Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead Wednesday, June 23, 2010

City council has a chat with Enbridge on their pipeline plans, Canpotex offers up  little new on their terminal plans and Terrace RCMP deployed a taser in last nights stand off,  some of the items of interest for Wednesday.

Daily New, front page headline story
CITY COUNCIL QUESTIONS ENBRIDGE REP ON PIPELINE -- Prince Rupert has its opportunity to ask questions about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

Dueling think tank results on education are examined in Wednesday's edition of the Daily News, as the results from the C. D. Howe Institute provide a more positive message for local education than the findings of the Fraser Institiute.

The process towards unionization of Lax Kw'alaams teachers continues as the BCGEU moves forward with its bid to represent the teachers of Lax Kw'alaams academy as they seek out federal certification as their labour representative. The Daily outlines some of the latest developments on that issue.

The Sports page features some of the results of a weekend skateboard competition as well as details on those successful in the paper's recent hockey pools.

(Daily News Archive Items for Wednesday, June 23, 2010)

City council questions Enbridge on pipeline
FSA's or CDHI's that is the question
Liberals favour moratorium
New pastor's settling in and loving Rupert
Port Simpson Teacher's update

The Northern View
No new items posted to the Northern View website on Wednesday

CFTK TV 7 News
Canpotex Update -- There's not much new in nature from CFTK's inquiries to Canpotex regarding its expansion plans, with the Saskatchewan based company advising that there is no change in their plans at the moment, though they add that Prince Rupert is still in the running (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Taser deployed in Terrace standoff -- Terrace RCMP add some details to last nights reports on the twelve hour standoff in the city on Tuesday night, adding the previously not known details regarding the deployment of a taser unit (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
MLA 's Reaction to Federal Liberal Leader's comments -- North Coast MLA Gary Coons finds much to welcome from the recent thoughts of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on the topic of tanker traffic on the north coast (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC, Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.  

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
City council questions Enbridge rep on pipeline
By Monica Lamb-Yorsi
Staff writer
Prince Rupert Daily News
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prince Rupert City Council received an update on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project. 

Michele Perret and Kevin Brown, addressed coucil Monday night during the Committee of the Whole Meeting.

 Perret’s presentation focused on the regulatory process and the economic impact of the project.

 She said the construction phase would begin in 2013. The project would result in 4,100 person-years (12 months worked is 1.0 person-year) of direct employment in B.C. and tax revenue of $165,000,000 in B.C.

 “The pump stations and marine terminal would result in 560 jobs for B.C.”, said Perret.

 While the economic stats were enticing, the reaction from council and members of the public centred on the environment.

 Councillor Gina Garon asked about water crossings and avalanches and heard from Brown that one of the mitigation measures for the project are two tunnels proposed around the Bernie River Area.

 “What that does is move the pipeline lower into the valley and out of that instability and areas that are prone to instability,” said Brown.

 According to Perret, some of Enbridge’s geotechnical work has identified that some of the routes originally planned for were not appropriate from a stability standpoint.

 “We have chosen different routes we feel are more stable,” she said. Garon also broached the subject of oil spills.

 “You compare Douglas Channel to Vancouver Harbour and I don’t think they have the winds and tides that Douglas Channel has at Vancouver Harbour,” she commented.

 “On a fair weather day it’s easy to contain an oil spill, what how do you when there’s a gale force wind blowing and there’s an oil spill in Douglas Channel?” Garon asked.

Perret couldn’t provide details to answer the question, but referenced Volume 8 of the project’s proposal and its guidelines for an emergency response that would be in place.

Councillor Anna Ashley echoed Garon’s concerns.

 “Accidents happen and along the pipeline there’s liability, but when the oil is on the tankers what responsibility does Enbridge have? My understanding is when the pipeline ends, Enbridge’s responsibility ends.”

Perret told Ashley she was correct and that Enbridge’s ownership of the pipeline system would end at the marine terminal.

 “But our interest in the safe passage of that boat continues through because we need that safe traffic. 

“That’s why we’re putting in place the world-class standards, it’s not required necessarily for regulatory purposes, but we think that it’s appropriate and that it’s the right thing to do based on some of the research we’ve done with local pilots and what we think makes sense,” Perret said.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson referred to the pipeline spill in the Pine River in 2000 that polluted Chetwynd’s water source and resulted in the community having to find another water source.

 “I’ve done a fair amount of press clippings about Enbridge and it was reported that you have had a number of spills in the United States and in fact a fairly major one was in the last six months. With Enbridge’s history of spills why should we think that your pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat is going to be any different?” she asked.

Perret said it’s important to look at the response to spills, the rigour that’s going into routing, the technology associated with the pipes, the placement of the valves and the review the company is going into for the project.

 “The other thing we’re looking at is first response capabilities and where do we place first response cells along that route. Where can we have co-ops or people in local communities to establish first response cells so if there is an incident we can respond very quickly,” said Brown.

 Thorkelson commented that any spill would be of huge concern, especially if it were in a water source. “I’m not sure about response time but I know the Chetwynd clean up didn’t happen. There’s still oil in the Pine River.”

 Choosing the Exxon Valdez as an example, Thorkelson told Brown and Perret that back in the day, the public was assured of new navigational technology and that there wouldn’t be a spill because the ship wouldn’t run aground. “Our concerns are real. They’re not pie in the sky. Is Enbridge going to put up some money into Escrow to help people whose lives will be affected by oil spills?

Our experience in Alaska was that people went to court for ten years. There was a five billion dollar settlement. It was appealed and people in Alaska ended up getting ten cents on the dollar,” Thorkelson said. Perret said that type of fund is not currently considered in the company’s application. “What is considered are the safety standards we are contemplating. We are responsible for any incidents that are attributed to our operations or construction.”

 During the public question period to council, Kathleen Palm of Prince Rupert was curious why the presentation by Enbridge hadn’t been advertised.

 Acting Mayor Kathy Bedard told Palm it was council’s first meeting with Enbridge and that the company had contacted the City asking if they could make a presentation on June 21.

When Palm asked Bedard if the City is going to take a position on Enbridge, Bedard said when Enbridge comes to Prince Rupert to hold public meetings, City Council will attend those alongside members of the community.

“Do you expect the City will come to a position by a certain date now that Enbridge has submitted its application to the national energy board?” asked Palm.

 “Enbridge has to go through a two year assessment and at some time in that process they may ask municipal councils and regional districts along the line to voice their opinion,” said City Manager Gordon Howie.

 “A few of us had the fortunate opportunity to be in Kitamaat Village a few weeks ago when there was a very big meeting about Enbridge. I would just like to say on behalf of my family and I that I would not want to see raw product exported out of our wonderful nation,” added Palm.

Heather Sones wondered about the long-term versus the short-term economic benefits of the proposal by Enbridge.

 “We’re looking toward a world that needs to move toward a green economy. We’re also looking to a world that people recognize is growing extremely scarce in petroleum products. Given those problems, I’m thinking that the idea of shipping off our raw petroleum over to China or other parts of Asia with risks that people have discussed here does not make sense from an economic point of view. That’s something I’m putting forth for people to think about,” Sones said.

 Jennifer Rice, Chair of the Friends of Wild Salmon, referred to Enbridge’s presentation and questioned the creation of work for people living in B.C.

 “She spoke of workers spending their per diem, but there was no mention of where those workers were coming from,” said Rice.

 Rice also wondered if council was aware, when Perret said “if the project is successful with the regulator”, that the regulator is made up of three people.

 “Two are from Calgary and one from Ontario. None of those regulators have experience in B.C. or with B.C. First Nations.”

 Bedard told Rice she could be secure that council did notice that fact.

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