National energy strategy must address B.C. pipeline worries – by Christy Clark (Globe and Mail – July 28, 2012)posted in British Columbia Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image |
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CHRISTY CLARK is the Premier of British Columbia.
This week, my government outlined five bottom-line requirements that must be met for British Columbia to consider support of any heavy oil pipeline project, including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway. We know that Alberta’s oil sands are an important resource and getting them to new markets represents a great economic opportunity for that province and our country. But as a premier, I am focused first and foremost on what’s best for my province, and Northern Gateway currently contains far too great an imbalance of risks over benefits for B.C.
British Columbia’s five bottom lines are as follows:
1. Successful completion of an environmental review process. In Enbridge’s case, this means a recommendation by the Joint Review Panel that the project proceed.
2. World-leading marine oil-spill prevention and response systems to protect our coastlines and ocean. With the Enbridge project, British Columbia is taking 100 per cent of the marine risk. We need to make sure we improve our response and resource capacity. That means the federal government and industry are at the table and prepared to step up their support.
3. Enhancement of our on-land spill response to world-leading standards. We have looked at different models in different jurisdictions that include an industry- or polluter-pay principle to help offset any costs borne by the taxpayer in case of a spill. Again, this is important in the Enbridge context because nearly 60 per cent of the 1,172-kilometre pipeline would run through B.C.
4. Legal requirements regarding aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed and first nations must be provided with opportunities to benefit from these projects. In B.C., we have led the way in working with first nations to ensure new developments are a win for communities, industry and the province.
5. B.C. must receive its fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of the Enbridge project and other proposals for heavy oil pipelines.
Each of these requirements must be met; our need for environmental protection and safety is as important as aboriginal engagement as is our fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of the Enbridge project.
Let’s be clear, heavy oil is unlike any other commodity we transport across Canada. The inherent risks are not the same as in moving copper, gold, lumber or grain, for instance. If a train carrying wheat from Saskatchewan derails as it’s moving to a B.C. port for shipment to Asia, the fiscal and environmental costs are manageable in relation to the benefits we receive. The risks are greatly offset by the number of jobs at our ports, tanker terminals and shipping yards.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Globe and Mail website: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/national-energy-strategy-must-address-bc-pipeline-worries/article4446502/