Piping Alberta Oil Sludge - random thoughts - Alcyonenews

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Posted June 28, 2019

Piping Alberta Oil Sludge – random thoughts

*  Trudeau the Son recently approved the TransMountain Pipeline. This means twinning the existing pipeline the Yankees sold Justin for $4.5B. It is reminiscent of the used   submarines the Brits sold Jean Chretien, and the ferry the Greeks sold to BC Ferries. Trudeau may have bought the pipeline to disperse suspicions that he is anti-West, in line with Trudeau the Father.

*  Does it make sense to market oil (and coal)  to be burned into the Earth’s atmosphere in other lands, while taxing Carbon Emissions in Canada?  Are we to reduce emissions in Canada so as “to make room” for other nations to increase them? What good would that do?

* I understand it takes “burning”  about 1/4 barrel of oil to extract one  barrel  of oil from the Alberta OilSands. Add the energy to take it to Vancouver and from there to ship it to its burning place in the Far East.

*  Whether “we”,  Earth and Humanity,  are better off with this pipeline “economic activity”  in the long term, than with leaving the oil in the ground, is debatable. The answer depends on whether we are predisposed to living a “rich life” alongside our brethren  living “poor lives”. If we ease our conscience by believing that by selling oil we are lessening poverty because we foster “capitalism”, we are either hypocrites or grossly misled. Malthus broached the issue and I know of no one challenging him.

*   It is more efficient to move the crude from Alberta to BC by pipeline than by train. Trains  have to transport their own considerable weight in addition to their oil payload.   Running the train “dead-iron” back and forth between Alberta and BC consumes much  oil and causes pollution accordingly.

*  Imagine the fogged “starry sky above” Rachel Notley’s vision of nine thousand Oil Rail Cars pulled by hundreds of locomotives rolling back and forth over the “ridge  where the West commences”

*  Refraining from building the Pipeline is like “cutting off our nose to spite our face”,  if this forces the sludge to travel on trains.  If it was to reduce the amount of oil to be burned or made into plastic bags, worldwide by the amount of oil the pipline will move then, by all means, let’s not build it. But ...

*  If neither the Pipeline is built nor the Notley Trains roll,  Alberta will be piping the oil South to TrumpLand in an endless “fire sale” – Remember  WAC Bennett’s observation that some politicians cannot even “run a hotdog stand”.

*   From a humanitarian point of view, it is better to ship to distant places than to the USA. That is to say, if the “system” is to be sustained and the oil “must” or will be burned anyway. This because they need it for basics while the USA would burn it for excesses.

*   There is no NIMBY to air pollution, there is only one atmosphere.  Trump walls cannot contain filthy air.

*  Of widespread concern is oil transportation safety. I do not downplay its  significance but I question our attitude. If the risk is high, we should seek to make tankers safer.  Like we seek to reduce the risk of Ebola contaminating food by means other than to stop eating.  Or, like Boeing is doing for the “737 MAX” airliners – this will reduce but will not eliminate the risks of flying.  Because life and travel cannot be risk free.

*  Then what about the ugly sight of anchored tankers spoiling the view from our windows? This is a perennial concern of our guardians, the Islands Trust – I will not turn a blind eye to it.  The Trust should make a bylaw decreeing oil tankers be rigged with tall masts and fitted with white sails. Then, order tankers at anchor  within eyesight of the islands keep their sails unfurled. This would turn things topsy turvy as the “Picture Perfect” tankers will adorn the islands seascape.

*   Sail-tankers?  Of course not! But it is stupid to have the pipeline terminal in Burnaby and the tanker port in the Burrard inlet. Move it, if we must have it. Protect and preserve  Human Habitat.  If we have to sail oil  and LNG carriers, the Burrard inlet is a thoroughly stupid port choice.

*   We are denied crucial facts. These and other parameters have values which must be honestly assessed and entered into the equation.  When politicians and bureaucrats hide facts, they steal democracy from us to turn it into power for themselves and their “sponsors”.  

*  All roads to relief lead to the Ideas Bank. For without it, nothing of what must be done will be done.

Tom V.

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