This letter comes to you from Kitimat, B.C., which is ground zero for Enbridge's Northern Gateway dual pipeline and supertanker port proposal. This is where the combined risks of the proposed pipelines, tank farm, and supertankers all meet. I hope this letter helps you see things from Kitimat's, and B.C.'s, perspective.
Since 1959, B.C. has had a voluntary moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. Despite sitting on top of our own pot of petro-gold, no politician has been willing to destroy their career by suggesting we risk the coastal environment, or all the fisheries and tourism jobs it supports, by allowing even exploratory drilling to occur.
So this begs the question; if it isn't worth the risk for us, why should we risk it for you?
It pains almost every British Columbian to see logging trucks going down the highway these days because we know most of it is raw logs destined for Asian markets, not for local sawmills providing local jobs. We know the pain of a provincial government making bad decisions. We will not allow your provincial government to force diluted bitumen across the Coast Mountains, or through our complex coastline, in a desperate attempt to save themselves from their colossal mismanagement of your tar sands.
Why should B.C. carry the majority of the risk? Shouldn't you be pressuring your provincial government to better manage your resources? Why is Alberta so cash strapped that you have to squander what you have so quickly, without adding value? Where did the money go, and why did the companies in the tar sands get away with so paying so little?
Back in the late 80s and early 90s in Vancouver Island's Clayaquot Sound, the early clear cut logging protesters hoped that 600 people might show up to help them stop the logging. A total of 10,000 people made their way out there, and almost 1000 got arrested. This was before the Internet and in a single valley on the island's western edge. Can you imagine how many tens of thousands would show up on construction blockades across the width of B.C. if Enbridge attempts to build the Gateway project?
If your hopes rest on Prime Minister Harper approving the project, good luck with that. Harper became involved in politics because he didn't like the way Ottawa was telling Albertans what to do. Ironic, isn't it then, that if he tries to push large diluted bitumen pipelines through to British Columbia's coastline, he'll effectively be committing political suicide. He needs B.C. if he ever wants to be Prime Minister again, and he sure needs B.C. if he still covets a majority in the House of Commons.
So there you have it. We aren't willing to risk the things we value most to bail your province out of its colossal mismanagement of the tar sands. Hope you have a good plan B, and don't forget to hold your provincial politicians to task for the position you now find yourselves in.