From: Jock Finlayson
Date: Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 5:35 PM
Subject: RE: It is time for a mature conversation about oil exports
To: Brian Gunn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you Mr. Gunn for forwarding this commentary. I respect the perspective offered by the professional engineering community on large-scale infrastructure and resource projects of the kind that have been under discussion in Canada and British Columbia in recent years.
We take no position, as an organization, on the specific routes and detailed configurations of proposed linear infrastructure projects, including oil pipelines; these are matters best addressed within the regulatory review process, by the proponents themselves, and of course through the applicable policy and legal frameworks established by elected governments. In the B.C. context, it is clear that risk minimization and risk mitigation are an essential aspect of any assessment of proposed oil pipelines and the related increase in tanker traffic that would occur in the event that they are actually built. This includes a robust spills management regime with identified funding sources.
The new federal government appears to share your view that existing regulatory processes for energy projects and energy infrastructure in Canada are inadequate – and are seen as such by a substantial fraction of the voting public. That no doubt explains why the Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Jim Carr, has announced that the Canadian government will be making changes to the NEB’s processes (and perhaps to the statute under which the Board operates) in the coming months.
You provide comments on the quality of the risk analyses underpinning the Enbridge and TransMountain pipeline projects, and the likelihood of major oil spills happening in the event that they proceed. We have no particular expertise in such matters, but would note that we have heard from others in the engineering community who see the risks involved as smaller than you suggest. Again, this is an issue that is most appropriately tackled in the regulatory review process. Unlike some of those who oppose pipelines and new energy development in any and all circumstances, including a number of individuals who have contributed funds to your own organization, the mainstream business community is prepared to live with the outcomes of properly constituted and fact-focused regulatory processes.
Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Business Council of BC