As a citizen and taxpayer, I am opposed to allowing TransCanada to reverse their existing natural gas pipeline, build a new portion to tidewater and pump dilbit through it.
Energy East has all of a sudden became a “nation building” project since pipelines to the United States and British Columbia to enable export of the Canadian dilbit have hit snags. If the goal had been to serve the Eastern Canadian market rather than another route for exporting the dilbit, it would have been proposed long ago and there would be refineries to process it. There is next to no refinery capacity for dilbit in Eastern Canada. Most (or possibly all) of the dilbit is destined to be exported to out-of-Canada markets.
I find it hard to believe that a 40-year old natural gas pipeline that was not built up to the standards needed to contain a denser more corrosive product that needs to be pumped at higher pressure to get it to “flow” or ooze will not be subject to rupture. It is just a question of when, where and how much damage will be caused, not if.
The pipeline will cross many rivers and streams and often there are communities that pump their drinking water from these Ontario resources. Fish and wildlife do not do well in dilbit sludge. Plants don’t thrive. Once the goo spews out, it is hard to clean up. In water it sinks to the bottom.
Does TransCanada have the financial resources and the no-how to do the job adequately in the case of a spill? Will the consequences be passed onto the community and the Ontario government?
TransCanada has tried to sell this project by telling us that there would be economic benefits for Ontario and that many jobs would be created. In reality there will be no long-term economic benefits for Ontario. Once the pipeline is in operation, few jobs will be generated, aside from a frantic attempt to clean up any spills – hardly the kind of jobs we need to create. But a dilbit spill could result in destroying current economic activities wherever it spews out. Farming, tourism, hunting and fishing could all be negatively impacted in the case of a catastrophic spill.
As well, the existing portion of the pipeline already has a vocation: supplying natural gas to Ontario. Cutting off the current supply could easily result in an insufficient supply and thus higher costs for Ontarians. How is that good for Ontario?
If this dilbit pipeline is allowed to proceed, Ontario will assume all of the risks and the negative impacts for no advantage, so that TransCanada can export dilbit for profit.
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