LETTER: It's time to convert to natural gas

Re: Abbotsford and Mission to review railroad safety, March 14 edition.

The Harper government's plan B to move Alberta bitumen by rail across northern B.C. and already through the Fraser Valley, is Stephen Harper using Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt's initiative to improve rail safety, as an excuse for more pipeline construction. We already have more than 8,000 kilometres of rail line that is in terrible need of upgrade in order to haul dangerous cargo safely.

Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about it, seeing that we sold the railways off.

Now, we are in a terrible pickle, being put in a rude and evil situation of having to move the dirtiest crude in the world across the most pristine regions of earth, with rail lines that have a history of spilling toxic chemicals into our lakes and rivers, not to mention the latest rail disasters.

Are we taking all these environmental risks to supply our own energy needs? No, they want to triple the tanker traffic with even larger ships to supply the energy needs of Asia so they in turn can supply us with non-essential cheap consumer goods, produced on the backs of child and slave labor, and with absolutely no respect for the environment.

So instead of developing our own manufacturing industry, we give that away because we cannot compete with that kind of labor. This is an absolute sham of an Energy Policy, we are delivering subsidized raw energy, to our manufacturing competition, so in turn they can out competes in every field of manufacturing.

If we took the high road and developed an energy policy that first leans toward self-sufficiency, we could rebuild the important sectors of our manufacturing industry by offering cleaner, more dependable, and less expensive energy.

This represents a great opportunity for the Province, but not without it's challenges. Most of these, will come from other competing jurisdictions, who as well, have new undeveloped reserves of cleaner energy. The challenge will be to create new markets by introducing conversion technology for already existing internal combustion engines, as well as other gasoline and diesel burning apparatus to Natural Gas, will be the key to creating the market, that will be needed to keep the price at a competitive and sustainable rate.

To convert every vehicle, would be a massive financial opportunity, as well as cut our carbon footprint significantly.

Gas is more abundant, cleaner, cheaper, and we can develop our own resource, instead of sucking out every last nickel of crude out of the Tar Sands. Let's save the oil for manufacturing and burn Natural Gas. Let's forget about rail and pipelining crude, it's time to convert to Natural Gas. This is what Premier Clark campaigned on last spring. This is what won her the Provincial election, this is what British Columbians want. This is what we should do.

Art Green, Hope, BC

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