Letter: Surviving LNG tanker proves nothing

Dear Editor,

Terry Brenan’s comments about tankers proving safe and that all is not lost [Tankers proving safe for LNG, Jan 7, Letters, Langley Advance] is another example of one small part of the story.

Two ships colliding at sea with no LNG leak proves nothing. That is like saying that, because you survived a fender-bender in a Tim Hortons parking lot, you don’t need to wear your seatbelt, and airbags aren’t required at all.

Man’s machines break, and when they do, something else is all too often damaged in the process. This holds especially true for pipelines, and for every single ship carrying oil, LNG, or coal, as the millions of ships at the bottom of the sea already attest.

The real issues are that, when they do spill, and they always do, how effective are the contingency plans, how effective are the repairs, and do the real repair costs ever get paid?

All this hysteria around pipelines and tankers are diverting our attention from the real issues.

The oil industry standard for a successful cleanup is a meagre 15 per cent. They call that good enough, wash their hands, and walk away, and who knows how much of the unspent 85 per cent ever gets paid to anyone.

The levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the Athabasca River sediment are 2.5-23 times what they were in 1960 before the largest environmental catastrophe on earth was created. That is up to 90 kilometres downstream in another fromerly pristine ecosystem.

The particulate fallout in the snow in the surrounding area from the belching smokestacks is equivalent to one major oil spill per year.

The local aboriginal people are being told not to drink the water, and are experiencing rising cancer and suicide rates because of it.

So what does Harper do for the First Nations in the Athabasca region? They send in the bottled water, yet another scourge on our environment.

I can’t wait to see what happens when they send in the canned salmon.

Every bird in every flock that lands in the tailing ponds dies. Good thing, though, because if they didn’t, who would want to eat them?

We need to start looking at oil as the alternative energy source, not the other way around.

Danny A. Halmo, Langley

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