The increase in shipping traffic if the TransMountain pipeline expansion is actually implemented poses a quite extraordinary threat to the Salish Sea. I heard on the CBC yesterday that the ships used to load at pipeline terminal in Burnaby are smaller than optimal, so they will be running a shuttle service to supertankers moored off the coast somewhere for transhipment. And do not forget that we are talking about diluted bitumen: this is a heavy mixture of tar and sand mixed with natural gas condensate to get it to flow. In the event of a spill, the lighter fractions quickly evaporates, and the bitumen sinks. That means it is for all intents and purposes irrecoverable. Indeed, I think, as campaigners against the pipeline, we need to take a lesson from Jordan Bateman and repeat “dilbit sinks” whenever anyone talks about what a great idea tar sands exports are.
The following is a letter that Susan Jones has sent to our politicians. She copied it to Fraser Voices and has given me permission to reproduce it here.
The Right Honourable Justin P. Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Members of Parliament Ottawa, Canada, K1A 0E4
Have you any idea of what you have just approved with the Kinder Morgan pipeline in British Columbia?
Your statistics and statements of fact are not correct and should be referenced.
According to the website below:
“ More than 10,000 vessels transit the lower Strait of Georgia, Boundary Pass and Haro Strait each year. But that includes tugs, fishing boats, private yachts and ferry boats. There are about 3,000 large tankers, container ships and bulk carriers that pass the same way each year. Adding another 400 tankers would increase the total traffic to about ten ships a day, a bit less than one every hour, coming or going.”
This is not 1% increase as stated by the federal Liberal Government. It is more than a 13% increase in large ships.
Also, you have not included other planned increases as outlined in the article referenced below. If all proceed, there will be a 40% increase in large vessels through the narrow shipping lane from Vancouver to the Pacific This is also the route traveled by the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) which you are entrusted to protect.
The information you have broadcast is not “evidence based” and it is not “safe” for the amazing environment of the Strait of Georgia, Boundary Pass, Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Just take a look at the maps below and see how narrow the shipping passes are from Vancouver to the Pacific. In addition, the passage from the Juan de Fuca Strait to the Pacific is dangerous and subject to strong winds, and powerful currents. The area, also known as the Big Eddy is rich in nutrients supporting entire food chains – from plankton to whales.
Take a look at the route below and think about the impact of even a minor accident or spill. Even without an accident, the noise impact of increased numbers of large ships interferes with whale communication leading to mortality. The impacts of increased numbers of large vessels cannot be effectively mitigated.