One grows weary of the corrosive and contemptuous tone in Tom Fletcher’s op-ed which attempts to bring shame to the voices of municipal governments speaking on issues outside their jurisdiction. Recently Burnaby, Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster denounced the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline because the Harper Conservative Government has blatantly promoted tar sands expansion at the expense of Canadians most affected.
Kinder Morgan and Enbridge have tried to calm fears by claiming that the risks of a spill are low and that there are funds in place to pay the spill response costs. Neither statement is entirely true. The risk of a catastrophic oil spill will more than quadruple with the increased tanker traffic. Experience from the Kalamazoo River has proven that the diluted bitumen (dilbit) from tar sands behaves very differently from conventional oil, making “cleanup” impossible. The funds that are designed to pay for oil spills at sea will probably not be enough (as experienced in Kalamazoo) leaving taxpayers on the hook. (Reference: West Coast Environmental Law Financial Liability for Kinder Morgan bit.ly/1qr1f65)
Tom Fletcher is essentially asking the people of the Salish Sea and those living alongside pipelines to put their health, livelihoods and environment at risk and to be prepared to pay and go on paying for attempts to reverse the damage. Further Mr. Fletcher suggests we, through our elected officials, “pipe down.”
I have to wonder how Mr. Fletcher would have responded had he lived in Europe during the Second World War? Would he have said, ‘this is not my concern, problem, jurisdiction, purview’ or would he have piped up?