Thursday, May 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The city and the port offer up their thoughts on CN's pipeline on Rail plans and a close shave bodes well for the Wildlife Shelter are among the items of note for Wednesday's Daily News.

ANTE UP ON OIL TRANSPORT AS CN SHOWS MORE INTEREST-- The Daily News outlines some of the thoughts from the port and the mayor over the proposed Pipeline on Rail project from CN, an idea we have mentioned to our loyal readers here on the blog a couple of times, here from April 13 and most recently six days ago, on May 14 with this posting.

It's good to see that the Daily has caught up to the news waves...

The Port offered up the suggestion that if CN were to move forward with its plans they could facilitate it from the Prince Rupert end, while the Mayor while concerned about environmental impact also expressed his interest in the potential job opportunities such a plan could provide, the feature was the front page, headline story for Wednesday (see full story below)

The Prince Rupert wildlife shelter has benefited from the fund raising efforts of Brigette Hausner, the 25 year old Prince Rupert resident shaved her hair in aid of the cause, collecting some 1,000 dollars for the shelter.

The Port City Golf tournament was the highlight of the Sports pages on Wednesday, while columnist Patrick Witwicki celebrated his fifth anniversary at the Daily News with a review of his time in the city.

Total pages in the Wednesday paper (16)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Page one

A move by Canadian National Railways to bring bitumen oil to the North Coast could be full steam ahead.

If the rail operator does decide to go ahead with the plan to open an oil terminus at the Port of Prince Rupert, it could potentially save oil firms billions of dollars while helping insitu oil-tarsands projects south of Fort McMurray, according to a report in the Edmonton Journal.

Titled "Pipeline on Rail" the project for Prince Rupert would potentially mean more jobs at the port facility.

But before any of that gets underway, said Barry Bartlett, Communications Manager for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, CN would need to come up with a comprehensive plan for the Port's expansion.

While Bartlett could not say whether or not those discussions between PRPA CEO and President, Don Krusel, and leadership at CN had already taken place, he did say that the port could facilitate the project if it did go ahead.

"What Don Krusel has been talking about is the development of Ridley Island as an industrial park for expansion of terminal facilities - and we are talking about bulk product, which [bitumen oil] is," said Bartlett.

Bartlett said that the plan, from the PRPA's point-of-view, would be logistically similar to the planned Canpotex terminal, which would see potash pass through Prince Rupert from Saskatchewan to Asia.

CN believes that putting terminals on a rail system would be like adding a peripheral to your computer - there wouldn't be any need for a massive new system.

Because the rail line already exists in Prince Rupert, the amount of work" needed to move' forward is less than a proposed pipeline project.

For Prince Rupert, the dilemma remains concerning the conflict between more tanker traffic and job security. While there has been discussion over the value of a pipeline project for Kitimat, the equation might change when the project proposes to bring oil directly to the City of Rainbows.

Prince Rupert's Mayor, Jack MussaIem was not shy in saying that he believed project could be viable for his community. But added that CN would have to account environmental concerns first before any such project had the city's full support.

"The concern is that the rail line runs cent to the Skeena River and that is a concern for the environment and the fishing community," said Mussallem.

It is still unclear what environmental regulations CN would have to accommodate if the plan were to go ahead, because the train track is already in existence.

But any opportunity to bring employment to Prince Rupert, a town that’s just starting to bear fruit from the port's expansion plan, would have any Mayor here listening.

Mussallem added that he has not been contacted by CN as yet to discuss their plans, but he would be open to hearing what they have to say

''As far as trade and commerce for the area - it is a possibility," said Mussallem.

CN already has plenty of trains running down the track each day in Western Canada, approximately 130 trains per day. So, adding oil to its shipment pace would accelerate traffic by no more than four or six trains per day moving 400,000 barrels of oil- the equivalent of what Enbridge plans to bring through its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat. .

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