Letter: Factual, balanced information about oil tankers

You had to wonder why the Governor of Washington State is so opposed to a pipeline in B.C.

I wanted to thank you for Tom Fletcher’s opinion piece (Penticton Western News, March 3, B.C. VIEWS: Killer whales are the new polar bears of politics).

Finally some factual, balanced information about oil tankers, marine traffic and resident orca populations off B.C.’s coast. You had to wonder why the governor of Washington State is so opposed to a pipeline in B.C., when Washington State has five refineries, pipelines and unrefined oil tanker traffic of their own. Turns out Washington State refiners get about 30 per cent of their oil from Canada, including from oil sands shipped by rail and pipelines. Could it be that Washington refineries benefit from limited markets for Canadian oil? Maybe it keeps the price of Canadian oil low? Most of Washington’s unrefined oil comes from Alaska, shipped past B.C.’s coast with much frequency. Somehow this isn’t a problem for the governor, or apparently for orcas and other marine wildlife.

One doesn’t have to dig very far to get the facts (i.e. credible information from actual researchers) about the issue of marine traffic, resident orcas and the long term state of this population. On the inside passage, B.C. ferry traffic is the most frequent and troublesome for marine life. From what I have read, noise from marine traffic has a far larger impact on the health of whale populations than ship strikes. Have you ever been on a B.C. ferry? I want to wear earplugs just sitting in the passenger section. Can you imagine the vibration and noise coming from these vessels and affecting marine life? Yet no one is talking about reducing ferry traffic. Resident killer whales have a very limited diet and declining salmon stocks are also a key issue for their survival. Undoubtedly their lack of success ‘fishing’ is compounded by noisy marine (ferry) traffic affecting their ability to detect their prey. Resident orcas have also had historically very low populations, as Tom points out. It is interesting to also look at the transient orca population, which despite the same marine traffic, seem to be at very healthy and stable levels.

I think when it comes to external parties, like the governor of Washington State, pitching in with their opinions about Canada’s resources, pipelines etc., we need to understand what may be behind them. Who benefits from shutting down oil sands development and shipments? If the governor is so concerned, perhaps he should start talking to the five refineries in his state. Tanker traffic doesn’t appear to be the biggest threat for resident orcas.

If you are interested in traffic risks related to oil shipments consider this: has the lack of oil pipeline capacity caused a spike in semi-truck accidents and associated deaths? Because a lot of that freight on those trucks used to be shipped by rail but that capacity is now displaced by oil-by-rail due to the lack of pipelines.

Deirdre Riley

Penticton

Just Posted

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: the warm sun is sticking around

Environement Canada forcasts sun, no clouds for Wednesday

South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

Richard Cannings, MP for South OK and Kootenay communities says budget missed the mark

Penticton council grants funding for operations, utilities to Okanagan School of the Arts

The organization is facing financial difficulties amidst “reinventing its mission”

Recycling 101: what to put in and what to leave out

Penticton program to educate apartment dwellers on the do’s and don’ts of recycling

From celebrity weddings to Burning Man: artist brings his unique exhibition to Penticton

Bentley Meeker, international light artist, has been commissioned by Robert De Niro and Billy Joel

The UBC Innovation Library has helped over 1,100 students since opening in 2015

Students across B.C. can access their academic resources at the UBC Innovation Library

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

TKI Construction looks forward to being part of Rutland

The company is renovating the old AG Outdoor Superstore

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read