Two-point case against northern pipeline

Dear editor,

Re: the Northern Gateway Pipeline (NGP) proposal.

This project, as currently envisioned, is already obsolete on several counts, two of which are detailed below.

Count 1. Kitimat has been singled out as the 'most suitable' port for the export of raw bitumen from the tar sands. There has been bulk carrier traffic plying the Douglas Channel since Alcan first started production: safe, sparse marine traffic.

Kitimat will undoubtedly be the terminus for several liquid natural gas (LNG) operations. The LNG carriers will max out the marine traffic capacity of the Douglas Channel.

There will be simply no room for any tankers carrying any products from the tar sands.

Time for the proponents of the NGP to find another report, preferably one located directly on a sea lane.

Count 2. Exploitable tar sands have recently been discovered in the USA, for example, in Alabama and in Utah. This has spurred advances in extraction technology.

Now, crude oil can be separated from bitumen, on site. There is no further need to transport raw bitumen.

Bitumen is a difficult material to transport by any method; by pipeline and tanker, as proposed; or by rail, as has been done since the tar sands first went into production.

The only occasion when raw bitumen need be transported off-site? Road-making.

Conclusion. A far more suitable port and a far more suitable product. If both of these improvements to the original NGP proposal were implemented, it would change the environmental risk status of the NGP project from extreme, which is totally unacceptable to most people.

John Case,



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