Northern pipeline reflects an environment of greed

The National Transportation Safety Board found that Enbridge in regards to the Kalamazoo River spill had a deficient safety culture

The Keystone Cops were fictional policemen featured in silent film comedies of the early 20th century. What made them funny was their bumbling stupidity and incompetence.

What isn’t funny to people who oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline was the National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. comparing Enbridge’s handling of the Kalamazoo River spill to the those incompetent idiots. But incompetent Enbridge was. Bare in mind, this is the company that’s going to build a pipeline over a thousand-plus fish-bearing streams, in some of the most treacherous, unforgiving, mountainous landscapes this province has to offer.

The National Transportation Safety Board found that Enbridge in regards to the Kalamazoo River spill had a deficient safety culture with inadequately trained staff (with one control room staffer saying that he didn’t care, he was going home, this is while a leak was happening) as well as insufficient pipeline checks for defects and an ineffective spill response plan.

The report found that “Enbridge’s integrity management program had numerous deficiencies that resulted in Enbridge not repairing a detected feature on a pipeline susceptible to corrosion and cracking because of its failed coating” and that “Enbridge’s post-accident response failed to either slow or stop the flow of the released oil into a major waterway.”

This is just a snippet from a 146-page report that shows an astounding level of negligence on the part of Enbridge. It took Enbridge 17 hours to shut that line off. That the company knew there were hairline cracks in that line months in advance and did nothing to repair or prevent it from deteriorating. That when the leak was occurring Enbridge staff had no idea what was going on. In short they were completely incompetent. Keystone Cops.

What was the response to the NTSB report in Ottawa? The Harper Conservatives ignored it. With the Harper government’s pseudo Environment Minister Peter Kent stating that there were few lessons to learn from that leak. With all this evidence of negligence on the part of Enbridge and the very fact that this pipeline is traversing some of the most treacherous landscapes this province has to offer, you would think the Harper Conservatives would do their do diligence in assessing the risk involved with this project. Think again.

As I write this letter, the Harper Conservatives have cut the deadline for the Gateway pipelines environmental assessment to Dec. 31 of next year. Bill C-38 rears its ugly head, that didn’t take long. A bill Dan Albas voted for I might add. What was also contained in that notice to the National Energy Board was that the federal cabinet will have the final say as to whether the pipeline can proceed despite environmental concerns. So this NEB assessment essentially was a show. Maybe Mr. Albas can explain the waste of taxpayers money sending the NEB from town to town in northern B.C. when the final decision apparently has already been made. This is a sham and a fraud. The final decision on Gateway had nothing to do with the concerns and impacts to British Columbia, but how much money there was to be made for a small number of people in the oil patch and on Bay Street.

Cody Young