Our View: Refinery idea a tough sell in B.C.

There doesn’t appear to be a grey area for those who are weighing in on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

There doesn’t appear to be a grey area for those who are weighing in on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

Opposition is rampant and loud, focusing primarily on environmental concerns, while supporters defend Enbridge’s project for, among other reasons, its economic potential.

Last week’s announcement from David Black, the owner of this newspaper, for a proposed $13-billion oil refinery in Kitimat, adds a new conversation to this divisive issue.

Analogous to milling raw logs instead of shipping them overseas, Black wants to add value to crude oil in B.C.

A massive refinery, where half a million barrels of crude oil could be processed each day, delivers the idea of permanent employment and economic benefit for the province, instead of pumping oil sands crude into tankers bound for China.

Building and running the facility would create thousands of jobs, and the area around Terrace and Kitimat would require major infrastructure improvements to accommodate the regional boom.

It would also ease some, certainly not all, environmental concerns about oil tankers on the coast. As opposed to heavy crude oil, refined fuels float and evaporate.

But Black is putting the cart before the horse. Even if he arranges $13 billion in financing and receives environmental permits, any refinery is predicated on the Enbridge pipeline, which remains deeply unpopular with a majority of the public and northern First Nations people.

Significant economic benefit derived from the pipeline could sway popular opinion, especially people living through hard times in northern B.C., but probably not enough to tip the scales.

Black and Enbridge will have a tough time convincing skeptical urban residents in southern cities that the potential of thousands of jobs in the northern oil sector is worth the risk of a pipeline leak or a tanker running aground on B.C.’s coast.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read