One such day on the refinery stood out in particular. It was a hot, sunny and humid day, after monsoon rainfall my entire time there -- I think it was most likely the Prince Rupert weather following me overseas -- and on that day a hand full of managers thought it would be fun to take me out to the jetty, where they loaded and unloaded the super tankers. Situated a lengthy route away from the refinery itself, we drove down to towards the coastline.Read or watch it here. Many thanks to S for sharing on Google+.
On our way there, we drove past many different villages. Each one looking extremely impoverished. I learned later that this was not always the case. There was a time in this region where fishing, farming and the local economy truly flourished. But once the refinery project was approved, among other projects in the region, they built a pipeline directly through nine different villages. Over a period of time, there was pipeline breakage which contaminated an underground aquifer, and spoiled the wells and water supply of the majority of the surrounding villages. As industry expanded, and land bought and sold, men were forced into cheap labour at the refineries, after lifetimes of sustainable farming and fishing -- now dependent on one or two companies for employment. Women, children and elders went starving after losing access to fresh water, with no accountability for cleanup -- just left to fend for themselves. I ask, what would be the case here in our region? Do you see any potential similarities?
Converging onto a thin strip of man-made road spanning about two miles in length, we arrived at the Jetty, greeted by military personnel. After a lengthy process of clearing me for entry, we walked onto couple massive docking stations. To my right, men were conducting repairs on a rather standard sized vessel, no larger than the ones you would see here in our Harbour. In the distance, a ULCC fresh from the Middle East was rolling in from the horizon. The size of the vessel stopped me in my tracks. After 10 minutes, the ship stopped and made a slow bank horizontally out at sea.
I asked one of the managers -- Jitesh was his name -- why the ship stopped so far out. He told me that because of the size of the ship, they had a floating unloading station, and through another piping system they unload and load way out there, and that connects to the main routing station at the Jetty, to be piped a few miles back to the refinery.
I asked him why, and he said, "Even though we have docking stations here, it is for the smaller vessels that are used for domestic purposes. But these larger vessels that come from the Middle East can run aground easily."
This, in open seas, I thought.
So we all stood there, suspended in what felt like an eternal moment -the heat waves rising above the calmed Arabian Sea, and the ship danced in the horizon as I stood dumbfounded by its sheer mass. One man comments: “I always forget just how large those vessels are.”
A few moments pass as we all stood, just watching.
Out of the silence, Jitesh says to me “Do you see what we are doing here Mr. Lee?”
I asked “What’s that, Jitesh?”
He replied, with an unexpected, sobering tone: “We are destroying future generations for now, and forever.”
stop the pipeline: "do you see what we are doing here? we are destroying future generations."
This is an absolute must read or must see: the testimony of a 26-year-old man, the son of a Canadian oil executive, to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel hearings. The Vancouver Observer, progressive independent media, has the transcript and the video.