Pipeline shutdowns show oil is still needed

Weyburn Review editorial

In the “I told you so” department, two separate incidents are demonstrating to U.S. and Canadian leaders that, yes, pipelines actually are needed and are valuable to have.

If only the Liberal administration here in Canada could learn from this …

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Oh, but wait, they are actually getting a lesson in the importance of pipelines also, and they’re getting it the hard way.

A couple of months ago, word came that the Governor of Michigan wanted the Enbridge pipeline that goes through the Mackinac Straits to be shut down, and that shutdown date is now upon us.

As with most people who blindly and ignorantly oppose pipelines, the governor was thinking that the environment all of a sudden needs protecting, even though the pipeline has been in place for decades and has not posed any threat to the environment.

What her actions will cause is a loss of needed oil for not only some of the northeastern states, but to Southern Ontario and Quebec — and guess what?

The many residents of those areas are now upset and scared at the loss of access to a fuel they hate but yet still badly need, and the Liberals (who have no other wish than to hurt and eradicate the oil industry) are suddenly discovering they do need this industry’s product after all.

The U.S. had another lesson in the importance of pipelines on Monday, as a hacker caused the shutdown of a Colonial pipeline which provides a huge amount of the gas required in the southeast portion of the United States.

The combined pressure of these two actions ought to make something abundantly clear to leaders in both the U.S. and Canada, namely that pipelines are actually a safe way to transport crude petroleum oil to places that need it, rather than by truck or by rail.

In Canada, we only need to recall a rather disastrous rail accident in Quebec that killed a lot of people — this would never have happened if the oil was safely in a pipeline. The land-locked oil industry here in Saskatchewan and Alberta have asked, and begged, for years for a way to move the oil to markets in addition to the U.S., but their pleas fell on deaf ears and the industry has withered and been badly hurt in recent years as a result.

There are alternative energy sources being developed, but it’s going to be a long, slow process, and in the meantime, businesses and residents need the oil and gas to be available for their needs.

What is needed is a far more reasonable and balanced transition, not the sudden killing of an entire industry that supports the economy of this country, all based on unfounded fears and concerns. There is a better way out of this, and the pipeline shutdowns are proving that.