Editor, The Times:
When I first heard of the Eagle Spirit Energy fronted by Calvin Helin and underwritten by the Aquilini Group, it sounded like just another way of shipping Alberta Tar, this time by rail, to some Alaska port to be shipped off to God-knows-where to be refined in a facility with no pesky unions and a minimum of environmental standards.
It looked initially like an end run around the objections of the 22 First Nations who so vehemently oppose Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
However, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. According to an article by Michael McCarthy in the Vancouver Sun, Eagle Spirit proposes to build a ‘state of the art’ refinery in northern B.C., which would employ 5-10,000 workers including aboriginal people. In other words, refine the stuff right here in Canada! In B.C. as a matter of fact. Wouldn’t that be a unique idea?
The best scenario would be to build this refinery as close to Fort Mac as possible. However, those east of us forfeited any of this by their enthusiastic support of the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL job stealers.
Of course, as Thomas King pointed out in the ‘Inconvenient Indian’, this could all turn out like a certain coal-fired plant in Nevada placed on the ‘rez’ because of non-existent environmental controls and no taxes. As King points out, it all turned out to be a polluting white elephant with little benefit to those who lived there.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Some honesty and square dealing will put all doubts to rest.
Port Simpson (Lax Kw’alaams), while not the perfect loading spot, beats Kitimat and that ‘suicide run’ down Douglas Channel by a country mile.
As I say, there are problems with the Helin-Aquilini proposal. However, as it stands, this idea of refining the Alberta Tar here win Canada and putting a pipeline with a terminal where it makes sense safety-wise, is much better than Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, or that pipeline to the east coast. There is no comparison.
Something to think about.