The Northern Gateway Pipeline and shipping can be done safely with minimum environmental risk.
There will always be some risk, just as there is risk to everyone of being dead tomorrow.
Canada needs this pipeline to contribute to our future pensions, medicare and social programs.
The money has to come from resources; manufacturing will never be enough to pay for the future. Don’t count on software and science, as those sources are portable and move with manufacturing to the lowest cost source. Just look at movies, games and apps – give them a tax break, they are gone; zero loyalty.
For the pipeline, government needs to put a Crown department in place to monitor all safety, condition, repair and other requirements on a daily basis. The oil industry has proven beyond a doubt it is not capable.
The Crown agency would be responsible for daily monitoring, testing and shutting down the pipe for any possible safety reason. Pay for it with a per-barrel fee, never cap the total fee and make all penalties without limit, not just to the pipeline operator but also its parent companies.
Consultation with native groups to address their concerns needs to be thorough, but those groups are not able to just say no to all alternatives. The courts have been clear that consultation and due consideration take place but not blind denial of progress, nor can the companies just cite economic cost and bulldoze their way through.
Enbridge needs to be smart and consider the issues and reduce risk.
Shipping has been a major concern. Listening to some groups, you would think every sailing was the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez. Many, including NC NDP Leader Adrian Dix continue to refer to a non-existent moratorium on shipping oil on the coast; the only moratorium is on drilling and development of underwater resources, not shipping.
The current proposals don’t contain final details of ship construction. They do include: radar on the channel; tugs tethered to loaded ships; emergency tugs carrying response equipment accompanying outgoing ships; weather restrictions that prohibit sailing in high winds; and a new detailed chart of the channel being prepared to confirm all underwater conditions.
When the reviews are completed revisions can be made to further enhance all safety requirements
Can all the risks be eliminated? Probably not, but certainly the project can be safe and secure.
We need to use the best engineering and construction skills to make it happen for all our benefit.