Thursday, June 7, 2012

Al Jazeera Reports On The Enbridge Pipeline

It would be great if we could get some in-depth reporting on the issues surrounding the Alberta tar/bitumen sands  from the Canadian media (from some place other than the completely terrific Tyee that is). For now however, we have to rely on organizations like Al Jazeera to provide us with the kind of quality reportage we rightly deserve.

This story is about the First Nations people, who along with many other communities in British Columbia and Alberta, find themselves caught in the middle:
...between Canada's expanding oil industry, home to the world's third-largest oil reserves; and the rapidly growing economies in East Asia, particularly China.
As per usual there's lots there to digest including a debunking of the idea that ordinary Canadians will benefit via job creation.
...the majority of jobs would be short-term employment in the pipeline's construction. Only a few hundred long-term jobs are expected, primarily at the marine terminal in Kitimat. Critics of Northern Gateway say far more jobs in fishing and tourism are at stake if there is a pipeline breach or oil spill.
There's an accompanying article by Kavitha Chekuru to go with the video that you should go read as well.



I do have one caveat about the reporting in this story and that is the interview with the Enbridge official, who when asked about what would happen if there were a spill, answers that their response in the event of this impossibility, would be "very robust." He of course never outlines what the heck that means and the reporter does not press him on the issue or the potential for catastrophic destruction to eco-systems and an entire way of life. Off-gassing of the bitumen after a spill is never mentioned either. No real complaints though, as it's unlikely there would have been a straight answer and besides, they're the best we've got!

In  case you'd like to learn more. I've posted Al Jazeera's documentary about the tar sands, "To The Last Drop," here.

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