Can we afford new pipelines?
Go to the CBC’s Pipeline Map to find National Energy Board (NEB) figures. They state that between 2000 and late 2012 more than 1,000 pipeline ruptures, leaks and explosions have happened across the country. In fact, in spite of supposedly more sophisticated pipeline diagnostic equipment, the rate of overall incidents has doubled in the past decade. The brand new Canadian section of the Keystone XL1, predicted to spill no more than once every seven years, has leaked 12 times in less than a year.
While you are there, click on the interactive map to learn that we have had numerous pipeline spills and explosions recently in the Thunder Bay area, ranging from 50,000 litres to 133 million litres of natural gas. Natural gas evaporates and happily joins the Great Carbon Party in the Sky, but had it been diluted bitumen (dilbit)!!??
The question is not will the pipes leak, but when and where.
Google “TransCanada Pipelines Manitoba Gas Explosion.” It left 4,000 Manitobans without natural gas this winter to find that sections of the pipe are 50 years old but were “believed to be in good condition,” and, according to VP Karl Johanssen, “well-maintained using the highest standards.” We are host to some of those aging pipes in our own backyard.
See this Trow Engineering Report on the Nipigon River Landslide to learn that 300,000 cubic metres of mud slid into the Nipigon River at the TCP crossing in 1990, leaving the pipeline “severely bent”, and suspended above the riverbank. By some miracle it did not rupture, but if it had, and had it been carrying dilbit… !!
To learn what the resulting damage may have been, Google “Kalamazoo Tarsands Spill” to learn that $1 billion and 3 years later, this bitumen spill is still not cleaned up. When asked why it took 17 hours to detect the 3.5 million litre spill, the answer from the pipeline company, Enbridge, was that “we couldn’t tell (from the monitoring centre in Edmonton) if it was just a bubble in the pipe, or a real spill.”
The proposed repurposed bitumen-carrying TransCanada line would cross multiple river systems in Northwestern Ontario as it traverses both the Arctic and Great-Lakes St. Lawrence watersheds, affording no less risk than the Northern Gateway Project across B.C. With the exception of some temporary construction jobs, it will be almost entirely be our risk, and TransCanada Corporation’s reward.
Google “2014 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report” to learn, “The world has only about 15 years left in which to begin to bend the emissions curve downward.” Without serious reductions in greenhouse gases, the global mean temperature by 2100 will be 4 to 5 Degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels. This would translate into the 6th Great Extinction, with the human species a potential casualty. More pipelines enable and accelerate this looming catastrophe.
Google “U.S. National Climate Assessment” which calls recent carbon-induced drought, wildfires, extreme weather, sea level rise, invasive species as “the new normal”.
View the documentary Thin Ice to learn that ice and sedimentary rock core samples from Antarctica prove that our atmosphere today has more CO2 than it has had in millions of years, and that the main reason is the combustion of fossil fuels.
To see why it is so economically dangerous to put all of our eggs into one tarsands basket, and how our energy policy is galloping off in the wrong direction as the world increasingly turns to green energy sources and drives the price of our vaunted “extreme energy” carbon into the tarpits, Google “The Associated Press: Harper Government Path in Tarsands Not Sustainable.” To see what an alternative energy policy might look like, Google “Denmark Independent from Fossil Fuels by 2050.”
To see how you can help slow down Canada’s ill-conceived energy policy, visit the CUSP Energy East page where you can find more information and a petition asking our City Council and other Northwestern Ontario leaders to take a stand against the Trans-Canada Corporation’s Energy East proposal. Please sign it.