There is a tremendous misconception in the media and on the streets of Vancouver about the role of pipelines and hydrocarbons in our daily lives. We live in a society that is absolutely dependent on petroleum hydrocarbons derived from oil. Petroleum hydrocarbons aren’t just refined into fuel to run our vehicles, they also serve as the feedstock of the petrochemical industry. Petrochemicals form the basis of all the things that make our modern world work. They are the building blocks of our plastics, our computers, the tools we need to keep us healthy and the drugs we take when we are sick.
The proud defender of the land, Dr. Lynn Quarmby, has built her entire career using petrochemicals to advance her science. Get rid of the petrochemicals in her lab and she would be out of business. Just for interest, how do you think Whole Foods gets their organic kale to market? It is done using big diesel-powered trucks that need fuel.
Edmonton refineries provide up to 60% of the refined petroleum products used in the Lower Mainland, with the remainder supplied by the Chevron refinery in Burnaby and the Cherry Point refinery in Washington. The refined fuel is transported via the Trans-Mountain pipeline and both mentioned refineries are supplied with much/most of their raw products via the Trans-Mountain pipeline. When Gregor Robertson and Derek Corrigan decry the prospect of tankers in Vancouver Harbour, what they don’t tell you is that if the Trans-Mountain pipeline was shut down tomorrow, the result would be hundreds of tankers a year coming into Vancouver to supply our domestic market.
The Trans-Mountain pipeline is over 50 years old and while it is currently safe it is time to consider if a route through Burnaby Mountain might be safer than the current route which runs through Burnaby neighbourhoods. Wouldn’t Kinder Morgan be derelict to not investigate that option? Like it or not, our West Coast society is dependent on oil products to keeps sick babies alive at Sick Kids Hospital and keep Gregor Robertson and Derek Corrigan’s cities running smoothly. These products get to us via the Trans-Mountain pipeline and the protestors better watch out because if they shut the pipeline down, what they will see is hundred of oil tankers in their ports and thousands of rail cars of oil running along their most ecologically vulnerable rivers. Certainly we should move towards a society where oil products are not used for power or fuel. But until that time comes we need these products and the safest, most environmentally responsible way to get them to us is via pipelines.