Monday, December 15, 2008

Oily Lesson

I think we can be learning lessons from California. On one of their offshore oil rigs last week, over 27 barrels of oil spilled from a finger sized hole in a pump. The result was a slick a mile and a half long by 200 feet wide. They say no birds were caught in the oil but also that often, “Oiled birds are not spotted until they wash ashore, dead or dying because the oil has ruined their ability to keep warm.”

Since 1972, there are two moratoriums have protected British Columbia's coastline from the threat of oil spills.

However there are several proposals for pipeline projects to deliver oil from Alberta's tar sands to the North Coast. These proposals call for oil tanker traffic loaded with crude from the pipelines to travel through B.C.'s coastal waters. But our federal government is already ignoring the moratorium on tanker traffic. Since early 2006, tankers carrying condensate have traveled through the Inside Passage to Kitimat.

Now, the federal government is considering lifting its offshore oil and gas moratorium on the North Coast, and the B.C. government wants the entire moratorium lifted to allow offshore oil and gas development in the Strait of Georgia and off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Yikes!
The risk is high for very little gain. Even the top end estimates predict that B.C.’s offshore reserves would produce only enough oil and gas to satisfy U.S. consumption for six months. Surely the risks are not worth it!

I find our oil spill model to be a good graphic reminder about what could potentially happen on our coast from an oil spill. Check it out:

Here's an article about the California spill from the LA Times:,0,3221617.story

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