Last week’s announcement by the federal government that gave a green light to the Northern Gateway pipeline was, obviously, a big disappointment for many Canadians.
Many hurdles remain before the project ever sees even one piece of pipe welded, but the fed’s announcement signified a major step forward in the project’s development.
Without debating the merits – or not – of the pipeline, it appears to us this decision should, if nothing else, give Canadians the opportunity to take their energy future into our own hands.
Simply put, if we can’t get world market prices for our oil from U.S. interests, what other alternatives do we have? Accepting as fact the Northern Gateway can open a new, profitable market for us that lessens our dependence on a single customer, we think the project should be given a thorough consideration by all Canadians. In considering environmental issues, it might make a lot of sense to start talking more seriously about the benefits of a refinery on the west coast, and work toward a goal of having only refined oil products transferred along and off our coasts.
It’s our opinion that, pipeline or not, oil is going to flow, one way or another, to the B.C. coastline and offshore to Asian markets. We can choose to understand our economic reality and work to enhance our opportunities within that realm, while carefully looking at and choosing the best environmental choices available, or we can believe that we are capable of maintaining a high standard of living while foregoing all the opportunities that provide it.
It’s been said that the Lower Mainland is B.C.’s largest clearcut. One might also argue that the tar sands are nature’s biggest oil spill – all we’re doing is cleaning it up.
It alldepends on one’s point of view – which will no doubt be shaped profoundly in the years to come, depending on which way we go on projects like this.