Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “Industry”

Rants of a Christian Enviromentalist

I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.

Earth

View from Space

Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.

It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.

I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians  I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.

The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.

What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.

Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Tilley,

Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.

As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.

“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”

I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:

With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.

OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.

Government Hides Proof of Oil Sands Contamination
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4450

Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?

We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-development-polluting-alberta-lakes-study/article7014184/

Oil Sands Polluting Area Lakes 
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/393673-report-oilsands-polluting-area-lakes

Oil sands pollution ‘clearly evident’, government-funded study says 
http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/07/government-funded-study-concludes-toxic-hydrocarbons-from-oil-sands-pollute-lakes/

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013

Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.

Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.

PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.

Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.

“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.

Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”

In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”

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Some History on China and Oil

Some history which may give some insight to the why and how of China, their industrial and foreign policy.

In order to evaluate the pros and cons of the Gateway Pipeline Project, we must first have an understanding of the players involved.

I am not an historian. I am a Canadian citizen deeply concerned about the ecological, environmental and economical effects the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline will have on our country. This report is taken from what I perceive to be factual information from sources I have been able to research and trust to be authentic and factual.

Since the mid ’50s, China has been developing it’s economy out from primarily an agriculture base to what is now an industrial super power. The 1960s saw rapid change as China sought foreign investment and technology in order to compete in international affairs. Many western corporations were attracted to the economic advantages of conducting business with China, a huge low cost labor pool and a huge market for consumer goods of all types. As industrialization took place, so did the need for energy. China has fairly large oil reserves both onshore and offshore which remained virtually untapped until recently. China sought energy sources mainly from nearby Iran and Russia.

Politics of course, has played a huge roll in Chinese industrial development. China and Russia, although both communist, never saw eye to eye on politics. As long as the Cold war between the US and USSR remained, Russian trade with China continued to increase. Since the end of WW2 western interests in the South Pacific played a huge role influencing the politics of the region. China also kept an eye on the South Asian countries stemming the tides of democracy. China proved it’s military interference capabilities first in North Korea in halting democracy in the peninsula and later in Viet Nam assisting the North Vietnamese communist regime to drive out the American forces.

In the late ’70s, China turned south to the Southern countries around Malaysia to further it’s energy supplies. China required more oil resources and looked to Iran. China had border disagreements though with Afghanistan. China needed to come to terms with Afghan leaders in order to ensure a secure and shorter route to it’s largest energy trade source, Iran. This upset the USSR who was experiencing loss of control and influence over it’s southern states and with it direct control over the oil resources in the area. Russia wanted to build a pipeline through Afghanistan to India. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 which led to a 10 year war in which, with Chinese support and indirect US support, drove out the Russians but left a chaotic fragile regime of warlords to rule over the country. A perfect climate for anti-western culture which the Taliban took advantage of along with support from neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

When the US/USSR cold war ended in 1981, it left a huge area of the North Middle East with instability and further unrest threatening access to precious oil resources for western powers. Every country was seeking the control of oil resources and sales and especially the dollars that came with them. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. acted to prevent the confrontation from widening, largely in order to prevent additional disruption to world oil supplies and to honor U.S. security assurances to Saudi Arabia. As a result, the U.S. reacted to Soviet troop movements on the border of Iran by informing the Soviet Union that they would defend Iran in the event of Soviet invasion. The US supplied armaments to the then weakened Iranian Military to back up this promise.

Relying on western promises and oil revenues, the Shah pursued his goal of developing Iran as a regional power dedicated to social reform and economic development pleasing to western countries. Yet he continually refused to allow any civic and political freedom, remaining unresponsive to public opinion. The Shah’s government collapsed following widespread uprisings in 1978 -1979 and consequently an Islamic Republic was formed bound to uphold Islamic law, condemning Israel and it’s allies especially the USA.

After the Soviets were halted in any expansion of access to the Mid East oil reserves, Iran, with a strengthened military, both from US and China, took to widen control over the area by threatening a then unstable government in neighboring Iraq. In 1980, Saddam Hosien attacked Iran in an attempt to gain the upper hand in what he hoped would reunite the State of Persia under his Sunni leadership. The resulting 8 year Iran-Iraq War permanently altered the course of both Irani and Iraqi history. The USA, realizing an eastern influence and fearing loss of continuing supply from the oil reserves, aided the then befriended Saddam Hosien of Iraq, supplying weapons and technology. The Iranian Republic which formally denounced all religion but Islam, found itself cut off from western trade when a UN sanctioned embargo was introduced. With western alienation, Iran was forced to turn even further to China for trade and alliance.

Back in the late 1990s, China was desperately seeking new resources for crude oil which they could control and have dominant access to. The Canadian tar sands at that time were too costly to invest in for an industrial developing nation such as China. China was turning increasingly toward Iran especially with the US threatening a tighter embargo on Iranian exports. China was deliberating with the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. The Bush administration disapproved of this deal outright which would give not only the Taliban a huge source of revenue, but strengthen their ability to create havoc against the USA and would also strengthen China’s ability to become the foremost industrial force in the world overtaking the US.

The Taliban out-thought themselves and fell into the trap of attacking the USA by crashing aircraft into the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, believing that in the event of retaliation they would be aided by Chinese forces as were North Korea and Viet Nam. The US led Western Alliance struck back as planned but, the Chinese, still needing the western nations as trading partners for their growing industrial products, remained ‘supposedly’ neutral and allowed the Taliban, Pakistan and Iran to face the consequences basically on their own.

China is greatly suspected of introducing and aiding both North Korea and Iran in their efforts to gain nuclear energy and weaponry along with the delivery systems and other advanced technology. US State Dept.: “China is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 180 active nuclear weapon warheads and 240 total warheads as of 2009, which would make it the second smallest nuclear arsenal amongst the five major nuclear weapon states. According to some estimates, the country could “more than double” the “number of warheads on missiles that could threaten the United States by the mid-2020s”. “China has yet to define what it means by a “minimum deterrent posture”. This, together with the fact that “it is deploying four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, invites concern as to the scale and intention of China’s nuclear upgrade” “(US) –has concerns over possible Chinese biological weapon transfers to Iran and other nations…and have received reports regarding transfers of dual-use items from Chinese entities to the Iranian government…”

Over the next 10 years, while western nations did their ‘best’ to sort out the Afghan / Pakistan debacle and also keep Iranian interests in check, China went about their goal of securing oil resources with the huge profits they were receiving selling products to western consumers. They have recently secured a deal to build a pipeline through Afghanistan which will tap into the oil fields of Iran and south Afghanistan. They purchased several large shares of energy companies, many operating in Canada. Not only were the tar sands becoming a viable resource, Liquid Natural Gas is in abundance in Western Canada also and China is bent on securing these resources.

Predictions on the Gateway Project

My Predictions on the Gateway Project

  1. Regardless of the findings of the Pipeline Joint Review Panel, the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline, (newly dubbed the Panda Pipeline) will go through. PM Harper wants it and that is all it takes. He will sign the deal. Any consultation is just political pandering.
  2. There will be large scale environmental NGO and First Nations backed protests across the country. Canada will become a symbol of anti-environmental, anti-aboriginal legislation around the world.
  3. As the pipeline is being built, there will be countless protests with opponents standing in the way to the point where the army will have to be called. The police will not be able to deal with the situation alone.
  4. Construction problems mainly due to failure to maintain safety and environmental standards will plague the project. A parliamentary review will be called.
  5. PM Harper will resign in 2016. Conservatives will lose the following election.
  6. The pipeline will take 2 years longer to complete than anticipated, the cost over-runs will be almost double the estimated price. Canada will be on the hook to pay for the extra costs, in about 6 billion dollars when all added up.
  7. The Keystone Pipeline through the US will pass and completed about the same time.
  8. A hurried expansion in the tarsands will take place to ensure delivery to both to the detriment of environmental standards.
  9. When the pipeline is first opened in 2019, 2-4 leaks will appear creating 5 to 10 million dollars in environmental damage and recovery.
  10. As the first tankers attempt to enter BC waters they will be met with an armada of war canoes, fishing boats and private vessels. The Canadian Navy will be called out to clear a passage. Several boats will be capsized.
  11. Enbridge will sell it’s share of the Gateway Pipeline project leaving it entirely under Chinese corporate management.
  12. An oil spill will occur within 5 years of operation. Cleanup and compensation to First Nations loss will be in excess of 2 billion dollars. A new moratorium will reduce tanker size.
  13. Law suits over responsibility for cleanup will continue for 10 or more years.

..And then again, I may be wrong.

NIMBY

Bang

#*^*?@+ Happens

For all those who are favorable to having Enbridge build the Northern Gateway pipeline to the west coast, ask yourselves; “What would I allow to be built in my back yard?”

The community wants to allow a company to build a dynomite magazine in our town and the best place is in your back yard. It is perfectly safe. When was the last time you heard of a dynomite magazine blowing up? It will be monitored. Yes there is a very remote possibility of an accident and you will lose everything, but, with new technology, the chances of anything bad happening are extremely remote. We will be selling this dynomite to other communities and we will all recieve some monetary gain from the sales. We will buy our dynomite from other provinces, there is no profit in using our own. We will make more money selling it.

So what do you say? The mayor is on board with the project. We will grant you a special priviledge, how about the Key to the City. That would look nice on your mantel.
You can’t say no. Either you agree with allowing Dynomite Joe to build a magazine or we will expropriate your property, give you nothing and build it anyway.

Election Politics

What would happen to an election candidate that said, “Everyone needs to pay more taxes. The rich and the middle class incomes need to lower their standards of living. We need to enforce the highest standards of environmental controls.”?

That’s right, they wouldn’t get elected.

It is not the politicians fault. It is the fault of the electorate. Almost everyone wants someone else to shoulder the burden. It matters not at this point how a nation got themselves into the fiscal morass they are in, what matters is how to get out of overburdening debt. Tax more, spend less; that’s it.

Unless national pride takes over and the peoples make a spending shift to buying mainly products manufactured in their own country, the economic base is not going to expand favorably. Industry will not come back. It just ain’t gonna happen. People would much rather buy cheaper imports than products made by workers paid at their own income standard.

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