Don’t support the pipeline – in three parts

Reader doesn't support pipeline because of possibility of future devastation

Reader Eli Fricker wants a ‘factual reason’ why he should not support this (Enbridge) project across B.C. As a biologist I can provide him with one, in several parts:

(a) It is well understood that the risk of a pipe-line break or leak is not, and can never be, “zero”. Therefore, at some time in the future this will occur, be it sooner or later. There is no such thing as absolute certainty. There is only a probability which is not “zero”, even by making the pipeline-walls a foot thick. We cannot predict the length of time before that would happen, only that it will happen sometime.

(b) Given part (a), can we predict that the flora and fauna that accidentally become immersed in the pipe-line material, would survive, or not? Some might, depending upon the amount of the spill. I think most biologists would predict that the biological effects on the ecosystem could be catastrophic for the region impacted.

(c)  Given the above, and that it could be catastrophic, we have to decide whether we are willing to accept a probable loss, sooner or later, of a portion of the biosphere so that a given petroleum company can sell a product to Asia and make a lot of money.

In case one points out:  “well …… we even take a risk when we cross the road” …… he has to ask himself whether the risk of getting hit by a car is comparable to the risk of a future devastation of a part of the biosphere and waterways. I don’t think it is.

Don K. Edwards

Central Saanich