Prove the feasibility of world-class cleanup

Re: “As pipeline decision looms, Ottawa tweaks tanker safety rules,” May 14.

 Enbridge and the federal government, with the complicity of the B.C. government, are attempting to persuade us that the solution to a catastrophic bitumen spill is under control.

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The federal transport minister assures us that proposed “world-class systems” will give us the best protection in the world. What none of them is saying is that there are no systems or protocols anywhere in the world that can feasibly, much less satisfactorily, clean up after a major spill. Bitumen will sink to the bottom of the ocean as well as foul the coastline, causing untold, irremediable damage to sea life, vegetation and the environment.

Twenty-five years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the negative effects are still being felt and the clean-up was never satisfactorily performed. And it was much easier than a heavy bitumen spill would be. One tanker spill would devastate the B.C. coast for decades and no amount of government or corporate assurances will change that.

What any sensible party would do in this case is to dump a barrel of the bitumen somewhere on the coast where it can be contained and then demonstrate the proposed world-class cleanup protocol being touted. Do it with an audience of scientists and environmentalists and let’s see how much it costs and if it is feasible.

Then multiply that cost by 300,000 and get an idea of the real costs involved, not the pittance proposed by the government and Enbridge.

Michael Holt

Victoria

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