Doesn’t matter where refinery located
Citizen newspaper owner David Black’s May 16 guest column promoting coastal oil refineries is misdirected and generations too late.
Black contends building a coastal oil refinery — such as one he and his Kitimat Green investors could construct — would make economic common sense, be “green” and save some 23 million tonnes of global-warming CO2 emissions annually.
He compares those savings to shipping Albertan and Saskatchewan diluted bitumen (dilbit) to Asia and other far flung regions for refining.
Trouble is, Mr. Black, our world, according to the Ottawa-signed Paris Accord and mainstream science, should be moving away from oil, gas and coal — now.
Environmentally, it doesn’t matter where a refinery is located, how many jobs it generates, nor how many taxes the facility pays; oil, refined or as dilbit, is still poison.
Oil pollutes in liquid, solid or gaseous forms.
And any idea that an oil refinery is green is a textbook oxymoron.
Black argues B.C.’s potential coastal refineries — as opposed to tankers full of dilbit bound for foreign refineries — could produce fuels that would “float and evaporate if spilled.”
Let’s be frank. There is no such thing as a spill. Call it a release, a slop, an accident, or a disaster.
A true clean-up is also fantasy. Just ask folks in Louisiana, Prince William Sound and elsewhere where oil-release catastrophes ruined their ecology and economy.
Mr. Black, we’re not talking about using a cloth to wipe spilled milk from the floor.
Sure, more refined fuel than dilbit could be recovered after a tanker sinking or puncturing, but that retrieved fuel and its remnants would pollute our precious coast and its entire ecosystem indefinitely.
Even if Black is right, why not invest in truly clean, renewable, zero-emission power as other nations have, instead of risking our beloved coast as a guinea pig for a toxic, near-obsolete industry?
Peter W. Rusland