Letters to the Editor

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OIL: Pipeline less risky than tanker shipping

Letter by James McLennan, Tacoma on April 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm with No Comments »
April 23, 2013 1:50 pm

Re: “Nothing good will come from Keystone pipeline” (Off the wire, 4-22).

The authors miss the big picture. If the Keystone XL pipeline is not built, Canada will continue to produce tar sand oil, because it is in its economic interest to do so. The tar sand oil will still be produced, refined and burned. So, building or not building the pipeline will have no effect on greenhouse gasses.

If the pipeline isn’t built, the Canadians will have to find another path to the market. That path is to increase the size of the pipelines to their West Coast ports (Vancouver and Prince Rupert) where the oil will be loaded onto tankers and shipped to overseas refineries.

The real question is: What is the least risky mode of transporting the tar sand oil to market? Is it building a new, modern, monitored pipeline, or is it shipping this oil through the most pristine, productive and dangerous waters of the North American Pacific Coast, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, the Canadian Gulf Islands and the American San Juan Islands?

To my mind, overland transportation is less risky that oil tankers running through the San Juan Islands and the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

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