The U.S. government recently stated that they are fast approaching oil and gas independence. This is good news for those that are against the oilsands and the proposed pipelines, but what do they have that would replace the income from these sources? Without the U.S. our taxes derived from our fossil fuels will depend almost entirely on the Asian market, but how will we transport our oil, gas and coal to these thirsty nations?
We could ship by truck or rail to the coast, but these are also subject to accidents and environmental concerns, and we would still have the huge tankers waiting to be filled and the risk that they convey. A highly regulated pipeline safety standard would benefit, not only the oil and gas companies, but also protect our Canadian economy which, in the end, pays for the social networks that we have become accustomed. It is not the oil and gas that is the problem, it is the maintenance of the pipeline that would create a problem, and with the modern technology this should be held to a minimum. We have pressure gauges that would show any drop in pressure in case of a leak, and we also have robotic cameras that can survey the conditions within the pipe and warn of any possible crack or erosion within the pipe.
More inspectors should be hired that would ensure that the pipeline was properly welded and bedded before any transportation of the oil would be permitted, and these should be government inspectors, not company employees. As well, periodic tests should be authorized in order to find any weaknesses before they could rupture.
I believe in protecting our environment, but I also believe in protecting our economy and the social benefits that are so important to our Canadian way of life. There is an answer, we just have to find it.
Donald E. Thorsteinson