Letter: Explore the option of refining Alberta’s bitumen at the source

Letter: Explore the option of refining Alberta’s bitumen at the source

Editor,

According to Prime Minister Trudeau, the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will go ahead and the people of B.C. can like it or lump it.

I think, however, B.C. could live with the pipeline expansion and even with the extra tanker traffic if only refined oil products were shipped. But Premier Notley of Alberta and the federal government insist on shipping bitumen, as if that is the only option.

Another option would be to ship only refined products. Spilled refined products can be skimmed off and/or evaporate within a short period of time, posing a much smaller environmental risk.

Bitumen on the other hand, even diluted, cannot be cleaned up because the diluent will evaporate leaving the tar-like bitumen to foul the land or sink to the bottom in the water, poisoning both for years to come.

Obviously, the tar sands should be refined in Alberta. The water and energy to support the refining processes are there. Alberta would not only benefit from the much-needed construction and ongoing jobs but also be able to market the valuable byproducts.

This may be the compromise that would allow many of the groups adamantly against the Kinder Morgan project to sign on, but so far practically no one is talking about this option.

Why not?

Hartmut Schmid