On May 9th we have the chance to create a sustainable economy by using our votes to elect a government that will stop the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline.
What price would you put on jobs that make us competitive on the world stage; now and in ten years from now? The Trans Mountain pipeline would create very few jobs, minimal tax revenues and would not impact energy security or guarantee a long-term solution to our economy. The pipeline also comes with the additional concerns (and costs) of an oil spill. Beyond the direct clean-up costs, the indirect economic impacts would be long lasting, impacting sectors from tourism to agriculture.
Trans Mountain 101
Houston-based Kinder Morgan (formerly Enron Liquid Pipelines) is one of the largest fossil fuel companies in the world.
The company intends to build a new 1,100 km export pipeline for a dangerous kind of oil called diluted bitumen. The route would be carved out from Northern Alberta to Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. It culminates at the ocean where massive tankers will transport the oil across the world.
The proposed pipeline would increase the amount of hazardous crude oil traveling through British Columbia’s water more than seven times: from approximately 60 tankers a year to over 400!
What does a sustainable economy look like?
Creating a sustainable, new energy economy is not only the way of the future but the way to a prosperous, modern economy right now. Renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels.
One reason is that renewable energy is becoming ever cheaper to produce. The reason solar-power generation will increasingly dominate: It’s a technology, not a fuel. As such, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on. What’s more, the price of batteries to store solar power when the sun isn’t shining is falling in a similarly stunning arc.
Just since 2000, the amount of global electricity produced by solar power has doubled seven times over. Even wind power, which was already established, doubled four times over the same period.
BC Does Not Need Trans Mountain to Create Jobs
There are now more jobs in the renewable energy field than in the fossil fuel industry and it’s only going to get better.
In contrast, building this pipeline:
- Only creates 50 permanent jobs and generates an insignificant amount of taxes federally and provincially in BC.
- Could easily cause a large oil spill that could have a $1.2 billion impact on BC’s economy. Many other sectors of the economy that are actually much larger job creators would be affected by a spill and while we may think of BC as a resource-based province, things have changed over the years. The mining, oil and gas sector employs just 1.2% of the workforce or approximately 27,000 people. By comparison, technology, tourism, construction, and even film and television employ significantly more people.
This pipeline would significantly influence the direction of British Columbia’s economy for the next 40 years or more. All British Columbians who live, work and own businesses on the west coast will be directly impacted by the outcome of this decision.
A report authored by the Goodman Group and Simon Fraser University, in 2014, concluded that Trans Mountain overestimated its job count threefold in its application. By the report’s calculations, the project would generate (at most) 4,000 short-term jobs a year – less than 0.2% of total provincial employment. Regardless of the final number of construction jobs created, it is uncertain how many of these short-term positions will benefit otherwise unemployed workers, since Trans Mountain has the ability to pull resources from already existing projects.
Not only that, but Trans Mountain estimates that the majority of short-term jobs will be filled by non-local workers, further impacting where the fiscal impacts of these jobs flow.
Whether it’s attracting visitors to experience the outdoors and nature, marketing BC seafood, or simply attracting much-needed highly skilled labour to some of BC’s biggest companies, quality of life and a healthy environment are what make BC so desirable and sustainable economically.
Trans Mountain Threatens More Jobs Than it Creates
The City of Vancouver submitted a study to the National Energy Board in 2014 that analyzed the value of Vancouver’s brand. It demonstrated that the city’s image is markedly associated with the environment, ‘green’ living and environmental leadership. The study calculated that the City of Vancouver’s brand is worth $31 billion, representing 24% of the value of the GDP of the Greater Vancouver area. It concluded that a significant tanker spill could damage Vancouver’s brand to the tune of up to $3 billion, and even a relatively small spill could result in a $1.3 billion reduction in brand value.
What would it mean for people and businesses on Canada’s west coast if Vancouver became a major oil exporting port? What risks are we willing to assume? What risks are unacceptable? Are there investments in less risky sectors that would bring the same or greater benefits?
In BC, Trans Mountain threatens more jobs than they create. Our west coast is irreplaceable and it’s our job to protect it. This pipeline threatens homeowners’ land value and undermines their right to decide what is acceptable on their property or in their communities.
How Can I Vote For a Sustainable Economy – Not a Pipeline?
On May 9th, vote for a sustainable economy, and not the Trans Mountain pipeline.
What Else Can I Do to Help?
Spread the Word
When people see other people they know, or can relate to, expressing their views, it can make a big difference.