Pipeline support misguided

Dear Sir:

In the Viewpoints section of The Terrace Standard, on Wednesday May 4, 2011, Ronald Bee wrote a Letter to the Editor entitled “Balanced approach is needed.” In it he made a number of unsubstantiated claims:

Dear Sir:

In the Viewpoints section of The Terrace Standard, on Wednesday May 4, 2011,  Ronald Bee wrote a Letter to the Editor entitled “Balanced approach is needed.”  In it he made a number of unsubstantiated claims:

He claimed: “For the last decade our region has had the NDP watch our mills close, and nothing was ever attempted at the provincial or federal level to even try to keep the pulp mills, and sawmills running”

Firstly, it was not only the NDP who watched the mills close, but the ruling provincial Liberals who were in charge; as well as the rest of us unfortunate people who have to live by political decisions made elsewhere.

Secondly, the NDP did support the former Skeena Cellulose pulp mill in Prince Rupert and provided $280 million in 1998 to try to keep it going.

He then talks about raw log exports, which again were the decision of the provincial Conservative, …er I mean Liberal party – not the NDP.

He then talks about the “NDP and the rest” trying to stop tankers.  I am not sure who he is referring to when he talks about “the rest”.

Is it the rest of the people besides himself, who actually have looked at the huge risks and the scant benefits for us in our region, and have come to the decision that the risks far outweigh the benefits?

The turning radius of a tanker is something like 1.5 km.  They can just barely make the turn by Hartley Bay, where the Queen of the North sank, in good weather with no mechanical failures or human error.

This is also assuming there are no incidents with all the traffic that they are cutting across.  We have no radar coverage there.  We have no vessel traffic management there.

If there is an incident (it’s only a matter of when and how much if tankers are allowed), you can only recover about 10 per cent of the spilled oil. That is assuming that the winds are less than 18 knots and 18 knots is a very nice and rare day in the fall and winter.

That’s when  the outflow winds howl in Douglas Channel.

The insurance carried by the ship owners is inadequate for a major oil spill.  The Exxon Valdez cost about $2 billion, 20 years ago.

The Alaskan fishery has not yet recovered, and their beaches are still contaminated.  We should expect the same.

That means at least a full generation of people unemployed. That means a commercial fishery worth well over $200 million a year is gone for better than 20 years.  That means commercial sports fishing and equal tourism, also worth millions of dollars a year is gone for more than 20 years.

We take the risks, and China and Alberta reap the potential benefits although even the pipelines break and leak along the way.

I agree with Ronald – the concerns local citizens have are definitely valid.  Sometimes “no” is a valid answer when it comes to deciding if benefits outweigh the risks.

James MacBain,

Prince Rupert, BC