The environmental crimes of Justin Trudeau.

Our prime minister might not appreciate the charges but he needs to understand what is involved. Whether he likes it or not, he needs to be reminded of the five basic environmental crimes of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Number one: While the stock shots of bitumen mining in Alberta show open-pit mining, the reality is that by far the bulk of the extensive bitumen deposits in the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands are deep underground. The standard procedure to retrieve these layers of bitumen is to drill and pipe down hot water and force up the bitumen. The only problem is you need vast settling tanks for all that contaminated, greasy water that endangers wildlife. And another problem is that you are never completely sure just where the bitumen and contaminated water might come up.

Number two: The existing 1150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline has operated since 1953 and is capable of transporting 300,000 barrels of crude oil or diluted bitumen per day. The expansion project is to add heaters and a high-pressure capability to the original pipe and build an additional high-pressure pipe with heaters to triple the daily capacity. It is hard to ignore the repeated incidence of spills from bitumen pipelines. When diluted bitumen gets into fresh water eco-systems, it can never be completely cleaned up.

Number three: The increased tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and in the Straits is a hazard that even the federal government acknowledges but the government’s willingness to take responsibility is a serious potential cost for all Canadians.

Number four: Refining bitumen into ersatz crude oil is a highly polluting process. The bitumen slag produced is almost pure carbon and while it can be burned in high temperature applications, the carbon footprint continues. And there is no free pass on this from Mother Nature because the polluting is carried on in some third world country. Canada owns that carbon.

Number five: The end product of processed bitumen is some form of petroleum product. Whether burned in an internal combustion engine or as heating oil for a home, it adds to the carbon pollution of our world. The fact that bitumen creates more than three times the carbon footprint of natural crude oil is the problem. It is why Alberta does not want the responsibility for converting the bitumen to ersatz crude oil before shipping it out of the province.

It seems pointless for the Trudeau government to have an environment minister when it promotes pollution of this magnitude.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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