Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Gauntlet for Minister Garneau: We're Not Asking for a Tanker Moratorium

Here is the simple DEMAND

by Ingmar Lee - 10,000 Ton Tanker

October 28, 2016

We demand that the American petroleum tanker traffic which serves Alaska be barred from travelling via the BC Inside Passage, (which includes the Salish Sea, Johnstone Strait, Hecate Strait and any of the narrow passages east of Hecate Strait. )

Instead this traffic should travel offshore, just like all the other tanker traffic must do.

Politically, -there would be no loss of political capital to any politician who accepts this demand. Any politician enacting this demand would be a hero. This traffic offers zero benefit of any sort to anyone in BC

Economically -there would be no significant cost difference between doing 1 or 2 trips up the coast in a large, offshore-capable tanker vs more than 50 complicated trips up and down the rock-strewn channels of the BC Inside Passage. Especially considering the (I'm told) $40,000,000 and counting cost of the Seaforth Channel spill

Ecologically - any spill at sea is catastrophic, but inshore spills are exponentially worse, and clearly, as we have seen with this comparatively small spill, are absolutely impossible to clean up

Safety - 20 miles offshore, mechanical problems, or even asleep at the helm allows for a lot of lead time prior to disaster, - inshore, any minor problems can lead to disaster in seconds.

Finally, we wish no inconvenience to our Alaska neighbours. The offshore voyage is only slightly longer, and shipments would be much less risky. Having reached a safe, deepwater port in Alaska, the product could be lightered off the ship as per usual.

(Alaskan readers, please picture, say a Canadian tug/tanker business exploiting the Alaska Inside Passage without any benefit whatsoever to Alaskans, to understand just how offensive this traffic is to British Columbians.)

This DEMAND is SIMPLE, easy to explain, easily gathers support from diverse elements of society, is easy to rally behind. The traffic is totally unnecessary, offers no benefit to anyone other than the businesses that run it, and there is a SIMPLE solution.

Friends, please avoid getting ensnared in the "mitigation" discussion and arguments. For example: "...if only the clean-up company had not been 20 hours late..." "...if only there had been adequate clean-up equipment and trained personnel stationed nearby..." "...if only the containment booms had not broken..."

The facts are clear, nothing at all, no amount of equipment, no amount of "assets" on scene, no amount of trained personnel, no amount of hard work, no amount of money being shovelled out by the truckload, no amount of grovelling corporate media coverage can clean up petroleum product spilled at sea. When compared with the ongoing, inconceivably more horrific petroleum catastrophes at sea, this was a comparatively small spill of relatively refined product.

And Canada's "World Class" Oil Spill Response Service, which threw every single piece of equipment, personnel and expertise to be found on this coast at the Seaforth Channel spill, is utterly hopeless, useless, incompetent and cannot demonstrate any semblance of clean up.

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