Tanker Free BC was founded in response to one of the biggest pipeline companies in the world, Houston based Kinder Morgan, wanting to use the west coast of Canada for its tar sands oil shipping port. They are trying to frame their new Trans Mountain pipeline as the better alternative to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline which, to say the least, has been extremely unpopular in BC.
Enbridge’s plan would bring 525,000 barrels per day across hundreds of streams and rivers, as well as BC’s beautiful mountain ranges and forests, ultimately loading over 200 super tankers in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Although Enbridge has been their own worst enemy in this public relations process (do you remember the missing islands debacle?), the company is still trying to push the project through.
It’s such a phenomenally bad idea it’s no wonder the Enbridge pipeline has been declared dead on multiple occasions by Canadian media.
Lawsuits from First Nations and others, tens of thousands committed to civil disobedience if necessary, and organizing underway to unseat Prime Minister Harper all add up to it being really hard to imagine the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline ever being built. But we still have a lot of work to do to stop it.
Meanwhile Kinder Morgan wants to build a new 590,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil pipeline along the same basic route as the existing 300,000 bpd pipeline across BC that they bought in 2005. This would increase the number of tankers in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet from around 80 a year to over 400 a year. These “Panamax” sized tankers — smaller than the supertankers proposed for Enbridge’s but still bigger than the biggest buildings in Vancouver — would need to navigate the Inlet’s shallow and narrow conditions.
Some view Kinder Morgan as the better alternative given the existing pipeline and tanker traffic. Does this look like a sacrifice zone to you?
Stanley Park is a precious jewel we must protect and it has already been heavily impacted. We partnered with the Wilderness Committee to issue this report on the potential impact of an oil spill on Stanley Park.
If anyone tries to tell you they could guarantee that there will never be an oil spill they simply aren’t telling you the truth. Just look at this infographic of oil spill incidents from pipelines in the United States: every one of these pipelines has had multiple incidents.
And if you think double hulled tankers will save us from a spill just google “double hulled oil tanker spill” and you will find images like this.
These oil tankers would not only pass through our Inlet but they would also endanger Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Strait.
Also let’s not forget that oil spills are also a threat to our health and safety. When Enbridge’s Kalamazoo oil spill happened homes had to be evacuated because of unsafe levels of benzene and other carcinogenic chemicals in the air.
Can we really trust this company to protect our safety? Kinder Morgan has emerged as a really lousy neighbour. A scathing report was recently released by the Sightlines Institute entitled The Facts about Kinder Morgan, highlighting a dismal track record for the company.
Kinder Morgan haven’t even gotten their finished proposal in to the National Energy Board and already they have been mired in civil disobedience, legal challenges and public outrage.
But don’t we need oil regardless, isn’t this really about picking between pipeline projects or potentially dangerous oil by rail proposals?
The answer is no. We don’t need to choose between bad oil pipelines or bad oil by rail projects. We are launching a Beyond Fossil Fuels campaign to highlight specific local projects that help illustrate the projects we could be supporting which would reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and create the kind of jobs we can be proud of. The technology is viable. It’s really just a matter of political will. That is why we are doing political organizing as well.
We have a lot of work ahead of us but, working together, we can and must succeed.