In recent days, there have been two major calamities affecting Canada’s energy sources: the Saint John refinery explosion and the gas pipeline explosion in B.C. Both will affect the delivery of energy supplies to Canadians.
These two incidents reinforce the need for Canada to build pipelines so that we can get Alberta oil to refineries and have energy sources that will ensure Canada becomes self-reliant. The twinning of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and construction of the Energy East pipeline are matters of national security, and both should be pursued urgently.
Roger Cyr, Victoria
Better spill plan needed
The present and future Trans Mountain Pipelines will transport dilbit — bitumen diluted with natural-gas condensate, or similar — to improve the flow.
On July 26, 2010, Enbridge’s pipeline (6B) ruptured and dilbit poured into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. As Environmental Protection Agency incident commander Ralph Dollhopf said, the lighter part of the oil evaporated, making the heavy mixture even more heavy as it moved down the creek and down the river. Sixty to 70 per cent of the clean-up time concerned the submerged oil that sank to the bottom of the river and mixed with sediment.
The current spill response plan is based on the assumption that dilbit floats, which is debatable. We need to be assured that there is a system in place that will effectively clean up a spill of diluted bitumen.
David Lowe, Victoria
Where are protesters?
Where are the eco-warriors to protest Schnitzer Steel’s barge fires on the Fraser River? Or is the Fraser of less political importance than the Burrard Inlet?
The fires must have caused very serious air pollution, worse than many “spills” that career protesters like to cite. And, for that matter, why do the pertinent harbour agencies with exotic fire equipment need over four hours to get to the scene? Don’t they all promise a rapid response time? One solution would be to drop buckets of water from above.
John Scholtz, Port Moody
Growing weed once free
The article, “So you want to grow your own cannabis? Here’s the gear you’ll need to start,” discussed hundreds of dollars of special equipment.
Back in the 1970s, we just planted them in dirt. It was free! Ha ha!
Judy Myrfield, Richmond
Rail flange lubricators needed
The study of noise generation by SkyTrain operations alleged that “the main contributing factor to the noise (was) train speed.”
In my experience, the most squealing noise is produced on the eastbound Millennium Line as the slow-moving train negotiates a tight left turn when approaching Gilmore Station. Another assault to the ears of passengers occurs in the confines of the Canada Line tunnel as the slow-moving southbound train negotiates a tight left turn between the City Centre and Yaletown-Roundhouse Stations.
TransLink should install rail flange lubricators at these locations to reduce the friction between the wheel flanges and the outside rail. It would not only reduce noise, but also extend wheel and rail service lives.
Derek Wilson, Port Moody
Don’t exempt taxes
I am shocked at either the naiveté or the disingenuousness of the signatories to the full-page ad placed by the leaders of many of B.C.’s public and private organizations,
Calling for a tax exemption on capital gains for charitable gifts of money realized from the sale of stocks or pieces of real estate is something that will only benefit the wealthy. If I can afford to sell stocks and real estate then give that cash to charity, I can afford to pay the capital-gains owing.
These proposed tax-exempt gifts to charities come at the expense of the poor and middle class. Tax dollars fund the fundamental services used by everyone. Government support of hospitals, schools, corporate regulations and other public services are paid for by taxes — yours, mine and, yes, even the very wealthy.
Citing competitiveness with the U.S. is not a winning argument. In the U.S., the very rich do give tax-exempt billions in charitable donations, to funds, think tanks and organizations whose purpose is to further the interests and causes of those very same billionaires. I don’t think this is a model to emulate in Canada.
Jane Turner, Vancouver
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