Trans Mountain Pipeline solution | Letter

Completion of the intermountain pipeline, also known as the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, seems certain regardless of the protests and demonstration both in Washington and British Columbia. The present plan will bring heavy tanker traffic through Boundary Pass and Haro Strait with the possibility of an accidental oil spill creating environmental damage worse than that of Exxon Valdez. There is little doubt that the pipeline will be finished. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was determined when the Keystone Pipeline was not approved by the United States, perhaps even more determined when stiff tariffs were applied by the United States. The tar sands are an important economic asset to Canada and expanding. The reserves of tar sands oil is a significant asset to the world economic resources.

The demonstrations in the United States asking the Canadians not to build the intermountain pipeline amounts to asking the Canadians to not make use of an important resource. The pipeline will be built and tankers will regularly use Haro Strait and Boundary Pass.

But there is a solution.

At Sumas, the intermountain is connected to a spur which runs south to the two refineries at Ferndale and the two at Anacortes. The Canadians have secured the right to the spur and plan to enlarge its capacity to 600,000 gallons per day which is the combined capacity of the four refineries. Sending 600,000 gallons to the four refineries and holding the remaining 250,000 gallons for local use would eliminate the heavy tanker traffic through Haro Strait and Boundary Pass. Providing oil from the intermountain pipeline would eliminate the need for tanker traffic to Cherry Point and Anacortes. The Alaskan oil would be free for use elsewhere.

Although this plan would do much to protect the marine environment in the Gulf Islands as well as the San Juans, there are and will be many objections. Nevertheless, it deserves serious consideration. Skilled and dedicated negotiators in the U.S. and Canadian governments and from the many companies and organizations should be able to find a way that will satisfy both sides.

Pat Roe

Lopez Island