Hello pipeline, good-bye orcas

The 82 members of J-pod, that will be sacrificed once oil starts to flow in Kinder Morgan's new pipeline

Editor, The Times:

It’s hard to share water with a super tanker, and even harder when there’s a 600 per cent increase in tanker traffic. Something has to give.

In the case of the B.C. Coast, it is B.C.’s iconic and already endangered killer whale, the 82 members of J-pod, that will be sacrificed once oil starts to flow in Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline.

Orcas, or killer whales, depend on sound to communicate with their pods and the disruption in underwater acoustics will go a long way toward decimating them. Collisions with boats longer than three football fields and their multi-bladed propellors won’t help either. This situation has been accepted in numerous studies and by the National Energy Board. Good bye, orcas.

The orcas won’t be getting any benefit from Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline, nor will the people of B.C. Despite the vastly overstated job numbers, the company figures point to just 50 jobs in B.C.

And how about tax revenue? Over the past five years, Kinder has paid an average of only $1.5 M per year and, in two of those years, it got rebates. K-M Canada is a subsidiary of the U.S. firm and it is structured with an eye to tax avoidance. In fact, given other subsidies, such as low electricity rates, K-M’s project will cost Canadians money. Ironically, the oil isn’t for Canadians, either. There are no benefits .

If the orcas are in big trouble, K-M’s investors won’t be let off the hook either. K-M has been borrowing money to pay dividends and it only stopped issuing dividends when the bankers refused to lend it any more.

Once this got out, in the last half of 2015, K-M’s share price plunged 50 per cent to where it now sits. One of the main problems is that low oil prices have indebted many oil and gas producers, K–M’s customers, and some of them are filing for bankruptcy. This impacts K-M’s cash flow. Also, K-M is said to be overextended with new projects that cost money but that aren’t giving any returns.

If the path of K-M’s new pipeline is littered with losers, not just the orcas, there could still be some winners. The reader may be interested in researching the Enron/Kinder Morgan connection.

Dave Simms

Clearwater, B.C.