Enbridge has stirred up even more controversy in the Northern Gateway pipeline debate. The oil company has now been accused of “deleting” islands from its public videos and maps, supposedly in an effort to convince the public that the project is less dangerous.
If Enbridge builds its tarsands pipeline from Alberta, to the port in Kitimat, on BC’s coast, it would also mean that up to 500 oil tankers a year would have to weave through the Douglas Channel and eventually the Hecate Straight past Haida Gwaii. The channel features sharp, 90-degree turns through twisting, rocky passages, while the Hecate Straight is considered one of the most turbulent waterways in the world.
Critics charge that Enbridge obviously knows exactly what the oil tanker route looks like, but is grossly misrepresenting how wide the shipping routes would be, and misleading the public about the true dangers of the project. The slick route animation and map in the route safety video both show the Douglas Channel without the maze of islands that massive oil tankers would have to weave through. Enbridge knows that any spill cleanup would use skimmers and booms that work only in low breezes and a light chop — not in treacherous waters with names like Terror Point, Calamity Bay and Grief Point.
Enbridge has been dealing with worsening public opinion lately, especially after recent pipeline spills across North America, such as the massive 3-million-litre Kalamazoo spill in Michigan in 2010. The Joint Review Panel examining the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline recently ordered the company to include the US National Transportation Safety Board report in the review process. The scathing report concluded that Enbridge repeatedly ignored warnings for many hours during the spill.
The company is also under heavy scrutiny after another pipeline — this time in Wisconsin — just leaked again, intensifying fears about Enbridge’s safety track record.
Watch a video summary of this issue from Living Oceans Society.
Below is another great video summary: