From Jennifer Aarts of Bowden, Alta., to Joel Zwicker of Spruce Grove, Alta., more than 4,000 Canadians have written letters to the National Energy Board expressing their thoughts on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
With the deadline to submit written evidence coming up on Friday, the board's Joint Review Panel has processed 4,131 letters and posted them alphabetically on its website.
Based on a sampling of the letters reviewed by the Citizen, the sentiment is overwhelming opposed to the $6 billion plan by Calgary-based Enbridge to build a pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to the port of Kitimat.
Concerns about the environment and economics of the project were a common refrain in many of the letters. Spills on other Enbridge-operated pipelines and other oil-related disasters also popped up time and again.
Most of the letters were written by individuals, but there were some from organizations ranging from environmental groups opposed to the plan to an oil tanker association supporting it.
Some of those writing letters are from near the proposed pipeline route and had personal reasons for opposing the project. Fishing guide Dale Smith from Mackenzie wrote about how the pipeline could impact his livelihood.
"The Skeena system is sacred," Smith, who was one of 14 people with his surname to make a submission, wrote. "This project is very short-sighted and will come at too high a cost for someplace as spectacular as N.W. B.C."
For Ronya Hug of Smithers, access to clean water was of paramount concern.
"I am an alive creature on this planet and my body -- like all other humans bodies -- exists of 50-60% of water," Hug wrote. "My brain is 85% water. I need water to sustain this body. An oil pipeline will age and leak and spill -- that is inevitable."
The view against the pipeline wasn't unanimous as a handful of pipeline proponents wrote to include their thoughts, including Edmonton's Larry Matychuk.
"The Gateway will open Canadian energy exports to the world," he wrote on behalf of the 10,500 members of the United Association Local 488. "It will be to Canadian commerce what the Canadian National Railway was to Canadian unity -- it is nation building."
United Association represents plumbers, fitters, welders as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians.
Donovan Hill of Burnaby made an economic case for the pipeline but also cited the environment as a reason the pipeline should be built and oilsands production expanded.
"It is widely accepted that oil is a pollutant," he wrote. "Leaving the oil in there is then leaving pollution in the ground. By harvesting the oil, we are also cleaning up the environment."
Most people submitted their comments electronically, but others like Patricia Picken of Powell River took the time to write the letters out longhand. In a two-page handwritten submission, Picken detailed her concerns for the impact on salmon to spirit bears.
"This is not a viable project either fiscally or ecologically," she concluded. "It would be a total disaster."
Not all handwritten letter writers were as detailed. For instance, David McIntyre of Gabriola Isalnd, needed just three sentences to get his point across.
"I am not in favour of building a pipeline to Kitimat, B.C., area," he wrote. "It is a formula for disaster. Please do not approve this."
A spokeswoman for the panel said the letters and emails are continuing to arrive, some of which haven't been posted online yet. A final figure on just how many letters the panel received won't be available until next month.
The Joint Review Panel begins the final hearings into the project next week in Edmonton and will visit Prince George again beginning Oct. 9. The final report is due by the end of 2013.