Letter: Let’s not have a Lac-Mégantic in B.C.

I am disappointed that this province has not chosen to upgrade its aging [oil and gas distribution] infrastructure.

To the editor:

After reading the letter to the editor (Politicians: Get Off Your Bums and Fix Our Gas Prices, Aug. 19 Kelowna Capital News) I felt compelled to reply and provide insight into Mr. Maclean’s confusion about where freight costs originate.

Shipping costs are not only the costs of shipping fluid on truck, they include the cost of shipment through pipeline. As British Columbians we’re acting environmentally ‘progressive’ in refusing to support more interprovincial pipelines, or retrofit of existing lines—we’ve chosen to effectively bottleneck the routes of supply coming into our province and refineries in certain areas.

Not only is this detrimental to our pocketbooks but the larger pipelines currently in operation are a significantly lower flow volume than is ideally competitive in today’s market as compared to when they were commissioned decades ago.

I feel I should also mention that ‘pipeline spills’ is often cited as a risk to the environment along with wanting to “get off” petroleum products. Economics rule #1 is supply and demand; these products will find their way to market as long as it’s economically feasible. If oil demand increases (which it undoubtedly will) in this province, alternative means of transmission will be utilized (train, freight). Reflecting on recent tragedies in Quebec, shipment by rail or truck does not appear to be a safe (or insurable) mode of transit that can protect or indemnify the public from oil spills. I find it redundant and hypocritical that safety and the environment are used as arguing points for fewer pipelines when the alternative is less safe for people’s environment and ‎more greenhouse gas-intensive.

As a result of factors described above, prices aren’t as competitively ideal because competition (and arguably safety) is being stifled by the public’s ignorance being masqueraded as environmental concerns by political interests.

I am disappointed that this province (among others) has not chosen to upgrade its aging infrastructure to not only make petroleum products less expensive, but reflect current (safer) pipeline construction codes. I also think the people should get off their couch and research facts relating to this topic—in large part because I don’t want what happened in Quebec to occur here.

Scott Juniper, Peachland