Who’s being irrational? Northern Gateway skeptics overlook Canada’s safety record – by Joe Oliver (National Post – December 17, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Joe Oliver is Minister of Natural Resources

Last year, over 99.999% of oil and gas arrived safely through federally regulated pipelines

David Miller sets up a straw man, distorting our government’s environmental goals and intentions and then proceeds, in high dudgeon, to pummel us based on this misrepresentation. Moral indignation founded on misinformation is not a sound basis for policy.

Of course concern about the environment is rational. Our government is at one with the importance that Canadians, including aboriginal peoples, place on the precious natural beauty of our magnificent country and the protection of our land, water and air. That is why we have invested over $10-billion to foster green energy initiatives and have advanced numerous policies to enhance environmental protection.

What is not rational is to claim that our natural resources cannot be developed and transported safely. Generations of Canadians have proven otherwise and we have prospered as a nation because of our willingness to innovate and to overcome challenges.

Our government is devoted to responsible resource development and will not approve a project unless it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. We await the recommendations of independent, objective, science-based regulatory reviews before making decisions. We do not, as Mr. Miller does, come to conclusions about projects, including Northern Gateway, before we have heard from the experts.

We are firmly committed to world-class safety standards for the transportation of our oil and gas, whether it be by pipeline, rail or tanker.

Last year, over 99.999% of oil and gas arrived safely through federally regulated pipelines. Still, we want to do better and have introduced significant enhancements to achieve our objective of zero serious spills.

We have increased the number of pipeline inspections by 50% to 150 and have doubled the number of comprehensive annual audits. We will require operators of major pipelines to have $1-billion in financial capacity. We have also given authority to the National Energy Board to impose administrative financial penalties of up to $100,000 per day for companies and $25,000 for individuals, for as long as they are not in compliance with regulatory requirements.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/12/17/whos-being-irrational-northern-gateway-skeptics-overlook-canadas-safety-record/

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