Geographical alternative to Kitimat proposal

Dear editor,

In regards to David Black’s op-ed about a refinery idea in the north. When I first heard “his” idea, I perked up my ears as this was the idea that I, and I’m sure many others in B.C., had come up with, too.

A compromise on my part, as I consider myself very environmentally sensitive, but not to the point of denying our use of fossil-based energy systems.

Yes, I’d like to see the subsidies increased for alternative energy source research and far less to the oil industry, but having lived in the north and knowing the potential for employment and incorporating the toughest pipeline construction methods, I am leaning towards this as a viable alternative.

I also believe that if we in Canada were to do the refining, not only would we create jobs here in our country but I trust our environmental standards during the refining process as opposed to another country, which may not have the same standards in respecting the environment that we Canadians share. This also goes for the human rights standards.

However, I would make one geographic alteration to David Black’s idea and suggest that a proposed refinery be built adjacent to the tar sands of Alberta on ground that has already been heavily altered and lessen the impact on B.C.’s pristine northern rivers and lakes. I’m sure Albertans would prefer that too.

Arguments against this idea would include the storage facilities that go along with these petroleum products and spillage into rivers. Those arguments stand as valid regardless of where such a refinery is to be built, so why not put it where the land has already been compromised by the petroleum industry, as opposed to a new site altogether?

Or how about right at the border between the two provinces where there is also already some damage due to the gas industry?

I’ll leave that for Mr. Black to consider, to but I definitely appreciate his article expressing some thoughts that parallel my own.

I too welcome creating thousands of good permanent jobs and creating billions of new tax dollars for our government coffers. I don’t agree with the tankers shipping through our dangerous waters and the on-land shipping methods that could cause spills, but the allure of consuming our own locally refined fuel products does pique my interest. I look forward to hearing and learning more about raw bitumen versus the diluted products as an outcome from the refining stage. I’ve only heard about microbes that consume oil, and naturally-seeping oil sources at seafloor cracks occurring right now, but I look forward to learning and understanding more on this important issue rather than to just react with alarm.



Gord Hutchings,

Cobble Hill


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