Pipeline Peril

Calgary Herald\
January 4, 2009\
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by Chris Genovali\
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Re: “Syncrude duck deaths cap oilpatch’s ‘dirty’ year,” Dec. 29. The oilsands could impact avian life beyond the waterfowl migrating through and nesting in Alberta’s boreal forest.\
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If Enbridge is allowed to construct its dual oil and condensate pipeline joining the oilsands with a terminal in Kitimat, B. C., then marine birds and the ecosystems they depend upon will be put at significant risk. Enbridge plans to build a twin pipeline from northern Alberta to the B. C. coast.\
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Condensate tankers and oil tankers at least as big as the Exxon Valdez would ply B. C.’s northern coastline on virtually a daily basis, entering Douglas Channel within eyesight of where the 120-metre ferry Queen of the North sank in 2006.\
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The pipeline would ship more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and twice a week 350-metre-long supertankers would pass the spot where the ferry sank as they carry crude to markets in the United States and Asia.\
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The B.C. coast supports a stunning and unique diversity of seabirds, waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors. A number of these species are designated as ‘At Risk’ by federal and provincial legislation. A Valdez-like spill would be devastating for them and their environments.\
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Although birds are generally the most abundant and conspicuous victims of oil tanker accidents, the energy corridor scheme poses a threat to cetacean populations on the coast as well, including prospective spills, underwater noise and ship strikes associated with the transport of crude.\
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Chris Genovali is Executive Director of Raincoast Conservation.

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