Save our oil refinery!

Monday, November 28, 2016

News that one of British Columbia’s only two oil refineries is up for sale and could be closed is bad news for environmentalists.

If Burnaby’s Chevron refinery disappears, not only will we lose hundreds of good, green jobs, we will also increase our carbon footprint.

Confused? It’s not contradictory at all.

If Chevron closes, where will we get the light crude oil for B.C.’s cars and trucks and for jet fuel and heating oil?

Obviously somewhere else but that means it will need to be transported back to B.C. So, we could be sending more oil tankers out of Vancouver without any new Kinder Morgan pipeline and welcoming more tankers full of gasoline back into the harbour. This would increase greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) substantially and the price of gas.

If the refined gas comes from the United States, it could be trucked in–also a significant GHG contributor.

If the product is refined in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, or any other country where there are less-strict environmental controls, GHG emission could go up in addition to what’s added by the tanker traffic.

So, closing this oil refinery would increase GHG production worldwide.That makes no sense.

We would also be getting rid of 430 family-supporting green jobs–green because the Chevron facility is one of the few state-of-the-art refineries in the world.

Losing Chevron would be the latest example in a long 25 years of B.C. being de-industrialized.

Our plants are closing because corporations can make bigger profits by moving to other countries where they pay less for labour and can circumvent environmental and labour standards.

Allowing production to move to other parts of the world while we supply the raw resource is just plain stu- pid. We have to find ways to actually reduce our carbon footprint, not move it to another country.

Environmentalists tell me that the green construction jobs of the future will come from retrofits of buildings. And that’s where the conversation ends.Then they pro- ceed to oppose any and all other forms of development in the mining, hydro, petrochemical, and liquid natural gas industries.

Canada needs a national energy strategy.The need is urgent. And that’s something to think about the next time you take your car for a fill up or board a plane.

This has been adapted from an editorial by Lee Loftus, president of the BC Building Trades, that appeared recently in the Vancouver Sun. Write to us and tell us your opinion.

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