Enbridge Embarks on Advertising to Change Image

B. McPherson

Enbridge Inc. is working with a slick PR firm to win the hearts and minds of Canadians over. Their proposed Northern Gateway twin pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast has been garnering opposition ever since the scheme was announced.

First Nations people have stood firm in their opposition to the plan to ship crude oil to the coastal town of Kitimat for loading onto super-tankers. The proposed route would snake through unsullied wilderness where the very rare Kermode(white black bears) also known as spirit bears live. The clean cold waters of the coast support a thriving ecosystem and would be devastated if an oil spill occurred. The likelihood of such a spill happening would increase with the number and size of the super-tankers plying the waters.

Many environmentalists have also expressed their concern for the ecology of the province should the proposed route be followed. Their concerns have been pooh poohed by the Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver. The federal government has come out in favour of the pipeline before the supposedly neutral commission has finished hearing the concerns of citizens.

As opposition to the plan has jelled, Enbridge has come up with this glossy ad campaign.

The advertising campaign promises job creation, environmental protection and economic stimulus, linking it all together with a catchy tag line: “It’s more than a pipeline. It’s a path to our future.” The Globe and Mail

Enbridge has had some nasty spills from its pipelines. For various reasons the pipelines sometimes fail, polluting the land and waters around it. Currently the National Transportation Safety Board in the US is hearing that in 2010 Enbridge technicians thought they were getting false alarms when the pressure inside a pipeline dropped. It was because of a six foot long hole in the pipe, but ignoring the alarms they continued to pump crude for a total of an hour and 45 minutes. It devastated a long stretch of the Kalamazoo River. Some of the river is still off limits to people and heavy oil remains in wetlands.

Spills and leaks from Enbridge pipelines are not uncommon. The following information was gleaned from he Watershed Sentinel
Spills Since 2000 Barrels – 42 US gallons
·         2000 – 7 513
·         2001 – 25 980
·         2002 – 14 683
·         2003 --  6 410
·         2004 – 3 252
·         2005 -- 9 825
·         2006 – 5 363
·         2007 – 13 777
·         2008 – 2 682
·         2009 – 8 441
·         2010 – 34 122
·         2011 – 132 715

That adds up to 264 834 barrels of oil spilled from Enbridge pipelines over the past ten years. That translates to 11,123,028 US gallons polluting the environment.
So it looks as if the ad campaign can slide along on a slick alright. If you build it, it will leak.

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