How much risk is too much?

I was interested to read Nechako Lakes Liberal MLA John Rustad’s comments regarding the Enbridge pipeline proposal in the Caledonia Courier of June 29, 2011.

Mr. Rustad is quoted as saying that the provincial government supports the pipeline if “it can be done safely for the environment.”

Editor,

 

 

I was interested to read Nechako Lakes Liberal MLA John Rustad’s comments regarding the Enbridge pipeline proposal in the Caledonia Courier of June 29, 2011.

Mr. Rustad is quoted as saying that the provincial government supports the pipeline if “it can be done safely for the environment.”

In light of the recent Exxon pipeline rupture and oil spill into the Yellowstone River (see: http://www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov/), I’m curious to know how Mr. Rustad and his Liberal colleagues define “safely for the environment.”

All resource development entails some potential risk for the environment. The degree of risk is measured by the probability of an adverse event (such as a pipeline rupture) occurring and the magnitude of the consequence of the event. The images from the Yellowstone spill provide a graphic depiction of the magnitude of consequences associated with a relatively small spill on a major river system.

Later in the same article Mr. Rustad is quoted as saying that “we are going to leave it up to the professionals to make the recommendations as to what needs to happen to make sure that it’s safe”. If this is the case, then why aren’t the Ministries of Environment or Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations utilizing their qualified professionals to review the proposal and intervene on behalf of the citizens of British Columbia in the joint review panel process (as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are doing on behalf of Canadian citizens)?

It begs the question: which “professionals” are the Liberals prepared to listen to — government staff or Enbridge’s consultants?

As we move towards a provincial election it’s important to know (and preferably before the election) just how much risk to the Salmon, Necoslie, and Stuart river systems the Liberals are prepared to accept in their continued support for the Enbridge pipeline proposal.

 

 

 

Kelly Izzard

 

 

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