Opinion

Which industry can you accept?

While First Nations come together to launch a legal challenge to the Enbridge Northern Gateway decision, it seems that other opponents of the pipeline have seemingly set their sights on the liquefied natural gas industry.

Whether it is the Gitxsan showing up at a TransCanada Pipeline open house sporting shirts reading "LNG Kills" or people on social media telling LNG to "go to hell" because it's "not wanted anywhere", the same people who opposed the Northern Gateway seem to have an enhanced hatred of LNG proposals.

While opponents can quickly point to spills such as the Exxon Valdez or Kalamazoo, Michigan as proof positive of the risks of shipping oil via pipeline or across the Pacific, the hatred and venom spewed at possible issues related to LNG exports seem unfounded.

One would be hard pressed to find an instance where an LNG pipeline rupture has decimated a community or where an LNG tanker accident has destroyed the ecosystem and a way of life.

So what can be the cause of this newfound opposition? Frankly, it just seems that people are afraid of things that are new and unfamiliar.

Let's face it, logging and mining are now well-accepted industries within the Northwest. Both create a significant number of jobs in the region and help sustain communities, but both also cause deforestation, habitat loss, increased carbon emissions and have been known to allow chemicals to enter fish-bearing streams.

The difference, it seems, is that these two industries are established and therefore acceptable. LNG, on the other hand, is new and foreign.

Of course there are environmental risks associated with LNG, but those risks are no greater than existing industry. Why is one alright while the other is to be feared and loathed?

So, to those taking LNG to task, the question is this: What is acceptable industrial development to improve the economy of the region? Or is the status quo, which in the past has seen countless children and grandchildren leave the North Coast to find work and support their families, perfectly acceptable?

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