Opinion

Editorial: At least a pipeline has economic benefits

Tuesday’s go-ahead for the Enbridge pipeline has already raised a slew of opposition, saying that federal permission or not, the pipeline will never be built in B.C.

It is possible that enough public outcry might stop the Enbridge pipeline. But it’s not likely, especially when considering the long term.

If the Enbridge project is stopped — or even held back by lawsuits and other protests for years, as some voices are shouting — a pipeline is still inevitable. The economics of the situation just leave no other choice; in some way, shape or form, the tar sands oil is going to make it’s way to B.C.’s coast.

Now is the time for B.C. to bring on every protest, grievance, lawsuit and outcry it can bring to bear on Enbridge and the federal government. Not in pursuit of stopping the pipeline, but to force Enbridge to build it as safely as possible, with every precaution against spills, breaks and damage to the environment possible and make sure every one of the 209 conditions is fully met.

It’s also time to make sure a fair portion of that economic incentive that makes a pipeline so inevitable stays in B.C. Whether it either adding value before the bitumen is shipped — through David Black’s refinery or some other means — or simply redistributing the profits that are now mostly earmarked for Alberta and the feds, B.C. deserves a fair share.

A spill is as inevitable as the pipeline itself, and since B.C. will be taking most of the risk of damage to land and sea environments, we are going to need that money for cleanup.

In the meantime, think about this. Which is worse, a pipeline built with all the safeguards our protests can force, or shipping the bitumen in tanker cars along poorly maintained tracks, a practice which can take place without any further legislation or controls?

 

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