would cause irreparable damage to the area and to the livelihoods and culture of the people living along the coast.
There was also a plebiscite on our municipal ballot to vote against more super tanker traffic along the B.C. coast.
It is easy to say ‘no, not in my backyard,’ but it does not solve the problem. Globally, there is a real, genuine need for oil over the next 50 years and more. The current glut of oil supply on the market is a very short-term phenomenon and in the medium and long-term as Middle East and other accessible reserves dwindle, oil from the tar sands will be more cost-effective and can be much more environmentally safe than alternatives such as drilling in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In the short-term burning oil for energy is less environmentally damaging than coal and as alternative energy sources take over, oil will still be needed for making the many other products derived from it.
It is time to take a stand, and stop the raping of our natural resources for the further enrichment of a few shareholders and the benefit of foreign countries. It is obvious that the Northern Gateway pipeline built and operated by a private company, will not benefit anybody outside of the corporation and will be inherently a high risk to the environment.
It is time to develop and present alternatives that meet the demand for oil while minimizing environmental risk and benefiting the people of Canada and the rest of the world. One alternative would be to utilize a Crown corporation to refine the bitumen where it is produced, in accordance with strict environmental standards, thus eliminating the risk of transporting highly corrosive, toxic dilbit. Secondly, find an alternative route and port and have a Crown corporation build and operate a pipeline that will minimize the risk to the environment.
Isn’t it time to stand up and promote a solution rather than simply fight against the only bad alternative presented to us?