The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeline

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by ryan.vande, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. ryan.vande

    ryan.vande New Member

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    Hey everyone,

    We are a group of kayak enthusiasts based in Vancouver, B.C. who are deeply concerned with the prospect of a pipeline connecting the Alberta Tar Sands with the B.C. coast, and an increase in tanker traffic in our coastal waters. We are planning an expedition, beginning in late August of this year, in which we will paddle approximately 900km, from Vancouver to Kitimat. Our destination is significant because it is the proposed endpoint for the pipeline and will host new port facilities for tankers carrying crude oil and condensate. We are interested in exploring the social, political and economic aspects of the proposed pipeline project.

    Some believe a moratorium on oil tanker traffic exists, protecting the B.C. coast from oil tanker traffic. Seventy five percent of British Columbians support a ban on oil tankers in our coastal waters, and many First Nations groups have voiced strong opposition to the project. A Federal Environmental Assessment is currently in the works, which is supposed to consider all environmental risks and listen to the voice of the people. With such strong opposition, why is the Enbridge pipeline still being pushed forward? How are British Columbian citizens and stakeholders involved? What are the driving forces behind this development? What are the risks?

    To find out more, please check us out at http://www.thepipedreamsproject.org or find us on facebook by searching "Pipedreams"

    Thanks,

    The Pipedreams Team
     
  2. SpaceCowboy

    SpaceCowboy Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    I'm a kayaker and avid out-doors enthusiast. I am also a realist and support a healthy balance to ensure our economy keeps functioning.

    I would like to see the proper oversight and regulatory enforcement because simply stamping your feet and saying "No! No! No! No! No." is unrealistic.
     
  3. ryan.vande

    ryan.vande New Member

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Thanks for your feedback SpaceCowboy. A big part of our project is bringing awareness to the fact that there are serious deficiencies in our environmental regulatory and assessment framework, and that these process are being further weakened by our current government. While we oppose the pipeline project, I think we are far from simply saying "No no no no no". Have a read on "The Issues" page on our website, or come to one of our events to discuss it with us further!

    Cheers.
     
  4. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Actually, it's better to say "No! No! No!No!No." now - and reverse that decision later, if warranted by thorough investigation and impartial science, than to say "Yes." and permit possibly irretrievable damage. We need to look at the long term overall picture, not just very short term and huge profits for the few who are not long term stakeholders. "Realism" requires the long view.
     
  5. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Ditto.

    All that happens with stamping your feet and saying no no no everytime there is a project you don't like is that eventually you get ignored. Here in NIMBY BC we are well beyond the point where government even has the patience to pretend to listen. Eventually too we may reach the point of infrastructure brown out as happened in California with their energy crisis.

    Part of the problem is that in shouting no no no, if there is any signal in the noise it can't be heard.

    It'd be better if you met with the proponents and the governments involved and rationally discussed ways of making sure the project gets delivered with minimum impact and sufficient environment protection procedures in place. Recognize in advance you wont get the gold plated version.
     
  6. ryan.vande

    ryan.vande New Member

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Thanks to drahcir and ken for your input as well. I totally agree that an ideal way to come to a reasonable and rational agreement that could allow for the development of industry and the economy as well as the protection of the environment could be reached through meeting with proponents and government. Unfortunately, our system that tries to meet this goal has some serious problems. Decision making power remains in the hands of a only a few, who do not necessarily represent the interests of stakeholders involved that would face the repercussions of a major accident. The system is being further weakened by a number of recent political changes.

    For example, the Joint Review Panel that has been established for this pipeline proposal, who will make recommendations to the Minister of Environment as well as the final decision for the project, consists exclusively of permanent and temporary members of the National Energy Board. In the context of an environmental assessment, to me this represents a serious conflict of interest.

    Recent changes to environmental assessment policy are removing any government accountability to the system. Bill C-9, which in recent weeks has passed through Parliament, will allow the Minister in charge to dictate the scope of any assessment. Essentially, the Minister can say whether or not certain aspects will be considered in an assessment, regardless of their potential impact, set precedents or standards.

    These are just a few of the issues our project tries to address. Thank you so much for your input, generating discussion around these issues is exactly what we aim to do!
     
  7. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Hi Ryan,
    First of all congratulations on your proposed project and on your upcoming journey - I think that is very commendable and very exciting. I am totally surprised with some of the initial reactions that you have received from here! Have any of the dissenters done "their part" in doing anything about this dangerous proposal? I doubt it. Do your own part as you have planned and see where it goes - you never know. If nothing else, you will have seen the coast of BC from a personal perspective and seen what damage can be done by this pipeline. It is not up to you three to oppose this project on your own - the initial result of your journey will be to bring awareness of this project and it's possible threats to the public....you have already begun your success in this department as I knew nothing of this proposed pipeline and now I know and will research it even further. And this even though you haven't even started! Kudoes to you and your paddling buddies!!
    :clap:
    Kathy
     
  8. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Hey Ryan; +1 on the above
     
  9. pryaker

    pryaker Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    KV, you know as I read this new thread yesterday I figured it wouldn't be long till you posted from your 'progress for civilization" stand point. After only 3 months here on WCP I've noticed that you tend to do so. What surprises me is that I'm here writing in response! Please don't take the following as an attack, I'm just putting forth my view and hoping that maybe you'll ponder a bit on the view from other side of the fence. A little civilized discourse as it were.


    All that happens when you blindly cheerlead every development proposal but forth by industry in the name of "progress" is that eventually you get ignored (which is probably what I should have done!).

    Tell that to this guy:



    Why is it that it's OK for the government to "pretend to listen" to the people but listen fully to those in industry?

    Uh, Ken, it's been pretty well established that the CA brownouts and "energy crisis" was the result of energy traders such as Enron "gaming" the system for profit. So unless you're a proponent of bringing US style capitalism to BC I think you're safe from that.


    Therein lies the rub. Everyone wants continued cheap energy sources but that means the process of getting them to the consumer has to be cheap and fast. Safety and planning costs money, and with corporations it's all about the bottom line. Whats wrong with slowing down and formulating a proper plan that looks at all the contingencies and takes into account all the costs and consequences of foreseen problems?

    Looking at whats going on down in the gulf it seems the assurances of the oil companies that deep sea drilling was safe and that they had emergency plans has been shown to be false. Ten years ago the MMS wrote a report more or less predicting what is now happening but no one paid attention. If the oil industry had been forced to have a proper plan they would have had real contingencies to solve the problem. But instead there was half baked plans and people (including our current president) who thought "oh it's been pretty safe so far, it'll be ok to do more drilling" until the whole mess blew up in our faces.

    I'm not denying that there are those that will say No! to any proposal and who don't want to look at the needs that are being addressed. But when one side has all the money and power, "nimbys" as you put it, are necessary to slow things down and to try to get us mainstreamers to see what is going on. In this case it seems what we're seeing is the latter, these guys are just pointing out that there might be a few problems with the process and participants and are sucessfully (I'm another who didn't know about this proposal) bringing it to our collective consciousness.

    Lets see an unbiased process that looks at all the alternatives, all the costs (including the worst case disaster like we're seeing now in the gulf), and then make the call, instead of just blindly trusting that the government and industry will do what's right and safe.
     

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  10. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    It's not okay. It is what happens when people abuse the democratic process too often.

    The government has the responsibility to manage resources and provide services in the best interests of the people.

    When an industry comes forward with a proposal that will generate jobs and revenue then the government will listen.

    When the people come forward with their concerns then the government should listen too. When you get thousands of people coming forward bleating and beating their breasts over fears of a low probability incident such as the Exxon Valdez incident then government will tune out and rightfully so. Not much signal there. Thousands of tankers and thousands of miles of pipeline exist and operate safely.

    Tankers still regularly fill up at the southern terminus of the Alaska Pipeline and deliver oil to mainlnd USA transiting off the west coast. Just because they are out of sight on the open ocean doesn't make it any less of a risk. So much for the tanker moratorium. All the moratorium does is encourage more risky methods of transport in inland waters such as the barge that sank in Robson Bight.

    Thats not to say that risks do not exist. Government and industry do get it that having an accident is not in anybody's best interests. So unless the public has something new to add to the discussion there is not much point in listening further.

    Canada is dependant on the exploitation of its resources to provide directly or indirectly for schools hospitals and roads. The oil exists. A market for that oil exists overseas. So unless you have a better alternative than shipping through Kitimat there is not much left to be discussed. Unless of course you are willing to live with less schools hospitals and roads...

    My understanding is that California got into the position of being too dependant on energy traders such as Enron because it was unable to meet its own power requirements due to NIMBY opposition to power projects. Much like we are currently seeing in BC.

    BC was a player in the gaming. I even got a check from the NDP administration. So to pretend we are immune is disingenuous.

    Talking about energy resources. We are getting plans for 2000 MW of tidal power in the Discovery islands. This "green" source of tidal power takes its energy from the earths rotational energy. How do you renew the earths rotational energy? I'd rather see run-of- river, site C, and nuclear power. But I digress.
     
  11. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Those people making the decisions are our elected representatives. To state that they do not represent the interests of the stakeholders is disingenuous.

    A major accident is a very low probability event. To shut a project down over fears of such an incident is in no ones best interests.

    If you don't build a pipeline to Kitimat where would you build the terminus? Is there something inherently unsafe about Kitimat? Keep in mind that ships have been shipping bauxite and aluminium for years without incident.
     
  12. ryan.vande

    ryan.vande New Member

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Let me start by replying, thanks for such a heated, topical and interesting discussion!

    To start, ken you've stated that "the government has the responsibility to manage resources and provide services in the best interests of the people. When an industry comes forward with a proposal that will generate jobs and revenue then the government will listen." This pipeline will generate jobs in a community that needs them, yes. But the majority of these jobs will only be temporary during the construction phase of the project. If the government were concerned about maximizing the number of jobs created, why not lobby or facilitate the creation of a refinery along with the development proposal that would arguably produce a safer product? Right now shipping crude oil to asian markets exports these jobs to foreign countries, where a higher quality product would be produced that we would need to purchase back at a higher cost.

    And what jobs are at risk of being lost with this project? In the event of an accident, the few long-term jobs that are created will by no means compensate for the revenue, jobs and livelihoods that would be lost due to an oil spill.

    To address the point that "a major accident is a very low probability event", while Enbridge's studies have reached this conclusion, two major accidents have occurred recently along the proposed tanker route into Kitimat. The Petersfield, a 27,818-gross-ton cargo tanker, ran aground September 25th, 2009 in Douglas Channel. The Queen of the North sank in 2006 right along the proposed route. Enbridge's proposed safety measures have already proven to not ensure an adequate risk mitigation strategy; many of these safety measures are the same arguments that were used to promote the Alaskan pipeline prior to the Exxon Valdez spill. For more info, check out our "Safety" section here: http://www.thepipedreamsproject.org/the-issues.html

    As for the moratorium, the offshore route was established to detour tankers around the sensitive marine habitat along our coast. In the event of a spill in the open ocean, this route allows for a greater response time rather than having it immediately begin to affect and spread though the more ecologically complex systems along our coast. Also, navigating in open waters is arguably a safer route than a complex coast line spotted with navigation hazards.

    "Those people making the decisions are our elected representatives. To state that they do not represent the interests of the stakeholders is disingenuous." The people making these decisions are not our elected representatives. The members of the established Joint Review Panel for the Environmental Assessment are appointed, not elected. The three members are from far outside of any of the potentially affected communities, and have been critiqued as a biased choice for these positions. "Judging by their backgrounds, the panel members would be happy to oblige. Two have worked in the petroleum and mining industries; the third is an Ontario Indian whose specialty is persuading aboriginal communities to sign on to development projects." (from http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/819541--gorrie-the-big-spill-coming-to-a-coast-near-you

    You have some valid arguments, and having the opportunity to discuss them is a great learning experience for everybody and an integral part of our goals. Thanks again for your input!
     
  13. KayDubbya

    KayDubbya Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Ryan;

    Thanks for bringing this topic to our attention. Additional thanks to all others for posting and discussing and reading.

    For my part, I would prefer to see far more time and investment put into renewable energy development and not into creating more of a market for one of the most toxic methods of extracting petroleum from the ground. It isn't even the safety aspects and risks of spills that concern me (though that is a HUGE concern in it's own right).

    I can be opposed to the project simply because it promotes an increased dependence on tar sands production. I have that right. If enough of us are opposed for our own reasons (safety concerns, environmental hazards, inadequate safeguards, too expensive, First Nations rights, etc.) that should be reason enough to abandon the project. Why should we have to accept that any one of these reasons can be "managed" away? Having enough people opposed to the project, regardless of their individual concern, is reason enough to kill it. If 5% of the population is opposed for 20 different reasons, that's 100% opposition in my simple world.

    At the risk of getting too far off topic...

    Building the pipeline will continue to increase the need to develop more tar sand oil to put into it. Until the producers can deliver their product without massive negative environmental consequences, we shouldn't be allowing them to "find new markets". Clean up your act first, then come and see us! We'll then judge whether or not we trust you to build a pipeline through our country.
     
  14. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    The rotational kinetic energy of the earth has been estimated at 2 times 10**29 Joules. This is 10**20 times larger than the 2000MW of the proposed tidal power plant.

    There are approximately 10**21 stars in our universe. So 2000MW relative to the earth's rotational energy is approx the same ratio as one star to all the stars in our universe.

    Your argument is bogus.
     
  15. ryan.vande

    ryan.vande New Member

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Thanks KayDubbya!

    I completely agree, the tar sands are a whole issue on to themselves and part of what has driven us to start this project are the moral implications of facilitating the further expansion of the Tar Sands through BC. Water issues, health issues, social impact issues, carbon emission issues (I just learned yesterday that the tar sands alone produces the daily equivalent of all the cars in Canada).

    One of the influencing factors pushing for the completion of this pipeline is the need to find new markets due to the threat of the U.S. moving away from their reliance on "dirty tar sands energy" under the Obama administration. I commend him for speaking up on this issue. Why can't Canada, instead of promoting the development of an extremely environmentally harmful development and weakening our environmental policy to facilitate its growth, take the lead in promoting a clean economy?
     
  16. RobP

    RobP Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    I live in Terrace and regularly take my 28ft mother ship out in the Douglas channel. I am split on this. The area is beautiful and I not sure I would like having 200 plus ships up and down the Douglas Channel. One thing though, the Douglas is very deep, there are not a lot of dangeous navigational areas. If an accident did happen and a tanker sank in 1000+ feet of water how are they going to manage that disaster. The local economy up here badly needs the jobs. We need to better understand the risks involved vs the rewards that will come with this type of development.

    RobP
     
  17. KayDubbya

    KayDubbya Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    It isn't a choice between oil sands development and jobs. The choice is between oil sands derived jobs and "alternative/renewable energy" derived jobs. Too often we are told that a "sustainable economy" requires financial sacrifice. It's not true. It just takes away one industry's potential income and transfers it to a different industry. We just haven't been given the true picture of what the real choices are. The same argument is being made by the fish farm feedlots; "job or no jobs", when the real choice is a few fish farm jobs (loading automatic feeders) or many jobs for traditional fishermen. The only difference that I see is who winds up with all the profits: a few corporate shareholders or many people throughout the supply chain. The total number of fish and the price per pound of salmon don't really change that much.
     
  18. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Go for it. Put the proposal together. But I think you will find it very difficult to build a new and economically viable refinery anywhere in Canada.
     
  19. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    We may never know what transpired on the bridge of the Queen of the North the night the ferry sank. That accident was likely very preventable. All the rumours suggest the crew on the bridge wasn't doing their job. Perhaps one condition for tankers should be that there be no mixed gender or homosexual crew permitted in the ship to prevent similar distractions at sea.
     
  20. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Re: The Pipedreams Project, BC's coast & the Enbridge Pipeli

    Doesn't matter how small the effect is. An earths rotation that is just fractions of a second slower means significant changes to the distribution of the energy budget from the sun.

    And do you really think there won't be other projects? There are lots of suitable places on all coastlines around the world. Discovery Islands is just the tip of the iceberg.