BC Liberal Announcement on Pipelines Uninspiring

23 July 2012 – Environment Minister Terry Lake & Minister for Aboriginal Relations Mary Polak today outlined five requirements for new pipeline projects1.

There was nothing in this announcement that comes as a surprise to anyone. Energy corporations are already ahead of the BC Liberal government’s requirements.

1. Environmental review is already part of the process.
2. Oil corporations already claim to have world class marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery.
3. Oil corporations already claim to have world class land oil spill response, prevention and recovery.
4. Oil corporations already tout their relationships (real or imagined) with first nations.
5. Oil corporations already tout economic benefits of their projects and no doubt have planned long in advance for greasing the wheels as needed in the province.

Unfortunately, development is also already ahead of regulation and technology. Past spills from Exxon Valdez to BP and countless more demonstrate that we really don’t have regulatory frameworks nor technology in place to prevent or respond adequately to spills of even ‘normal’ crude oil. Tar Sands bitumen is a much more complex and dangerous beast.

Bitumen already flows through the Fraser Valley via Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. The proposed twinning of Trans Mountain and construction of Northern Gateway would vastly increase the flow of bitumen across BC and the flow of tankers on our coast. The Kalamazoo River spill demonstrates clearly that we do not have the technology to clean up a bitumen spill, despite what may be the best intentions of regulators and pipeline companies.

The BC Liberals today announced “Business as Usual!” and demonstrated their commitment to growing the economy of the past century while externalizing costs onto future generations.

Business as usual is not what BC needs.

Green BC
British Columbians do not subscribe to the gold-rush mentality that pervades energy policy in BC and Canada today. We recognize that decisions we make today will have impacts beyond our borders and beyond our lifetimes. We need a new ‘usual’.

The Green Party of BC offers that new usual. Greens favour an energy system that is diverse both geographically and technologically. In this, the 21st century, we have a range of clean, renewable energy options that can meet our needs while creating good, long-term jobs in BC and new markets for British Columbian products and know-how across the globe.

We have some catching up to do. Germany for example recently produced nearly half of it’s national electrical needs using solar power2.

It’s time to let fossils lie and move to a Green future.

1 http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2012/07/british-columbia-outlines-requirements-for-heavy-oil-pipeline-consideration.html

2 http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/solar/germany-meets-half-its-energy-demand-from-solar-briefly

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