Oil, It’s Not

Letter to the Editor, Globe and Mail

Re A Pipeline To Somewhere (editorial, Nov. 16): I wish your editorial had been a tad more precise in its terminology.

While you assume the proposed pipelines will be shipping “oil,” I am not aware of any proposal involving oil.

All current proposals, Keystone, Enbridge, TransCanada, Kinder Morgan, whether east-west, north-south, west-east, involve “dilbit,” a sludge-like, pre-crude mess. Bitumen does not flow. Rather than upgrade bitumen in Alberta to a synthetic crude and then refine it, the Harper administration caters to the interests of the Koch brothers of Texas to ship “diluent” (a trade term without fixed chemical meaning, but typically a mix of naphta, benzene and butane) north to Alberta, to mix it with bitumen, and pipe it to Koch brothers refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

A sensible conversation about pipelines starts with a discussion of what is in Canada’s economic interest, analyzing how the Koch brothers stand to make $100-billion on Keystone XL, and how Canada stands to lose.

Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands; Leader, Green Party of Canada