CALGARY — As Alberta and British Columbia rumble in Canada’s newest energy war over the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, echoes of pitched jurisdictional battles of the past ring out.
But observers and participants in past fights say this scrap is unlike anything seen before: the playing field is international, Alberta occupies a vastly different role in Confederation, and environmental issues are playing a larger part.
“Really big stakes are in this battle,” said Andre Plourde, a Carleton University energy economist and former senior bureaucrat at National Resources Canada. “This is a big deal.”
Sparring erupted this week with B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s demand her province receive a “fair share” of the economic benefits given the environmental risks it will bear from the $5.5-billion pipeline.
If approved by regulators, the project by Calgary-based Enbridge will carry oil sands crude to the B.C. coast and Asia-bound tankers, opening vital new export markets for Alberta crude.
But Premier Alison Redford was quick to deep-six B.C.’s suggestion a share of Alberta’s energy royalties or tax revenue could be on the table.
Regarding the concerns surrounding supertankers in BC waters banging into everything.
This a problem for engineers to solve (which I’m not). However, I’ll throw an idea out for consideration while it’s on my mind.
Is it possible to install brakes on a supertanker (other than by reversing the screws)? I’m thinking about a huge flat metal plate installed to extend through the bottom of the hull controlled from the bridge and functioning in the same way that automotive brakes work. I realize the extreme weight and inertia of a supertanker under weigh will influence this idea but “what if” the stopping distance of the ship could be reduced by “say” 50% or more due to drag induced by the plate?
Probably stupid questions or someone somewhere would have already done it but I’ve just queried Google and I have come up with “zip”. I’m far from certain the thought is on anyone’s radar.
Therefore this note.