KAMLOOPS — Nothing like a good environmental debate to get the juices flowing.
Last week, the federal government approved the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion. It has sparked debate that has become so polarized, it’s absolutely ludicrous. Both sides of the debate have solid points, but they are so passionate, they often forget the realities of life, and the fact that nothing is perfect, and compromise is what democracy is all about.
Environmentalists have been quick to respond, pointing out the drastic increase in the dangers of oil tanker spills with a seven-fold increase in the number of tankers plying the waters off the B.C. Coast. But contrast the pipeline with the risk of rail cars carrying bitumen across the countryside.
You cannot stop the world because there is a danger of a spill. You have to have plans in place to mitigate any spill, but to suggest that we should have no tanker traffic to ensure there are no spills is just not going to happen. Similarly, for First Nations on the Coast to suggest that approval of the pipeline means the federal Liberals pledge to work with First Nations is a hollow promise is equally inaccurate.
There have been a large number of agreements signed between First Nations and Kinder Morgan, so it’s unfair to say First Nations haven’t had a say. Because some First Nations don’t agree with the pipeline expansion does not mean the Liberals have failed in their promises. That’s just rhetoric.
On the other side of the coin, business leaders commenting that the expansion is important to the economic lifeblood of the country and critical to future success of our country, is equally silly. It’s an important move forward, but it would not be the end of the world if it wasn’t approved.
I get tired of hearing all the silliness that surrounds these types of things. I am a firm believer in environmental responsibility. And you can and should stop progress in some cases. But no one has shown me an “end of days” scenario with the safeguards in place with this agreement.
The Armchair Mayor is right, the agreement is not perfect, but let’s get on with it.
Oh, and I haven’t talked about the comments of the provincial and federal Green Party leaders, who are so over the top that they are beyond belief. B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver, who says “Shame on you, Mr. Trudeau” for just about everything that has happened since time began, and federal leader Elizabeth May, who says there can be no compromise. She says she’s willing to go to jail to protest the expansion, and while I have difficulty picturing her behind bars, I guess that’s her call.
But it seems to me, no one is looking at the middle ground, which is where we have to wind up to find a plan that makes sense environmentally, and still allows the economy to move forward.
I am fully aware that if a tanker goes aground and spills bitumen into the water, or if a pipeline is turned down and the economy goes in the tank, that people will say “I told you so.” But a middle ground that makes sense for all has got to be the way to go.
There are no solutions that will satisfy everyone, but if all precautions are taken, and we try to address as many concerns as we can, I think we’ve done our due diligence, and that’s really all we can ask.