Letters to the Editor

Errors in using Alaskan quake info

(Re: Old man take a look at your facts, Tom Fletcher, Observer, Jan 23, 2014)

Perhaps columnist Tom Fletcher should take a look of his own, at potential earthquake tectonic-shift breach hazards to oil pipelines.

Some supporters of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed oil pipeline to Kitimat claim that such pipelines are not notable breach eco-hazards during earthquakes.

I read one letter in the openly-pro-pipeline Province newspaper using the earthquake about a year ago epicentred off of southern Alaska’s coast along with no reported major damage done to Alaska’s own oil pipeline as ‘proof’ that such pipelines throughout B.C. would likely be just as ‘resilient.’

The error in using the said Alaskan earthquake as an accurate indicator of any pipeline resiliency is that there were no actual opposite-direction ground shifts, or anything near such, discovered during post-quake pipeline checks. Indeed, common sense dictates that there could not have been any such ground shifts involved, ones in which two pieces of tectonic plates (“transform boundary”) grind against each other in opposite directions. If there was to be a shift of even only a few feet around or immediately below the pipeline, it would be defying common laws of physics, unless the pipeline is made of extremely elastic material (which they’re as of yet not).

It must be noted, and noted again, that the assurances of pipeline safety or similarly such repeatedly brought up by proponents of oil pipeline projects can never be true pipeline safety or anything near it. They’d breach, to put it mildly, almost certainly eventually leaving behind detrimental environmental consequences throughout pristine and eco-sensitive regions of B.C.

Frank G. Sterle, Jr.

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