continued contradictions and lost language: BP, DFO and Enbridge

This is brilliant thinking… and are you surprised the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is involved?

An article from the Canadian Press: “Arctic oil spill test is scrubbed

Ottawa has dropped plans to dump crude into northern waters next to a proposed ocean park to test new ways of cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic…

“This test will not proceed this year,” said an email from Nelson Kalil, a spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.”

Last Thursday, the department applied to a northern regulatory board for permission to dump up to 1,200 litres of oil into Lancaster Sound in the Northwest Passage this summer. The area is adjacent to a proposed national marine conservation area.

…the tests were planned for the same time as the annual migration of thousands of beluga whales.

brilliant… just brilliant.

See, when it comes time for the Conservatives or whatever other party in federal power to decide to start drilling for oil in the Arctic (or off the British Columbia coast), we’ll be serenaded with endless stories about how we have “world-class technologies” and “unparalleled safety standards” and oil companies are “fantastic neighbors” and “incredible community contributors”.

The situation in the Gulf of Mexico will have retreated into news article archives; news headlines taken over by more MPs in Ottawa (or Provincial Premiers) being charged for drunk driving, engaging in unethical and immoral behavior, and day-to-day sandbox-like bickering — or the latest headlines from the stock market.

Look at media headlines now and it’s already happening.

(sheez, I’m cynical sometimes…)

The application to the Nunavut Impact Review Board said that increased accessibility in the Arctic is also increasing the risk of oil spills. It said current cleanup techniques are of limited use in ice-choked water and new methods have to be tested.

If we can’t drill safely in the tropics even with “world-class” standards in place:

Clips from BP health and safety manual on website

And we can’t run tankers safely through northern inlets (e.g. Prince William Sound);

And we have passenger ferries running into islands (Queen of the North) even though BC Ferries webpage states:

Our Safety and Environmental Policy

Safety of life, prevention of injury to passengers and employees,¬†protection of the environment, and environmental stewardship shall be given the highest priority in the operation of our vessels and terminals.”

Should drilling in the Arctic even be an option? Should ocean drilling at all – be an option?

(hold on I have to go fill-up my car… I go full serve though so that I can support local jobs and “sustain” my community…)

_ _ _ _ _ _

Salmon, salmon guy… what about the salmon? you might ask…

If you’re familiar with energy company Enbridge and its proposal to build an oil pipeline (Gateway Project) from Alberta to Kitimat, on the British Columbia coast then you might see where I’m going with this.

Yesterday (May 29th) Enbridge filed for regulatory review with the National Energy Board.

proposed Gateway route

Oddly enough, yesterday in our mailbox here in Prince George, BC we received our usual array of junk mail; one of the pieces was a nicely laid out little book:

Enbridge: “We’re Building More than Pipelines”.

I’ve made a few additions to the cover to better portray some truth:

Enbridge Propaganda: what's our real legacy?

If you’re not able to make it out, I used paper for my captions that better represents what this pamphlet should be used for… (hint: it’s initials are t.p. and I got it from the part of the house where I do my best reading)

If you remember from an earlier post I inserted this little-bit-crude but effective thought from Hugh Macleod’s weblog: Gaping Void.

This Enbridge propaganda is no different.

Open to the first few pages, and my disgust only grows…

Apparently Enbridge is “building Canada, bringing growth to the north“.

Oh yeah, I know. Growth of trees and such as they move up mountainsides and further north onto the tundra due to global warming — and growth of rip-rap barricades on places like Haida Gwaii (formerly referred to as Queen Charlotte Is.) as they further “armor” the coastline highway from rising sea levels and more intense storm fronts.

Yup… “Growth”.

Last time I checked, the reason a significant amount of people live in the “north” is because it’s a slower pace, smaller communities, and not so much “growth”¬† (but maybe that’s just me). Maybe ask the folks in Kelowna or other Okanagan communities how they feel about “growth” of their communities…

_ _ _ _ _ _

Enbridge is also apparently: “building sustainable communities…”

What the #@^% is a “sustainable” community?

Is this a community that sticks around for awhile…?

Well, Enbridge, Ft. St. James, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, and otherwise have been around a little while, the First Nation communities nearby — much, much, much longer. Plus I’m not so sure 525,000 barrels of oil per day and 193,000 barrels of condensate flowing past these communities on a daily basis is really going to “sustain” these communities for the longer haul.

(and what about when the oil runs out?)

Language is important — it’s largely how we all communicate with each other. I have been known to spout off emphatically on a few occasions “say what you mean, and mean what you say”.

Sustainable means “capable of being sustained.”


Sustained has several definitions. One definition: “To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for.”… Well, we can’t eat oil or condensate. So that’s not it.

Another definition means: “To support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; encourage.” Well… maybe for a little bit when some folks have some construction jobs for a couple of years — after that? not much.

Maybe as all that oil gets shipped to Asia (approximately 200-300 oil tankers a year), it might support spirits, vitality, or resolution of; and encourage folks there.

It’ll also add to the climate change issue and spewing CO2, which affects all of us…

Another definition of sustain means: “To experience or suffer” as in sustain an injury.

Maybe I’m getting closer…

Stay tuned for more contradictions and lost language… you’ve probably heard the saying: “same shit, different pile”.

One thought on “continued contradictions and lost language: BP, DFO and Enbridge

  1. priscilla judd

    An aspiration is an ideal – it’s not an achievement – it’s a dream, illusion, a plan etc. If BP only “aspires” to no harm and no damage – BP is admitting that there will be harm – there will be damage – they are satisfying terms on which to defend liability – they state the inevitability of harm – we read it – we accept it. – we are on the hook for harm and damage. Together we take their risk.
    If BP wants to “achieve” no harm/no damage they ought to build solar panels.
    I’ll post on the science fiction of federally funded oil spills – thanks for your great posts (all of them)

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