Rail transport has potential

Rail lines would be a much better way to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands

I have been reading with some interest about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, and the controversy against it.

It seems strange to me that rail transport doesn’t seem to be considered. We ship coal across southern B.C. to Roberts Bank, and grains across northern B.C. to Prince Rupert, why can’t we ship bitumen across B.C. to Kitimat?

It is my understanding that the current pipeline method will require the bitumen to be liquefied with a reclaimable solvent at the mine site in Alberta. Then it is pumped through this pipeline to the coast. Just how much energy will the huge pumps and pipe use?

So now we have “the soup” in Kitimat at great expense and concern about leaks. So what now? Just ship it to China. No way. Now the reusable solvent is separated and shipped back to Alberta in a second parallel pipeline.

There are so many things that could go wrong, I think we should just simply say “thanks, but no thanks.” I don’t think any amount of money or jobs is worth this risk.

So why aren’t we considering rail transport? The bitumen could be shipped intact in rail cars that would probably need some heat to unload. The entire shipping would have jobs and people involved, to report mishaps before they are major.

It is still not perfect but you won’t end up with a black lake in our pristine wilderness. Don’t forget the entire project still depends on huge trucks moving the tar sands at the mine site.

Carl W. Harris





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