Not all pipelines are created equal.

It would appear there are questions about pipelines that are dividing this country. They are dividing people, they are dividing scientists, they are dividing concerned environmentalists. The only problem is that maybe 10 to 15 per cent of the population understand what the argument is about and the other 85 per cent will take a stand anyway.

As a writer I have always taken some pride in my ability to research complex issues. I think I have spent most of the last two days researching Coastal Gaslink’s pipeline proposal and actions on this file and I honestly cannot fault the company. I see that they have done a responsible job in meeting the concerns of the government and of the native peoples whose lands they are crossing.

These Coastal Gaslink people are laying a 48-inch pipeline to transport natural gas within B.C. that is far safer and far more environmentally friendly than the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline to pump tar sands bitumen to Vancouver. I, quite honestly, would rather have neither, as I fear the long-term consequences of shale fracking for natural  gas, but, between the two, Trans Mountain is a disaster waiting to happen. A leak from the Trans Mountain pipes can be irreparably destructive; a leak from the Coastal Gaslink pipe dissipates in the wind.

It is important to remember that natural gas does not become LNG until it is cooled to -160° C. That only happens to load it on a specially-built ship.

Yet all the general public hears is that pipelines are safer than trains and/or that pipelines are bad. Most people neither know nor care about what is being shipped in either. Nor are many drivers in Canada and the United States aware that most of the carbon-based fuel for gas or diesel powered vehicles and equipment arrives in their area via a vast network of pipelines.

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