Northern Gateway Pipelines

Northern Gateway Pipelines route

The proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines will travel all the way from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, BC (~ 1,200 km long, crossing more than 750 streams). Heavy crude will then be pumped into supertankers that will then transport the oil to China for processing and consumption.

Important: Contrast Enbridge’s PR website, the one I linked to in my first paragraph, to this one from the Sierra Club.

If you listen to the Harper Government or the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan the pipelines will usher in a new income stream, new jobs and lead to a booming Canadian economy.

The tar sands are a precious Canadian resource, but they’re less precious than the multinational oil and gas corporations would have us believe; there are immense environmental costs. That said, if they’re developed in a sustainable, environmentally sensitive fashion they could help Canada pay for our transition to a green economy.

Problems:

  1. Extracting oil from the tar sands is currently devastating Alberta’s boreal forest and undoubtedly contaminating the watershed. Have you watched the film Petropolis? If not, it’s currently available for viewing on Netflix.
  2. Do you know what a tailings pond is? If not, click here.
  3. It doesn’t make economic sense to export raw natural resources. Why isn’t Canada refining the bitumen (heavy crude oil) here?
  4. What happens when the pipelines leak?
  5. What happens when one or more of the supertankers has a spill. Have you watched ‘Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster.’ HBO often shows reruns. Check out the pathway a supertanker has to travel before it reaches open ocean. Launch Google Earth and search for Kitimat, BC Canada and drill down for a closer look at the route the tankers will have to travel.
  6. Kitimat to the ocean

  7. If Canada really has the second largest oil reserves in the world, why are we still importing over forty percent of the oil we consume? My suspicion is that this has something to do with multinational oil and gas corporate profits.
  8. Why is the Canadian taxpayer subsidizing the richest, most powerful, corporations on earth?
  9. How much is the massive, Harper Government’s, pro-oil, PR campaign costing us?
  10. Has Canada forgotten about Global Warming?

Alberta and Saskatchewan’s tar sands have been there for thousands of years. What’s the rush? Conservatives would have us believe extracting the oil and building pipelines has to be done immediately.

I’ve always wondered why Alberta didn’t select a single tar sands location and use it as a proof of concept to demonstrate to environmentalists world-wide that tar sands’ oil could be delivered in as friendly a way as any other oil that is currently produced. Alberta’s government chose not to do that, likely because it was impossible, with current technology. The unfortunate result is that Canada is viewed as a source of ‘Dirty Oil’ around the world. Once again, I suspect Big Oil exerted their influence and made more than one location an urgent priority for Conservative governments.

Q: Why is Big Oil in such a hurry?
A: My understanding is that, over ninety-percent of all the income earned goes directly to multinational oil and gas corporations.

Update (20120530) – Enbridge™ will spend up to $5 million (5,000,000) on a multimedia ad and PR blitz for the Northern Gateway Pipelines. >> Vancouver Sun

Related Posts:

  1. The Enbridge Conundrum
  2. Dirtiest Oil on Earth Video

Related website:

  1. Radicals for Our Coast