This issue is not only VERY important to the citizens of North Grenville, but to all citizens of eastern Canada. Everyone should be paying very close attention to this issue.
Why, you ask? Here are my thoughts:
– the pipeline that TransCanada Corp plans on using to transport the bitumen is 40 years old and was built to transport natural gas. Bitumen is thick and is required to be diluted with toxic chemicals in order to transport it through a pipeline. How can a pipeline that is 40 years old be safe to transport toxic liquids? Much newer pipelines have already had spills in North America (Keystone, for example) with devastating effects. This pipeline was also built for natural gas, not a highly toxic substance like bitumen. The segment of the pipeline that runs from Winnipeg to Ottawa has, on average, ruptured every ten years carrying natural gas. What will it do when it is carrying something much thicker and heavier? Seriously, how could anyone possibly think that this is going to be safe?!
– the bitumen that gets shipped through the pipeline will mostly be sold and exported to other countries unrefined. So this means that there will be very little job benefit for Canadians because so little will be refined in Canada. As well, it will NOT mean cheaper gas and oil for Canadians, because it will mostly be sold and exported to other countries.
– in July 2010, 3.8 million litres of bitumen spilled into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Unlike conventional crude oil, bitumen sinks and does not float. It is estimated by Enbridge, that it has cost one billion dollars in cleanup costs and the river is still polluted. They are still working at removing bitumen from the bottom of the river. Conventional response methods have not worked in the cleanup. If bitumen gets into the water table, we’re all buying bottled water for a very long time. Not to mention the death of aquatic life, other wildlife and plant life. There are also very serious health concerns with some of the byproducts of a bitumen spill. Respiratory problems being one that caught my eye.
– TransCanada corp. estimates that 20 000 jobs will be created by this pipeline. I’m not sure how they came up with that number. President Obama estimates that only 50-100 jobs will be created with the Keystone XL pipeline, part of which will actually have to be built. So where does 20 000 jobs for Energy East come from, when they are using an existing pipeline? How many of those jobs will be permanent, full time, good paying jobs? Recent hiring practices seem to dictate that the vast majority of any job creation for this project would be part-time and contract work. When the project is done, I would assume that those jobs will be gone too. Will this project create any new jobs for our municipality? I don’t see it.
– it seems to me, that we in this municipality, will be taking an awful lot of risk with this pipeline and with no benefit whatsoever to our municipality. No new jobs and no reduction in energy prices. What do we have to gain? In a word, NOTHING. TransCanada corp. shareholders, executives, upper management and lobbyists have lots of money to gain. I wonder how many of them own a property in North Grenville? I wonder how many of them would live here once a spill happens?
In closing, I see absolutely no reason for this pipeline to be allowed to go through our municipality. There is no benefit to anyone in this municipality and if there was a spill, we would all be paying the price, not TransCanada corp. In my opinion, the only people that would benefit are some very wealth people who don’t even know where North Grenville is.