Letter to the Editor
From Ken Summers
My response to Tom Fletcher’s various articles on oil energy use, oil transportation, and related subjects is as predictable as his position on the topics. Though, he often seem to take a position only by taking issue with those who have issues with the whole business. His article run by the Fernie Free Press on October 22 suggests that if no one has been concerned about our terribly inadequate spill response capability while bulk crude laden tankers have plied our coast for the past 40 years, then they have no business being concerned about new tankers entering the waterways.
It seems to me that on just about any topic that becomes a public concern, there is a history about which we at first know little or nothing, followed by a growing awareness, which at some point hits the radar, then possibly the fan. Citing past ignorance or apathy is no argument against the expressions of present or future concern. And to be fair, many of those who have become concerned about oil tanker traffic were very young or not born when the whole business started. Perhaps some old-timers object to that.
In the case of oil transportation on our coast, Fletcher has admitted that oil spill response is inadequate. My response, therefore, is to say now that we have woken up, we should take two positions: beef up our response capabilities to be able to better handle existing traffic, which is now a fact of life; and don’t multiply the probability of an accident by adding new tanker traffic.
Perhaps Tom Fletcher has also noticed that opponents are not all “…US-controlled environmental groups and their aboriginal partners….” Most are Canadian citizens, including the aboriginal groups, some of whom have told environmental groups–whatever their origins–they don’t need their help, while I’m sure others have welcomed help (note the reverse order from Fletcher’s way of seeing things). Indeed, I participate in the discussions as a 7th generation Canadian and descendant of a United Empire Loyalist. My positions are also informed by a career of more than 40 years studying, inventorying, and assessing our biological resources, and facilitating industrial activity while striving for environmental protection, or ideally, sustainability.