Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mr. Cullen would rather not see it coming around the mountain

CN's proposed pipeline on rails may have intrigued the officials of the Port of Prince Rupert, but as for the MP for the Northwest, Nathan Cullen will it seems prove to be a harder sell.

Cullen, the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, has expressed his hesitations and concerns over the planned project to transport oil and other bulk liquids to the North Coast via the railroad. He is of the opinion that there is just too much danger involved to send such commodities to the coast along the railroad, not to mention his previous concerns over tanker traffic on the west coast in the first place.

He outlined his thoughts on the issue in the Tuesday edition of the Daily News.

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Page three

The hot idea to bring Albertan oil received a cold splash from Nathan Cullen.

When asked if there was anything happening behind the scenes that his constituents weren't aware of, Cullen weighed in on the subject of oil transportation via CN rail.

The Skeena-BulkleyValley MP said that he disagrees with Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO, Don Kruse!, who believes there has been some ongoing interest in bringing oil from Alberta through Prince Rupert. Krusel has indicated that bringing oil and other bulk liquids to the North Coast on rail lines is a good idea.

"On this one, I have to disagree with the Port in Prince Rupert," said Cullen. "The risks involved with putting this much condensate in tankers and running [rail cars] up and down the Skeena River is just fraught with danger.

"I can't be convinced that this is a good idea." Cullen said he didn't see how CN's plan solved the questions about tanker traffic in Hecate Strait.

CN believes that putting terminals on a rail tern 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, that equation could change if an alternate plan proposes to bring oil directly to Prince Rupert.

But neither the PRPA nor CN have said that there have been any discussions between the two organizations concerning the possibility of bringing oil here.

Cullen said that the basis of CN's eagerness to do so was because that it would pass through an easier regulation process than Enbridge's Northern Gateway project.

"One of the reasons that folks at CN were proposing this is that they thought they wouldn't have to do any kind of environmental assessment, if they just put it on the rail cars as opposed to a pipeline."

No comments: