Letter to the Editor: Leo Kurtenbach — July 26, 2012

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History of spills suggests pipeline a bad idea




Calgary-based Enbridge is the main proponent in building the 1,177-kilometre Northern Gateway Pipeline, The plan is to start construction in 2014, to have the bitumen flowing  by 2017.

It is estimated that this pipeline will have to cross about a thousand streams and rivers. A rupture in the pipeline, or a spill from a tanker on the West Coast would be a costly and damaging incident, especially in the more inaccessible areas.

Many First Nations people are vehemently opposed to the pipeline. Others have accepted an offer by Enbridge involving construction contracts.

It has been suggested that, to date, cleanup costs caused by oil spills on this continent may be greater than the costs of pipeline and other construction. Some of the damage caused to the living areas of people, the water, the fish and the general environment may be irreversible in the short term.

Just one example is a voluminous oil spill is that of the Exxon/Valdez in March of 1989.

Therefore it is incumbent upon the government, as the federal regulator, to ensure that in the case of any spills, the costs of the cleanup must be borne by the owners of those who are transporting the oil or bitumen.

There eventually could be other costs — if and when Enbridge or the government decides that the project is no longer environmentally feasible or profitable. Will those costs have to be borne by future Canadian taxpayers?

Apparently, our present government is very supportive of this pipeline.

Canadians who have questioned the benefits of this project have been judged as "radicals" by some members of the government!

Enbridge has a board of 13 directors. Six live in the U.S. including the chairman who lives in Florida. Five live in Calgary and two in Ontario. In the long term, who will really shoulder all the costs, or reap the profits?

Leo Kurtenbach


Organizations: Enbridge, First Nations, Exxon

Geographic location: West Coast, U.S., Florida Calgary Ontario Saskatoon

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