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The information on this page is intended as a quick overview to assist you in arguments put forward in the news or in public debates. We broke it down in three sections
- The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline
- Oil tankers and where they will travel on our coast.
- A short overview of the Tarsands of Alberta
For a very high resolution view of the proposed Enbridge Pipeline route, as well as the tanker routes this link will take you to a Google earth interactive map.
Attached is a kml file for use with Google Earth Great Bear Rainforest save it to desktop or where you want to keep it. You must have Google Earth installed for it to work.
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project Facts
- 1,170 kilometer Pipeline
- Pipe one would carry 400,000 to 1,000,000 barrels a day
- Pipe two would carry 193,000 barrels a day of condensate
- Crosses approximately 1000 streams and rivers
Five important salmon rivers that would be impacted are the Stuart River, Morice River, Copper River, Kitimat River and Salmon River. Any spill would end up destroying the Fraser and Skeena and Kitimat Rivers in a trickle-down effect.
Two of the Skeena’s largest salmon producing tributaries, the Morice and the Copper River watersheds will be put in jeopardy. These two tributaries also constitute a major portion of the salmon and steelhead stocks of the Skeena River system.
Any oil in the Skeena River would kill all of the salmon and steelhead fry (baby fish) going out to the ocean. Once that happens the entire Skeena watershed could see species after species going extinct.
The Morice River already has two species of sockeye already on the endangered species list.
The Track record of Enbridge and oil spills.
January 2001: Enbridge’s Energy Transportation North Pipeline leaked 23,900 barrels of crude oil into a slough near Hardisty, Alberta. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada noted that the site of the leak on the aging pipeline had been identified a “high priority location” just four months earlier.
July 2002: A 34-inch diameter steel pipeline ruptured in a marsh west of Cohasset, Minnesota. To prevent 6,000 barrels (252,000 gallons) of crude oil from reaching the Mississippi River, the company set the oil on fire. The plume of smoke extended one mile high. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board blamed the rupture on “inadequate loading of the pipe for transportation.”
January 2003: A pipeline failure resulted in a spill of 4,500 barrels of oil at Enbridge’s oil terminal near Superior, Wisconsin. Approximately 500 barrels flowed into the Nemadji River, a tributary of Lake Superior.
April 2003: A gas explosion leveled an Etobicoke strip mall and killed seven people. It stands as the largest number of fatalities ever recorded in a pipeline incident in Canada. Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority charged Enbridge with failure to provide accurate information and to ensure their contractors followed the law. The case is still in court.
April/May 2004: U.S. pipeline regulators fined Enbridge for failing to properly inspect oil and gas pipelines in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
January 2007: A pipeline break near Stanley, North Dakota spilled 9,030 gallons of oil. Regulators fined Enbridge for exceeding pressure standards for the pipeline.
February 2007: An estimated 176,000 gallons spilled in two separate incidents in Clark and Rusk County, Wisconsin. One pipeline cracked open and couldn’t be shut off until an operator in Canada shut down the line. In the second incident work crews broke the same line, filling a hole 20 feet deep with oil and contaminating local groundwater. The company was fined $100,000 for not following safety standards.
November 2007: A 34-inch pipeline carrying bitumen to U.S. Midwest markets exploded, killing two workers near Clearbrook, Minnesota. The pipe had leaked two weeks prior to the explosion and was being repaired. The fireball, which leapt 100 feet into the air, temporarily jacked up the price of oil by four dollars and closed four other pipelines delivering 1.5 million barrels of crude a day. The Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration fined the company $2 million for exceeding pressure in its pipeline and for failing to follow safety procedures.
May 2008: Alberta’s energy regulator delivered a “high risk enforcement action” against Enbridge for using “valves, flanges and fittings” on its Midstream pipeline that were not suitable for maximum operating pressure. No fines were levied.
January 2009: Enbridge agreed to pay a fine of $1 million to the government of Wisconsin after it committed more than 500 violations of the state’s wetland and waterway protection regulations while constructing the $2 billion Southern Access pipeline to export 400,000 barrels of bitumen from Alberta to Chicago. Attorney General J. B Van Hollen said “the incidents of violation were numerous and widespread and resulted in impacts to the streams and wetlands throughout the various watersheds.” Enbridge blamed the problems on “bad” weather.
January 2009: A valve blew on a pipe at the Enbridge Cheecham Terminal tank farm, spilling 4,000 barrels of oil near Anzac, Alberta. The leak wasn’t detected for three hours and Alberta regulators issued no statements, because no member of the public was affected. Greenpeace initially reported the spill.
January 2010: A pipeline built in 1956 leaked 3,000 barrels (126,000 gallons) near Neche, North Dakoka. The PHMSA warned Enbridge twice that older pipelines were susceptible to failure. The line is part of the 1,900-mile-long Lakehead System that delivers crude from western Canada to Cushing, Oklahoma and Chicago.
Enbridge does not have the worst record in the oil patch. That distinction belongs to BP, polluter of the Gulf of Mexico. The PHMSA has cited the company 58 times for shoddy performance.
[Sources: U.S. National Safety Transportation Board; Transportation and Safety Board of Canada; U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; Milwaukee Sentinel Journal; Ontario's Technical Standards and Safety Authority; Enbridge Corporate Social Responsibility Reports; Polaris Institute]
What did we learn from the Enbridge spill on the Kalamazoo River?
If you really want to know what will happen in the event of an oil spill in British Columbia, we had better take a close look at both the effects of the oils spill, and the cleanup done by Enbridge.
Submerged oil cleanup finished in Kalamazoo River for the year (due to winter)
If they cannot cleanup the Kalamzoo during the winter then we all know that everything that can flush will end up in Prince Rupert or the Douglas Channel, or the mouth of the Fraser River, right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
How much of British Columbia is at risk from oil pipelines and tanker traffic?
What is the latest information available that projects the value of British Columbia’s fishing industry?
To be able to understand the real value of what British Columbia stands to lose in the event of a catastrophe, we need to be able to compare what Alberta would earn, against what British Columbia could lose.
According to Enbridge’s own figures “When adjusted for Northern Gateway toll, increased transportation costs on the Enbridge mainline (due to volume decreases), as well as increased Canadian refinery feedstock costs the net benefit to the Canadian Oil and Gas industry would be $28 billion over the first 10 years”
That would be the equivalent of 2.8 billion annually as compared to British Columbia’s fishing industry worth 5.3 billion annually.
An estimated 15,500 British Colombian’s worked in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in 2005. Sport Fishing 7,700 was the largest employer, followed by fish processing 3,700, aquaculture 2,100, and commercial fishing 2000 jobs.
Revenues in the fisheries and aquaculture sector totaled over $2.2 Billion in 2005. This compares to just under $1Billion in 1984. Among the industries within the sector, sport fishing generated the highest revenue ($865 Million) Fish Processing ($638 Million) commercial fishing ($362 Million) and Aquaculture (338 million)
The value of a Canadian Dollar was worth almost 20% less in 2005 than it is today, so adjust those figures by adding 20% to get a more realistic value in dollars today. Top that off with the higher prices of today the adjusted numbers should be close to double the 2005 figures.
According to Pacific Salmon Foundation the figures for the value of commercial salmon alone in 2010 is over 2 billion dollars, so add the current values of sport fishing, aquaculture and all non-salmon species caught by commercial fisherman and the true value of British Columbia’s fishing industry could have doubled since 2005. (reference 1.)
Based on information obtained by Living Oceans the current value of the sport fishing industry alone is worth $2.8B USD. (reference 2.)
The reason given by the Province of British Columbia for not giving newer or more updated information is according to them “too sensitive” and would infringe on the rights of commercial business owners” The numbers provided above are the latest figures available as of this date.
In 2010, the B.C. aquaculture sector produced 90,600 tonnes of fish and shellfish and generated $533.8 million in farmgate value.
A realistic value of British Columbia’s in fishing industry in 2012.
- Aquaculture ½ a Billion Dollars
- Sport Fishing 2.8 Billion Dollars
- Commercial Fishing 2 Billion Dollars
For a combined total of 5.3 Billion Dollars Annually!
Below are visual graphs based on the latest official information, remember that you need to double the numbers to get a more current estimate.
Where do the salmon migrate in relationship to the proposed tanker traffic?
As you can see from image below all existing tanker traffic from Vancouver is directly on the path of the Fraser Rivers salmon population. Should any spill occur it will wipe out the entire stock of the Fraser River and its tributaries.
The northern stock belongs to the Skeena and Nass Rivers and will be on a collision course with all northern salmon stocks. We are not even referring to seaweed, or shellfish or any other fish we harvest from the ocean.
Where exactly will the oil tankers go along the BC Coast?
Here is a detailed map of the proposed tanker route, it is a PDF to allow for a much higher resolution than a photo will provide.
Is there any way of forecasting the damage and where it will hit the hardest?
Yes Living Oceans created a Oil Spill Model which is an interactive image that allows you to get a fairly good idea as to where the oil will go based on where the accident occurred.
Who is going to pay if there is an oil tanker disaster in BC waters?
From the Living Oceans website here is a very detailed account of what will happen and who will pay. If Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is approved, Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars to cover the cleanup and compensation costs in the event of a catastrophic oil tanker spill. The maximum amount of money available to deal with a worst-case scenario oil tanker spill in Canadian waters is approximately $1.33 Billion CAD.
These funds may fall drastically short of what is needed to adequately clean up and pay compensation in the event of a spill, given that the price tag from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska was at least $3.5B USD. This price does not include losses from passive-use industries such as sport fishing and tourism, which were estimated at another $2.8B USD.
Exxon Valdez – Compared to today’s Super Tankers
The TI Class of ships are the four largest double-hulled supertankers in the world and are,
as of 2010, the largest ocean going ships, since the previous largest one, the single hulled supertanker Seawise Giant, was scrapped in 2010. The class comprises the ships TI Africa, TI Asia, TI Europe and TI Oceania, where the “TI” refers to the VLCC Tanker Pool operator Tankers International L.L.C. The class were the first ULCCs (Ultra-large crude carriers) to be built for 25 years.
That’s exactly 4.221804 times the size of the Exxon Valdez
Exxon Valdez - How Much Oil?
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil. (reference 3.)
Exxon Valdez - Was the oil cleaned up?
While herring populations are still devastated, other species such as salmon and bald eagles have recovered. But perhaps the most remarkable is what never went away - and you can find it just a short plane ride from Cordova. On the shoreline, all you have to do is move a couple of rocks and you strike oil - Exxon Valdez oil - 21 years later. In fact, over 21,000 gallons of oil are left from the spill. It is naturally decreasing at a rate of 0 to 4 percent per year. So it could take decades - or even centuries - before it’s all gone. (reference 4.)
Please also read this article. Oil Remains: The Persistence, Toxicity, and Impact of Exxon Valdez Oil
The government has been less than honest with the public as is shown by this review. We won’t get into too much detail on the Tarsands but we will show you a few facts that are quite staggering as well as disturbing.
Understanding environmental impacts that will affect people outside of Alberta
- 2011 Report to British Columbia
- Living Oceans – Who Pays
- Size of Exxon spill remains disputed: Exxon Valdez spill
- 21 Years Later, Exxon Valdez Scars Still Healing
JLS ……For What It’s Worth