CHINA DISCOVERS KITIMAT
How did this happen? Well, it seems that the Kitimat area is where a big part of Canada’s proposed shale gas extraction and Enbridge pipe line conjoins. It follows that this is where the action is threatening to bubble up big time, for the Chinese as well as for First Nations and Canadians at large. Petro China International, already a major investor in Alberta oil sands and the Enbridge pipe line, and who has also recently agreed to buy full ownership of Mackay River Oil Sands in Alberta (Glove and Mail, Feb.3) is definitely interested in the shale gas extraction. And Kitimat is where it’s at.
Soon Petro China officials will be sweetly escorted onto whatever Kitimat area they might fancy. Who will be escorting? Most probably Kristy Clark and Kevin Falcon (Harper at the moment is in China, warmly courting the Chinese in his eagerness to sell Canada…literally). Holding up his end, I feel sure that Mr. Falcon will repeat his admiration for the way Chinese authorities have conditioned their people to accept whatever environmental destruction accompanies resource extraction, just the way Mr. Falcon did in reference to his destruction of Eagleridge Bluffs. But he was only kidding, Mr. Falcon said later, after his remarks were reported. Kidding? I don’t think many of us laughed.
For all of this oil and gas extraction excitement sweeping the Harper and Clark governments, there doesn’t seem to be any upside for First Nations or Canadians in general. Monstrous amounts of water are used in the process of extracting natural gas. My understanding is that this water after use is so poisoned it can’t be recycled. This is hugely, hugely problematic. There is only so much drinkable water and moisture on this planet and all of it is constantly being recycled by nature. If this water can’t be recycled safely by Mother Nature then billions of tons of water will be taken out of nature’s recycling system. Which means, of course, that this life giving water will be denied to the rest of the earth’s inhabitants, including, of course, people. And all happening at a time when drought is threatening many lands, including the state of Texas. I wonder what all the Texas oil tycoons are drinking.
In the process of extracting natural gas (called fracking) the gas companies bore deeply into the earth, deeper than any usual kind of resource extraction. This may prove to be a significant disruption of the soil and rocks and bacteria. In fact, this process raises a worry in some quarters that fracking may seriously disturb the natural equilibrium of the earth itself in the area.
So this is the proposed scenario…we will have the Enbridge pipe line that may leak in many places, oil tankers full of oil alongside other carriers hauling natural gas…can you imagine the fireworks if the two different carriers should collide? And what do Canadians get from this combined domestic and foreign invasion of Kitimat? Besides the risk of living in a hell of oil slicks and gas fumes and a dearth of drinking water? Well, primarily higher oil and gas prices (CBC News, Feb.2).
Let’s all join hands symbolically and love Kitimat. It’s not decent for Harper to sell our resources to a global giant like China who doesn’t care how the extraction is carried out. Let’s ask the First Nations to invite us to come and be with them when this oil and gas pot starts bubbling over. It will take all of us when the time comes.