Is it possible that all the negative talk about oil and gas pipelines has given us tunnel vision and not allowing us to look at the bigger picture?
Most of us would be happy if there were no pipelines anywhere but petroleum products are a necessary evil and life as we know it cannot exist without them.
What is important is that these products are moved in the safest possible way. Everyday thousands of rail cars filled with petroleum products travel on the railroads across the country and in BC due to our mountainous terrain the railroads run right adjacent to our major river systems.
Every year there are train wrecks in this country and it is only a matter of time until one of them ends up in one of the major rivers that they follow.
What do people say about these trains that are getting longer all the time?
They say, “man, that’s a nice long train,” because no environmentalist or media outlet that thrives on negativity has told them any different. Most of us know nothing about oil and gas pipelines but the media has made us believe that they are a bad thing.
Actually, if they want to point out the danger of pipelines they should be talking about the sewer systems of the towns and cities in the country.
All the liquid from these systems ends up in the lakes and rivers of this country and contains every chemical known to man. But we won’t hear much about this as we even the most radical environmentalists know they need the use of these systems.
There are a lot of so-called green living people that are not fooling anyone but themselves.
As the population of the world increases, there will be threats to land and water, but if everyone works together these threats could be kept to a minimum.
One way or another petroleum products will be moved offshore to the countries that need them as we are part of a global community and a global economy.
If we think we can just keep the oilsands for our own use, remember that most of the wars fought in recent times were to gain control of the world’s oil reserves no matter what Mr. Bush may tell you.
If we are successful in stopping the pipeline to Kitimat all that will change is the loss of high-paying jobs. The pipeline would then run south into the USA where a pipeline will bring it to the Washington coast for loading onto ships for Asia.
This could happen just across the Canadian border so we would still have the same concern of increased tanker traffic as ocean currents and tidal movements would bring any problems into BC waters as shown by the debris arriving from Japan.
We must look at all of this with an open mind to be sure we know what we are talking about as jobs are going to become very important in this province.
At least 15,000 jobs will be lost over the next 10-15 years in the forest industry due to the mountain pine beetle. Sawmills will no longer be able to produce lumber of a quality that would keep them financially stable and as sawmills shut down, other forestry-related plants will shut down as well.
Pulp mills, pellet plants, co-generation plants, etc. can not operate without the wood chips and wood waste made available as a by-product of making lumber.
Logging just to run those type of operations would be far too costly.
The jobs that will be lost can not be replaced with a seasonal tourist industry or a job in a big box store. These types of good-paying jobs can only be replaced in the resource sector, so if we want our young people to be able to support a family and buy a home, we will have to make jobs available in the resource sector.
If we don’t do that a lot of these young people will move way and those that stay will struggle to survive.
Unemployment causes huge social problems. Just ask the people in towns like Hazelton and Burns Lake. All of this makes it very important that we make the right decisions about resource sector projects.
We should not compare today’s pipelines with those built 50 years ago. We are now capable of sending people into space through thousands of degrees of heat and bringing them safely back home.
The space age materials available today can not be compared to the ones used 50 over even 20 years ago.
I’m not knocking the people opposed to pipelines but hopefully I want to make us all take a good honest look at the bigger picture and not just go by what we see or read in the media.
This will be very important to our future.