Feeding the Energy Board PAP!

The Enbridge pipeline people have an unfortunate acronym for their public awareness program: PAP. The only problem is that pap is defined in our dictionary as the soft or semi-liquid food for infants or invalids. The word is further defined as undemanding reading matter.  And that has been what Enbridge has been feeding the National Energy Board and Canadian public in trying to get its pipeline changes approved.

The three board members at the hearings in Toronto this week showed remarkable stamina and determination to get through many hours of harassment, hustle and hype. Their minds must have been mush by the end of Friday’s more boisterous session. That was when the Board decided that there was no point to Enbridge continuing the charade on Saturday. By cancelling, the Saturday session and delaying Enbridge’s answer to some later date, they can go home.

Listening to Enbridge answering all the queries, complaints, fears and environmental concerns would not really produce anything new. Despite their condition, the board members hardly deserved more pap.

And what is the point if Enbridge just continues to muddy the water instead of dealing openly and honestly with public concerns?

One example is that if bitumen has the wrong connotation for what you want to send through the pipeline, you coin a word such as ‘dilbit.’ It certainly sounds friendlier and less threatening but if it is just a contraction for diluted bitumen. Why not call it what it really is?

Maybe the National Energy Board should ask the Quebec refineries if they want bitumen to refine, Enbridge keeps inferring that this is the case but no Quebec refineries are presently able to produce synthetic oil from bitumen. And with the horrendous pollution problems such refining entails, why would they want to? The truth is that the bitumen is to be piped on from Montreal to seaports at Saint John, New Brunswick and Portland, Maine where tankers can be loaded for foreign markets.

And, frankly, why should we care about Enbridge’s response times and ability to cut off the flow and to clean up spills. One pipeline rupture in an urban environment can be enough. It will be too late to say ‘sorry.’

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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