The politics of oil pipelines

Alberta Premier Allison Redford’s reaction to the conditions B.C. has placed on heavy oil pipelines is very disappointing, particularly her reaction to the condition that B.C. receive a fair share of the economic and fiscal benefits commensurate with the degree and nature of the risk borne by B.C.’s environment and taxpayers.

Heavy oil is unlike any other substance transported by pipeline. Pumping it across provincial boundaries and over hundreds of kilometres of rugged B.C. wilderness is simply not the same as pumping or transporting any other substance or product. What Alberta is asking of B.C. goes far beyond any existing interprovincial goods movement arrangement under confederation.

Moreover, Premier Redford’s position does not seem to be consistent with that of her own energy minister Ted Morton who, in February, agreed that there will have to be clearer benefits for B.C. in order to get the people of B.C. to support the Northern Gateway pipeline. As he said to the Globe and Mail editorial board: “[The issue of] equalizing risk-benefit ratios between B.C. and Alberta has to be addressed.”

 

Scott Harrison

Vancouver

 

Liberals have given plenty of thought to pipeline

I had to laugh when it was revealed by B.C.’s environment minister that the impetus for the province to seek intervenor status in the Enbridge pipeline process, as opposed to government status, came from an offhand comment by an NDP MLA.

As it turns out, intervenor status gives the province way more flexibility to pose questions to other participants in the process, including Enbridge, than government status does.

Considering the criticism the NDP and others have directed at the province for supposedly not taking an active role in the Enbridge process, the minister’s revelation is highly ironic.

It also shows that the province has done a lot more work, been a lot more involved, and given a lot more thought to the pipeline issue than anyone has previously given them credit for. And the end result is a well-considered, well-documented, and principled policy position.

 

Donald Leung

Burnaby

 

Gov’t set bar high

While Adrian Dix and the NDP have been lighting their hair on fire over the Enbridge pipeline project for who knows how many months, Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals have been quietly proceeding along the path of due diligence in a calm and thoughtful manner. The two political approaches, left and centre-right, stand in sharp contrast and speak to the quality and character of government each party is known to provide to the people of B.C.

Whereas the ideologically driven Adrian Dix flat out said “no” to the pipeline, completely disrespecting the integrity and spirit of the public review process while also sending a major chill down the spine of anyone thinking about investing in B.C., Clark and the Liberals put their noses to the grindstone, sought out facts, considered the interests of all British Columbians, and formulated five tough but fair requirements for heavy oil pipelines.

Yes, they have set the bar high for heavy oil pipelines in this province, but the people of B.C. expect nothing less from their leaders.

So, kudos to Clark, Environment Minister Terry Lake and all involved for having considered and understood the many facets of this complex issue and the wisdom of that old saying, “slow and steady wins the race.”

 

Mike Taylor

Port Moody

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