Of Pipelines and Perceptions

If you want to push buttons right now, just mention pipelines!  There are more opinions that there are pipelines in Canada and all seem to be very polarized.

On the West Coast the environment is the main issue.  The increase in tanker traffic poses safety issues.  What if there is a spill?  What will happen to our coastline, our fisheries, and recreational tourism?  Do we have enough spill response resources?  Do we even know how to clean up Bitumen?

While this definitely is a concern, it will not add much to the already increasing amount of toxic materials already plying the waterways in the form of fuel barges, oil tankers, and chemicals. Many are not aware of what is there now and has been for over 50 years.

Also connected to the environment is the issue of green energy and the need to move away from fossil fuels.  Switching to solar or wind power and moving to electric cars as a form of transportation should be our direction, according to some.  The reality is, it is not going to happen overnight and we still have a decade or so of reliance on fossil fuels for heat and transportation.  What we tend to forget about is that only 50% of the oil produced goes for fuel, the rest to produce products that are used in our daily lives.  There will still be a need for oil production and distribution in the world.

Then there is the economic issue. In the short-term it is argued that we need to export the oil in order to prevent a decline in economic viability, especially in Alberta.  Given the glut of oil on the world market, this may only be wishful thinking.  Others feel that since we import $8 billion in crude oil each year we should be using our own reserves and refining our needs here creating more jobs in the resource industry.

Politicians are criticized for dragging their feet or waffling on campaign pledges but it is not a cut and dried issue as some would have it.  Livelihoods depend on it on both sides of the issue.  The taxes associated with the petroleum industry pay for a great deal of our infrastructure in Canada.  All things must be taken into consideration to find a middle ground that we can live with.

In conversations, wise to stay away from politics, religion, and pipelines!

As always, feel free to share this post giving credit to the author.

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