As a fellow resident of Terrace, let me be the first to say that I am disappointed in City of Terrace deputy fire chief Dave Jephson’s response to Enbridge’s public relations tour. Anyone following Enbridge’s three-year odyssey in cleaning up the Kalamazoo River and dealing with the impacts on the health and economy of the town’s residents knows that the company hasn’t lived up to ex-CEO Pat Daniel’s promise of “being there for the long-term.”
The original spill was reported by locals because Enbridge’s inept “Keystone Kops,” as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called them, didn’t discover it. They then continued to pump dilbit through the leaking pipe for hours afterwards.
The fumes drove people away from their homes and the river and marshlands were horribly contaminated as a result.
Despite Enbridge’s claim that dilbit doesn’t sink, the EPA this year discovered that indeed it had and was making its way through the substrate of the riverbed.
They ordered Enbridge to dredge it out of the river. To date, the company has spent over $800 million, not counting fines and penalties, and the job is not yet finished.
The local community still cannot use the river, and many people’s lives and businesses have been ruined, with a severe impact on the tax base of Kalamazoo. All this took place on a slow-flowing, warm water river with several impoundments on it. Even then, clean up efforts had to be shut down when the weather turned cold.
As I have repeatedly said, a similar leak of dilbit on a precipitous, glacial-fed Skeena River tributary in minus 30 temperatures and four metres of snow does not bear thinking about.
Good luck cleaning that up. How many times have landslides taken out the natural gas pipeline during the time you have lived in Terrace?
I’m sorry, Mr. Jephson, but nothing you or Enbridge can say can make me or most B.C.-ers willing to run those risks.
Every day there’s another story about Enbridge’s safety failures. In the most recent, it was discovered that Enbridge failed to have backup power systems or shutoff valves in most of their pumping stations.
They have now asked the National Energy Board to keep their plans to correct this secret. Clearly, the company cannot afford anymore bad publicity.
And as to running super tanker traffic down the Douglas Channel, one of the world’s most treacherous – and precious – waterways, forget it.
It’s not going to happen. No pipelines. No tankers. No problem.