Cleaning up the Kalmazoo River
Mic Stolz
Kinder Morgan’s idea of job creation.

Kinder Morgan wants to spend $5.4 billion tripling the capacity of an oil pipeline between the tar sands of Alberta and the Vancouver, B.C., area. Yes, the company acknowledges, there’s always the chance of a “large pipeline spill.” But it says the “probability” of such an accident is “low.” And anyway, if a spill does happen, it could be an economic boon.

“Spill response and cleanup” after oil pipeline ruptures, such as the emergency operations near Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2010 and in the Arkansas community of Mayflower last year, create “business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers,” the company argues.

Those aren’t the outrageous comments of a company executive shooting off his mouth while a reporter happened to be neaby. Those are quotes taken from an official document provided to the Canadian government in support of the company’s efforts to expand its pipeline.

It’s a bit like claiming cancer caused by nuclear accidents can be great because it provides work for oncologists. Here’s more from The Vancouver Sun:

“Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short- and long-term,” the company states in its submission to the National Energy Board, the federal government’s Calgary-based regulatory agency. …

The New Democratic Party MP who represents Burnaby, including the Westridge Marine Terminal where large tankers will arrive to carry diluted bitumen overseas, accused the company of insensitivity.

“We know Kinder Morgan is using every trick in the book to push this pipeline through our community, but this takes the cake — proposing that a spill would actually be good for the local economy,” said Kennedy Stewart, MP for Burnaby-Douglas riding. “This assertion shows the utter disregard this company has for British Columbians.”

The company said it was just fulfilling its regulatory requirements.

The company’s submission also says the ecological impacts of an oil spill, such as on beavers and otters, would be “potentially high.” Perhaps cleanup companies just need to find a way to put wildlife to work.