Sunday, December 11, 2016

Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. As long as we keep using fossil fuels, pipelines keep being proposed

Even Canada's liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau has approved the expansion of Trans Mountain Pipeline; the pipeline that already exists between Alberta and Vancouver area. A spur of Trans Mountain comes to right here in Whatcom County serving the two big oil refineries just north of Bellingham. As far as I know, there are no plans to expand the Whatcom County spur.

This pipeline expansion to Vancouver area still may never happen as there is always opposition along the way, but Trudeau has decided that it makes more sense to expand capacity of an already existing route than build a new route. I guess there was a proposal to build a pipe from Alberta to farther north on the BC coast that was scrapped as part of this deal. I just heard the proposal is part of a package that includes a carbon tax. I think carbon tax is a good idea at least.

Building, or expanding, any pipeline would fly in the face of climate activists, such as Bill McKibben, who says, about Alberta tar sand oil, "keep it in the ground." Oil plays a big role in the Canadian economy. It's a hard habit to kick, or find alternatives for.

The oil that travels through Trans Mountain's spur, just north of Bellingham, supplies our refineries that mostly serve the driving, and the flying (jet fuel), public of the Pacific Northwest. As far as I know, there is no expansion plans for the Whatcom County Trans Mountain spur.

Personally, I'm not totally anti pipeline. Pipelines are safer than oil trains if that's the only choice, but this is all part of running our economy on fossil fuels. Should Canada just keep it's Alberta tar sands oil in the ground or is that oil too important to the economy? Leaders, like Trudeau and Obama, do have to walk a tightrope between long term ideals and keeping our economies solvent (assuming they are solvent which may be debatable, but another topic).

National leaders often think of oil and gas production as a transition till we get something better to feed our economy and lifestyles.

I say, we have to keep looking at the big picture. I'm not necessarily pro, or against the single "piecemeal" parts, like a pipeline here or there. I think about the big picture of all the automobiles on the road, rents being due and so forth. How can we create a sustainable economy? We can, but maybe we need to push it along faster. Donald Trump wants to go the other way.

Also see Northwest braces for its own Standing Rock.

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