Monday, 6 August 2012

Day 28, Alberta Premier Redford and Enbridge

Alberta's Premier Redford

Another article says Clark may actually help Enbridge because if her conditions are met it may move a chunk of the population to supporters (currently 51% are "moderate" on the pipeline).

“Clark’s demands are more than reasonable in a province where environmentalism trumps cash, tourism and the fishery are economic mainstays, and aboriginal treaty rights remain unclear.”

As mentioned, there is massive criticism on all sides. Criticism I agree with:

  • It's probably not helpful to boycott national energy strategy talks. Times like this need conversation. She should attend, and get more people onboard. At least it gave lots of publicity...
  • The mainstay - even with conditions, spills are gonna happen. Environmentalists and First Nations aren't happy at the prospect of the pipeline going through just because BC gets more money.

Today's Letter 

I know this letter isn’t going to change your opinion on the Enbridge pipeline. But I think it’s important for you to hear as many voices of dissent as possible. 

To quote David Suzkui, we should not support this the proposed national energy strategy “because it’s focused more on tar sands, pipelines, and markets than on getting Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions under control by shifting from fossil fuel dependency to a more efficient system based on conservation and renewable energy.”

I'm happy that the Enbridge pipeline will have increased environmental safety measures, but is it enough? Canada's wilderness is unique and important...trying out these regulations seems like a science experiment we don't really need.  Let's experiment with greener jobs and renewable energy instead, where the biggest "spills" are much more benign.  

Here are some other reasons I think the pipeline isn't the best idea:

1)    Expense. Building the pipeline is a significant amount of money, and making it to a high safety standard will be cost prohibitive. At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee that there will be no spills or accidents. It’s not worth the costs required to make the margin smaller.

2)    Spills happen from time to time. The pipeline is often in more remote areas, which means workers have to work at a very high level of safety which is difficult and expensive. Renewable energy and energy conservation (if done well) is much safer, both for workers and the environment.

3)    Comparative advantage and foreign currency. Countries such as China are using solar panels and wind power at an increasing rate. If we work hard and become experts at creating renewable energy and energy efficiency or smart grid systems, we can still sell our products and expertise and gain money there.

4)    Global reputation. Investing in the pipeline will not make us popular internationally.  Everyone can benefit from what we learn if we invest in renewables and efficiency instead, even those with which we could have traded oil.  A few friends and a world of unhappiness, or a world where everyone appreciates and respects our protectiveness.

5) The Environment, Tourism, and Canada's Identity. Canada is famous for its natural resources. Most Canadians are proud of their wilderness, even if the majority of their contact is going to a friend's cottage once a year. Tourism generates a large amount of revenue and jobs, which would be at risk if there was a spill of some sort.

Thank you.

Office of the Premier 
Room 307, Legislature Building 
10800-97 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta 
T5K 2B7
Phone: 780-427-2711

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