Getting real about the need to transport oil

Commentary, Patrick Moore

A recent report issued by the Fraser Institute makes it clear that transporting oil by pipelines is far safer than by railcars. One need look no further than the tragic deaths and destruction in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and the fiery derailment of a train carrying three million gallons of crude in West Virginia earlier this year.

Yet irrational public opposition and timid politicians are preventing the construction of vital pipeline infrastructure across the North American continent while oil transport by rail skyrockets.

Now we have the David Suzuki Foundation calling for an end to the transport of oil altogether, because “there is no safe way to transport it”. Of course the logical extension of this is that there is no safe way to transport people, therefore all transport of people should be banned.

But there is no sense in looking for logic as anti-pipeline activists and special interests in rail transport conspire to derail Canada’s national energy policy.

Even the obviously intelligent Energy East pipeline proposal, which would replace Saudi, Venezuelan, and European oil with Canadian oil, delivering billions in reduced cost, is fiercely opposed in Quebec and Ontario.

In British Columbia, the anti-oil campaign conveniently ignores the fact that the province imports nearly $3 billion worth of refined oil in pipelines annually, most of it from Alberta, to keep the wheels turning. Then there is the undeniable fact that civilization as we know it would come to a screeching halt if the more than one billion cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses, and planes ran out of fuel tomorrow.

I have a proposal to separate the wheat from the chafe in this bizarre conversation. Let’s do the project in Quebec and British Columbia, Francophone and Anglophone, East and West.

Every person pulling up to a filling station with a motorized vehicle will be asked if they support the transport of fuel from wells and refineries to the filling station.

If they answer in the affirmative they will be provided with fuel. If they answer in the negative they will be refused service. This will help to “reduce the amount of oil being transported”, as demanded by the David Suzuki Foundation last week.

It is only fair that the people who oppose oil transport should be the first to stop using it. And this strategy would certainly flush out the hypocrites who continue to use oil while claiming to oppose it.

After three months there would be a public release of the numbers of people who answered yes versus no. It can be predicted with fair certainty that this is where a real 97% consensus would be revealed for all to see, unlike the fabricated claim that 97% of climate scientists believe in catastrophic, human-caused climate change.

This op ed was originally published by The Toronto Sun on Monday, August 24, 2015: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/08/24/getting-real-about-the-need-to-transport-oil