BC response seems a bit hypocritical

Those in Alberta who have grown tired of the “holier than though” attitude of British Columbia towards environmental issues

Those in Alberta who have grown tired of the “holier than though” attitude of British Columbia towards environmental issues got some political comfort from the recent mine spill disaster in that province. Such environmental catastrophe anywhere is unfortunate and is to be regretted, but it’s the circumstances surrounding the event that need to be noted. This is of considerable interest in BC which tries to paint itself as the rigid guardian of its well-founded pristine environment. Green lobby groups and the BC government like to lecture others about environmental standards, but this accident has shown that BC may not exactly practice what it preaches.

Firstly, there has always been that curious contradiction in BC where green extremist groups bristle and fume about theoretical problems with pipelines from Alberta and oilsand development. Yet they are almost universally silent about industrial development in pristine areas of BC. One notes that BC extracts billions of dollars out of resource development from massive coal mines, minerals, forestry and even the third largest oil and gas industry in the country – the BC northeast. All of those riches are transported to export markets on rail, truck and yes – through pipelines. There appeared to be an assumption that the green-minded BC government would have the most stringent environmental laws to regulate those resources and their transportation in the country. If the recent mine tailings pond spill is any indication, the BC approach towards environmental regulation may be “do as I say not as I do”.

Questions have already arisen about how well the tailings pond was inspected and regulated by the authorities, there appeared to be shortcomings. Which might presume that BC environmental regulations and protocols are woefully inadequate. That would be an ironic situation being the BC government demands over the top standards for products such as Alberta oil being transported through any new pipelines. One can only imagine the howls of protest and demands for blood from the BC government had this spill involved any Alberta oil products. Instead, BC Ministers seem to be downplaying the event with weasel words about an investigation and the need for cooperation and mitigation to deal with the issue. A locally affected First Nation has expressed its concerns about the tailings pond disaster and the need to address the environmental and economic loss to their members. However, what seems to be missing is any universal outrage from BC First Nation organizations and threats to block all activity at BC mines. Why is the mine disaster being treated differently, isn’t this a real disaster as opposed to a theoretical disaster from proposed pipelines, which BC First Nations plan to block. It boggles the mind.

The most astounding response to the BC spill has been from green lobby groups – the silence has been deafening. These groups spend millions campaigning against possible pipeline issues, but seem to ignore possible catastrophes in their own backyard. One recalls that many of these same groups and their allies in the mainstream media went berserk when a few dozen ducks died in oilsands tailings ponds. Yet a thousand times worse disaster occurs at a BC mine tailings pond and one reads of only a few whimpers of protest from those self-righteous protectors of the environment. Clearly these groups have been caught with their pants down from their own hypocrisy. Had a tailings pond spill happened at the oilsands, green groups would have engineered a global tide of outrage against Alberta. Thousands of their disciples would be protesting in the street around the world. Green lobbyists must have been kicking themselves over the bad luck that this spill occurred with a BC tailings pond and not one in Alberta.

Curiously rather than address BC hypocrisy on environmental issues, a pundit in a Vancouver newspaper tried to spin this disaster as a lesson for those proposing to build new or improved Alberta oil pipelines in BC. That’s a curiously twisted approach implying that such development could thankfully be stopped, whilst what happens with BC development is just business as usual. It raises the absurdity of the BC public opposing the replacement of the 60 year old Trans Mountain pipeline through BC with a new and safer pipeline – go figure.

Perhaps what is needed, at least it’s a hope, is that accidents will happen with industrial development no matter how stringent the environmental standards. The only alternative is to cease all such activity which would be the end of our civilization and a return to a pre-industrial time. That would only be a wish of the deluded.

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